Julie Myerson’s gift to Jake

The Myerson family saga is a perfect media event. I can think of no-one who is losing. Jake, especially, stands a good chance of benefiting.

The picture on the cover of The Times (The Times 2, 11 March 2009) said it best, I think. The Myerson parents sit on their Bridget Riley striped carpet. He has a stubbly Geldof look and the kind of trousers I can only dream of. Somehow perfectly boho. My mind’s eye sees Jon Snow in such gear in his wilder moments. But our eye goes to her of course and she is the very image of the perma-child self-obsessed authorial narcissist. One imagines her as clever and wholly immune to experience. Like a nun on the wild side. Those trainers! Just perfectly scuffed. I expect the backs of the jeans bottoms are just slightly ragged.

I loved the way she trounced Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. Of course the camera was in love with her, and so was the gallery, and even the dromedary inquisitor himself seemed quelled. He came out snapping and snarling but she knew this was her moment – and she could hog the attention for as long as she smoothly, cooly demanded, with her little-girl pathos always ready to do the work her awesome articulacy didn’t.

But most of the commentary seems to miss the point. Almost everyone believes there is strong chance she has damaged her boy Jake. But isn’t the case more likely that she has out-delivered the benefits the merely affluent can give their young? She has done what only the richly-accessed can do: she has put Jake into a special sort of limelight. She has made us take an interest in him and what he says.

I am of course partisan in this debate. I have struggled man and boy – am struggling now – to be where Julie has put her lad. The rest is down to him of course. At least he seems to have mastered the look required of him.

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Publication date

12 March 2009


Mind & body