Sunday, June 11, 2023



I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I was proposing a regular new Bytes category, Dark Sides, about the feet of clay of some of our heroes. I mentioned some names, without background, and had intended to work on that later. It inspired an email from Steve M, who commented on both my like of Arnie Schwarzenegger’s series FUBAR and upon the Dark Sides names mentioned:

Absolutely right Otto…Arnie who? Eyes are rolling as I type this!
Also this: feet of clay . . . John Lennon, Mother Teresa, Roald Dahl, Rolf Harris.
Rolf Harris yes, but the others? As Pauline would say….please explain….
Steve m

So let’s shine a light on the dark side of some of our heroes . . . 


JOHN LENNON (1940 – 1980):

Andy Warhol's portraitof John Lennon

We all know John Lennon to be a man of great talent, a man of peace, gentleness and kindness. But his dark side is less pleasant:


In a 1980 interview with Playboy, Lennon said:

“All that ‘I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved' was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically - any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. 
That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything's the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace.

I am not violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster."

In his first wife Cynthia's book, she wrote that he once slapped her in the face in a moment of jealousy.

Lennon once physically attacked the Cavern Club's MC Bob Wooler, who was a close friend of the Beatles, when Wooler jokingly suggested Lennon had an intimate relationship with Brian Epstein. Lennon was drunk at the time and left Wooler hospitalised with broken ribs, apparently only stopping the beating because he realised he was "actually going to kill him". Lennon later summed it up by saying "He called me a queer so I battered his bloody ribs in."

Emotional abuse:

His son Julian, by his wife Cynthia, has stated that he was jealous of the love that Lennon showed towards Sean, his son with wife Yoko.

Julian said in an interview:

"Mum was more about love than Dad. He sang about it, he spoke about, but he never really gave it, at least not to me as his son."

Lennon described Julian as an unplanned child "born out of a bottle of whiskey" during a chat with Playboy magazine:

"I'm not going to lie to Julian. Ninety percent of the people on this planet, especially in the West, were born out of a bottle of whiskey on a Saturday night, and there was no intent to have children."

Julian has stated that Paul McCartney was more of a father to him than John Lennon.

Mocking the disabled:

There is a 1960s video of Lennon on the footage of Lennon on the UK-based TV show It Was Alright in which he makes fun of disabled people. Here is that footage and some comments by the other Beatles and Sir George Martin:

Cynthia Lennon in her memor John:

“John had always reacted badly to disability so for him, this was little short of a nightmare. In our student days, he’d mocked the disabled and drawn ghoulish cartoons of cripples. For some reason, disability terrified him, though he could never admit it. It made him feel inadequate and guilty.”

'He could be a maneuvering swine, which no one ever realized. Now since the death he's become 'Martin Luther' Lennon.”
- Paul McCartney, 1985

"The Beatles have all sort of been whitewashed over time, with Lennon being whitewashed into this kind of slightly cheeky guy who loved peace. And he wasn’t like that at all. He’d had a fairly terrible childhood and a very confused life, he’d used drugs and alcohol quite freely and he was a pretty terrible parent and husband the first time round.

"But it’s these massive contradictions which make him interesting – not [the false idea] that he was a bland, peace-loving, bread-baking dad. He was a violent man but he was into peace. He was a rich man who told us to imagine no possessions. He was always portrayed as this working-class hero but he was brought up in this rather nice house and surroundings. And all those contradictions are what make him interesting to me, not the fact he was some cardboard character who never did anything wrong."

- David Quantick, from his book Revolution (2002)

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