Category: miscarriage


Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, 1969

The photo used for the album cover is by Susan Wood, taken in Room No. 1, Second West Ward, Queen Charlotte Hospital, Hammersmith during Yoko’s troubled pregnancy in November 1968, which ended in a miscarriage on November 21.

John had begun his stay with Yoko in a bed next to hers, shown below. When the hospital needed the bed for another patient, John brought in a sleeping bag and stayed on the floor.  The photos here are taken from the CD release, with additional context from Graham Calkin, here. (Tons of great stuff on his site – do click around when you have a chance!)

In the photo below, as well as John’s dirty stockinged feet on the bed, note the photos of the other three Beatles above his head! Those look like Ethan Russell’s portraits included with The White Album, which was in the mixing stages while John was making Unfinished Music, and released during Yoko’s time in the hospital.

There’s so much hype around The Beatles and so much noise around John & Yoko that it’s easy to forget that they were also humans with lives who were just trying to get through the day. These are some of my favorite photos of them.


From November 4 until November 25, 1968 John and Yoko occupied Room Number 1, Second West Ward Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital, London, When John’s bed was needed, he moved to an inflatable mattress on the floor. Going through a miscarriage, vilified by large sections of the press and public, there is a real sense of isolation in these photographs. Note the pictures on the wall, including the other Beatles’ White Album portraits, and John’s Christmas card painting. No longer welcome at Montagu Square, within a week they’d be back at Kenwood for the last time.
Life With The Lions 2: Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital, London, November 1968.

Yoko holding green apples in the third one, and John’s socks on the bed in the last one break my heart.

Once you peel away the hype, the deification, the demonization, and all the noise, you find two human people fumbling their way through pain toward love. 

They had a lot of bad breaks and took plenty of wrong turns, and lord knows how often they made things harder for themselves, but they kept pushing anyway. I’m old enough to have fucked up enough to know how rare and precious this is. I hope you get to be my age having fucked up less, but I hope you find a love that fights this hard.