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  • Nick Drew

Me, John and Yoko...

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

I have just re-discovered this photo while doing a bit of housekeeping through the files on my computer. Some years ago, I used to do quite a bit of promotion and display work for Coventry Cathedral. This was a publicity shot to promote an exhibition I put together called 'Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Bed-In for Peace', a photographic exhibition of the famous Montreal Bed-In for Peace that also included material about John and Yoko's visit to Coventry, the planting of two acorns, and the gift of a white, round wrought iron bench to sit on and watch them grow.

The two performers, looking nothing like John and Yoko, were photographed in their 'bed-in for peace' pose, and for some reason I jumped in and joined them, though I don't think this was the photograph used in the local papers!

In looking at this photo, I wondered what the story was behind the couples visit. Apparently John and Yoko visited in June 1968 to submit a piece of art to a sculpture exhibition at the cathedral. They planted two acorns, symbolising the joining of Yoko from the east and John from the west, and a circular white bench to surround them so people could sit and watch them grow. A plaque was put on the bench that read 'Yoko by John, John by Yoko'.

Unfortunately the acorns and the plaque were stolen shortly after and the bench was moved to another part of the garden. The head of the Cathedral at the time, Canon Verney, objected to the sculpture – and he also objected to the couple being married to ‘other’ people. The couple were furious about their treatment and John sent his driver to pick up the bench and return with it to his house in Weybridge.

So, I have now discovered, the bench I placed in the exhibition was a, not very accurate, copy from a Theatre Absolute play, 'The Lennon Bench'. But it still exists and can be seen at the Coventry Music Museum.

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