Monday, May 15, 2006

All He Was Saying Was “Give Me a Job!”

Mark David Chapman’s mug shot, from December 9, 1980.


Late in the afternoon of December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman confronted John Lennon as the ex-Beatle emerged from the Dakota. But instead of shooting Lennon, he handed him a copy of Double Fantasy. Yet even more than Lennon’s autograph, Chapman wanted a job. Because he’d read in Lennon’s Playboy interview that sometimes he hired fans off the street.

Here’s how I describe the scene in Nowhere Man:

In his deranged mind [Chapman] figures that he might like to work in the Dakota, and if John hires him, there’ll be no need to kill him.

“Is this what you want?” John asks, scrawling his name and the date on the [album] cover.

Mister Lennon, are there any jobs available in your office? It is a triumph of will [for Chapman] to get the words out.

Paul Goresh, an amateur photographer who haunts the Dakota, snaps a picture—24 hours later it will be on the front page of The Daily News.

“Send in your resume,” John suggests to Chapman. He then climbs into the limousine, which speeds off towards Columbus Avenue.

An excerpt from Nowhere Man (en español) about what it was like to work for John Lennon just ran in Soho, a popular Colombian “lad” magazine (kind of like Maxim). It reminded me of this passage, so I figured I’d post a link to the article. (The original English is, of course, accessible through Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature, though it’s easier to just buy the book.)

While I’m at it, two other Nowhere-Man-related items—an interview in Paniko and a news article about Paniko in the Chilean newspaper La Nación—have recently been published. Para los lectores que hablan español, aquí están los enlaces:

Las drogas de Lennon

Periodismo adolescente se toma la red

(Anybody else who wants to know what these articles say can do a rough translation with Google language tools.)

For the record: Because Nowhere Man has received so much attention in Latin America, I’ve made the effort over the past 18 months to learn Spanish. I’m probably reading on a third-or-fourth-grade level now. Fortunately, I have cooperative editors and a very good translator.