It was with some relief that I read of Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s engagement. At least now he’ll leave me alone. It wasn’t easy for Mr Billionaire media magnate to settle for second best but he’s not getting any younger. You know you’re getting on when the wedding register includes a will kit. And Jerry Hall is a good choice of partner. She’s clearly used to picking up the underpants of men who seek world domination. But not me. I’ve never liked super-rich men. I’m happy with my simple life. With my uncomplicated bloke. Even billionaires can’t buy love.
This is the first time I’ve told this story, so here goes. Before he proposed to Jerry, Rupert loved me. For the last 18 months Rupert has been driving me nuts, begging to see me. ‘Give a King Maker a chance,’ he texted one night. He was even sending me inappropriate pics of his little bald head. At least I think it was his head. Yes, that’s right. He told me that at 83 he’d started fantasising about living an ordinary life.
And nothing complemented an ‘ordinary’ life more than an ‘ordinary’ woman. He told me I was the most ‘ordinary’ woman he’d ever met. I wasn’t so much flattered as profoundly annoyed. He didn’t want a trophy wife. He said he wanted a woman who could put up the shelf and he could be her trophy husband. A shrivelled giant. He wanted to be the man waiting in the car while I was at bingo, beeping the horn. He wanted to be the man who put the bin out. The man who mowed the lawn. The man who hid in the shed.
You don’t just run into media moguls at Centrelink. No, our paths crossed at a Path of Love workshop. I can’t tell you what happened, because it’s top secret. But let’s just say his writhing nude dance to Phil Collin’s I Can Feel it Coming in the Air Tonight was both furious and frightening. The floor routine was stunning. I didn’t know a man on his back could do that kind of thing.
This was clearly a man on the edge. A dancing dictator. The man who pulled a thousand strings but couldn’t pull his own. ‘I want to be vulnerable,’ Rupert cried, as I held him in my arms. Who would have thought the corporate serial killer had a soft side? He was a natural in the drum circle. In fact there was a moment when I spied Rupert sweating behind his bongo, wearing nothing but a sarong, when I thought, maybe.
I imagined him with a stall at the markets; maybe he’d sell crystals, maybe he’d mass-produce moon-cycle calendars, maybe he’d even grow a ponytail. Shit, with all that money he could graft one onto the back of his head.
Rupert was obsessed with living a life that he found inaccessible. He said, ‘I’ve always wanted what I can’t have. And I have everything.’ It’s hard to enjoy the game when you just keep winning. He told me he wanted to feel fear. He fantasised about poverty and oppression. ‘Minimum wage freedom,’ he told me was all he really wanted. His dream was to live on a pension and read The Echo. The one paper even his money couldn’t buy.
He told me he was thinking of writing letters to The Echo about stuff like chemtrails. ‘It’s not a conspiracy,’ he told me. ‘I spray the shit.’ It was the simple anonymous life that he craved. He even asked me if I’d put him in a home. He got down on one knee and said, ‘Will you be my carer?’ I spoke to John about building Rupert a granny flat in the back yard, but we both thought it was a bit weird. Although it would have been strangely satisfying to wipe Rupe’s bum with one of his newspapers.
I was flattered but I just didn’t feel the same. And I didn’t want to lead him on. So I just had to cut the connection. I didn’t return his calls. I deleted his emails. I sent back his gifts. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to return a tropical island? With people on it? It was around this time he met Jerry. ‘She’s just like you,’ he said, ‘except she’s got class.’ But that’s another story.