In our increasingly dull and sanitised age, where our rock and pop idols tend to be the privately educated milquetoast children of investment bankers and has-been soap stars, there is something rather wonderful about the continued existence of Sir Elton Hercules John, recently appointed to the prestigious order of the Companionship of Honour. Quite what Her Majesty will make of The Artist Formerly Known As Reg Dwight is a mystery, especially assuming that some flunky or other has read her Sir Elton’s hilarious, jaw-droppingly candid memoir Me. It is, frequently, enough to make her hide the corgis away and wonder what on earth she has done.

Elton John is, in that dreadful, sycophantic cliché, a national treasure, although on the evidence of this scintillating book, less so for his musical career and more for having survived decades of debauchery with his wit, if not his hair, intact. There is a cherishable description of his being seen by a horrified domestic worker with his latest wig askance, and he helpfully makes the comparison between himself and comedian Frankie Howerd.