While his UK press empire goes from one circulation fall to another, the Capo di tutti capi of the Murdoch mafiosi has been, in public at least, looking to spend the kind of money that might be his at present, but will be someone else’s very soon: with the 21st Century Fox bid for the 61% of Sky that it does not yet own getting the green light, Rupe is reportedly bidding to outspend Comcast to land the prize.
Sensitive bloke ...
But the eventual owner of Sky would, in that scenario, become the Disney organisation after the Murdochs agreed to sell many of their media assets - but not, it seems, Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). In private, though, Murdoch has been on a break in the south of France with fourth wife Jerry Hall.
The latter was reported in suitably reverent tones by free sheet Metro, complete with photos of the allegedly happy couple having a dip in the Mediterranean, accompanied by Ms Hall’s dog. “Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch are going strong two years after wedding as they sun themselves on romantic holiday” was the gushing headline.
But what Metro did not tell its readers is that Rupe, apparently recovered from that most unfortunate yachting accident earlier this year that very few people in his employ are willing to talk about, is expanding his circle of friends to include some whose names might surprise seasoned Murdoch watchers. He and Ms Hall, I am reliably informed, were guests at a 55th birthday party while out on the French Riviera.
That party was in honour of none other than Tracey Emin. You read that right: the former enfant terrible of the so-called Young British Artists, or YBAs, who were supposed to be rebellious, out there, anti-Establishment, different, and definitely not mainstream. The same Tracey Emin who did the tent with all the names of those she’d slept with. The one who went on late night TV ratarsed and swore the air blue.
... meets non-rebel
The same Tracey Emin who produced “My bed”, described as “a readymade installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed, in which she had spent several weeks drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping and having sexual intercourse while undergoing a period of severe emotional flux. The artwork featured used condoms and blood-stained underwear”.
Well, now she and crusty old Rupert Murdoch get to hang out with one another, a sure sign of the end of any rebellion. It should not surprise Emin watchers in any case; she’s previously railed at the idea of paying top rate income tax, and admitted to voting Conservative. But meetings like this one are bringing out the sensitive soul in old Rupe.
Murdoch, so I’m told, has let it be known that he is misunderstood. Well, knock me down with a feather. For all those years, I got him totally wrong. The screwing over of organised labour, aggressive price wars, phone hacking, blagging, bin rifling, improper use of Police, court and NHS records, manipulation of politicians, interference in other countries’ Government (like, this country’s Government), and all the rest - we all got him wrong.
Or rather, we didn’t. Tracey Emin, if she ever was a rebel, isn’t now. And Rupert Murdoch is understood only too well. But fascinating to see what brings rich people together.