10 January 2019

Double Fantasy Exhibition - Museum of Liverpool

A few weeks ago I finally visited Liverpool for the first time (yeah, I'm embarassed) to do the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Over the past year I've been drawn to their music, and seemed to hear it everywhere I went, which was weird because I've always appreciated their music but never been that into it. Well, now I'm pretty obsessed (God knows how many times I've seen the Strawberry Fields Forever video on Youtube). 

I loved the tour, which takes you around Liverpool to the Fab Four's birthplaces, schools, finishing up near the famous Cavern Club. I was surprised at how many green spaces they have there, and how compact the city centre is. We also went past the street where they film Peaky Blinders (exciting). I knew I wanted to check out some of the museums afterwards so I headed towards the Tate then the Museum of Liverpool. I didn't expect to find the Double Fantasy exhibition, which tells the moving story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words (it's free but I would have gladly paid to see something of this quality).

Me at Strawberry Fields, Liverpool
As a recent Beatles fan, I've seen how often people trash Yoko for breaking up the biggest band ever. The exhibition made me realise that she was a groundbreaking artist (which is often ignored) way ahead of her time, and responsible for many of John's lyrics when he went solo, but was never credited (I call blatant misogny and sexism - nobody wanted to see a woman in the recording studio with their heroes).

Very quickly I found myself moved by the sheer number of their personal objects, especially John's comics that he made at school and moving love notes they wrote to each other. Song lyrics and quotes are scattered around the space, which is curated brilliantly (I loved the black and white colour scheme from the Double Fantasy album which made it extremely visually powerful). They even had the bed from the Bed-In For Peace they did in Montreal in 1969, protesting the Vietnam War (a film called Bed Peace was made documenting it).

The bed from the Montreal Bed-In and John's guitar sketches
Other items on display include John and Yoko's glasses, John Lennon's Green Card from 1976, handwritten lyrics from songs like 'Beautiful Boy, ' 'Love' and "Instant Karma' and artwork by Yoko.

John's childhood comics/musings, inspiring slogans and John's iconic NYC vest
I challenge anyone not to get emotional at the section which addresses John's death. There's a memo from Yoko and Sean (their son) following his shooting to say that there will be a vigil to pray for his soul instead of a funeral, and to love and pray for the human race (just like John would have done). The sobering image of John's glasses spattered with blood below the horrifying number of deaths due to gun violence since John's death in 1980 made me cry, as well as the poise of his son Sean talking about the aftermath of his death in video footage.

The classic peace slogan, 'Love' lyrics. Yoko's memo and the shocking poster
You can also see a variety of films that John and Yoko made, as well as music videos. Music lovers will enjoy the Music Room which overlooks the river, where you can see the couple's album cover art and hear the music they made together.

I could have stayed in there for hours, the energy of the whole thing was so peaceful and powerful. There's also a memory wall for John where people can leave messages which is also very moving. Reading all the messages was very uplifting. Hell, even the gift shop is totally inspiring! The story of their journey and the ongoing Imagine Peace campaign is just as important now than it was in '69.

The moving message board for John

Find out more about Double Fantasy here. The exhibition is open until 22nd April 2019.

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