Geek Couples: John & Yoko (Lennon Naked) - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Geek Couples: John & Yoko (Lennon Naked)

Chris Morley gives peace a chance.

Five years after leaving Doctor Who behind, the time would come for Christopher Eccleston to go back to the Sixties all over again when he signed up for Lennon Naked. Interested in the man behind the myth, Eccleston would say
“I think you have to just look at him as a human being, as a character and not worry too much about the fact that he’s a godhead.”
With Torchwood's own Naoko Mori as Yoko Ono, Ecccleston would give his take on John. Covering an era when he was coping with the break-up of his marriage to Cynthia...

...and a break with the third person in this relationship - a split from his writing partnership with Paul McCartney, here played by Andrew Scott, as the beating heart of the Beatles is slowly ripped out.

The drama opens in 1964 with John having been persuaded to meet his largely absent father Freddie at the urging of manager Brian Epstein. As we might expect, this doesn't go well - John's mother Julia also not present in the most heartbreaking of circumstances having died in a 1958 road accident. He eulogised her on the White Album.
Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia

Julia, Julia, ocean child, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
Julia, seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia

Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering
In the sun
Fittingly enough there's also a veiled reference to Yoko in the mention of the ocean child. Her first name rather poetically means child of the sea in her native Japanese.

The pair first met at an exhibition of Yoko's art in 1966. The following year Lennon was persuaded to be part of the Magical Mystery Tour album & film despite his own misgivings.

Paul was leading the way, as he had to a large extent on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which ironically enough could be interpreted as containing the first hint that things were not as they seemed between the two old friends & indeed co-writers going by the perhaps optimistically titled Getting Better.

Note the distinct contrast between the optimistic Paul & comparatively more resigned John already in evidence here, pouring scorn on McCartney's claim everything's fine!
I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
So the chinks in the Beatles armour are already there before Yoko fully arrived on the scene.

When she did arrive though, it was at exactly the right time for John. If the negative critical reception of Magical Mystery Tour wasn't enough, Lennon was going through withdrawal symptoms after having made the decision to give up heroin use.
I wish I was dead Cold turkey has got me on the run
Cold turkey has got me on the run My body is aching
Goose pimple bone
I can't see nobody
Leave me alone My eyes are wide open
I can't go to sleep
One thing I'm sure of
I'm in at the deep freeze.......
Lennon needed somebody. Not just anybody, either!

He would find a letter addressed to him, with the word "Breathe" written on it...

And it was Yoko who responded to the cry for help, having penned the letter and then going above & beyond the call of duty by sleeping with him after they've spent their first night together recording Two Virgins, the cover art featuring the couple naked together.

As it turns out, Chris wasn't too keen on stripping off! Quoted in the Liverpool Echo, he said...
“When you're going to shoot that scene you think, ‘Well, he did it.’ So you do it.

And then you all have to look at it.

I just held my stomach in.
With nudity, actors always watch each others’ backs... literally, so you’re not looking anywhere else.”
His on-screen Yoko, Naoko Mori would say of her character,
"She's a legend, a true icon. I actually thought it was ridiculous that anyone would consider me to play her. So I did plenty of research and tried to understand her a bit more.

I heard the usual things. She was so weird. Avant garde. She broke up the Beatles. All those things people used to say about her.

But I knew there was something more to her than that and the more I started looking into her life the more she became really human and I started relating more.”
After a whirlwind romance & a miscarriage for Ono, the pair married in 1969 and their honeymoon became an act of protest against the Vietnam War.

Yoko herself would later say of their Bed-In...
John and I were so naïve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world. Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn't know.
Perhaps it did, and perhaps it didn't, but one things for sure, their relationship changed The Beatles as John dropped the bombshell that he wanted a creative divorce from the band, a state of affairs McCartney begged him not to reveal to the media - though he doesn't follow his own advice upon his exit in 1970, causing an enraged Lennon to throw rocks at Paul's house....
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
One final meeting with his father & therapy sessions with Arthur Janov - the pioneering Primal Scream technique allowing him to confront the traumatic effect of his parents' separation - follow before John & the new Mrs Lennon take the decision to move to New York...

Their flight out of the country sees the ending of Lennon Naked. On screen text stating that he never returned. The pair spent the majority of the rest of the decade in New York, embracing US radical left politics and activism. Enraging the Nixon administration who tried, unsuccessfully, to deport them.

A brief separation, which Lennon referred to as his "lost weekend", saw an eventual reunion and a son, Sean. John then taking on the role of househusband, and a break from music to get some peace.

With Yoko by his side he spread a simple message. One which Mrs Lennon continues to spread in her late husband's memory to this day.
"What we said then could have been said now. 

Let's remember WAR IS OVER If We Want It.
It's up to us, and nobody else.
John would have wanted to say that." A couple who, at the heart of it all, just wanted to give peace a chance.

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