The yacht club

L'Wren Scott (1964-2014)

Mick Jagger reportedly said that while money can’t buy happiness, it can buy the yacht to pull up right next to it.

I wonder if Mick’s rethinking that this week, after the suicide of girlfriend L’Wren Scott.

According to her sister, Jan Shane, the fashion designer and former model said she really envied the simpler life of her sibling, who’s lived in Utah all her life and raised eight kids. She says she’s never traveled the world or met famous people or had much money, but at the funeral of their father in 2002 Scott told her she longed for the quiet, centered life and simple pleasures that were no longer attainable in her glitzy world.

At that funeral Shane said she could hardly get near Scott. Shane says her sister was surrounded by bodyguards who kept her isolated from everyone else. “I don’t know why she thought she needed bodyguards at a funeral,” Shane said.

Of course after things like this there always seem to be relatives who pop up and say the famous person was really not happy, or that she was only happy with them. And sometimes the cynic in me thinks, yeah, sure. After all, Shane is saying the two had a special bond, one that transcended wealth and status, yet they hadn’t spoken, even on the telephone, in six years.

But maybe it’s true. It’s certainly how Welsey feels at the very end of the novel, a special connection with Joseph, a very ordinary person, but someone she has come to see she can’t live without.

Shane also disputes the claim that Scott took her life over mounting debts at her fashion business. Those debts are said to be around $6 million US. “In her world, that wasn’t a lot of money.”

Shane and Scott were raised in the same house under the same strict rules and values. But at 18, Scott ran away to Paris, became a model, changed her name (from Luann Bambrough) and quickly assimilated into the jet set.

Now I’m not going to say simplistically that life is better when you settle down in a small suburban house and marry a garbage collector, which is what sister Shane did. I like money a lot, says a character in a Stephen Sondheim musical. I mean, it’s better than not.

But I will say that I’ve heard a lot of people saying one thing since L’Wren Scott hanged herself in her New York apartment: “She had all that wealth and fame, how could she be unhappy?”

One of the things Welsey Shaw knows from experience is that money doesn’t mean a lot if you’re not happy with it. And a lot of people with it are not happy. All that money might even make things even tougher than usual. Because a yacht is a pretty ungainly thing, and if the parking space isn’t big enough, if the other people nearby don’t like its ostentation, if it’s taking on water, being able to pull up to happiness with it is a fallacy.

It’s something the famous have had to learn over and over again.

Now Mick is so shaken up that his bandmates fear for his mental health. They are said to be watching him around the clock, seriously concerned.

Again, your money can’t comfort you or make you happy. It can’t bring someone back either.

L’Wren Scott learned this the hard way. Sadly, probably so has Mick Jagger.


2 responses

  1. John –

    This was a really good essay with a great title. I don’t get why some magazine does’t grab you to write for them. You seem to turn this stuff effrotlessly while a lot of the stuff I see in traditional pubs these days feels labored and like they’re trying to find something to say when they have nothing.


    March 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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