By Hans Ebert
We all need it. It helps pick us up to continue this journey with a real sense of purpose as opposed to just going through the motions. It shakes us off self-induced lethargy that leaves us waiting for things to present themselves to us. It makes us want to not just do it, but do whatever it is so that it is the best it can be. Anything done in a half-arsed manner is tremendously unsatisfactory. You’ve cheated yourself. This is why we need Inspiration.
We need to be inspired- continuously- to avoid turning our back on the world and going to sleep thinking it will all be better when we wake up. It seldom, if ever is. It’s often worse ‘cos some new nutter with a gun has decided to change his world and bring down everyone around with him. Or the politics and policemen of the world have allowed more bogey men in. Sometimes, going to sleep is not a good idea. Dreams seldom bring about inspiration. Well, sometimes, they do, but you’ve gotta make sure it stays with you. That you don’t forget it the next morning and you fall into your daily routine. “Morning, babe, sleep well?” And so it begins. Another day in paradise before going to sleep and waking up and repeating it all until you get tired of waking up, because there’s nothing and no one worth waking up to and with.
How to enjoy this journey is actually finding ways to be inspired. It might be interesting conversation with people with new ways of looking at everyday things and making these something special. It can be something as simple as a Thank You email. Our email etiquette is appalling. It can be a phone call just to ask how someone is doing. Everybody needs someone they can lean on. It could be starting the day with “Here Comes The Sun”, “Good Vibrations” or any song or album that gives you that indescribable rush. It could be a smile. It could be human resolve. It could be reading that Keith Richards says he’s not ageing, but evolving.
Inspiration can come from meeting someone purely by chance who wins you over immediately by their complete lack of bullshit, their confidence, and who lives their life without depending on someone to look after them “till death do us part”. Someone should rewrite those vows. They’re lopsided. Everyone’s hustling for a buck and a dime. There’s way too often hypocritical “safety valves” with a lack of independence between those vows. It’s co-dependence and often living a lie. You’re only truly honest with yourself when you’re with your thoughts and have faced that two-faced monster on the other side- and they blinked first.
Marriage didn’t work for me. It did for a while, but once it became a routine, it no longer inspired me. It was another habit. And looking elsewhere for inspiration was a one-way ticket to nowhere. The live-in partners worked for a while before realising that they, too, were not what one was looking for as U2 played in the background. But more than U2, it was the voice of John Lennon. It’s always been John Lennon. The brutal honesty of his music is life and love and everything in between. Even at his saddest, he was and remains inspiring in his honesty. You don’t feel alone listening to John Lennon. He was trying to get his head around the same shit. He was searching. He was waiting to get inspired, especially when he had outgrown the Beatles and cursed Sir Walter Raleigh.
Inspiration can come from every form of art, a quote that’s not from a Hallmark Greeting Card, a stick, a stone, a thought, and, especially, anything to do with music-sharing it, or sending it to make someone feel better. Are we human or are we dancer? Singular.
Two friends on social media recently sent me two different pieces of “news” about John and Yoko. Both shook me out of the lethargy and boredom of almost feeling imprisoned in a hotel in Melbourne. Melbourne has much to offer and some incredibly gifted young musicians, but it lacks that certain something. Probably inspiration.
From what was sent to me, it was the realisation that I needed my Yoko. When John Lennon left his wife Cynthia for Yoko, it was something that was difficult for many to understand. Beatle John with a crazy looking little Japanese woman? Why? Then again, the restless spirit that was John had probably left his wife many years earlier. That’s the sanctimonious bullshit of marriage. Many of us stay in marriages for way too long and for all the wrong reasons. It’s all about insecurity and being needy. Lennon meeting Yoko Ono happened, she didn’t break up the Beatles, but instead, inspired him to take a new path. Maybe several new paths that were light years away from from being Beatle John.
Going back and listening to the Beatles, more and more one realises that John Lennon was always recording his own music which became cameo appearances on the group’s records. While Paul McCartney wanted the group to work and become bigger and bigger with Ringo and George going along for the ride, John seemed to be waiting for that moment of inspiration that would free him. That’s when he met Yoko. And she changed him forever. She became mother, lover, teacher, and someone giving him the truth he seemed to always be looking and asking for in his songs.
“Help” was one of his earliest cries to escape from the fame that was imprisoning him whereas The White Album saw him finding himself in India and the realisation that he had to leave old baggage behind and take up with he and his monkey. More and more that White Album becomes a musical document of the end of the Beatles. It’s inspiring in its sadness- Manager Brian Epstein had just committed suicide- and four young were growing together separately. There’s so much inspiration in many of those tracks. There’s so much positivity in their negativity and sardonic wit. Lennon seemed to have found who and what he was waiting for and couldn’t give a toss about anything else. He already had one foot on the plane or train or bike.
Recorded with the Plastic Ono Band, though he sings about “Isolation”, Lennon is singing about a little boy and little girl who want to change the whole wide world. It’s about the togetherness of isolation when you’ve found your perfect companion. He had found Yoko. He was inspired again. We all need our Yoko to share our inspiration- and help it shine through. Alone, it’s a tough path to find. It’s there. You just can’t see it because of all the wrong Yokos and yokels who have too often clouded your life. Stick to the one. And don’t shut her out thinking it’s just another variation on an old theme.