Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cynthia Gets a Leather Coat

January, 1961

John Lennon, on his return from Germany, has moved back in with his rather severe widowed Aunt Mimi.  How his suburban middle class living arrangements must have clashed with his after dark rock and roll life.

One of the best sources for information about John's development as an artist and as a person during this time is Cynthia Lennon's book called simply "John".  She was raised in rather privileged style and so views the whole crazy time with a certain detached rationality, but because she was a member herself of his generation, she also understands the rebellious lifestyle that John was so deeply involved in.  She is the perfect go-between.

John is obviously deeply (if somewhat immaturely) in love with her at this time and decides to use some of his musicians earnings to buy her a leather coat, such as he has seen German girls wearing.  They go together to a local department store and pick out a chocolate brown 3/4 length coat.  Then, they buy a roast chicken at a deli nearby and head for Mimi's to proudly show off their purchase.

When Mimi sees the coat she is enraged at his, in her view, foolish purchase.  She throws the chicken in their faces and orders them out of her house.  In the street, John puts his arm tenderly around Cynthia and comforts her saying "All she cares about is f_cking money and cats."  What an pithy insight into his life and emotional state echoes down to us via this episode!

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