John and Yoko: Double Fantasy

I am sat on a little purple stool at the John and Yoko ‘Double Fantasy’ Exhibition. I am not quite crying.

I’ve been round the exhibition for the last half hour or so and I think it’s very beautiful. I think so. Though it was quite crowded. I would see it better on a quieter day, so I could come back. I won’t though.

This has been like a memorial service and you don’t go to them twice.

Well done Yoko. This was beautiful.

People are mostly quiet even though so much in here is about joy and peace. A love story about two people which has now lasted for over fifty years.

But we all know the December 1980 part of their story. And those of us who were alive then remember exactly what we were doing and who told us or how. And this is Liverpool after all. This is his Liverpool memorial service and it matters.

So most people are quiet. Even the children who are having the story explained to them.

‘Who was Yoko?’
‘Yoko is still Yoko’

It was a black bakelite phone, hanging in the hall of where I lived then, which rang unusually early in the morning. And it was Diana, who I was married to then and who’d gone to work even earlier, who rang to tell me John Lennon had died. Which was very kind of her as I’d have hated to be told on the radio by someone I didn’t know.

But she knew how much it would mean to me to be told carefully by someone I knew, and I’m still grateful to her for that.

A man walks past talking loudly on his phone in office talk.

‘It’s tango, yankee…’

Then walking past with his family a few minutes later. Laughing like tourists and saying:

‘Where are we going next?’

‘Get over it’ I say to myself. Having thought and almost said ‘Have some respect.’

It’s thirty eight years ago now.

But I never have completely got over it. Not really. It’s why I’m here and why I won’t be back.

John Lennon being dead still hurts. Especially sat here surrounded by him.

“For the other half of the sky”

I read about them before I ever heard what they sounded like.

I would read the names of the groups who were on around town each night in the Liverpool Echo. At eight years old I knew something was going on. Then one week with my pocket money I bought that week’s Mersey Beat. They were all over it.

Then I heard them. ‘My Bonnie.’ It wasn’t very good.

But everything after that was the best music I’d ever heard in my life.

And as I’ve said ever since, it was in those days that my life went into colour.

I’ve looked at more of Yoko’s stuff while I’ve been in here. And taken photographs of it.

She got a raw deal early on. And there was still a post-it note on a wall in here saying she broke up the Beatles. Well that’s got no place in a love story that’s lasted over fifty years. No place at a memorial service.

So before I leave I’m going to go back and take it off the wall.

It’s the least I can do.

So I did that and left a friendly message for Yoko in its place.

Then, in a karaoke booth I hadn’t noticed the first time around, a group of young girls were dancing and singing:

‘You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one’

Which made me happy, so I took their photograph and they all waved back at me.

Young as they are they know who John and Yoko are. Young as they are they all know that.

Well done Museum of Liverpool.

Well done Yoko Ono.

One Reply to “John and Yoko: Double Fantasy”

  1. Although I’m too young to remember his death first hand, I felt more anger than I expected when I’d been through the whole exhibition. Having more and more of their campaigning revealed, knowing the inevitable conclusion… Oddly, hearing their ‘all we are saying…’ lyric suddenly felt absolutely real. Peace felt suddenly obvious, simple. It’s just peace, how hard can it be? How can you argue? I don’t normally get like that from exhibitions, goddamit!

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