Julie Burchill On Elton John's Attitude Towards Women

02/03/2011 17:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

Watching the glorious Rihanna smirk, swank, strip and - partially - lip-synch her way along the stage at the Brits, she summed up for me everything that pop music should be. The opposite of Elton John, that is, who in a new Word magazine interview increasingly resembles an apoplectic old colonel with permanent dyspepsia.

'Kim Kardashian's a stupid, old tart!' (Reminds me of the time DAWN FRENCH called ME fat.) 'Reality has killed talent. Can any X Factor people cut the mustard?' (Yes, Leona Lewis can sing you into the ground any night of the week.) 'It's hard to tell Girls Aloud from The Saturdays.' (No it's not - The Saturdays are a cute, catchy combo while Girls Aloud are widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting, innovative modern music groups of the past two decades. Do keep up, Dame Elt!)

This joker does five-year residences at Caesar's Palace, spends a queen's ransom on floral decor and puts his baby son's name down for prep school; if he wasn't gay he would be quite rightly be dismissed as a money-mad, misogynist snob. The love that dare not speak its name? The love that makes it O.K to say 'There are so many female singers in the charts and I want to kill them all' and still be seen as a good guy.

The love that won't shut up for five minutes, more like! In the course of promoting his latest project Gnomeo And Juliet (nice to see Elt keeping his artistic aim so high, and giving those TV talent show wretches like Leona Lewis and Rebecca Ferguson something to aspire to) John has been everywhere, talking about everything. He is the Baron of Bunkum, the Duke of Double-Speak, unwanted agony aunt to his fellow stars. They say you get the face you deserve after 50 - and he looks like a bitter old busybody who divides his time between twitching the curtains and gossiping over the fence about the behaviour of his youngers and betters.

His comments about women I find particularly repellent. From Stephen Fry pontificating "The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want" to Gok Wan who strips and verbally abuses women in the name of 'empowering' them, there seems to be a really vile trend for gay men to ingratiate themselves with the most Neanderthal of their straight brothers by picking on women.

But maybe we shouldn't be too hard on the old trout. After all, words have never been his strong suit - his career has been built on being the melody man, while his writing partner Bernie Taupin is the brains behind those decades of memorable lyrics. Without him, he is as lost as any cracked actor without a script. 'Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player' went the title of one of his albums way back in 1973: if only age had brought Dame Elt the wisdom to accept his limitations in the words department, he wouldn't be the embarrassment he now is when he opens his mouth to do anything but sing.

Julie Burchill is a renowned journalist who has contributed to The Times, The Guardian and The Sun among other publications - she currently writes a weekly column for The Independent. She is also the author of several successful books including Not In My Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy and Sugar Rush.


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