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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Number 27




Hastings was reading a magazine shortly before eleven p.m. when he heard several shots outside the office, and then the sound of shattering glass. He stiffened. He heard someone coming up the office steps. John Lennon stumbled in, a horrible confused look on his face. Yoko followed, screaming, "John's been shot." At first, Hastings thought it was a crazy joke. Lennon walked several steps, then collapsed on the floor, shattering the cassette tapes of his final session that he'd been holding in his hands.

Hastings triggered an alarm that summoned the police and he rushed to John's side. The anguished doorman gently removed Lennon's glasses, which seemed to be pushing in on his contorted face. He struggled out of his blue Dakota jacket and placed it over Lennon. Then he stripped off his tie to use as a tourniquet, but there was no place to put it. Blood streamed from Lennon's chest and mouth. His eyes were open but unfocused. He gurgled once, vomiting blood and fleshy material.

Gregory Katz, Rolling Stone, 1/22/81
Based on the account of doorman, Jay Hastings

That gives me the chills, every time I read it. For those who live in a box, John Lennon died 27 years ago. He was silenced by five shots (hit four times) in front of his apartment on a cold, December night at roughly 10:50 p.m.

This year's anniversary is somewhat significant considering it's 27, or the triple 9. John was fascinated with numerology towards the end of his life and number 9 was his number (read Robert Rosen's book for a more detailed look). Add on top of that, Lennon's killer supposedly wanted to write chapter 27 of the "Catcher in the Rye" in Lennon's blood (there are 26 chapters in Salinger's book).

For many people my age, it's difficult to fully understand John Lennon's importance. We never lived during the same time as him, but in recent years I've been determined to be more than just an average Beatles/John Lennon fan. I've read books and articles. I've watched tv programs, and documentaries, and listened to countless interviews. I've basically examined them from every angle possible. They are simply my way of life. And, when my film career fails, I do plan to turn my attention to becoming a historian.

One thing I learned very early is you can't argue that no one meant more to a generation of people than John Lennon. He was far more than just a musician in the biggest rock band in the world. I don't really think his death signified the end of the "60s dream", but it did silence a man who was never shy of his opinions through the years. Who knows what his opinion of the 80s under Reagan would have been? I know my Dad always says that.

I think Cynthia Lennon said it best in her book when she said that he reached a new status after his death. A category that he is in by himself. I don't care if you're comparing him against Beethoven or Kanye West, it's John Lennon and everybody else. He was that fucking special.

As another year comes and goes, 2008 will have an added twist to the Lennon legacy and murder. Two independent films, "Chapter 27" and "The Killing of John Lennon", will be released. Yes, it's a sore subject for many people and they want to block the release of the films. Look, just deal with it. I don't necessary like the idea myself, but I'm not going to boycott it. Honestly, when did John Lennon ever not support artistic expression during his lifetime? Also, Yoko Ono "coached" Lindsay Lohan for "Chapter 27". Yeah, the same Yoko Ono that owns the Lennon estate. I've seen "Chapter 27" and it's a horrible and poorly made film. As for the other, I have not seen it, but I probably will.

Go ahead and call me a "bad" Beatles fan . Say that I support the very reason why Lennon's killer shot him. Hate to break this to you, but newspapers, magazines, tv shows, and the radio have done that already. His name is posted all over the place. I picked up a magazine the other day and there was his name in an article about the murder of John Lennon. Any person with average Beatles knowledge can name him. Two indie films that have little to no advertising will not add more to his legend.

So with all that said, I want to leave with a small excerpt from the famous "Playboy" interview and the last words from Lennon's final diary entry courtesy of the book, "Nowhere Man".

Rest in peace, Mr. Lennon...

PLAYBOY: You disagree with Neil Young's lyric in "Rust Never Sleeps" -- "It's better to burn out than to fade away...."

LENNON: I hate it. It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. I don't appreciate worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or of dead John Wayne. It's the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison -- it's garbage to me. I worship the people who survive. Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They're saying John Wayne conquered cancer -- he whipped it like a man. You know, I'm sorry that he died and all that -- I'm sorry for his family -- but he didn't whip cancer. It whipped him. I don't want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it's garbage, you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

Playboy Magazine, January 1981

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be."

John Lennon's diary, 12/8/80

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