Living with Lennon
John Lennon's first wife Cynthia tells Billy Butler about her experiences with John form when they met at art college through to the birth of the Beatles and their eventual divorce at the height of the 1960's.
The relationship between you and John was something that grew gradually?
"Well it grew gradually, because we went to the same college and because we were thrown together in the same class. And that was the only time that I really got anything out of him in terms of getting to know him or talking to him -and he was still a bugger. But it was when I saw him playing his guitar that did it for me."
After a while it became a matter of trying to find a place to be alone?
"Absolutely. I mean where could you go? There was nowhere. Thankfully Stuart had his flat so that was our escape route, but it wasn't a pleasant experience in terms of cleanliness and romance. You just did what you did, when you could"
John had a temper?
"Well, it has been written about before, many times not just with me but after me."
And he hit you?
"He saw me dancing with his best friend Stuart, my best friend Stuart. That made him see red at that time. But it wasn't until the following day and he'd been thinking about it all night and he caught me outside the ladies loos in the college basement, and just smacked me one. And I hit my head on the back of the pipes and he just walked off."
Cynthia Lennon and Billy Butler
His relationship with his mum and Auntie Mimi, he really liked his mum's partner Bobby?
"Yes, who he called twitchy because he had a twitch - so it wasn't Bobby Yes, he liked him and he loved his mum, and it was only when he was getting older 15, 16, 17 that he was getting to know his mum, because Mimi brought him up virtually. And the difference between his mother and Auntie Mimi was chalk and cheese.
I met John after his mother had been killed in the car crash. But I had my fill of Auntie Mimi, which I've described very clearly, the emotions that were going on and the harshness of the woman. She was cold, she wasn't warm, she wasn't compassionate."
John said all that matters in her life are cats and money?
"That's what he said after she'd thrown a mirror and a chicken at John when we went to visit her and he'd bought me a suede coat from his earnings in Hamburg and we thought we'd treat her with a chicken and she threw the chicken and then a mirror at us."
What was Hamburg like?
"It was magic, it was the first time we'd left the country. Especially going on our own on a boat train and not knowing what we were going to see or do or where we were going to stay. But when we got there it was just fantastic we had the greatest time. I think we all grew up in Hamburg, in terms of experience and seeing the rest of the world. It's a fantastic city."
Was living with John during Beatlemania dangerous?
"In the beginning when we go the flat in London then we were totally unprotected and we had no idea what was going to happen at all. But when we couldn't get in or get out of the flat and I used to get some terrible funny phone calls and I had a wierdo at the door one day when I was on my own with Julian. So it was decided that the only way to escape that was to get out and into the country."
Yoko, did you think of her as a threat?
"Not at all, but it wasn't a physical danger it was a mental danger. She was persistent and she didn't give up."
When you came home from holiday and you found them together she just said hello?
"She didn't even say that. He said hello, I didn't get one word out of Yoko. In fact I've hardly ever had a word of Yoko because she let him do all the talking in defence of her."
last updated: 21/05/2008 at 16:05