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 BURY & West Suffolk magazine
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November 2021 Issue 84
  Remembrance
Recalling Suffolk’s Leonard Cheshire & Edmund Blunden
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Elles Bailey
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The Bull Hotel in Long Melford where John and Yoko stayed in December 1969
‘ weekend. It showed them booking into The Bull in Long Melford the night before as Mr and Mrs Smith. They were greeted by hotel manager Franco Bartolasi, who was known to John from the time he had worked in Liverpool. The BBC crew then depicted them giggling in bed. “Fortunately, I’m in love with you,” Yoko told John, then 28. “Unfortunately, I’m in love with you, too,” was his enigmatic reply.
Meanwhile a platform was constructed in the Market Place as a launchpad for the giant orange balloon. It was filled with 22,000 cubic metres of helium the next day, ready for John and Yoko’s appearance. Bizarrely they turned up dressed in hooded cloaks, looking like escapees from a monastery, and sat on stools to watch it being inflated.
Alan Cocksedge, a journalist from the East Anglia Daily Times, was the only member of the press on the scene after receiving a tip-off from the fire brigade, who had to be on hand because of the risks involved.
He reported that although John and Yoko did get inside the balloon basket for photographs, they did not actually stay in it for the ascent, causing some locals to call them “chickens”. Instead, it took off with a fixed camera and captured the village’s famous medieval buildings gradually turning Lilliputian before rising through the clouds into a clear sky.
John and Yoko watched the balloon come down again before being chauffeur driven away in John’s white Rolls Royce.
Apotheosis 2 was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in spring 1970, but was later forgotten by everybody except the few who witnessed a pop icon at play in the frozen surrounds of West Suffolk.
Of course there is another December day that music fans of all nationalities will never forget – the date of John’s shocking murder on a New York street in 1980. Although the killer cut short a life that promised so much more, he could not extinguish the amazing back catalogue of songs that is his legacy.
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