By Jim Hislop for the Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine:
It’s hard to like Elton John. His image has never quite recovered from the 1997 Tantrums & Tiaras documentary – or rather exposé – by his then partner (and current hubby) David Furnish.
Coming across in the film as a spoilt, grumpy, bloated and over-the-hill diva with a bad hair weave, the image has somehow stuck with the general public, and his recent “sour grapes” rants about Madonna’s career have done nothing to change this negative image.
Perhaps realising this, Sir Elton has released this book about his fight against the global Aids epidemic. With an admittedly regretful candour, he relates how he watched friends, colleagues and acquaintances die during the ’80s and early ’90s from the Aids virus while he drugged himself into oblivion by snorting gargantuan amounts of “Peruvian marching powder” up his “beglittered” nose.
It was Ryan White, a teenage American Aids activist (who died of the disease in 1990), who was not only the catalyst to turn Elton off drugs, but the person who inspired him to use his money and celebrity status to fight Aids – when governments worldwide were in denial.
Since then, Elton has founded the Elton John Aids Foundation, which has raised millions in the fight against Aids and he has played a large part in changing politicians’ attitude from one of denial to one of action.
Anyone expecting a tell-all of Elton’s seedier past will be disappointed; the focus of this book is to spread the word about Aids and the foundation’s work to fight it. Perhaps Elton isn’t such a dreadful diva after all.
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