Third time lucky Patsy?
Young, free and twice-divorced single, today's the day that Patsy gets her man. Again. So, says Emma Forrest, what's wrong with a girl who just wants to settle down?
Monday 10 February 1997
The tabloids, however, feel cheated. They relied on Liam and Patsy to be fiery, not cosy, like Pamela and Tommy, like Taylor and Burton. Settling down was not supposed to be part of the agenda. What about the Patsy car- kicking shots? And the reports of a tryst with Kate Moss? Truth to tell, if the tabloid press followed any of us around in the first few years of a relationship they'd probably get the same photos. You don't see the "after" photos where Liam feels guilty because he was out getting trashed when the person he really loved was waiting anxiously at home. All these things blossom out of that one event, but only some of them are photogenic.
The much-repeated John and Yoko line is inaccurate. The real comparison is with Paul and Linda, in that they met fell in love, married and lived happily ever after, which the press has never forgiven them for. We want our celebrities to be tortured and miserable. Compare the tabloids take on Gazza with their depiction of Patsy: wife-beating is acceptable, wanting to settle down is not.
There's the oft-cited criticism that Patsy Kensit only dates rock stars and must therefore be a groupie. Strange, no one complains that Marlon Brando only fancied exotic types, or that Robert De Niro only dates black women. Where's the big piece on that, boys? Meanwhile, Loaded magazine berated her, over two pages, for not having big enough breasts.
The tabloids have got to have a hate figure. When Patsy is out of the country, then it's Paula, and vice versa. Just as the rock'n'roll "Queen Bee" syndrome dictates that there can only be one successful female pop star at any one time (either Madonna or Courtney Love, but not both), so the tabloids always have one absolute figure of hatred to direct their misogyny at. It has been decided that Patsy Kensit is the new Yoko Ono. Oasis are attacked for copying the Beatles, but the tabloids are so hungry for history to repeat itself that they are imposing, on Liam and Patsy, these stories that simply don't fit.
A thought: Patsy Kensit is one of Britain's most under-rated actresses, and Liam Gallagher is an idiot savant. The savant part manifests itself not as mathematical or architectural genius, but as an utterly unself- conscious truthfulness. He is the boy in the story of the emperor's new clothes who couldn't stop himself from crying out that the king was naked. At the Vanity Fair party to celebrate their "Swinging London" issue, Liam and Patsy were seated at a table with the fashion muse Lady Isabella Blow. She was wearing a black lace Philip Treacy mask with feathers that scraped the ceiling. Everyone else spoke to her as if she did not have a large ink-stained ostrich on her face, apart from Liam, who quietly stated: "You are wearing a mask."
Later in the evening, it was said, as it always is, that Jerry Hall looks like a horse. "No she doesn't," corrected Liam, "she looks like a chess piece."
It will be interesting to see what he comes up with when he starts writing his own lyrics. Patsy, meanwhile, may get her dues as an actress as she matures. She has expressed her admiration for Marianne Faithfull, and could well experience a similar burst of mid-life critical respect.
As a child, she starred in The Bluebird with Elizabeth Taylor, who gushed that Kensit would grow up to be "a marvellous actress". Despite the bomb that was Absolute Beginners, she was the only one of the leads who gave any semblance of a performance. Angels and Insects was hugely acclaimed in America and is still running in New York art theatres. Along with John Turturro, she is the best thing about Alison Anders's upcoming Grace of my Heart.
It is interesting that Oasis's female fans, for the most part, seem to have no problem with Kensit. Patsy is a girl's girl and actually looks most relaxed when she is photographed in the company of her girlfriends. She is the most sought-after woman in the room, who, nevertheless, would sooner look after another female she felt was being left out than to flirt with the guys. And that's the kind of girl insecure men hate the most. In photos, she may be the archetypal pouting blonde, but her head-to-toe freckles give her away as a sweetie. She shares with Drew Barrymore a kind of "touchable" sexuality that appeals to men and women.
Certainly in looks, the couple are well matched, Liam possessing the kind of Marlon Brando/Paul Newman face that looks as if it should be carved on the side of Mount Rushmore - although we get less and less chance to see them out together, as lately they have opted to stay in with Patsy's young son, James. In his obvious affection for James it could be said that Liam is attempting to re-invent his unhappy relationship with his father. Liam sees himself in James, behaving, at the same time, in the manner that he wished his father had.
One of the few tender moments that has been captured on film between the couple was when Liam brought Patsy on stage at Knebworth to show off her engagement ring. The fans were delighted, but the press were disgusted. They cannot stand for him to be anything other than this foul, vulgar monster. He is not keeping up the lager-lout persona that has been created for him.
That is not to say he has abandoned his past. The Gallagher brothers do now have plenty of money, but, unlike Mick Jagger, they have resolutely refused to become middle class. They won't say "Just Say No", they won't stop punching each other. And working-class boys do tend to get married and settle down as soon as they can. It is the middle class who live together rather than getting married.
It is a real sign of the times that The Spice Girls can be photographed topless and shown snorting cocaine and nobody bats an eyelid, but when one of them says she votes Tory, the nation is in shock. Similarly, nobody really cared when Liam smashed up a hotel room or was charged with possession of class A drugs. But by getting married, he has just committed the single most courageous and shocking act of his tabloid career. Mazel Tov...
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