Sympathy for the devil

Not Fade Away


JaggerMick Jagger’s girlfriend, a woman he’d been in a relationship with for over a decade, was found hanged on 17th March 2014. The newspaper and media coverage is more inane than usual, maybe because this was a real, non-political tragedy.

It could have been an accident, although it’s hard to see how. The police have ruled out foul play. Nobody else was involved. A terrible, hideous thing happened for reasons that will never be known now, something that will affect the survivors, the other people who knew this poor woman for the rest of their lives.

I trained as a journalist. Friends worked at the BBC. I tried to imagine a newsroom that night, post-Leveson, when a media that had promised to behave itself did what it always does now, looking for a story.

Perhaps I should point out that this is fiction. But I don’t think it’s that far off what can happen.


So What Does It Feel Like, Mick?


So what does it feel like, Mick?

But apart from that Mrs Lincoln,

How did you enjoy the play?

Speak into the microphone, love

Or they won’t hear what you have to say.

Deep breath. Brave smile. Shoulders back, love.

Show ‘em what you got. Nothing to be ashamed of.

Our man in New York, our fearless reporter

Some dork who wasn’t even born the last time

His paper made up comments from a neighbour,

A spokesman, a concerned individual, our source,

An insider at the Palace who cannot be named

For legal reasons before they made their excuses and left

Is spending a good half hour on Google tonight

Digging up dirt on the Street Fighting Man.

Ex-Model Dies Alone in Drugs Hell?

Pity we can’t run it. She hanged herself? No kiss and tell?

Are we sure he didn’t do it? You reckon it’s suicide?

Don’t give me that. What’s he got to hide?

You know, like with Marianne Faithful except

She’s inconveniently alive, even if she is living in Eire.

See if you can pull anything out of Library about her instead.

Rock star swimming pool party tip-off orgy,

Fur coat no underwear and popular confectionery.

Are you kidding me?

That’s what you get from a Journalism MA?

Is that what I pay you for? What did you say?

See son, all that Marianne Faithful stuff

Was back in 1963 or thereabouts. I can’t use it.

That’s no earthly use to me.

And we can’t keep our readers in the dark.

Didn’t she live near Central Park?

Isn’t that where John Lennon got shot?

Haven’t we got any pictures of her and her mates looking hot?

We’ve got no slashing knives, no mystery prowler,

Are you sure there aren’t any pictures of her growing older

Disgracefully? Or looking down her top getting out of a taxi?

Was this some sex thing that all went wrong?

Get me a list of all the Stones songs.

How are you feeling now Mr Jagger?

I don’t want to intrude on your grief

Or nag or anything but our readers have a right to know:

On a scale of one to ten how do you feel? Exactly how low?

Are you sick as a parrot? Or totally gutted?

Are you feeling as if your insides are knotted with grief?

Just tell me then we’ll go away.

‘Cos if you don’t we’ll stay here all day.

Get me a coffee love. And make it strong.

Motivate me to carry on churning this out

For the world to read.

I’m just the editor; it’s not about me.

I reckon it looks like suicide

But we’ll wait for the inquest to say how she died.

If we start it up he’ll close us down.

He’s got enough dosh for the best lawyers in town.

We’ll have all his fanbase jumping up and down

And the advertisers do not like it up ‘em, Mr Mainwearing.

You know the freedom of the Press is sacrosanct to me.

You call that coffee love? I asked for tea.

Nearly fifty, wasn’t she?

Right. Headline: What A Drag It Is Getting Old.

49th Nervous Breakdown. Shattered.

This May Be The Last Time.

I Don’t Know Says Mick. Or just Oh No.

Get on it. We need this by six.

What are we going to say? Run it by Legal anyway

Jagger’s got enough money to stitch us up

Like a kipper if he feels like it.

What have we got? Come on. Give me ideas.

“Mick Jagger is struggling to understand

The death of his girlfriend.”

Ok, Pamela Stephenson can write something

About typical man coming to terms with grief.

“We spent many wonderful years together

And had made a great life for ourselves.

The Rolling Stones have cancelled

The first date of their tour.”

Is that all we’ve got? Isn’t there any more?

“I have been touched by the tributes paid. And also

The personal messages of support I have received.

I will never forget her.”

You see what he’s doing, giving us crap copy

We could have done ourselves?

What a git. It’s like we’ve never even met her.

Which we haven’t, but our music industry insider

Hasn’t come up with anything either. Thank-you Simon.

She was the worst kind of person so far as we can tell:

Honest, clean, nice and in a relationship

With someone famous. Sod that.

What the hell do you think you’re paid for

If you can’t find anything swept behind the door?

If we can’t call her some kind of name Legal will approve?

And then we can all go home and ignore the fact

That a real person we’ve got no dirt on died

And in a luxury hotel tonight with an untouched drink

At his side a man who everyone thinks they know

Locked the door and switched the phone off,

Got undressed, showered, did his teeth,

Poured another massive Scotch and didn’t even sip,

Took out another cigarette and couldn’t get it lit,

But lay down on his bed,

This man without a bride,

Switched off the light

Alone for once

And cried.

And cried.

And cried.

So what does it feel like, Mick?

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