Belfast Telegraph

Imagine ... John Lennon waiting for a tradesman

By Robert McNeill

How marvellous to find a to-do list written by former Beatle John Lennon. In saying marvelous, doubtless I’m over-egging the p, but you get my g. Even a genius such as Lennon, J, drew up dull, everyday to-do lists.

The to-do list is supposed to remind us, well, to do things. Alas, I keep forgetting I have a to-do list. I’ve downloaded umpteen to-do programmes on my phone and compute, but they remain unopened after compiling the first list, each task still uncompleted (“write letter of complaint to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan; get gramophone player repaired; buy winkle-pickers”).

Lennon’s list, on a scrap of paper auctioned this week, begins with a reminder to stay in for a tradesman. More fascinatingly, there’s a deliberately stated intention to buy marmalade. There are hints, too, that he was on LSD when he wrote: “Hook on door in our bathroom falling off.” What could it mean?

The note is also noteworthy for a reminder to retrieve a loaned-out book. What a fool: to loan a book. Ah, but I jest. Mr L was no fool. Some experts say the list was actually written for an employee. That’s the best kind of to-do list: one for someone else.

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