During this time John Lennon’s life began to take on some soap opera qualities as he navigated, rather clumsily, the transition between his marriage to Cynthia and his life with Yoko.

Today he brought Yoko as his “date” to a luncheon party promoting the opening of the second Apple boutique — the very existence of which is a testament to how far out of control the Beatle universe was spiraling. The first boutique was widely acknowledged to be a chaotic, ever-widening cash hole; why on Earth would they want another? According to Bob Spitz,

To this day, no one seems to have an answer. The most that can be ascertained is that by now they did whatever they liked on impulse, regardless of the cost or consequences. In this case, the impulse was for brightly colored handmade suits that couldn’t be had off the rack.

Throughout 1967 and most of 1968, the Beatles and their entourage were VIP customers at John Crittle’s ultrahip, eponymous tailor shop in New King’s Road. “We bought a few things from him,” George recalled at the time, “and the next thing I knew, we owned the place!”

Apple bankrolled 51 percent of Crittle’s new line, took over his pricey lease, and transformed the shop into Apple Tailoring (Civil and Theatrical).

A considerable amount of money was also heading out the door of Apple’s Wigmore Street offices in the form of grants to would-be artists of one kind or another. Said Apple Corps general manager Alistair Taylor, “Any numbskull could walk in and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great idea,’ and the Beatles would get the checkbook. ‘How much do you need?’ ”

Anyway, Yoko’s appearance at John’s side doesn’t seem to have raised many eyebrows — a testament, perhaps, to a lack of press interest in this latest Beatle venture. Several pictures show George huddling close to John, trying to ignore Yoko’s presence, the beginning of a longstanding habit for him. But John’s change of partners would not become widely known for several weeks.

After the event John and Yoko repaired to Lennon’s estate, intending to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in. But unknown to them — cue dramatic music, please! — Cynthia Lennon had elected to cut her trip to Greece short and return home a day early. Spitz describes the ensuing scene this way:1

The place seemed “eerily silent.” With Jenny Boyd and Magic Alex trailing noisily behind, Cynthia wandered through the warren of neglected downstairs rooms, calling to John. Receiving no reply, she bounded into the sun-drenched breakfast room and stopped dead in the doorway.

“John and Yoko, wearing nothing but matching purple dressing gowns, turned to look at me,” she recalled. Curled comfortably into a scarlet-cushioned settee, John didn’t so much as bat an eye at his wife’s unexpected appearance. He calmly put down a mug of tea, stubbed out a cigarette, and said “Oh, hi.”

There followed an awkward interval during which Cynthia asked John if he wanted to come to dinner with Alex, Jenny, and herself. When John declined, Cynthia yelled “You bastard!” and stormed out.

And that’s it for today’s episode of “All My Beatles.” Please tune in tomorrow.


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