Saturday, June 16, 2018

Electrifying news

 She was a regular on the Sydney and Melbourne social scenes before re-locating to the Coffs Harbour area where she is now in the restaurant business.
Danielle Wallace was renowned for her beautiful ties worn by the great and good (see our snap). You can still buy them on the internet and at the occasional pop-up shop. Or if you happen to be shopping in New York try Bergdorf Goodmans on Fifth Avenue.

After a stint in New York and then ritzy Lake Como, as one does, Danielle is currently based in her old stamping ground on the NSW North Coast and has a new project underway.
She's taken her parents older Rolls Royce and is having it completely turned into an electric vehicle. And what a fantastic idea which should give hope to all those who have hankered after a Roller but were always put off by the expensive repairs . If you check out the UK Ebay you can pick up one of the vintage models from anything from $7000 to $20,000. While the conversion isn't cheap, apparently around the $25,000, over time this is bound to become a growing business with prices dropping and what a boon to those who love the more stylish older vehicles.
Whispers is rather sad we didn't hold on to our first auto, a convertible Morris Minor.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


 Don your sunglasses before reading this: 

Two of Australia's vintage fashion designers received the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours on Monday.

Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee reigned supreme in the 80s with their colorful outfits.
Living in New York at the time Whispers could easily spot a visiting tourist from Oz as they sported their multi-colored Jenny Kee pullover.
Even the late Princess Diana wore one to the Polo. Apparently Prince William loved it.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

 “Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Macquarie Street fire

A building has burst into flames in Sydney's legal and medical specialist district Macquarie Street almost opposite Parliament our exclusive snaps show.
It's not as bad as first thought- the flames are actually consuming plastic sheeting stretching up the side of the building currently being renovated.
The scaffolding was also in flames. The irony is that the work being carried out was to remove flammable cladding that has caused so much grief in London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire.
Fortunately there were no casualties with today's blaze.

Malcolm's beach party

Whispers has been privileged to attend a shindig at Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull's exclusive Point Piper mansion (pictured above) . It was charity fundraising event and well before Malcolm was Prime  Minister, merely the local MP.

It's a splendorous house with magnificent harbor views and it's own tiny beach at the base of the garden. Now a small group of protestors have taken up residence on that beach to agitate about the controversial proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland which it's claimed will do untold damage to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.
The freezing weather has driven off the protestors for the moment but I'm reliably informed that they have more plans to enliven life in genteel Point Piper- the most exclusive and expensive suburb in Australia. Meanwhile Mal & Lucy are residing at The Lodge (above right) in Canberra. It's freezing there as well. Not in the Lodge itself but Canberra. Winter in Canberra is something else. Life is just tough sometimes.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

On the subject of Dr Olivia Newton John- the fab Livvie appears on the cover of this month's Woman's Weekly and for every issue sold, 20c goes to Olivia's great charity Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre. So get a copy now. In fact get several (give them to your pals- always a good read !)

And another very important charity event for our Melbourne readers as pictured in the advert below to aid mental health awareness. How can you miss up the chance to meet Jeff Kennett. And Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett who has had his own battles in the past.

Dr. Olivia

Viewers are arguing over the merits of the biopic Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted To You staring Delta Goodren but Olivia herself is loving it.
But Ms Newton John has other reasons to also celebrate- she's Dr Olivia Newton John courtesy of Latrobe University where Olivia has been made a Doctor of Letters due to her endless charity work.

Our happy snaps show Olivia is in fine mettle despite several health scares which are featured in the TV series. And on hand to see Olivia receive her doctorate was niece, the glamorous entertainer Tottie Goldsmith (with Olivia in our snap right)
Tottie has just been made Goodwill Ambassador for the singer's Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre which has just received an $18M grant from the Victorian government for research. Wow, what a talented family. And good looking too!.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fudging figures..

Alas Whispers missed the official launch for the exciting new cook book Conversations in The Kitchen authored by radio host Alan Jones and former Labor Party leader Mark Latham who has forsaken his former left leaning comrades and veered well and truly to the far right via various steps beginning with Sky News and now The Rebel Media. (you can read more about Latham here).

In the meantime a minor twitter dispute has broken out between Jones' critic Mike Carlton (who coined the term The Parrot to describe Jones) and publicist for the book, the effervescent Max Markson (last seem shepherding the strange Milo Yiannopoulos around town).
Markson claims the book has sold 6000 copies. "Not so" declares Carlton- at best 89 copies as the official figures shows.
We're not taking sides in this dispute having met all parties involved !

Meanwhile the wondrous MailOnline / Daily Mail is still having problems identifying colourful characters. As we revealed some time ago they mistook the Aussie actress Little Nell of Rocky Horror picture fame for the mother of British comedian Tracey Ullman.

Now they've discovered Lucy Turnbull, wife of our industrious Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull may have jumped into a time machine and found her teenage self to accompany Mal to the recent charity Gold Dinner.
It's a serious subject but the Mail recently posted this caption on the figures of male suicide in the UK. Rubbery figures surely ?

Friday, May 11, 2018

The $100,000 Selfie

The Archibald Prize for portraiture has been announced and the winner is Yvette Coppersmith for her self portrait (left) whipped up in the week before entries closed. She picks up the $100K prize. The Packing Room Prize (chosen by the art gallery workers) went to Jamie Preisz for his portrait of rocker Jimmy Barnes (right) garnering him $1500. Below are some of the finalists. You have to go to the exhibition itself to see who the artists are but it's well worth it. The NSW Art Gallery is one of the world's great galleries. It's open from 10am every day.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A tale from the world of pop

 Legendary rock manager and author Simon Napier Bell (he's half Australian) writes a story about his involvement with a promising Aussie band WA WA NEE and the death this week of the singer of the group, Paul Gray (second left in the photo below).

In April 1987 I got a call from Dennis Handlin at CBS in Australia telling me I ought to manage a band he’d signed - “Come to the CBS conference next month and hear them play. They’re bloody marvellous. They’re called Wa Wa Nee.”
Meanwhile he booked me a first-class ticket.
A month later on a Thursday, I was due to leave home for a 9pm flight
when I got a sudden lurch in my stomach. I’d clean forgotten that since I’d last been to Australia they’d introduced visas for UK citizens. And I didn’t have one.
A bit panicked because I had to leave for the airport in half-an-hour, I called the airline and asked if exceptions were ever made. “Absolutely never!” they said. “Not even for the bloody Prime Minister”
Which didn’t sound promising.
With some help from my very well-connected squash coach, I managed to get the home number of the Australian ambassador. By which time there was only a few minutes left to get things sorted out.
I told him who I was, that I’d managed Wham! and had taken them to China. But it turned out he wasn’t a pop fan and didn’t know who Wham! was. “What d’you want exactly?” he asked bluntly. He sounded put out to have been called at home by someone he didn’t know.
I said I’d been invited at very short notice to go to Sydney to sign an Australian pop group who, if I signed them for management, would undoubtedly become a substantial earner of foreign currency for Australia. But I needed a visa.
“No way,” he said. “You’ll have to go to the visa office tomorrow morning. It will take at least 48 hours, and we’re closed over the weekend. So that means Monday.”
I could tell he wanted to hang up but before he could I politely repeated the whole story again.. “They’re called Wa Wa Nee,” I said. And by a piece of good fortune he repeated the name out loud.
Immediately, from the other end of the phone came a cacophony of screams .
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“My two daughters.”
Two hours later I was on the plane with a handwritten visa. Thirty-six hours later I’d become the manager of Wa Wa Nee. They were a four-piece band who wrote their own songs. The singer was Paul Gray, blond and starry, and the musicians who played with him were Steve, Chris, and Mark.
I must say it went rather well. With unusual speed, I extracted a substantial budget from CBS and flew the group to London where we made a video of their latest single, Sugar Free. I then persuaded Epic in New York to give them the full monty promotion-wise.
In September Sugar Free went into the Billboard Hot 100 and by the time we arrived in New York to do promotion it had climbed to 35. I had discussions with the Epic marketing department re its onward progress. They planned to put it into the Top Twenty the following week, the Top Ten the week after, and if things still looked good the week after that, they’d go for a Number One.
In New York the group played a gig that went exceptionally well and we moved on to LA. After an equally good show at the Whiskey, I had to tell Paul he’d be having dinner with the wives of a couple of CBS executives. “They’ve rather taken a fancy to you,” I explained.
He didn’t like the idea at all. “I’m not a piece of meat,” he said. “I’m an artist.”
“It’s only a dinner. Be nice for a couple of hours, then you can go home to Australia knowing your record will be in the Top Ten.”
It’s what everyone wants to say but in the end doesn't. But Paul did. And he refused to go to dinner.
By the following week Wa Wa Nee’s record had disappeared from the Billboard chart and the group’s career in America was over. You couldn’t really fault Paul. He was principled and stuck with what he believed in. His life was about music, not PR. He was a charming fellow, wrote amazingly good music, and sung brilliantly.
For me - for the rest of the band - for Paul too - it was just one more rock experience. Sometimes that’s how things work out.
Last week Paul died and everyone is very sad. Me too. For the musicians who were in Wa Wa Nee, he was for a while the focal point of their lives. He was funny, witty, and delightfully self-deprecatory. When Steve, the guitarist, learned he had cancer a couple of months back, Paul said, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing. Just a little setback. I’ll soon be over it.”
But unfortunately he wasn’t.
 The funeral is on Thursday. RIP Paul. You’re much missed.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Whispers has returned from a ten day trip to the USA..6 days in LA and a whirlwind visit to New York. We just aren't up to it these days!
Full report coming...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Star spotting exclusive !

Whispers omnipresent spies are everywhere. Even in far flung Sydney suburbs. One disguised as a suburban latté drinker informs us that Hollywood great Jack Nicholson was spotted sipping coffee with two pals in the Thirmele Cafe in Thirmele, a small suburb near Picton in the Camden area of outer Sydney. Thirmele is also the home of the NSW Railway Museum.

Our man on the street reports Jack is also a train enthusiast and visited the museum in the morning.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Barefoot Contessa Moment

Prince Charles and Camila demonstrate they are real people by walking onto the sand at Surfer's Paradise beach. She is barefoot- he wears suede shoes which many are complaining about. We have no view either way. Others claim the Duchess of Cornwall read a magazine during the opening ceremony. Whispers is reliably informed she was actually reading the program for the Commonwealth Games opening night gala events. Perhaps she was trying to check what time the misery would end.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Little Black Bastard"

An eagle-eyed regular Whisper's reader (we have thousands) draws our attention to the photograph we published of the late Stephen Hawkings (with walking stick) marching to protest the Vietnam War with Vanessa Redgrave, writer Tariq Ali and others in the late 1960s.
Directly behind Hawkings and holding the banner is a very young Australian dancer, actor, director and choreographer Noel Tovey.
Tovey is part Aboriginal and enjoyed a very successful theatre career in the UK including teaching at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and the world famous RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). At one stage he also ran a successful Art Deco antique store in London.
His autobiography Little Black Bastard is recommended reading.
The title refers to an earlier life as a teen in Melbourne when he worked as a male hustler for a time . The insult was hurled at him by coppers as they shoved him into a cell after arresting him.
By co-incidence Whispers just borrowed Tovey's second book And Then I Found Me from the local library.

The last time Whispers encountered Noel was at an event at the Sydney Town Hall where the guest of honour was then PM John Howard. As Howard got up to speak Tovey hurled some choice insults at Howard over the Iraq War, and then stormed out of the building.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Baz marches

Among those marching the other day during the March For Our Lives event was the Oscar winning Australian movie director Baz Luhrmann as seen here in Whisper's exclusive snap. Luhrmann moved permanently to the USA 3 years ago when he sold his inner Sydney Darlinghurst mansion Iona for $16M in order to base himself in New York. He is currently working on the TV series The Get Down.
As he joined 1000s in the New York march and demonstration Baz said : "These young people are not asking for much… It’s time for those in power to grow up." 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Overdose on Cartier

Naomi Watts looked sensational at the dinner to launch the Cartier exhibition in Canberra at the NGA.
The National Gallery of Australia’s next extraordinary exhibition featuring many of the world’s greatest jewels opens in Canberra on 30 March. Cartier: The Exhibition includes the tiara loaned to Catherine Middleton on her wedding day , a necklace worn by Her Majesty The Queen, Grace Kelly’s engagement ring and Elizabeth Taylor’s ruby and diamond necklace, along with some of the most exquisite pieces from the stunning Cartier Collection.

Below: at the Cartier dinner in Canberra: to launch the exhibition: Countess Zofia Krasicka v. Siecin, Lady Potter AC and Countess Primose Krasicka v. Siecin
For the uninitiated Countess Primose Krasicka is the former Primrose "Pitty Pat" Dunlop who featured in the madcap adventure in Venice when she and her fiance Prince Lorenzo Montesini arrived with the cream of Melbourne society in tow for the pair's expected marriage. At the very last minute Prince Lorenzo got cold feet and ran off with his best man and "life partner" Robert Straub. Straub and Montesini had met whilst doing their National Service during the Vietnam War.
You can read more of Primrose's adventures here.
A 15 year old Murdoch and the groom who eloped with his best man in Venice
Cartier fans and some of their jewels:
The Countess of Cambridge * HM The Queen* Elizabeth Taylor*Grace Kelly*Duchess of Windsor* Dame Nellie Melba

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Party Cenral !

Whispers partied hard at a new venue and it's a great find. Archie Brothers Electric Circus is nestled behind an industrial centre in deepest Alexandria and it looks like a winner to us. This is really a great spot to hold a party. Not too far for a taxi, plenty of parking (it's own car park) terrific party food, a huge bar and a  range of fun fair type games that would keep guests occupied for hours.
Location: 55 Doody Street, Alexandria (next door to Sky Zone) 1300 888 FUN |

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vale Stephen Hawking

OK he's not a "social" figure as such but he's the real Mr Universe. It's heartening to read the numerous tributes to Stephen Hawking who was so inspirational for so many given his physical limitations.
 Whispers never actually met him but we did once attend a presser for him. It's very hard to describe the feeling of being in the same room as Hawking. It's not something you ever forget.What can we say..others are saying it so much better.
Here is one our favourite pix of the great scientist. It's Stephen Hawking (with the walking sticks) before he was confined to that wheel chair. He was attending a protest about the disastrous Vietnam War in the 1960s.
# As a callow youth Whispers wagged school to attend a similar anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Sydney as the visiting US President Lyndon Baines Johnson was to drive by. The then NSW (corrupt) premier Robin Askin had coined the phrase "all the way with LBJ" and accompanied the President in his limo. As the US President's motorcade sped down College Street a bunch of us demonstrators surged out onto the road and temporarily stopped the President's car.
Askin ordered his driver to "drive over the bastards !". Fortunately he didn't but it became a small moment in history.
# Note: the very beautiful actress Vanessa Redgrave on the right.