Friday 24 March 2017

A letter to John Lennon, icon of courage, on his 70th birthday

Do you want to know a secret? Joseph O'Connor imagines Beatle John is here, there and everywhere

Dear John, a little note just to wish you a happy 70th birthday this weekend. Wherever you are, I hope you've found happiness. I think of you often, and I wish you were still around, but then I remember, you'll always be around. It's just a matter of knowing where to look.

Often, when I find myself on Middle Abbey Street in Dublin, you come into my mind and I hope you're at peace. For it was in a building on that street, in 1963, that you came to play a concert with your band. I've thought about it so often that I almost remember being there, although I wasn't actually born yet. But that doesn't matter. I can still remember. I don't think I'll ever forget it. The night you played in Dublin.

It was very hot inside the Adelphi cinema, and the air seemed damp and sweet. Dark red and gold curtains had been draped across the stage. When the house lights started to fade, the screaming began. Then, from the upper balcony, a spotlight snapped on, spreading an undulating disc of whiteness across those beautiful curtains, which parted, as though driven further apart by the screaming, and there it was -- the beautiful drum kit.

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