Tuesday, 22 December 2015

IT'S YOUR SONG, ELTON

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 Gary since I was a teenager, when his garden backed on to my Mum and Dad's.

Only one way to find out. Our 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 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. 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 EJ's husband, David Furnish, nor the way in which he is running the singer's life. We could go into blood-curdling detail here. Let's not. Although how could we ever disregard the misery of Elton's mother, Sheila Farebrother, forced to hire a tribute act to her son to perform at her ninetieth birthday party, because her own son has not spoken to her for seven years. Why? Because Sheila refused to end her friendships with Elton's former manager and sometime lover, John Reid, and with Bob Halley, Elton's ex-driver and PA. They are 'like sons' to her.

Life being too short. It's a long time since I last saw the excitable Furnish. In Atlanta, Georgia, probably. 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. Who knows what he's trying to prove. What will they do when there's nobody left?

Knowing Gary, never short of a line of two - he once bumped smack into Mel Gibson and retorted, 'What a f-ing stupid place to put a mirror' - he'll be raising a glass to the good times, and privately wishing Elton well. He's unlikely to lose much sleep over it. I bet Elton will.

I owe Gary, by the way, for the best piece of advice a media guru could give a writer.
'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.'

Remember it.

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