To some dear friends’ incredulity and annoyance, I’ve always claimed that I love Yoko Ono. And I haven’t been lying. But listening to her new record, Yes, I’m a Witch Too, released on February 19 (the day after Ono’s 83rd birthday), made me realize I haven’t kept up with her musically since Onobox, her 1992 compilation set. I’d had only the vaguest awareness of her self-reinvention as a septua- and, now, octogenarian latter-day disco diva, one who has racked up a dozen chart toppers on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs list since the Pet Shop Boys remixed her “Walking on Thin Ice” in 2003.
In the beginning, the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the heavens and the earth. The earth was a watery void, and because the Spaghetti Monster could not swim, He made land—and built on it a beer volcano. Drunk on its bounty, the Spaghetti Monster created Man and placed him in the Olive Garden of Eden, where he lived happily until his Creator accidentally flooded him out in a cooking mishap.
According to a popular fan theory, John Lennon was in bed watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell broke in to announce that Lennon had been shot. Rather than come out and deny the reports (as Paul McCartney had done when his death rumors swirled in 1969), Lennon embraced them as an opportunity for privacy and quietly welcomed his fate.
Now, let’s extrapolate:
John Lennon first met Yoko Ono in November 1966 at London’s Indica Gallery, the night before a show of hers opened. Despite the fast approaching deadline, the gallery space still appeared bare and unfinished, with installation equipment strewn about—but then again, for a show called Unfinished Paintings and Objects, who could really tell what was art and what was incidental? Lennon approached a whitewashed ladder in the middle of the room and took a hard, close look. He began to climb it. At the top he found a magnifying glass and, training it on the ceiling, he read a tiny printed word: YES. He was in love.