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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK


Lennon's foul-mouthed fortune

Turning the air blue: John Lennon's rude missive is to go under the hammer

A foul-mouthed poem by Beatles legend John Lennon is to go on sale nearly 30 years after he sent it to an astonished fan.

He sent the creation, composed of a four-letter expletive repeated 104 times around the single word "you", to the poet Susan Baker after she wrote to him asking for a piece of his work.

Now the obscene missive, sent in 1969, could become the most expensive piece of profanity ever, when it is auctioned on October 10.

Seven columns of expletives

It is typed, signed and titled by Lennon and wife Yoko Ono, and has the expletive arranged in seven columns with the word "you" at the centre of the middle column.

Ms Baker managed the Barrow Poets band, which performed poetry and music in concert halls, pubs, and universities across Britain and abroad.

She has kept the piece since she received it, but now she plans to sell it at Finan & Co auctioneers in Mere, Wiltshire.

Auctioneer Robert Finan said there is also a covering letter with the poem, which reads: "Dear Susan, here's the poem you wanted - you can publish but not make a record of it - for it turns into a Song then - OK?"

Content a "problem"

But the content of the poem caused him some difficulties.

"Cataloguing the item was something of a problem as quite obviously it could offend. I have avoided the use of the expletive and I am making sure that the photocopies of the documents are not on show at the viewing days," said Mr Finan.

"This is obviously a very unusual piece. Trying to put a price on it is very difficult indeed. We shall just have to see what the market place decides."

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