Mystery of Julia's banjo attracts attention of film-makers

Julia's Banjo book cover

A young John Lennon with mum Julia

Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones with copy of the book

First published in News Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A NOVEL which tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to the first instrument John Lennon learned to play has attracted the attention of film companies.

Julia's Banjo, co-written by Wirral musician Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones, is based on the mystery of what has been described as the Holy Grail of pop memorabilia, which would now be worth millions to whoever finds it.

In his teenage years John Lennon's mother, Julia, taught him to play her banjo but it went missing and nobody knows what happened to it.

In the book a Beatles tour guide finds a letter, written by John, that contains a clue to solving the greatest mystery in pop music.

Although the story is a work of fiction, the plot is weaved around hard Beatle facts which the authors hope will inspire people to start searching their attics and cellars.

The book is available on Kindle and in paperback from WHSmith and Amazon.

Co-author Rob Fenna explained that it was while working on the book that film and television companies became interested.

The singer/songwriter and producer, originally from Greasby but now living in Liverpool, told the Globe:“When we were talking about the idea for a novel, we went along for a meeting with what we thought was just publishers, but it turned out there were representatives from a couple of film companies too. It was almost like pitching a film.

"We took a couple of steps back to finish work on and promote the novel and have returned to work on the screenplay.

"A couple of film and television companies interested. We are also toying with the idea of writing a stage play."

It was Julia who turned John onto rock ’n’ roll and actively encouraged him to pursue his musical ambitions; much to the disapproval of his Aunt Mimi with whom he lived. Shortly after Julia’s death in 1958 the banjo went missing. and. No-one has set eyes on it since.

Neither John's family, nor any of the numerous Beatles experts, have been able to shed light on its whereabouts or what may have become of it.

John never revealed what happened to the priceless relic and it remains the greatest mystery in pop music.

Rob continued: "We all know that Lennon played the banjo, that’s been well documented, but the big question is where has it gone? It's out there somewhere and could be in someone’s loft.

"People have asked ‘if somebody did find it how could they authenticate it? This could be done quite easily.

"If it was the banjo, it could have a strand of Lennon or Julia’s hair or fingerprint on which could prove it was theirs.

"The book is not about The Beatles, it’s about the legacy that surrounds them. It's also a fascinating little yarn which could help readers unravel the mystery of the banjo's disappearance."

On the book’s success so far, Rob continued: "I'm really pleased with the feedback we’ve had.

"We have had some good responses, with people saying 'what a great film it would make'.

"It's a slow-burner and we don't want to go in all guns blazing, but it would be nice to think it could become a film.“

Full details are from www.juliasbanjo.com

The Globe has three signed copies of the book to give away. For a chance of winning, answer the following question: Who was the original base player with The Beatles?

Send the answer, together with your contact details, to: Julia’s Banjo, Wirral Globe, Haymarket Court, Hinson Street, Birkenhead CH41 5BX. The closing date for entries is next Wednesday, January 23.

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