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Yoko Ono: The Whole World Is My Mother-In-Law

Caroline Coon, unpublished, 1974

2012 NOTE: Tidying through my papers some days ago I found, at last, an interview I did with Yoko Ono at home in New York in 1974. She was/is an idol of mine –to me, an art student in the 1960s, she was more significant and famous than the Beatles. It shocked me when she was turned into a hate figure. At the height of the anti-Yoko zeitgeist I though that if I could interview her I could tell her side of the story. Cosmopolitan, where my writing was often published, seemed the ideal place. Yoko was superb – over an evening she answered my probing questions with care and incredible candour. Unusually, because I admired her so much and because she'd been so unguarded, I sent her the interview to ensure she would not regret what she had said when she read it in cold print. Yoko rang me to say that she and John, to whom she'd introduced me when he returned home from the studio, were very happy with the text. The editor of Cosmopolitan wanted me to be more critical of Yoko, especially regarding the "fact" that Yoko "had deserted her daughter". I refused to add this into the interview, not least because I had never been asked to make such a comment about any of the divorced men I interviewed. My Yoko interview didn't run in Cosmopolitan and I put it aside. I was gutted to have, I thought, let Yoko down. Finding the interview and reading it again after 38 years – well, Yoko's honesty as an artist and as a woman is as fascinating as it is moving and astonishing.––CC

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Total word count of piece: 6846

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