John Lennon 'nonsense list' up for sale
Anglesey owner of the abecedarium met the former Beatle in Liverpool
By David Powell
21 Feb 2014
A unique “nonsense” list by former Beatle John Lennon is being sold by its Anglesey owner.
Michael Poynter Adams has the original, 1969 printer’s proof of the list, which has 26 letters and nonsensical words alongside each one in Lennon’s handwriting. It’s expected to fetch at least £6,000 at the Colwyn Bay auction on Wednesday.
In what’s known as an abecedarium, the dyslexic and quirky star wrote: “A is for Parrot, B is for glasses, C is for plastic, D is for Doris...”
The list later became the introduction to a controversial set of 14 erotic lithographs of him and Yoko Ono called Bag One.
Mr Adams, 69, who met Lennon while browsing for records in Liverpool in his pre-Beatles days, later coincidentally worked at a printers and that’s how he acquired the print.
He said: “I am selling it with great reluctance but it is not on display at home and we are moving to a smaller house, so it has to go. It’s a significant piece of music history and I hope it goes to a good home.”
Mr Adam, who has previously loaned the print to the National Library of Wales and Liverpool Hope University, added: “I first met John Lennon and the Beatles before they were famous in 1961. I used to buy my records, rare imports mainly from France, from NEMS in Liverpool and Brian Epstein took my orders.
“John and the other Beatles were often in the shop. Although John was older, we shared an interest in rock’n’roll – there was the same synergy between us.
“By sheer coincidence, later in life I was working at Curwen’s where the Bag One lithographs were printed and I was told that when John and Yoko arrived in their flamboyant Rolls Royce to see the first prints being produced, there were girls banging on the studio windows outside trying to attract his attention.
“The printer’s proof of the abecedarium was the precursor for the whole series, the start of it all and the rarest to survive from the printing process. Because he knew of my friendship with Lennon, when he retired and was clearing out his files the master printer responsible for the lithographs gave me the proof and I’ve cherished it ever since.”
The abecedarium will be on public view at Rogers Jones saleroom in Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, from 2pm-4pm on Sunday, 1pm-7pm on Monday and on the morning of the sale which starts at 10.30am. More details on 01492 532176.
The full text of the abecedarium reads:
A is for Parrot which we can plainly see
B is for glasses which we can plainly see
C is for plastic which we can plainly see
E is for binoculars I’ll get in five
F is for Ethel who lives next door
G is for orange which we love to eat when we can get them because they come from abroad
H is for England and (Heather)
I is for monkey we see in the tree
J is for parrot which we can plainly see
K is for shoetop we wear to the ball
L is for Land because brown
M is for Venezuela where the oranges come from
N is for Brazil near Venezuela (very near)
O is for football which we kick about a bit
T is for Tommy who won the war
Q is a garden which we can plainly see
R is for intestines which hurt when we dance
S is for pancake or whole-wheat bread
U is for Ethel who lives on the hill
P is arab and her sister will
W is for lighter which never lights
X is easter - have one yourself
Y is a crooked letter and you can’t straighten it
Z is for Apple which we can plainly see
It ends with the amusing rhyme:
This is my story both humble and true
Take it to pieces and mend it with glue
The printer's proof of John Lennon's abecedarium