Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A ghost of Lennonmas past

And there went out a decree from the radio station CHUM that all should head down to Nathan Phillips Square with a candle and a black armband. This was tricky because winter had come early, even for Toronto and keeping candles lit was a tall order.

Hundreds of twenty-and-thirty-somethings gathered in front of an outdoor stage where Lennon's music blared and periodically a DJ would holler what one assumed to be platitudes. It was hard to tell so far back. A tall skinny fellow with a mass of black curls glanced over his shoulder, then looked again, sharply.

"Just how old are you?" he challenged a pair of young girls.
"I'm sixteen," said the more confident one, inclining her head toward her friend. "She's fifteen."
"What are you doing here?"
"We're here for John!"
"No, you're not, there's no way. You're too young."
"We are not!"
"You are too. You're telling me you know anything about his music?"
"We know all his stuff!"

By this time, tall curly guy's friends were wandering over to listen in, grinning and shaking their heads.
"Prove it."
"Give me the lyrics to 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'."
"And not the obvious part at the end," put in one of his pals.

So the young girls recited them in a monotone, stumbling over each other in their haste to establish their worthiness. Sometimes the young men supplied a word.

The girls stayed. We left. It was damn cold.
I know no one can do me no harm because... happiness is a warm gun, mama. Bang bang; Shoot shoot.

Bloody cold.

1 comment:

Peter A J said...

Thanks for the blog(s) – two now. I've convinced myself it was in response to my comments. Don't disabuse me!
I was doing my Masters as a mature student when Lennon was murdered. Term had finished, but the few of us who were attending to prepare for January exams gathered in the common room. It was a sombre mood and I recall not much studying was done. I guess for my generation Lennon was not only a great songsmith, but also a key face of the peace movement. Yet his own motives are not as clear as they might be. His response to being reminded in his plush apartment of the word in "Imagine" about possessions were met with a laconic (imagine the scouse accent) "it's only a song you know". Nevertheless, like all great poets he spoke to and for a generation. RIP.