The Lost Weekend: A Love Story review – vivid snapshot of Lennon’s dysfunctional liaison

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Documentary about May Pang, the woman with whom John Lennon had an affair during his marriage to Yoko Ono, reveals that Ono was pulling the strings

As Yoko Ono enters her 90s, it is perhaps a tactless time to release a documentary about the woman with whom John Lennon had a love affair during a rough patch in his marriage from about 1973 to 1975, what he ungallantly called his “lost weekend”. This is the couple’s then assistant, the extremely smart Chinese-American May Pang, in her early 20s at the time, who emerges with grace and dignity from this engrossing film. The Apple Records A&R man and LA music eminence grise Tony King is quoted here saying of Pang: “She wasn’t just a little scrubber …” That Withnailesque phrase hardly does justice to an intelligent, beautiful and sweet-natured woman who gave unquestioning love to Lennon and appeared to single-handedly repair his relationship with his son Julian.

It seems to have been a real love match, but founded on a strange, dysfunctional situation: Ono herself, by her own cautious admission, encouraged the liaison as a way of managing and controlling what she saw as Lennon’s increasing tendency to stray. Ono virtually ordered Pang to “date” Lennon and the resulting semi-official coupledom coincided with a poignant flowering of creativity and relaxation in Lennon’s life, both in LA where he and Pang briefly hung out, and back in New York. But Ono was always there in the background, perhaps in more direct contact with Lennon than Pang quite realised or this film acknowledges.

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