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John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - GUIDE - EMILY HOURICAN

Chan­nel4.com, un­til De­cem­ber 24 Nearly 50 years after he wrote it, there is still some­thing im­pos­si­bly poignant about John Len­non’s Imag­ine, and the world the ti­tle track con­jures up: ‘Imag­ine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try/ No hell be­low us/ Above us only sky.’

A new doc­u­men­tary by director Michaelchael Ep­stein about the mak­ing of this much-loved al­bum is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to watch the un­fold­ing of Len­non’s love let­ter to peace and pos­si­bil­ity, one, how­ever, that is fu­elled by anger as well as by hope.

Above Us Only Sky shows the ex­tent of the creative con­nec­tion be­tween Len­non and Yoko Ono, and how this trans­lated into col­lab­o­ra­tion, via re­veal­ing in­ter­views and never-seen-be­fore footage from Yoko’s per­sonal archive. Much of it is filmed at their home stu­dio — where the band bring to life Len­non’s ex­quis­ite songs, of which he says with as­ton­ish­ing mod­esty, “I don’t know whether it’s any good”.

Oth­ers are less ret­i­cent: “The mes­sage of Imag­ine is just as pow­er­ful to­day as it was when John and Yoko wrote it nearly 50 years ago,” says Ep­stein. “I look at the world, see it over­come with hate and en­gaged in wars seem­ingly with­out end, and I truly miss John’s voice. We need him now more than ever. And that is what we hope to do with Above Us Only Sky — show how John and Yoko’s mes­sage of peace and love still mat­ters.” As for Yoko, her take is this: “I feel in the big pic­ture the fact that John and I met was to do this song.”

Vir­gin Me­dia Player, un­til Jan­uary 1, episodes 1 & 2 Two-part drama writ­ten by Neil Mckay and di­rected by Paul Whit­ting­ton based on the 2008 dis­ap­pear­ance of nine-yearold Shan­non Matthews in West York­shire.

Shan­non was even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered, un­harmed, at the house of her mother’s boyfriend’s un­cle, in what turned out to have been a planned kid­nap­ping. Stars Sheri­dan Smith (left), Gemma Whe­lan, Sian Brooke and Siob­han Fin­neran.

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