Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rudi's shorts up for grabs

A pair of leather Rudolf Nureyev's shorts will be auctioned tomorrow night at Australia House in the Strand in London to aid the Tait Memorial Trust. Designed and signed by Yves St Laurent and presented to the ballet star in 1961, the funds raised will go to scholarships to be awarded to young Australian dancers studying ballet in the UK.

The Tait Trust was set up by Isla Baring in 1992 to honour her parents Sir Frank and Lady Viola Tait who played an important part in the establishment of theatre and the performing arts in Australia. Dame Joan Sutherland, Barry Humphries and the Countess of Harewood are patrons. Actors Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward will be at the Tait-a-Tait night which will be a celebration of Tchaikovsky ballet music with young Aussie dancers performing and a recital by distinguished pianist Leslie Howard.Tickets are £45 and can still be had by emailing or by phone/fax to 020 7385 2719.

 Will they be these shorts ?. In the 1960's Nureyev made his first visit to Australia with Sir Robert Helpmann. Staying at Sydney's Sebel Town House, on his second night he wandered down to the notorious gay beat in nearby Rushcutters Bay park. He chose the wrong night with the "pretty police' out in force-young handsome officers sent out to public conveniences to attract gay men with gay sex highly illegal (although rampant) at the time. The following day, after much diplomatic action late into the night to suppress Rudi's name, a small newspaper article appeared under the headline: "Leather shorted Pervert arrested in Park". A week later Nureyev flew out when charges were quietly dropped, presumably with his leather shorts intact.

Friends said later Nureyev would describe the scene almost imitating an Aussie accent correctly . Apparently he really fancied the young copper who slapped handcuffs on him, and thought it was part of a sex game. As he was hauled away he announced "I am the great Nureyev ! ", to which the plod said "I don't care who the fuck you are mate, you're nicked"