We all need our fix. Some of us search online, others seek our pleasure in the nooks of darkened nightclubs and softly lit bars. We know what we want and how it can make our heart race, it’s an addictive legal high but there is just one drawback, as it’s sort of hard to score. We can go out every night and come back home exhausted and strung out, with an emptiness that just keeps on getting worse. I’ve always thought that if the Devil had a stall selling phials of love he would collect more souls, for Love Potion Number 9 is the most elusive elixir in the world; heady, intoxicating and utterly bewitching.
Perhaps that’s why the 1990s drug Ecstasy was such a hit. Sticking with that Biblical theme, we don’t have to look at Catholic iconography to know that Ecstasy’s bedfellow is agony. A suburb of the heart into which all of us will find ourselves evicted at some point on our romantic journey. This week there were new residents in both the suburbs of ecstasy and agony as Jerry Hall bagged the heart of turtle number two in the wizened features of 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch while Gary Lineker and his wife Danielle blew the final whistle on their marriage.
Let’s start with that ballsy Texan gal, Jerry Hall, a former supermodel and ex-partner of Mick Jagger, who is, for the first time, set to walk down the aisle into matrimony with the octogenarian media mogul Murdoch, whom I cannot look at without conjuring up the image of Dr Finkelstein from A Nightmare Before Christmas. It is now a cliché to use Mrs Merton’s line, “So Jerry Hall, what first attracted you to the multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch?” but, er, it is a question I’ve asked myself a number of times upon reading about their betrothal but looks certainly aren’t everything and a sense a humour and a warm personality can a) last forever and b) get a couple through the hardest times.
Personally, I’m delighted for Ms Hall. She may have dated two of the most glamorous icons in modern musical history, Bryan Ferry and Mick Jagger, but boy did Mick put her through the wringer. If anyone deserves the deep peace of the marital bed after the hurly burly of the chaise longue it is our Texan Rose. As for Mr Murdoch, if we are being gracious and pushing the money to one side, he must have a Clintonesque charm and charisma and who would have imagined that he was such an old romantic to be proposing for the fourth time as he ventures deeper into his ninth decade.
• READ MORE: Rupert Murdoch to marry Jerry Hall
From sweet sixteens straight out of school to nonagenarians in nursing homes, marriage’s allure is timeless.
Yet no matter that we vow “forever”, marriage is just not always sustainable.
Earlier this week the public would have been surprised to read of the swift and sudden demise of the marriage of Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux who announced their divorce. It was reported that it struck the rocks over Danielle’s desire to have another child in the face of Lineker’s implacable resolve that, with four grown sons from his first marriage, at 55 he had no desire to return to the days of nappies and night feeds. Just three weeks ago Danielle posted this quote to her Instagram feed: “It’s all about love. We’re either in love, dreaming about love, recovering from it, wishing for it or reflecting on it.”
What is love anyway? A sneaky chemical cocktail shaken together by Mother Nature to woo us all into reproduction? The physicist and science presenter Jim Al-Khalili once captured love in an accurate prison of words. He explained: “Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.”
Yet love is also so elusive and sensual as to slip through the bars of such a hard-headed definition. For love is also the flint that has sparked the creation of our most beautiful poems, paintings, operas and sculptures. The ancient Greeks could comprehend the broadness of love and so had six words to define different aspects such as “philia”, the deep intimacy we feel for friends and family and “pragma”, the mature love that grows between older couples after the white heat of lust has burned away.
What is clear is that our search for love and its meaning is universal. Google said that one of the most common phrases entered into the search engine was: “What is love?” For Jerry Hall it is clearly a wrinkly Australian with a phalanx of newspapers, television stations and a movie studio, however for Danielle Bux it is no longer a toned former footballer, or, at least, it is no longer “eros”, the Greek word for sexual passion.
There may be a tendency to sneer and scoff at Jerry’s new romance but I think we should all be comforted that for those who haven’t yet found it, love and marriage, whether or not it involves a horse and carriage, could be just around the corner, regardless of age. As Jerry’s old squeeze Bryan Ferry once crooned:
Boy meets girl where the beat goes on
Stitched up tight, can’t shake free
Love is the drug, got a hook on me