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Julian Lennon and the White Feather exhibition

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Little Beetle
Little Beetle

John (Left) and Julian (Right)
She left more than 40 years ago and he was too young to remember living there, but Cynthia and Julian Lennon, first wife and first son of Beatle John chose their Liverpool birthplace as the setting for a new exhibition about their tortured life with Beatle legend John.

The White Feather exhibition, housed in a shiny new edifice at the Pier Head’s ferry terminal, charts the rise and fall of John and Cynthia’s marriage against the rise and rise of Lennon’s fame.

It evokes the art school romance that brought the two together and Julian into the world, the shotgun wedding – on the night of which the fab four rushed to Chester for a gig – and the inevitability of the destruction of the family as John departed into a psychadelic world of stardom, drugs and Yoko.

Inheriting nothing after his deified father’s death, Julian has spent millions of pounds at auctions acquiring family heirlooms, many of which are on display at the exhibition.

He explained: "The only way I could regain any of his belongings or any of the Beatles’ works was to actually go out and buy them myself.

"It’s been a collection I’ve been trying to put together over 10, 20 years and slowly, but surely, I’ve been able to gather some things back into the family and will continue to do so.

"Now that I’ve actually seen the exhibition I have great hopes on expanding it and bringing more to light of our earlier days together and rather than have everything locked away in storage in a safe for nobody to see.

"I just felt it would be better outside – especially in this city – for the fans to see."

There is the cape John wore in the film Help!, the floral sheepskin jacket he donned for the launch of seminal album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as well as lyrics to an unreleased song and private photographs.

In intimate letters and filmed reminiscences, the loss that must have been felt by the abandoned mother and son is palpable.

The visitor is later buoyed by a room dedicated to Paul McCartney’s penning of Hey Jude for Julian. Originally entitled Hey Jules, the song implores the confused youngster not to be afraid and to let Yoko into his heart.

Asked what John would have made of the exhibition, Cynthia replied: "That’s a hard one. What do you think WE think of the exhibition? It’s historical, it’s hysterical, it’s part of our lives and I’m sure if he was around...well it wouldn’t be here would it?!"

Admission to the White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon exhibition is £8 adults, £6 concessions and it runs until December 31, 2009.

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