Did John Lennon beat his children
Cynthia Lennon : "We fled in a meat truck"
Can i smoke one?
All I need is an ashtray!
When did you start smoking?
Late. I was always a good girl until the Beatles came along.
Did you first meet John Lennon in 1958?
Yes, I was 18 and he was 17. We both went to Liverpool Art College.
Love at first sight?
I was more afraid of him. He looked like a rocker, wanted to be a rebel even then. My own life was calm and contemplative, well-behaved.
Did he still fascinate you?
Yes, he was wild and different - and yet he had experienced something similar to mine. I lost my father when I was 17 and he lost his mother. I found out that this was the reason for his aggression, his pain and also for his malicious, cynical humor, which I never understood. He could make everyone else laugh because no one else would have dared to talk like that.
Have you heard rock ’n’ roll before?
No. My brother was a concert pianist, as a young girl I always listened to him from bed when I went to sleep and he was still practicing. I sang in a church choir, my mother and father performed as a singing duo. There was classical music at home, including Frank Sinatra, West Side Story. It was only John Lennon who brought Elvis into my life. Heartbreak Hotel.
Did he take you to concerts?
No, there weren't any concerts like that back then. John played all the time himself. When he was a student, Paul and George often stopped by on lunch breaks. At that time the two were still schoolboys with hats and uniforms. They had their guitars with them, got fish ’n’ chips, sat on the floor and made music.
What did they play
Buddy Holly and Elvis, so nice and innocent. On Saturdays there was always a jazz evening in the basement of the art academy. From the moment the Beatles started, it was just rock ’n’ roll. It was exactly the same in the "Cavern" ...
... the legendary Liverpool basement bar where the Beatles performed regularly at the beginning of their careers.
I thought the performances were great! To feel this shiver as the hair on the back of the neck stood up.
Did you suspect then that the Beatles could make it big?
No. They were still teenagers who just loved music. The post-war period was tough, nobody had money, and life was very monotonous. Then the US music came on the radio and it was exciting to hear the latest sounds under the covers. Our childhood was very tight, suddenly the world opened up.
How did you envision your future back then?
I assumed that I would have to feed the family one day. That's why I was pretty hard at the art academy, I wanted to be a teacher. The night before I had to take my last teacher exam, John came back from Hamburg. I think that was the night Julian was conceived.
Did you still live at home?
I had a small one-room apartment with a bed, table and cooking facilities, my father had died and my mother had gone to look after my cousin in Canada as a nanny. She was worried about leaving me alone, I said: Please, Mom, go ahead, I'll be fine here. That gave me freedom. And then I got pregnant. That was in 1962. I also failed my last exam and my teaching career was over.
Did John write you love letters?
A lot, yes, from Hamburg. I sold quite a few because I didn't have any money. My son Julian is now buying them back.
They laugh! What did he write like that?
John was pretty good at writing lewd letters. Before I sold it, I had to cut out entire passages.
Are Beatles Love Songs About You?
No idea. The early songs, like “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” might have had a little to do with me. Or maybe with some other friend.
Any other girlfriend? I beg your pardon?
Since he died, women keep calling me and saying, "Hey Cyn, I would love to meet you, I had an affair with John when you were married." Sometimes the British newspapers are worth a headline story "I would love to meet Cynthia, we have a lot in common." Great thing! No, seriously: I was totally naive, I never thought that he was cheating on me.
John moved to Hamburg as a rocker and came back as a Beatle with a mushroom hairstyle. Did you find that strange?
You know nothing could change John. Whether he had a teddy boy hairstyle or a mushroom head, John was John and stayed John. I thought the boys looked friendlier with Mushroom Head.
In 1964 you were with the Beatles in the USA.
Yes, on the first American tour. That was at the time I was known as John's wife.
There was a photo of you and John in the press somewhere on the beach in swimwear.
That was in Miami. Some mafia boss had given us a villa so we could relax a bit from the madness of the tour. We went water skiing.
How did you experience the madness?
Crazy, irrational. You are carried away like in a vortex, you don't even get to think, thousands of screaming people everywhere, police escorts, we no longer had any control over what was happening. But it was good. For breakfast in the Plaza Hotel there was papaya. You couldn't get that in England! And then it went to the Ed Sullivan Show. We drove in a large limousine. John tried to push me out of the car at the entrance of the show, but that didn't work because there were thousands of fans everywhere. After all, a policeman had to carry me to the show.
Have you met other celebrities too?
Muhammad Ali in Miami, for example. The best part was once we had to get into a meat truck to get somewhere incognito. We got into the hold of this van with cooling compartments and meat hooks. The driver then panicked because of the fans and stepped on the gas pedal all the way. I couldn't hold on properly. We're talking glamor here, right? I had a lot of scratches after the ride.
After the US tour, you and John moved into a 16-room villa near London. Before that, you lived in a small apartment.
We couldn't handle the huge suite of rooms. At first we lived under the roof because the rest of the house was being renovated. We had more fun up there than later in the rest of the house.
How should one imagine the family life of the Lennons?
Absolutely normal. I did the things that mothers do: take Julian to school, cook for him. John was mostly on tour. When he was at home, he almost only slept, he was completely broken. Sometimes he got upset about Julian, for example because he didn't eat properly with a knife and fork. I then said to John: If you were there more often, you would know that three-year-olds don't yet eat with a knife and fork!
John Lennon, the rebel, got upset about something like that?
He probably got that from his aunt Mimi, with whom he grew up. She was very careful about table manners. I think John was just frustrated that he had so little time to spend with Julian. Then when he was there, he obviously thought, it is proper for a good father to be strict.
Did a good father also include singing songs to fall asleep?
No, he did that later with Sean, the son he had with Yoko. John always had his guitar at hand when I was there, too, sometimes he would get up at night, write down a line of song or try out a melody on the piano. We had set up a small studio under the roof. Often after a few hours he would call down, "Cyn, come up and listen to this!" I would then give my comment and try to help if he was stuck somewhere.
Did he take out the garbage for that?
Are you kidding? He was a man from the north of England.
He was a macho!
Sounds like a rather difficult coexistence.
It's never easy to live with artists because they are so creative. Creative people must do everything possible to protect and encourage this creativity. I tried to give him room for that.
John said in an interview in 1971: "We were four fucking assholes."
Did John say that? So much self-criticism?
Do you have to be an asshole to be a great artist?
You have to be absolutely related to yourself, you must not allow yourself to be distracted. I'm more of someone who cares about others. I've always had dreams, including a little talent. True artists like John or Bob Dylan are complete egomaniacs.
Would you get involved with John again?
No. We should only have remained friends back then. On the other hand, then I wouldn't have got Julian. And Julian is the most important thing in my life.
Weren't you jealous of all those screaming girls all the time?
Fortunately not. Jealousy is terrible. John was jealous. He even hit me once for dancing with a friend of his. That slap in the face was really too much, and then I broke up. He apologized and was genuinely appalled at how he could have done something like that. After a few months off we were together again.
When did drugs come into play?
One day an American showed up with a suitcase full of cocaine. I had no idea what that stuff was. My mother sometimes came to us and took care of Julian, once she found those bottles with the white stuff. And she wasn't stupid - she dumped everything in the toilet. She probably drugged the whole neighborhood, she dumped that much into the groundwater. John was pissed off, but didn't dare say anything because he didn't want to admit to my mother that he had drugs in the house.
LSD was added later. Has that been reflected in the music?
Yes. "Sgt. Pepper’s "was very inspired by LSD or" Magical Mystery Tour ". All famous musicians used drugs to stimulate their imaginations. It must be like that. But after a while, the drug destroys original creativity because people think they can do more than they actually can.
Have you tried LSD too?
Once someone put LSD in my coffee without my knowing it. A nightmare. John insisted a few times because he didn't want me to be left out when everyone else was doing it. I've only seen things that I didn't want to see in life. It was also frightening that I couldn't get hold of John at all after he had taken LSD. He was then completely in a different world. There were only slogans like: "Oh yes, love and peace". That was of course a pure illusion.
Did you never believe in it?
I believe in love and peace. But especially when sober.
Are you going to Paul McCartney's concerts today?
I can listen to it at home too. Besides, he wouldn't invite me. Julian recently went to one of his concerts in London. Afterwards he met Paul, and he first yelled theatrically: “Oh, my stepson!”, But then quickly left him on the left.
It was a long time after the divorce that you gave up the name Lennon - although you remarried.
I had to make money. John gave me a one-time payment of £ 100,000 and £ 2,500 a year for Julian. That was all.
In 1968, 100,000 pounds was around a million Deutschmarks ...
... and I was 27, the money should be enough for life. Including inflation, the sum did not cover the simplest expenses. With my maiden name, Cynthia Powell, the restaurants I opened or my perfume company would not have worked. My name has only been Cynthia Charles since my fourth marriage.
Heather Mills has won 32 million euros in severance payment from her ex-husband Paul McCartney. Does that annoy you?
We live in a different time today. Besides, I didn't marry John for the money. He could have been a street musician if I did.
Do you enjoy talking about your time with John Lennon in public?
No, and not often either.
Because the memories still hurt?
No, but it's the past. Let's talk about the present next time. Maybe about cooking? I can cook well. Julian too, by the way.
Cynthia Lennon, 70, was John Lennon's childhood sweetheart and married him for six years; their son Julian has also become a musician. Cynthia has seen Liverpool schoolboys suddenly become world stars. She has lived in Mallorca with her fourth husband for many years.
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