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.
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.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Danny celebrates NAIDOC Week

It's NAIDOC Week in Australia where (at least) 40,000 years of Indigenous culture is celebrated. That's a celebration for the oldest continuous inhabitants of anywhere on Earth let alone this vast continent. You can read much more about various events that will take place at the official website.
And look who's in town to celebrate !. The actor Danny Glover joined Aboriginal activists in Canberra. Well done Danny.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ahoy Newcastle residents: the fabulous Jackie Loeb is back in Oz for a series of shows. She lives in Los Angeles where she is a popular face in the various comedy clubs so this is chance to catch some side-splitting comedy. And crikey-look at the sponsers- this is serious.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Gina & The Trumpettes

on the far right- Gina & The Fabulous Trumpettes at Mar A Lago
 Whisper's attention is drawn to the news that Australia's on / off Wealthiest Woman on The Planet Gina Rinehart appears to have joined the prestigious Trumpettes at Mar-A- Lago in Miami. The Trumpettes are a band of wealthy society ladies who spruik the joys of Donald Trumps' presidency and as you can see from our various pics, Gina is right in there in the middle of the action having heaps of fun.
And don't they look like fun ladies !

These gals go from one giddy party to another with the odd sporting event tossed in and Our Gina is there in the thick of it as can be seen on The Trumpette's Facebook page. The Trumpettes were started by a former Hollywood journalist Toni Holt Kramer (left-waving the US flag) who is a yuuge fan of The Pres. Toni flits about in her private jet between her homes in LA and Miami and has defended Mr Trump in the past from the alleged groping recording that appeared in 2016 with this response : "when people really think about it, is not nearly as bad as receiving a blow job in the White House" referring to former president Bill Clinton. Ouch.
Gina at Mar-A-Lago with (right- seated) Australia's Governor General Peter Cosgrove
But we are slightly worried about Our Gina who seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time at Mr Trump's splendorous Miami resort. Reports emerged in February this year in the Miami Herald that Florida Health Inspectors had cited the resort when they found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen deemed a record for a club that charges $200,000 to join.
Toni Holt Kramer reportedly has an ex-Navy Seal as a bodyguard, as one does, and hopefully Our Gina has her own fearsome chap to guard her. Perhaps a permanent food taster would be in order as well.
# Former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, a pal of Gina's may soon be at a loose end. Could be an ideal job for him.

Read more here:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

One million Parisians can't be wrong. This is their Champagne of choice and the most popular fizz in Paris.

Passing of a "super agent"

Australia's best known impresario Harry M.Miller has died at age 84. Miller was suffering from dementia.
Originally from New Zealand Harry become Australia's top promoter of international acts bringing the biggest names in show business to Australia and managing some of our top names in entertainment over a career that last 50 years.
Harry M with Lindy Chamberlain, one of his clients
Whispers first met Harry when as a callow youth we received an invitation to the opening of the Hippie musical Hair in the old Metro Theatre in Kings Cross. Our female partner for the night decided to wear a see thru dress with a flesh coloured body stocking underneath but which gave the appearance of bare skin. The press were delighted as was Miller who rushed over to congratulate her. Later that evening as the show ended we joined dozens of audience members on stage to dance and ended up in a jiving trio with the late TV show King Graham Kennedy.
Miller managed Kennedy, on and off during his career in an often tumultuous relationship.

The last time we met up with Harry was at the launch of his autobiography "Confessions of a Not So Secret Agent' where Harry was joined by many of his clients like the famous"Dingo lady" Lindy Chamberlain.

Every Christmas Day Harry would spend the day feeding the homeless at The Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, the charity started by his pal Ted Noffs in the 1960s.

Harry is survived by his partner the restaurateur Simone Logue and daughters Justine, Brook and Lauren and their mother Wendy Miller who still oversee Miller's celebrity management business.
The family have asked  friends to donate to Dementia Australia and the Salvation Army in lieu of flowers.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Launching a frog

  Pictured left: artist John Olsen, his frog sculpture and Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and "First Lady" Lucy Turnbull did the honours as artist John Olsen's "frog" sculpture was launched outside the uber harbour-side restaurant Catalina in Rose Bay this morning.
And what a gorgeous sunny Winter day for the event.
Hosts Michael & Judy McMahon, owners of Catalina laid on a superb lunch, as is their wont, and it's difficult to image how better to spend a lazy Sunday in Sydney. Catalina has an afinity with the water. It's superb balcony that extends over the harbour is often visited by two pelicans. Nearby are Sydney's famous seaplanes that deliver the well-heeled to their Palm Beach weekenders.

Locals join the PM: L-R Suzanne Dougall * Glen Marie Frost * Malcolm & Lucy* Victoria Morish
Left to Right : artist John Olsen * PM Malcolm Turnbull * Lucy Turnbull * the Frog* Catalina owners Michale & Judy McMahon

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hope ?

 The man considered to be the mastermind behind the shambles successful BREXIT campaign Nigel Farage is soon to grace our shores. While the political party he started, UKIP stumbles from disaster to election disaster, the MEP (Member of European Parliament)  who finds little time to actually spend in Brussels will tour Australia for 5 days spruiking his message in September. Farage will also visit New Zealand. Perhaps he'll be telling the New Zealanders they need to break away from Australia.
A "VIP" ticket to his events will be around $500 but you get to attend a backstage cocktail party or you can pay $250 for a photo with him or you can fork out nearly $1000 for a pre-show dinner with Farage. 
Most people should be aware that things are not going well in the UK Parliament as they wrestle with just how to manage the split from the rest of Europe. One major problem is the Custom's Union between Ireland and North Ireland which now enjoys unfettered access with the EU saying this must cease. To date several large corporations have threatened they may have to leave Britain and base themselves in Europe for easy access. The giant Airbus Corp being just one but there are fears several big banks may also decide to HQ in France or Germany.
Never mind, Nige is quoted as saying he will bring his Oz listeners "a message of hope and optimism". Perhaps he's specifically targeting that at current PM Malcolm Turnbull who needs all help he can get at present. What a shame Whispers happens to be busy that night. Whenever it is.

Trigger Warning ! 
 Over night on Twitter the following message appeared from the UKIP MEP Neil Hamilton

Apparently some chap called Milo has joined the party with a conspiracy apparatchik from the bizarre US Alex Jones show along with Sargon of Akkad whoever that is.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pic of the day..

Golfing legend Greg Norman is a golfing partner of president Donald Trump. Is this how the pair will play a round on the Mar a Lago golf course in the near future?. (Now try to get that image out of your head.)

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.