Thursday, June 30, 2011

Russell Crowe Unhappy With Waiters

Word came at about Mid-day. Russell Crowe who occupies the penthouse at the end of the Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo was unhappy with the noise.
Glen Wheeler & Maria Venuti
It was the annual Variety day when the kid's charity takes over seven iconic restaurants along the wharf for a long lunch while a number of local show biz stars entertain.
Russell wasn't unhappy for too long when he heard what the event was for and although invited to join the throng he declined but sent a very large cheque instead.

Over $200,000 was raised.

And that's what it's all about. Raising lots of money for kids. The theme was a Wharfies day and there was one special treat-The Singing Waiters.

If you haven't seen them check them out in our video. They are one of the most successful corporate acts of all time. Three opera singers pose as waiters at a party, serving drinks. Then they burst into opera favourites to the surprise of the party goers. So successful is the act that it has been franchised around the world-to the UK , USA , Asia and Europe.
Benny Elias, Sami Lukas

Country music star John Williamson & Meg Doyle

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dame Edna Attacked

There has been much chatter around the coffee bars of Double Bay about Dame Edna Everage's appearance at the Black &  White Charity lunch last Tuesday.

One tabloid journalist has ripped into the Dame over the reputed $35,000 fee charged by manager Barry Humphreys. Odd given the same hack is noted for their free-loading at charity events.

Although she received loud laughter throughout the room and was the draw card for the $295 ticket price, at a time when the charity dollar is hard to get, she has come in for criticism over her digs at  the Double Bay set, senior citizens and one lady in a wheel chair.

One prominent couple told the Shuttle today they were still fuming about Edna wishing she could "speak Hungarian" and other comments in reference to that large Eastern Suburbs ethnic community which they perceived as anti-Semitic remarks.

However the lady in the wheel chair who was the butt of many of Edna's digs was former B & W president Marno Parsons ( in our pic greeting Dame Edna in the Green Room after the show) who also sponsored the event. Marno and Dame Edna warmly embraced and chatted like old pals.

And we thought we recognised Dame Edna's stunning red feathered creation she wore on the day. Here she is wearing it at an Andre Riel concert where she sang the Peter Allen song 'I Still Call Australia Home'. The song was huge hit for the late Allen who gave the rights to Qantas for their advertising campaigns and in return received first class travel on their flights throughout the world.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liz Brewer, Ita Buttrose & International Terrorists

Madame Aracti has drawn our attention to a new book published in the UK by one of that countries top public relations experts Liz Brewer.

Liz was once married to Australian John Rendell of Christian The Lion fame and is the mother of chanteuse and songwriter Tallulah Rendell who wowed audiences in Sydney recently. She was also one of the hosts on the reality TV show Aussie Ladette To Lady where she attempted to convert a bunch of rough and tumble young girls into genteel lasses, suitable enough to mingle with the more refined classes .

party planner Liz Brewer (right) and celebs including
Ivana Trump & NCIS actor Michael Weatherly
Ms Brewer has just published a new book Ultimate Guide to Party Planning & Etiquette which is flying off British book shelves in a country where trying to keep up the standards expected is becoming increasingly difficult in the new 'chav' culture sweeping that great isle.

And Liz knows her stuff having organised some of the top bashes in London for celebrities like Shirley Bassey and Ivana Trump. She's been around celebrities and high society for most of her career that began on the Algarve in Portugal when she opened a nightclub and attracted big names like Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard.

But we also have our own tome - the recently published colonial version : A Guide to Australian Etiquette-for all occasions, from weddings to work by publishing icon Ita Buttrose who was featured in the TV drama Paper Giants-The Birth of Cleo that depicted the 1970's when Kerry Packer lost the contract to publish a local version of Cosmopolitan and instead, under the auspices of Buttrose came up with the top selling magazine Cleo that has been going gangbusters ever since.
Ita Buttrose &Betty Churcher
at the B &W lunch

Ita was a special guest at the Black & White Charity lunch last Tuesday which featured Dame Edna Everage who reminded the audience and Ita that it was her on the 1974 cover that rocketed Cleo to a staggering circulation of nearly half a million copies although it was Ita's idea to feature, for the first time, a man in a dress as she reminded the Dame.

Dame Edna retorted that she had no idea who Ita was at the time and thought her name was a reference to an International Terrorist group.

Both books are required reading if one is  to attempt climbing the social ladder in either capitals and from Liz Brewer's interview on Madame Arcati we learn both cities suffer from similar problems. Like the eternal gatecrasher. Liz gives some handy hints to seeing them off and we feel concurs with our view of the local half dozen who plague events here - if they bring nothing to the event in appearance, manners, humour or intellect, what's the point of them ?.

But back to Ita's guide to surviving the sophistication of Australian culture. There are many crossover areas in both Liz Brewer's book and Ita's but the local version give us some much needed tips with a local flavour :
if suffering from bad breath consult your dentist
are you constantly farting ?..avoid spicy food
do you constantly chew gum, smack you're gums and make popping noises ? Don't !
don't let your dog jump in a pond especially if there is green algae !
don't pig out on bread at the dinner table and leave only crumbs
urinating in public is revolting
spitting in public is uncivilised  ...and so on.

Ita also gives some helpful advice on weddings : what to do when the best man is a woman, how to dress for a Muslim wedding, what to do when you run into your ex ! and a host of veritable survival hints even at the football : no player should ever pretend to be their best mate in an attempt to have sex with another player's wife : if a girl has had too much too drink it's best to call a taxi to take her home and most importantly : you never watch a player's mate and his girlfriend having sex!

How can you live without this book ?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Web Find

Madelaine Zammit of South Australia who is only 16 has a net hit on her hands with this song that is zooming up the youtube charts.

The Shuttle was alerted to it a few days ago after a reader saw our piece on Cody Simpson who hit the big time in the US after he was spotted on youtube by an American producer. Our reader thought that there were similarities in Simpson and Madelaine's voice.

Quite a few blogs have published the video as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. We reckon Madelaine has a hit on her hands with this song about the problems one can face on Facebook etc. And she has a great voice.But why isn't she on Australia's Got Talent ?. She would give Jack Vidgen a run for his money.

Appropriately she has her own Facebook page with 6000 members :

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Drag Star For Hollywood and Film Fame

Courtney Act, seen here in our pic with Danni Minogue recently is headed for Hollywood but is also to play the lead role in a film based on the life of the legendary Kings Cross transgender show biz star Carlotta.

Carlotta, who was born Richard Byron first appeared in the famous Les Girls show at in Kings Cross and for many years worked for the Sydney crime baron Abe Saffron who ruled all night life around Kings Cross with an iron first.


Carlotta also appeared on the TV show Beauty & The Beast where a panel of 4 women would do battle with the 'beast' and host, the late Stan Zemanek as viewers wrote in letters asking for advice.

Les Girls finally closed it's doors in 1993 after a 35 years and was the inspiration for Stephan Elliot's "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". The show continued on the road under the banner of co-star Simone de Troy for several years including a short stint at London's Wimbledon Theatre. Carlotta also appeared in the famous Number 96 , 1970's soap opera playing a transgender girlfriend of Arnold Feather.

Courtney Act, Shane Jenek was a finalist in the 2003 Australian Idol quest and had a hit record "Rub Me Wrong" in 2004. After several attempts he has now secured a working visa for the USA.

Here is Carlotta on Beauty & The Beast :

Friday, June 24, 2011

Forget Planking-Airport Crossdressing All The Rage

Following our fashion report on the gentleman flying from San Francisco airport in a fetching bikini outfit, stockings and high heels, have we uncovered a new phenomena?.

Videos of crossdressers at airports are cropping up on youtube where it looks like a new craze is underway and we are in at the beginning !. Our man in SF is named Howard and as we suspected, is a businessman who simply likes to feel comfortable on his travels as he told the SF Chronicle yesterday.

Check out these youtube videos of Howard and others at airports.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fashion Special-Airline Flights-What They Are Wearing #1

In these troublesome times with ash clouds from Chilean volcanoes interrupting airline flights and a controversy swirling around the USA over searches of travellers by the TSA, how pleasing to see someone has chosen to make life easy for harried airport officials by choosing this sensible outfit in which to board his flight.

The gentleman, who was happy to pose was snapped by a fellow traveller at San Francisco airport (where else?)  and the picture was sent to the local newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle.

You will note he wears a comfortable electric blue bra type top and bottom with a contrasting camisole that can be easily whipped off in the summer heat and sensible stockings to prevent deep vein thrombosis.

A simple necklace sets off the outfit with high heel slip on shoes all the better for easy removal on long haul flights. Combined with a tasteful plain black carry-on hold all means our traveller can alight from his flight, refreshed and head straight for the office or that important business meeting.

More at The San Francisco Chronicle.

Potty Peer & The World's Richest Person

Our favourite nutty Scottish noble Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is heading for these shores again to stir up the debate about climate change scientists who he calls 'eco fascists'. Monckton says the climate change claims are a plot to install a World Government

Lord Monckton
A month ago in Los Angeles Monckton described Professor Ross Garnut who has just delivered the final Garnaut Climate Change Review commissioned by the Australian government, as having "a fascist point of view" and someone who expected people to "accept authority without question".

Prof Garnaut
"Heil Hitler, on we go," said Lord Monckton as a Garnaut quote was displayed beside a huge swastika on a screen.
Monckton, who has stood for political office in England several times,( twice receiving not a single vote) once unsuccessfully tried to get an injunction to stop a BBC program "Meet The Sceptics" which featured him and which he reckoned made him look like a 'potty peer'. He also sponsored an anti-gay campaign and said all AIDS sufferers should be quarantined for life.

He'll be a star attraction at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies conference in Perth next week where he will join fellow climate sceptic and Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott along with the mining magnates Gina Rinehart and Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest who last year funded a million dollar campaign to de-rail former PM Kevin Rudd's proposed new mining tax which they said would destroy the industry.
As if to prove their point, both Reinhardt and Forrest added several billion dollars to their wealth in the year following their campaign.

And according to a 60 page research done by Citigroup Global Markets, a division of the big US banking group Citibank Gina Rinehart is on the way to becoming the world's richest person !

Here's our tribute to Lord Monckton : Springtime For Hitler!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dame Edna Everage is Pregnant !

B & W president Susan Diver with Dame Edna
That's the stunning disclosure Dame Edna Everage revealed yesterday at the Black & White Charity's Women of Achievement lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.

Mrs Barry Humphries-Lizzie Spender
The Dame was in top form as she gave the audience some unique insights into her life and made some other stunning revelations.

We heard about her daughter who has shacked up with another female, her son who is a fashion designer and has a very close male 'friend' and for the first time Dame Edna told us of the daughter she had named Lois whom she has never spoken of before.

a big favourite-Governor Marie Bashir (left) arrives
Before she was famous Edna and her husband Norm went on a holiday by the sea. They left Lois in a cot on the veranda of their holiday home and forgot about her. In the morning they discovered that Lois had disappeared and the awful truth soon became clear. Lois had been stolen by a rogue giant Koala and was never seen again.
 And on and on it went with an audience of 600 in stitches.

One poor elderly lady came in for the Edna treatment when she was  asked where she was from and replied that she had come for a day out from a retirement home just to see Dame Edna. Edna asked if her security guards were close by.

B & W regulars : Baron & Baroness Boyd
Sadly copyright restrictions prevent us from posting the film we made of Dame Edna's talk today-the show was filmed for a Qantas in flight film. So you need to take an international flight to see her and that may be difficult at present as flights have been cancelled yet again due to ash cloud from the Chilean volcano.

 And the Dame saved the Shuttle from mistakenly purchasing a very expensive rug when we waved to a friend during an auction and it was accepted as a $2800 bid for a floor rug. She bid $2850 and saved the day !. One bidder also paid $6000 for the chance to dine with Edna at the restaurant of their choice.

An amusing moment: as Dame Edna posed on the grand staircase of the Four Seasons to record an introduction for the Qantas film surrounded by helpers and a film crew, an American tourist asked the Shuttle "is that Julia Gillard ?".

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Murdoch and the Communist

The British blogger Madame Arcati draws our attention to Cruden Park with this beautiful photograph.  It's the road leading to the home of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch the matriarch of the media family and mum to one of the most powerful men on the planet Rupert Murdoch.

Cruden Park will be open for one day on August 28th (co-incidentally grandson Lachlan Murdoch's birthday) under the Open Garden's Scheme.

Dame Elisabeth is noted for her conservative views and is said to have castigated her son for some of the more raunchy parts of his British newspapers The Sun and the News of The World .She's also the patron of the Australian Family Association that was recently outraged by Cate Blanchett's global warming adverts, and which campaigns against same sex marriage, human cloning and euthanasia.
Peter Cundall & Dame Elisabeth ABC TV

How pleasing then to see Dame Elisabeth had once hosted our favourite Communist, the ex ABC gardening guru Peter Cundall at  Cruden Park as our picture shows.

Cundall who has his own exceptional property in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania where he now lives was born into dire poverty in Manchester  and has been a fierce anti-war campaigner for the second half of his life particularly after his various experiences in theatres of war.

He was in the parachute regiment of the British Army in WW2 and in 1946 he was arrested as a spy by Marshall Tito's soldiers in Yugoslavia. He says he was enticed across the border by a beautiful girl who then vanished. Cundall spent a year in solitary confinement in a Ljubljana prison.

After joining the Australian Army as a librarian he ended up as a machine gunner in the Korean War.

He is now active in left wing and environmental causes and once stood as a Communist Party candidate for the Tasmanian Senate and he was a high profile opponent of the Iraq invasion.

In 1969 Cundall began a gardening talk back radio programme and became one of the most loved gardening experts on ABC TV when he fronted Gardening Australia for two decades, retiring in 2008 at the age of 81. Cundall recently led the unsuccessful anti-Gunns Pulp Mill campaign in Tasmania and is never shy for a few words against recalcitrant politicians.
Here he is being arrested at a rally outside State Parliament by some very polite coppers :

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dame Edna stars in The Hobbit

Maybe not Dame Edna Everage but her manager (and many say  the two have never been seen in the same room at the same time) Barry Humphries is to join the cast of The Hobbit.

The Peter Jackson $500M movie starts filming next March in New Zealand and Humphries will play the Goblin King.

It's not Barry's first acting role. He appeared as Rupert Murdoch in the 1980's TV series 'Selling Hitler' about the scandal involving the Sunday Times newspaper and the fake Hitler diaries, the Kath & Kim movie and Barry McKenzie Holds His Own based on the Private Eye magazine comic script.

Humphries contributed some immortal lines to the 2 McKenzie films such as when McKenzie is collared at a London party by a pompous  Hooray Henry who asks him : "tell me Mr McKenzie, is it true Australia is full of homosexuals?" to which McKenzie replies:
"No that's just the publicity we put out to attract the Pommy migrants"

Tomorrow at mid-day Dame Edna Everage will give a twenty minute talk at the Black & White charity committee's Woman of Achievement lunch. The Shuttle bring carry a full report.

In the meantime-here is a slice of Aussie culture from a Barry McKenzie fillum with the wonderful John le Mesurier.
And if you think that's an exaggeration  : In 2007 newly elected PM Kevin Rudd dumped former PM John Howard's 'migrant test' that required prospective migrants to know amongst other things who Don Bradman and Mervyn Richardson were!.( Richardson invented a lawn mower).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ethical Shoes- No Sweat !

Rupert & Matt Noffs at the opening of Gideon Shoes
As long ago as 1991 the writer and 'futurist' Faith Popcorn predicted that ethical manufacturing businesses were the coming wave of the future. Now a new 'ethical' shoe store has opened in Bondi Beach -Gideon Shoes, the brainchild of brothers Matt and Rupert Noffs. They threw a small party to celebrate.

Chrissy Pisotto & Tali Jatali
The Noff brothers come from a family with a history in charitable works.

Their grandfather was the much loved Rev Ted Noffs who opened the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross in 1964. The Wayside was a drop in centre for down and outs, drug addicts , prostitutes in fact just about anyone who needed to a friendly shoulder to lean on. Ted was famous for his non-judgemental acceptance of anyone no matter what their circumstances were.

Ted had a stroke in 1987 and sunk into a coma where he lingered, finally passing away in 1995. At his funeral in the city the streets where packed with an assortment of people-Hells Angels, schoolkids, captains of industry, powerful politicians, policemen and society figures.
musician Damian Downey
When Matt and Rupert decided to start manufacturing their own shoe designs they headed of to Asia but were horrified by the conditions of factory workers there so decided to have them made back home where they are now hand produced. Not only do they refuse to support sweat shops they have a long history of supporting the disadvantaged.

Operating out of the Ted Noffs Foundation run by Ted's son Wesley, Matt and his wife Naomi  started the Street University a retreat for Western Sydney street kids. Rupert opened a unique thrift shop-One Noffs in Randwick where donated clothes are re-styled by fashion students into entirely new garments.
Rupert Noffs, Prince William & Kevin Rudd

The seal of approval was put on the Noff's charity works last year when former PM Kevin Rudd visited them with HRH Prince William.

So forget about your overpriced N*kes run up by Vietnamese kids  (send them some money direct instead) and check out Gideon Shoes which really are fantastic and made of the finest Kangaroo and Cane Toad leather.

You can even have them tweaked to your own design. And they're mighty comfortable.

## over 2300 people have clicked onto our Gideon Shoes report with over 400 from the USA while 4 have emailed to ask if Gideon Shoes are available in the US. That we do not know although there are rumours they may be opening a shop in New York (where I'm sure they'd 'walk' out of the store).
Go to the Gideon website here for the latest news and email them direct-they're a friendly bunch ! :

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Picture : News Corp Boss Sleeps In Street

Luna Park
John Hartigan

There he is in our snap-John Hartigan the boss of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd empire in Australia.

He'll be sleeping rough tonight at Luna Park (motto : Just For Fun) along with over 200 other CEOs to raise awareness and cash for Sydney's homeless which is reaching epidemic proportions.

In a city where one house (Altona) just went on the market for an estimated sale price of $60 million, there are families living rough in caravans, cars, on church steps while hundreds of young people sleep rough at train stations and so on.

The Mathew Talbot men's hostel in Woolloomooloo, just a stones throw from the Finger Wharf with some of the countries most expensive restaurants and the penthouses of Russell Crowe and broadcaster John Laws, accommodates around 35000 people a year and serves 600 meals a day.

So far the combined CEOs have raised over $1,230,000 $3,326,064 but aim to quadruple that overnight. Hartigan, who reckons he can "sleep on barbed wire " is the biggest fundraiser to date.

You can go to the website of the CEO Sleep out 'Rise To The Challenge' and donate in the name of your favourite CEO (if you have one/) or register to sleep-out with them

Swimming With Whales

The UK Daily Mail newspaper's website gets more hits per month than any other publication on the planet. This is probably one reason why-go and check out these amazing photos of Russian scientist Natalia Avseenko swimming naked with Beluga whales in freezing water, all for the sake of science.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Am Woman

photo by Rob Rich
One guest at Monday's Tony Awards in New York was the Australian singer Helen Reddy who can be seen in this pic from New York Social Diary on the arm of actor David Hyde Pierce.

Toni Lamond
Reddy is probably best remembered for the massive hit she co-authored, I Am Woman that rocketed her to stardom in the US after a few hard years of living in cheap hotels. The hit changed Helen's fortunes and she had 15 hit songs in the Billboard Top 40 with 3 number one hits.

Helen was at the Tonys to see if her nephew, Tony Sheldon would pick up an award for best actor in a musical.
Sheldon appears as Bernadette in the Broadway box office hit Priscilla Queen of The Desert but he lost out to Norbert Leo Butz  for his role as an FBI agent in the play Catch Me If You Can. Reddy is the sister of Sheldon's mother, the Australian stage star Toni Lamond.

Helen also had an illustrious career on Broadway appearing in Blood Brothers, Call Me Madam as well as a successful one woman show  Shirley Valentine. She nows lives in a Darling Point apartment courtesy of a long time fan.

Go to David Patrick Columbia's excellent New York Social Diary for more terrific pics from the Tony Awards and below is Reddy's famous song : I Am Woman.

A Recipe For Wagyu Beef From Ezekiel

That's what award winning chef Peter Gilmore told the guests last night at The Quay restaurant at a dinner to celebrate the San Pellegrino restaurant awards. Apparently the recipe was inspired the Ezekiel passages in the Bible.
Peter Gilmore

He was talking about the main dish of a lavish  banquet at Sydney's top restaurant that sits by the harbour and has spectacular views over the the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and points beyond.

The dinner for about 25 was in the upstairs dining room that was once an outlook station for pilots when The Quay was a part of the Overseas Terminal where ocean liners once berthed on a weekly basis.

Quay has again been named amongst the World's Top 5o Best Restaurants in the San Pellegrino restaurant awards. It clocked in at no 26, up one place from last year at the awards which were announced in April at the Guildhall in London.

If they dined on Wagyu beef in Biblical times like that enjoyed last night, they certainly ate well.
Three other locals came in the top 100-Tetsuyas and Marque in Sydney , and Attica  in Melbourne. The Copenhagen restaurant Norma was voted No One for the second year running (a favourite of Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark) and a Stockholm establishment- Lilla Nygatan was named as the 'one to watch'.

For a lazy $60 million the harbour-side mansion Altona in Point Piper can be yours according to adverts that have appeared in a local Eastern Suburb's newspaper.

Publishers  Deke and Eve Miskin have just put the house on the market. They bought it from Fiona Handbury, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch's nephew Matt Handbury for $28m in 2002.
Fiona, who has re-married to William Legge, the grandson of the romance novelist Barbara Cartland, is now the Countess of Dartmouth and received the mansion in a divorce settlement.

The Miskins are moving to the northern playground of Byron Bay and for the past 3 years have let the house out to celebrities like  Hugh Jackman. One actor who has inspected the property with a view to buy-Russell Crowe .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Successful Otto Clan

Gracie Otto comes from Australian acting royalty. Her dad is the respected actor Barry Otto (John Gielgud once said he was one of the best actors in the world) and big sis is Miranda Otto who appeared in the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Now Gracie's debut film as a director, Seamstress staring Barry, Julie Forsyth and the leggy Mink Sadowsky will premier at the prestige Palm Springs International Film Festival. Described as detective mystery drama, Seamstress tells the tale of a man ( Otto) who become obsessed with the gorgeous seamstress who lives next door.

Seamstress opens at the Festival on June 21st. The Shuttle would love to be there but we have an appointment that day with Dame Edna Everage at the Black & White charity Women of Achievement event !.

Jack Black

Lucy Lui

Kung Fu Panda 2 premiered last night at the Hoyts Complex in George Street, Sydney with Jack Black, Lucy Lui and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg in attendance.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Priscilla Picks Up A Tony Award

Lizzie Gardner at the 94' Oscars
Tony Sheldon (left centre) missed out on a gong at the Tony Awards  but Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner have won the Tony Award for best costume design in a musical for Priscilla, Queen of The Desert.

In 1994 the pair won Oscars at the Academy Awards for the costumes in the original Stephan Elliott film.

Norbert Leo Butz.(left) won best actor for his role as an FBI agent in the play Catch Me If You Can.

Sheldon has won awards in the UK , New Zealand, Australia and Canada for his role as transsexual Bernadette in Priscilla and although the musical received moderate reviews in the US it has been a box office Broadway success.

Tales Of The City # 1

Adam Williams
When So You Think You Can Dance's Adam Williams posted a message on his Facebook page about the annoying $168 parking fine he picked up a few weeks ago after leaving his car at Taylor's Square for a just a few minutes, he identified a growing frustration that is building in the inner city of Sydney- and Lord Mayor Clover Moore could pay a price.

Word comes to the Shuttle that a group of Oxford Street businessmen on the Golden Mile between Whitlam Square and Paddington Town Hall are planning to actively oppose Moore's re-election plans and help drum up support for other candidates.

The business, nightclub and restaurant heart of Sydney  has been Clover Moore's domain as the MP for the Sydney electorate and as Lord Mayor. Her support comes from young professionals and the huge gay and lesbian community. But that support is waning with many disaffected voters viewing Moore as someone who is consolidating power for power's sake and pushing her unpopular ideas of how the city should be.

Clover Moore
One of those ideas-the ugly bike lanes that have sprung up all over the city leaving already narrow roads with even less space and ugly concrete barriers taking up even more space. They are hardly used except by a handful of cyclists.

To promote the lanes Moore took to a bike herself and promptly fell off and broke her wrist. Then it was discovered that she has not one, but two much coveted free car parking spots near the Town Hall.

That Moore's army of parking wardens are viewed as heavy handed is rubbing salt into the wounds. Drivers are paying exorbitant fines for a myriad of infractions. Evening parking limits of 2 hours are  believed to have driven out dozens of small in-expensive restaurants to outer regions leaving places like Kings Cross and Oxford Street, once pleasant dining areas depressingly sleazy with fast food outlets that become a haven for hundreds of drunks in the early hours.

The Golden Mile, Oxford Street is now deserted until around 10pm when thousands of teens flock to the many gay nightclubs and pubs. There is nothing in between.

The City Council's much vaunted plans for Taylor's Square that are trotted out almost yearly never materialise. International designers have been consulted and say Taylor's Square, on one of Sydney's major routes from the airport into the city via Oxford Street could become a broad boulevard reminiscent of the great cites with the square a haven for outdoor cafes and grand statues. Instead it gets dirtier, dustier and more depressing every year. A sad attempt at a 'fountain'-water spurting from a dozen jets on one side of the square is popular with thirsty dogs but few humans.

William St-even the hookers have fled
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating's call for William Street leading up to Kings Cross to be transformed into a mini Champs Elysee has fallen on deaf ears. The glitzy boutique Royalty Prussia is the only retailer to have taken up the challenge. Luxury auto showrooms like Ferrari have fled to the inner west. Even the once colourful transvestite hookers who populated the street around mid-night have fled.

Many residents and business groups are asking just what has been gained by having Moore as both local MP and Lord Mayor. As an independent she gains no support from either the Liberal or Labor Party who would both like to see her gone and who prefer to concentrate their resources on the outer suburbs where their support is strong.

All this is infuriating around 30 local inner city businessmen who feel Moore has betrayed them over her much talked about plans to regenerate Oxford Street and it's many small alleyways into smart cafes, art precincts and so on. It's all been a miserable failure according to them.

Last week the multi-millionaire nightclub owner Justin Hemmes found himself with a pistol held to his head as two balaclavered thugs robbed his newly purchased Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills. The bandits were so emboldened that they ignored the fact that the pub was packed at the time and their get-away car parked next to a police car outside. They fled with the loot while the coppers looked on.

Justin Hemmes
A distressed Hemmes and his father John Hemmes can be seen in this video arguing with police about the incident. Hemmes who has invested something like $200M in various nightclubs and pubs including the Ivy complex in the city was furious when Moore and police wanted to impose strict drinking hours and curtail his operations earlier last year.
They backed down on that one and Hemmes says the problem is rather one of few police on patrol in a city that now operates 24 hours of the day. Rather than trying to dictate to tens of thousands of young people just what hours they should start and end their partying, authorities and Moore should be curtailing the handful of troublemakers rather than make everyone suffer because of a few. Hemmes says he feels safer walking the streets of New York rather than Sydney.

Five years ago Clover Moore was the unchallenged Queen of Sydney but her crown is tarnished, some say beyond repair. Is it any wonder many are fuming over a report in City Hub newspaper earlier this year where Moore was spotted drink in hand on the footpath at Harbour City Bears art show for the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Other galleries, bars and cafes who put a foot wrong end up with fines for thousand of dollars for similar infractions.

Seen in The City :

outside St Mary's Cathedral

at Star City