“Me” by Elton John

I have recently finished Elton John’s biography called “Me” and I have so many emotions about this book! It just felt like a real rollercoaster to me.

When I got started with the book, I really had a hard time getting into it. To be honest, I am not very familiar with a lot of pop culture things and the book had so many references that it made it really difficult to get interested. There were just so many names being dropped! After about 30% through the book though, things started to get better. I guess I wish that the book would have been written from the start in a more narrative rather than reporting way.

Aside from that, I found the book hilarious. And I mean to the point when I would be on a train reading it and then would burst out laughing out loud with people staring at me. One particular episode when Elton John was getting his hair transplant almost made me fall out of bed when I was trying to read it to Nicolas – I was laughing so hard.

Besides, the book is refreshingly honest – I like how Elton John is not trying to justify his addiction to drugs or to defend his explosive temper but rather embraces it and learns how to navigate what comes his way with what he has.

My temper was obviously inherited from my mum and dad, but I honestly think that, somewhere within them, every creative artist, whether they’re a painter, a theatre director, an actor or a musician, has the ability to behave in a completely unreasonable wat. It ‘s like the dark side of being creative.

As I could see in the book, 70s and 80s were wild times. His life generally was wild – dancing disco with the Queen of England or hanging out with Princess Diana or Gianni Gucci are just regular weekly things Elton John was doing. It is fascinating to get a glimpse of that life!

I spent my whole life trying to run away from Reg Dwight, because Reg Dwight really wasn’t a happy budgie. But what running away from Reg Dwight taught me is that when I got Too Far from him, too removed from the normal person I once was, things went horribly wrong; I was more miserable than ever. I need – everybody needs – some connection to reality.

One thing that struck me is how much Elton John loved performing live. He mentioned never getting bored of it, he loved how you could improvise and have fun always changing the music a bit, and finding your flow.

***

“After all, most of the time no one dared say anything, because of who I was. That’s the thing about success. It gives you a license to misbehave, a license that doesn’t get revoked until your success dries up completely, or you man up and decide to hand it in yourself. And, for the time being, there was no danger of either of those things happening to me”.

***

“I’m not a musician who walks around with melodies in his head all the time. I don’t rush to the piano in the middle of the night when inspiration strikes. I don’t even think about songwriting when I’m not actually doing it. Bernie writes the words, gives them to me, I read them, play a chord and something else takes over, something through my fingers. The muse, God, luck: you can give it a name if you want, but I have no idea what it is. I just know straight away where the melody’s going to go.”

***

“As everyone knows, fame, especially sudden fame, is a hollow, shallow and dangerous thing, its dark, seductive powers no substitute for true love or real friendship. On the other hand, if you are a terribly shy person, desperately in need of a confidence boost – someone who spent a lot of their childhood trying to be as invisible as possible so you didn’t provoke one of your mum’s moods or your dad’s rage – I can tell you for a fact that being hailed as a future of rock and roll in the LA Times feted by a succession of your musical heroes will definitely do the trick.”

***

Sixty years on, it’s hard to explain how revolutionary and shocking rock and roll seemed. Not just the music: the whole culture it represented, the clothes and the films and the attitude. It felt like the first thing that teenagers really owned, that was aimed exclusively at us, that made us feel different from our parents, that made us feel we could achieve something.”

***

It is crazy to think through how many important world events Elton John lived, how many experienced, and how many championed (including gay marriage or civil partnership). It is a hilarious, fun and insightful read if you are looking for a good biography.

You can send yourself crazy wondering. bUT IT ALL HAPPENED, AND HERE i am. There’s really no point in asking what if? The only question worth asking is: what’s Next?

Elton John

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