April 3, 2010
Mourning Becomes Yoko Ono
The Passing Of John Lennon Part III
When John Lennon met Yoko Ono he knew very little of art and nothing of the New York art scene. His high school years had been spent in open and futile rebellion; the next few years had been spent only in the German underworld with no time for cultivation. From there he went into the whirl of the Beatles years so one might say he had been in cultural suspended animation for all his adult life.
Yoko Ono since 1960 had been engaged in the New York avant garde art scene. She was au courant when she left for London in 1966. Hooking up with Lennon she began to educate him according to her understanding of art. By the time the Ono-Lennons arrived in New York in the late sixties that scene was dominated by the POP art of Andy Warhol while the world both she and Lennon knew in 1960 was unrecognizable. Yoko wasted no time in ingratiating herself with Andy but not the factory. After he was shot in 1969 the old Factory disappeared and after his recovery Warhol began a new life. It is possible that she tried to establish
contact with him between ’64 and ’66. She did know warhol’s associate, Sam Green, from her first days in the Village in 1960.
By the time of her return to NYC Yoko had achieved world wide fame by using Lennon and his fame in their charades for ‘Peace.’ Now she had the perfect entree to enter Warhol’s circle. Warhol was a sucker for celebrities, he did Lennon’s portrait, so he was flattered when Yoko asked him to introduce she and John into society. If Warhol could pester, Yoko was unstoppable. While Andy wasn’t exactly persona gratis at that time he was thick with Sam Adams Green who did have entree to society. Between the the two of them they set up a party to introduce the Ono-Lennons.
John was, of course, no Mick Jagger. While Mick adapted himself quickly to the demands of his fame and moved easily in society, John was awkward being out of the element of his self-styled working class hero. Yoko, too, was no mixer so at the party Yoko and John sat silently in a corner as though in one of Yoko’s bags watching the party goers.
It might be apropos to point out that Jagger and Warhol were fairly close. Jagger was one of the few people attending Warhol’s funeral in Pittsburgh while Bianca was in Warhol’s entourage in the eighties. Warhol also painted a portfolio of Jagger pictures that today command healthy prices.
Yoko still persisted with Warhol but Andy having been disappointed once was not up for it twice. He distanced himself from the pair describing them to Sam Green as boring. An ultimate putdown.
Initially the Lennons lived in the Bohemian scene downtown. Mickey Ruskin, the owner of Max’s Kansas City, described the Bohemian scene thusly: the well-to-do Bohos, the middle and the lower class. Those associated with the Kettle of Fish and its environs of which Dylan was a member were of the lower class while the Kettle of Fish itself was owned by the Mafia. He believed Max’s was in the middle. John and Yoko first lived in New York in the West Village at 105 Bank Street next door to Yoko’s her, John Cage. They took over Joe Butler’s apartment, he formerly the drummer of Lovin’ Spoonful so Ruskin would have classed John and Yoko as haut ton beatniks.
At any rate they soon left those environs to migrate to the Upper West Side where they secured apartments in the famous, or soon to be famous, Dakota. It was then that their NYC life took its definitive form.
I have been to NYC a few times so that I know the general layout and have some feel for the place but I have by no means an intimate knowledge so essentially I’m working from maps. I know where MOMA and some few prominent art landmarks are from experience but not that many.
At any rate the Dakota is a famous landmark.. Acceptance as a tenant is by committee approval. John and Yoko were strenuously vetted but finally admitted. They took over actor Robert Ryan’s apartment #72. If you have seen the movie Rosemary’s Baby the camera pans past apartments 71 and 72. No filming was allowed inside the Dakota so while the exterior shots are authentic the interiors were shot on sets. Thus the apartment of the Satanists is a fictional 7E. The apartment next to it in which the young couple resided may have been number 72. The man of the couple who was an actor sold his wife’s body to Satan as the carrier of his child for success in the theatre which he was granted. Thus the Ono-Lennons moved into an apartment closely associated with devil worship, the occult and witchcraft.. This will become more important as Yoko associated herself with all three. In fact, Yoko through John Green would have been familiar with the Yoruban Santeria religion that she in all likelihood would have reverenced. The Spirit Foundation that she established is concerned with the preservation of just such tribal institutions.
These are magnificent apartments that I presume Rosemary’s Baby duplicates. Huge fifty foot long living rooms as part of a ten room apartment. The Ono-Lennons would soon own both 71 and 72 lacking only the fictional 7E while having a Studio apartment as well.
Being now permanently settled Yoko having access to John’s superb income began to spend it. Of course, she virtually cleaned out department stores on her buying binges, any girl’s dream. But, she also began to buy heavily into art and antiques as investments. This brought Warhol’s friend Sam Adams Green into a close association with her. Rich society women were Sam’s forte. He has an interesting story. He was actually descended from the second president of the United States, Samuel Adams. He arrived in New york in 1960 about the same time Andy Warhol was trying to establish himself as a fine artist and Yoko the same. Warhol of course began as a commercial artist doing shoe ads but in 1960 he changed the emphasis of his career.
In the fine arts field one of the first gallery people Andy met was Sam Green of the Green Gallery. Different Green, Sam only
worked there and shared the name. He and Andy hit it off. By 1965 Green was associated with the art department of UPennsylvania where he staged a Warhol exhibition in the same year. From there he gravitated bck to NYC where he began a career as art consultant to rich women on both continents. They liked him. Through the socialite Cecile Rothschild he was introduced to Greta Garbo with whom he was sort of a trusted companion for 15 years.
He was very knowledgeable about art as an investment traveling between Euorpe and the US advising socialites on the most investment worthy art. He apparently derived a more than comfortable income from his efforts. He was a trusted advisor of Yoko. Some say that he and Yoko’s Tarot reader, John Green, who would enter John and Yoko’s life at about this time, combined to bilk Yoko for overpriced objects. This presumes that both men were dishonest and that Yoko was a fool. As Yoko’s investments have prospered I think we can dismiss the latter, although Yoko did take pride in being able to spend vast sums. She would have taken pleasure in overpaying.
Rather I would say that Sam Green was a very knowledgeable expert whose task was to find art that would appreciate in value. Thus the question is did he perform that function and the answer is, yes. Yoko’s acquistions increased in value far above her purchase prices. I think it is unfair then to say that the Greens bilked her. Surely the laborer is worth his hire.
Now, Sam Green as her agent had to buy the items he acquired for her. Being knowledgeable as to who in society wanted to sell what at distressed prices he may have made some excellent buys that he then tacked on his margin which of course meant that he sold to Yoko for ‘more than they were worth.’ But, heck, even Christie’s and Sotheby’s take twenty per cent each from the buyer and seller. That’s a forty per cent surcharge. However Sam served his function of providing investment pieces so I see no evidence of bilking.
Sam Green also formed a close, probably romantic, liaison with Yoko that persisted until after John’s death. Another art dealser she became close to was a Sam Havadtoy with whom she subsequently lived for twenty years beginning immediately the day after John’s death.
Now the men Yoko associated herself with were all effetes, that were either emasculated when she found them or who she emasculated. Strangely Lennon was the strongest of the lot. Both her first Japanese husband and Tony Cox appear to have been heterosexuals but both Sam Green and Sam Havadtoy were dependent homosexuals. With Havadtoy Yoko may have had her ideal relationship. He was thoroughly emasculated while with the fortune Yoko inherited from Lennon he was totally dependent on her. The classic toy boy a couple decades younger than herself. He, by the way, after his twenty year stint as live-in retired to Hungary with an abundant palimony but he isn’t talking.
In my reading of the situation then, a not particularly compliant John became somewhat of a liability to her, especially as he began to reassert himself with the return to the recording studio in 1980. The problem has the surface appearance of separating the man form his money and discarding the man.
Yoko began building her entourage, Sam Green, John Green, Sam Havadtoy and her various occult people with what appears to be an admiration for and some sort of connection with Andy Warhol. Sam Green and Havadtoy would be a troublesome presence in Lennon’s life during the recording of Double Fantasy while he does not appear to have been enchanted with the Warhol connection
As has been mentioned Yoko became involved in occult practices. She did practice hypnotism on Lennon and was an adept at suggestion which is the essence of hypnotism. Thus on the one hand she suggested forcefully to May Pang that she take up with Lennon while it is probable she hypnotized Lennon into taking up with May Pang. Post hypnotic suggestion would give her a command over all Lennon’s actions. Once implanted she would only have to say the word and Lennon would follow her suggestions.
How complicit John Green would have been in this isn’t exactly clear but any of Yoko’s suggestions to John could have been complemented by a reading. John Green was after all dependent on Yoko for a very generous income beyond whatever he may have scammed.
John Green is another interesting case. He was apparently successful as a Tarot reader before he met Yoko while he is reported to hae been a student of the African Yoruba religion called Santeria. The Yoruba are a tribe in Nigeria, middle river, Western side. He would have obtained much of the magic information he displayed in Cartagena, Columbia, SA from that source. The sixties themselves were the great period of the dissolution of the American mind and personality. One of the key items in the disintegration was the 1962 movie, Mondo Cane. (It’s A Dog’s World). It is difficult to assess the impact of this movie on the malleable college age mind of the times.
I saw the movie then and while it passed out of my conscious mind it struck me most forcibly and lodged in my subconscious mind. I, of course, reviewed the movie for this essay and while I at first remembered little gradually my conscious mind recovered the images so that I remember almost all. The viewing at the time was very repulsive and unsettling to my mind as it was for everyone I talked to about it and every college kid saw it. Still, consciously I missed the true import of the movie completely.
The filmmakers equated some New Guinea stone age people with modern Whites and equated them- said both states of
consciousness were the same- and that there had been no advance between the primitive and modern. Then they showed Whites at their goofiest and most ridiculous. Drunks at a German Oktoberfest, aged tourists clumsily trying to do a hula. The movie was a real exercise in moral relativity. It was shortly after viewing the movie that I first remember hearing the phrase ‘Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ I don’t want to philosophize on this but my thought was that if I think something is bad therefore it must be because I think it and I can’t be wrong.
The movie had a devastating effect on the attitude of the generation. It was a form of hypnosis with a great deal of post-hypnotic suggestion. Whether John Green saw the movie or not I can’t say but if he had it would have prepared him for accepting Yoruban Santeria. In fact these primitive forms of religion and what not flourished in the wake of Mondo Cane. At the same, as I indicated, Yoko would have been very open to Santeria. I think there is little doubt that Green and she at least discussed the religion and its African tribal origin. Especially as she established something she calls the Spirit Foundation. In the online prospectus she describes the foundation thusly:
The Spirit Foundation is…concerned with the protection and promotion of creative and cultural diversity amongst shamanic tribal communities worldwide. Part of the foundations work is the International Shamanic Network which aims at promoting the ancient creative archetypes of man and their binding ecological realtionship to the world.
Our emphasis is on education for action.
As mentioned Yoko and Lennon moved into the suites used in Rosemary’s Baby with its Satanic overtones. In the movie a young woman living with the Satanic couple either jumps or is pushed to her death not far from where Lennon was shot. In this very location Yoko took up Satanism. She decided she wanted to make a pact with the Devil to obtain her wishes. The ubiquitous Sam Green knew of a witch who could serve as an intermediary between Yoko and Satan. (Remember I am only retailing the story, I don’t believe Satan exists.)
Sam Green who had prospered as an art consultant had used some of his earnings to purchase what he called a castle in Cartagena, Colombia. He recommended his witch to Yoko who asked John Green to take her to the witch as he doubled as Tarot reader and Wizard. John Green did so and the witch duly negotiated a deal between Yoko and the Lord of Fire. When it came time to sign the pact Yoko asked Green to do it for her which he did. She was aghast when he told her he didn’t sign his name but hers. Yoko trying to cheat the devil.
We don’t know what she asked Satan for but we are compelled to believe she got it.
As I believe she hypnotized Lennon into taking the Long Weekend I don’t know exactly why she wanted him out of the house. She certainly closely monitored his activities while he was away both in NYC and LA. During his absence Yoko didn’t have a Power of Attorney so she was somewhat constrained as John had her on a 300K budget. When he returned she quickly obtained his POA so that she had unlimited use of his money and, in fact, his identity.
Lennon is criticized for being a recluse in the years between 1975-80. He certainly wasn’t a recluse in that he withdrew from the world. He merely limited his contacts with it. It is said there was a fifteen month period when he was completely withdrawn. While he was obviously suffering from a mental malise in my opinion the withdrawal was completely justified. He had mental issues that had to be resolved. He had the money and time to work at it as he did.
He had a mother/father fixation he had to resolve. he had the feeling that he had been either a genius or a lunatic from boyhood. In a remarkable rant within the 1970 Rolling Stone interview he rants for pages because no one recognized him as a genius in his youth while he had now convinced himself that he was and had been a genius. The fact that he never did his schoolwork doesn’t seem to him that that may have a reason why people missed his genius and though him somewhat mad. What would theyhave done if they had? So he had to reconcile the issue in his mind.
He seems to have made no advance past his school years except in music. The years between leaving school and taking up with Yoko were completely wasted intellectually while the pressures of phenomenal success and wealth disoriented him completely not to mention the massive doses of drugs. At some time then he had to come down and organize his mind and life. From 1968 to let us say 1980 he was completely dependent on Yoko for his mental balance. In NYC he went where she did and did what she did. Hence the connection to Andy Warhol and Sam Green.
There are numerous pictures of Yoko, Lennon and Warhol. Yoko even patterned some of her work after Warhol’s style as in the ‘work’ below patterned after Warhol’s double Elvis. Thus she associates herself and Lennon with Presley.
As I mentioned before the social entree arranged by Warhol and Sam Green failed because of the social ineptness of the Ono-Lennons.
While we have a full record of what Lennon was doing during his ‘Lost Weekend’ we have a less full account of what Yoko was doing. She seems to have had romantic liaisons with at least three men- Sam Green, Sam Havadtoy and the guitarist David Spinozza.
Perhaps she wanted to see how well she could do on her own as a musician, to see if her reputation as a performance artist and, in her mind, musician, was sufficient to maintain a career on her own without John. If so, she was brutally disappointed as in her only solo performance she failed miserably. Thus she realized that as of 1974 her reputation as well as her wealth depended on Lennon.
It was during Lennon’s absence that John Green came into her life. While John Green tells a fairly smooth story in his Dakota Years one has the feeling that he is being highly selective in what he tells while he slyly ridicules the Ono-Lennons as their superior. The attitude easily leads to contempt and from contempt to abuse. Of course he would have to dissimulate both the contempt and abuse as Ono would be reading the book. As I imagine, a priest in the Santeria religion, he would have been in the company of some shady characters. I don’t know how many actual Yorubas were in NYC but I have met a couple elsewhere.
One imagines most of the hierarchy Green came into contact with was African or American Blacks. Santeria involves a deal of ritual sacrifice while money would be needed. I suspect that John Green was involved in the extortion attempt on the Ono-Lennons. This may have been Santeria related. Thus a sort of Black Hand organization was created. Rather than go for the big money that would have created a stir, the group settled for hitting up people with millions for a mere 200K each. An unpleasant tax for being rich but one more conveniently paid than to die resisting.
We have only Green’s version of the extortion and his relationship to it. He paints himself in a relatively good light. The Ono-Lennons did call in the FBI, they did give the extortionists newspaper rather than cash as the FBI advised. But then things went wrong. The FBI apparently had only one tail on the extortionist who came for the money rather than a series of back ups. The agent inexplicably lost his man. The Ono-Lennons never received another call but they had been warned that if they failed to pay Lennon would be killed whether it took one, two or more years. In December of 1980 the bill fell due. On December 8th he was shot. December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day so there may be a Japanese connection. Yoko Ono being Japanese, her numerologist and the assassin’s wife while Chapman missed the appointed day by one.
The question then hangs on Mark David Chapman the shooter. He is still alive and in prison. He was an assassin as the classic lone nut like Lee Harvey Oswald and any number of assassins who pay the law for the crime while the organizers go free. The technique has been well known to criminals for centuries. Any time a lone nut assassinates someone you may be sure that they were a patsy as Oswald announced over TV he was.
It seems likely that Chapman had been hypnotized. Witnesses said Chapman acted as though in a trance and he himself said he heard a voice in his head saying: Do it. Do it. Do it. The problem would be how he was recruited. I, of course, can say nothing for certain while what I am saying now is merely an hypothesis or inquiry. The main thing is that Chapman was supposed to be a lone nut. Ridiculous.
The most obvious recruitment method was the Santeria of which John Green was a member and to which Yoko Ono was
sympathetic. There are some oddities in the Chapman story that have to be explained not least of which are the large sums of money expended by Chapman in relation to his income. He was a married man therefore had a wife to support. Yet in 1978 he was in Japan at the same time as the Ono-Lennons beginning an around the world flight.
Perhaps Tokyo was the first stop of the trip around the world that then led to Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Israel, Geneva, Paris, London, Dublin, Atlanta and back to Hawaii. His travel agent was a Japanese woman, Gloria Abe, who he then courted and married. She is reported to have been involved in occult circles. She may have seen so involved that, through Takahashi Yoshikawa, Yoko’s numerologist she was brought in to arrange the trip. Such an around the world trip in a Westerly direction- sundown to sunup- according to Yoshikawa’s numerology would be characteristic of Yoko Ono. She and Lennon made a round the world trip for occult reasons as did both Lennon individually and John Green at her instance. Green made his trip in 59 1/2 hours only leaving a plane once to change to another. As the financing of Chapman’s trip is unknown I would suggest Yoko Ono.
Two years after this very costly trip around the world Chapman flew from Hawaii to first Chicago, then Atlanta, then to New York where he landed a few days before the assassination. Once again, well beyond his means. It is said that he took paintings to Chicago that he sold. Where he would have gotten the paintings isn’t known but once again Yoko is the obvious source. She had an art gallery of valuable art work.
While in Atlanta he contacted a former roommate, then a Deputy Sheriff, Gene Scott, who gave him the hollow point exploding
bullets for a handgun. One assumes such bullets couldn’t be bought over the counter. One wonders why Scott didn’t ask what Chapman intended to do with them. And if he did and Chapman told him Gene Scott is clearly an accomplice and should be questioned.
Chapman himself came from Atlanta where in his teen years he was known to ingest any and all drugs. Atlanta was also a Santeria center with several weird Black cults. Lennon’s death took place at the same time as the Atlanta child murders for which Wayne Williams was later convicted. The Santeria religion has been suspected in these obvious sacrificial murders while John Green establishes a Santeria connection to the Ono-Lennons and Yoko in particular.
Yoko was an excellent hypnotist who understood the use and power of suggestion. The Santerists as Africans would be well versed in the use of suggestion and hypnotism.
Chapman said he was possessed by the Devil while appearing to be in a hypnotic trance. All this rather amusingly is taking place at the Dakota, the scene of the Devil’s birth in Rosemary’s Baby. Indeed, the identical apartment.
After Lennon’s death there was no period of mourning or sense of loss by Yoko. All Lennon’s assets were in her control and name before his death. The so-called will of Lennon is suspicious, although the will was unnecessary becaue I doubt if Lennon thought of a will while the will appointed the art dealer Sam Green as the gaurdian of son Sean in the event the Ono-Lennons perished together. Lennon wasn’t that enamored of Sam Green.
Within a few days Sam Havadtoy was installed as Yoko’s live-in where he remained for twenty years.
While Yoko’s success as an artist and rock n’ roller wasn’t affected by Lennon’s death she now had the money to pay to have her art exhibited. Even then she found her reputation was indissolubly linked to her dead husband. She has become a caretaker for the Lennon legend parceling out old recordings while humiliatingly Lennon’s artwork is more in demand than hers.
She seems to have patterned her later career on that of Andy Warhol who as he acquired fame and fortune managed to insinutate himself into certain society circles. So has Yoko. Now, at 78, she has attained a certain status although still extremely self-centered while having an appearance of terminal aloneness.
The True Story Of John Lennon’s Final Years
Review by R.E. Prindle
Green, John: Dakota Days- The True Story Of John Lennon’s Final Years, St. Martin’s Press, 1983
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.