By Hans Ebert
And so you’ve now gone from choosing songs for your wedding to deciding what songs should be played when you’re laid to rest, and as Lennon sang, “Everybody loves you when you’re six feet in the ground”. That was from “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” off his tremendously underrated- and cathartic- Walls And Bridges album recorded during his “Lost Weekend” and Yoko-less Yer Blues period, where he also sang the truism, “Everybody’s hustling for a buck and a dime, I scratch your back and you knife mine”. As was always the case with John Lennon, he didn’t hold back- his songs being the only therapy he needed before meeting the one-eyed witch doctor on the other side.
That record continues to be the centrepiece in the soundtrack of this particular life. And listening to it the other day, took me in and out and sideways through the peaks, valleys and the ebb and flow of life.
That’s the healing and wounding and Big Hurt and jagged little pill that is truly honest music and what made one understand what Lennon was feeling as a Jealous Guy, or sitting there Watching The Wheels go round and round with Dear Prudence by his side and wondering about evolution, Revolution and whether to be in or out.
That’s the power of Lennon’s music, where a word or phrase or throwaway line, or the phrasing of a word can take you on a third party journey into your own unknown you never even knew existed, and how it was holding you back from living the life you’re meant to live for yourself and unshackled from guilt that’s been bestowed on you by others, and which you once bought as being gospel.
You remember that day when it mattered most and how you tried to hug her and how she brushed you away as if you didn’t exist. And how many times you always tried to hug her, physically and emotionally, and how she always moved away and pushed you aside. The scenes become one and play over and over and over again in your head in order to try and find something good about it all, but there’s nothing good about any of it as it has to do with revenge and anger and selfishness, and an unforgiving nature of some warped mind that’s gone from once leaving you drained, to now being comfortably numb to wrestling with the thought of an ongoing bout in ungratefulness where you realise battle lines were drawn up long before anything even happened as it was never meant to be.
Friends say that blood is thicker than water, but what do they know when too much water has flowed under that bridge and dams have burst and erased every good thought until there’s only a void where there once was a heart, and the Madcap Laughs, Comfortably Numb plays in your mind while you look at most everything today trying to figure out how many holes there are in Blackburn, Lancashire, and understand just how damn lucky that man was who blew his brains out in his car because that was the only way he could have made the grade.
When there’s nothing to give, and when not needing anything and anyone made available, there really is nothing left. Love, trust, honesty, forgiveness, they’ve all gone forever along with all those flowers and tambourine men, and that sad eyed lady of the lowlands with her fog, her amphetamines and her fur.
You probably still love her, but it’s an empty love like a tin cup that just rolls down an empty street guided by a dishevelled North wind. They’ve all been empty and unfulfilling relationships of convenience to stop the neediness. Some lasted longer than others but when constantly needing options, it was just one more trip down La Rue Morgue Avenue.
It was living a lie because you never knew the truth. They never taught you that, because theirs was a marriage of traditional disharmony where time sealed them into keeping up pretences until those pretences became faked out reality. You rebelled against being everything they were, but when child eventually becomes father to the man, society demands changing to fit into whatever and whoever they want you to be, and you resign yourself to being who you’re not. But that inner you continues to live in that parallel time of life until one day you wake up, it’s taken over and you’re singing that you ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
The fertiliser quotient has risen to a level of unacceptability and you refuse to be suffocated by the fakery of it all. And so you set off like Dick Whittington to London Town, but end up with a circus of freaks with whom you take some shelter from the storm unaware that you’ve just landed in emotional quicksand. You’re dragged down screaming and kicking and seeing yourself jousting with Knights and returning back to the egg, and then repent and trudge up those twelve steps, but they lead you nowhere and only more disappointment, and more insanity passed off as some second hand thorn of religion with false prophets and Bill’s Big Book that you’ve written in your head years earlier. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work for you now.
And now you feel alone together with only thoughts for company- the best company you’ve ever had because you have arrived at that point where you can’t lie to yourself. All the lies wrought by tradition and religion and when wracked with guilt have run their course. You’re ready to scream, “Free at last! Free at last!” but the question is free to do what? John Lennon took time off to be a househusband and learn to bake bread.
One guesses, now is the time to start with a clean slate and retrace those footsteps, so that you never go back to what isn’t, and move forward to what is while there’s still time to outrun those hounds from hell.