June 23, 2014
Most of my life I have been obsessed with a Beatle, but it wasn’t John, George, Paul, Ringo, or Pete Best. It was Stuart Sutcliffe. He was an old Liverpool friend of John Lennon, and probably one of his major influences as well. We all need to search for perfection, to better ourselves, and for John in those early years, it was Stu. All the Beatles were handsome, but Stu, was truly the most beautiful man in my lifetime and beyond. Although, I guess, in theory, I’m a heterosexual, but with a homosexual bent, going towards the image and thoughts on Stuart Sutcliffe.
What I have observed in books and magazines, I do like Stu’s paintings, but it’s mostly his visual image that captures my heart. Has he ever took a bad portrait? His beauty was like the tip of a sharpened pencil, not touched by paper or hand. When I see images of him, I think of a life that is not perfect, because he’s no longer on this planet, but exists in my head. Despite the fact that I never met him, nor any of the other members of the Beatle world, I like to imagine him in my life in some form or manner. Like Paul McCartney who was reported to be jealous of Lennon’s relationship with Sutcliffe, I too, feel left out by not knowing him personally.
Stu died in 1962, and he never knew how the world has changed, when his fellow friends sort of, in a brief moment in time, seemed to change the world. All an illusion of course, but at times, this is all we have. Yet, Sutcliffe seemed to have found a lover in Hamburg, and chose to remain in a world where he can paint. It was evident that a man who was so beautiful would be a very good painter as well. If you think about it, most celebrated painters were also fantastic looking people. There are ugly musicians, but for some reason a good painter is the one who always looks at the very least, beautiful. I often imagine his life as a Bob Fosse choreographed dance piece. He’s the lead, and I’m in his arms dancing in some one-bulb barely lighted artist’s studio, somewhere in Hamburg. Of course it doesn’t deal at all with reality, for instance I know by the photographs what Stu looked like, but for instance, I never heard his voice. It’s amazing when you think about how important he was to the Beatle narrative, yet, there is no recording of his voice. So all we get are just the dazzling images of him in the Hamburg years of his young life. I came to love him, but obviously it was more in love with the thought of loving him. The distance of my feelings for him and reality became a troublesome obsession on my part. I never expressed this to anyone, but some time ago I made the decision to do something about it.
I went to the Kinsey Institute located in Indiana University to hopefully do a series of interviews with the director at the time, John Bancroft. I spoke to his assistant, regarding my thoughts on Stu, and how I cope day-to-day in my life. He made note of my sexual practices as well as some of the other strong sexual fantasies I have. He basically told me that he couldn’t give me advice, because of his role in this manner, is to record my story, and that is about it. But he did let me know off the record that he feels that a love for one’s own gender is very basic truth. I never had a fantasy of having sex with Stu, but more that I want to be a part of his presence. I think of Tom Ripley when he actually wanted to be the person that he was obsessed within the novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
My feelings for Stu never went away, and I often felt angry when I come upon a Beatles record or film, for instance, “Help, ” because there is no reference to Stu Sutchliffe in the film. It is almost like he’s erased from history, and all I have are my thoughts of me being in his arms dancing “The Pajama Game.”