Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

(Also available as a blog.)

Legal Blah: This blog is for historical research only, and is strictly non-commercial. All visual and audio material remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by me is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact me and I will do so immediately. Alternatively, I would be delighted to provide a credit. The writing is by me, such as it is, unless otherwise stated, and this is the only Beatles related blog I am responsible for.

Comments Blah: Comments are moderated. Any genuine comments are welcome. Offensive comments/advertising/trolling/other moronicisms are not, and will be rejected. Due to the aforementioned, anonymous comments are no longer enabled. Comments are the responsibility of the individual commenter, and commenters' opinions do not necessarily reflect my own. (NB: This blog revels in flagrant trivia. If that's not yer "thing", this won't be yer "thang".)

Correspond via: kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com

Thursday, 14 July 2016

V&A: Psychedelic Eye On Display.

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has a major new exhibition in the works: "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70" runs from 10 September-26 February 2017 and will, as one might expect, feature the Fabs; both John and George's Sgt Pepper outfits will be on display, amongst other things.

Now, excitingly for those with an interest in Kenwood, I have it on good authority that one of those other things will be John's Eye mosaic from the pool, which was recently rediscovered, returned to its rightful owners, and restored to former glory.

Apparently the thing measures about 5 feet by 15 feet, consists of around 14,000 tiles, and is quite impressive in the flesh. Lovely stuff, and more details to follow, apparently...

Thanks to Bernie Cochrane.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Listen To This Balloon: 19th December, 1974.

I am back up in the auld ancestral home at the moment, struttin' aboot in mi tither, etc.. Occasional downtime vis-a-vis the aforementioned "struttin'" allows one the opportunity to peruse the ridiculous amount o' Beatles related shite that one has allowed to congeal over the long, long, long years. (What is, by the way, the correct collective noun for a massive quantity o' shite? How about a "boris"? A boris o' shite has a pleasing ring to it. But I digress.) (At some point I intend to sell the aforementioned boris ... not yet though.) (But I digress.)

Occasionally I come across a "piece" that I had forgotten I had, unt here is a good example. Readahs will no doubt be overly familiar with the good auld "Listen To This Balloon" anecdote. But have ye ever actually seen such a balloon? Well, above, there is one. Now, I have no idea whether this is the type of balloon actually employed by John to irritate his fellow former Fabs. It appears to be a promo device for the UK release of Happy Etc. (War is Etc.):

Even if it is, why would John have had one in the U.S.? And why does it not say "Happy Xmas from John and Yoko", given that it was a joint single? Who knows. Cock-up? Anybody? Maybe, too, there were U.S. equivalents. Maybe John kept a few because he found it amusing. (He did, after all, collect Beatles bootlegs.) Or maybe this balloon has nothing to do with anything.

As usual, I have no idea. All I can tell you is that I got it from a source in the US, and that it in reality it looks (not to mention smells) ... vintage. Lovely stuff.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Kenwood: On film, June 1968.

Some of this is on the blog already - but the real find comes around half-way through: the kitchen at Kenwood, on film! Yoko prepares something macrobiotic whilst John hugs a feline. For the first time it's possible to see how the kitchen and the sunroom join up. Please, for the love of God, try to contain yourselves.

This comes courtesy of Revolver TV over on YouTube, who have been gradually doling out interesting, unseen bits and pieces for a while now, and one wonders if the long rumoured Kenwood home movies are going to appear soon. In the meantime, this is pretty, pretty good.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Kinfauns: 1969.

Sara over at MTBFR has posted this great pic of George in 1969, and asks which house it is. It's the living room at Kinfauns:

George is picking up a cutout of Sri Mahavatar Babaji...:

...the very one used on you know wot:

Sri Mahavatar Babaji is featured in one of George's favourite books, Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi (and was also the name of one of John's cats, trivia fans). Google away for further info, if ye will. There's also an intriguing glimpse of George's record collection to the right, but the resolution isn't quite good enough to identify much of it. I think I spot Electronic Sound, though. Anyone able to identify anything else?

Thursday, 24 March 2016

120a Allerton Road, Woolton: Dairy Cottage.

Regular readahs will know of my fondness for Pete Shotton's tome "In My Life", and so I am always interested to track down a locale featured therein; in this case the corner cupboard in the living room of the (Dairy) Cottage. John lived here (in the cottage, not the cupboard - that would have been ridiculous) for a short period as a very small boy with his parents, and when the place was later occupied by his aunt Harrie he became a frequent visitor, such that a cupboard was designated "his", containing whatever possessions, drawings and writing he'd accumulated during his time there.
Pete recalls going round to the Cottage in December 1963 to find John emptying the aforementioned, and filling "a large canvas bag with books and papers", including "a stack of paintings, most of which dated back to a period when he was loath to paint anything but horses."
The Cottage is currently up for sale, full, according to the estate agent, of "original features", and so I reckon that modest cupboard visible in the living room is the very one that used to be John's, and thus was once filled with stuff that, were it all to come up for auction now, would probably be worth more than the house itself:

Funny, really.

John & Mimi: June, 1964.

A small bit of John and a slightly bigger bit of Mimi, on the plane to Oz, June 1964.

Monday, 14 March 2016

5 Somers Crescent, London W2: George Martin.

Here it was, at 5 Somers Crescent, that George Martin lived for around 20 years, from 1966 on. According to the Beatles' London, "it's likely that all the Beatles came here and certain that Paul did on many occasions."

George, naturally, had a piano installed, possibly in this very room, upon which arrangements for strings etc. would be composed. By "this very room", I mean the living room above, obviously, and not the kitchen, below, although who knows?

There are balconies on either side of the aforementioned living room:

Actually, this place reminds me a bit of Whaddon House, where Brian and George and Ringo all lived for a time. Both Whaddon House and Somers Crescent would have represented the height of modernity in the early 1960s.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Kenwood: June, 1967.

Yet more out-takes from the 29th of June 1967 session at Kenwood, and these two will be up for grabs at the Tracks auction in April. Nice!
In other news, I note that the page hit count round these parts is now over a million. I do nothing to publicise things, update randomly and infrequently, and am not the most technologically savvy person in the world, so it's quite possible that anyone with, say, a new Twitter account can expect a million hits by lunchtime on the first day, but still, a million hits! For this nonsense! It blows my tiny brains out of my nose.
So, may I just proffer a thank you to everyone who has contributed in whatever way, and to you readahs in general? And now be about yer business:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

George Martin.

Were ye to offer a wager that in, say, 1000 years time, the world will not have been burned to a crisp by religious fanatics/asteroids/"Brexiteers"/ etc., I wouldn't take it. Spread betting may be all well and good, but I am no fool.

However, were ye to further offer a bet on the likelihood of two words still being in the dictionary in 1000 years time, in the charred remnants of the world (and it is at this point that the logic of my argument falls to pieces, and not for the first time)... errr...

Anyway, the basic point is that in 1000 years time, Jah willing, people will still be using the words "Beatle" and "flange".

And as long as civilisation staggers onwards, a doff o' the cap is in order to George Martin.

That is all.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Dorinish: Dot Jarlett archive.

From the pages of the Irish Independent, dated (errr... I'll get back to you on that one), found amongst Dot Jarlett's clippings archive (presumably that's her writing next to the headline), here is the original skinny on John's purchase of Dorinish in 1967. As ye will know, of all of them, John was keenest on a rural idyll for the Fabs, whom he envisaged living together in a communal arrangement somewhere isolated; hence Dorinish, Greek islands, even Tittenhurst, apparently.
Anyway, Alistair Taylor bought it on John's behalf (and that is actually bought it - he was the legal owner and eventually had to write to John in order to remind him that the title needed to be transferred), and John duly transported the Kenwood caravan over as a first step, before visiting on a couple of occasions... though of course the plan came to naught in the end.
Hats off to Alistair for some impressive bullshitting here, nevertheless:

I didn't know the bit about George A. Birmingham and his Inviolable Sanctuary before. I bet you didn't either. Here is the relevant passage from that very tome re. "Inishbawn" a.k.a. Dorinish, in case ye are interested:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Walls & Bridges etc.: Bob Mercer interview.

I've read it through once but remain engrossed in Lennonology, not least because it is full of little leads to follow. Here, for example, is an interview John did in L.A. in September 1974, conducted by the then managing director of E.M.I., Bob Mercer, which was designed to prod the sales team in Blighty into action re. Whatever Gets You Through The Night as a single and Walls & Bridges as an album.
Though pressed as a demo 45 which was never commercially available (copies can be had on eBay occasionally for arse-clenching sums), the recording is now free to all thanks to Mr LostWeekend on the YouTube.
(My favourite bit is when John, pointedly, prefers "Britain" to "England", nomenclature-wise.)

Friday, 8 January 2016

April 4th 1974: 434 East 52nd Street - UFO quickie.

On the above date, in the apartment recently vacated by John and May, French journo Jean-Francois Vallee interviewed 'imself. I've got most of it on various dodgy DVDs, but hadn't seen this bit before: John recounting his UFO sighting on the very spot where it happened, in delightful hi-res.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Kenwood: November 26th, 1968.

Sara over at MTBFR has posted a great (mainly "new") set of Kenwood pics. No point in me posting them all again here, but a couple of them can be used to further our flagrantly trivial ends. The above has been on here before, but not in this resolution. Thus, note - Westinghouse Continental oven and Zal disinfectant:

What's that tome on the table?

Why, none other than Small Man of Nanataki by Liam Nolan:

Interesting this. The book was first published in 1966, and tells the story of a Japanese POW camp interpreter who helps the prisoners out of a sense of shared humanity. In 1960s Britain, there remained a lot of throwback WW2 anti-Japanese prejudice, and Small Man of Nanataki was, apparently, an attempt to counteract this. Can't "imagine" (oh fer Jah's sake stop it) what it would have been doing at Kenwood.
To see all the pics, go HERE.
(I can't remember where I got the oven pic - if you took it please get in touch for a credit.)

Friday, 25 December 2015

Shaftsbury Avenue: ...If Ye Want It.

A seasonal quickie... unt why not?
Then unt now. Funnily enough, what now abuts the "War Is Over" wall is The Japan Centre.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lennonology: Book of the Year.

Friends, we are living through a golden age of Beatles research. Mr Lewisohn's magisterial All These Years is at the top of the heap, but there's going to have to be some room made up there because there's a new big dawgie in town: woofwoofwoofawoooooooocoughcoughsplutter ahem etc.
To be serious though for a second, Chip Madinger and Scott Raile's Lennonology Volume 1: Strange Days Indeed is a truly remarkable work. John and Yoko's lives from 1968 to 1980 are chronicled and contextualized in astonishing detail, and reading the book is such an immersive experience that it's with a kind of shock that one arrives at the section for 1980 and realizes what's coming.
Upon finishing SDI I'd learned a lot, and better understood what I thought I knew. Can't really ask for much more from a book than that.
To this end, I'm happy to take a cue from Sara over at MTBFR and name Lennonology: Strange Days Indeed the inaugural Kenwood Book of the Year.
That being so, I lobbed a few questions at Chip Madinger, and he was kind enough to respond, as follows:

KL: How did you put Strange Days Indeed together?

CM: When Eight Arms To Hold You was published in October 2000, I promptly started collating material for an update. I went through the Lennon section and made a list of people that I'd like to interview, topics that needed more research, etc... and I never got past John! I created a timeline to use as a framework, and as more information was discovered it began to take on its current form. I began to interview people, who would introduce me to others, and the project began to snowball.
About five years into the project Scott Raile came on board, and it was when we started to look at Yoko's work and John's contributions that we realized that there was an untold story there. From a research perspective, the project was started from scratch and only contemporary accounts that could be verified or were documented made it into the timeline—this was not a cut and paste affair. Rather than count on an individual's memory of forty-plus-year-old events, the interviews were then used to add color and detail to the framework.
However, there was one problem—there was too much information to include and had it been incorporated the result would have been very inconsistent. It was at that point that the whole LENNONOLOGY concept began to take shape, with the the timeline serving as Volume One and subsequent books detailing the creative process and the realization, production and promotion of John and Yoko's artistic output.

KL: Were there any stories that had to be left out for any reason (eg unverifiable source material) that you wish you'd been able to include, and is there anything that you've discovered since the book went to the printers that you'd like to have included?

CM:  As a term of their employment, members of the Lennons' staff were required to sign a letter of non-disclosure. But Strange Days Indeed is a reference book, not a biography, so I'm not sure how much "verifiable" data would have been offered by the individuals who declined the opportunity to speak about their time with the Lennons.
I would have like to have provided more information about the years with Sean, but that was clearly a private time for John and Yoko. There are countless stories about this time period, but since they could only be verified by one of the individuals present, we elected to leave this type of information for the biographies and the "kiss and tells." Perhaps some day Yoko will publish John's diaries which would clearly offer much more about this time frame than we could have hoped to discover.
That's not to say that SDI doesn't have anything to offer about this period. Through the documents we reviewed and the people we spoke with, there is a wealth of new information about 1975-1980 than the handful of frequently recycled press clippings. One exciting document we were able to review was John's passport, which permitted us to definitively document his movements during this time frame.
As for any newly discovered material, something always seems to be turning up - doesn't it? Be it a new photograph, a document or a piece of tape or film. However, I'm not terribly worried about that as I'm sure that there will be some way to weave any new data into one of the future volumes.

KL: There are so many intriguing details in the book, but to take one at random - I had no idea that plans for John's follow-up to Walls & Bridges/ Rock 'N' Roll had got as far in 1975 as booking a studio to begin sessions. Of course, due to Yoko's pregnancy, it didn't happen, but what do you think would have been on that album if sessions had proceeded as originally planned?

CM: In the mid-70s John was smitten with disco music, and his plan was to go into the studio with an eye towards producing an album of that nature. He intended to use a fresh group of musicians with Billy Preston being the exception, as John liked to see "a familiar face." As will become evident in future volumes of LENNONOLOGY, John would tend to procrastinate when it came to writing, preferring to have the studio booked—a commitment as it were—before wrapping up the songwriting process. So I don't think he had a full batch of songs in order at the time, and one could only speculate which of his own compositions might have been included. John did remark that he might record some of the songs he had given away as of late—presumably, songs such as 'Incantation', 'Mucho Mungo' and 'Goodnight Vienna'.

KL:  John's last few years have sometimes been portrayed in a negative light. One of the great things about your book is that it really drives home what a legal and personal shit-storm John and Yoko had been through in the early-mid 1970's. In this light, the late 70's appear (largely) a period of calm. How would you characterize John & Yoko's relationship/ mind-set during this time?

CM: There were still a number of legal issues that were ongoing during this period: John's immigration, his battle with Morris Levy over the Rock 'N' Roll LP, the surfeit of lawsuits surrounding their business relationship with Allan Klein... I don't think that it was until this legal wrangling had been settled that the Lennons were able to truly relax and be as normal a family as their fame would permit. They were able to exist as artists without the demands of a contract or formal outlet—something I think that John had an easier time with than Yoko, who was able to channel her energies into their investments.
John mentioned on a number of occasions how liberated he felt as a result of being able to move about in public without being recognized or harassed.

KL: This is part 1 of, I believe, 3. What format will future volumes take?

CM: This is something that is still being worked out—to be honest, I'm currently enjoying the absence of the pressures present during the past fifteen years! However, I have given it a lot of thought, and the goal of the future volumes will be to provide the detail that wasn't included in SDI. The day-by-day would have been very unbalanced if in the midst of 1971 there was a thirty page chunk about the filming of Imagine, or a take-by-take analysis of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The future volumes will provide an outlet for that kind of information.
Many readers may find the forthcoming books to be of greater interest than SDI, but I feel that it was critical to first provide the framework, so that the artistic process could be viewed in context. There is a lot to look forward to!

Thanks to Chip for his responses. Go HERE for more information and to order a copy.
On a personal note, I'd like to wish the usual Garry Chrimble to all readahs, with some Happy New Etc. to boot.
Sporadic blog updates will continue into 2016, as, I trust, will we all.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sunny Heights: demolition.

Sad news to report. Elmbridge Council, in their infinite wisdom, have waived through planning permission to demolish Sunny Heights. A Russian oligarch is about to flatten it in order to build the structure on the right. A contact on St George's Hill informs me that the house is still standing (it's an artist's impression above, not an actual photo), but is abandoned, awaiting destruction.
It should be stated that the new owner hasn't done anything wrong here, but at the same time, to take Russia as an example, it would be unthinkable there that someone could buy up, say, Tolstoy's house in order to destroy it.
Now, you may think that comparing Ringo to Tolstoy is ridiculous, and you'd be right - but I'd argue that it's in no way ridiculous to compare the Beatles as cultural giants in their sphere with any of the great Russian authors in theirs. The difference is that in Russia (as in many other countries) they tend to revere their culture, and want to protect places associated with the great figures of the past. Which, as in this case, is not always true here.
So that's Kinfauns and Sunny Heights gone. A shame.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Kenwood: summer, 1967.

These have been on here before, in sub-standard quality. Here they are again, much bigger unt better...

Thanks to Joe Baiardi.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Kenwood, Kinfauns & Sunny Heights: summer, 1967.

Way back in the summer o' '67, had you made your way to St George's Hill and utilised the naughty knocker at Kenwood, this might have been what shambled forth as a result - a fabulously dishevelled John, resplendent in dressing gown, talisman and norralot else.

A colour shot of the caravan from around the same time:

George outside Kinfauns, engaged in 'graphs:

Mr Starkey at the front door of dear old Sunny Heights, likewise:

I've stitched the following further Sunny ones together (each is a composite of 2 separate photos, fact fans) to provide a wider perspective. The upper floor here was home to the Den, where the Fabs did frequently hang:

No idea who took the black and white ones, but should you ever happen to read this then please do get in touch for a credit - I'd like to hear the story behind them. Thanks also to Joe Baiardi for passing on the colour caravan shot.

Monday, 21 September 2015

NYC: Q&A, 1975.

This is great. John in the Dakota, ca. autumn/winter 1975, sharing his thoughts about NYC for local radio station WNEW. The programme this was intended for never made it to air, but, in the way of these things, the tape has now surfaced. And here 'tis.
Thanks to Lizzie Bravo for the link.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Lennonology: Volume 1.

If you are interested enough to occasionally peruse these pages, then ye will no doubt already be aware of Chip Madinger and Scott Raile's forthcoming tome Lennonology, volume 1 of a 3 or possibly 4 part work, which should be the definitive guide to John and Yoko's joint lives and art. This first volume takes the form of a diary, beginning in 1966 (for obvious reasons) and running up to 1980 (ditto).

What you may not know is that the entire first three chapters are now up on the Lennonology site, and freely available to preview; '66 and '67 are fairly short (given that the focus is on John and Yoko together), but '68 is a huge and hugely informative piece of research (some of the fruit of 15 years' worth) in which, regardless of how much you know, you'll learn something new with every few entries, and also come away with a much clearer understanding of what happened when, where and why.

To take one example: the date and chronology of the Two Virgins night has never been satisfactorily explained. Previous attempts haven't made much sense even on their own terms, but the new order of events given by Madinger and Raile does (though we'll have to wait for the publication of the notes to see how they arrived at this conclusion).

The book is being privately published by them, in a strictly limited edition, so it's not cheap, but if you can afford it (or can manage to lay off the beer for a while to save for it) then it's clearly going to be a major contribution to all this (whatever this is) and one for the ages. Go HERE for the previewed chapters, and HERE for the Lennonology home page, where clicking through will take you to the order form.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Pepper: dolls.

Apologies for the lack of activity round these parts of late; it's surprisingly time consuming to get even a scrap of this rubbish together, and free time is in short supply these days. Anyway, there's no shortage of stuff to post, as and when, so... gerronwithit.
I hadn't seen these pics before. I'm sure no red arrows are needed to recognise the basket's contents, but nevertheless:

There are also another couple of dolls (or toys) in there:

Various photos showing the construction of the Pepper sleeve reveal lots of other stuff that didn't make the final cut, and there are a few such things evident in this splendid pic o' Mal:

Ye can waste yer own time identifying them, but here's one for starters - a small collection of figures:

And whither the doll? As is often the case... I dunno. PS Note luggage tag (haha)(it couldn't be, could it?).

Monday, 22 June 2015

Apple: Inside Crazy World Thereof.

In June 1969, august organ the TV Times (of all things) published a 3-part eye witness snapshot of goings on inside 3 Savile Row. Much of interest, and so, without the usual levels of ado, here 'tis:

As ever, click and zoom to read. Huge thanks to Andy Neill for PDF and pint.