Monday, June 19, 2006

The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono

from the diary: “Monday 1/27/86

“I’m reading The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono.

“I didn’t do anything today. Dropped by the library and read some Atlantic and some Ms. [magazines].

“Mom went to a Nuclear Free meeting but I don’t know what they did. She also took David to the passport office to clear up his sex. [D’s new passport indicated his sex as F.]”

A day later I wrote, “The Lennon/Ono interview book is a disappointment. boriiiiing.”

I like the Beatles. There are Beatles songs that I will never tire of. “Yellow Submarine”, “All You Need Is Love” … all together now! But I never felt like I needed to own (or even hear) everything the Beatles did and I was always a little foggy on which Beatle had done what after the band broke up. If I’d been steeped in Beatles trivia I suppose I would have gotten more out of this book. But I can be obsessive. Once I start a book I have to read it all the way through.

I just had the second volume of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman requested out from under me – that is, I won’t be able to renew it now. And it’s a good thing. Because I’d been trying to work my way through this long prose piece in the back of the book, a “Traveller’s Almanac” that seemed to be Moore’s summarizing of all the fantastic literature he’d read for research. The League consists of characters from Dracula, King Solomon’s Mines, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and so forth. The second volume incorporates elements from at least three H.G. Wells novels -- The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and The Island of Dr Moreau. Moore also throws in allusions to more obscure tales during the narrative. But it’s in the Almanac that he goes overboard. His narrator takes readers on a tour of the world – on this island live the Skeezies, under this mountain live the immortal Boogers, a legendary city is said to appear out of the mist in this valley every hundred years. There’s only occasionally any story to it. And the writing is dry. So I’m glad the book’s been yanked away. Now I can stop reading it!

As I recall the Playboy interview with Lennon included a catalog of songs. The interviewer would name a song and Lennon was supposed to say whether he or bandmate Paul McCartney had written it. All Beatles songs written by Lennon or McCartney are attributed to both. Obviously many had to have been more John than Paul (or vice versa), right? I remember turning page after page of this going, I wonder if I know that song?


David Lee Ingersoll said...

Yeah, that travelogue in League 2 was dull. I even caught many of the references that Moore was making (having read encyclopedias and histories of fantastic literature rather than the actual stories) and was bored. But I obsessively finished it. It's a rare book that I've never finished. There seem to be more unfinished books around the house right now than there used to be but I expect to get to all of them eventually. I just restarted The Phantom Empire after leaving it fallow for four years or so.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Yeah, I'm trying to remember if there are books that are lying fallow around here somewhere. I could get back to The Collected Stories of John Cheever, for example. And every few months I read a couple pages of Emily Dickinson's complete. I should be done with her come 2010 or so.