"Yoko had been invited to London by some group of artists called Destruction In Art Symposium. They had some big thing going on in London. She had an exhibition put on by Indica Gallery, by John Dunbar-Mariane Faithful's ex-husband. I used to go down there occasionally to see things like Takis, who'd made flashing lights and sold them for a fortune. It would be garbage, but they sent me this pamphlet, or he called me-I don't know which- about this Japanese girl from New York, who was going to be in a bag, doing this event or happening. I thought 'Hmmm, you know ,'sex.' So I went down.
I was in a highly unshaved and tatty state. I was up three nights. I was always up in those days, tripping. I was stoned.
I walked in and there was nobody there. It turns out that it was the night before the opening night. The place wasn't really opened, but John Dunbar was all nervous, like 'The millionaire's come to buy something.' He's flittering around like crazy. Now I'm looking at this stuff. There's a couple of nails on a plastic box. Then I look over and see an apple on a stand with a note saying 'apple.' I thought, 'This is a joke, this is pretty funny.' I was beginning to see the humour of it. I said 'How much is the apple?'-'200 pounds'-'Really? Oh I see. So how much are the bent nails?'
I wasn't quite sure what is was about. I knew there was some sort of con game going on somewhere. She calls herself a concept artist, but with the 'cept' off it's a con artist. I saw that side of it, and that was interesting.'
So I was wandering around having a good time and I went down-stairs and there's just a couple of scruffy people sitting around in jeans. I was feeling a bit defensive, thinking, 'They must be the hip ones.' It turns out they were just assistants putting all this stuff together for her, but I was like, 'I'm the famous, rich pop star and these must be the ones that know what those nails and apples are about.' I took it humorously, which turns out to be fine, but I was reacting like a lot of people react to her humour. Actually, she's hysterically funny.
Then Dunbar brings her over because The millionaire is here, right? And I'm waiting for the bag. Where's the people in the bag? All the time I was thinking about whether I'd have the nerve to get in the bag with whoever. You don't know who's gonna be in the bag!
So, he introduced me, and of course there was supposed to be this event happening, so I asked 'Well, what's the event?' She gives me a little card. It just says 'breathe' on it. And I said, 'You mean (panting)?' She says, 'That's it. You've got it.' And I'm thinking 'I've got it!' But I'm all geared up to do something. I did the breathing, but I wanted more than putting my consciousness on my breathing, which is an intellectual way of looking at it. I saw the nails and I got the humour-maybe I didn't get the depth of it, but I got a warm feeling from it. I thought 'F**k, I can make that. I can put an apple on a stand. I want more.'
Then I saw this ladder on a painting leading up to the ceiling where there was a spyglass hanging down. It's what made me stay. I went up the ladder and got the spyglass and there was tiny little writing there. You really have to stand on the top of the ladder-you feel like a fool, you could fall at any minute-and you look through and it says 'yes'.
Well, all the so-called avant-garde art at the time and everything that was supposedly interesting was negative, this smash-the-piano-with-a-hammer, break-the-sculpture, boring, negative crap. It was all anti, anti, anti, Anti-art, anti-establishment. And just that 'yes' made me stay in a gallery full of apples and nails instead of walking out saying, 'I'm not going to buy any of this crap.'
Then I went up to this thing that said, 'Hammer a nail in.' I said, 'Can I hammer a nail in?' and she said 'no', because the gallery was actually opening the next day. So the owner, Dunbar, says 'Let him hammer a nail in it.' It was ,'He's a millionaire. He might buy it.' She's more interested in it looking nice and pretty and white for the opening. That's why she never made any money on the stuff- she's always too busy protecting it. There was this little conference and she finally said, 'OK, you can hammer a nail in it for 5 shillings.' So smart-arse here says, 'Well, I'll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in it.' And thats when we really met. That's when we locked eyes and she got it and I got it and that was it.
It took a long time. We were both very shy. The next time we met was at a Claes Oldenburg opening with a lot of soft objects like cheese-burgers made out of rubber and garbage like that. And we met again and made eye contact. But it was 18 months or 2 years before we really got together.
The rest, as they say in all the interviews we do, is history."
John Lennon 1980