NOT THE RE­TIR­ING KIND

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE & LOUD -

John Farn­ham was in Queens­land, his home away from home, at a trivia night with friends last year. The mu­si­cal round in­cluded a few ques­tions about his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer. There was one slight prob­lem.

“I couldn’t an­swer the ques­tions about me,” Farn­ham laughs. “I didn’t re­mem­ber the an­swers so I just kind of moved along.”

Farn­ham is the last per­son to dwell on his fame, or ex­ploit his celebrity to bank easy cash. He po­litely de­clines each time

The Voice

Voice. Count­down.

“I ac­tu­ally wrote that fore­word 20 years ago,” Jill, who he mar­ried in 1973.

“I was in Ade­laide, work­ing at a club as Johnny Farn­ham at that time, so it was a long time ago,” he says.

“Half­way through the set, Jilly went to the bath­room. There were two women preen­ing them­selves in the mir­ror. One was say­ing, ‘I can’t stand Johnny Farn­ham, he makes my skin crawl’. The other was say­ing, ‘Oh, I hate him’. This hap­pens to Jil­lian oc­ca­sion­ally. Jil­lian, to her credit, and God I love this woman so much, turned around and said, ‘Oh, I love him, I think he’s great’. Th­ese two women went, ‘Oh, how could you?’ and Jill just said, ‘I’m his wife!’ and left. That story is ab­so­lutely true.”

There’s no club shows th­ese days for Farn­ham, and very few haters, ex­cept the tire­some “hasn’t he re­tired?” rants each time he an­nounces an­other tour.

“Peo­ple say, ‘Je­sus, not again, he’s had more come­backs than Methuse­lah’ but I never said I was go­ing to re­tire,” he pa­tiently ex­plains, not for the last time.

“I don’t know how to do any­thing else. It’s good fun, it’s not brain surgery, it’s just mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment. I love it up there.”

The only thing Farn­ham has re­tired from is the lime­light when he’s not on tour. He’s not up with the lat­est mu­si­cal news. He and Jill pre­fer to lis­ten to au­dio books on a long drive but he’ll oc­ca­sion­ally dig through his CDs for ev­ery­thing from AC/DC to Pavarotti if he wants some Sun­day tunes.

Farn­ham isn’t con­cerned with so­cial me­dia, sign­posted by the fact he calls it the Twit­ters. “I live a pretty bor­ing ex­is­tence re­ally. If I’m not work­ing I go fish­ing. If I’m not work­ing or fish­ing I might ride me horse,” he says.

“That’s why I’m not on the Twit­ters. I don’t know any­one who would be in­ter­ested in the minu­tiae of my day. It’s just not some­thing that ap­peals to me.

Farn­ham will hit the stage again this month for his sec­ond co-head­line tour in as many years. Last year it was with Lionel Richie, this year’s friends re­united tour is with Olivia New­ton-John. The two are al­ready in talks about how much they’ll do to­gether. He loves her Peter Allen ma­te­rial and has been Danny to her Sandy singing Grease duets in the past.

“It’s go­ing to be great fun. Olivia and I are a nat­u­ral fit.”

Pic­ture: JAKE NOWAKOWSKI

John Farn­ham and Olivia New­ton-John pose at Mel­bourne Dock­lands ahead of their Two Strong Hearts tour.

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