Tucked away in PR week is a sad little paragraph about Geoff Baker getting the sack from Sir Paul McCartney’s organisation MPL. The two have parted company after a solid association lasting 15 years, and as of now Baker is unemployed.
‘His behaviour has not reached the professional standards I had come to expect from Geoff’ said the former Beatle, ‘and it is with regret that I am forced to end our relationship’.
The kind of commitment required to manage ‘media relations’ on behalf of an international megastar of Macca’s calibre cannot be exaggerated. The smooth progress of developing positive stories followed by decent photo opportunities followed by more positive stories and ‘comment’, on and on, month after month, year after year, incident after incident defines the public face of the person concerned. Now McCartney will have to find someone else to keep him in existence.
Undoubtedly Baker has the contacts and experience to be an asset seated at any boardroom table in the country, understanding as he does every nuance of handling the press. Think of what’s gone on in McCartneyland over the past 15 years: Paul’s music, Linda’s sausages, Linda’s illness, Linda’s death, Paul’s mourning, Stella’s frocks, Paul’s cheering up a bit, Heather’s arrival, Heather’s leg, Heather and Paul engaged, Heather and Paul having a baby…I mean, good grief, it’s bigger than Coronation Street, with each one a world-interest exclusive for some publication somewhere.
It may have been Geoff’s ‘handling’ (i.e. tipping off) of a photographer to cover Sir Paul’s ‘impromptu’ visit to see David Blaine swinging in his glass box last year which started Baker’s slippery slide. The musician became rather cross and a ‘c’ word filled the night air which definitely wasn’t ‘chums’. Elsewhere (on the Cavern’s website as a matter of fact) Baker is claiming he wasn’t sacked: he resigned over the old clich� ‘irreconcilable differences’ with Paul’s powerful missus Heather Mills McCartney. Either way it highlights the problems of running a PR outfit purely to look after celebrities’ interests. You just can’t stop them being themselves and how infuriating they can be.
And Geoff’s future? PR Week says Geoff doesn’t have any other clients and is planning to write a book. I wonder what the book will be about. It couldn’t possibly be about his recent employer, could it? I only pose the question because he’s on the record, speaking to the Liverpool Echo last week, thus…
‘There is as much chance of me writing a book about Paul as there is of me taking life seriously,’ says Geoff Baker, who has served his lord and master as press officer for 14 eventful, newsworthy years. ‘I could write hundreds of books about Paul, but I’d never do it – even if someone put a gun to my head. It would cheapen everything. I think it’s entirely wrong to work for someone and then write a book about them.’
But you could do it? There would be nothing stopping you?
‘Of course I could do it. But it isn’t a consideration. It’s never going to happen.’
Happiness is a warm gun.