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Stories of sex, drugs, rock & roll galore in Sir Elton John’s memoir

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Did you know that Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere once almost had a fist fight over Princess Diana or, Katharine Hepburn used Elton John’s swimming pool and ended up ‘cleaning’ it? These interesting facts are mentioned by Elton in his just-released memoir Me: Elton John, which is a no-holds-barred account of his life and work and is filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

In 1993, he hosted a dinner in honour of the then head of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg and among the guests were Stallone, Gere and Diana besides George Michael and Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud.

Soon, Gere and Diana seemed taken with each other and were locked in rapt conversation.

Diana had just split from Prince Charles and Gere had ended his relationship with Cindy Crawford.

“Judging by the kind of looks he kept shooting them, Diana and Richard Gere’s newly blossoming friendship was not going down well with Sylvester Stallone at all,” Elton recalls.

“I think he may have turned up to the party with the express intention of picking Diana up, only to find his plans for the evening ruined,” he adds.

When the dinner was served, Gere and Stallone were conspicuous by their absence.

Elton’s partner David Furnish found them in the corridor, “squaring up to each other, apparently about to settle their differences over Diana by having a fist fight”.

“After dinner, Diana and Gere resumed their position together in front of the fire, and Stallone eventually stormed off home,” Elton writes.

One summer Sunday afternoon, Elton was sitting outside his bungalow with his former partner John Reid having a snack, when they noticed a 60-something lady who looked a little like Hepburn cycling up their drive.

It was Hepburn indeed and wanted to use Elton’s pool. When he gave her the nod, she reappeared in a swimsuit five minutes later, complaining that there was a dead frog in the pool.

“When I dithered about how to get it out – I’m a bit squeamish about things like that – she just jumped in and grabbed it with her hand. I asked her how she could bear to touch it. ‘Character, young man,’ she nodded sternly,” Elton writes.

On his cocaine addiction, he says coke gave him confidence and euphoria and he did things he would never have had the courage to do or try if he hadn’t been on it.

In his official autobiography, published globally by Pan Macmillan, Elton reveals several other truths about his extraordinary life. Written by Elton with writer and music critic Alexis Petridis, it is also a story about the transformative power of music, social change over the last 60 years, and redemption.

He also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father.

Christened Reginald Dwight, this is the story of a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of 23, he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived; and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from halfheartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation.

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Books & Authors

Lockdown diaries: Feeling bored? Read these classic books that shaped our childhood

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With every passing day, the numbers of COVID-19 cases have been increasing like anything. Seeing the situation, the government has hinted towards the fourth lockdown after May 17th with a new avatar. However, we have been confined to our homes since the first lockdown, that was called in March and this has made us feel bored as we have literally tried our hands on everything. But, there are still many things that you haven’t tried yet. And we’re pretty sure about it. One such activity is taking a trip down memory lane and doing the things we loved doing when we were kids like reading old classics. So, why not revisit some memorable kids’ classics that made our childhood awesome?

From Harry Potter to Malgudi Days, here are some of the best classics that can help you revive the old memories:

The Blue Umbrella

If you are a book lover, we are sure, you have grown up reading short stories and novels by Ruskin Bond. One of the most famous among all his books is ‘The Blue Umbrella’. While this lockdown has imposed restrictions on us, why not travel to fascinating places with some important life lessons.

Tenali Raman

One thing is sure that stories are one of the best ways to teach children life lessons. It’s not just books but also storytellers and their stories that have been passed on through oral tradition that add value to our kids’ lives. One such storyteller is Tenali Ramakrishna, whose priceless stories are still fresh in our minds.

Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days by RK RK Narayan is all packed with some important life lessons. The collection of short stories taught us how life can be satisfying.

The Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter always managed to make his position at the top of the list. The adventures of Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger left us all enchanted and somewhere, we all wanted to be a part of his story. Reading about Harry and his friends is like unfolding your childhood memories in slow motion.

The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon takes us to the adventurous ride of teenage detectives Frank and Joe Hardy.

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Books & Authors

‘Afsaane’ by Ameya Bondre brings to the table, stories the modern reader always wanted to read

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True to the title, the book ‘Afsaane’ is a collection of eleven short stories written by the very promising début author, Ameya Bondre. The author brings to the readers, a series of contemporary stories from different walks of life. The author himself wore different hats throughout his professional life from being a physician to a public health researcher, public speaker, and now, a fiction writer! It seems as if these hats helped him turn different pages of life to string a bunch of stories, which cover diverse subjects like the tensed adoption of a child, a couple ‘finding’ themselves in a marriage, getting over bereavement, a reckless infidelity sowing the seeds of new-found love, and an awkward reunion of a long-lost pair. Perhaps, Afsaane can be best described as a collection of the ‘supporting actors’ of our society. In each chapter of the book, Ameya skilfully puts these supporting actors at the centre of a plot, and circles a story around them! Most of the readers love such stories, but building them as simply as he has, is a tall order. And, that’s where Ameya succeeds as an author and story-teller. While all the stories are gripping, there are a few that stand out: ‘A Frantic Call’, ‘Chaos’ and ‘Trapped’ will touch each reader irrespective of the demographic and reading taste, for the uniqueness of the plots, and fluency of the narration.

One more point that stands out throughout the collection is the novelty of metaphors. The metaphors are well thought and well described. Perhaps, this was never an easy thing for the author to do, keeping in mind the realistic settings of the stories.

Another feature that works wonders is the brilliance shown by the author in building a conversation. The authenticity of these conversations makes the stories in Afsaane, very suitable candidates for future silver screen adaptation!

The final point which deserves a mention and without which, this discussion will not be complete, is the cover of the book designed by Chinmayi Chavan. Though it is said that a book must not be judged by its cover, in this case, the cover is the first thing that attracts the psyche of the reader, and thanks to the brilliant content, the reader’s experience keeps getting better.

We recommend that you don’t waste your time thinking about reading this book. Simply go ahead and grab a copy. Get ready to be thoroughly entertained and engaged. We wish Ameya, the very best for his next work.  

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Books & Authors

The leap from ‘The Leap’ to ‘Urban Chronicles’: mind-blowing journey of the modern-day writer Nita Bajoria

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Seldom, we are lucky enough to find a writer who is versatile in different forms of writing. It seems that kind of a wait has ended for the readers with the advent of the new literary star Nita Bajoria from the city of joy – Kolkata.

The story of Ms. Nita Bajoria is as exciting as the characters she builds in her stories. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to comment which one is more interesting – the inspiring journey of Ms. Bajoria or the galvanic plots created by Ms. Nita.

Ms. Nita Bajoria was all set in a successful business career; so successful that a common person will think million times before breaking the status quo. Thankfully, this was not the case with Ms. Nita Bajoria. She decided to come out from the status quo and took up her childhood passion. ‘The Leap’ was her debut novel which was a science fiction received well by all the readers. After writing a successful science fiction, authors tend to get into a cocoon and stop trying their hands in another genre. But, Ms. Bajoria is made of a different metal and that’s where she decided to come with a book belonging to the genre – graphic novel and we are glad that she decided so.

The book that came out as the decision taken by her is nothing short of a contemporary masterclass for the cosmopolitan readers. To be honest to the content – the liking for the book will not be restricted just among the cosmopolitan readers. It’s bound to be liked and appreciated by readers from different demographics. Along with the content of the book, the illustrations also stand out. We, the readers will be eagerly waiting for the next venture from the author. Till the time she comes up with her next book, we’ll like to savour the taste of ‘Urban Chronicles’ multiple times – simply because it’s worth it. 

Buy Urban Chronicles: A series of graphic short stories From Amazon At Just Rs.189

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