May 30, 2020

The stolen life of John Lennon | Culture

The stolen life of John Lennon | Culture

It has all the appearance of being a Never-ending story, a Maltese Falcon in a New York version. Last week, the German authorities announced that it was going to process the broker that in 2014 he had offered to a Berlin auction house the newspapers, the glasses and a series of objects that had belonged to John Lennon. No joke: the man had received 785,000 euros as an advance from his stash. The material has already been returned to the widow.

The newspapers have had a hectic life since the assassination of John, on December 8, 1980. His personal assistant, Frederic Seaman, took them from the Dakota building, with the intention – he said later – of handing them over to Julian Lennon, the abused first son of the singer As an excuse ("John asked me"), it was a bit weak. In addition, he passed them to a journalist, Robert Rosen, who took care of transcribing them.

Greed had its effect. Other people entered the scene, determined to make the find profitable. The newspapers (in origin, some agendas published by the magazine The New Yorker) were subsequently removed from Rosen's home. Seaman was detained by policemen in Yoko's service who, according to his narration, beat him to hand over the manuscripts. In 1983, Seaman pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to five years on probation.

The newspapers returned to the Dakota but Yoko did not take special measures to protect them. And they were swiped again, along with letters and recordings. On this occasion, the thief was Koral Karsan, Ono's driver. At the end of 2006, the man tried to blackmail his boss – of whom he claimed to have been a lover – in a very clumsy way. Retained in one of the worst jails in New York, Rikers Island, Karsan chose to acknowledge his guilt, in exchange for being deported quickly to his native Turkey.

Apparently, Yoko and her lawyers did not make much effort to locate the pieces stolen by Karsan. That finally came, as has been said, in Germany. The newspapers were already more relics than documents: the so-called "years of the Dakota" have been thoroughly explored in numerous books, including those published by Seaman (The Last Days of John Lennon) and Rosen (Nowhere man: the last days of John Lennon, in the Spanish version).

That is to say, it no longer shocks to know of the fascination of John and Yoko for irrational beliefs (astrology, numerology, clairvoyance, something called directionalism), the dull competition with Paul McCartney or the imbalance in the relationship of the couple, with a wife who she allowed herself all the freedoms while controlling even the money her husband could spend.

In the almost 40 years that have passed after the murder, Ono has revealed herself as a skilled manager of her heritage, perpetuating a sweetened vision of the deceased and promoting her own work. However, Yoko does not have a great rock culture and surely does not know Unfaithful Servant, one of the great themes of The Band. The song of Robbie Robertson is a gloomy lament that warns that the relations between the lady of the house and the servant usually end badly.


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