Jarvis reviews the Hunter Davis collection of John Lennon's letters for Guardian Review. In the course of it, he explains why Britpop trying to be The Beatles was a bad idea, and worries about the way everything any Beatle touches becomes an artefact:
To be fair to Davies, he does admit in his introduction that he has "rather expanded the definition of the word 'letter'". This still does not quite prepare the reader for gems such as "Degs, No Fucking George, Yer Cunt, Jack" (letter 238: Memo to Derek) or "Fred, Lights in kitchen (bulbs), Honey Candy, Kitchen Air Con is 'On Heat' (Something Wrong), Cabbage, Grape-oil (ask where), Onions, Peas (NB the Korean Shop Shells Them!), Sesame Oil, Tomatoes, Berries, Yoghurt, Hamburger Meat (for the cat!)" (letter 255: Domestic list for Fred). The Post-It Notes of John Lennon, anyone? I like mundane reality – you could say it's my specialist subject – but there's no getting away from the fact that the second of those two examples is a shopping list. Are we really so bereft of new ideas that we now wish to study the equivalent of someone's Ocado profile?
[Buy: The John Lennon letters]