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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
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Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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Durga Chew-Bose
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Brittany Julious
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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Saturday
Nov282009

In Which We Just Want Someone To Look Up To

In Praise of Monarchy

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Despotism is the most underrated form of government, second only in its vast appeal to anarchism. Historians spend lifetimes proving what is obvious to everyone - we like powerful leaders who don't listen to anyone but themselves. A king or queen who turns affairs of state into a family matter is the best sort of despot. Since we tried to elect one, and he turned out to be a normal man, we can't let this sap ourselves of the possibility.

'i just bet the over in the MNF game little girl'Man loves to worship something, anything. At first the vast number of interviews B.O. saw fit to grant was most vexing. But then we understood his deeply wise plan to become our monarch. Barack's perpetual campaign does make some sense, although usually our leaders wait until election season to reinforce their popularity. This constant need for attention is of course the major characteristic of the most intolerable children.

In politics, ubiquity is nearly always good unless you're interested in being the governor of New York. (Everyone knows who David Paterson is besides David Paterson.) There's such thing as too much exposure, however, and it makes the ensuing celebration ring false. For example, does anyone actually believe Taylor Swift is talented? Her voice sounds like a creaky can, and she sort of looks like she was run over by a steamroller.

Princess Diana was wildly popular here in the United States. Even Elton John was astonished about how much people cared about a white girl's sad end. Her ensuing halofication was pretty abhorrent, but worse was that empty longing that the Queen Mother felt when Camilla Bowles entered the picture. The glimmer of royalty is the salve on the pathetic inadequacy of government.

Do you have any idea what vast army of bureaucrats has taken up space in the world's biggest roach motel of Washington D.C.? Feeding off the government has moved beyond skill for these people - they actually believe they're doing the rest of us some good. Find a moron who takes American politics seriously and I'll show you a person who thinks that our next Democratic president will be the first one to reduce troop levels.

not quite a brave faceYes, we're pumping more human lives into Afghanistan. If a king were handling this, we'd have the glory of a nationalistic speech and an unmistakable authority to dry our tears. Instead we just get another 60 Minutes interview and people pasting Barack's face on Lyndon Johnson's body in photoshop. I have given up on getting a better government, now I simply wish to feel better about the one I have.


Monarchy's singular advantage overwhelms all. Despite the necessary evil of increasing the circulation of the New York Post tenfold, a monarchy will honor us by eliminating all the unnecessary departments from the government. One wise person can easily do the work of hundreds of thousands of people who are probably not that bright. I nominate Warren Buffet for starters, and maybe after that Kathy Griffin just to mix it up a little.


We don't even need to find the smartest person in the world. First of all, most traditionally smart people aren't actually very intelligent at all. I mean, do you know how much money Steven Spielberg pays in alimony? Can we really trust him with our country? Our closest thing to a royal person was Alan Greenspan, who every president invested with some modicum of faith. Although that didn't work out so great, to be fair, Greenspan wasn't the culprit who made the United States into a service-based economy. We did that.


In this fashion, all negative things can be blamed on populism, and all remedies on the monarch. Aren't you tired of not knowing who to blame for society's ills? It's three words and it's the name of the asshole who did this to us: William Jennings Bryan.

Our democracy has long been a sham anyway; Mayor Bloomberg just rewrote the laws to keep lording everything over us. Democrats and Republicans continue to keep third party candidates out of the public debate. As wealth itself becomes less satisfying and power an even stronger entitlement, it will be a simple matter to buy elections. How can democracy exist when the only other option is robbing the populace like that gollum John McCain suggested? I don't want to pay for his lifestyle any more than I want the American taxpayer underwriting Barack's joyrides to hear if Chicago is going to get the Olympics. Kings demand ceremonial sporting events, they don't wait to be chosen to host them. Kings order us around because in our hearts, we'd all feel a lot more comfortable being told what to do.

Our pop culture is becoming radioactive; Barack and his stunning wife offered a return to the glamour of old. The richheads of Rome fell, too. All that becomes stagnant perishes except a monarch. For this reason, monarchy is not as staid a form of government as is commonly perceived.

In those halcyon days, power was as fleeting as a handjob or coy servant girl's attention. Government's most important quality was that it had to last, and democracies are only as stable as the kinds of people who vote in them. If one option is a guy who's more into critiquing Fox News than running this country, and the other option is Sarah Palin, I have a plan to select neither of these options. Barack's already got the hard part down. He's the best baby-kisser ever elected president, narrowly edging out Harry Truman's lascivious lips. At this point I'd rather watch him wear a Burger King crown than think about the outcome of the next election.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here and twitters here.

"I Have Seen The Future" - The Bravery (mp3)

"She's So Bendable" - The Bravery (mp3)

"The Spectator" - The Bravery (mp3)

Friday
Nov272009

In Which We Misunderstand The Assignment

Yvelise

by MARYSE CONDÉ

My best friend since elementary school was called Yvelise. Affectionate, as playful as a dragonfly, as good-humored as I was tempermental, so they said. I envied her name that combined her father's and mother's: Yves and Lise. Because I wasn't at all happy with mine. However often my parents drummed it into me that mine was the name of two valiant women pilots who had accomplished God knows what aerial raid shortly before I was born, I was not impressed.

When Yvelise and I walked round the Place de la Victoire arm in arm, strangers who were not familiar with family connections in La Pointe asked if we were twins. We did not look alike, but we were of the same color: not too black, not red either, same height, both gangly, all spindly legs and bony knees, often dressed the same.

Althought some ten years younger, Lise was one of my mother's best friends. They held the same desirable status in society: Both were elementary-school teachers married to men of means. But whereas my mother could rely on a spouse without reproach, Yves was a dedicated womanizer. Lise had never been able to keep a servant girl or a good friend, except for my mother.

Yves had given a bun in the oven to every one of the little country girls who families had entrusted Lise with their education. In fact, when Lise and my mother got together my mother would always have to listen to a poignant tale of marital misfortune, and then administer advice. She did not beat about the bush, and urged divorce with a generous alimony. Lise turned a deaf ear because she adored her handsome man, however much he fooled around.

I was in seventh heaven when Yvelise left Les Abymes and came to live on the Rue-Alexandre-Isaac. In a house close to ours almost as nice. Two stories painted blue and white. Potted bougainvillea on the balcony. Electricity. Running water. On the excuse I was helping her with her homework I constantly hung out at her place. I would have liked to live there. Her mother, too taken with her marital troubles, left us alone. The few times her father was home he joked around with us good-heartedly. He certainly wasn't a pedant like my father. And it wasn't difficult to get her three brothers to drop their shorts and show me their weenies. Then even let me touch them sometimes.

In the mornings, under the alleged supervision of her brothers who were too busy chasing after girls to look after us, we trotted off together to our new school, the Petit Lycee. I can remember these rambles across town when it seemed we were in a realm of our own. The sun frothed like white rum. The sailing ships bound for Marie-Galante huddled in the harbor. The market women seated solidly and squarely on the ground tempted us with topi tamboos and dannikites. Cane juice was sold in tin goblets. The Petit Lycee had just opened on the Rue Gambetta and our parents, out of pure vanity, wanted to be the first in line to enroll us.

I wasn't happy there. First of all, I had lost prestige as the-daughter-of-one-of-the-teachers. Secondly, it was cramped. It had once been a family home like the one we lived in. Bathrooms and kitchens had been turned into classrooms. It was impossible for us to run around yelling in the tiny recreation yard where we quietly played hopscotch.

At school everything conspired to separate me from Yvelise.

It's true we were in the same class. It's true we sat side by side in our often identical dresses. But whereas I sailed through first in everything, Yvelise was always last. If her parents hadn't been who they were she would never have been admitted to the Petit Lycee. Yvelise didn't read, she droned. She thought for a long time before discovering the solution to the mystery of two plus two. Her dictations had fifty mistakes. She was incapable of memorizing a fable by La Fontaine.

When the teacher called her up to the blackboard, she wriggled and fumbled so helplessly that the class was roaring with laughter. She was only good at music and singing, for the Good Lord had endowed her with the voice of a nightingale. The piano teachers chose her to sing the barcarolle solo from The Tales of Hoffmann. The fact that Yvelise was a hopeless pupil had no effect on our relationship. It merely awakened my protective instinct. I was her fearless knight in armor. Anyone who made fun of her had to deal with me.

I was not the only one at the Petit Lycee to take Yvelise under her wing. Our schoolteacher, Madame Ernouville, loved her for her sweet nature. Whereas she hated me because of my unruly ways, especially the way I poked fun at everyone à la Sandrino, even people, she pointed out, who knew more than I did, Yvelise was her little darling. She had more than once urged the principal to caution Lise that I wasn't the sort of company to keep. She wasn't my idea of good company either. She was squat and fat. Light-skinned like an albino. She spoke with a nasal and guttural accent, transforming all her r's into w's, placing a y in front of every vowel and opening wide her o's. When giving a dictation she prounced the word period as pewiod. She was the complete opposite of my mother, as well as of my idea of a woman.

I was convinced Yvelise and I were friends for life, a friendship built on a solid rock foundation. Yet out of spite and a twisted mind Madame Ernouville almost brought it to an end. In December, lacking even more imagination than usual, she asked us to write an essay on the very unoriginal subject, "Describe your best friend."

The topic bored me. I rushed through it and didn't think any more about it once I had handed it in. A few days later Madame Ernouville began giving back the corrected homework with the verdict: "Maryse, eight hours of detention because of all the nasty things you wrote about Yvelise."

Nasty things? Thereupon she began reading my essay out loud in her grating voice: "Yvelise is not pretty. She's not intelligent either." The other girls giggled and cast sideways glances at Yvelise who, hurt by this blunt candidness, was squirming in her seat. Madame Ernouville went on reading. With the same clumsiness, my essay tried to explain the mysterious friendship between a dunce and an exceptionally gifted pupil. In fact, matters would have not gone further than a few snickers and a quick sulk by Yvelise, who was too good-hearted to take umbrage, if Madame Ernouville had not decided to write a report for the principal on what she called my nastiness.

Outraged, the principal informed Yvelise's mother, who took my mother to task violently for the way she brought me up. I had called her daughter an ugly halfwit. Who did I think I was, eh? I was the worthy offspring of a family who was stuck-up, a family of niggers who thought themselves superior to everyone else. My mother took offense. My father too. Yvelise's father in turn got into a huff. In short, the grown-ups entered the dance and forgot the origin of the squabble between us children. The outcome was that my mother forbade me to set foot inside Yvelise's home.

I had to obey and was in agony. Friendship between children has the passion of love. Deprived of Yvelise, I was racked by constant pain like a throbbing toothache. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat, and my dresses hung shapelessly. nothing amused me: neither my brand-new Christmas presents nor Sandrino acting the clown, not even the matinee shows at the Renaissance. Even I, who loved the cinema, was unmoved by the Shirley Temple films. In my head I wrote Yvelise a thousand letters of explanation and apology. But why apologize? What was I being blamed for? For having told the truth? It's true Yvelise wasn't exactly a beauty. It's true she was no good at school. Everyone knew that.

The Christmas vacation lasted an eternity. Finally the Petit Lycee opened its doors again. Yvelise and I were back in the recreation yard together. By the mournful look she shyly cast in my direction and her unsmiling mouth, I knew she had suffered as much as I had. I went over to her and offered her my chocolate bar.

"Do you want half?" I begged in a whisper. She nodded and held out her hand in forgiveness. In class we took up our usual places and Madame Ernouville did not dare separate us. To this day, except for the eclipse of adolescence, my friendship with Yvelise has survived other dramas.

Maryse Conde was born in 1930, and is the celebrated author of I, Tituba, Segu, Windward Heights and Crossing the Mangrove. This essay is excerpted from her memoir, Tales from the Heart, which you can purchase here.

"Caffeine or Me" - Karate (mp3)

"Every Sister" - Karate (mp3)

"Bad Tattoo" - Karate (mp3)

Thursday
Nov262009

In Which This Girl Fascinates Me Who Knew We Would Take It This Far

We're On Our Way Home

This Playboy interview from twenty-eight years ago has been formatted to fit your screen, edited for content and to run in the time allotted.

PLAYBOY: Why did you become a househusband?

LENNON: There were many reasons. I had been under obligation or contract from the time I was 22 until well into my 30s. After all those years, it was all I knew. I wasn't free. I was boxed in. My contract was the physical manifestation of being in prison. It was more important to face myself and face that reality than to continue a life of rock 'n' roll -- and to go up and down with the whims of either your own performance or the public's opinion of you. Rock 'n' roll was not fun anymore. I chose not to take the standard options in my business -- going to Vegas and singing your great hits, if you're lucky, or going to hell, which is where Elvis went.

ONO: John was like an artist who is very good at drawing circles. He sticks to that and it becomes his label. He has a gallery to promote that. And the next year, he will do triangles or something. It doesn't reflect his life at all. When you continue doing the same thing for ten years, you get a prize for having done it.

LENNON: You get the big prize when you get cancer and you have been drawing circles and triangles for ten years. I had become a craftsman and I could have continued being a craftsman. I respect craftsmen, but I am not interested in becoming one.

ONO: Just to prove that you can go on dishing out things.

PLAYBOY: You're talking about records, of course.

LENNON: Yeah, to churn them out because I was expected to, like so many people who put out an album every six months because they're supposed to.

PLAYBOY: Would you be referring to Paul McCartney?

LENNON: Not only Paul. But I had lost the initial freedom of the artist by becoming enslaved to the image of what the artist is supposed to do. A lot of artists kill themselves because of it, whether it is through drink, like Dylan Thomas, or through insanity, like Van Gogh, or through V.D., like Gauguin.

PLAYBOY: Most people would have continued to churn out the product. How were you able to see a way out?

LENNON: Most people don't live with Yoko Ono.

PLAYBOY: Which means?

LENNON: Most people don't have a companion who will tell the truth and refuse to live with a bullshit artist, which I am pretty good at. I can bullshit myself and everybody around. Yoko: That's my answer.

PLAYBOY: How do you feel about all the negative press that's been directed through the years at Yoko, your "dragon lady," as you put it?

LENNON: We are both sensitive people and we were hurt a lot by it. I mean, we couldn't understand it. When you're in love, when somebody says something like, "How can you be with that woman?" you say, "What do you mean? I am with this goddess of love, the fulfillment of my whole life. Why are you saying this? Why do you want to throw a rock at her or punish me for being in love with her?" Our love helped us survive it, but some of it was pretty violent. There were a few times when we nearly went under, but we managed to survive and here we are. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PLAYBOY: But what about the charge that John Lennon is under Yoko's spell, under her control?

LENNON: Well, that's rubbish, you know. Nobody controls me. I'm uncontrollable. The only one who controls me is me, and that's just barely possible.

PLAYBOY: Do you-

LENNON: No, wait a minute. Let's stay with this a second; sometimes I can't let go of it. [He is on his feet, climbing up the refrigerator] Nobody ever said anything about Paul's having a spell on me or my having one on Paul! They never thought that was abnormal in those days, two guys together, or four guys together! Why didn't they ever say, "How come those guys don't split up? I mean, what's going on backstage? What is this Paul and John business? How can they be together so long?" We spent more time together in the early days than John and Yoko: the four of us sleeping in the same room, practically in the same bed, in the same truck, living together night and day, eating, shitting and pissing together! All right? Doing everything together! Nobody said a damn thing about being under a spell. Maybe they said we were under the spell of Brian Epstein or George Martin. There's always somebody who has to be doing something to you. You know, they're congratulating the Stones on being together 112 years. Whoooopee! At least Charlie and Bill still got their families. In the Eighties, they'll be asking, "Why are those guys still together? Can't they hack it on their own? Why do they have to be surrounded by a gang? Is the little leader scared somebody's gonna knife him in the back?" That's gonna be the question. That's-a-gonna be the question! They're gonna look back at the Beatles and the Stones and all those guys are relics. The days when those bands were just all men will be on the newsreels, you know. They will be showing pictures of the guy with lipstick wriggling his ass and the four guys with the evil black make-up on their eyes trying to look raunchy. That's gonna be the joke in the future, not a couple singing together or living and working together. It's all right when you're 16, 17, 18 to have male companions and idols, OK? It's tribal and it's gang and it's fine. But when it continues and you're still doing it when you're 40, that means you're still 16 in the head.

PLAYBOY: Were falling in love with Yoko and wanting to leave the Beatles connected?

LENNON: As I said, I had already begun to want to leave, but when I met Yoko is like when you meet your first woman. You leave the guys at the bar. You don't go play football anymore. You don't go play snooker or billiards. Maybe some guys do it on Friday night or something, but once I found the woman, the boys became of no interest whatsoever other than being old school friends. "Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine." We got married three years later, in 1969. That was the end of the boys. And it just so happened that the boys were well known and weren't just local guys at the bar. Everybody got so upset over it. There was a lot of shit thrown at us. A lot of hateful stuff.

ONO: Even now, I just read that Paul said, "I understand that he wants to be with her, but why does he have to be with her all the time?"

LENNON: Yoko, do you still have to carry that cross? That was years ago.

ONO: No, no, no. He said it recently. I mean, what happened with John is like, I sort of went to bed with this guy that I liked and suddenly the next morning, I see these three in-laws, standing there.

LENNON: I've always thought there was this underlying thing in Paul's "Get Back." When we were in the studio recording it, every time he sang the line "Get back to where you once belonged," he'd look at Yoko.

PLAYBOY: Aside from the millions you've been offered for a reunion concert, how did you feel about producer Lorne Michaels' generous offer of $3200 for appearing together on "Saturday Night Live" a few years ago?

LENNON: Oh, yeah. Paul and I were together watching that show. He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired.

PLAYBOY: How did you and Paul happen to be watching TV together?

LENNON: That was a period when Paul just kept turning up at our door with a guitar. I would let him in, but finally I said to him, "Please call before you come over. It's not 1956 and turning up at the door isn't the same anymore. You know, just give me a ring." He was upset by that, but I didn't mean it badly. I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day and some guy turns up at the door. . . . But, anyway, back on that night, he and Linda walked in and he and I were just sitting there, watching the show, and we went, "Ha-ha, wouldn't it be funny if we went down?" but we didn't.

PLAYBOY: Was that the last time you saw Paul?

LENNON: Yes, but I didn't mean it like that.

PLAYBOY: We're asking because there's always a lot of speculation about whether the Fab Four are dreaded enemies or the best of friends.

LENNON: We're neither. I haven't seen any of the Beatles for I don't know how much time. Somebody asked me what I thought of Paul's last album and I made some remark like, I thought he was depressed and sad. But then I realized I hadn't listened to the whole damn thing. I heard one track -- the hit "Coming Up," which I thought was a good piece of work. Then I heard something else that sounded like he was depressed. But I don't follow their work. I don't follow Wings, you know. I don't give a shit what Wings is doing, or what George's new album is doing, or what Ringo is doing. I'm not interested, no more than I am in what Elton John or Bob Dylan is doing. It's not callousness, it's just that I'm too busy living my own life to be following what other people are doing, whether they're the Beatles or guys I went to college with or people I had intense relationships with before I met the Beatles.

 

PLAYBOY: You make it sound like a teacher-pupil relationship.

LENNON: It is a teacher-pupil relationship. That's what people don't understand. She's the teacher and I'm the pupil. I'm the famous one, the one who's supposed to know everything, but she's my teacher. She's taught me everything I fucking know. She was there when I was nowhere, when I was the nowhere man. She's my Don Juan [a reference to Carlos Castaneda's Yaqui Indian teacher]. That's what people don't understand. I'm married to fucking Don Juan, that's the hardship of it. Don Juan doesn't have to laugh; Don Juan doesn't have to be charming; Don Juan just is. And what goes on around Don Juan is irrelevant to Don Juan.

PLAYBOY: How has she taught you?

LENNON: When Don Juan said -- when Don Ono said, "Get out! Because you're not getting it," well, it was like being sent into the desert. And the reason she wouldn't let me back in was because I wasn't ready to come back in. I had to settle things within myself. When I was ready to come back in, she let me back in. And that's what I'm living with.

PLAYBOY: You're talking about your separation.

LENNON: Yes. We were separated in the early Seventies. She kicked me out. Suddenly, I was on a raft alone in the middle of the universe.

PLAYBOY: What happened?

LENNON: Well, at first, I thought, Whoopee, whoopee! You know, bachelor life! Whoopee! And then I woke up one day and I thought, What is this? I want to go home! But she wouldn't let me come home. That's why it was 18 months apart instead of six months. We were talking all the time on the phone and I would say, "I don't like this, I'm getting in trouble and I'd like to come home, please." And she would say, "You're not ready to come home." So what do you say? OK, back to the bottle.

PLAYBOY: What did she mean, you weren't ready?

LENNON: She has her ways. Whether they be mystical or practical. When she said it's not ready, it ain't ready.

PLAYBOY: Back to the bottle?

LENNON: I was just trying to hide what I felt in the bottle. I was just insane. It was the lost weekend that lasted 18 months. I've never drunk so much in my life. I tried to drown myself in the bottle and I was with the heaviest drinkers in the business.

PLAYBOY: Why did you kick John out, Yoko?

ONO: There were many things. I'm what I call a "moving on" kind of girl; there's a song on our new album about it. Rather than deal with problems in relationships, I've always moved on. That's why I'm one of the very few survivors as a woman, you know. Women tend to be more into men usually, but I wasn't...

LENNON: Yoko looks upon men as assistants... Of varying degrees of intimacy, but basically assistants. And this one's going to take a pee.

PLAYBOY: How about George's solo music?

LENNON: I think "All Things Must Pass" was all right. It just went on too long.

PLAYBOY: What are your musical preferences these days?

LENNON: Well, I like all music, depending on what time of day it is. I don't like styles of music or people per se. I can't say I enjoy The Pretenders, but I like their hit record. I enjoy the B-52s, because I heard them doing Yoko. It's great. If Yoko ever goes back to her old sound, they'll be saying, "Yeah, she's copying the B-52s."

ONO: We were doing a lot of the punk stuff a long time ago.

PLAYBOY: Lennon and Ono, the original punks.

ONO: You're right.

PLAYBOY: John, what's your opinion of the newer waves?

LENNON: I love all this punky stuff. It's pure. I'm not, however, crazy about the people who destroy themselves.

PLAYBOY: You disagree with Neil Young's lyric in "Rust Never Sleeps" -- "It's better to burn out than to fade away..."

LENNON: I hate it. It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. I don't appreciate worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or of dead John Wayne. It's the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison -- it's garbage to me. I worship the people who survive. Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They're saying John Wayne conquered cancer -- he whipped it like a man. You know, I'm sorry that he died and all that -- I'm sorry for his family -- but he didn't whip cancer. It whipped him. I don't want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it's garbage, you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

PLAYBOY: For no reason whatsoever, let's start with "I Wanna Be Your Man."

LENNON: Paul and I finished that one off for the Stones. We were taken down by Brian to meet them at the club where they were playing in Richmond. They wanted a song and we went to see what kind of stuff they did. Paul had this bit of a song and we played it roughly for them and they said, "Yeah, OK, that's our style." But it was only really a lick, so Paul and I went off in the corner of the room and finished the song off while they were all sitting there, talking. We came back and Mick and Keith said, "Jesus, look at that. They just went over there and wrote it." You know, right in front of their eyes. We gave it to them. It was a throwaway. Ringo sang it for us and the Stones did their version. It shows how much importance we put on them. We weren't going to give them anything great, right? That was the Stones' first record. Anyway, Mick and Keith said, "If they can write a song so easily, we should try it." They say it inspired them to start writing together.

PLAYBOY: "I am the Walrus."

LENNON: The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to "Element'ry penguin" is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, "Hare Krishna," or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days.

PLAYBOY: Was "I'm a Loser" a similarly personal statement?

LENNON: Part of me suspects that I'm a loser and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.

PLAYBOY: Do you use any drugs now?

LENNON: Not really. If somebody gives me a joint, I might smoke it, but I don't go after it.

PLAYBOY: Cocaine?

LENNON: I've had cocaine, but I don't like it. The Beatles had lots of it in their day, but it's a dumb drug, because you have to have another one 20 minutes later. Your whole concentration goes on getting the next fix. Really, I find caffeine is easier to deal with.

PLAYBOY: Acid?

LENNON: Not in years. A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope, you know, maybe twice a year or something. You don't hear about it anymore, but people are still visiting the cosmos. We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD. That's what people forget. Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn't it, Harry? So get out the bottle, boy -- and relax. They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom. Sometimes it works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform. If you look in the Government reports on acid, the ones who jumped out the window or killed themselves because of it, I think even with Art Linkletter's daughter, it happened to her years later. So, let's face it, she wasn't really on acid when she jumped out the window. And I've never met anybody who's had a flashback on acid. I've never had a flashback in my life and I took millions of trips in the Sixties.

PLAYBOY: What does your diet include besides sashimi and sushi, Hershey bars and cappuccinos?

LENNON: We're mostly macrobiotic, but sometimes I take the family out for a pizza.

"To Know Her Is To Love Her" - John Lennon (mp3)

"Watching the Wheels (acoustic)" - John Lennon (mp3)

"Woman is the Nigger of the World" - John Lennon (mp3)