Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Lennon Diary 1969

Hey.  Wait a minute.  What IS this?  It seems to be a reproduction of John Lennon's diary.  I hope so.

His life was out-sized yet this is bit-sized.  The diary booklet measures 2 x 3 inches and is oddly formatted.   Each double page accommodates 6 days, so there is an intriguing rhythm to the way the weeks break.  It reminds one of the way human calendars and celestial movements require that extra day in leap years.

John Lennon - a giant of our times!  I could hardly wait to see how he'd spent 1969.  I was especially interested to see what small event or observation he would choose for the tiny space allotted each day in the diary.

woke up. went to work. came home. watched telly. went to bed. 

Written over and over again.  Occasionally fucked wife or went out.  July 14: went to Majorca.  blank pages until July 26: came back. Sunday July 27:  woke up - late watched telly. went to bed. 

This can't be right.   Is someone pulling my leg?

I wanted it to be real.  That it is the only explanation I have for my continuing and unreasonable gullibility.

A bit of scientific skepticism finally kicked in.  I checked July 21, the day  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.  No diarist could fail to mention this.  According to The Lennon Diaries, John was in Majorca at the time.  Even so.

Further checks saw no mention of Colonel Mummer al-Qaddafi driving Libyan King Idris 1 into exile; no mention of the Woodstock Extravaganza in August of that year; no mention of George Harrison releasing his own album; no mention of Lennon, himself, refusing the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award as protest for UK involvement in Vietnam.  Were these too inconsequential for limited diary space?

And what about his marriage to Yoko Ono on March 20, 1969:  got up. went to work. came home watched telly. went to bed.

Okay.  It's not real then.  It's a joke.  Good one.

As it turns out, it really is a good one.  The Lennon Diary 1969 was written by John Lennon in November 1968 as part of a future diaries project.  It was published in 1970 and included as one of 14 items in the box that was issue No. 7 - The British Issue - of Aspen.  Aspen is "The Multimedia Magazine in a Box".

1969 was quite a year.  John Lennon was quite a man.  This little book introduces me to Aspen Magazine and Dave Dyment.  I'm glad to know of them both.


relevant links:
Aspen, the index page gives a good sense of this remarkably interesting project:

Aspen page of John Lennon's future diary - includes the entire book:

Artists' Books and Multiples -  Dave Dyment has a great blog showcasing artist books and other stuff he calls "editioned artworks".  He has reproduced the entire The Lennon Diary and given bibliographic information.  Apparently Dyment's leg was not pulled.

An audio diary - John Lennon talking about his life - on YouTube

more plausibly real John Lennon's diaries

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