I’m still standing

I realise that there has been silence on the blog front recently. In truth it has been a challenging time, but the remit of this blog is to chase the dragonflies when they show themselves and to trust that they will return when they are hiding. Sad songs can say so much but it feels only right to share some iridescent dragonfly wing moments to prove that I am still standing and that life can still be fun.

I don’t know whether you have ever experienced this, but often it is the invitation that comes when you are absolutely shattered – the invitation that your brain tells you to turn down because it makes no rational sense to accept – that proves to be your best night out in a long time. I give you a Sunday night out at Elton John’s Farewell concert – a night out with my smashing work crew. It’s a little bit funny.

Buckle up and see how many songs I can shamelessly name drop into one blog.

Over the years I have been at many of Elton’s Farewell Tours, but at 74, if Elton feels that he has one more farewell gig in him, then I am prepared to give him the benefit of my doubt. In the midst of house moving and caring for a mother who has been threatening a farewell tour of her own, I nearly let my ticket go to a more grateful recipient. I could not bank on Saturday night being alright, let alone Sunday.

Anyway, before she moved postcode, my Sis encouraged me never to turn down an invitation – not through Fear of Missing Out, but through her fear that I could easily become a hermit. I think Sis would have been proud to see me sitting in the sunshine outside Ashton Gate Stadium last Sunday afternoon waiting for my work colleagues to join me. Once I had made the effort to get my sorry arse down there, it was so lovely to be out out.

I love a bit of people watching and Sunday afternoon did not disappoint. I absolutely love the fact that Elton is of an age (and reputation) when he can choose an early start and an early finish to his concert if he wishes – no faffing about with a support act, no interval, just an energised schmooze through his greatest hits and then a swift exit in his helicopter. His hot chocolate was no doubt already on hand while we were exiting the stadium in a blur of pink feather boa and oversized spectacle. I was home by 10 pm, so I do not begrudge a pensioner pass that grants Elton his own private flight – after all, we had tailor-made public transport, ‘my gift is my bus and this one is for you,’ (Cheers drive).

Being a Sunday, Bristol has also started early and she clearly loves a Sunday afternoon cocktail and an excuse to dress up. Bristol is animated, friendly and ready to pay homage to the Reginald Kenneth Dwight, aka Elton Hercules John. We will not let the sun go down on us quietly.

I need to declare that when I walk into the stadium with ‘the crew’, I am delighted to see that our hospitality tickets include excellently placed seats, and I fully expect to be all tiara and tantrum and to settle my weary backside down with a great view of the stage while I nurse a pint of wine and join in with the occasional song lyric. I also fully expect Elton to need the support of a crowd sing- along, feeling that his voice will have inevitably lost range over the passing years.


I apologise EJ, you deserve your self-gifted Herculean nomenclature. Sorry is not the hardest word in your case.

From the moment EHJ walks onto the stage in his besequinned satin tails – looking like he was born conjoined to his piano stool as a musical version of Mr Tumnus – I am out of my seat with the rest of the stadium. It’s a little bit funny, but like many around me, I realise that I am of an age where Reginald has bookended so many of my memories. I was there in the 70’s memorising the lyrics to ‘Your Song’ from my garden swing, and now here I am with the younger members of my work team being brought up to date with the remix that gifts us ‘Cold Heart’ with Dua Lipa (when did this happen, people??).

My heart is smiling along with my feet. My children tease me that it is usually only my shoulders that start dancing when I am in a happy place, but weary though I am, I find I am dancing along with the rest of Bristol. I can feel the love tonight. My backside does not grace its allotted stadium seat all evening. I am burning out my fuse but I am not here alone.

When the whole stadium know the lyrics of every Elton song, you soon find yourself dueting with total strangers as they pass by with a ‘tray’ of drinks. You forget that Elton’s last farewell could be gifting us a super spreader event. One minute you are admiring the purple satin three-piece suit of a passing silver fox and the next you have linked arms and find yourself jiving to ‘Crocodile Rock’ together. I may not be a tiny dancer but I can still feel the love and this is good to know after the last few weeks. One of our party loves Elton so much that this is her second farewell to him this week. She has downloaded the play list and has worked out when Elton will need a costume change and therefore when she can get to the Ladies and grab another cider (in that order, naturally without missing any of his act. She is so animated and gorgeous- looking that she risks getting crowd surfed away from us on many occasions during the show; we have an emergency team meeting to trouble shoot a way of tethering her to our party so that she can make it into work next morning – and more importantly make it to her hen weekend the following week. Hakuna Mattata

At one point two pensioners come and start dancing in front of us. Bristol is at her best again; the lady has a bright red pony tail attached to her shaved, tattooed head, a Shaun the Sheep rucksack and her two front teeth are missing. She can’t stop snogging her partner, who is two sheets to the wind and has his arse hanging out of his trousers (unfortunate when his exuberant dancing insists that his backside keeps wiggling in front of my face). We can’t decide whether they are on a first date or have been married for life. They clearly adore Elton and adore each other. A gurt lush version of the circle of life.

It is finally time for EHJ and his little hairy piano fingers (his dexterous digits are beamed onto the screens around the stadium throughout the evening) to change into his silk pyjamas and dressing gown. He makes the best exit; instead of climbing a stairway to heaven, it looks as if he is rising on a Stannah Stairlift to join his personally crafted Yellow Brick Road. He turns and waves and I realise that he is actually wearing a satin track suit and slippers. He looks so happy.

I can not believe that this is his last farewell. I won’t begrudge Elton another tour if he changes his mind – again. His voice and piano are still so strong. At this stage in my life I see EHJ as a perfectly plumptious and musically gifted dragonfly and I thank him for being so iridescent in these grey times. This was such a great night out. Someone saved my life tonight and I think it may have just been this little Pocket Man. The bitch is back.

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