Here in the disease-ridden hellscape of 2020, much is being made of it being John Lennon’s 80th birthday. By applying a little simple math, we can see that 50 years ago John would have been turning 30.

This was a bigger deal in 1970, I think, than it would be now. Back then you weren’t supposed to trust anyone over 30 (as opposed to now, when you just plain can’t trust anybody), so it was a big rubicon to cross. And if that wasn’t stressful enough, John spent the afternoon with his father Alfred, known alternately as Alf and Freddie.

Their relationship was fraught, to say the least. When John was 5, his dad had tried to kidnap him to New Zealand. If he’d succeeded, I wouldn’t be writing this now. (Or maybe I’d be writing about the 80th birthday of a still-living beloved Kiwi; who knows.)

At one point John was asked to choose between his parents, a trauma which no doubt featured in the therapeutic screaming he was doing during this period. Legend has it that he chose his father, but that when his mother started to walk away, John followed her.

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