In the other blogs listed elsewhere on this page, to which I frequently contribute my comments, observations and (very rarely) wit, there has been much discussion of late arising from the upcoming anniversary of the brutal assassination of John Lennon outside his apartment building in 1980.
Incidentally, this piece contains some bits that I’ve abridged and put on those other sites as comments so if you’ve been reading there first and didn’t notice who wrote stuff that now seems familiar – it was me!
At the time of the shooting I was in London and halfway through the second week of a two week Tax course at Barclays Bank Trust Company’s Head Office adjacent to St. Pauls Cathedral.
As was usual in those days we course members from around the country were accommodated at a bank-owned hotel in Inverness Terrace a few minutes walk from Queensway Central Line tube station.
There were good reasons why they found it safer for the Bank’s reputation, not to mention CONSIDERABLY cheaper to put us up in a “staff residence”instead of a commercial hotel but THAT will be the subject of another post (that I’ve just given myself the idea for)!
But back to the thread……
John Lennon was shot at 10.50 p.m. (New York time) on 8th December – or 3.50 a.m. (UK time) on 9th December – which gave the London based morning papers time to print new editions and distribute them for the early morning travellors in the city, if maybe not the rest of the country.
As a result, when we boarded the train at Queensway, seriously hungover from celebrating the completion of our course’s “homework” project , we were surrounded by Tabloid newspapers breaking the news.
Now I have to say that taking the tube into the City at 8 a.m. each day was never an entirely happy experience but compared to the way things were on THAT day the commuters had been positively jovial earlier in the week.
I had never experienced anything like it before and it was as if a thick black cloud hung over the head of every single person in that carriage! The occupants of a commuter train are never “chatty” but there is usually SOME noise – not on 9th December 1980 though! Absolute. Solemn. Silence.
It was as if everyone realised simultaneously that something positive, creative and OURS had been snatched away from us.
And I’m pleased to say that there wasn’t any of that nauseating , un-British, wailing, self-pity-masquerading-as-grief that accompanied the passing of Mrs Wales 16 ½ years later! I don’t know what the tube would have been like on that occasion and I don’t think that I want to! I actually spent that time seriously annoying tearful middle-aged women in the Peterborough office by telling them how sorry I felt for Camilla Parker-Bowles! I’m surprised I didn’t get lynched.
But back to John Lennon who did, after all, leave us rather more than an awful, sickly Elton John rehash!
I mourn for the music and general universal love that he MIGHT have continued to give us had he lived and wonder if he might have really influenced enough important people to make this a different, better world.
And if you want something a bit weird to finish on, consider this:
My dear wife, Faith had a brother (who, sadly, I never met) who died in a car accident in 1974. He passed away on 9thOctober – John Lennon’s birthday.
John Lennon died on 8th December – my should-have-been Brother-in Law’s birthday!