Elton John: Me, Myself and I, ITV1

by | Sep 22, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Not quite the atrocious Tower of Babel of frenetic onanism we had anticipated as the two slices of pompous pomposity sandwiched a section when the crippled cadaver of Elton’s modesty crawled gingerly from the wreckage of his life.

What was good about it?

• When the music stopped and Elton chatted about his problems with drugs and his sexuality he became quite interesting, engaging and even funny. He told of the time when his brain was ravaged by cocaine addiction and that he had phoned a hotel lobby to order them to stop the gusting wind in the street outside his room.

• He also revealed his guilt that he didn’t speak out more strongly over the discrimination and hatred towards Aids sufferers in the mid-80s. Although he achieved redemption through his support of Ryan White, a boy who was mercilessly persecuted after he contracted, and ultimately died, the illness during a blood transfusion.

What was bad about it?

• In the opening sequence in which Elton rides a rocket in the same way the rabies virus courses through the veins of a hound, his acting had all the grace and poise of a rusty, burnt-out car being rocked side to side by a bunch of bored teenagers.

• The narration incessantly stamped like jackboots on your head how famous and brilliant Elton is. “Sixty years of memories of a real rock legend.”; “America was the land of his musical heroes, but little did he know he was about to become a legend himself.”; “In the 70s, Elton John was the biggest selling pop superstar in the world.”; “At the age of 25, Elton was a global megastar.”; “One of the perks of being an international superstar is making amazing friends.”

• And the snotty hyperbole isn’t confined to descriptions of Elton. “Elton had only five shows to break America, starting at LA’s legendary Troubadour Club.” Although the use of ‘legendary’ here has less to do with marketing myopia and more to do with implying that anyone who hasn’t heard of the club is culturally ignorant.

• It was a documentary made for idiots as while Elton sat against a white background chronicling his life, the white space behind him was used to illustrate his life with crude and unnecessary pictures from his life. “We had $15 a week and that had to pay for everything, the van…” Cue a drawing of a van appearing behind Elton as if the viewers aren’t capable of imagining what a van looks like (but given that imagination is treated like a carrier of the bubonic plague by people who own Elton John albums, perhaps such visual mollycoddling was needed).

• The insipid imagery and narration continued with: “The most lucrative songwriting partnership [Elton and Bernie Taupin] since Lennon and McCartney had just been formed – they were about to hit the jackpot.” Elton walks up to a one-armed bandit and is swamped by his jackpot winnings, only for it to desiccate once he realises he will never be a success with a name like Reg Dwight.

• And the dire imagery concluded with Elton succumbing to cocaine addition depicted by him scaling the peak of a snowy mountain.

• The first ad break featured a commercial for Phil Collins’ greatest hits, or some such other abomination spawned from corporate loins. We can’t conceive that there would be many more than five people, six at the most, watching a documentary about Elton John who don’t regularly shower themselves in the fetid aural miasma of Collins. Maybe it’s an effort to ensnare those foolish youngsters who have swallowed the ‘coolness’ of the Cadbury’s ad with the gorilla, which is in fact a billion times more toxic than any salmonella outbreak. And the one saving grace of the Labour government is its role in inducing the exile of Collins to Switzerland.

• The awestruck 70s fan in the crowd wearing a T-shirt that read: “You’re better off dead if you haven’t heard Elton”.

• The film of Elton playing to stadia brimming with docile Americans as if suggesting that passion is a human characteristic that only evolved after 1975.

• “Under Elton, Watford reached successes previously unseen at the north London club.”

• “Since becoming successful, Elton has loved collecting expensive works of art.” That’s right, expensive – not exhilarating, inspiring, life-affirming, evocative or wondrous. The only reason such visual doggerel is “expensive” is because artless human fronds perpetually pass it around amongst themselves artificially inflating the value, and in so doing increase the pleasure they get from owning them as they are unable to appreciate beauty unless it has an associated price tag.

• The appearances of Rod Stewart, who is to the eyes and ears what arsenic is to the lungs.

• A delusional Elton believing that people will be impressed that his list of friends and acquaintances includes Prince Charles and Prince Andrew – two of the most voracious cultural tapeworms in existence.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

22/09/2007

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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