Sunday 23 October 2016

Baby No 8 is child's play for Mick Jagger

Papa might be a Rolling Stone, writes Sarah Caden, but he could find the night feeds a bit of a stretch

Sarah Caden

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Mick Jagger. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
Mick Jagger. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

'Nothing fazes him." It's a funny old way to sum up a man's reaction to impending fatherhood. But then, this is a funny old situation. Funny, not in the ha-ha sense. And old, given that the father-to-be in question is Mick Jagger, aged 72.

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Last Friday, it was made official that Jagger is to become a father for the eighth time. Next January, American ballerina Melanie Hamrick, who is more than 40 years Jagger's junior, is due to have his child.

BABY LOVE: Mick Jagger is expecting his eighth child with Melanie Hamrick. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images)
BABY LOVE: Mick Jagger is expecting his eighth child with Melanie Hamrick. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images)

A spokesperson for the Rolling Stones singer confirmed the news to an English tabloid last Friday and then a "source" close him added detail. "This is great news," they said. "It will be Mick's eighth child and nothing fazes him. He's been incredibly supportive."

It's not exactly "Mick and Melanie are thrilled to be having a baby together", but maybe, for him, that's enough. Maybe to have it said that, basically, you're not freaking out and running away as fast as your legs will carry you is sufficient when you're 72 and already a father of seven.

Jagger's eldest child, Karis, whom he had with model and writer Marsha Hunt, is 45. The four children he had with Jerry Hall range from Lizzie (32), down to Gabriel (18). His son Lucas, with Brazilian model Luciana Morad is 17.

Mick's daughter with ex-wife Bianca Jagger, Jade, is 44 and a grandmother herself.

Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather.

And if we were citing these statistics about a woman who was about to become a mother again, there would be tut-tutting about thwarting nature and not thinking about the welfare of the child. But Mick Jagger is a man and this is proof, if proof were needed, that age doesn't stop men on the reproductive front.

It's different for men. Further, it's different for Mick Jagger, who instead of sitting at home watching Sky Sports and wishing the grandkids didn't make so much noise, is still on the road and still a hit with the ladies.

Neither might hold massive appeal to many men in their 70s, but they matter to Mick. Virility has always mattered to Mick, and that's no different now.

The statement from the source close to Mick speaks of a laid-back, cool-cat reaction to this big news, but it also speaks of something else. It speaks of pride in being able to romance a young woman and reproduce with her, while also suggesting that Mick's not exactly going to be doing the nappies or the school run.

"He's been incredibly supportive" is a very arm's-length comment. It doesn't speak of a mutual decision or of a mutual endeavour.

After all, he and Hamrick aren't married and, although she has reportedly met some of his children, she's not exactly seen out and about as Jagger's partner. They are together, obviously, but God forbid anyone would perceive a commitment.

Mick brings the love - and brings it to every one of his existing seven children, by all accounts - but conventional commitment to conventional coupledom has never been his bag. And just because he's getting on doesn't mean he's about to buy into it any time soon.

A factor to ponder in this turn of events, though, is the fact that Jagger is only two years on from the death, by suicide, of his partner L'Wren Scott. She died in March 2014, aged 49, and in a statement after her death, Jagger spoke of disbelief and confusion and being at a total loss to understand why his "lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way".

In an interview earlier this year, Jagger talked about how he continued to wear clothes on stage that Scott had put together for him and how that kept him comfortingly connected to her.

That said, it was only a matter of months after Scott's death that Jagger was first photographed with Melanie Hamrick. They were seen together on the balcony of his hotel room in Switzerland and, it would seem, the relationship has continued since.

To some, it seemed indecent haste after his loss of Scott, but that is, of course, a conventional view of love and commitment.

The love of one woman has never stopped the famously unfaithful Mick Jagger from loving another. He has a lot of love to give. And he gives it. And he gives it unfettered by the conventional rules that say you can only love one person at a time and, further, that there is an age limit on fun and fatherhood.

Jagger is, by all accounts, a loving father. He is also rather proud of his prolific ability to produce children. Lizzy Jagger once said in an interview, with classic daughterly exasperation, that her father enjoyed lining up all of his children on holiday to assess them en masse. He's also reportedly a strict parent and mightily keen that his children earn their own way, despite his millions.

To some extent, then, Jagger is a man of his generation, who believes in hard work and no handouts. He's old school. And yet he's utterly rock 'n' roll.

How bad a way to be, because it gives him the best of both worlds. There have been times the women in his life haven't appreciated the free manner in which he's shared his love, but his children don't seem to hold it against him. At least three of them - Lucas and his half-siblings Lizzy and James - went to the Euros final earlier this month and seemed utterly comfortable with each other. So what's one more when you're 72 and the father of seven?

Of course, Jagger's bandmate Ronnie Wood also became a father again this summer, when his wife Sally gave birth to their twin daughters.

Wood is 69, but he is, by his own account, very much in the thick of the feeds and the broken nights and the baby chaos. It's conventional stuff, bar the fact that he's 69.

Reports say that Hamrick is "very bright, intelligent, sparky and has her own ideas about how she wants to lead her life. She knows what a great relationship Mick has with all of his children and can't wait for him to be a dad again. They are taking the news in their stride".

Again, it's not exactly, "Great news! We're having a baby!" but if the septugenarian's not fazed, it's rock 'n' roll.

Sunday Independent

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