We’re told never to meet our heroes because they’re bound to disappoint us. But what happens when two of our heroes meet up? Maybe their mutual hero status cancels each other’s out and they find themselves behaving like the rest of us mere mortals.
That would go a long way to explain why Miles Davis and John Lennon in this film appear to be grabbing cold beers, shooting a few hoops in the driveway and trying to act just like everyday people.
So ordinary is this scene that it would be totally unremarkable but for the fact that these men are two of the most influential artists of their day. Both are at the peak of superhero condition – Lennon has just finished recording his second and perhaps greatest solo album, Imagine while Davis, deep in his electric fusion phase, is riding high on the impact of his seminal album Bitches Brew - at the time the best selling jazz LP in history.
Apparently it’s a clip from a rare piece of film by Jonas Mekas found on a beat up old VHS cassette a few years ago and only recently cleaned up to what we see now.
There’s Yoko and Miles’ ex-wife Betty Davis looking on while the boys take shots at the net. Just off in the background are a bunch of other not-so-everyday-people including Jack Nicholson, being his sociable self, and Andy Warhol, taking Polaroids. And then there’s Allen Klein - the person according to Paul McCartney to blame for the Beatles breakup. It’s all happening at Klein’s New York home, celebrating his wife’s birthday and the completion of the Imagine recordingsessions.
Look closely and you’ll see that neither one of our superheroes appear wholly comfortable with this idea of everyday normality. And who can blame them? Apparently this is John and Miles’ first ever encounter. Miles asks John if Yoko is Japanese. John replies, ‘No, she’s a New Yorker.’ Miles asks John why he didn’t marry ‘a nice white bride.’ John replies – ‘That’s what I thought she was! They all said I was blind!’
The word ‘awkward’ comes to mind.
Maybe that old saying about not meeting your heroes rings true even for your hero’s heroes.