THIS MUCH I KNOW
Artist, 76, London
Interview: Alice Fishes, The Observer
Photograph: Albert Watson
When I think of Japan I think of food. I miss the Japanese spirit, the culture and civilisation that we had and lost. I know that most parents don’t like the culture of their children, but I do miss that old culture.
Marriage is a difficult project. When seven years have passed and all your body’s cells have been replaced, you’re meant to experience that seven-year itch. John and I found that at that point our marriage got a lot better.
When I became 70 I started to see that every week I was learning something. I’m very thankful: if I’d died 10 years ago I would have died dumb.
I was amazed to win the lifetime achievement Golden Lion [at the 2009 Venice Biennale]. I do read reviews, and the critics have not always been so nice.
I get requests from charities every week. Deciding which to take up is how I am educated.
I don’t have a favourite song from my back catalogue. I think all of them have something good about them. If you are creating something to share with the world, you have to believe that.
The computer is my favourite invention. I feel lucky to be part of the global village. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m so fast with technology. People think it all seems too much, but we’ll get used to it. I’m sure it all seemed too much when we were learning to walk.
My earliest memory is slipping out of my mother’s thighs and looking at surgical instruments on a table in an operating theatre. Many people do remember their births, but they deny it.
What’s written about me in newspapers is usually fiction. With the press you have to learn to read between the lines.
Women are saying let’s forget about feminism, because they’ve seen that other women are not protective of you and you stand alone.
My son Sean was so protective of me when he co-produced my new album; he wants it to be a success. His generation is extremely professional about music; mine is very instinctual.
The artwork I am most proud of is the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. There’s something beautiful about that country. They don’t rely on oil for energy and the land is clean; you can feel that cleanness inside you.
The thing that would most improve my life is 27 hours in a day. I could meet all my deadlines.
I’m thankful that I’m in a position to look after John’s legacy, because that’s what he wanted me to do. We were both artists and understood exactly what it’s like when your work isn’t treated properly. I’m trying my best to make sure his is treated right.
I think The Beatles Rock Band game is the second revolution. In the beginning they made a splash with their music; with the video game we’re going to create a planet of music and art. Music and art are both very interesting healing vibrations, and with that vibration we can create the world we’ve always wanted, a world of peace.
Young people understand my work. I don’t know why. It’s a mystery. Maybe the vibration of my work is together with the vibration of the universe now. Looking at my old work is more interesting for you guys than it is for me. I just want to move on and think about new things.
I don’t mind if no one remembers me. If I’m going to be remembered by the fictional notes the press wrote about me, why would I want to be remembered at all?
Between My Head and the Sky by Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band is out on 21 September