By Hans Ebert
It’s like being that hamster on a treadmill where you keep going and going and going, but feel you’re going nowhere, which is like giving and giving and giving and getting nothing in return. Put these all together and you’re reminded of Lennon cutting through the Yeah Yeahs and with that voice of resignation singing, “I’m so tired, I don’t know what to do,” cursing Sir Walter Raleigh, probably for his daft act of chivalry, before deciding that enough was enough and went from being a weekend warrior and radical peacenik before realising that baking bread and being a househusband and father to his Beautiful Boy was far more important.
John Lennon chronicled his life in his song — the joys, the pain, the confusion, the internal revolutions, the sadness, the disappointment, the anger, the loneliness, the bitterness and the Yoko. It’s still all there to hear. It’s there in “All I Gotta Do”, in “Help”, “Sexy Sadie”, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Norwegian Wood” to “Gimme Some Truth,” “Working Class Hero,” “Cold Turkey,” “Imagine”, “How Do You Sleep”, “Woman” and “Beautiful Boy”. Lennon didn’t just wear his heart on his sleeve in his music, he committed bloody open heart surgery and invited the world to watch the operation. He was a simple, complex human being who was able to hide inside his music to find the inner him so he could turn off his mind, float downstream and know that he was not dying, but very much alive and with so much to give without standing on a cornflake waiting for a van to come with Simolina Pilchard in tow.
That’s what music can do to you and for you and why some of us bother waking up every day despite being repeatedly kicked in the head, drained from constantly trying to make amends to those who preach about “the Christian thing to do”, but who can never forgive and forget, but use this as a weapon to mentally beat you up through guilt.
We night not be a John Lennon, but I am you and you are me and we are all together taking in the pocketful of mumbles that are sometimes promises, divorcing ourselves from everything and everyone who wears us down, shutting down and erasing the past as yesterday has come and gone and there’s nothing there anymore to keep us under lock and key and walking on eggshells when looking back.
We write, we create because that’s all we know and we hope others understand us — us, these extremely extreme people with frightening mood swings, but only frightening and difficult to those conditioned to coast through life, to not make waves, to be liked by everyone, but respected by none for not having the courage of their convictions because they don’t have any. They are the human equivalent of Muzak. They’re there, but no one notices, they speak, but no one listens, and they da doo doo da ron ron what they’re told to do and they leave this world without noticing and never missed.
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. John Lennon sang those lines while trying to find and live forever in those Strawberry Fields where nothing is real and nothing to get hung up about, because he was constantly taking those side trips to understand who he was and why he was who he was and where the person he was wanted to go, on his terms and with whom.
It’s really as simple as that, but we’re often preconditioned to do everything that society tells us to do in a controlling Orwellian way where we live to do the bidding of others with this pitiful neediness to be accepted by everyone except yourself.
Someone like John Lennon fought against all that — he kicked, he screamed, he fought his inner demons and he got to the bottom to get back to the top and faced Mean Mister Mustard, looked straight at the yellow matter custard dripping from that dead dog’s eye and didn’t blink. He imagined and, he did, yes he did, yes he did, yes he did and knew that everyone loves you when you’re six feet in the ground.
When I grow up, I want to live my life like John Lennon. Or die trying.