Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blue Flashing Light

That’s the kettle. Now where’s the sugar? Can’t have my tea without sugar, can I? Oh, there it is.

That’s hot. Soothing though. Hits the spot. Nothing like a nice cuppa to ease the mind and give one a bit of peace. Everyone needs time to think, that’s for sure.

So, Reg, what’ll it be? Music or marriage? Do you love her?

I don’t know mate, I really don’t. She’s alright, I suppose, but she’s a bit barmy and more than a bit dominating. Not that I’m opposed to the occasional domination, but, really, a man has his limits. Linda is beautiful, if you go for that kind of thing. And she certainly has the grace to hold herself above others. I would like to have that knack.

Well, she is an heiress, right? Even though it’s to a pickle empire. There I’d be, “Mr. Epicure Pickles.” That’s a laugh. A June wedding? That’s not so funny. And pretty soon, too. Fuck’s sake, she already ordered the cake!

But give up music? Linda is adamant that I should pack it in, quit. “You’re going nowhere Reg and if we’re getting married you’ll need a proper job.” She’s just like my dad that way, always putting me down. Mr. RAF, always disapproving of my music. “You’re inadequate, son, strictly mediocre.” That’s encouraging for a boy to hear! That’s what he would say, at least whenever he was around.

And just now when it seems to be getting better. It couldn’t have gotten much worse. Bernie, he’s someone I could do great things with. Brilliant lyricist, brilliant. What luck to have both answered the same ad looking for talent at Liberty Records. When we first met I swear there were sparks. It was electric. Bernie Taupin – 18 years old, dreamy and quite the poet. And now that he’s moved in with Linda and me, we can work together, ‘round the clock.

So, what’ll it be? Me Mum is against the wedding; so is Bernie. And last night at the Bag O’ Nails, John Baldry put it to me straight. “You love Bernie more than you love this girl.” That made me take notice. “If you marry this girl Reg, I swear you’ll destroy two lives – hers AND yours.” He was yelling by then. He loves me; I know that he has only my best interests at heart. And he said all that after I asked him to be my best man! Hah.

When I got home, when was it, around 4 AM, I broke the news to Linda that the wedding was off. She went into complete shock, breaking down. Then she let me have the news. I’ll never forget it. “I’m pregnant Reg, pregnant. What are you going to do about that?” I couldn’t answer. I didn’t know. I suppose my responsibilities are to her and the baby, but I don’t want to put my career on the back burner.

It all leaves me so depressed, about my life, my career. What’s wrong with me? I don’t love Linda, I know that. Do I love Bernie? Maybe, I don’t know. Does he love me? I could just go to his bedroom and ask him; he’s in there. He couldn’t possibly care for me in that way, me at 21 already fat and balding. Not fat. Chubby though.

Ah, now the tea is cold. There’s more water in the kettle.

Forget it. I don’t want any. I don’t want anything, just out. It’s utterly hopeless, all of it, Linda, music, Bernie. I’d be better off dead. What chance would a child of mine have with a father like me? Going nowhere, head in the clouds, dreaming of stardom.

Pilot light’s on, have to blow that out. Don’t want to be cooked. How much gas does one use in this situation? I’ll put it on high. That should do it, I would think.

Ugh, the oven is filthy. I’m not putting my head on that greasy rack. Let me get a pillow.

Oops, almost forgot to take off my glasses. Ah, much better.

What will Linda think when she finds me? “That’s a waste of good gas,” I bet. Practical to the end. And Bernie? Will he be upset?

I’m starting to get very sleepy. Eyes heavy. No pain, no regrets. I hope Bernie isn’t ……

From his room Bernie could smell the gas. Quickly, he leapt from his bed, dropping his notebook and pen mid-sentence. Entering the kitchen, he saw Reg lying on the oven door, his head resting peacefully on a pillow inside the oven. Bernie opened the kitchen windows, startling a butterfly, which flew high away. He was too late.

Reg Dwight met Linda Ann Woodrow, when the American heiress to the Epicure Products fortune came to see his band Bluesology. They were quickly engaged. Reg had met lyricist Bernie Taupin when they both answered an ad searching for talent at Liberty Records. The three lived together in Furlong Road, Islington. Torn between his music and his marriage, Reg heeded the advice of Long John Baldry, a dear friend, that Bluesology was backing. Baldry, a gay man who sensed Reg was of similar taste, advised him to cancel the wedding. Unsure of what to do, Reg attempted suicide by putting his head on a pillow placed inside the oven, gas on low. Bernie, smelling gas from his room, ran into the kitchen where he saw Reg on the floor, windows wide open. He couldn’t stop laughing. Reg cancelled the wedding. Around the same time, he changed his name to Elton John. This period is the subject of his hit song, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”


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