I’m not a morning person, never have been either. I’m more likely to be accused of being a bit of a nark, than being up with the lark. So the morning that my Mum burst into my bedroom, threw open the curtains and said:
“John Lennon is dead!”
Two things struck me:
“Why are you opening the curtains it’s still dark outside?”
“Who cares if John Lennon is dead?”
I went downstairs and had my cornflakes while the rest of the family were glued to Liverpool's Radio City who were breaking the news. I sat munching, disinterested, safe in the knowledge that The Beatles were old fashioned and Lennon was rubbish.
I pretty much got myself ready for school that morning, and off I set to walk to my mate Terry’s house. When I arrived he solemnly beckoned me in, and then ushered me into the kitchen. As I sat waiting for him (I may have even pinched a biscuit) I flicked through the night before’s Liverpool Echo newspaper and listened to the usual early morning household hubbub.
After a while, and during a lull, I heard the sound of sobbing. Proper full on, deep gasping can’t get your breath sorrowful sobbing.
I listened, my head tilted, wondering who it was?
After a few minutes Terry joined me in the kitchen pulling his tie over his head.
“Who’s crying?” I asked.
“Our Karen."
“John Lennon’s dead.”
I shook my head, we left, we went to school, we walked the same streets, the same steps, the same everyday.
The same, they seemed the same, even though John Lennon was dead.
It took me a few years to understand why Karen cried, why the world cried, and then one night, having had a few beers, sitting playing records in my parent's front room with head phones on while everyone else slept. Boxes of old records had been emptied and picked through, everything from Jim Reeves to Deaf School lay around me.
Eventually I stumbled across Lennon’s “Julia”, scratchy and sad, a love song for someone lost.
When I listened to it for the first time, I knew how Karen felt.