Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tales from The Dreamtime # 2

"I think JFK was murdered"

Thus concludes an article in the Aussie Who Magazine. It's a quote from the colourful ex-mayor of Geelong, former "King of The Paparazzi" and "media personality" Darryn Lyons, he of the hot pink cockatoo hairstyle.
We reckon Darryn's pretty spot on with this observation. A quick perusal of the shocking Zapruder Film shot on the day the US President died clearly shows something dreadful happened.
Apparently Lyons also believes the late Princess Diana may have died because of a conspiracy.


Whispers worked with Diana for three days on her last ever charity appearance : the launch of the Victor Change Institute in Sydney in 1995.

It was quite a shock to read some time later she was apparently having an affair with Dodi Fayed. Whispers had known Dodi in London for years and formed a quartet of party-goes and clubbers that included the actress Britt Ekland.
Most nights of the week we clambered into Britt's tiny black Mini, a gift from her ex-husband Peter Sellers and did the rounds of the West End clubs, like Maunkberrys and  Annabels.

One day out of the blue Whispers was invited to lunch with the then relatively unknown Mohamed Fayed. Mr Fayed had heard of our nightly jaunts and was perturbed about our mode of transport. He doted on Dodi. Fayed loaned Whispers a Mercedes for a year from his collection and requested we drive our little group about in what he said was a much safer vehicle.

When the ill-fated pair died in that Paris tunnel Fleet Street tabloids beat a path to Whispers door wanting the low-down on Dodi's' nightly activities, offering  big bucks for the story. We declined out of respect of Mr. Fayed's feelings even though there was much to tell.

Lyons says Princess Diana appeared on his doorstep one day to request that he photograph her ex Prince Charles and not her. Odd really as Lyons Big Picture photo agency was only created in London in 2002 and was dissolved in 2012. Diana died in 1997.

Darryn says he has photographs of Diana dying in that safe Mercedes taken by a paparazzi who worked for him, stored in safes around the world. We always believed the French police confiscated the paparazzi's film on that dreadful night.

In 2008 at the British inquest into the tragic accident the jury concluded Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed had been unlawfully killed by a combination of the driving of their Mercedes by their chauffeur Henri Paul and the driving of following vehicles - the posse of paparazzi photographers who were dogging their final journey.
We'll just leave that one there.



Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas shopping..

Baubles bangles and beads! So many gorgeous trinkets to play with at Jewels on Queen, a  Christmas pop-up shop at 40 Queen St. Woollahra. Select pieces paired here with one of Sally Campbell’s fab frocks. @sallycampbelltextiles @jewels_on_queen at Anne Schofield Antiques.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Nightlife

Escher
We'd be remiss not to show a snap of Nicole Kidman in a fluffy chicken dress with hubby Keith Urban who attended the music industry ARIA Awards this week. And here they are.
Our Nic will also be at the film & TV industry AACTA Awards next week when she'll present awards and receive one.

Meanwhile down in Melbourne last night Hollywood star Natalie Portman graced the red carpet for the launch of the Escher x Nendo: Between Two Worlds exhibition.." a groundbreaking exhibition that features the work of Dutch artist M. C. Escher in dialogue with the work of acclaimed Japanese design studio nendo." says the blurb.

 The exhibition is at the NGV International from 2 Dec 18– 7 Apr 19

Nendo
And entertaining at the Esher x Nendo launch: young heartthrob Troy Sivan who sang up a storm.



Saturday, December 1, 2018

Tales From the Dreamtime #1

An invitation landed on Whisper's desk around three years ago. 

It was a request from a well known luxury car manufacturer ( via their "publicist") to attend the launch of a new model and snap guests in front of one of those wretched "media walls" that now appear at every major and minor event.

We advised unless we could mingle with guests (bearing in mind Whispers has a decades long history of cohabiting at parties with the most famous slebs on the planet and have yet to tread on one's toes or spill a drink- publisher Malcolm Forbes 70th birthday bash in Morocco was a memorable one where the late Elizabeth Taylor danced with gay abandon with a waiter) we find those endless celebrity pics in front of an advertising board a tad dull and believe readers may likewise. We tend to like mixing people together at parties for photographs.

Mind you, if of course there really was someone sensationally famous attending of course we would have been there with bells on..but no, the guest list comprised of  numerous names who upon inquiring as to their "celebrity status" we were informed they were "influencers". We've yet to meet an influencer and have little desire to photograph one in front of a board naming various products.

Besides the party was on the north side of Sydney at 6pm which is really a big no no- going "overseas" as it's called (across the Sydney Harbour Bridge) means 2 hours in a traffic jam.

But this little tale says it so much better:

‘IL PORCELLINO’

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of IL Porcellino, the Great Boar of Florence statue outside Sydney Hospital on Macquarie St. Donated in 1968, the statue commemorates two of the hospital’s esteemed surgeons Thomas Henry Fiaschi, and his son, Piero Francis Bruno Fiaschi. Coin donations from passers-by have raised over $500,000 for the Sydney Hospital. Well known to those in inner Sydney, the bronze boar statue is said to bring luck to those who rub his snout.

 At 10am on Tuesday 4 December there will be a morning tea in the Sydney Hospital forecourt followed by speakers to commemorate the 50th Anniversary hosted by the descendants of Dr Fiaschi.

 Thomas Henry Fiaschi (1853-1927), surgeon, and Piero Francis Bruno Fiaschi (1879-1948), medical practitioner, were father and son. Thomas was born on 31 May 1853 at Florence, Italy, son of Lodovico Fiaschi, a professor of mathematics at the University of Florence who had tutored the children of Prince Corsini of Florence.

Fiaschi enrolled at the university as a medical student and at age 21 left for Australia and worked on the north Queensland goldfields before becoming a 'house surgeon' at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. on 17 February 1876 . In 1878 Thomas was licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Italy and, after a short time in London, reached Sydney with his family in February 1879.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Star line-up for the ACCTA Awards.

Nicole Kidman will be jetting into Sydney for this year's ACCTA Awards next Wednesday evening. She'll be joined by Vance Joy and Katie Noonan who will perform alongside a star-studded line-up of presenters and guests, including nominees  Simon Baker, Deborah Mailman and Bruce Beresford.
Whispers will be there of course at the The Star Event Centre with bells on to bring our readers all the action.

And what a line-up of talent:
Host Stephen Curry will be joined by top Australian film and television talent who will take to the stage to present, including: Rebecca Gibney, Marta Dusseldorp, Jack Thompson, Sigrid Thornton, Rodger Corser, Erik Thomson, Julia Zemiro, Shane Jacobson, Fred Schepisi, Nazeem Hussain and Kat Stewart, as well as KATH AND KIM’s Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

GQ Awards

 If you haven't noticed the men's GQ Awards have been taking place all over the world.

They did here too in Sydney earlier tonight.  Some of our favorite actors were there as seen above: the talented Joel Edgerton, the ridiculously handsome Jackson Gallagher, actor Jonathan LaPaglia, host of Australian Survivor and the quite handsome model Jordon Barrett. Barrett hails from Byron Bay where Whispers regularly holidays and yes, he was brought up just down the road from our holiday pad,

 Was it he who used to deliver the paper?. Our pals reckon it was. Other Byron Bay locals who have hit the big time?..Chris Hemsworth and his brother Liam !.
Our pals who own the Byron Shire Echo Newspaper (we covered a party in honor of Johnny Rotten once for them) up that way swear blind that at a BBQ many moons ago Whispers helped dish up the food to the Fabulously Famous Hemsworths. Why should we doubt them?

And what a joy to see the wonderful Naomi Watts. At last count Naomi has nine films in post production.

And let's not forget British actress Emily Ratajkowski who looks, well words fail us. Sensational!



## Australia always seems to be the last with these type of Awards. At last count there were a dozen GQ Men's Awards in the last 2 weeks.

In Germany they decided British actor Henry Cavill was Germany's Man of The Year. And why not?. The UK is still in the EU. For now.

### Shoemaker Terri Biviano was not at the party. The Stenmark Twins were.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Beck's Roadshow continues

Some cute pics from David Beckham's Instagram as he takes the children to see Skippy and Co. But where is Victoria? . The family are renting a luxurious mansion in the harbourside suburb of Mosman but also a suite at the Intercontinental Hotel in Macquarie Street. Did you know Skippy could play the drums?. No either did we.

Friday, October 26, 2018

What the Beckhams did Today

 David and Victoria Beckham are in Sydney on holiday and they brought the kids with them.  A Whisper spy tells us the family is ensconced in a number of luxury suites at the Intercontinental Hotel.
They did the inevitable Harbour Bridge Climb today. No visiting celebrity is allowed to set foot in this town without clambering up to the top. Even HRH Prince Harry and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex (that's Meghan Markle to you and I) had to do it. Everyone loves it of course mainly due to the fact you climb so high that you are breathing nearly pure oxygen and  are as high as a kite. Still it's all good fun.
They also hit the tennis court out at the Olympic Park in the western suburbs. We'll leave it you to pick out the various Beckhams among our super snaps.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fairwater, Uri Geller and Lady Mary Fairfax

 The recent reports that  Fairwater, the former home of the late Lady Mary Fairfax has sold for a whopping $100M brings to mind a chat that Whispers once had at Fairwater with Lady Mary, who died in 2017, and the famous "spoon bender" Uri Geller.

Whispers arrived very early for a gala charity ball to be held in a marquee in the garden at the Fairwater mansion. Arriving minutes later and also early was Geller who was in town at the time.
Connections: Uri with Theresa May
We started to chat as Uri grilled Whispers on who the guests would be for the night- the usual shakers & movers of Sydney society. Soon Lady Mary joined us and during the conversation as Uri asked Mary about the history of Fairwater, she commented that she had left the property to the National Trust with a provision that her staff were entitled to live there for the rest of their lives. It was the second time we had heard this from Lady Mary.
But anyone can change their mind and, obviously she did as Fairwater was sold recently to a tech billionaire making it the most valuable house in Australia.

# As the night progressed Lady Mary sent her loyal butler to retrieve some silver forks and spoons from her collection which Geller proceeded to bend for the 200 guest's delight- and in front of Whispers who was no further than 2 feet from the man. Uri also commented that the guests may find strange things happen with their personal items.

The lady who accompanied Whispers to the function, a writer for the National Enquirer found her late mother's watch, a sentimental item she always carried in her handbag but which had never worked, started ticking. She also found an eye-brow pencil in her make-up bag (branded "ESP") had split down the middle. Spooky !.
A giant (bent) spoon outside Geller's new museum in Israel
The local manager of the French champagne company Veuve Clicquot found his car keys had twisted completely out of shape and he had to catch a taxi home. Likewise a well known hairdresser who accompanied Whispers and our date up the long Fairwater driveway while leaving the party commented that Geller, as he passed him on the way out had tapped his shoulder. Reaching into his pocket to get his car keys- he found them twisted beyond recognition. We report- you decide!.

Uri Geller has moved from the UK to Israel where he now lives. He is opening a museum in Old Jaffa in a splendid building which will house his vast collection of items including his amazing car covered in bent spoons and forks. Is Lady Mary Fairfax's cutlery among them?
# Uri thanks Lady Mary Fairfax in the forewood of his latest book.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Month


A new biography of Australian billionaire James Packer gives a fascinating insight into Packer's recent "breakdown" with the author Damon Kitney of The Australian newspaper being given exclusive access to James:

"I was like Icarus," the billionaire tells his biographer of the heady days of 2016 when he broke up with pop star Mariah Carey, abandoned living in Hollywood and Israel, left the global casino stage, and divided the family fortune in a bitter separation from his sister.
With these words, Packer delves for the first time into the story behind his stunning public revelation in mid-March 2018 of his battle with mental health issues, which forced him to resign from the board of the Crown casino company he owns and loves.

Packer says he was "saved" partly by close friend Hollywood actor Warren Beatty who Packer often stayed with in LA and who he calls "father" (pictured above). 
 'The Price of Fortune' will be available on 22nd of this month.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Prime Minister Update

 We like to keep tabs on the Prime Ministers of the world. They're very busy. In the above snap former Oz PM Kevin Rudd interviewed- as he called him..the Comeback Kid of Malaysian politics, 93 year old PM Mahathir Mohamad.

In New York where New Zealand PM Jacinta Arden is wowing the United Nations, former Australian PM Julia Gillard interviewed her for the New York Times.

Ms Gillard gets about- she was in Berlin yesterday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


 And last but not least, our newly minted Oz PM Scott Morrison partied this week with celebrity hairdresser Joh Bailey at the beautiful Southern Highlands' property of David & Skye Leckie.
And Malcolm Turnbull?. We'll let you know shortly as we are sure to encounter him next week somewhere around the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

An International Affair

Feel for Whispers. This is the type of even we are dragged out on a cold Sunday evening to attend. The bar formely known as Hugos in Kings Cross was the location and we didn't expect so much beauty and brains to be on display after being told it was just a small get-together for drinks. They came from all over the world and a panel of judges will soon pick a winner. We're bipartisan and think they all deserve to win.  Tomorrow we'll tell you who did win.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pull the udder one

Getty Images
I may not know about art but I know what I like. Artist Andrew Barnes popped down to the tiny Double Bay beach in Sydney's ritzy Eastern Suburbs this week to give his cows some rest and relaxation and a change from their daily milking regime. He calls it an art installation. Who are we to disagree?.
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Meanwhile in nearby Kings Cross, once the heart of Sydney's nightlife and sex trade, a "Celebrity" boot sale was held on the weekend where most of the items on sale were once owned by the rich and mildly famous. 

Pictured are two local slebs who gave up their goods and time for the event. On the left is the delightful Cindy Pastel, one of the town's most famous drag acts. The award winning film Priscilla Queen of the Desert was based on his life. 

With him is one of our favourite eccentric characters around town Christa Billich who stars in the cable TV show "Housewives of Sydney". What fun.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Death of a Legal Eagle

Model Sharon Sargeant * Clive Evatt QC & gumshoe Frank Monte
What a sad day. One of Australia's great legal minds and defamation experts has passed away. Clive Evatt QC has died aged 84. Evatt, from a distinguished legal family was one of those rare larger-than-life characters who acted for all manner of clients devoid of any judgment on what their perceived character was.

Among those clients were so-called "Mr Sin" Abe Safron who was reputed to be the most powerful underworld figure in Sydney crime when he basically controlled all nighttime entertainment in notorious King's Cross (not so much now as it becomes yet another Sydney gentrified suburb). In fact Evatt won a defamation case against a newspaper for labeling Saffron with that very label. That was in a crossword puzzle in a Queensland newspaper. Evatt delightfully said of his client "I've never seen any evidence of criminal activity".

Among his clients:superstar Shirley Bassey, respected architect Harry Seidler who was married to Evatt's sister Penny Seidler, Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib (Evatt secured nearly $180,000 in libel damages against various radio shock jocks) and the colourful poetess Gypsy Rose Fire who was labelled by one newspaper as "Bob Dylan's Sex slave".

"Mr Sin" Abe Saffron* Ace Bourke & John Rendall * Donatella Versace
One client we have written about on here is the Los Angeles based Australian private eye Frank Monte who was sued by the Versace family over claims he had worked for the late Gianni Versace in New York. Evatt famously got Donatella Versace giving evidence in court via a video link-up to claim she had never ever taken illicit drugs in her life. About 18 months later Donatella in a tell-all interview in Vogue magazine admitted she had been hooked on cocaine before and after Gianna's murder. Asked if Donatella should be referred to Australia's High Court for perjury, Evatt said although she was as "guilty as sin" the prospect of making her attend an Australian court was just too complicated.
More recently Evatt, even though his health wasn't top notch and he was a bit unsteady on his feet , secured substantial damages in the Federal Court for Monte from the giant Fairfax Media after they breached his copyright over a photo they published.

Evatt was also an art lover and collector and for a time owned the prestigious Hogarth Gallery in  trendy Paddington. The manager of the Hogarth was Ace Bourke who later hit international fame in the memorable Christian the Lion video that swept the world. Indeed Whispers attended several parties at the Hogarth in honour of fellow Christian owner John Rendall.
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Another Whisper acquaintance also passed away recently. Highly respected jurist Sir Laurence Street QC died on the 21st June. Street was the third consecutive generation of his family to have served New South Wales as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court following his father and grandfather.  Sir Laurence was a resident at the Potts Point retirement home Lulworth House which recently lost several notable figures including former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, former NSW premier Neville Wran and the much loved impresario Harry M. Miller.

Lady Penny Street & Sir Laurence * Lady Jessie Street " Earl Grey " Sir Laurence Street as Chief Justice
Sir Laurence was not only highly respected for his non-partisan role as a lawyer who could negotiate complicated legal disputes, but was a man known for his old-fashioned gentlemanly outlook who was often spotted around town at high society parties wearing a pair of monogrammed Gucci loafers. He treated everyone, no matter their social status, as an equal.
His mother Lady Jessie Street (1889 – 1970) was an equally fascinating character. Coming from  a very conservative family and indeed, marrying into one she was an ardent feminist and Suffragette who was dubbed Red Jessie by her detractors in the conservative media for promoting diplomacy with the USSR during the Cold War. At one stage while abroad she had her Australian passport cancelled so that she couldn't return to Australian.

Born in India, Lady Jessie was  descendant of General Charles Grey, Ist Baron Grey, known as Earl Grey and British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. Perhaps an even greater honour is the fact Earl Grey Tea is named in his honour. As Whisper's favourite tipple, we'll always remember Sir Laurence Sreet while supping on a cuppa of Earl Grey.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Ladies Who Lunch

B/W Chair Susan Diver * TV news reader Natarsha Belling * Mem Fox * Julia Baird * Dame Marie Bashir * Kate Carnell
 The Black and White Charity Committee raises funds for Vision Australia to provide support services for children and their families.  Each year they hold the Women Of Achievement lunch at the Four Season's Hotel at Circular Quay.
This is a great event: every penny raised goes to the charity as the ladies on the B/W Committee, cajole, beg, borrow and steal every aspect of the day. They are all unpaid volunteers and it's a pretty good achievement in itself to be able to draw over 500 attendees as they did this year, to pack the hotel ballroom.
Three distinguished ladies of "achievement" give a speech outlining their career and how they got there. Most started from humble beginnings This years speakers were Mem Fox who is married to the billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, ABC TV presenter Julia Baird and Kate Carnell former Chief Minister of the ACT and currently the Ombudsman for Small Business.
Among the guests, Gina Rinehart arguably the world's richest woman with a mining fortune and Dame Marie Bashir former NSW Governor, Professor Ross Steele, one of world's great experts on the French language and Olympian Jessica Gallagher.
Judith Crawley * Daniel Trelease * Maria Finlay * Professor Steele* Jessica Gallagher * Mike Levendi

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hollywood comes to The Rescue

Lord of The Rings star Hugo Weaving joined Whispers on the floor of the Teacher's Federation Theatre  in Surry Hills at a rally by the Friends of the ABC to protest funding cuts to the national broadcaster. Under the current conservative government over $300M this year alone has been slashed from the ABC budget by PM Malcolm Turnbull leading to the loss of 800 jobs (despite promising no cuts previously).

It was standing (or seated on the floor) room only as Weaving spread his legs out to enthusiastically applaud the various speakers. They included top selling author  Tom Keneally of Schindler's List fame, Magda Szubanski, star of the ABC'S Kath & Kim and "red" Kerry O'Brien , the retired broadcaster who fronted the 7.30 Report and 4 Corners for many years.

Kerry O'Brien, Magda Szubanski and Tom Keneally at the Save the ABC Rally
Often criticized as being too "left wing" O'Brien read out many of the 100s of letters he would receive after hosting ABC political broadcasts during election days. Most attacked him as being too favourable to the Liberal Party and too tough on the Labor Party.
Szubanski compared the recent same sex marriage survey that found a 62% positive result for LGBT marriage rights with the Aussie public and quoted credible surveys that say 68% of Australians love their ABC.
One speaker pointed out that after slashing ABC TV & radio broadcasts to our South Pacific neighbours which received audiences the UK's BBC would envy,  China has quickly filled the void snapping up 300 of the Australian broadcast wavelengths and now dominate our nearest neighbours.
The rally, which was followed by one in Melbourne and will be repeated around the country are in response to a recent Liberal Party conference where delegates voted to privatize the ABC.
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Out and about canvassing today in the Longman bi-election with the Labor Party candidate Susan Lamb was Hollywood star Danny Glover.
Glover is making quite a splash around Australia and appears to have become an activist for several local matters including Indigenous affairs.