Thursday, 9 December 2010

The John Lennon Scrapbook

It was 30 years ago yesterday that John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota building.... and it's 30 years ago today that I started my John Lennon scrapbook.

I remember feeling numb at the news of his death.... told to me by my parents when I got up for school that Monday morning. Elvis had been a shock back in 1977, but Lennon felt more personal. I had just turned 14 and had over the last couple of years or so become quite a big Beatles fan (oddly, via the Monkees). Lennon's death left me (perhaps for the first time) with a real sense of loss. I remember the atmosphere at school that day being more than a little subdued, as teachers and pupils alike tried to come to terms with the news.

I had been making scrapbooks for some time, and immediately decided to try and capture the events, buy saving as many cuttings about the tragedy as I could. Looking back I guess it was a little macabre to set up a scrapbook all about someones murder, but that's not how I looked at it at the time.

I knew the scrapbook was still sitting up in the loft, so popped up to retrieve it yesterday. It's looking a little worse for wear these days, but it made for fascinating reading. Odd that I chose a jolly Perishers scrapbook to hold such sad cuttings!

Here are a few photos I took from some of the pages.



Lawrence said...

Damn Piley you were a cool kid. I would never have done that, but I'm thankful you did. I listened to Plastic Ono Band and discussed Lennon over dinner with my wife yesterday. I wish I'd had something like this to retrieve from the attic.

John Medd said...

I've still got the commemorative magazines that came with the following Sunday papers. It's quite frightening how quick the journos can pull these things together. I know obits are generally already written on any slebs over the age of 50, but Lennon's must have caught them on the hop. Can you imagine how many column inches Macca's gonna get when it's his time? It doesn't bear thinking about.

Mondo said...

That is a gem - and not a million miles from Sid Scrapbook.. which later expanded to punk too.although some of these Sid bits were donated to me by our mutual mate Whitlow..

Do kids still keep scrapbooks - can't imagine it happening anymore.

Lawrence said...

Do kids keep scrapbooks?! Are you kidding? They don't even read books. Them days are over.

Heff said...

Quite the collection you've got there.

Piley said...

Gary - glad you liked! I'm not sure if it was cool though... I always though scrapbooks were a bit geeky?! I was mad on em, and have dozens in the loft. I didn't stop until I was in my 20's (got about 10 Bowie ones up there). Once I'd stopped, I still continued to collect the odd important newspaper - choosing to keep the whole paper rather than cut them about. Think that's better as it gives you a much better snapshot of the time... other stories, whats on TV etc

JM - That's a good point, hadn't considered that. Yes, his death would have taken everyone by surprise, so the amount of coverage it got must have all been written in a few short hours.

Mondo - yeah, love your Sid book! I love the tatty worn look they have now, adds character. Why does sellotape go brown and lose it's stick??! Looks like an old fly paper!

Oh and alas, I think Gary is bang on... kids aren't creative enough now to keep a scrapbook. But hey, I think there's a Wii game called 'scrapbook maker' where you do it all as part of a platform game.... sigh

Ta Heff - would have loved to have got my hands on some US papers at that time. Impossible to do back then. When Sinatra dies I managed to get a few US papers as well as most of the UK ones.


Anonymous said...

I had grown up hearing the Beatles through my sister but i hadn't gone on to hear later faves like Abbey Road , The White Album etc or any of his solo stuff yet. So i wasn't a proper fan yet. I remember some on telling me in class that he'd been shot. I was in the three story block at King John (remember that P ?) I remember thinking but he was the peacfull one why did they hoot him?. So senseless, it seems to get more senseless as the years go by as i continue to discover his music. I think it's great you made the scrap book, ok it could seem morbid but some times some thing makes a big impact. I felt the need to keep a couple of papers from 9/11, i wonder why, it was so horrible it just floored me. Need a reminder of it i guess. Just how senseless it was.


Piley said...

Thanks Carl, good comments.

As a school kid I was on limited funds, but my dad had told me that my favourite TV prog 'The Monkees' was based on the Beatles, so I had to find out more. I bought two 'Music For Pleasure' albums (Rock n Roll Music volumes 1 & 2) and was hooked. Still didn't own much more than those 2 albums when he died, but was definitly a convert.

I still don't know what compelled be to 'scrapbook it', but I'm guessing it's the same thing inside me that 30 years later I go "oh, i'll blog that"!! I guess I'm compelled to log stuff that I feel passionate about, otherwise it'll be gone. Glad I did it though, and even more glad that I kept it.


Carl said...

It was the Hard Day's night album along with that Elvis 40 Golden Greats compilation that my sister and i grooved to. I was discovering my own stuff around the time of Lennon's death BUT i still remember the day he and Elvis died so vividly.

Piley said...

With you there Carl. Elvis and Lennon are our generations JFK moments aren't they? Everyone remember it, and where they were at the time. Sadly 9-11 is another JFK moment.

thisnighthasopenedmyeyes said...

Great article Piley. My worse personal JFK moment would have to be when i learned of Billy Mackenzie's death in 1997. I had always been a massive fan and was devastated. Sadly, no scrapbook as it seemed to escape coverage in the papers. A fact which sadly illustrates how he always seemed to elude the recognition he truly deserved for having, in my mind the most wonderful voice I have ever had the pleasure to listen to.

Piley said...

TNHOME - yes, sadly so many of our greats just slip through the net, and tick the box marked 'no publicity' on the ways out. I can understand your frustration at Billy's passing being ignored by the world by and large...

"in my mind the most wonderful voice I have ever had the pleasure to listen to". That's some praise indeed. Mind you, that was before you heard Matt Cardle I guess... ;-)