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Flatbush Flashback

Into the Unknown

The above trailer for my recent interview with the Spanish digital magazine and podcast Lo Desconocido (The Unknown) is a reminder that I've been talking about Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon for 23 years.


Conducted in Spanish and English, the interview is available on Ivoox and Spotify and will appear in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Sergio Ramos of Lo Desconocido asked the questions and my friend Diego Harris translated.


Along with the usual questions—Are you a Beatles fan? Why did you write the book? What was your impression of Lennon's dairies?—Ramos asked one I'd never heard before: Do you think Lennon's diaries may be as important as the classified files about the Kennedy assassination?


Here's my answer, edited for clarity:


It's been almost 60 years since JFK was assassinated, and the classified files having to do with his murder still have not been completely declassified. I don't know if they will be in our lifetime, or ever, but if they say that the CIA was behind the assassination, as some people believe, that would be earthshaking. What the files and diaries have in common is that President Kennedy and John Lennon were major historical figures. Lennon and Ono were working very hard to project a certain image to the world. That's what their Double Fantasy album was about—projecting an image of a happy, eccentric family, with John as the househusband bringing up Sean and baking bread.


Lennon was one of the most influential people of the 20th century, in music, fashion, consciousness, and religion, among other things. Because of his profound global influence, the gap between the image he was trying to project and the flawed human being who came across in the diaries is important. The world should know who John was and what really happened (just as they should know what really happened to Kennedy). That was one of the reasons I wrote Nowhere Man. I think in certain ways Lennon is more important than Kennedy because he was more influential. I'm not sure what kind of lasting influence Kennedy had on the world other than projecting an image of a vital young American president. I was 11 years old when he was killed. It was certainly shocking and it affected my view of reality. It showed me that these things can happen. But unlike Lennon, Kennedy had no real influence on my life. I wasn't interested in politics. Lennon's influence continues, more so today than Kennedy's… a lot more so. The thing that joins them forever in our consciousness is the shock and trauma of these two extremely famous men being gunned down in the prime of their life, which I discuss in some detail in A Brooklyn Memoir.


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