What a result.

Not my words but the reported words of Jeff Beck who, in a bizarre twist to an already outlandish and at times unsavoury story, has been sharing a stage on his current UK tour with a certain John Christopher Depp II, he of Captain Jack Sparrow and Depp vs Heard defamation trial fame. Or infamy, depending on how you look at it.

That trial, heard in the US state of Virginia, ended on Wednesday with Mr Depp winning. Sort of. He had sued ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million but was awarded a reduced amount of $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, reduced to $350,000 for reasons to do with Virginia state law. Ms Heard, meanwhile, had issued a counter-claim for $100 million and was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages because she was deemed to have been defamed in turn by a claim that she had staged a scene of alleged abuse. Despite that, the court found that she had acted with “actual malice”. She is planning to appeal.

In a statement released after the verdict, Mr Depp said: “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome … I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.” He added: “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”

Ms Heard’s statement was predictably downbeat. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she said. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women … It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated.”

Somebody said there would be no winners in this case – me actually, a month ago and in this very column – and that somebody stands by his comment, despite the eye-watering numbers. Nobody comes out of this well. From start to finish it was a circus at which millions had a ringside seat thanks to the in-court cameras, and on which anybody with a mobile phone and a social media account could opine. Got a theory about Johnny’s doodles? Tweet it, it can’t be dafter than the next guy’s. Think yours is the funniest (by which I mean cruellest) TikTok send-up of Amber’s tearful testimony? It isn’t, but post it anyway. Want another opportunity to bash the #MeToo movement? Now’s your chance.

Anyway, back to Jeff Beck who, if you aren’t up on your 1960s rock guitarists, took over from Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds on the recommendation of Beck’s old pal Jimmy Page. I’m not sure what happened to Mr Page (did he amount to much?) but Mr Beck followed his stint in The Yardbirds with a significant solo career – significant enough for him to be still going strong in 2022 and for him to be playing venues as large and illustrious as The Sage in Gateshead in the company of his friend Johnny Depp. That’s where he was on Thursday, the day after Team Johnny emerged victorious from that court-room in Virginia. It was from the Sage stage that Mr Beck made his comment on the case: “What a result.” As for why he had the Pirates Of The Caribbean star as a temporary bandmate, he told the audience: “I met this guy five years ago and we’ve never stopped laughing since. We actually made an album. I don’t know how it happened. It will be out in July.”

An album? You betcha. And just to make the whole thing even weirder, Mr Depp also squeezed in a trip to a badger sanctuary in Kent with Mr Beck’s wife, Sandra. Yes, badgers. He was photographed there cuddling one.

Despite that fact one gig-goer quoted in The Mirror said Mr Depp’s appearance on stage “spoiled the whole night” and likened his performance to that of “a drunken pub singer”, the actor was mobbed after the Gateshead show. That’s possibly because most audience members were forgiving of his playing on (variously) cover versions of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and John Lennon’s Isolation. An alternative explanation is that, well, he’s a megastar whatever you think of him and they don’t get much of that sort of thing in Gateshead. Unless Alan Shearer’s in town.

On Friday, Mr Beck arrived in our Dear Green Place for a show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The tour winds up this week with gigs at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and the York Barbican. At the time of writing it was unclear whether Mr Depp would be gracing Glasgow with his presence, but either way his badger-petting, rock guitar-playing British sojourn marks a typically bizarre end to what has been a gripping celebrity psychodrama.

But while Mr Depp celebrates getting his life back by banging out Jimi Hendrix covers in Glasgow, Birmingham and York, elsewhere a post-mortem of sorts is beginning. On the legal front there isn’t much to say unless or until Ms Heard and her team mount an appeal. The cold facts are these: Mr Depp won (mostly), Ms Heard lost (mostly). The he said/she said game did not go the way of the distaff side as it did in 2020 when Mr Depp unsuccessfully brought a case against the Sun newspaper. Then, a judge ruled that the description of him as a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.

That’s a matter of record, as they say, and we all remember it. So it’s not clear how complete a repair job last week’s verdict will do in terms of the reputational damage done to Mr Depp. It is clear, however, that it has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many who, though they may not be fully paid-up members of Team Amber, have skin in the game and a sense of the bigger issues at play. And in a case like this, there are always bigger issues at play. Like what effect the trial being televised made, and how the outcome may deter other women from bringing similar cases. Interviewed on American television, the head of Ms Heard’s legal team, Elaine Bredehoft, re-stated her belief that allowing the trial to be live streamed was a mistake. “It’s like the Roman Colosseum,” she said. “It made it a zoo.” An opinion piece in The New Yorker called the verdict “chilling”.

American writer and activist Moira Donegan, formerly of political and cultural magazine The New Republic and the woman behind a crowd-sourced list of sexual misconduct allegations titled Shitty Media Men, has had her say too. Referring to the online abuse aimed at Amber Heard during the trial – the memes, the TikTok videos, the social media threads, the hashtags – Donegan called the trial “a public orgy of misogyny.” She added: “It is hard to shake the feeling that really, it is directed at all women … we are in a moment of virulent anti-feminist backlash.”

I hope she’s wrong. But if she isn’t – what a result.