John reading ‘The General Erection’ & “The Wumberlog (Or The Magic Dog)’ and interviewed by Kenneth Allsop on BBC’s Tonight Show on 18 June 1965.
WE MUST NOT FORGET THE GENERAL ERECTION, 1965. (excerpt)
Azue orl gnome, Harassed Wilsod won the General Erection, with a very small marjorie over the Torchies. Thus pudding the Laboring Partly back into powell after a large abcess. This he could not have done withoutspan the barking of thee Trade Onions, heady by Frenk Cunnings (who noun has a SAFE SEAT in Nuneating thank you and Fronk (only 62) Bowels hasn’t). Sir Alice Doubtless-Whom was – quote – ‘bitherly dithapointed’ but managed to keep smirking on his 500,000 acre estate in Scotland with a bit of fishing and that.
THE WUMBERLOG (OR THE MAGIC DOG), 1965. (excerpt)
Whilst all the tow was sleepy ⠀
Crept a little boy from bed ⠀
To fained the wondrous peoble ⠀
Wot lived when they were dead. ⠀
He packed a little voucher ⠀
For his dinner ‘neath a tree. ⠀
‘Perhumps a tiny dwarf or two ⠀
Would share abite with me? ⠀
‘Perchamp I’ll see the Wumberlog ⠀
The highly feathered crow, ⠀
The larfing leaping Harristweed ⠀
And good old Uncle Joe.’ ⠀
He packed he very trunkase, ⠀
Clean sockers for a week, ⠀
His book and denzil for his notes, ⠀
Then out the windy creep. ⠀
He met him friendly magic dog, ⠀
All black and curlew too, ⠀
Wot flew him fast in second class ⠀
To do wot he must do. ⠀
Q: Mr. Lennon, your first book is a bestseller and I shouldn’t see any doubt this one’s going to be, too. Do you think that you’d be published were you not a Beatle?
John: I could probably get published but, you know, I wouldn’t sell as many. I mean, they publish a lot of rubbish anyway. But I wouldn’t sell.
Q: Do you think you’ve got a built-in advantage in being a Beatle? I mean, are you glad about this, or would you rather have earned the reputation as a writer in your own right?
John: No, I mean, I never thought of it. If I hadn’t been a Beatle I just wouldn’t have thought of having the stuff published because I would’ve been crawling around, broke, and just writing it and throwing it away. I might’ve been a Beat poet (laughs).
Q: How did it come about that you weren’t a Beat poet and that your first book was published?
John: Well, some American who shall remain nameless, who’s called Michael Brown, I showed him the stuff and he took it to the publisher, and they published it. That was it.
Q: Did you ever think of publishing it under a pseudonym, not as John Lennon?
John: I thought of that but what’s the use? Because he took it to the publisher first without telling them who it was just to see if they would’ve published it. That answers your first question as well.
Q: It does indeed, yes. Living in, you know, the butterfly world of Pop as a Beatle, do you find that this undermines people’s serious acceptance of you as a writer?
John: It does. But I didn’t really expect them to take me seriously, so, you know, there’s nothing to say about that. They do take it more seriously than I thought, so that’s good enough for me.
Q: Indeed. I mean, the first book was reviewed in the posh Sunday (paper)s and on the other side of the fence your music is recorded by people like Ella Fitzgerald. Now this is serious recognition in both areas. Which do you find more satisfying?
John: Well er, the book, really. It means more to other people that Ella Fitzgerald recorded one of our tunes than it does to us, because the tune is still something that Paul and I have written. So we still have the same faith in it. It just gives other people more faith in the tune.
Q: This book is very similar to the first in being bits and pieces of poems, and bits of prose. Do you think you’d ever want anything longer? A novel, for example.
John: Well, I tried writing… The longest thing I’ve written is in this book. It’s one about Sherlock Holmes, and it seemed like a novel to me but it turned out to be six pages (smiles). But I don’t think I could… I couldn’t do it, you know. I get fed-up. And I wrote so many characters in, I forgot who they were.
Q: This happens to other writers, too.
JOHN: (smiles) “Hmmm. Other writers! Good.
Q: The Pop business is a young man’s world. It seems to have an ever increasingly young audience. Do you think that perhaps writing a book like this, and writing at all, perhaps might be an unconscious attempt to win recognition in the adult world?
John: No, because I started all this writing long before I was a Pop artist, or even a Beatle, or before I had a guitar. So it’s nothing to do with that. The guitars came second. Second.
Q: And which comes first?
John: Well, now the guitars come first. because this is still a hobby, which it always has been.
Q: You’re going on doing it, are you?
John: I’ll go on doing it.
Q: Have you written anything else? Is anythng else coming off of this?
John: Well, uhh, I don’t get much time. If I had more time I’d probably write more.