A Bali ceremony is probably out – and so are Charlotte Church and Tony Blair. But there’s bound to be reams of paperwork to seal the deal
Behold, Earth’s most newly affianced power couple, who have emerged from the storms that respectively battered them with their heads held up high. They’ve walked on, through the wind – walked on, though the rain – though their dreams were tossed and blown. They’ve walked on, walked on, with hope in their hearts, and now they’ll never walk alone.
So yes: enormous congratulations to Jerry and the Pacemaker. And apologies to Liverpool football club, for obvious reasons.
But what a difference a few years makes. Back then, Rupert Murdoch was only ever pictured driving in or out of a corporate crisis zone – a sort of media Davros, his torso fused to the back seat of a Range Rover Vogue.
Jerry Hall, meanwhile, had succumbed to an on-air meltdown after being voted off Strictly, and was still resisting the idea of panto – a last stand that crumbled over the 2014-15 festive season, when she made her debut as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Richmond theatre in London.
Fast forward to the present day, and the downfall of the House of Murdoch appears to have been somewhat exaggerated. Much like Davros, Rupert seems to have got hold of some regeneration energy.
He is copping off with Jerry for the cameras at Twickenham, all corporate charges for phone hacking have been dropped on both sides of the Atlantic, stocks in Fox and News Corp are in rude health, and Posh Nosh prime minister David Cameron is once again dutifully pitching up at his Christmas drinks party, probably carrying some sort of desperate homemade panettone as a “my bad” present.
Meanwhile, you have to think it’s time for the Lighthouse theatre in Kettering to accept that Jerry’s not going to return its call, and to start tapping up Vicki Michelle instead.
According to the couple’s joint publicist statement: “They have loved these past months together, are thrilled to be getting married and excited about their future.” “They’re excited about the future?” queries a friend tartly. “He’s 84.”
So what? Rupert may be Jerry’s most facially arresting romantic partner since she played consort to Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the Michael Keaton/Tim Burton Batman. And I’ll admit there’s a tiresomely predictable school of thought that suggests Jerry must be a lot more excited about the mid-to-long-term future (cf The Paperwork). But as anyone who saw that somewhat alarming documentary about him a decade or so ago knows, Rupert is going to live till at least 120, thanks to state-of-the-art personal training and nutrition choices.
As for the journey to the Times classifieds … well, we know very little about their whirlwind four-month courtship. Back in a 2005 interview, Jerry likened her passion for orchids to her post-Mick technique with gentleman callers. “They’re tricky,” she explained of her fleshy houseplants. “They don’t like a lot of attention. You have to ignore them. Like men.”
Is that the tack she took with her newly acquired delicate blossom? Certainly, during the latter interview, Jerry claimed to be done with pleasing men. “Now I like to treat them mean,” she explained.
And so to the style of wedding we might expect. Last time Rupert plighted his … troth, is it? …. the nuptials took place on his yacht, the Morning Glory (leave it: like the Mrs Merton line, it’s nothing that hasn’t been said 239,000 times before). The ceremony served as a reminder to always pay the help, given that wedding singer Charlotte Church would later pitch up at the Leveson inquiry to claim she had been advised to waive her £100,000 appearance fee for the promise of favourable media coverage in Murdoch titles.
As for who will serenade the couple this time, we can only guess. When I worked at the Sun, I once had an anodyne diary item about Barbra Streisand spiked on the basis that, some years before, someone had seen a Streisand CD on one of Murdoch’s desks, and concluded it was possible that he liked her music. Consequently, no even remotely unflattering story about Streisand had appeared for years. I like to think this is defo what Adam Smith meant by the “invisible hand”.
Then again, maybe the Murdoch-Hall wedding won’t be small and discreet, but more in the style of the 2010 christening of Rupert and Wendi’s daughters Grace and Chloe, extensive pictures of which were given to Hello! magazine. An event some universes beyond high camp, it took place on the banks of the river Jordan, saw all the guests bidden to wear white and either flower garlands or buttonholes, and marked the high-water mark of Rupert’s journey into the blackest reaches of the L’Oreal colour chart. Godparents were their doubtless dearest friends Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman – and a certain Mr Tony Blair (not pictured). I imagine Tony just sends birthday presents to the girls via an intermediary these days, après The Unpleasantness, but will always be on hand to help little Grace and Chloe should they summon him with the twatsignal, or offer him $500,000 to make an after-dinner toast at their confirmation or something.
As for styles of marriage ceremony to which Rupert and Jerry may be drawn: probably not Hindu. I think Jerry feels she’s done that theme, what with the Balinese hokey-cokey with Mick. When they came to divorce, you will recall, Jagger sweetly claimed they had never actually been married, on the basis that the 1990 Bali ceremony was null and void because the priest didn’t get a letter of authority from the British consul. So this time around, we can expect Jerry to insist on securing the permission – possibly even the attendance – of every top-tier US ambassador, and all permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Finally, then, The Paperwork. The best guess is that there’ll be quite a lot of it. I don’t want to get into detailed speculation about terabytes, but maybe all those News International executive emails were pre-emptively deleted because Rupert sensed he was going to need the server space.
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