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Elton John AIDS Foundation - Jumble Sale

I had an appointment with my cousin Vera to go to see Elton John's "jumble sale". As everybody knows Elton is a shopaholic and, as he himself says, he can find a shop in the Sahara desert. The pleasure of shopping is the only addiction left to Elton thus making fashion firms such as Versace very rich!!! He spends £293.000 on flowers each year. In two years he has spent £40m on shopping. This spending must give his creativity a buzz so he can afford to buy more and more!!! So we arrived there and queued for some minutes. My cousin said she would not be happy to queue for a long time but we managed to get inside after all. Everyone is invited to buy a "red ribbon" for the Aids charity. I was very excited being able to see and touch the clothes of my idol and trying to find out about this much-loved celebrity. I think he got the right feeling for the funeral of Diana with re-writing of "Candle in the Wind" which was originally for Norma Jean, Marilyn Monroe in 1972. The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin. It is considered to be one of the best songs of the 20th Century by BBC radio 2 and the profits from it go to Diana's charity.

But we are in New Bond Street for the Elton John Aids Foundation. This is the third "Out of the Closet" sale. I was told by an Italian assistant that Elton has rented the shop from Tommy Hilfiger for nine months. He did not know what Elton John was going to do for the next eight months, we have to wait and see. Elton was there for the opening with his partner of the last seven years, David Furnish, who did the documentary "Tantrums and Tiaras", where you can see a lot of tantrums - not any tantrums, but Elton John tantrums which I can assure you is another thing!!! Also, because you could see him in all his funny clothes such as his big Cruella de Vil coat. But his most famous dress is the one which he had for his 50th birthday as Marie Antoinette in 1997. So the sale contained clothes from Gucci, Gaultier, the latter he goes to with David for the designer's catwalk shows. To receive his knighthood from the Queen he was accompanied by his mother and David. Elton said he is a "mummy's boy" because "Nobody has stood by me as much as her".

He never misses a Milan season and is on everyone's A-list throughout the world for parties, exhibitions, the Oscars, film festivals etc. Of course, the main clothes for sale were Versace, being sold at 10 times less than the original price. So he cut the ribbon of his "jumble sale" with David Furnish showing his new lighter hairstyle, both in leather jackets; David's jacket, I believe, was by Alexander McQueen. The sale contained many leather clothes in various sizes. Because of the different sizes my cousin thought that other stars perhaps donate clothes for these Aids sales but the publicity goes to Elton John. Sixteen thousand items were on sale for the opening day and he hosted a breakfast reception for friends and supporters of his charity,including Elle McPherson, Jasper Conran, Tim Jeffries ex-Elle, ex-Claudia Schiffer), Matthew Freud (partner of Elisabeth Murdoch) and Joseph Azagury; and was hoping to raise more than £400.000 for his charity this year as last year he reached £300.000. At the opening first in the queue was Elton's look-alike William Carbury from Glasgow. He started to queue at 5am and had come all the way from Glasgow and was looking for something glittery!!! And Sharon Kalinoski, the Manager of Elton's Fan Club, had come all the way from Chicago for the opening and had a budget of several thousand dollars, which I supposed were for the Fan Club Museum and fans. She said "I have been to all his sales and I wear a lot of his clothes". Like her, I now have my bumbum in his bermudas!!!!

Anyway, as a huge fan, I decided to get one personal item of Elton to take home to show all my friends in Brazil and Italy, so I went for the bermudas in the lighter pink, Versace of course. I was completely happy to have the bermudas that had been worn by HIM!!! I told my cousin I can always put them in a frame or even give to an auction in Brazil for an Aids charity. I was, of course, feeling quite wonderful. We bought the CD "The Greatest Hits Live at Madison Square Gardens New York City" October 2000. In fact we saw the programme on television and also the interview that Elton had given to promote his charity. The beautiful ten-foot concert grand piano to be auctioned by Christie's for his charity was on show at the sale and I was moved to touch the keyboard. So we left the shop in ecstatic. I took some pictures of the window showing his costumes and we went to see the Christmas decorations of the most expensive and beautiful street in London.

We walked for a few metres and came to a rubbish bin. I could see it contained two wallets so I said to my cousin "I am sorry to embarrass you but I am going to take these two wallets. It is incredible what you find in the English rubbish" I said. "They buy new things and throw the old away even if they are still practically new. So I took out the two wallets and, to my amazement, my cousin said " One is mine". So I said "What do you mean?" She said: to look inside and if there was a medal of St Anthony the wallet was hers. To my amazement, it WAS her wallet - she had been the victim of a pick-pocket: joking apart, a terrible feeling as, apart from the medal,the wallet was empty. The other wallet was full of credit cards and papers, no money. She said if the wallet had been found on me it would be difficult to explain, so I went to the nearest post-box and posted it in there as they do in Italy. We were wondering where it had happened and it must have happened in the queue because in the shopping there was a lot of security including cctv. We came across another wallet in another bin to my great amazement. So shocked we were that we had to partake of tea in Selfridges. We looked around for police but none to be seen, they surely must be getting reports of pick-pocketing, but they don't seem to care.

Whilst the restoration of Selfridges has been going on there has been displayed a huge photo of Elton John - a sort of photo-montage containing other personages - by the artist Sam Taylor-Wood; a frieze wrapped around the entire building of Oxford Street's emporium, the oldest department store in Oxford Street. Taylor-Wood's photograph was the largest ever taken, the heaviest, the longest to print and the most difficult to achieve technically. Taylor-Wood called her piece XV Seconds - a reference to the famous Warhol quip "Everyone is famous for 15 seconds". I am still waiting for mine. It also took 15 seconds to take the photograph with a special 360-degree camera. The photograph endeavoured to show the famous statues of the Parthenon with Elton John as Zeus. The Oxford Street shoppers would have fun identifying the famous "giants". Elton is, at the moment, in the middle of a most artistic period with "The Lion King" in the West End and "Aida" on Broadway, and even has an Oscar for his film music.
He currently has an exhibition of art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta - his private collection of photographs, over 2.000, that he has bought over the last 10 years. Several are of portraits of himself. The first, an Irving Penn photograph of 1977, has been deliberately distorted. He doesn't want a distorted photo now "because I'm 53". His collection includes photos of Miles Davis, Gloria Swanson, Billie Holliday by Bob Willoughby and Richard Avendon's portraits of the Beatles, also a portrait of Andy Warhol. There are also vintage prints by Man Ray, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson. This collection marks a rare tribute to his good taste as he has more of a reputation for being a spender rather than a connoisseur.

We did had a lovely tea in the basement of Selfridges entertained by a choral singing Christmas songs.


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