Give Me a Chance
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May 1969. As a sixteen-year-old, Gail Renard joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their week-long bed-in for peace in a hotel in Montreal, Canada. She looked after Yoko's five-year-old daughter, helped to find tambourines and joined in the first recording of "Give Peace a Chance" with Timothy Leary, the Smothers Brothers and various other celebs. John looked after her - sending her home every night to her mother who had spoken to him on the phone and insisted that there were to be no drugs or sex while her daughter was around. It was John's faith in Gail's ability which directly lead to her later success as a writer, and he helped her to secure her first paid submission - an interview with him for the Beatles' magazine.
attention to Yoko, referring to her as “Madame Nhu”, who was the ruthless wife of the corrupt South Vietnamese dictator. Although this was far from a compliment, Yoko, calm as ever, didn’t rise to the bait. But I was flabbergasted. What made this man think he could be offensive just because John and Yoko were famous? Derek had also had enough. He sprang to his feet, stood between Al Capp and the Lennons and told the cartoonist furiously, “Get out … I’m not having these people insulted!” Capp
much, my mind must be playing tricks on me. Besides, I didn’t think anyone ever came to Montreal of their own free will. Just to be sure, I raced into the sitting room and switched on the telly. And there were John and Yoko on our local news. They were dressed all in white and arriving at the Queen Elizabeth, a grand hotel in the centre of the city, only twenty minutes from where I lived. John said they were there to have a “Bed-In”, whatever that was, and to talk about peace. I didn’t
couldn’t wait to start writing more. I knew I was going to be OK. Both John and my parents had taught me an important lesson this week: it was all up to me. From now on, life was going to be what I made it. I was grateful for that. John smiled at me. “You’re beautiful.” No one had ever said that to me before. It felt wonderful. He said he would see me again – and I wanted to believe that. But this was different from all the other times; I knew I wouldn’t be coming back to the hotel the next
current TV Chair. She has never stopped fighting for people’s rights – a lesson she learned from John and Yoko. Here’s me with the original SGT. PEPPER drum-skin, designed by artist Peter Blake. And the beat goes on! A dress I wore at the Bed-In (but don’t any more!) and the “Give Peace A Chance” lyrics in John’s own handwriting. Dedicated to John and Yoko, with thanks. And also to my parents, who made it all possible. All quotes are taken from Gail Renard’s journal, as written at the time
you like a real person. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t do either. I gave him the Hershey bar, relieved that there wasn’t any fluff stuck to it. Here’s the Hershey-bar wrapper from the bar I gave to John. Ten cents bought a lot of chocolate in those days. As he munched away happily, I told the Lennons that the only famous person I’d interviewed before was Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed in The Avengers on TV, and that had been by letter. So I warned them I might not be any good at it.