Monday, January 23, 2017

exclusive: QANTAS drama over Breitbart News

Following on the heels of the drama over the US cereal manufacturers Kellogg pulling their advertisements from the Libertarian website Breitbart News where President Donald Trump is fond of getting his 'news', comes word that one of the world's biggest airlines the Aussie owned  QANTAS are pulling their ads from the site as well.
When a concerned shareholder contacted QANTAS via their Twitter account, the response was rapid which you can read below.

And even more fun & games over the US election, the Inauguration of President Trump and the amazing marches around the world the following day when apparently 3 million women attended the protest in the capital.
 Daily Mail pundit & British TV host Piers Morgan was up in arms with the following tweet:
 It received a quick response from our favorite Woollahra based Hollywood star Sam Neill:
Alas for poor Piers there was a further humiliation to come from reality TV star and multi-millionaire Lord Alan Sugar of the UK's Apprentice fame:



The  following message popped up on Facebook (and presumably elsewhere and posted by the high profile lawyer Chris Murphy:

It's all rather sad. Whispers has seen this couple about town so many times and they looked very happy as recently as 3 months ago as our photograph shows. Below: Kelly Landry & Anthony Bell

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Publishing heir James Fairfax dies

 James Fairfax AC (pictures above left with Edmund Capon), the former chairman of publisher John Fairfax Ltd, passed away age 83 on Wednesday at his Southern Highlands home Retford Park in Bowral
James was a great philanthropist and art collector and the son of Sir Warwick Fairfax. In our snap above James donated a substantial body of precious art works of old masters worth then, around $35M to the the NSW Art Gallery.
Barry Humphries at the NSW Art Gallery & one of James' donated works

In 2016 Mr Fairfax bequeathed his Retford Park homestead,  worth around $20 million, to the National Trust for the Trust to preserve in perpetuity for the local community. For the past few decades Fairfax lived and traveled with his companion Ray Hansen who died in 2015.

When the young Warwick Fairfax Jnr, James half-brother launched his ill-fated move to take back the family business Fairfax Newspapers in the 1980s James recived an estimated $200M. He was a director on the Fairfax board from 1957 until 1987, and chairman from 1977 to 1987.

Spending half the year at a property in the UK, James retired permanently to Bowral in 2003. One of the highlights of the social calendar in his Sydney days was an annual masked drag ball where guests, mostly well heeled bachelors from Sydney and Melbourne competed and spent a small on extravagant gowns.
James Fairfax is survived by step mother Lady Mary Fairfax who like James has bequeathed the family home Fairwater in Double Bay to the National Trust on the proviso all her staff live there for life. James leaves behind two half sisters, Annalise Thomas and Anna Cleary, his half-brothers, Warwick and Charles Fairfax.
Below : Retford Park

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gum Leaf Mafia invasion

WE JUST HAD the local ACCTA Awards in Sydney but this week it was also time for the International ACCTA Awards. Here are a few snaps from the event in Los Angeles. The Big Talk of the evening was the film Lion starring Nicole Kidman and David Wenham and based on the real life tale & book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose.

The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sunny Pawar.
In our top snap is pictured Nicole  with Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar.
 Below is a trailer for the film which is tipped at least for a Golden Globe and maybe an Oscar or two.

And any day now it will be time for G'Day Australia where all those slebs will turn up again for another star-studded bash in LA.

Top row : Sunny Pawar,Dev Patel & Nicole Kidman

Middle row: Zoe Ventiura, Mel Gibson, Kim Wilson and Isla Fisher

Bottom row : Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bob Sings

For your sheer delight: former PM Bob Hawke sings an operatic version of Waltzing Matilda today at the Woodford Folk Festival in sunny Queensland. Whispers can't work out whether Bob was the inspiration for Sir Les Patterson or visa versa.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Death of a Superstar : George Michael

In the 1980s Whispers had quite a bit to do with George Michael.  Working for Wham's then manager Simon Napier-Bell (pictured above left) we filled the UK media with endless tales, sometimes they were true and often concocted but always, always harmless. In fact we named this column in honour of Michael's much loved song Careless Whispers.
In 1985 Whispers traveled to China when Napier-Nell pulled off the most extraordinary feat and convinced the Politburo that Wham should be the first foreign pop/rock band to perform there. It was a surreal experience after European concerts where fans went berserk over any Wham song while in China, each song was accompanied by polite claps from  the audience who were made up of youngsters from the emerging middle-class.
Simon later recorded his efforts in getting Wham to China in a fascinating book I'm Coming To Take You to Lunch.

George was the intellectual of the duo while Andrew Ridgley was the fun guy and together they were a perfect compliment for each other. When Wham finally split the pair remained firm friends as did both with Simon Napier-Bell. Indeed the last time we say George Michael was when he was staying at Napier-Bell's Thailand villa a few years ago while yet another media controversy raged over a London car incident.
George  Michael was a superstar in the true sense and probably one of the world's greatest writers of pop songs. In person he was self effacing, friendly and shy but underneath, a troubled soul who was just pulling his life together following the death of his long-time partner and various bouts of drug abuse. He will be missed.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas to our loyal readers

We get around 2500 regular readers from all over the world every day plus a whole more visiting. This sorta sums up Christmas Day in Sydney. It has everything : sand, a beach, cocktails, Bondi, drag queens, sundshine and a few social identities in that crowd.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sightseeing News

And now some light news: Ivanka Trump has posted a snap on her Instagram page of her current holiday in Croatia with her traveling companion, Wendi Murdoch who we featured a few days ago partying in New York. Is Wendi the girlfriend of Russia's Vladimir Putin as claimed? .

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cate conquers New York

Hugh Jackman, Deborah Lee Furness and Wendi Murdoch at the Park Avenue Armory
Currently on display at the Art Gallery of NSW is the new video installation by renowned German artist Julian Rosefeldt (pictured below) which features Cate Blanchett .
The work presents a series of monologues that Rosefeldt has created by editing and reassembling a collage of artists’ manifestos, from declarations penned by the futurists, dadaists and situationists, to the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers such as Sol LeWitt, Yvonne Rainer and Jim Jarmusch.

Blanchett performs these ‘new manifestos’ while inhabiting 13 different personas – among them a school teacher, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – to explore the power and urgency of these historical words in our world today.
It's on until 19th February 2017 and Whispers will be attending a special viewing next Tuesday. Hopefully there will be some guests of the caliber who turned up in New York as the Gum Leaf Mafia invaded the Park Avenue Armory for a special US screening. As you can see from our exclusive photos it was movie star heaven.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Birthday Boy

It's a very Happy Birthday to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke (pictured here in our exclusive snap on Friday with Labor leader Bill Shorten) who turns 87 today (well yesterday actually). The former union leader won the 1983 general election in a landslide and at one stage was the most popular PM in Aussie history. He was eventually rolled by his (former) loyal deputy Paul Keating.
Whispers often runs into the Silver Bodgie as he is affectionately know, at various social functions and we have featured him on these pages over the years. Always popular with the electorate and he always greets you with a cherry smile and more often than not, a risque joke.
Below: Bob with John Singleton at the opening of Singleton's The Worker's Bar in Balmain (reputedly where the Labor Party was created in 1891) and with wife Blanche d'Alpuget at her book launch Hawke, The Prime Minister, the best selling Australian political biography of all time.
Photo roundup:
Matty Bennett and partner Rupert Noffs are creating a foodie storm in New York with their successful restaurant The Lucky Bee as celebs pour through the doors- below with gorgeous Victoria's Secret model, Megan Williams
 At the AACTA Awards on Wednesday night at Star City: Claudia Karvan * Mel Gibson * Ky Baldwin * George Miller * Paul Hogan * Cate Blanchett * Hugo Weaving

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Star Power at the ACCTA Awards

International stars mingled with local movie & TV personalities at the 6th ACCTA Awards at Star City.
Below : 1.the always elegant Marta Dusseldorp, 2. Sacha Baron Cohen & Isla Fisher 3. Brooke Satchwell and foodie queen Donna Hay 4. Rose Byrne and 5. Mel Gibson

Update on Maria Venuti

 The good news is that entertainer Maria Venuti is on the mend and recovering from her recent stroke. Anyone with any experience of a relative or friend who has had a stroke will know it takes a good twelve months or more to recover from the mildest one so we wish Maria all the best.
A GoFundMe page has been set-up to raise funds to aid in Venuti's recovery and over $3000 has already been raised. The full sum needed is $5000 which seems a little low to Whispers, still, you are urged to support Maria and anyone else going through similar.

The GoFundMe page can be found at this link.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What is happening with James Murdoch?

Whispers asks this question because of a sudden spike in a story we penned in 2010.  It's the tale of how we spotted a 15 year old James Murdoch asleep on a sofa at a party at Lady Mary Fairfax's home Fairwater in Double Bay. At the time Murdoch was accompanying the Sunday Telegraph social writer Primrose 'Pitty Pat' Dunlop (pictured right) on 'work experience'. Our spy disguised as a Tiffany's compact in Jerry Hall's handbag and which sends us regular reports on hubby Rupert Murdoch's movements has produced no news about the Murdoch clan that may have inspired over 100,000 readers from the UK to click on the tale in the past few days.

Read the full story here:

A 15 year old Murdoch and the groom who eloped with his best man in Venice


 A screenshot of our statistics shows how readers can suddenly flock from a certain country depending on the current post. As an example, when we published the claim that former Sydney and now Los Angeles based private investigator Frank Monte was heading to New York to work on Donald Trump's presidential campaign, readers from the USA flocked to Whispers at the rate of around 40,000 a day. But why an older tale about James Murdoch has suddenly gained new traction is a mystery.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A French Honour

Brian * Emile * and Gene Sherman
Gene Sherman owns the up-market Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation Gallery in Paddington. Now for the second time she has been honoured by the French government for her contribution to the arts and culture presented at a small cocktail party as our snap above shows.
Pinning on the medal is France's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Monsieur Christophe Lecourtier.

And watching were some proud family members - husband Brian and son Emile. Brian Sherman who sold his investment company for $$mega-millions now concentrates on his charity Voiceless started by he and his daughter Ondine which raises awareness of animals suffering in factory farming and the kangaroo industry in Australia.
 Emile Sherman is probably best known as the producer of the 2011 Academy Award winning film The King's Speech. Currently he's working on several TV series : Love Nina and Codes of Conduct, a science fiction film How To Talk to Girls at Parties starring Nicole Kidman and a re-make of the Lynda la Plante Widows starring Viola Davis.
And if you haven't been to the wonderful Sherman Gallery you'll find it at 16-29 Goodhope Street, just off Five Ways in Paddington.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vale Florence Henderson

She was best known as the star of The Brady Bunch.

Actress Florence Henderson has died at the age of 82. Four years ago Henderson was in Sydney to promote a brand of canned tomatoes and Whispers attended a reception for her at the Kings Cross night spot Concrete Blonde.

Florence said she loved tomatoes as her father had been a share-crop farmer who grew and sold tomatoes for a living. A lively, chatty and friendly lady, Florence looked twenty years younger than she then was at 79.

Friday, November 25, 2016

It begins : Christmas

It's a Sydney institution. While others may come and go, Lucios Italian Restaurant in quaint Paddington has been there, well forever. The finest Italian food, an intimate atmosphere and walls laden with art from many of Australia's most famed painters. When Lucio sends out an invitation to enjoy a lunch for Christmas, it would be a sin to turn it down.
Glen Marie Frost & the man himself Lucio * chef Janni Kyritis & Francesa Emerson
Above: famed chef Tom Rutherford * publicist Rae Francis* ABC broadcaster Simon Marnie * Michael Yabsley

Angela Thompson with New Zealand TV star Peter Mochrie
Around Town
At the benefit for Taronga Park Zoo,  beautiful Michelle Walsh & hubby Martin Walsh * right: former Labor Party leader Mark Latham with Liberal Party heavyweight Peta Credlin at the Bong Bong Picnic Races

Comedian Bob Downe & drag star Cindi Pastel on the Sydney Harbour Funboat * a feel-good tale about superstar Russell Crowe- read it HERE

Monday, November 21, 2016

Daily Mail Fail #45

The inimitable Daily Mail newspaper is a source of constant amusement here among office staff (1) and the office cat over cups of tea at the water cooler. Here is their latest blooper with a dig at various signs for typo errors and just the Fail's Mail's very own typo.
This still doesn't beat the Fail's Mail's Best Blooper spotted by us when they announced the death of comedienne Tracey Ullman's 85 year old mother Doreen Skinner and ran a picture of her with Tracey...except it was a snap of a fairly healthy 50 year old Aussie star of the Rocky Horror Show Nell Campbell known as Little Nell.

Add caption

Friday, November 18, 2016

Super Moon #2

Whispers will be back onboard soon- a hurried business trip abroad caught us by surprise. In the meantime here is snap of the Moon taken in Lebanon- wow !

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Maria Venuti in hospital following a stroke

Entertainer and tireless charity worker Maria Venuti (above at last year's Wharf 4 Ward) has suffered a
stroke after being confronted by a stranger in her home yesterday. 

Maria was rushed to the Royal North Shore Hospital after falling ill. She had arrived home and after around twenty minutes Venuti found a stranger was in her living room. After calling police she was taken ill. Maria's daughter Bianca (pictured right with Maria) is by her bedside. Whispers will update as more news comes to hand.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nearly Summer

 Mid Spring but it feels like Summer with warm and balmy sunny days. A perfect excuse to attend a bikini launch! Designer Fiola Labron Johnson (above centre) launched her new swimwear range Fiola Rose Swim at the d'Albora Marina at The Spit in Mosman.
And there were some pretty swell gin palaces on display. We could get used to this. Below, AdProManagement's Grant Dwyer with Fiola and some gals wearing those new swimsuits. Look good don't they?

We clambered aboard this vessel with only a flute of Champagne to fortify us against the seas


A missive arrives from LA gumshoe Frank Monte who has taken up residence at New York's wondrous Waldorf Astoria Hotel (our favourite ) :

"Hi Friends, much has been said in the press and radio here in NYC about my checking the stories of these 'Ladies' who are impugning Mr. Trump's Good name. At the outset there's a confusion about who I am. A younger Frank Monte 45, of New Jersey and a Vet. has been in court several times against Mr Trump and has been fighting him for years. I am not he.
I am a Frank James Monte, over 60...and a fully licensed CA Private Detective formerly of NYC now of LA. CA. To date I've sucessfully blown out of the water 4 out of the 8-9 'Ladies' making unsubstantiated accusations against my friend Donald Trump. I'm now chasing after Attorney, M/s Gloria Allred's clients all of whom are in hiding from me.
It's a trial by the Press and the more they say, naively believing the crap these women say, the more press there is.I'm continuing with my case load. Those who know me, remember I totally destroyed the David Jones Ltd case of the $37 million sexual harrassment suit by a former DJ's staffer in 2010. She ran away with just court costs.
If you know more, speak up, I'm at the Walforf Astoria Hotel here on Park Ave.Cheers. Frank Monte."