Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Wanderer

You may or may not have heard of Rod Liddle. He's the former editor of BBC radio's flagship Today programme, currently with The Spectator and often writes for the Sunday Times. You may also have heard of Rachel Royce, currently a Daily Mail columnist. Well they were partners for a number of years before getting married in early 2004. They then separated six months later when Rachel discovered that Rod was having an affair with his secretary (blond and half his age, of course).

It is the most public celebrity break-up in years (by celebrity I obviously mean famous in their own circle of the British broadsheet media as opposed to famous by being on the front page of Celebrity Quickie TV Chat magazine). Rachel writes regularly, warts and all, about the break-up and subsequent divorce proceedings and Rod sticks his boot in fairly regularly too. It's compelling stuff in a car crash kind of way.

This week Rachel wrote about seeing Rod's new house and her fears that her two boys might see that home, his new woman and her baby (she's expecting a girl) as their "real family". It's the first of all the articles I haven't found myself laughing at. Her pain and fears are very obvious. Today the Observer's Carole Cadwalladr writes about Rachel's article that "Rachel revealed the moment when her mortification became complete. Not when she found out that Alicia has Rod's bun in her oven, no. It was when her son let on that his father had bought a new house with 'two acres of land'."

She then goes on to write that "What Rod'n'Rachel demonstrate is that, just as it was once claimed that rape was not about sex, but about power, the same holds true for property. It's why couples get their knickers in a twist about houses and singles can't be arsed. Property is the means by which couples demonstrate their place in the world and compare themselves with other couples. ...I say, show me the single person who can be bothered to re-grout their bathroom and I'll show you a homosexual male. The rest of us are too busy worrying about whether we'll ever have sex again and if anybody will ever love us as much as our mummies."

Interesting. I never thought of it in exactly those terms before, but there's definitely truth there, though I don't think the English have the same obsession with property and land ownership that the Irish have. Still, someone else has managed to articulate my non-interest in home ownership for me from a very unlikely topic!
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