Irina Pino

John Lennon remembered in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — Dying at the age of forty, when the sap of experience leads to a new blossoming in our lives, is too unfair.

The death of John Lennon at age 40 isn’t a trivial or even logical incident. It was a devastating event that has always stayed with me. I recall hearing the news over the radio, late into the night, I believe.

I had been listening to a music show and they announced it over a break. I could hardly believe it – I was a daydreaming 15-year-old girl, after all. I only faced up to the fact when, the following day, I saw my sister and boyfriend crying. They were also fans of The Beatles.

My friend Salvador would throw parties at his house, where we would listen to the band’s marvelous vinyl records. He and some friends would even improvise a band with a guitar, bass and drums and perform the songs of the English musicians with near-ecstatic fervor. They would translate and study their lyrics with the help of English dictionaries and books. Those jam sessions were very funny, for they sounded nothing like the Boys from Liverpool.

Today, after seeing Chapter 27 and The United States vs. John Lennon for the second time, I thought of him especially. I also saw the film about Mark Chapman, Lennon’s killer, and the documentary dealing with his political activism in favor of peace.

The first lays bare the mind of the perpetrator of the crime and his morbid obsession with destroying the musician, revealing the impact J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye had on him and how Holden Caufield, the main character, became a point of reference for him.

I confess I felt both fear and pain on seeing that dissonant portrait, how coldly he was able to carry out his plan. The documentary includes valuable interviews with people who knew Lennon and the circumstances that had an impact on his life, such as the harassment he was subjected to during the 60s, a priceless document for those of us who love his music and his original personality.

My personal experience with his songs is rather peculiar. In addition to admiring his love songs, I also had a marked interest in his gradual transition towards surrealism, sarcastic humor and his more committed and revolutionary works.

Immediately after his death, I started writing a diary. I wanted to express my feelings about the tragedy, and I even titled the diary “Strawberry Fields Forever”, as a kind of tribute to Lennon.

The diary was a kind of multifaceted exploration of my impressions regarding certain things that made me dwell on “details.” I would delve into and explore the universes surrounding, try to understand the reasons that make us oscillate between good and evil, the opposite ends of a taut string.

I still write in this diary, which is already several volumes long.

Though Lennon remained true to his ideas and managed to rid himself of violence, this same violence ended up destroying him unexpectedly. He called for love, peace and understanding, luminous thoughts that could accompany us if we give the peace inside us a chance and manage to project it onto others.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

15 thoughts on “On John Lennon’s Death

  • As I said peace… And no I did not get the lyrics wrong… And I Actually play this song… In a band… The song has nothing to do with Lenin, though about what John Lennon was trying to say about peace… And you fool on the hill…

  • I quoted the lyrics directly and accurately. I think John Lennon got them exactly right, and perhaps you got them wrong. What the lyrics actually state is that Lennon is all for working to make the world a better place, but that violent revolution is a path to destruction, which he opposes. He’s for political and social evolution, not revolution.

    Lennon is not Lenin.

  • My father was working the flight when the Beatles first came to Canada… He came home and told us of these long hair bums he had seen that day. And all the screaming girls. And me and my mom went crazy!!! Like DAD WHY DID YOU NOT GET AUTOGRAPHS!!!!

  • Man you got that song all wrong… He was singing about peace as the revolution…

  • In case anybody forgot: the Beatles’ music, along with all other rock & roll, was banned in Cuba during the 1960s and ’70s. Che particularly hated the Beatles. I’m not sure when the Cuban authorities decided to install that statue in Havana, but wasn’t during the man’s lifetime.

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