Yesterday, the new film from director Danny Boyle, the man behind hits like Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, tells the story of a struggling musician named Jack who wakes up in an alternate version of reality in which The Beatles never existed. Jack uses his knowledge of all Beatles songs to become a superstar, but it comes at a personal cost.
The plot of the movie feels very familiar to author Nick Milligan, who wrote a book with nearly the exact same premise.
Milligan self-published a speculative fiction novel titled Enormity back in 2013, which is about an astronaut named Jack who finds himself on another planet after a mission gone wrong. This new planet is almost exactly the same as Earth, with the only difference being that The Beatles do not exist. He uses this to become the planet’s most successful musician.
“Yesterday is a more light-hearted family-friendly film, where Enormity is far more dark and twisted. It’s probably just a horrible coincidence and they mean me no disrespect.”
Milligan has also stated that since he spoke to The Guardian, sales for Enormity have gone up. It is unclear whether or not Milligan will pursue legal action. The producers of the film have not commented on the story.
I’ll go out on a thin limb here and say we are all familiar with John Lennon. If you don’t know him from his star-making career as one of the core members of The Beatles— most of whose songs were written by the Lennon-McCartney (as in Paul McCartney) songwriting duo— you might know him from his stellar post-Beatles career, or from his work with his partner, Yoko Ono. However, there is another creative medium in John Lennon’s repertoire that has not received quite as much attention as his music.
Image Via Gifer
In honor of what would have been Lennon’s 78th birthday, we here at Bookstr would like to draw some attention to his less-regarded creative output: his writing— not songwriting, but creative writing, in the form of his books, In His Own Write, A Spaniard in the Works, and Skywriting by Word of Mouth.
In His Own Write was Lennon’s first book, published in 1964 by Simon & Schuster. The book is made up of short stories and Lennon’s drawings. It is written in a nonsensical style that is characterized by intentional misspellings, surrealism, free association, and abrupt shifts in thought. The book also happened to be the first solo project by any of The Beatles.
Image Via 13th Dimension
An example of the book’s unique style can be found in the “About the Author” page:
About The Awful
I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madolf Heatlump (who only had one). Anyway they didn’t get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn’t pass — much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my (P, G, and R’s) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I’m conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I’ve every ready.
God help and breed you all.
A Spaniard in the Works was Lennon’s second book, published only a year after In His Own Write. The style is very similar to In His Own Write, featuring the same intentional misspellings, short stories accompanied by drawings, and absurdism.
Image Via The Hand of Count Petofi
The book’s table of contents offers a clue as to what you can expect from a read-through of it:
A Spaniard in the Works
The Fat Budgie
Snore Wife and some Several Dwarts
The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield
The Faulty Bagnose
We must not forget the General Erection
The Wumberlog (or The Magic Dog)
The National Health Cow
Mr. Boris Morris
Last Will and Testicle
I Believe, Boot . . .
This was Lennon’s final book, posthumously published in 1986, a whole twenty-one years after his last book, and six years after his death. This book is rather different from his others; for one thing, it abides by typical spelling convention. The book is also a sort of autobiography, rather than a collection of surrealist stories.
Image Via Beatles Blog
Written in its author’s much-imitated, never-duplicated voice, populated with his own illustrations, full of the wit and honesty that helped make him one of the most iconic, polarizing figures of the 20th Century, Skywriting by Word of Mouth is the lost and recovered, posthumously published autobiography of John Lennon.
Image Via The Hand of Count Petofi
Featured Image Via Billboard, Saleroom, AbeBooks, and Ultimate Classic Rock. Excerpts and Synopses Via Amazon
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy made nearly three billion dollars worldwide, but the story could have come to the big screen much sooner: The Beatles wanted to star in it.
Back when Jackson’s movies were coming out, he did an interview for Wellington’s Evening Post in which he spilled the beans.
John Lennon wanted to play Gollum, alongside George Harrison as Gandalf, Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins, and Ringo Starr as Samwise Gamgee. Lennon wanted Stanley Kubrick to direct —Kubrick reportedly briefly considered the idea before turning it down. Ultimately, said Jackson, J. R. R. Tolkien himself shut the proposal down entirely.
Jackson learned of this from Paul McCartney personally.
Art blog Super Punch hosted a contest a few years ago to create art imagining the film, resulting in a number of amazing drawings and edits that can be seen in full here.