Campanology, ultra-marathons, breeding pitbulls: how I'll spend my retirement by Sir Elton John

POP legend Sir Elton John headlines Glastonbury and is nearing the end of his farewell tour, but won’t be resting easy in retirement. He outlined his plans: 

Every career ends. And once I’ve closed the lid of my piano for the final time, I’ll be nothing but a retired former epic drug user of 76 with perhaps another 40 years ahead of me.

I’ve spanned decades, continents, genres, sexual orientations, but what’s next?


What a relief, after decades with 88 keys and various pedals to please, just to tug on a rope like a fucking idiot. Dong-dong-dong and if the rhythm’s off nobody gives a bugger; you’re not playing to 100,000 fans or a funeral crowd at Westminster Abbey, it’s a provincial church half-full of bus-pass holders.

Getting a bus pass

Luxuriantly living the life of a pensioner, getting to the stop for 9.30am for the number 8 to Slough to pick up some meat from the lorry that parks in the square? That’s what I’m retiring for. I also need to find a place I can pick up maribou feathers and rough trade.


Kevin Keegan – a dear friend, he stayed at mine when he was coming off ketamine – pointed out that I wear a lot of tracksuits but don’t run in them. I lost my temper and called him a cunt, but he’s got a point. Instead of doing Couch to 5K I’m going straight to a 135-mile run from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, and I’m doing it dressed as Louis XIV.

Breeding pitbulls

When you live in a series of sprawling mansions around the globe, you really need to think about security. Especially as I tend to forget which celebrity’s rehabbing in which home. Arrive at Woodside and Eugenie’s drying out, fly to LA and Martin Freeman’s in the Blood Replacement Suite, it’s a nightmare. So pitbulls. They are quite camp.

Lollipop man

This one ticks all the boxes. Flamboyant dress, a captive audience of parents and children, an outrageous prop, part-time with the chance of an MBE. It’s within school hours so I won’t miss the kids, it’s outdoors work, and they’re notoriously short-tempered if anyone’s fucking about. I should have done it years ago.

Tracking down all those celebrities and giving them their bloody stuff back

They pop in for six months’ seclusion and leave their stuff behind and never pick up their voicemails. I’ve got Robbie Williams’s comics, Ginger Spice’s hair straighteners, Justin Bieber’s monkey and Meghan Markle’s anal beads littering the places. I’m driving round and dropping them off even if I have to leave them in the fucking drive.

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Burnt burgers in pissing rain: the gammon food critic's barbecue invitation

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who believes an independent Boris-and-Nigel party would win in a landslide

WHICH dickhead decided barbecues are macho? Standing around outside burning food over fire? Pretend you’re a caveman if you like but you look like a Boy Scout to me. 

There’s no call for acting like a primitive to reclaim your culinary manhood. A real bloke gets his wife to do it.

Obviously I’m at a divorce disadvantage there, but I’ve got new neighbours. Invited me around for a housewarming in the garden. I might as well be sociable because I might need to borrow a hedgetrimmer and never return it, like with the last lot.

We get off to a poor start when I turn up and they’ve got one of these fucking gas barbecues. I point out that it’s not a proper barbie and they might as well have just dragged the cooker into the bloody garden. They’re only speechless because I’m right.

My patience exhausted by politely waiting for the host to pour drinks, I help them out by getting myself a bottle of Riesling and wave away offers of a glass. ‘Less washing-up,’ I explain between swigs.

As the meat chars, I try making conversation, but it’s all about kids and schools. I bring up the atrocities of the Burma Railway – just read a book about them – and nobody wants to know.

Anyway I’m here for the food, and thank fuck it’s free. Barbecues are beefburgers, sausages, red sauce, and bread buns. End of. So what’s all this bollocks? Chicken souvlaki, corn on the cob, and endless fucking salads.

Not to mention the culinary abomination that is veggie burgers. Rusk and sawdust pretending to be meat for thin-blooded dickheads pretending not to be carnivorous. You might as well grill air for ghosts.

They run out of booze early, or at least I can’t find any, and my offers to pop to mine for a crate of Red Stripe are firmly rebuffed. Welcoming them to the neighbourhood, I stagger home.

There’s no call for cooking outdoors when you’ve got a kitchen. Barbecues are for wankers and show-offs. Still, I’m full of meat and booze and piss in my own garden, as a mark of courtesy. Next door can hear me though.