Monday, December 8, 2014

Pleasant Dreams John and Yoko

 This is an interesting interview with the Liberation underground news at the Montreal Bed-in in 1969.   John and Yoko were full in on selling peace like soap and it seems like their answer to most questions were "then move..."     I don't always agree with John and Yoko during this time, but I do admire them for taking a stand and attempting to do something for peace.  During this time, we are in need of a lot of peace in the world.  

A big thank you goes out to Brother Michael for not only sending me this article but also taking the time to transcribe the article and type it out!   A big hand for Michael!  Yeah!!!!!

by Paul, Susan, Dick and Tamar

When John and Yoko tried to enter the United States a few weeks back, they were denied permission because John was an undesirable alien - John had once been busted for having some marijuana around his house in England.  Having been busted for dope makes you too undesirable to visit the United States unlike President Thieu of South Vietnam who enters our fair land, his hands dripping blood.

When John and Yoko were told they couldn't come into the States they side-tripped to the Bahamas where they promised a protest against the United States and war.  Like previous John/Yoko protests this one was to emanate from their hotel room -- they would remain in bed for ten days attempting to draw world-wide attention to their thoughts.

Upon arriving in Freeport, the main airport for the British Bahamas, John and Yoko decided those one beautiful, now tourist-infested, islands wouldn't suit their high purpose.  The hotels in Freeport charge foreign tourists sucker prices and aren't accessible to the Americans invited to visit John and Yoko during their demonstration.

So Yoko and John caught the first flight out of Freeport headed for Montreal.  It was there, at the Queen Elizabeth II Hotel, that we planned to talk with them.


"We'll call them on the phone and tell them we're from Liberation News Service and we want to interview them for the underground press in the United States.  WE have a note for Yoko from John Wilcock saying we're beautiful people they should talk to.  Wilcock and Yoko are old friends."

The idea of talking with super Beatle and his beloved got us all hyped up.  We decided Susan would do the calling because she was the best at talking to the bureaucrats we'd surely have to go through to reach the dynamic duo.

"Is this the Queen Elizabeth Hotel? Can I talk with John Lennon and Yoko Ono?"

"You'll have to talk with the person in room 1748 about that, and that line is busy."

"Can I hold on until the line is free?"

"Alright, I'll keep ringing."

Five minutes later the call went through.  The guy who answered was one of those who serves as a buffer between famous people and the outside world.

"Hellow, can I talk with John or Yoko?"

"Who is this?"

"My name is Susan Adelman and I'm from Liberation News Service in New York -- we're the news service for the underground press in the States and we'd like to interview John and Yoko.  If that isn't impressive enough for you, we also have a note for Yoko from John Wilcock."

"Oh. John Wilcock, how is John?"

"He's fine and he told us that John and Yoko would probably love to give us an interview for the underground press in the States."

"Well, if you have press credentials then you can come down to the hotel and probably get to see John and Yoko when they see the press."

When Susan got off the phone and reported the above conversation to us, we freaked.  The cat we spoke to didn't sound too inviting.  How the hell could he lump us in with the Establishment media? Didn't he know what the underground media was???

We decided to go anyway and see what happened.  We figured that as soon as we got to the hotel suite we'd be able to get past the jackass P.R. man and arrange with the bed-iners to talk privately.

As we walked Dick asked me what we wanted to talk with John and Yoko about.  "Suppose we only get to ask three questions, what are we going to ask?"

"We'll ask them what they meant when they said they were pacifists and not revolutionaries, what they meant by the line in the recording of 'Revolution' about "counting them out/in when you talk about destruction" and what they think about the youth movement around the world."

"What we really ought to do is try to have an informal bull session where we can all talk freely and try to get them involved in the radical movement."

So we decided -- we four new left radicals of varying experience as organizers -- to attempt to organize John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  We sincerely thought an informal discussion with John and Yoko would bring out the closeness in our collective thinking.

We got into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and up to the seventeenth floor by waving a couple of New york City Police Press Passes in the faces of anybody who tried to stop us.  Our appearance may have been shoddy but the power of a New York City Police Press Pass is awesome.  Like magic the doors opened and the guards moved aside.

On the seventeenth floor we were a little bit turned off by the constant chanting of Montreal's Hare Krishniacs.  The Montreal chapter of the Society for a Krishna Consciousness was there in force banging their cymbals, beating their drum and chanting their message over and over and over.

A security guard outside John and Yoko's section of the suite showed us to another room where we would meet their press aide.  In the room were a group of kids questioning a mid-thirties, chain-smoking, pseudo hip who was obviously the P.R. man.  He was telling the curious about a typical day in the life of a Beatle.  It really wasn't very exciting --  not at all.

The guy had a mouth and a lot of words came out of it but there was no soul behind it.  He sounded like he was describing the tricks a prize dog performs.  John and Yoko were not portrayed as people but as famous personalities.

After a while we told Mr. P.R. that were from LNS and gave him the note from John Wilcock. So impressed was he by our fancy credentials that he went right into the bed-iners and arranged for a group of us to go in.

After getting final instructions from Mr. P.R. "("when you get into their room move quietly and sit down promptly"), we moved into the "presence".  There they were, looking very human.  Except for his long hair and beard John could have been your father.  He was wearing those off-white pin-striped pajamas that your father wears.  You know the kind we mean -- big, baggy, comfortable pajamas that make you look like a tooth paste commercial.  Yoko was wearing a simple white nightgown and beads.

Around the bed were set up movie cameras which we later learned were hired by John and Yoko to record their protest.  The sound man for the movie company brought in a long poled microphone.  "Look  John," cried Nyoko (sic), their five-year old daughter, "it looks like a fishing rod."

"Yeah, he's going to fish for some words," responded John.

Around the bed we sat like children visiting their parents on Sunday morning.  John wanted to talk about Berkeley and so off we were.

J: You're playing the establishment's game. And if you play their game they'll win.  They know how to play better than you. Stay at home or protest in bed.  Sit down rather than march -- marching is for your father...these days it's different -- you've got to get new ways of doing it...we're the hip ones -- we are the aware ones.  And if we can't sell peace the way they sell soap, well, we're nowhere.

US: That assumes that we're selling peace the way they're selling soap.  The people in Berkeley want a place where they can play -- where kids can play.  Aren't you playing the establishment's game if you let them move you every time.

J: Well, take when you're sitting on the bench and you don't know how to swim.  A lot of people are apathetic, they sit on the beach and say, 'the water's too deep; there's too much current, too many sharks', and they spend their whole lives doing that.  The militants dive in and drown.  The peacniks tried the peaceful way in Berkeley and they got in the water and swam, which was good.  But they happened to jump in where there was a big current, and some of them drowned.  And when you do that at any seaside, you put up a notice that says, "DANGER -- DON'T SWIM!' and you move down the beach. Or you get back on the beach and figure out how can swim under those circumstances, without drowning, but you don't go back into the same water.  That's what's happening in Berkeley.

Look, you've got two years to give out propoganda (sic) before the next election and if all those minds are working but can't get rid of that guy in two years -- the leave and let the guy govern nothing.  Ok, it sounds hard to just move, migrate, but people have been doing it for millions of years.  We're all convinced that we have to stay in these little boxes that the establishment has given us to live in. We don't need degrees and you don't need boxes, not the boxes they give you -- move on, rather than die.  Or just move a couple of hundred yards down the road and plan out the next campaign.  Don't keep banging your head against the wall.  Not the same spot. Move on.

US: What happens when there's no more boxes?

J: what do you mean no more boxes? No more houses?

US: No more places to go.

J: By that time you will have had time to figure out what to do--you've got to turn on the housewives...

Y: What does a salesman do?  A salesman goes to eighty houses and maybe gets eight people or five people on his side and that's how they sell.  You're not going to succeed every time you knock on the door... You haven't tried it enough--the thing is that: say you moved a hundred times, you know what's going to happen? While you're moving like that, maybe you'll come back to the same place.  But the same place is no more the same place, the time's changed, and meanwhile while you're moving you're working on things.  So that everywhere in the world as you go through, hopefully, and so the more you move the more the world is going to change.  Move more, man, you know.

US: How does that relate to "Get Back To Where You Once Belonged?"

J: You're taking it too literally. Tuscon, Arizona, is anywhere you want to go.

Y: Everywhere is somewhere.  You could change the world.  It's the stupidity of the world you're fighting against. How do you fight stupidity?  You just have to break the stupidity and get the intelligence out of it.


Y: They have to help themselves, too.

US: But they are helping themselves.  And they don't want to--some of them can't--move.

Y: Why can't they move? Even if it's a ghetto, like a Jewish ghetto, you can escape.  There are ways of escaping.

US: But racism exists everywhere.

Y: Don't say racism exists.  That's your responsibility.  You become a traveling salesman, like Jesus Christ was, walking everywhere in his town.  You move from one place to another and go on singing your song.

US: Aren't there times when we should stay where we are?

J: If you want to get killed. Jump in the water where you just got killed--where your brother just got killed.

US: People get killed by more than gunshots.  People get killed by other things.

Y: Like what?

US: By starving, for instance.

Y: Nobody is starving.

US: Oh, but they are.

Y: If they are starving, they should move.  That's the worst crime in the world.  You know why they don't move.  It's because of the same idea that I have to carry my own name because a name is important, I have to live in my country because it's my country, I have to be in my town because it is my town.  It's a convention.  If you tell people that the whole world is yours and everywhere you go is your home and then if that consciousness develops, everyone is going to start moving.  Take if the Indians are starving, the only reason that they're starving is that they don't even dream of moving from there.

Yoko's beautiful little daughter came running in carrying a small, clear plastic box.  'Look, John, look what someone gave me.  It's a mouse.'  My goodness, it certainly is a mouse, isn't --it,' said John, moving back about a foot from the bed.  (The mouse was about an inch and a half long.) 'What shall we do with him,' she asked.  Someone suggested that she let him out, but John said, 'Oh, no...he'd get trodden upon.  Now take him into the other room.'


US: In the Revolution song on the album, you say, "If you're talking about destruction, don't you know that you can count me"

J: That's because I'm human and I have doubts.  Now that Revolution song is the first version.   And the Revolution on the single was the last version.  I recorded the first one first and tried to release that.  With all the hassles, it didn't get out.  That was going to be the A side and Number Nine was going to be the B side.  But the Fab Three didn't think it was commercial enough, so we did it again.  And by then I'd got positive about it.  Well, I mean I still have doubts like everybody else, I'm no saint, and I'm no martyr.  And I have the same fears and emotions that everyone has.  I'm just trying to think positive about it.  And do positive things.  Otherwise, it will happen, it will be 1984 if we don't do the other... There's no such thing as stand as fight.

US: Is there anything in the world that you could imagine you would stand and fight for? Anything so awful you would fight against it?

J: Yes.

Y: We're fighting in our own way, that is we're fighting to destroy hypocrisy and violence and hatred and things like that.  But this is the way we fight.  We keep moving and just communicate in ideas and concepts and try to change peoples' minds instead of a physical situation.  A physical situation is when you have to stay and fight physically and we don't want to do that.  So we just keep on changing our place--nothing bad about it.  It's just your pride or whatever it is that makes you stick it out, and that kind of pride is a waste.  We don't have any such pride.  Just keep on moving and while we move we drop our concepts and ideas to people and communicate and that way gradually the world will get turned on.

J: When I was an unknown Beatle, I still was on the road.

Y: We're a gypsy family.  I was a gypsy before I met him and was a gypsy too and we met and now we're a gypsy family.  May I tell you something, that in five years time, in ten years, I don't know, but in the near future people will be so self-secure about themselves that they won't need a government, they won't need any money to communicate.  Money and banks and governments will go.  That's my dream.  We're not it, you are it, everybody is it, and everybody is an infinite universe.  Leaders are just father figures.

J: Who told you you weren't an artist? All kids paint and draw and write poetry and they don't need a leader, they just need somebody there to watch that they don't fall over in the trash basket.  So all of a sudden we've got art teachers and some of us are told you can't paint, you can't draw, you can't write poetry.  But they can all do that.  And it's the same with the world government telling you you can't do this, we need to do it for don't need it.  You're all natural born leaders.  Who told you you weren't artists?

  Before I met Yoko, she just wandered around, renting things.  I've still got the working class hang-up, I'm trying to get rid of it, of possession.  I figure that she's the daughter of a banker and she's given it all up, she knew what it was all about.  She just turned up when we got together with a few rags, and just left anything she had.  Half her gear is in New York.  She never possessed anything. I've still got the hang-up that 'this is my pillow and that's your pillow and it's a hard fight but I'm winning.'

  Show me any violent revolution that worked before.  You had revolutions in Moscow and in France.  They won and they took over and look where they're at now.  Everyone wants to put hope in Cuba, but how long has it been going--10 years--I wish it well.


  1. Just want to give the blog where I found the original article:

    These were the only two pages posted, I'm assuming that's the only two pages, but given the way it ends abruptly, perhaps it went on.

    Yeah, "got a problem...move!"...a little too pat! To be fair, they specifically had the recent Berkeley demonstrations on their mind, and I think they were trying to just prevent kids from getting their heads bashed in. This whole article should probably be seen through that prism, their Bed-In coincided with the demonstrations in the park and eventually they even phoned the demonstrators and gave them a similar message.

    I like that even though Joko don't come off their best ever, they (or at least John) aren't a total wash out, and (to me) it almost is a "draw", between the student interviewers' point-of-view and the newlyweds'. (almost, but I think the students' incredulity is completely understandable...."Pleasant dreams, John and Yoko" ,ha!)

  2. hard to take yoko seriously then and now