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Bright Light Bright Light and Elton John Duet on 'I Wish We Were Leaving': MUSIC

Wishwewereleaving

Elton John phoned Welsh-born pop artist Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) to compliment him on his debut album and their friendship resulted in this duet, which wasn't originally written as one.

The Guardian reports:

"In time I played him I Wish We Were Leaving and he added his vocals. Although it wasn't written as a duet, I love that his voice taking lead in the second verse is a reminder that every relationship has two sides and two voices."

For Elton it meant working in a slightly different way to what he's been used to: "Working with Bright Light Bright Light was a challenge for me as I love Electronica but am quite ignorant on the recording process. I had to sing in a completely different way which I really enjoyed."

The track is part of an EP of the same name out April 7.

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

For more on Bright Light Bright Light, don't miss our Bobby Hankinson's interview with him that we published last June. As well as "Moves", "An Open Heart", and "In Your Care".

Continue reading "Bright Light Bright Light and Elton John Duet on 'I Wish We Were Leaving': MUSIC" »


Elton John Offers to Introduce Vladimir Putin to Gay People

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Over the weekend in a defense of the country's tolerance (cough) of homosexuality, Vladimir Putin told reporters that "Elton John is an outstanding person [and] outstanding musician. Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation."

Elton_johnNow Elton John is responding to Putin's remarks, saying he is "deeply grateful" for the support of the Russian people, and offering to introduce Putin to gay people.

Elton released a statement on his website which reads, in part:

The people I met in Moscow – gay men and lesbians in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s - told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would ‘cure’ them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. One young man was stalked outside a gay club by someone posing as a taxi driver who tried to garrotte him with a guitar string because he was a “sodomite”. Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse – at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street – since the legislation came into force last June. And, some of the vital work providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labelled “homosexual propaganda” and shut down.

It was very clear to me that, although foreigners like myself who are visiting Russia are not affected by this new law (and President Putin has recently confirmed this), it is a very different story for those living inside the country. As Maria Maksakova told her fellow Russian MPs last month: “We are seeing extremely negative consequences as a result of this law, with the growth of hate crimes.”

President Putin asserts that this was not the intention, but it is undoubtedly the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance. In particular, it is very disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse, which countless studies have shown to be conclusively wrong.

The people I met in Moscow were decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone. Whatever the intention of Russia’s homosexuality and paedophilia propaganda laws, I am absolutely clear from my own personal experience that it is proving deeply dangerous to the LGBT community and deeply divisive to Russian society. I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit.


Elton John, Stephen Fry, George Michael, Graham Norton, and Tom Daley Get Together: PHOTO

Nesting

The Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK based international LGBT rights charity, is auctioning off seven sets of these Russian nesting dolls in a #ToRussiaWithLove campaign.

The auction will be held today through December 22  to raise money for The Kaleidoscope Trust and their counterparts in the Russian LGBT community, says the group.

They add: "Over Christmas, Mother will deliver a set of dolls to the Russian Embassy in London and The Kremlin as an act of solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia."


Elton John Explains Why He Went to Russia and Spoke Out for Gays, Urges Others to Do the Same

Elton John explained why he went to Russia in a statement posted today to the Elton John AIDS Foundation website:

JohnThere was a lot of speculation about whether I would go to Russia this year. Many people outside the country thought I should boycott Russia because of its new homophobic legislation. Others said I must go to challenge the government.

I decided in the end to be guided by what Russian people wanted me to do. The message, from even the most marginalised Russian groups we work with at the Elton John AIDS Foundation, was ‘please come’. If you don’t come, AIDS workers and LGBT activists told us, we will feel isolated. We will miss having your voice in our debate. It might be interpreted that you don’t care. Or we may be blamed for keeping you away.

In Moscow I spent hours with gay activists, Federal doctors, human rights lawyers and people living with HIV. They told me that since the new legislation has been adopted it’s getting harder and harder to deliver basic HIV information or healthcare to gay men for fear of seeming to ‘promote’ homosexuality, which is against the law. Gay people lie even to their children about their sexuality, in case it jeopardises their families.

That night at my concert I made a statement, directly to the audience, about how sad, shocking and isolating this new law seemed to be. A young woman with a rainbow banner cheered. I realised then, with thousands of Russians cheering for a man they knew to be gay, that I had made the right decision. I believe the Russian people are decent and will be persuaded – but they need to hear us, and see we are human. They can’t do that from a distance of two thousand miles.

A number of celebrities have recently declined to go to Russia, some for fear that it is unsafe. But I say to my friends – we all owe our freedoms to people who took risks with their safety for us, and faced far greater dangers than those confronting a Western artist in Russia. Freedom is worth taking a risk for. Saving people from HIV is worth taking a risk for, and there is nothing that fuels the AIDS epidemic more effectively than stigma and isolation. We’ve learnt that over 20 years of funding HIV programmes around the world, including Russia.

As the Winter Olympics approaches, I know lots of sportsmen and artists are facing the same choice that I faced. I realise not everyone will share my view. But personally I hope and pray that prominent people will go to Russia and challenge the wrong thinking of this law. It breeds isolation, mistrust and hate, and cannot be how Russia wants to be known by the world.

Thank you to everyone who came to my concerts. And thank you to the people who gave their time to talk to me about HIV and gay rights while I was in Russia. We will continue to support your important, life saving work.“

If you missed the video of Elton John speaking out from the stage in Moscow, you can watch it HERE.


Elton John Blasts Russian Government During Moscow Concert

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Despite his earlier claim that he would not speak out against the Russian government during a concert in Moscow, Elton John did just that. During last night's show, John not only condemned the country's homophobic laws but also explained why he chose to perform in the country. He also took a moment to dedicate the concert to a young victim of anti-gay hate.

John posted a transcript of his statement on his Facebook account. It reads in part:

"...I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here. I want to show them and the world that I care and that I don’t believe in isolating people....The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion for my children and for your children. Please don’t leave it behind when you leave tonight. Each and every one of you please, keep this spirit in your life and in your heart. I wish you love and peace and health and happiness. And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi."

Earlier this year, 23-year-old Tornovoi was brutally raped and murdered in southern Russia by two friends after they learned he was gay.

Watch video of John speak from the stage of Moscow's Crocus City Hall, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Elton John Blasts Russian Government During Moscow Concert" »


Elton John's Russia Concerts to Proceed: Will He Speak Out for Gays?

Despite some discussion that they would be canceled because of threats he might speak out, Elton John's concerts in Russia tonight and tomorrow will go on as planned, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

Elton“Contrary to groundless rumors disseminated over the Internet and in the media about possible cancelation of Elton John’s performances in Russia, the promoter confirms that Elton John’s shows in Moscow on Dec. 6 at Crocus City Hall and in Kazan on Dec. 7 at Tatneft Arena are to be held as scheduled,” SAV Entertainment, which is organizing the gigs, said on its web site...

...Meanwhile, SAV Entertainment also denied The Times’ claims about John’s extravagant tour rider, or set of requests or demands, which allegedly included a miniature forest with live birds and diamond-adorned cutlery. The report “is false and discredits the artist’s image,” the promoter said.

Elton has said he would not boycott the country because he needed to go to support the LGBT community there:

"I'm supposed to be going to Moscow in December.I've got to go. And I've got to think about what I'm going to say very carefully. There's two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you're really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."

He later said he would not speak out against the government from his stage:

You don't just go in there with guns blazing and say, 'Well, to hell with you.' Because they're going to say, 'To hell with you, and get out of the country.' That's not going to solve anything. But if I can go there, maybe I can talk to some people in the administration.

We'll soon know which of those promises he intends to keep, and how he'll do it.


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