But the real solution, one which I’ve stored in the main to myself till now, is that this: Way returned in 1992, at the beginning of my journey writing career, Elton John invited me to London for a whirlwind experience that covered being behind the scenes for his concerts at Wembley Stadium, staying over at his townhouse invaluable London and his rambling estate in Windsor, assembly royals, attending a celebrity-studded lawn birthday party and racing round city in police-escorted Bentley limousines.
I’m writing about it now after seeing Rocketman, the fantastical, musical biopic of Elton’s pre-sobriety life, which introduced again recollections from my experience given that I become introduced to a few of the characters from the film. I met Elton after he jumped at the wagon (and has stayed there for nearly 30 years) so it was exciting to peer some of the antics in the movie that I best heard about from his friends and colleagues.
One of the things I remember maximum approximately Elton turned into how smart he turned into — when talking to him you could inform his mind was going a mile a minute. But on the equal time, he should recognition on you most effective, and make you feel like the best man or woman inside the room. I consider wondering that, apart from the razzle-dazzle, his sharp thoughts and mind propelled him to superstardom. It did not just “occur” to him. He created it and has sustained it for a lifetime — no easy feat. Go see the movie!
Anyway, you are likely wondering with the aid of now how all this occurred. Before I display the notes from my large journey (Yes, I took notes — an addiction of journey writers!), allow me to provide an explanation for Back in the early 90s, in the midst of the AIDS crisis, buddies were death proper and left in my place of origin of Atlanta. In 1991, my nice friend Al told me he was HIV fantastic, and inside 9 months he changed into lifeless. There became no remedy or cocktail returned then. I was his number one caregiver inside the final months of his life and held his hand whilst he died in May 1992. It was a completely darkish and miserable time.
But like many younger homosexual men at the time (I was 32), I located pleasure, fun and escape in my friends and busy social life. Another buddy, Scott, was working in real estate on the time, and his business enterprise turned into assisting Elton John to purchase a rental in Atlanta. They ended updating, and as a pal of Scott, I turned into periodically invited to take part within the whirl of his life with Elton. It became the suitable antidote to what become occurring at the bedside of my pal Al.
As I turned into getting better from the demise of Al, Scott called with an invite along the traces of: “You deserve a spoil. Why do not you return over to London for the very last 3 concerts of Elton’s The One World Tour? My brother and sister-in-regulation can be there, too, and you all can hang out with every other even as I race around with Elton. It would be right for you, so come on over.”
Back then I had sufficient factors in TWA’s common flyer program for a ticket to London. So I cashed them in, booked my experience and prompt on what could become one of the most memorable journeys of my lifestyle. Here are my notes…
London, June 1992: Three weeks in the past I became invited through my pal Scott, who lives with Elton John, to return over and visit for the duration of his London World Tour indicates at Wembley stadium.
Having a TWA ticket at my disposal, how should I say no? So I hopped on an aircraft remaining Thursday, changed into magically upgraded to first class on a large Boeing 747 in St. Louis (I suppose Al changed into pulling a few strings for me up in heaven), had a lovely, short flight over the pond, and arrived in London at 7 a.M. Sharp Friday morning.
As I exited customs, an extremely good chap, Derrick, turned into status there keeping a signal looking forward to me. After a heat hi there, we dashed off to the big green Bentley ready within the airport automobile park, and drove to Elton’s townhome in Holland Park (which they called “Queensdale”), simply west of Hyde Park in imperative London. [See Elton’s homes in Architectural Digest.]
I arrived at a house abuzz with interest. Elton was, in the end, acting that night. Fresh flowers anywhere, deliveries, telephone calls, maids, butlers, drivers, site visitors and Bonnie Raitt crooning on the stereo. I went upstairs to my room after a brief chat with the celebrity and introductions to Bernie Taupin (tons sexier than I anticipated!) and his very quality lady friend, a restaurateur from Los Angeles, Stephanie.
Anyway, I rested for a couple of hours while Scott, Elton, and some others ran off to the brand new Gianni Versace shop to spend gobs on the state-of-the-art in trend-coloration apparel. I slept off a bit jet lag and woke up once they back.
We had a nice salad for lunch, prepared by Margaret, Elton’s pleasant housemaid. Elton became up and lively, carrying full Versace regalia, including a blue pinnacle covered in studs, and those pants with a blue, gold, red and inexperienced design this is too wild to explain — something like massive paisleys, or the interior of a paisley — who knows what changed into happening in Gianni’s mind while he came up with that one!
The next issue I knew, we took off to Wembley within the late afternoon for the primary of his 3 London concerts. Get this: We had a police escort through London’s Friday afternoon visitors, which felt like we were in a James Bond film. Three bobbies on bikes had been dodging in and out of visitors with lighting and sirens blaring, holding up six lanes so our motorcade could skip through. Elton and crew were within the fern green Bentley are driven by way of Derrick. We accompanied a black one. Me, Bob (Elton’s personal assistant), Ron (the hair guy), Michael (aka Brenda, his valet), and Mikhail, a Norwegian actor with ice blue eyes that I couldn’t parent out what exactly he changed into doing there.