Friday, October 12, 2007
Paul McCartney may have just given the performance of his lifetime, but if he did no one saw it.
Such was the secrecy cloaking the court proceedings as he and estranged wife Heather Mills tried to pick apart their failed marriage that the only information to leak out to the crowd of waiting journalists was that the ex-Beatle had been to the toilet. Twice.
Most had been expecting a perfunctory meeting, the details of the divorce having been thrashed out in months of a very public battle fought across front pages of Britain’s tabloid newspapers.
But hours after the pair entered the court building to argue over how McCartney’s multimillion-dollar fortune would be carved up, there was still no news.
As dusk followed a crimson sunset over London’s rooftops, the waiting press pack got increasingly jittery, jumping up at the slightest movement behind the courtroom railings in the hope of a glimpse of the unhappy couple.
The tortuous wait was also giving rise to tortuous puns as newspaper sub editors raided the Beatles back catalog for suitable song titles to use in headlines. (“We Can’t Work It Out,” and “The Long and Winding Road” duly appeared in print the following morning.)
Darkness arrived, but the lights of the courtroom burned on. Clearly things we’re going as badly inside as they were for those waiting glumly outside.
The moment, when it came, was an anti-climax. First McCartney then Mills sped past in separate cars, both triggering a ten second adrenaline rush of camera flashbulbs and breathless live reporting.
The photographs gave only a tiny insight into the day’s events. Mills was unseen, hiding beneath a blanket in a car with blanked out windows.
McCartney meanwhile, was seen with a half-smile on his face and one arm raised to reveal his wristwatch. Clearly he hasn’t quite lost everything.
-- From CNN's Barry Neild
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