Ma-ri-pa-ta-oon

Today everyone seems to have to write something about John Lennon. Me too.

I was born in the Soviet Union, where finding foreign records was hard. But my mother was a Beatles fan, so she had Imagine and Let It Be on vinyl. These were the records with which i learned how to use a phonograph at the age of three or four. I was lucky.

I liked Imagine more; many modern critics would probably agree. I loved all the songs on it, but especially “Gimme Some Truth”. I didn’t know English then, but i loved the melody. I loved the line “Ma-ri-pa-ta-oon” at the end of the chorus. Only about sixteen years later i finally found out that he actually sings “money for dope, money for rope”.

But it’s “Ma-ri-pa-ta-oon” for all i care. (Linguists call it “Perceptive phonetics”, but it’s not really important.)

Glasnost

In 1988 i was an eight years old boy in Moscow. That was the time of “Glasnost” – “Transparency”, the policy of unprecedented freedom of speech and openness in the Soviet Union. A lot of American films and songs suddenly appeared on television. One of them was Blondie’s “Union City Blue” (Flash):

I knew a little English and understood the word “union”, so i thought that it’s a song about the Soviet Union. “Americans must really love us, if this pretty woman sings such a beautiful melody about our country”, i thought.

Ditto

There’s a Hebrew saying – “If someone is gossiping with you, he’s gossiping about you, too.” Which is probably correct. That’s why i hate listening to gossip even passively.

But there’s also another thing. Some people like to gossip about other people, and in the same time, either deliberately or compulsively, live their life in such a way that other people can gossip about them.

When i try to think logically, then the idea of gossip is supposed to be this: When you say unpleasant things about other people, you are supposed to imply that you are not like that. But that thinking is too naïve and positive – quite often the opposite is true.