Saturday, May 11, 2019

Restaurant Entrepreneur

I wouldn't call Cynthia a kind of person to be in the kitchen, at least not as a little girl. I don't think Cynthia helped out her mother Lillian with the family meals. It wasn't until much later, while married to John Lennon, Cynthia realized her cooking skills were limited. Once she got married, reality set in. It was one thing as a single college woman living on fish and chips and boxed/packets of food to quickly cook. But once the ring was on her finger and a baby growing inside her that Cynthia would be in the kitchen more. Vesta Beef Curry, sausage and mash, and cheese on toast were what Cynthia could manage in 1962; she would try to twist the Vesta Beef Curry up with rice or bananas.


"I was happy enough battling with the washing and ironing and teaching myself to cook.  I'm afraid I wasn't much good in the kitchen but fortunately John was easy to please.  His favourite meal at the time was Vesta Beef Curry- a dehydrated powder to which you just added water - followed by a banana sandwich and even I could manage that."
Cynthia, 1994

While pregnant with Julian and living with Aunt Mimi, Cynthia mentioned on the good days with  Mimi, she was taught how to make apple pie, among other things.


"When John was there Mimi was fine but when he was away she could be moody and sharp-tongued and in my over-sensitive pregnant state I frequently retired hurt.  Admittedly on good days she helped me with my cooking and taught me to make apple pie but, on balance, it wasn't a happy arrangement."

Cynthia, 1994


Especially once the Lennon family moved to Weybridge and started to host parties with other celebrities and well-to-do visitors, Cynthia bought lots of cookbooks to expand her repertoire when entertaining at home. Because her kitchen was designed by an interior designer as very modern with gadgets that freaked out Cynthia- there would be someone that would have to go to the house to teach Cynthia how to use a mysterious kitchen gadget. If it was too complicated, then it would be on the shelf gathering dust. When they wanted to go out and not be mobbed, Brian Epstein provided a list of places to go... in one restaurant, John and Cynthia were introduced to garlic. John also loved a roast of lamb.

“His favorite must have been lamb. When he came home to Harrie's with Yoko in 1969 she cooked him a leg of lamb when he was all macrobiotic and he loved it. When Cynthia and he were entertaining at Kenwood he particularly wanted her to cook a leg of lamb.”
Julia Baird, 1986

"He loved corn flakes and banana for breakfast and roast lunches on Sundays."
Cynthia, 1994

There was a time, probably around 1967, when John went vegetarian but it didn't last very long. When The Beatles’ biographer Hunter Davies stayed with the family, he observed that Cynthia does all the cooking while John sometimes makes tea; on one particular occasion, Cynthia served a slice of melon as a starter/appetizer and then cold meat with mashed potatoes and cauliflower along with milk by 6:30 PM. John didn't eat the meat because of his newfound vegetarianism. I'm also sure that dinner wasn't served often at 6:30 if John was in a recording studio.

Cynthia and Roberto dining, probably taken at Da Bassano restaurant in 1969


Fast-forward to Cynthia's time with Roberto Bassanini, her second husband. Roberto’s family owned and ran hotels and restaurants in Italy- it's how Cynthia crossed paths with the Bassanini family while on vacation with Julian in 1966, staying and dining there. In 1968, Roberto moved to England to woo a newly-separated single mother Cynthia while becoming a restaurant manager for his father's Da Bassano at the time. Unfortunately, Roberto was an immature partygoer who wanted to be loved and very generous to his friends, letting them fill up the restaurant and eating for free, which was bad for business. It wasn't until after their divorce that Roberto grew up and became a successful businessman.

Julian outside of Oliver's Bistro in 1981


The restaurant business must have grew on Cynthia when after she married her third husband, John Twist, and trying to make ends meet, that they opened restaurant and inn Oliver's Bistro in Wales in 1980. It was also perhaps a way to try to survive a failing marriage that was doomed from the start (more on that later!). It was Cynthia and John, along with Angie McCartney (Mike McCartney's ex-wife; former sister-in-law of Paul's) and John’s parents helping out.


"We both do the cooking and I do everything from spud-bashing to waitressing. We work well together and we work hard. We're learning as we go along but I think we've achieved something.”
Cynthia, 1980

“I waited tables, cooked and worked from 7 each morning to 2 a.m. the next.”
Cynthia, 1981

“Eventually towards the end of 1979 we opened a restaurant in North Wales. We called it Oliver's, as in Oliver Twist, and Mike McCartney's ex-wife Angie, who was a great cook, came to work with us. It was bistro food and we took it in turns to make our specialties. Angie would do Navarin of Lamb, John did Chicken Paprika which he was very good at and I did Spaghetti Milanese - a legacy of the Italian cooking I'd learned from my Italian mother-in-law. The three of us did everything. We cooked, we waited on tables, we worked and worked. It nearly killed us. But the business grew. Sadly, as the business flourished, my third marriage began to disintegrate.”
Cynthia, 1994


But the inn and restaurant phase didn't last and neither did the Twist marriage by 1981.

Cynthia and her second restaurant, Bunter's, in 1988


In 1988 and now with longtime boyfriend Jim Christie, Cynthia found herself in her second attempt of running a restaurant business: Bunter's in Isle of Man.


"For the last six months we've had the restaurant. It was fate that we got it. When we first  came to the island we stayed at a bed-and-breakfast place with a lady called Mrs Jennings.  Within walking distance was this restaurant called Bunter's; we fell in love with the  atmosphere, but didn't have any ideas about running a restaurant, none whatsoever. We got very friendly with the owner, who was 60 at the time. He decided he had had enough of it and said we were the people he would love to buy it off him. So we started thinking about it. We'd only come here for a sabbatical, to take a year off and that's what we were doing before we got started to get bored stiff and this came along. Now we are there every evening. I tried running a bistro before in 1978, but it didn't really work, and my marriage to John Twist had broken up. Then it was time to change direction. It led to my first exhibition of cartoons and drawings in America and led me more into the artistic side of life. But as Jim's parents had run restaurants, we decided to give it a go and we're really doing okay with it."
Cynthia, 1988


Cynthia found herself doing exactly what she was doing a few years prior but didn't mind- she did enjoy the work. But the Bunter's experience didn't last long, only for a year. I guess Jim and Cynthia sold it before moving on to something else. They did continue to live on Isle of Man for a number of years until moving to France before eventually breaking up by 1999.

Lee Starkey, Cynthia, Julian, and Maureen Tigrett in Lennon's, 1989


In 1989, Cynthia gave the restaurant business a third and final try: Lennon's in London. The walls were decorated of articles on the Beatles, with memorabilia and dishes like Rubber Sole and Sgt. Pepper Steak. At first it seemed successful… Maureen was a frequent customer during its short life. But competition in the neighborhood was tough: it rivaled Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers that is still in business to this very day. Cynthia left the business; Lennon's did try to continue on but not long until it finally folded. However, Cynthia carried on her love of food and cooking until her death.


“Noel and I love cooking. He does his cooking and I do mine. I’m the traditional English cook, with a twist now and then. Because I was married to an Italian, I’m also pretty good at Italian food. Noel, he can cook anything, so can Julian.”
Cynthia, 2005

“She was a real good cook. She was the one who got me to like roasted lamb with potatoes. In the early days at my house, she would say, 'Let's have a bacon butte.’ They were always so delicious and I'm surprised I wasn't 300 lbs by the time she went home! When I last saw her at her home in Spain, she had had a pot cooking on the stove for days, making her amazing gravy. Any food that wasn't used or leftover went into that pot. I got a little taste of it the day I was heading back to London. I had so wished that the gravy was ready before I left. The taste lingered on my palate for a while.”
May Pang, John's assistant and former girlfriend, 2015

Julian cooking at home in 2011

"The first thing Julian wanted to do in life, well, before he wanted to be an artist and then a musician, was to be a chef. He'd come home and say 'Why don't you bake cakes like my friends' mothers?' I'd say, 'Oh, Julian, go out and buy a Mary Baker cake mix and do it yourself!' That started him off! By the time he was 13, he'd disappear into the kitchen whenever we had visitors and emerge with beautiful canapes. Now he thinks nothing of cooking for ten or 15 people, and he does it so calmly."
Cynthia, 1999

"I probably have more of a passion for cooking than I do for music. I love traveling and finding great little hideout restaurants and little villages and going to the open markets. Eventually I must admit I want to do a cookbook, though people might think it a bit gimmicky - the musician turned cook. Cooking and music, they're very much the same sort of therapy. Both depend on adding the right ingredients to come up with a product that not only you, but everyone else, enjoys. A friend of mine in the South of France has a house with an enormous kitchen. When I'm staying there I tend to find myself less in the sun than cooking for about ten people every day. Music might give me a couple of hits a year, but in cooking, depending on how many meals I cook, I can get three hits a day!"
Julian


“If I hadn't gotten involved in musical photography, I would've been a chef. Food is one of my number one things in the world; I absolutely adore it and have been involved with several restaurants. I was living life a little bit, because when you're on the treadmill of the industry, you literally don't have much of an outside life.”
Julian, 2014

“Of course, my initial choice before music was to be a chef. I am a closet chef! There’s a great similarity between all of that. It’s mixing it up in the pots for the finished product. I like to do fusion and a little bit of everything.”
Julian, 2016

“Cooking. Well actually, I’m such a food lover I’m not sure I ever could. If I hadn’t gone into music, I would have been a chef.”
Julian, 2016

Julian did follow in his mother's footsteps but is more of an investor and part owner of several restaurants. Here's what I know of:
1995- The Revolution in San Francisco, California
2003- Red Bar & Grill in Mallorca, Spain
2004- Blowfish Sushi To Die For Restaurant in San Francisco, California

"This is something I've dreamt about for six years with my old songwriting partner Todd Meagher. He now lives in San Francisco and it seems as if he may have found some people to support our ideas. People will tie the name in with the Beatles but there is no connection. It's similar in concept to 'Planet Hollywood' or the 'Hard Rock Cafe,' but instead of displaying memorabilia from the film or music industries it will be tied in with men, women and companies who have made a change for the positive in this world. For instance some of the pieces may come from Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa. For the rest of the displays we hope to hang work from artists and photographers in San Francisco and part of the money raised from the sale of these works will go back into local charities. It will be a socially-conscious, awareness-raising venture. The idea is for people to come and enjoy themselves, and leave with more than just a full stomach."
Julian, 1995 about Revolution

“Had I not been involved in taking the direction of music or now with my interest in photography I certainly would have been a chef, no question about that. When I was living in Spain I opened what was probably the first of its kind lounge bar/club with fusion food. They’ve never seen anything like it. In the polls we ranked three years in a row, one, two and three. So we did pretty well with them and I oversaw the whole putting together of it. That was one of my desires. It was just a nice escape from the industry and everything I knew. So to be able to go and open that lounge bar/club on this beautiful Spanish island was wonderful.”
Julian, 2013 about Red Bar & Grill

As far as I know, Blowfish is still in business. I don't know about Red nor Revolution, it doesn't really show up when I Googled it to see if it was still open. So far, Julian doesn't want to do a cookbook as he wants to keep his secrets of cooking tight-lipped. He did reveal that there was an idea of musicians doing a cooking show but it was never materialized other than being an idea … who knows? Maybe one day Julian will share his cooking wisdom with us. Never say never!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Hard Day's Night

Cynthia on the streets of London, Spring of 1964
Photographed by Astrid Kirchherr

The first film John was in. It started to film in the beginning of March and ended until the end of April. John played himself, but his movie character appeared to be not married as he flirted with a showgirl dancer. To be fair, Paul too was “seeing” a showgirl dancer, not Jane Asher. Not very much other than John was home in London so he was able to come home to Cynthia every night. Cynthia did visit him on the set, according to Victor Spinetti at one of the Beatles conventions Q&A.


“During our relatively short stay in Emperor's Gate so many marvelous things took place, the first being A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles' first film… John went through hell making that film, he had to be at the studios at a very early hour and John hated getting up early. He would be chauffeur-driven to the studio with the rest of the boys and return home at about seven at night exhausted, only to find the place in a stage of siege.”
Cynthia, from her 1978 book A Twist of Lennon

“Back in London we barely had time to draw breath before the boys started making their first film, A Hard Day's Night… John was excited about making a film: it was another creative medium to explore and he was fascinated by the whole process. But he hated having to get up at dawn to be driven to the studio. He wasn't home again until seven in the evening, by which time he was exhausted. The whole film was shot in the space of a few weeks. It went on to become the most successful pop spin-off film ever.”
Cynthia, from her 2005 book John

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd on the set of A Hard Day's Night, 1964

I suppose I could point out that George Harrison met and fell in love with Pattie Boyd. Pattie was a model that got casted as a school girl on the train by Richard Lester with other models as school girls after being in his commercial. George asked her out but got turned down! Pattie had a boyfriend; about two weeks later, the relationship was over. Pattie was then called back to the set. George casually asked how the boyfriend was and Pattie told him it was finished… George wasn't definitely sad about it and asked her out again and this time he got lucky! I don't know when exactly Pattie and Cynthia met, but it wasn't long. When Pattie first met John, she was a little scared of him and didn't ask for her autograph as she did with the other three (George gave her seven kisses X's under his name).

Astrid, Maureen, and Pattie at Scala Theatre watching the filming of A Hard Day's Night, 1964

Okay, getting sidetracked here. Let's reel it in and go back to A Hard Day's Night: Pattie wasn't the only thing that was happening! Maureen Cox came from Liverpool to visit Ringo Starr on the set, as did Astrid Kirchherr from Hamburg. Astrid came down with Max Scheler for a project, not only visiting the set but going their homes. But, John didn't want Max to his home- he barely knew that guy! So, Astrid came. I believe it was her first time meeting Julian, who was turning one year old.

"I was very friendly with Cynthia, John's first wife, and used to visit them at their flat in London..."
Astrid Kirchherr

John and George sword fighting in Ireland while Cynthia and Pattie were in hiding from the press

Over Easter weekend (March 27-30th), John, Cynthia, George, and Pattie decided to take a quick vacation to Ireland. This would be George and Pattie's first official vacation and their relationship was still very new. Worrywart Brian Epstein was trying to downplay the romance but it was starting to be impossible. They stayed at Dromoland Castle but the press found out and mobbed the place. John and George confirmed they were there to take a break, even hammed up to the press by putting on a sword fight and a game of croquet. But it got too much. The press was very much interested in the new girl that George was seeing. More about this later but needless to say, the vacation was cut short.

Julian, around his first birthday
John's handwritten lyrics of A Hard Day's Night in back of Julian's birthday card (from who? I wonder)

And yes, as just mentioned, Julian turned one year old! John was home for the big milestone! I don't know if there was a birthday party or anything… During that day, filming was halted when fans managed to break into Twickenham Studios. Other than that, nothing else in a lot of Beatles’ chronology books… I am hoping that John spent most of the day with Julian and Cynthia. The film needed a lead song, so Richard Lester asked John and Paul to write one. John must have had a flash of idea that he grabbed whatever was nearby and writable: the back of Julian's birthday card. He wrote A Hard Day's Night on it. It became the title of the movie. Personally, I do believe the lyrics do have Cynthia as a muse (more on that momentarily). During the filming, The Beatles also recorded the soundtrack album, A Hard Day's Night.

John and Cynthia at the Dorchester Hotel for his In His Own Write luncheon

Another big moment for John in April was his first book release, In His Own Write. On April 23, 1964, John was the guest of honor for the Foyle's Literary Guild luncheon at Dorchester Hotel; he missed the day of filming of A Hard Day's Night with The Beatles with the running/playing around in the courtyard during Can't Buy Me Love sequence. John and Cynthia were suffering hangovers from partying the night before after going to dinner with friends and went to the Ad Lib club with only four hours of sleep. John and Cynthia ended up sitting apart with John being the center of attention while Cynthia enjoyed the company of Earl of Arran Arthur Gore and Marty Wilde. I'll get more into In His Own Write in its own individual post as I want this to be about A Hard Day's Night.
John and Cynthia at the premiere of A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day's Night premiered at London Pavilion on July 6, 1964, followed by a party at the Dorchester Hotel. Before the event, an excited Cynthia combed through just about every dress shop to find the right evening gown for the event. She found it, but unfortunately it needed to be fitted and would be ready on the day of the premiere; Lillian went to pick up the dress. Cynthia went with John, Paul, George, and Ringo, walking on the red carpet with her husband's arm around her; she felt like a Princess. She also met a real Princess, Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth II) introduced by John… I don't think the Princess was all that interested other than talking to the Beatles, Richard Lester, and producer Walter Shenson but Cynthia was still rather starstruck of meeting royalty.
The only thing that bothers me is that Cynthia always described the wrong dress for A Hard Day’s Night premiere… she always confused it with the Help! premiere outfit. It feels like no one ever bothered to correct her when it was obvious.

A Hard Day's Night 1964
It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright
You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things
And it's worth it just to hear you say you're going to give me everything
So why on earth should I moan, 'cause when I get you alone
You know I feel ok
When I'm home everything seems to be right
When I'm home feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah
It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright
So why on earth should I moan, 'cause when I get you alone
You know I feel ok
When I'm home everything seems to be right
When I'm home feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah
Oh, it's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright
You know I feel alright
You know I feel alright

Why do I think why Cynthia is part of being a muse of the song? Well… who else would be in John's home? Who else would he get her money to buy things? Who else would be holding him? … or I am wrong and it's really about Sonnie Freeman, their downstairs neighbor John was cheating with? My money is on Cynthia. I don't think Sonnie ever spent a penny of John's money.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Uncle Charlie




Charlie (brother of Alfred) and his grandnephew Julian in Liverpool, July of 1989

Coming & Going





Fan photos of John, Cynthia, and Julian at their London apartment in late 1963/early 1964

Volume I: Meet the Lennons

John's father, Alfred Lennon

Cynthia never got to meet John's mother Julia but she did eventually met his father, Alfred Lennon, in 1965. Since John was five years old, Alfred disappeared from his son's life (sound familiar?) and didn't keep in touch for almost 20 years when John was wealthy. I do wonder when Alfred found out he was technically a widower (Alfred and Julia never divorced) since 1958? John told Cynthia his vision of his father as a hero of the sea but unable to come home because life on the sea was very busy… probably something John told himself for comfort. I have heard that there was a time when Alfred was in jail at some point. Being a Seaman wasn't an unusual occupation: both Cynthia's and Maureen Starkey's fathers (Charles and Joseph) were seamen at one point in their lives. But unlike John's father, Charles and Joseph came home. There is a possibility that Julia’s family, particularly Aunt Mimi, scared Alfred away. Maybe he did kept in touch but his mail went first to Mimi who threw it in the garbage- I honestly wouldn't put it past her. Anyway, by 1964, Alfred was working as a dishwasher when he encountered a man who drove John around (chauffeur… could it be Bill Corbett? Alf Bicknell? or Les Anthony?); Alfred went to see John on the set of A Hard Day's Night, accompanied by the press hoping for a reunion exclusive. Needless to say it didn't go well. John was horrified, shocked, and pissed off that he refused to see Alfred. John didn't tell Cynthia about this until later- she didn't know why John didn't tell her but knew that Alfred was a sensitive subject. A year later, Alfred tried another approach without the press and went to John's home, Kenwood. Cynthia answered the knock on the door and was shocked to find John's long-lost father standing at her doorstep. She was struck by the resemblance and invited him in, also very curious about this man. Alfred's hair was long and unkept so Cynthia offered to cut and tidy up his hair which he happily obliged. Cynthia also introduced Alfred to his grandson Julian who soon became his only fan when his one and only record That's My Life (My Love and My Home) came out later that year; I'm afraid that's all I know of the relationship between Alfred and Julian during that time period of 1965-1968. I have absolutely no idea afterwards when John and Cynthia divorced until Alfred's death in 1976. I can't imagine John's reaction and what went through his mind when he came home to find his estranged father in his home with his wife and son. An awkward conversation followed; John had many questions for Alfred's side of the story and compared them to what Julia's family have told him while growing up that I am sure brought on confusion and anger. When Cynthia, a sucker for reuniting families, invited Alfred to stay overnight, John gave her a look of ‘Do you know what you are doing?’ but didn't argue. Alfred stayed for three days and during those days, John was either avoiding his father by going out or had tense conversations about the past.

“Freddie was met by the unsmiling servant Dot, who escorted him through a mirrored door into the living room. Here he was greeted by John's wife Cynthia, whose sweet concern, reminiscent of a typical homely Lancashire lass, at last allowed him to feel a little more comfortable. They (Freddie and John) sat over a cup of tea, trying to put themselves at ease with each other, alone in the silent house apart from Cynthia and Julian who were upstairs in bed. John had already made up his mind that he wanted his father to live as one of the family, and lost no time in suggesting he should move in to Kenwood immediately. But there was little time for the promised heart-to-heart the following day...or the next. John did not usually rise before eleven o'clock in the morning, when he would come dashing down the stairs to eat a hurried breakfast, usually a plate of mushrooms on toast, promptly set before him by Dot or Cyn. But it was not until the appearance of Cynthia's rumbustious and plain-speaking mother, Mrs. Lillian Powell, on one of her regular visits to Kenwood, that anyone recognized his restlessness. 'For heaven's sake, man, you look as frustrated as a hen in a coop,' she remarked, one morning over breakfast in response to Freddie's god-forsaken expression. 'Why don't you get them to find you a flat where you can do your own thing?' Freddie hesitantly agreed to consider the idea, his main worry being John's reaction, but before he had even had time to consider the question Lillian had already broached the matter with her son-in-law. And the speed with which she helped to implement the operation suggested to Freddie that it wasn't only the 'lodger' who was to be more comfortable after his eviction. However, this restoration of freedom was marred by John's disappointment at his leaving. Freddie had detected a look of dismay on his face as Cynthia informed him of the arrangements that have been made. But is was clear from his withdrawn attitude that he had not expected this turn of events. And Freddie learned later from John Francis, the part-time chauffeur, that John had been 'very upset indeed' about his father's departure. Nevertheless he gave orders to Dot to ensure that Freddie was given a couple of weeks' supply of food, and Cynthia went to great trouble to provide him with a carpet, a TV and some bedding for the new flat.”
Pauline Lennon Stone, John's stepmother

I guess the connecting chauffeur was John Francis… the name doesn't ring a bell but who knows? Lillian sure could get things done, huh? She instantly saw how restless Alfred was and did something about it. And really, Lillan? A flat (apartment) where can do own thing… interesting considering John bought her her own house to do whatever she wanted and yet spent majority of her time at Kenwood [read my reasons why John and Cynthia broke up a few posts back]. Anyway, it does sound like Lillian got along well with Alfred, better than her tense coexistence relationship with Mimi. I have no doubt that John saw a lot of himself in Alfred, from looks to personality, especially their sense of humor. I believe deep down John and Alfred wanted a close relationship but the damage was too great; Alfred missed a lot and John only knew life without his father around.


Pauline and Alfred, 1968

Around 1966 Alfred met and fell in love with (19) college student Pauline. However, her mother was understandably against the relationship of her young daughter with a 50-something year old man. In 1967, Alfred took Pauline to meet his son. Alfred asked John and Cynthia to give Pauline a job: as a secretary, going through fan mail, and an occasional nanny for Julian. Cynthia later revealed there wasn't much for Pauline to do around the house and spent most of her time crying.


“I had already begun to suffer severe headaches and periodic blackouts when I received John's invitation to spend the weekend at Kenwood, so I welcomed the chance of a short break. I had arranged to meet Freddie at the Southampton Hotel in Surbiton, from where we would be driven to Weybridge by John Francis, the cabbie who worked part-time for Cynthia while Anthony was busy chauffeuring John around town. We arrived about midday and were met at the front door by Cynthia, dressed in a black sweater and red velvet slacks. Her reassuring smile and quiet charm made me feel reasonably relaxed. 'John isn't up yet,' she informed us, leading us through to the cosy little living room which opened off the kitchen and was actually the only spot in the vast house which in any way resembled home. We chatted a little about my predicament, and Dot made us some tea as we sat admiring John's huge collection of zany prints and lithographs which adorned the white walls, waiting for the entrance of the 'great one’. Cynthia seemed more in awe of John's imminent arrival than I was myself as she listened intently for his step on the stair with an expression of flushed anticipation. Finally her patience was rewarded. 'I think I can hear him now,' she breathed, glancing at me to check my reaction. I was soon to discover that John enjoyed an almost regal status at Kenwood, which he was encouraged to maintain by the demeanour of the household members and by his visiting friends. 'I see you don't like wearing specs either,' smiled John. 'You know, when Cyn and I used to go to the cinema we were both too vain to wear our glasses so neither of us could see what the film was about.' 'And we couldn't hear it either,' chipped in Cynthia. 'If you're short-sighted it affects your hearing too, you know- you can't lip-read so well.' 'Well, John, what do you think of my Polly?' he finally asked, putting an arm around my shoulder. 'She reminds me a little of Julia. What do you say, John?' I felt rather embarrassed to be compared with John's mother, especially when I caught sight of the uncomfortable expression on his face. But he dodged the question neatly, remarking that I reminded him more of Cyn. It was true that Cynthia and I did resemble each other a little, having the same long blonde hair and similar facial features. But it was immediately clear to me that John's mother occupied a very special place in his heart... John was badly in need of secretarial help in handling the large amount of correspondence- mainly from fans- that arrived at Kenwood each morning. So I was to work for him as sort of correspondence clerk and I would provide Cynthia with baby-sitting services, not nannying as such but looking after Julian whenever she was out. That way both of them seemed happy. I moved into Kenwood at the end of October 1967 and was duly issued with my own shiny red, electronic entry card which enabled me to come and go much as I pleased. It was also announced that I was to begin driving lessons immediately, which would allow me to ferry Julian to and from school in the smart black Mini with smoked glass windows which Cynthia normally used. Additionally stored in the attic regions were a vast quantity of John's discarded clothes, most of them worn only once or twice. Cynthia was most insistent that Freddie should choose whichever items he wanted to supplement his own meagre wardrobe, but unfortunately he was a size or two smaller than his son!”
Pauline Lennon Stone

It feels like Cynthia had a much social life than she let on; there was always an impression that Cynthia stayed home a lot more than Maureen Starkey, Pattie Harrison, and Jane Asher. I'm not implying like reclusive but less than how many times of outings. I do know that whenever Cynthia wanted to go out dancing, Terry Doran would normally be her escort while John, the definite homebody, stayed home because he wasn't much into dancing. I suppose it was around this time or early 1968 (before the India trip), that things got crazy, from the marriage of Alfred and Pauline and the alleged seduction Alfred pulled on Cynthia.

“However, it was the question Cynthia's evenings out with the girls which brought about a rift between John and Freddie and led John blowing his top with his father for the first but not the last time. During one of my weekend visits to Freddie in Kew we bumped into Cynthia in a nightclub one Saturday evening. Whether it was due to an excess of alcohol or simply the prompting of old-fashioned values I'm not sure, but Freddie was deeply shocked to find John's wife clubbing without a suitable escort and he treated her to a lecture on the subject of wifely duties. It was one of the few occasions when I was really mad with Freddie. I knew he had a terrible habit of saying the most outrageous things under the influence of whisky, but I was furious with him for offending Cynthia. I realized with despair that he had gone much too far, but what I did not realize was that certain members of John's entourage who were also present in the club would report his words to John in a totally contorted form. In fact several different versions of the truth reached John's ears- the most ridiculous of which being that Freddie had attempted to seduce his daughter-in-law! The accusations were nevertheless sufficient to enrage John, and without waiting to verify their validity he paid an impromptu visit to Kew the next morning, en route for London in his Rolls.”
Pauline Lennon Stone

“Eventually, however, Freddie exhausted the limits of even John's tolerance when he attempted to seduce his daughter-in-law. Cyn was so distraught that John threw his father out of the house, and refused ever to see him again.”
Pete Shotton


David, Pauline, and Alfred, 1969

Well, no matter how the misunderstanding of this alleged hit-on (Cynthia never mentioned it in any of her books or contributions to biographies), I suppose it's nice to know that John still felt jealousy and protectiveness over Cynthia.
While Alfred and Pauline settled into married life, John and Cynthia divorced and John got involved with Yoko Ono. On February 26, 1969, Alfred and Pauline welcomed David Henry; John met his little half-brother once and it wasn't a kind of meeting to remember. John was going through his Primal Scream therapy period and had a lot of anger boiling over. When Alfred brought along his family, John hit the roof! After that encounter, Alfred and John would never see each other again. On October 22, 1973, Alfred and Pauline welcomed Robin Francis, who never met John; since David was born, Alfred became a stay-at-home dad (which John would later do with Sean) while Pauline worked. At his age, there were not a lot of options for Alfred to get a job so Pauline got a job as a translator. Alfred and John did reconnect later through telephone while John was living in New York. Alfred died of stomach cancer on April 1, 1976 when David was 7 and Robin was 2½ years old; John offered to pay for the funeral but Pauline refused. I don't know if Alfred ever saw Julian again after 1968 and Sean was 5½ months old when his grandfather passed away, they never met. I don't know if Julian or Sean have any relationship with their Uncles David and Robin- my guess is no but I don't have any knowledge on that to confirm. Interestingly, Cynthia later died on the same day as Alfred, 41 years later. Pauline remarried to Robin Stone; David is in the computer business while there's nothing recent known about Robin (in 1989 he was in college and in 1997 was unemployed and living with his mother).

Julian and Charlie in Liverpool, 1989

Alfred had 4 brothers and 1 sister: George, Herbert, Sidney, Edith, and Charles. He was very close to his youngest brother Charlie despite the 6-years difference. Charlie knew John as a little boy until he was four, estimating around the time Mimi thought Julia was an unfit mother with an absentee husband, lots of boyfriends, and went to social service to have John live with her. Charlie served for the Royal Army and his relationship with sister-in-law Julia went downhill after her boyfriend John Dykins went to Charlie about the idea of Julia divorcing Alfred but Charlie turned him away. By 1958, Charlie had it with the Stanley family and left Liverpool until 1982 when he retired. I am guessing Charlie left Liverpool before Julia's death during the Summer of 1958? In 1964, after hearing John slamming the door in Alfred's face, Charlie wrote John a stern letter, explaining that there were two sides of the story. I don't know when John reconnected with his Uncle, but in November of 1967, John invited Charlie to his home in Weybridge for his birthday while he was filming Magical Mystery Tour. Charlie spent a few days there, had Julian on his knee, and got an autograph from John that he used one of Julian's crayons because he couldn't find a pen that Cynthia gave him after John left on film location. I don't know if John and Charlie saw each other again… However I do know Charlie and Julian reconnected in 1989.
In April of 1989, there was a tragedy in the Hillsborough Stadium during a soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest teams with 96 deaths. In July, Julian arrived in Liverpool to appear in the benefit concert. Charlie greeted Julian when he arrived in Liverpool; Julian didn't realize that it was his grandfather's brother until someone offered to take a picture of the two of them. Julian apparently forgot about Charlie after last seeing him in 1967- that's what happens when you don't keep in touch, especially a four year old. They had a pleasant chat… again, I don't know if they kept in touch until Charlie's death in 2002. Anyway, since that reunion, Charlie had pictures/posters of John and Julian up in his home.

Alfred holding his single record, That's My Life (My Love and My Home), in 1965

Going to go back to what I previously mentioned in greater detail: Julian being Alfred's one and only music fan. Alfred always loved music, he played the banjo. He even taught Julia chords of the banjo, who later taught John. After establishing himself as John's father, he took an opportunity to release his own music, That's My Life (My Love and My Home). It at first did well, well enough for a potential tour, but it suddenly disappeared and it's very rare to find these days. It's heavily believed that John and Brian Epstein managed to get it off. I wonder if Julian still has the record?

“John's reaction to his Pop's 'pop' venture were actually rather mixed. He had been angered by Freddie's story to Tit Bits and was basically opposed to any of his relatives or friends 'blabbing to the press'. Part of the reason for this was his fear that Mimi might be upset by the revelations. But he also resented the idea of his Dad- or anyone else for that matter- muscling in on his name. Nevertheless he bought a copy of Freddie's record and it was played regularly at Kenwood, his spacious home in Weybridge. John's son Julian, who was then just three years old was especially fascinated by the record and repeatedly asked his mother, Cynthia, to 'put on Granddad's song'. It gave John a secret thrill to think that his Dad was a 'real character' with some talent in his own right, but he was still too suspicious of Freddie to trust him or openly to acknowledge his interest in him as his father… At least Freddie did have the chance to get to know young Julian, whose only previous acquaintance with his granddad had been through Freddie's record 'That's My Life.'”
Pauline Lennon Stone