Elton? The Man Wrote A Hit Song For Me For Christ's Sake

I'm sitting on a dark leather sofa, legs crossed, lips pursed, brow furrowed.

Glenn Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations can be faintly heard through a tape recorder in another room. To be more specific, a Realistic CTR-68 Model 14-808B.

"Jana, you're such a strong woman. I don't understand why you so desperately rely on Elton John for emotional support and inspiration. Honestly, it's quite troubling that you just impulsively purchased 11 Elton John records off of eBay. You're becoming like one of my other patients, Robert Baird, he's a severe addict. There's no hope for him." He says matter-of-factly, shaking his head.


"I'm sorry, that was harsh. I've had a very long day, and I thought I'd just have a quiet dinner at home tonight. Our next session is only a few days away. But alas, where are my manners? Can I offer you some lamb? Perhaps a glass of wine?"

I nod slowly. I'm still processing his words. Eleven VG++ records for just $39 including shipping. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Jump Up! (still in the shrink), Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (slightly wrinkled edges but the record is a pristine beauty), Caribou (also still in the shrink!), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (of course), Rock of the Westies, Elton John, Honky Chateau, Blue Moves, Tumbleweed Connection, and Madman Across the Water. How could I resist? How could anyone resist?

As if he's reading my mind, "You've brought them with you? I can smell them in your purse. One of those definitely smells like it's only VG, you know." Dammit. Which one? I'm racking my mind. "Ah . . . but a couple in the shrink I see? Very nice." I'm beaming, the proudest I've ever been in all our sessions. "Just be careful. You don't want to turn into Robert. He's very ill, you know."

Robert and I work together in the New York office on a daily basis. I am well aware.

Silence. With a side serving of Gould.

You'd think such a well-to-do man would have a more well-to-do system.

"So. Help me understand your obsession, for lack of better words, towards Elton John."

"Well, I don't know. I'm a massive fan and I don't quite understand what's wrong with that . . . or—or why I have to see a Doctor and take meds for this condition?" I mean, the man wrote a hit song for me for Christ's sake. He even titled it "Your Song." I listen to it on repeat all day every day. I'm just in therapy because we have a special connection and the court judge was clearly jealous. Can't blame him. Who wouldn't be?

More silence. And the added sound of cutlery on porcelain. Gould still a far-off whisper. Was that the fifth variation? Too muffled to tell. He really should have a better system.

"Tell me. Why are you such a diehard Elton John fan? What does he do, this musician you love so much?"

"He makes beautiful music." I mumble through a rich mouthful of lamb.

"Look deeper within yourself!" His fork makes a dull thud as it falls onto the dark wood table.

"Ohhh! The self-storage place?"

"No. What? Think, Jana. Think." He's exasperated. Is he going to up my dosage after this visit?

"He makes beautiful music and he's a beautiful human being!" Obviously.

"No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What worldly needs does he serve by creating music?"

"He makes people dance, sing, feel good?"

"No! He helps you escape. And how does he do it? How does he—or any monumental musician—make you listen far beyond the VG+ as if it is M-? Make you listen far beyond your own world, your own insignificant troubles? How does Gould still sound so marvelous on my tape recorder in the other room? Make an effort to answer now."

"Um.." Does he really think that tape player sounds 'marvelous'? Jesus. I need to hook this poor soul up with a subscription to Stereophile.

"He creates beautiful, magical works of audible art that compel you to feel intense happiness. He creates. He brings to life. He prods the emotions. That is his nature. That is why Queen Elizabeth II knighted him, why the whole world loves him. That is what you have to convey if you want people to understand your deep, yet troubled love for Elton." And not to mention he also works with a phenomenal lyricist. The lyricist of all lyricists.

He makes a gesture, offering me another cut of lamb.

"Oh—no, no thank you, I'm stuffed! I had absolutely no idea you were such a great chef. I've cleaned my plate, see?"

"How nice of you to say that, dear Jana." He pours Chianti for the both of us.

"Thank you." I try to make eye contact but he's keen on finishing up the last bit of the lamb on his plate.

"You're most welcome, Jana." He stops for a quick sniff, swirl, sniff, and swig of Chianti. "You know, for an audiophile, you really are quite polite. I truly despise rude audiophiles, so I try not to read the forums. If anyone gives you any trouble, just let me know, and we'll have them for dinner." He flashes a wry smile.

"You're so kind, Doctor. I don't know if I could sit through a whole dinner with them...but that's very nice of you to say. Thank you for seeing me without an appointment, I really, really appreciate it."

He walks me to the door, like a gentleman. "Off you go now, have a wonderful, crazy night, Jana. I'll be seeing you at our weekly session?"

"Of course. Goodbye, Doctor Lecter!"

Anton's picture


What the Hell?

You'd think he'd have served you Caribou! Or, would that be feeding your addiction?

Plus, Chianti! That goes better with liver and fava beans. ;-D

EDITED TO ASK: By the way, which Hannibal? It's kinda like asking which James Bond. (I prefer Mads Mikkelsen.)

Jana Dagdagan's picture

Aw. Anthony Hopkins all the way! I think they both have the bad ass/mysterious/calculating vibe down, but Hopkins is able to convey more compassion. Or maybe it's just the chemistry between Hopkins and Foster that makes me feel this way?

Allen Fant's picture

Nice work -Jana. I am an Elton fan as well. He has been around for so long, given us music lovers, so many hits!

Part-Time Audiophile's picture

Okay, that was fun.