Saturday 7 April 2012
Rebecca Tyrrel: Neo-Luddite Elton admitted that he didn’t know the web address of his own charity
Who knew that Elton John is a staunch enemy of modern technology? This news first emerged on The Larry King Show a few years back, when the Queen Mother of rock sheepishly admitted that he had no idea of the website address of his own charity, and only last year he revealed: "I don't have a phone, I don't have a computer, I don't have an iPad and I don't have an iPod".
On first thought, it seems incredible that a man whose monthly bill for fresh flowers could clear the Greek sovereign debt doesn't rattle through a dozen iPhones each week, tossing them in the bin as he goes because the glass screen has become smeary with make-up.
On reflection, though, you can see how Sir Elton could regard modern forms of communication as best left to others to carry out on his behalf, much as senior members of the royal family leave it to their flunkies to carry cash.
Of course he is by no means the only neo-Luddite out there in A-list land. Sir Paul McCartney has fondly reminisced about the days when telephones were kept below stairs with the servants – though that seems more in keeping with inter-war Downton Abbey than 1950s Liverpool – and claims not to have mastered the admittedly fearsome intellectual challenge of using a cash machine.
George Clooney once informed a press conference, "I'd rather have a rectal examination on live TV by a fellow with cold hands than have a Facebook page". And School of Rock star Jack Black will not "give in to the digital age" to the extent of still recording albums on to cassette tapes.
But perhaps now that Sir Elton is a dad, with his very own little 'digital native' to contend with, the cyber stubbornness will loosen. Indeed, there are already signs that the fierce internal battle between his own technophobia and indulgent parental love is being won by the latter – Sir Elton has now deigned to buy an iPad so he can keep tabs on his son via webcam when away on tour. A good sign, for how will he cope when young Zachary demands a diamond-encrusted iPhone 9 for his seventh birthday? Sorry will certainly seem to be the hardest word if Elton refuses to comply.
As for the mobile phone... it's tempting to ponder that Elton restricts his relationship with that to pocketing a few million a year from downloaded ringtones of his greatest hits.
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