SHELF LIFE

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The Independent Culture
2 In March 1964, Jonathan Cape published In His Own Write by John Lennon: 80 pages of doodles accompanying whimsical, menacing and punning stories and poems. The book went on to sell 200,000 copies, amply justifying Lennon's pounds 1,000 advance. Cape followed up with A Spaniard in the Works in 1965, which sold 100,000 in three months.

Now Pimlico is reprinting the pair in one small volume (pounds 8), with an introduction by Jon Savage ("Here is the man in the eye of the storm, revealing his shadow"), and Paul McCartney's contemporary preface: "None of it has to make sense and if it seems funny then that's enough." Ringo comments: "John's inscription on my copy of A Spaniard in the Works ... says it all: `To Ringo with love, you dwarf bastard'." Tom Maschler (quoted by Savage) remembers Lennon as "quick, witty, harsh. If you made a false move, he would slap you down." The humour here is mordant and comes with unabashed references to spastics and "the coloured problem". "There once upon a time was a man who was partly Dave - he had a mission in life. `I'm partly Dave' he would growm ..." Doesn't everyone know a Partly Dave?

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