Posted by: gdevi | February 9, 2014

Beatles conference day 2

Another good day of conference. The guest speaker at lunch was Richard Langham who was the recording engineer at EMI for Please Please Me. Lots of wonderful anecdotes about EMI and the band. I really enjoyed listening to him, a bright and dignified gentleman. Our panel went well. Good discussion. I feel bad about this but I left as soon as my panel was over. It is snowing really badly here, and I did not want to get stranded in Altoona and be unable to make it back to Lock Haven tonight. I teach early tomorrow. I feel bad about missing the afternoon panels, but it was safer this way. I left at 2:15 pm, and I got here at 5pm! I99 North was unbelievable–snow was coming down in almost blizzard condition, really affecting visibility. I saw at least four crashes off the shoulder. Unbelievable. Anyway, I got here without getting bogged down in anything; thank god.

One of the presenters spoke about the Rolling Stones cover of Lennon and Yoko after John’s assassination, the Annie Leibowitz photo of a naked John in the foetus position kissing a fully clothed Yoko. While he was discussing the photo, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps it was not a conscious decision on Leibovitz’s part, but something about the composition and the posture/gesture of John and Yoko reminded me of Klimt’s painting The Kiss. The photograph and the painting are like mirror images of each other: Yoko on the right, the man on the right; Yoko clothed, man clothed; John on the left, the woman on the left; John cradling Yoko’s face in a particular manner; the man cradling the woman’s face in the opposite direction in more or less the same manner. John clings to Yoko. Klimt’s  woman clings to the man. John wraps his legs around Yoko. Klimt’s woman clings with her knees away from him, the toes pointing downwards emphasizing the strength of the man’s embrace, much like in Leibovitz’s photograph.  In both pictures, it is the man giving the kiss. The woman accepts the kiss. It is not a sexual kiss, but it embodies an intense love for the woman. They are intensely beautiful pictures. And it is just incomprehensible to think that mere hours after Annie Leibovitz shot this picture, John Lennon was shot down in front of his apartment by some lunatic. This must be Yoko’s last memory of him.


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