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Depressing tale of lust, greed and death
on 6 November 2012
This biography was written by Gerry Agar, one of Yates friends and part-time PR. Agar has first hand knowledge of people and events, although she cannot be described as permanent member of an "inner circle". Her tale unfolds from a casual meeting with Yates collecting kids from school and rekindling an old acquaintance.
Paula is described as "very intelligent", but unstable and unreliable. Considering how she dumped people when they were of no further use to her, this description seems pretty accurate. Yates had a borderline personality, kept under control during the marriage with domineering (but dependable) Geldof. However, after 20 years together Yates was having enough of "Saint" Bob.
I could sympathise with her about that, as I guess it must be difficult to live with somebody who reached semi-god status. Unfortunately, her reaction to marital trouble was very predictable. Yates started an affair, which grew into an obsession. Hutchence had some psychological flaws of his own and the result was two people getting the worst out of each other.
From sordid clandestinity the affair developed into tabloid fodder, also thanks to Yates. She pushed the story into the open, possibly trying to infuse some "reality" into an episode that was better left short and secret.
Chapter after chapter we follow a storm of court battles, fights for money and child custody, substance-abuse escalation, delusion and paranoia, etc... Yates wanted too much and everything to suit her needs. Nobody could contradict her or she threatened suicide. Hutchence, sarcastically described as her "part-time" boyfriend, went down first, crushed by the pressure coupled with his fragile personality.
At the time of his death Yates was not working, her lavish lifestyle being financed by the men in her life and by her deals with tabloids. Whatever shred of sympathy I might have felt for Yates dissolved after reading of the huge amounts she received for interviews and photos of herself and her children. There is much complaint about gutter press, but it sounds like "celebrities" are more than happy to exploit it when in need...
I am not an INXS nor a Geldof fan. I did not read any tabloids throughout the years of the Bob/Paula/Michael triangle, so I thought I was quite open-minded and unprejudiced. I did not want to "pick a side". However, I found the tale gloomy and I finished the book with relief. Nevertheless, it left a bad aftertaste.
I never found Yates particularly likable and after reading this book I found her even less so. Unfortunately, I did not find "Saint" Bob or "elegantly wasted" Michael much more agreeable. All the parties seemed worried only with getting what they wanted and under no circumstances Geldof could be mistaken for a victim. Eventually he prevailed, in the most bizarre twist of events. But the physical and chronological distance did not dilute the lust, greed, selfishness and delusion that permeate the story.