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This morning on “Breakfast with the Beatles,” Chris Carter interviewed a friend of his, Seth Swirsky, a songwriter/author/blogger/jack-of-all-trades who is (naturally) a Beatles fan. (Here’s Seth’s photo with George Martin at the “LOVE” premiere in Las Vegas, 2006.) Seth is finishing a documentary called “A Year in the Life,” where… [MORE]…he documents the twelve months he spent traveling around the world interviewing famous people and hearing their stories about The Beatles. There’s a great trailer on his site, Seth.com. (Early adopter, eh Seth?) According to the site, the documentary should be finished by September 2008.
In the meantime, Seth has another Beatle-related film up on his site: “Magical Mystery Tourist.” MMT is 17 minutes of snips from a travelogue delivered by a really charming Liverpool tour guide, Eddie Porter. It was rainy that day so some of Seth’s video is a bit murky, but it’s nicely edited and scored, very tightly done, and Eddie’s stories are really lovely, well worth recording. I liked hearing them even when the Beatle scholar in me thought, “Wait, but Lewisohn says…” The film is here. Gives me high hopes indeed for the documentary.
[Update 2015: The film was released as “Beatles Stories,” and was the genesis of the “Lennon-was-a-Reaganite” story, courtesy of Fred Seaman. According to Seth Swirsky’s Wikipedia page, he once owned a baseball signed by all four Beatles on the night of their 1965 concert at Shea Stadium.–MG]
“Lennon Was A Reaganite” Seth Swirsky: One of his articles, “Why I Left the Left,” caught the attention of Karl Rove, who invited him to lunch at the White House in July, 2006.
The story actually came from Fred Seaman, Lennon’s assistant. And really shouldn’t surprise anybody who has read the 1980 interviews. In his increasingly cynical, “I got mine” attitude towards money John Lennon was, as usual, leading the way for the Baby Boomers as a generation.
Seth’s essay on why he left the left is an interesting window into his head. He was disgusted by Anita Hill’s attempt to ruin the fine and decent Clarence Thomas. Off topic from the Beatles, I suppose, except that John’s attitude about money (I suspect) was more about his outrage at being ripped off. The idea of the smirking, non-creative men in suits helping themselves to his songwriting, recording and performing $$ must have raised his blood pressure. In interview after interview, he portrays himself as being surrounded by sharks in sharkskin suits. “Sign here, Mr. Lennon,” “And here, and here.”
For sure, @Sam — but the ironic thing about Lennon is that he snuggled up to the sharkiest businessman imaginable. His dealing with Klein was a perfect example of Lennon’s obsession to make the outer world match his inner one. We all do this, consciously and not; and so sometimes I think, if John Lennon had lived, he would’ve figured out a way to get swindled and end up playing in Vegas to pay off the IRS.
Very true about his dealings with Klein. I suppose he thought he was fighting fire with fire. There is a syndrome; I’ve seen it in others, and in myself at times. I’m not sure if it’s recognized in the DSM, but it consists of doing something to prevent an outcome, and then causing that very outcome. I suspect John had that talent for getting the exact opposite of what he intended. Getting ripped off? Hire a rip-off artist and… get ripped off some more.
And I wonder if it was in his DNA, because in the thread about the Making Of John Lennon, I learned that Mimi adopted John to attain a certain status with her neighbors. (!!) And then of course John grows up to become the town teddy boy, with neighbors in solemn agreement that young Lennon is bad news.