I confess to a double-take at Kelvin MacKenzie's Sun column yesterday, announcing that PR and communications supremo Gary Farrow had terminated his working relationship with Sir Elton John. Surely some mistake: these two go back more than forty years. To 1974, in fact, when gift-of-the-gob Gary landed a job as a runner at Rocket Records after pestering the Rocket Man for a break. Which I happen to know first-hand, because I've known and loved Gary since I was a teenager, when his garden backed on to my Mum and Dad's.
Only one way to find out. Our long conversation today left me saddened beyond words. Gary, who once flogged singles off a barrow in Berwick Street market, Soho, before rising to fame in his own right in the entertainment industry, has represented, promoted, protected and made superstars of the cream of the crop - Bowie, Elton, Wham!, George Michael, Bob Geldof, Frankie, Duran, Jonathan Ross, Ozzy & Sharon, you name them. But he has called it a day with Elton, with whom he was once so thick that they attended each other's weddings, and Elton became Godfather to Gary's eldest daughter. He can apparently no longer abide the way that EJ's husband, David Furnish, is running the singer's life. We could go into blood-curdling detail here, but let's not. It's Christmas. Although how could we ever shrug off the unbearable misery of Elton's mother, Sheila Farebrother, forced to hire an Elton John tribute act to perform at her 90th birthday celebrations this year - because her own son, the globally famous genuine article, has not spoken to her for seven years. Why? Because dear Sheila refused to cancel her friendships with her son's former manager and sometime lover, John Reid, and with Bob Halley, Elton's ex-driver and PA, who are like 'sons' to her.
Life being too short. It's a long time since I supped and chewed cud with the excitable Furnish. The last time was in Atlanta, Georgia, in God knows when. But from what I've heard, he has found his vocation as a talentless control freak hell-bent on destroying the most meaningful relationships in his partner's life. I can't imagine what he is trying to prove. But what will they do when there's nobody left?
Knowing Gary, never short of a line of two - he once bumped bang-smack into Mel Gibson and retorted, 'What a f-ing stupid place to put a mirror' - he'll be raising a Yuletide glass to all the good times, and privately wishing Elton well. He's unlikely to lose much sleep over it. But I bet Elton will.
I owe Gary eternally for the best piece of advice a media guru could ever give an insecure writer (is there another kind).
'It only takes one,' he told me.
'Of all the nine billion however many people on the planet, it only takes one person to invest, to go 'let's have a punt', and to make your dream a reality. I've seen it happen more times than I've had cold breakfasts. I've seen for myself that it's true. So never, ever give up. Keep doing what you're doing. If you're any bloody good, then sooner or later it comes to you.'