"His humour is very arch and arid, and that gets lost on a lot of people.
They think he's rude, or brooding, but for all the pretentiousness, in fact he's quite a joker, and likes a laugh.
"Bryan is very keen on upper-class people, in a way that perhaps only Mick Jagger has been, among other rock stars," says an acquaintance.
"If you like, he's moved full circle from café society to proper society.
In 2002, he was arrested for plastering Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency home in protest posters.
Two years later, he gained notoriety after breaking into the House of Commons chamber while MPs debated the issue. He appeared at Stroud magistrates' court in Gloucestershire to plead guilty to a drink-driving charge.
This summer, he fronted a Countryside Alliance fundraising gig at Highclere Castle in Berkshire.
"We were poor, in that we didn't have a car, or a telephone, or things like that," he once recalled.
We wouldn't have "Love Is the Drug", "Do the Strand" or "Let's Stick Together".
Neither could Roxy Music's 1973 hit "A Song for Europe" have managed, in the words of one pundit, to make whistling cool.
His diaries would be utterly fantastic, if he's ever kept any." Ferry's man-about-town status was boosted in 2002 when it was revealed that Lucy Helmore, his wife of 20 years, had filed for divorce.
Shortly afterwards, he was photographed with a 21-year-old backing singer, Katie Turner.