Deborah Ross: 'Toni Terry may well forgive John but then again she may well not,' said An Insider. Hey, can anyone have a guess?'

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If you ask me, which you haven't done for a while now – where have you been? – it's about time we stopped taking "A Source" and "A Close Family Friend" quite so much for granted. These two work tirelessly across all the tabloids and celebrity gossip magazines and, without them, where on earth would we be? How would we keep up to speed on Madonna splitting up with her latest fella ("He felt he had nothing in common with her," said A Source) or how Peter feels about Jordan's re-marriage ("He hit the roof when he heard," said A Close Friend?). Where would we be? I mean, it's not like you can sit in an office and just invent this sort of thing between, say, marking up cellulite with big red arrows or putting a big black "X" on Lily Allen's outfit, is it? Don't you think these people have enough to do with their big red and black marker pens as it is? Don't you, even, think they need to get on with spotting Sarah from Girls Aloud eating a croissant outside a café in Primrose Hill?

No, A Source and A Close Family Friend provide a tremendous service and, although I suspect they do not meet up that often – where would they find the time? – I am minded to think that, when they do, the conversation goes something like this:

A Close Family Friend: "What a day. It's not easy being a close family friend."

A Source: "Do you think it's easy being a source? I can assure you it isn't."

A Close Family Friend: "Fair point."

A Source: "Thank you."

Or, as Closer magazine would put it: "It's not easy being A Source," said A Close Family Friend. "And it's not easy being a Close Family Friend," said A Source. I don't know where "An Insider" is in all this. Probably, An Insider is too busy with John and Toni Terry's marriage. "Toni may well forgive John but then again she may not," said An Insider. Hey, can anyone have a guess? Or do you need special training? Only teasing! Of course you need special training. Idiot! (Special training is available at The Rumour Mill, just off the A1 past St Albans, although if you see a Harvester to your left, you've gone too far.)

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