A Review:

Dakota Days

The True Story Of John Lennon’s Final Years

by

John Green

Review by R.E. Prindle

Green, John: Dakota Days- The True Story Of John Lennon’s Final Years, St. Martin’s Press, 1983

John and Yoko looking pretty palmy.

  The book should perhaps be subtitled: A True Story.  John Green has crafted very nice portraits here of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, especially that of  Yoko.  She was very superstitious being dedicated to the occult from witchcraft to Japanese numerology to Tarot readings.  It was the last that brought Green within her ken.  She not only wanted a reading of the Tarot cards but she kept Green hopping day and night giving her readings on whatever little problem that pressed her mind.  So for six years Green made a very good living reading for John and Yoko while developing a profound familiarity with their characters; in other words, he knows whereof he speaks.

      Neither he nor the Japanese numerologist who he mever met were the only occultists Yoko was consulting but Green seems to have been unaware of the others.  He is very careful and doesn’t overstep the bounds of what he knows first hand.  There was a great deal that Green wasn’t privy to making this A rather than The true story.

     While I know that many people know what the Tarot is I will give an explanation for those who don’t.  While I don’t participate in Tarot myself I do have a deck of cards on hand to study for historical reasons.

     The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards of some psychological subtlety.  It arose as a means to preserve the Egyptian religion when after the various invasions of the first millennium BC the matrix of the religion was shattered.  The Tarot was devised as a means of perpetuating the religion.  The various spreads of cards provide means of interpreting responses to a problem.

     Over the centuries many different decks have evolved representing various time periods.  I have the Egyptian deck.  It would be

Tarot Card From Deck

interesting to know which deck Green used.  He fails to tell us.

     To be able to read well one must have an implicit understanding of each of the cards as well as being a subtle enough psychologist to apply the meanings to he or she for whom you read.  Green apparently had both qualifications.  Thus over thousands of readings over the six years he became very familiar with the characters and personalities of his subjects John and Yoko.  Still, they seem to have been very successful in letting him know only what they wanted him to know.

     As he apparently didn’t take notes, limiting in itself,  he relies on his memory and familiarity with the Ono’s mental processes to reconstruct a continuum of the six years.  While one may question the veracity of his method he seems to capture the mental and vocal traits of both John and Yoko.  I have no trouble accepting the portraits while as the details can be corroborated elsewhere I see no reason to question Green’s general accuracy.  Otherwise there is no one who doesn’t make mistakes in fact or interpretation.

     His two portraits while revealing conflict with other accounts such as that of May Pang or Fred Seaman the obvious reason is that

May Pang

 the Onos are only letting him see what they want him to see.  For instance, in their 1980 interview the Onos state that Yoko had brought the estate up to 150 million dollars yet Green has Yoko spending so fast that they are always on the brink of insolvency.  At times expenditures seem to exceed cash on hand.

     Green believes himself to be their only investment advisor but that isn’t the case.  Just as Yoko had her Japanese numerologist who Green didn’t come into contact with and other occult advisors she must have had other financial advisors.

     The picture Green paints of Yoko is far from pretty while he never openly denigrates her yet as he creates his layers of detail she not only becomes but goes beyond eccentric.  Her dependence on the occult is such that when someone advised her of a ‘genuine’ witch in Colombia she dragged Green along on the trip to South America to visit the woman.  Always lavish in her expenditures, she gave one medium a blank check for her to fill out, she gave this woman 60,000 dollars for her ministrations.  When Green protested that the woman had meant pesetas rather than dollars Yoko was unfazed.

     Thus while Yoko denied any dependence on John she only was able to realize her vision of herself through the former Beatle’s wealth and influence.

Yoko in one of her many guises.

     This was no more evident than in Yoko’s competition with her mother.  For two successive summers John and Yoko visited Japan.  According to Yoko the intent was to establish some rapport so that her son Sean wouldn’t be cut out of the family fortune that was considerable.   The trips were conducted on such an extravagant scale that according to Green the Onos were cash poor as a result.  Nevertheless Yoko went on spending so either they had funds of which Green knew nothing or they got money from somewhere.

     The fact that they always seemed to have enough cash to do anything from spending a few millions on dairy farms and cows to Japanese vacations that it seems strange that when they received an extortion attempt for 200,000 dollars Yoko said they had no money.  The extortion attempt seems to have been a protection racket- pay and live or go the police and die.  As the extortioners told Yoko that if she went to the cops they would only protect her for a while.  When they left whether a year or two later the extortioners would strike.

     The Onos refused to comply calling in the FBI.  The FBI advised them to substitute newspaper for money and they would arrest the pickup man.  Strangely the pick up man was able to elude the FBI.  And then two years or so later Lennon was hit by exploding bullets and killed on his doorstep.  While one cannot say the two events are connected yet the assassination followed the extortionists plans.  Chapman did make a stop to speak to an unidentified party before he pulled the trigger.  But nothing is clear.

     Yoko first contacted Green during Lennon’s ‘Lost Weekend.’  While Lennon believed, and it seems clear, that Yoko had informants watching John while he was in LA, Green has her denying this saying that it was his card readings that kept her informed of John’s doings.   In all likelihood she checked her spies’ information against his readings. 

    From ’75 to ’80 Lennon was in a severe depression being unable or unwilling to function in a normal way.  Of course there was no reason for him to act ‘normal’ as he was able to deal with his funk in his own way.  Who is there to say that ‘normal’ was better?  As he told Green his muse had left him leaving him unable to write.  As he said, call it writer’s block or whatever, he couldn’t work.  Enough reason for depression in an artist.

      Then in 1980 when he came out of it being again able to write, Yoko in her desperate attempt  to be his equal insisted on being part of the new record she called Double Fantasy.  John adamantly refused to let her perform on his own tracks while she didn’t want her tracks all on one side for fear that no one would listen to side B, so they alternated tracks.

     Thus, even though Yoko insisted that she was the most talented artistically and musically of the two she was forced to hitch her wagon to John’s star.

Yoko in one of her variety of men's hats and double fantasy glasses.

2.

     I found Green’s treatment of Lennon to be more sympathetic than his treatment of Yoko.  The inevitable conclusion one comes to about Yoko is that at best she was a pathetic human being while at worst an obsessive-compulsive and a dangerous one at that.

     The portrait he depicted of John is that of a man with a completely disintegrated personality entering the mid-life crisis.  During this five year period he begins a process of reintegration.  Actually his course is that of the mythological hero who experiences his ‘madness’ at this period of the mid-life crisis.

     During this period Lennon is essentially egoless.  Part of Timothy Leary’s LSD mantra was that one should abandon the ego.  Of course to abandon the ego leaves one defenseless and a prey to sharpers who use their ego only too well, nevertheless Lennon bought in and abandoned his ego, or so he says.  As he abdicated his identity to the use of Yoko Ono this was obviously the case.

     So, he allowed himself to be manipulated by Yoko spending long periods of months over years ruminating naked in his bed, totally exposed as it were protected only by the good will of Yoko.  Then, for whatever ulterior motive, Yoko sent John on a solo trip around the world.  This was her mistake.

     While in Macau, China Lennon had an epiphany in his hotel room.  This is a fairly common one but self-revelatory.  One might name it the peeling of the onion.  In Lennon’s case he obviously felt that he had multiple personalities acquired through various traumatic events in his life.

     As he described it to Green he was in his hotel room when he succeeded in peeling a layer of the onion, a personality, off which appeared as real and visible to him as shirt or a suit of clothes.  He draped the personality over a chair then began to peel off layer after layer hanging them about the room or draping them over the furniture.  When he awoke the next morning he could see them just where he put them.  He then conceived the notion of leaving them there as he ran away from their influence.

     This is a beautiful little fantasy.  But then he turned the corner and there was oneof his selves waiting for him.  Visualize the Rock And Roll cover and I think you begin to have it.  He then realized he couldn’t escape in that fashion so he went back to his hotel and said ‘C’mon’ to his personalities and continued on his journey.  However having identified his ‘problems’  by name, as it were, the seeds for resolving those problems had been sown.

     He then returned to the Dakota and while he confined himself to his room rather than merely sinking into depression he began working through those layers of fixations or depression gradually recovering his muse and removing his writer’s block enabling him to compose again.

     It would seem that Yoko preferred John psychologically incapacitated so that she could either control him or make herself believe that she was the more talented.  Green notes that as John improved Yoko seemed to deteriorate.  He quotes her as saying that she had heard some of John’s new songs and they were not very good while hers were.

     Dissociated from reality as she was then she couldn’t let John record an LP of songs that might be a hit while anything she recorded on her own would be relegated to the garbage.   She even refused to record one side all John and one side all her for fear that no one would listen to her side so she demanded they alternate tracks.  I presume that is one reason the LP is entitled Double Fantasy.

     While Yoko actually believed in the Tarot and her Japanese numerology, witchcraft and whatever John intelligently disregarded the occult aspects while he might have seen the utility of the Egyptian religous aspects to reveal character and motivation.  In fact the innumerable readings of the Tarot might have led up to the revelatory epiphany in China and hence the lifting of his depression.

     If that were the case then there would have been little difference between the Egyptian system of Tarot and psychoanalysis.  But, as I say, I have no idea of which deck Green was using although the principle remains the same.

3.

     After having been on 24/7 call for six years as the Onos moved into what seems to have been a new phase Green lost his usefulness to Yoko sitting by a phone that never rang.

     Green had succeeded too well.  As he has John explain to him when Yoko first employed him she set him seven tasks.  He had successfully completed all seven being now redundant.  While John promised to look out for him, of course events eliminated any such possibility.

     Regardless of whether the Ono Lennons were the subject of Green’s book I found the whole concept interesting.  I like the way Green told his story, his tone and his outlook.  His telling made me take an interest in himself.  Unfortunately his name being so common makes it too difficult to search out anything of his subsequent career other than he moved to Washington DC.

     Perhaps he could write a sequel to Dakota Days from another angle and with more detail.  Pressing issues might not be so pressing now.  I’d be interested.

 

Happy Trails To You.

 

A Review

John

by

Cynthia Lennon

One Giant Step For Somebody

Review by R.E. Prindle

Lennon, Cythia: John, Three Rivers Press,  2005

Remember what the door knob said…

–Grace Slick

We built this city on Rock and Roll.

–Jefferson Starship

If you want to be a girl of mine

You’d better bring it with you when you come,

–Trad.

John and Cynthia- Sometime In Liverpool

     Cynthia Lennon’s autobiography of her life with John Lennon opens the door to a number of possibilities of which I’ll explore one, at least, here.

     Let’s begin with Lonnie Donegan’s 1955 hit The Rock Island Line.  Lonnie was the originator of his own genre- Skiffle Music.  Skiffle was all the rage in the British world from England to Australia to New Zealand while passing very lightly over the States except for the fortunate few of which I was one.  Rock Island Line was a major hit in the US though.

     Lonnie, may he rest in peace, was also the originator of the Big Beat.  Of course Lennon and most of the young English rockers studied at Lonnie’s feet.  The first band Lennon formed, the Quarrymen, was a Skiffle band.  That was back in the fifties before the second stage of the big change kicked off.  The first stage began about 1950 with Johnny Ray and his song Cry.

     Eisenhower had the world pretty well organized in 1960 before John Kennedy stole the baton from the intended successor, Richard Nixon.  With the accession of Kennedy the American personality or identity, such as it was, began to disintegrate- I mean in the psychological sense.

     The Celts tried to establish Kennedy as the second coming of King Arthur and his Camelot.  Not the smartest thing they could have done; a couple bullets fired in Dallas on November 22, 1963 put a period to that dream.  By the then the sixties were fairly launched about to begin in earnest in January of 1964 when Lennon’s next group, the Beatles, hit.

     The Beatles began as a Big Beat band rooted in the fifties.  Seized by the avant garde they were made the avatar of the sixties.  In their own way they launched the sixties although the makins’ were already out of the can.  Kennedy was shot almost in December and in January the Fab Four washed his memory out on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The Kennedy assassination was so then, then.  The Beatles were NOW.  IS in capital letters.

     While the Beatles were revamping fifties music they edged into the future with modified Prince Valiant haircuts and collarless suit jackets.  They were then NEW emerging into a brave new world.

     Almost at the beginning of 1960 the art world was shaken by the emergence of Pop Art.  Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and especially Andy Warhol with his Campbell’s Soup Can set the sixties on its ear.  On

Premier example of Pop Art

the film scene the James Bond series with its new sensibility began.  Bond also was a revelation portending changes with unintended consequences.

     Pop Art would figure signficantly in Cynthia Lennon’s life in a few years when one of its more laughable practitioners, Yoko Ono, would step into her life and filch her husband from her.  In fact Pop Art would be inextricably linked with the record industry.  All the pop motifs would find their way onto record covers with increasing frequency.  Tiny Alice would have a cover that opened like a match book.  Talking Head’s colored disc would even become a happening designed by Rauschenberg himself.  The burgeoning poster business would find its way into record sleeves.  Astonishing packages never seen before in the record business although perhaps anticipated by the experimental ESP label of NYC.  Some interesting stuff.   Perhaps Milton Glaser’s poster of Bob Dylan could run for the distinction of the most popular poster design of the whole era.  It was innovation itself at the time although not quite so fresh today.

     Now, all this was happening so fast and from so many directions that it was impossible to get it all or even keep up on what you did get; after all people had lives to live.

     In the San Francisco Bay Area where I was during the sixties the Scene was especially heavy.  I wasn’t in the thick of things but a little off to the side.  Thus while the UC Berkeley Free Speech Brouhaha took center stage in the East Bay, Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters and the Acid Tests were simmering on the Peninsula, but actually invading the middle class especially at Stanford and UC Berkeley.  The San Fransciso Mime Troupe was very important in the early stages while Bill Graham was commercializing the Trips Festival with his Fillmore shows and Chet Helms was organizing the Avalon Ballroom out at the beach.  The posters for the ballrooms which epitomized the psychedelic was the first inkling I had that something ‘new’ was happening.  I don’t know how quick on the uptake I was  but the first inkling of New York Pop I had was 1966-67 when I opened a poster store soon to be a record store.

     LA, always commercial, would nevertheless provide the great Ron Cobb political cartoons for the LA Free Press one of the best of the Hippie papers soon to degenerate into porn as did the Berkeley Barb and all the rest.  R. Crumb in San Francisco became the king of Hippie porn which characterized the movement from then on.  The scene was then set for George and Pattie Harrison’s famous descent on the Haight-Ashbury that disappointed them so.

     This brief sketch only contains a few of the highlights of the period.  It was into this world that John and Cynthia Lennon stepped unprepared.  Both Cynthia and John came from a background of very low expectations.  Cynthia’s dreams were very modest while per her John’s dreaming was no bigger than reaching the tops of the pops in England.

     Indeed the much touted German clubs showed no promise of a future whatever.  Essentially playing in brothels in Hamburg one wonders what the ‘lads’ were thinking of the whole process.  The wonder is that they paid enough attention to hone their skills.  One of those making lemonade from lemons situations.

     Only the greatest good luck showed them to success and fortune.  They would have labored in the vineyard for a while and then drifted off into jobs but for the fact that an entrepreneurial romantic by the name of Brian Epstein saw them as the vehicle to realize his own dreams.  He had the direction and energy to galvanize their careers.  Still they were rejected by all the labels until a producer, George Martin, apparently heard what the rest of the world would hear and agreed to record them.  It was then that the unbelievable happened elevating the Beatles into the most successful pop group ever.  It was success far beyond their imaginations.  With that success came challenges that neither John nor Cynthia could meet.  The fact that they failed is no reflection on either one; they came from very low expectations and having fallen down the rabbit hole they were slightly unprepared.  ‘One side makes you larger, the other side makes you smaller.’

     To this time in their lives neither had even eaten at anything other than the English equivalent of McDonald’s, fish and chips or whatever.  Now in one great step they were introduced into the haut ton by their manager Brian Epstein.  Cynthia leads us to believe that Epstein gave special attention to John over the other ‘lads.’  As Epstein was a homosexual and as other sources, Peter Brown, Goldman actually state that Epstein seduced Lennon he obviously had a crush on John seeking to mold him in his own image.  Indeed, John may have been his incentive for taking the Beatles on.  Lust at first sight.

     John had an attractive flip attitude that left the impression that he was much better educated than he was.  Actually he left Art School, already a step down from the top,  flunked out or whatever preferring to devote himself to his guitar chords.  Most of the rockers were in the same situation.  It’s amazing that their fans looked to them for salvation.  This was tragic, because the generation invested all their hopes and dreams in these muscians attributing universal knowledge and genius to them, each and everyone.  While they all did changes on certain political and social themes there was an appearance of ‘deep’ knowledge.  Being anti-pollution was a badge of authority.  Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane made the mistake if, one hopes, jesting that one should never trust anyone over thirty; this while she, John and others were about twenty-nine.

     The phrase stuck.  Those under thirty trusted these youthful, perhaps well-meaning rock stars.  Being somewhat older at the time I could only see some very ordinary boys and girls who were just youthful wiseacres as we all were in that phase of our journey through life.  Give me a break.

     The most revered of all were the three Beatles John, Paul and George with Ringo thought of more as the court jester.  John seemed to take his role most seriously as the guru of the generation, especially after he abandoned Cynthia for, spare me, the psychotic Yoko Ono.

     Her abandonment by John for Yoko Ono is of course the most traumatic incident in her story.  One can only commiserate with Cynthia.  Then one has to search for reasons why; there was certainly no physical attraction there.  Lennon did release a solo album called Mind Games so perhaps the best place to look is the mental.  Lennon’s success must have placed great stresses of various kinds on him.  The transition from a fair degree of poverty to one of a very large income to great wealth under the management of Yoko Ono would be psychologically unsettling in itself.  Cynthia was unable to transit from poverty to wealth always remaining a lower middle class haus frau while John appears to have lacked the social climbing instincts of, say, Mick Jagger.

     Musicians in general are held in very low esteem by the social elite so without unbounded desire and chutzpah, an ability to endure slights of the most painful kind it is highly unlikely that a musician would ever find acceptance in society.  The aristocrats, Marrianne Faithfull describes as associating with Jagger appear to me to be more of the Black Sheep variety.  So, Lennon may have been experiencing some frustration at that level.

     At the same time there are numerous flatterers who are adept at putting ideas of omnipotence into your head not only intimating but saying that you are godlike.  Even though one rejects the notion on the conscious level still a feeling of super powers creeps into your subliminal mind.  One feels invulnerable, that one can do what’s never been done, that one can do drugs with impunity.  There was never a time when the availability of drugs was ever greater or more socially acceptable.

     At the time rumors abounded which have since turned into facts.  During the Kennedy administration there was one Dr. Feelgood operating in New York to whom the social elite went for their drugs.  His name was Dr. Max Jacobson and he was your friendly amphetamine pusher.  His speed cocktails were extraordinary and they lasted for days.   It’s comforting to know that President John F. Kennedy was amphetamine fueled while he was making those difficult international decisions- like Cuba.  Nothing like having an A-man on the job.  He wasn’t alone, VP Lyndon Johnson, followed in his footsteps into the office of Dr. Feelgood.  He would have found his place at the end of the line of the NYC elite.

     One person who took the good doctor’s prescription said that he went blind for three days staying high for several.  Max was the economic type, dirty needles too.

     At the same time Dr. Timothy Leary was sending everyone from prison inmates to Beat poet Allen Ginsberg tripping into inner space with his free handed distribution of LSD.  Kennedy was involved in that too.

     Prior to their arrival for the Sullivan show we are led to believe that the Mop Tops had only used pep pills in Hamburg to fuel their twelve hour sets.  We are told that Bob Dylan was the one who turned them on to La Cucuracha, the most mild of the intoxicants.  From there the boys graduated to LSD through spiked drinks or food.

     Just as Harrison’s wife, Patti, records a spiked introduction to LSD so does Cynthia Lennon.  Cynthia quite properly was revolted by drugs having no use for them.  John was quite the opposite.  He embraced LSD apparently ingesting regularly for long periods of time.  As he would describe it, thousands of trips.  At that point in my estimation the marriage was over.  There is nothing for which Cynthia has to reproach herself except for her small divorce settlement.  Nothing disintegrates the personality like drugs.

The Ghost In The Machine- Albert Hofmann

     The drug influence was followed by a change in their music patterned after Dylan.  When I first heard the Rubber Soul album I found it extremely noisy and unpleasant.  This album was probably influenced by the Band’s playing behind Dylan on the ’65-’66 tour or perhaps the Bringing It All Back Home and Highway ’61 albums.  It seems p;robable to me that the song Norwegian Wood commemorated  Dylan’s turning them on to marijuana.  The girl obviously represents Dylan.

      Succeeding albums would aim for a ‘heavier’ feel with more social significance.  As Lennon said in his ’80 Playboy interview, I Am The Walrus was written in imitation of Dylan.

     The cover of Rubber Soul was traditional uninfluenced by pop art trends.  The succeeding cover in the US, the famous ‘Butcher’ cover would be widely interpreted in the US as a comment on the Viet Nam War.  It may have been meant as a pun- prime cuts of  both meat and record tracks, but I don’t know.  Whether there was a Pop Art influence isn’t clear.

     The cover for the following Revolver by Klaus Voorman seems to indicate an awareness of Pop.  For a band that was thought to be on the cutting edge of everything there are only two covers very avant garde with neither being very satisfying to me.

Acid Art- Victor Vasarely

     Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band that follows Revolver is a complete Pop Art package.  A bizarre and macabre conception it does succeed.  The grave in the foreground with the floral Beatles is chilling, perhaps a presage of the break up of the band.  As Dylan said:  If you’re not busy being born you’re busy dying.’   The Beatles are pictured in dead black and white looking down mournfully on their grave while the newly born Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band stand front and center in vibrant living color.  Obviously the one has risen from the other.

     Behind the band are row on row of ‘ancestors’ or, as was commonly assumed, influences.  In fact members of the band contributed only a few of the names while the rest were contributed by others.  Dylan is certainly among the pictures.  The album comes complete with a childhood toy, a sheet of cut outs, making a complete Pop Art package.  They could have had a designed inner sleeve but they overlooked that.  Peter Blake, the main designer, is known as a Pop Artist.

     The musical content follows the downer social significance motif with aural pyrotechnics such as had not been heard on record before.  The release, as everyone is aware, was a complete smash, but it went beyond smash into realms not achieved until Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Thriller failed to excite as did Sgt. Peppers.  That summer of ’67 was literally a surround of Sgt. Peppers.  It was almost the only record anyone played.  The Beatles easily trumped Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde  of the summer of  ’66.

     The rest of the Beatles’  covers are pedestrian.  The White LP probably influenced by One was trite at the time.

     Cynthia seems to lack all understanding of what tremendous pressures the very unstable Lennon was subjected to , how his mind was being affected by adulation from the fans and respect from the world at large.  Kid me, being named one of the three most influential men in the world wouldn’t have inflated the head of a Liverpool loser?  My god, the Beatles even sung ‘I’m a loser.’  I couldn’t believe anyhone would sing such a song much less the Beatles who were clearly winners.  How does one endure thinking of oneself as a loser on one hand and one of the most influential men in the world on the other?

     At the same time that Lennon was enlarged Cynthia shrunk into the Liverpool realities of her youth.  The couple had a mansion but unfamiliar with so much space Cynthia preferred to live in one small room!  Clearly she was not equal to the demands of her situation.

     The situation became critical when Lennon began mass consumption of drugs, including heroin, which Cynthia correctly declined to do while at the same time the poisonous Yoko Ono injected herself into Lennon’s life.  There was no hope for Cynthia.  Yoko Ono was a walking disaster looking for a place to happen- and then there was John.

Yoko Ono- Single Fantasy

     Quite frankly Yoko Ono’s ‘career’ was going nowhere.  Born in 1933 she was 33 in 1966 when she began her assault on John who was 25.

     The sexual dynamic is that Lennon seemed to prefer older women than himself having a masochistic submission impulse.  Cynthia herself was a year older.  She too apparently sought security in younger men.  Her second husband was two years younger and her third six.  She seemed to lack the dominating impulse to make such marriages work.  Ono had it in spades.

     While John was by this time psychotic, Ono had been so from childhood, in addition she seems to suffer from extreme cognitive dissonance.  Ono got the rock critic Robert Palmer to shill for her in her 1992 release, Onobox.  In the essay Palmer states:

     It is quite likely that having John Lennon fall in love with her was the worst thing that could have happened to Yoko Ono’s career as an artist.

     Notice the lack of mention of falling in love with Lennon.  This was written, I almost said, dictated to Palmer, in 1992 twelve years after Lennon’s death.  No serious critic could have written that line so one must assume that it was dictated by Ono herself.  The line shows how far she has distanced herself from reality.

     Ono was in fact, a poor little rich girl.  As a woman she felt inferior to the male writing such pieces as ‘Woman Is The Nigger Of The World.’   Once again cognitive dissonance.  Yoko Ono was never in the position of being  ‘a nigger in the world.’  It is true that her father advised her against attempting composing believing that women didn’t make good composers.  How wrong was he, hey?  Ono milked every man she was ever with before actually going into the dairy business herself.  Secondly, having chosen to enter the Western world as an Asian she places her artistic neglect on the twin facts that he is a woman and an Asian.  It never occurs to her that her art is unpleasing.

     As an artist, whether woman or not, Asian or not, she had nothing to offer the art loving peoples of the world.  In this increasingly globalized world of the sixties being Asian meant nothing while being a woman held no one with talent back.  Indeed, male artists were increasingly being suppressed in favor of women in all the arts.  If all girl rock bands isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is.

     By her own admission she thought she was an influential person in the New York City art world of the early sixties after an apprenticeship of one year even gaining  ‘an international reputation.’  As she told May Pang:  I was famous before I met John.  So, one asks how does one reconcile her imagined great success with the feeling of being held back as an Asian and woman?

      She rented a loft for fifty dollars a month which she coyly implies that as a starving artist the money was not easy to find.  Well, Daddy was only a phone call away, she should have reached out and touched him.  You can be sure he wasn’t going to let his little girl starve.  By comparison I was paying 125.00 a month for an apartment in the Bay Area.  I think we can dismiss the impoverished struggling artist scenario as so much more cognitive dissonance.

     Ono spread herself pretty thin apparently attempting to cover all aspects of the avant garde.  She’s keen on belonging to the avant garde.  In music she patterned herself after John Cage and that weird contemporary ‘classical music’ approach with perhaps more than a nod to the early electronic composers such as Robert Maxwell who she mentions.  She began her career in 1969 between the end of the Absract Expression mode and the beginningof the Pop movement so she was too late for the one and too early for the other.  She and Lennon would try to rectify this in 1971 by doing obeisance to the Pop guru, Andy Warhol.

     In 1961 she threw a party and was devastated that a snow storm discouraged the uptown crowd she had invited from coming.  At least she said there was a snow storm.  This may be another instance of cognitive dissonance.  As she was an actual nobody she had no reason to expect society people to attend, snow storm or no snow storm.   Nevertheless she was devastated, leaving town for Japan shortly thereafter.  One may question where she obtained the fare for that flight when she had difficulty of meeting a fifty dollar rent bill.

     In Japan she acquired her first husband simultaneously being committed to an insane asylum.  As difficult as it may be to believe, her  soon to be second husband, Tony Cox, heard these marvelous things about Ono in NYC deciding to fly to Japan to look her up.  He found her thoroughly doped staggering around the halls of the asylum.  He succeeded in getting her released then he, Ono and her first husband formed a menage a trois.  The first husband wisely was the first to leave so Cox claimed the prize and the couple returned to NYC in 1964 so she is having an eventful four years.  Shortly after their arrival they pulled up stakes and headed further East to London.  Of the move Ono says:

     I thought (the) avant garde world in New York was still very exciting but that it was starting to become an institution in itself, and there were rules and regulations in an invisible way, and I just wanted to get out of it.  I never considered myself a member of any group.  I was just doing my own thing.

     That is just another way of saying that the art scene was a cliquish group in its terminal stages that was difficult or impossible to break into so unable to do so Ono was ‘just doing her own thing.’  It might be noted however that the NYC art scene was or was in becoming a nearly totally homosexual affair.  At any rate we have evidence of sour grapes- I never considered myself a member of any group.  And the result of rejection-  I was just doing my own thing.

     After her rejection she ‘composed’ a musical piece called Wall Piece For Orchestra in which she knelt on a stage and repeatedly banged her heard on the floor.  Today that would be called ‘acting out.’

     Off to new worlds to conquer in London and at the Indica Gallery of John Dunbar, the resident ‘head’ art gallery.  Now, at this point she ‘ruined her career’ by pursuing John Lennon until he caught her.  I imagine that she had been shrewdly observing his career and undoubtedly came to the psychological conclusion that he was a dependent personality who could be easily manipulated by the older maternal type with the right touch.  That John Lennon could be made dependent on this woman eight years his senior is proof positive.  Indeed, John even referred to her as Mother.

     Cynthia for whom the role was impossible correctly assessed the situation noting the influence of Lennon’s Aunt Mimi who brought him up.  Ono courted Lennon, interfering directly in his marriage.  Ono was quite willing to drug herself along with Lennon so that both were heroin addicts.  Ono thus established a sado-masochistic control over Lennon that Cynthia had no chance of breaking.

     Rather than ruining Ono’s career the ‘third most influential man’ in the world gave her a stage on which to perform that she could never have found on her own.  She now considered herself a collaborator with the Beatles.  The injection of the Cage and Maxwell garbage combined with Lennon’s erratic behavior produced the nonsense of Revolution #9 on the White Album.

     Lennon on drugs and under the influenceof Ono, who had her motives, according to Dire Corrector’s blog quoting the biographer of Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now, says:

     The meditation had essentially precipitated a nervous breakdnown which was not helped by John’s tremendous drug intake.  On May 18, 1966 he summoned a meeting of the Beatles at Apple and announced to them that he was Jesus Christ…the night after he told the other Beatles that he was the Savior, he finally called Yoko Ono and told her to come over.

     Quite obviously Lennon was either teetering on the brink or had fallen over the edge.   If he hadn’t broken with Cynthia by this time it is quite clear that apart from a certain inappropriateness of being wed to the Savior she was quite innocent of causing the break in any manner and should have a clear conscience.

     Lennon’s state of mind would explain the insensitive manner in which he broke with Cynthia and its aftermath.  The man must not have been in his right mind.  While easing Cynthia out was relatively easy, from Ono’s end Tony Cox to whom she was still married was not such a simple matter.  One wonders why he would fight so hard to keep a women who was so psychotic.  Perhaps it was their daughter who he later took into hiding to keep her away from Ono.  Justly so, it seems.

     At any rate by ’69 Ono and Lennon were free to marry.  Definitely by this point Lennon had all but surrendered his identity to Ono.  She was now in possession of the reputation of one of the three most influential men in the world.  Blending her identity with his she was about to become hermaphroditic.  Perhaps Lennon was overawed by her avant garde credentials, such as they were, as well as whatever passed for her musical sensibilities.

     She became Yoko Ono Lennon while he legally changed his name to John Ono Lennon so they both became Ono Lennons.  After a number of happenings which one must believe were entirely Ono’s conceptions, such as the ‘bed in’ in Holland and the organization of the Plastic Ono Band, the pair settled in New York in an apartment building known as the Dakota.  The Dakota was a connection to Ono’s past fulfilling an old desire to surpass those uptown types who she felt had slighted her.

     In that connection also the cover of the Plastic Ono Band is a fulfillment of an old desire of Ono’s.  While a child she witnessed the fire bombing of Tokyo in the US attempt to bring an end to the war.  The blue sky was obliterated by the billowing clouds of smoke.  While she didn’t witness Hiroshima yet she imagined the same sky as that over Tokyo.   She then developed a blue sky obsession.  If you notice the cover of the Plastic Ono Band is just a blue sky.  One assumes then that Ono’s plans were coming together.

     The NYC art world of 1960-’61 had shifted totally, the Abstract Expressionists she had tried to piggyback on were gone having been replaced by Pop Art of which Andy Warhol was the reigning doyen.  If the Abstract Expressionists had been exclusive Warhol was nothing if not inclusive.  He worshipped celebrities and Lennon was the number one celebrity.  Himself a groupie and maximum social climber he welcomed an association with the Onos.  For Yoko Ono the association with the leaderof the NYC art scene was her dream come true.  Nothing but blue skies from now on.

     In the accompanying picture you will notice that Warhol is seated in between a standing Yoko Ono with one hand on her right tit while his hand is on a drugged out looking John Ono with his hand on Warhol’s crotch.  The symbolism is quite clear.  The standing Yoko

The transfer of power.

 is the master of two emasculated males who happen to be two of the most influential men in the world.  She ain’t no nigger no more, Maggie’s Farm is a thing of the past, yes, men are now niggers in relation to herself.  Warhol as an artist takes precedence over the disposable oafish John Ono.  Yoko is tallest and standing, Warhol is second tallest and sitting while the now disposable John is lowest, lying on his back.  The future is clear.  Study John’s face; study all three faces.

     The sexually besotted John Ono has surrendered his entire identity even as a musician allowing Yoko Ono to usurp his place by putting out those horrid hideous LP musical montrosities.  Robert Palmer aside, with song titles reminiscent of her head bashing days:  What A Bastard The World Is, I Felt Like Smashing My Face In A Glass Window,  Woman Of Salem (Witches), Coffin Car, Hell In Paradise and Walking On Thin Ice.  Clearly this woman had an unsettled, disturbed mind.

      Having usuped Lennon’s role and identity he became expendable.  Her problem now was to transfer his past and his wealth to herself thereby becoming Yoko-John Ono, Double Fantasy.  Two fantasies melding into her one personality.

     John Ono’s finances were, of course, in complete disorder.   As Yoko was soon to show billions of dollars were disappearing down a sink hole.  She rapidly organized his finances turning his money green.  Within short order the Onos were worth a hundred million or so which she would swell to a billion or more after John’s death.

     I imagine it was fairly easy to have John Ono give her a power of attorney, indeed he forked over his identity allowing her to function in his stead as himself.  An awesome abdication.  A POA would negate the need for a will, and indeed having made herself not only co-owner of John’s assets as well as his identity Yoko Ono would merely acquire full ownership leaving no assets to be willed.  Indeed, she could have turned him out penniless at any time.  When Cynthia was clamoring for a reading of the will she was wasting her breath; if a will existed, unlikely in itself, there would have been no assets to bequeath.

     Yoko Ono having now incorporated John Ono’s reputation and identity into her own had also incorporated the assets and with the assets the legacy of all copyrights held by John Lennon as the double fantasy melded into one fantasy.  The only obstacle to Yoko’s apotheosis  into man-woman was John himself as he was alive.  However John was only thirty-five.  To wait thirty-five years or more with a man she didn’t love or even like would be unbearable.  Some hard thinking was in order.

     She manipulated the poor dolt into thinking he was a boorish oaf who needed to go off to get himself together.  Rather than just sending him off she chose an employee, May Pang, an Asian like herself, to be John’s consort while away.

     In reading May Pang’s book, Loving John, it becomes clear that Yoko Ono was a master hypnotist.  She knew how to make suggestions and have people act on them.  Acccording to Pang she fixed an hypnotic glare on one, assuming an authoritative posture while intoning her suggestion.  She had the reputation of always getting her way.

     Of course her version of what happened is different than Pang’s.  Yoko having suggested she go  off with John, the act was soon consummated.  Pang insists she and John were in love, yet a year and a half later when Yoko called John back he came running.

     Thus, from 1975 to Double Fantasy in 1980 Yoko and John Ono were out of public life living as a double fantasy of Howard Hughes.  Then in 1980 Mark Chapman became the man who shot John Lennon.  There have been speculations that Chapman was hypnotized when he committed his deed.  Conspiracy theories therefore have sprung up.

     One must ask who the death of John Lennon benefited.  Two possible people.  Yoko One on one hand and possibly Chapman on the other.  On the one hand Yoko Ono achieved the psychotic desire to escape being the ‘nigger of the world’ by becoming John Ono Lennon while physically remaining the sweet little girl she had been before the fire bombing of Tokyo.  She was unable to manage the memory of that transformative experience.  In her mind, then, she became the prominent artist-musician of the world.

     I don’t believe the government had anything to do with the assassination.

     As we know Yoko Ono was a master hypnotist; the question is how did she find Mark Chapman and how did she hypnotize him?

     Earlier in the day Chapman had approached Lennon for an autograph.  He can be seen worshipfully  smiling beside his hero in the picture.  There appears to be no indication he meant to harm Lennon.  He might easily have shot him point blank at the time, yet when he came back in the afternoon with a voice in his head insistently saying:  Do it. Do it. Do it. he gunned his hero down.

     At the time Yoko Ono had dropped a few steps behind John.  In similar murder attempts, people step away from the intended victim so as not to be caught in the line of fire.  This may have been the case with Yoko.

     Certainly Yoko is opposed to Chapman’s release from prison even though he has fulfilled the twenty year requirement of twenty to life.  I doubt if he is a threat to society however he may be a threat to Yoko Ono if he were to remember or reveal the details leading up to his shooting of John Ono Lennon.

     Of course, I don’t know why Chapman shot but I do know that Yoko Ono Lennon was the sole beneficiary.  She left Cynthia holding the bag while she realized her double fantasy.

 

Double Fantasy- Yoko Looking Over John's Granny Glasses

 

 

A Review

Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side

Some Thoughts On The Autobiography Of Suze Rotolo:

A Freewheelin’ Time

by

R.E. Prindle

 

1.

Sandoz The Great

Hoffman Holding LSD Model
Hofman Holding LSD Model

     In 1938 Albert Hofman, a Swiss chemist working for Sandoz isolated LSD-25.  In 1938 young Tim Leary was 18 years old.  It was in 1943 that Albert Hofman discovered the effects of LSD.  Seventeen years after that LSD burt onto the world through the agency of the now, Dr., Timothy Leary, a psychologist with Harvard University.

     LSD was adopted by the Bohemian society and all its offshoots as the appearance of the new chemical Messiah:  Better living through chemistry as the slogan was.  Its use quickly spread through the folk music community of Greenwich Village in New York City.

Timothy Leary Is Dead

Timothy Leary Is Dead

Goodbye Tuli. Died 7/12/10

     In 1923 a fellow by the name of Tuli Kupferberg was born and his partner Ed Sanders came along in 1939 a year after I did.  Kupferberg and Sanders were poets who became influenced by the folk scene forming a band sometime in 1964 originally called the Village Fugs, later the Village was dropped and they became simply the Fugs.  In 1965 they released their first LP on Folkways.  Now, cut one, side one was little number entitled Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side.  Sort of OK as a song, funny, as were a lot of Fugs songs.  Like Dylan they searched for social significance rather than write trite love songs.  Unlike Dylan you could easily understand the meaning of the lyrics.  Slum Goddess was one and then there was a song that many of us thought significant in the social sense back in those days entitled:  Boobs A Lot.  ‘Do you like boobs a lot?  Gotta like boobs a lot.’  As I said deep and intense meaning.  This was followed by a song eulogizing jock straps.  ‘Do you wear your jock strap?  Gotta wear your jock strap.’  So the Fugs were with it.

     At some point after 1965 the Village Voice decided to run a feature depicting some East Village lovely as the Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side.  Suze Rotolo had the dubious honor of being selected as the very first Slum Goddess.

     To what did she owe this honor?  Well, she was famous on the Lower East Side for being featured on the album cover of Bob Dylan’s second LP, The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan.  She was at that time, 1962, I believe, Bob’s girl friend or, at least, one of them, perhaps the principle one but one can’t be sure as Bob had others as ‘part time’ girl friends.

     Thus one has to go back to the summer of 1961 to discover how Suze Rotolo began her odyssey to become the very first Slum Goddess.  Suze tells her story in her autobiography issued in May of 2008 called A Freewheelin’ Time.  It is a bitter sweet story not lacking in charm.  Bob was born in 1941 while Suze was born three years later.  All the disparate elements in our story born at separate times were slowly moving to a central focal point in New York City from 1961 to 1965 or so.

     Suze and Bob were of that age when freewheelin’ seemed possible while the psychological social moment was about to congeal and then vanish before it could be realized as psychological moments do.  Some catch the golden ring as it come around, some don’t.  Bob did, Suze didn’t.

     Suze was born in Queens, over there on Long Island, as a red diaper baby.  In other words in the romanticized Communist parlance her parents were Communists when she was born.  She was brought up in the faith.

     Bob described her as a libertine dream or some such epithet.  I’m not sure Suze saw herself in the same way.  I think she expected a little more of Bob than to be his sex toy.  As a Communist she should have had a more freewheelin’ attitude.

     Suze seems to have been brought up completely within the Red religion much as a Christian might be a Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran or as Jew in whatever stripe of Judaism it might be.

     She edged into race agitation at a young age.  She met Bob when she was seventeen while she had been working for CORE  (Congress Of Racial Equality) for  a couple years before that.  She would have been fifteen or sixteen.  Whether she had sexual experiences with the Africans she doesn’t tell us.  In her search for a raison d’ etre for her life she found herself in Greenwich Village in the Summer of ’61 where she met the twenty year old Bob Dylan just in from the Iron Range of Minnesota.  They were mutually attracted, quickly forming a sexual relationship.

     Bob as everyone knows was and is Jewish.  He came not only from a Jewish background but from an orthodox background.  Hibbing, Minnesota, his hometown, had a Jewish population of about three hundred families with their own Jewish establishment and synagogue.

     According to Beattie Zimmerman, Bob’s mother, Bob was a good boy who attended services regularly while investigating the nature of the various Christian churches.  As a mother Beattie’s version of things must be interpreted through the eyes of mother love.

     Father Abe was not only a practising Jew but the President of the Hibbing chapter of B’nai B’rith and its terrorist arm the Anti-Defamation League.  In addition Beattie, Bob’s mother, was the President of the Women’s auxiliary, Hadassah.  So Bob isn’t just Jewish but comes from a very committed Jewish background.

     As the President of the Hibbing chapter, Father Abe would have attended statewide gatherings in Minneapolis, regional meetings wherever they were held and possibly if not probably national meetings in NYC and elsewhere.  Now, within the international Jewish organizations heavy hitters attend various levels of meetings where they meet and learn something of the various local and regional people.  Thus, it may be assumed that Abe Zimmerman as a name at least was known on the national Jewish level.  Kind of the Jewish Who’s Who, you know.  Bob says that he had contacts to help him when he got to New York.  Those contacts would have come through Father Abe while being part of B’nai B’rith and ADL.  Bob wasn’t entirely alone out there.

     Bob’s Jewish name is Sabtai after the last acknowledged Jewish Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi.  There have been many that filled a Messianic role since Zevi not least of which was Sigmund Freud and possibly Albert Einstein.  Bob may have been encouraged to take the role for himself.

     At any rate when Bob approached thirteen and Bar Mitzvah time Abe brought in a special Rabbi from Brooklyn to instruct Bob.  Now this is really signficant.  He was probably a Lubavitcher or ultra-orthodox Jew.  When Bob publicly expressed his Judaism after his Christian stint he chose to do so as a Lubavitcher.  Very likely that was no coincidence.  Having received his crash course in orthodoz Judaism Father Abe next sent his son to a Zionist summer camp for ‘several ‘ weeks for each of four successive summers ending at the age of seventeen.  This would have the effect of introducing him to young Jews not only of the region but from around the world while at the same time estranging him from his fellow Hibbingites giving him his strange cast of character.

     Camp Herzl was named after the originator of Zionism, Theodore Herzl.  the camp with a spacious hundred and twenty acres is located on a lake near Webster, Wisconsin.  Herzl is not your basic summer church camp but a national and international gathering place where young Jews from around the US and the world can meet and get known to each other somewhat.

     The camp is conducted exclusively for Jews along Jewish lines eliminating as many goyish influences as is possible.  At least when he was seventeen Bob was playing the Wild One showing up in a mini biker cavalcade.  One may assume that many national and international Jewish figures made appearances over the four years to both instruct, encourage and look over the upcoming generation.

     The post-war years were very traumatic for the Jewish people.  The death camps of the Nazis dominated their minds.  They were psychologically devastated and unbalanced looking for Nazis under their beds before they went to sleep at night.  One may safely assume that Bob and his fellow campers had to watch extermination movies over and over lest they forget.

     The State of Israel was founded in 1948 while the first of Israel’s successful wars occurred in 1956.  The ’56 war was a seminal event bolstering the spirits of the Jews turning them aggressive as they now believed they could fight.  After ’56 they began to come out of themselves.

     For whatever reasons as Bob entered high school his personality began to disintegrate.  Perhaps he had to cease being Bobby Zimmerman to become what his people expected of him which was a probable religious leader who then became Bob Dylan.  As always Bob would combine two cultures, Jewish and Goyish.

     After an extremely rocky year in Minneapolis where Bob shed the remnants of his goody goody image of Hibbing he became the dirty unkempt Bob Dylan of his rush to fame of the Folk years.

     Thus as Bob and Suze met in the Summer of ’61 they were both searching for something to be.

Part 2.

Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

Just We Two

Just We Two

     The question now that Suze and Bob have gotten together is to sort out the various accounts of what happened.  Bob says everyone has gotten it wrong.  However his own account in Chronicles I is no more factual than the accounts of his biographers and commentators.  Suze doesn’t provide us with much more clarity.  While Bob tells it like he wanted it to have been Suze on the the one hand protects her memory of what she wants to keep as a beautiful memory while glossing over her own actions at the time to keep it so.

     Bob goes through the romantic notion of constructing their bed with saw, hammer and nails.  This is a charming story and I’m embarrassed to say I took him at his word.  You simply can’t.  Chronicles came out four years ago so Suze has had plenty of time to read it and mull over Bob’s ruminations.  Thus she must be aware of Bob’s story of the bed.  She says it was an old bed the landlord left from another tenant.  Another beautiful tale of Bob’s down the tubes.

     Suze rather unflatteringly depicts Bob as a rouster and fairly heavy drinker.  She was offended that Bob, who was posing as Bob Dylan, not yet having officially changed his name, didn’t level with her and confide that Dylan was a pseudonym that looked better on a marquee while his real name was Zimmerman and that he came from Minnesota rather than being an orphan from New Mexico.  Coming home one night, as Suze tells it, Bob, stumblingly drunk, dropped his ID and she discovered the truth as she picked it up.  Even then she had to drag the truth out of Bob.

     These problems mounted up.  There was immediate hostility between Bob, Suze’s mother and her sister Carla.  The mother seems to have instinctively seen through Bob, while I’m sure Carla soon learned that Bob was doing her sister wrong.

      As we know from Chronicles Bob had other ‘part-time’ girl friends, pick ups and whatever.  As the folk crowd was a fairly tight knit group even if Suze didn’t want to hear the obvious Carla who was employed by the Folklorist, Alan Lomax, could hardly have been unaware that Bob had a laissez faire attitude toward romancing the girls.

     Indeed, Bob’s understanding of Suze was that she was his Libertine belle.  As a libertine therefore he could hardly have believed fidelity was a necessary condition.  I don’t know if Suze considered herself a Libertine but as a Communist both fidelity and jealousy were forbidden by the dogma so speaking consistently with the belief system neither mother, Suze nor Carla had grounds for complaint.   Nevertheless both mother and Carla wished to separate Bob and Suze.

     Bob records his side of the conflict in his song Ballad in Plain D.  In his usual high flown language Bob says in his song:

“The tragic figure!” her sister did shout,

“Leave her alone, goddamn you, get out.”

All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight.

I gagged twice, doubled, tears blinding my sight.

My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night

Leaving all of love’s ashes behind me.

     Within a few months he was married to Sara who he kept waiting in the wings.  Subsequently he tried to keep Sara and his growing family in Woodstock and the Slum Goddess Of The Lower East Side out on the side.  Suze, apparently not quite as Libertine as Bob supposed, declined the honor.

     Just as Bob blithely romanticizes his early NY years in some sappy Happy Talk that belies his songs and what nearly everyone has written about him so Suze adopts a near virginal girlish pose.  Her story of how she left for Italy and her true blue yearning for the perfect love of Bob who sent those charming letters purloined from old country songs is also belied by the various biographers.  To hear Suze talk she never looked at a boy in Italy and certainly never dated one let alone kissed or petted.  Yet by her religious Communist ideology that would have been no sin, even would have been a virtue.  In fact she did have an Italian boyfriend who was apparently dropped down the memory hole at autobiography time.

     When she did return the road of romance was much more rocky than she lets on.  Carla who stayed home where she could watch Bob was privy to his doings which were much more libertine than anything he accused Suze of.  He had to have slept with Liam Clancy’s live in somewhere in there.  He’s accused of being a womanizer and you can’t be a womanizer without a lot of women.  So whatever Carla knew it was somewhat more than an earful and I’m sure that between Carla and her mother Suze heard it all.

     Suze out of respect for this young love which, after all, must still occupy a sacred spot in her life never expresses but the mildest resentment of Bob but letting her sister speak for her she says that ‘she (Carla) felt I was better off without the lyin’ cheatin’ manipulative bastard.’  Right on all counts I’m sure except for the last although as Bob claimed to have no parents Carla could justly so surmise.

     At any rate if Suze couldn’t make up her mind her mother and Carla could.

     Ballad In Plain D again:

Beneath a bare light bulb the plaster did pound

Her sister and I in a screaming battleground,

And she in between, the victim of sound,

Soon shattered the child ‘neath her shadows.

—–

The wind knocks my window, the room it is is wet.

The words to say I’m sorry, I haven’t found yet.

I think of her often and hope whoever she’s met

Will be fully aware of how precious she is.

     And then Bob married Sara and ruined her life.

     While Suze and Bob talked marriage there is no reason to take that seriously; he talked marriage with Echo too.  I don’t think Bob had any notion of marrying aouside his faith.  The mother is the culture carrier; Bob is firmly within the Jewish culture so there could have been no chance that he would have taken other than a Jewish wife.  Even then he may have married only to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.  Once he had fulfilled that duty he broke the marriage apart.

3.

The Slum Goddess

I'm Leaving Town Tommorow

I'm Leaving Town Tommorow

     Suze was now a young woman of twenty or twenty-one alone adrift in New York City.  While she and Bob were having their tempestuous romance the times they were a changin’.

     Tim Leary, up in harvard, had embraced psychedelics.  Once in love with LSD he wanted to share his love with everyone.  He became the High Priest of his psychedelic religion.  I can recommend both his autobiography and his volume of reminiscences: High Priest.  The latter is a spectacularly well written book if tending toward tediousness.

     Leary’s experiments attracted the dark angel of the Hippie years, Allen Ginsberg.  Ginsberg also attached himself to Dylan tying the Beat and Hippie decades together.  Vile man.

     Bob had introduced Suze to Marijuana and what else I don’t know, perhaps LSD.  He himself was into the pharmacopeia also undoubtedly dabbling in heroin although if he did he is still an addict or was successful in kicking the habit after his retreat from fame in ’66.  That whole thing about the motorcycle accident may have been just rehab.  He sure needed it.

     As Bob notes the effect of LSD on the Greenwich Village folk scene was to turn people inward destroying any sense of community.  Suze then was attempting to navigate this terra nova.  Along with turning people inward, LSD, the drug scene, turned the scene sexually rasty in ways even the Communists couldn’t have imagined.  The Pill coming along at this time certainly was as influential as LSD in changing sexual mores.

     Suze, if aware of this, makes no mention of it in her auto.  The Fugs released Slum Goddess in 1965 although they may possibly have been playing it around the Village for a year or two earlier.  The Slum Goddess is not a savory woman.

     That Suze was selected as the first Slum Goddess strikes my sensibilities as a negative compliment.  Her presentation of it implies a souring experience.  Shortly after her selection she chose to withdraw from Village life.  She gives as the reason that her earlier relations with Bob caused upleasant curiosity and that was certainly true.

     The scene turned absolutely rotten after 1968 when between drugs, profound negativity and the progressing degradation of the Hippie movement anyone with any sense of dignity was driven out.

     Suze must have been one of us for she left the scene behind.  There are few today who choose to remember it.  As for me, life is life, there it was and there was I.  I was who I was; je ne regret rien.  I hope Suze doesn’t either.  Bob?  He just stays on the bus and doesn’t get off.  Reality can be such a drag.

Forget About Yesterday

Forget About Yesterday