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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, March 27, 2003
    Sound of the suburbs
    Yoko officially opened John's childhood home to the public today. The BBC's Interactive Tour of 'The Mendips', within a walrus's shout from here, reveals - nothing out of the ordinary at all. Just like so many other homes of friends and parishioners on and around Menlove Avenue.

    Part of me feels awkward about that because I fall prey to a lazy view of rock'n'roll, that the best music is produced by outsiders, people from awkward, peripheral places, and The Mendips couldn't be more cosily suburban. But Lennon was an undoubted edgy genius, and this affirms the thought that art comes from what's inside the artist - which may not be that dependent on surroundings as I'm sometimes tempted to assume.

    Paul DuNoyer's book shows that many other notable Scouse musical geniuses were raised in the leafy suburbs - McCartney, of course, also from round here, and the other one I'd always name as a true great (and so would he), Ian McCulloch, who comes from a house with a nice garden and named the Bunnymen's comeback album Evergreen.

    This is comforting. Because though my artistic reach is tiny compared to these gigantic geniuses, nevertheless I like to be creative, get inspired (on the minimum wage) by lines like Babette's: "An artist is never poor". Put it out in poems and blogs and sermons. And I'm from the suburbs too. The Bunnymen posed for their second album cover pic at the bottom of my road, on Crosby beach. The record (a classic) was called Heaven Up Here. Nice one.