Showing posts with label Daily Express. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daily Express. Show all posts

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Big Picture Fail

 The woes mount for pink haired self promoter Darryn Lyons, boss of  Big Pictures " the world's biggest and best celebrity picture agency", now residing in Australia (although it's probably safe for him to return to the UK now the Leveson Inquiry has concluded).
Questionable deals seem to have been arranged between Lyons and celebrities like Lara Bingle with reports of set-up "paparazzi" style photo shoots being offered to publications for big bucks.
The Australian media  have been strangely silent with the Shuttle  the only outlet reporting that Big Pictures has gone into administration. Surely it would have nothing to do with the fact they were eager buyers of celebrity snaps from the agency, some obtained by bribing Virgin Airline employees to reveal confidential travel arrangement of famous faces ?.
21 Big Picture staff have been made redundant without pay and freelance photographers are queuing up to demand monies owed. There are claims Lyons has re-located his office to a nearby building along with photographs and files and the snappers say they have asked the Old Bill to investigate.
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Peter Tory (Daily Express)
On the subject of 'high' society, the Shuttle is saddened to hear of the passing of a Fleet Street great that we once worked with.
 Peter Tory was a columnist and editor of the legendary William Hickey Column in the Daily Express and a regular figure on the London social circuit . Described as a 'debonair raconteur', renowned for his humour and quick wit and excellent manners plus an ability to produce a saucy tale for a newspaper devoid of nastiness.
Peter has passed away at the age of 74 after retiring before the 'new celebrity' that now features the likes of Essex girls made good, Jordon and Peter Andre's exploits and other such mind  numbing inanities.                                                
Sydneysiders would have seen him 3 weeks ago on SBS TV in the film Tabloid in which he played himself in the delicious true tale about Joyce McKinney. See it if you missed it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tina's Perfect Storm & My Role In Mommie Dearest

You have to feel sympathy for Tina Aldiss, a publicist at Mango PR who wrote an article for the media website Mumbrella.
Tina was commenting on the current woes at Fairfax Media where up to 1900 workers are to be laid off over the coming years. News Ltd will do likewise. The Shuttle has been quizzing hacks and snappers from both organisations and the fear and loathing is palpable.

Tina reckons when printed newspapers crash and burn her job flogging Arnott's biscuits and McDonald's Chicken burghers will be that much easier as she harnesses net power.
In the mean time the comments section has gone ballistic attacking poor Tina with most thinking her timing is a bit off.

The lines between reporting and publicising were blurred well over two decades ago and it's gotten worse. The Shuttle has worked both sides of the fence and gave up trying to think in terms of ethics years ago and decided to concentrate on survival.

Our only gripe is the attitude of Australian PRs and publicists ( Sydney ones are the worse.. Melbourne publicists are far better mannered). Many come across as far grander that the product they are flogging yet are really quite ignorant when it comes to inventive publicity.

Charlotte Dawson, Sarah Murdoch & Alex Perry at the WALL.
Hence the rise of the tiresome photographic/publicity board that pops up at every event from a blockbuster movie premiere to a minor beauty product launch.
And the press section will be crammed with paparazzi with sometime half a dozen working (unpaid and only on commission) for one agency who reckon the scatter gun approach will get sales. Amass hundreds of snaps of the same celebrity in varying poses and a handful might sell.

Regular Shuttle contributor Bill Ranken (right) who knows just about everyone in town and probably dated their grandmothers (at 81 years of age) discovered this recently at a charity bash for a children's hospital.
He was snubbed at the entrance by a bright-eyed 20 something publicity operative who scolded him for missing the 'wall' and scoffed at the idea guests could be photographed whilst sitting at tables. The fact the guests were the same people we all see day after day, week after week in this town was incidental.

And the problem is not really that Tina Aldriss is just stating the obvious, newspapers and magazines are responsible for blurring the lines and you can't blame a publicist for taking advantage of the fact.

Rupert Murdoch's Daily Telegraph has long been criticized for it's Sydney Confidential pages which resemble at times, a series of press releases full of inane information. It's significant that the former top Packer PR and journalist Annette Sharp has now been given her own Saturday edition spread and is delving into the lives of anyone who isn't Lady GaGa or Beyonce in an obvious move to challenge er rivals-not that it should be too hard.
As for the Shuttle, we have been shameless at times and never let accuracy get in the way of a good publicity campaign.

Years ago we travelled to New York with the UK Daily Express' William Hickey correspondent, the late Timothy Swallow and set up shop in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in order to interview US celebrities for a series of show biz style books commissioned by a top promoter.

One day we went to a Times Square cinema to see the just released Mommie Dearest with Faye Dunnaway starring as Joan Crawford. Hollywood had boycotted the film, the star and producers deeming it a treacherous portrayal of a Hollywood legend.
 We loved it.

At one point in the movie Joan beats her children late one night after discovering their wardrobes contained wire coat hangers (apparently Joan had a thing about wire hangers), screaming "NO WIRE COAT HANGERS !!!"

 That night over cocktails at Studio 54 (working our way through our generous expenses allowance) we concocted a story that groups of fans were attending theatres and when the scene appeared, would wave wire coat hangers in the air. The Daily Express duly ran the tale which was picked up and swept the world's newspapers and TV news broadcasts.

Life imitated art and soon people were appearing at cinemas and doing just that. Not only had we created a movement (and a Wikipedia page), we had given the ailing flick a million dollar boost in free advertising by propelling it into the mass media.
All for the cost of a few drinks !

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The outrageous Mr Simon Napier-Bell

A Shuttle staffer has drawn our attention to an interview in the UK Sunday Express with Simon Napier-Bell published in February. The same staff member introduced our team to Simon when he visited Sydney in 2007 for a series of radio and TV interviews.

It seems the bon viveur, pop impresario and songwriter and lately, best-selling author has verbally seduced another journalist over a fine dinner. Our colleague reckons that is Napier-Bell's stock in trade and it works extremely well. He dazzles and hypnotizes over the dinner table with words and a fine bottle of vintage red.

Simon's website is a must to visit and full of anecdotes and the history of his musical successes from the Yardbyrds, Dusty Springfield, Marc Bolan and T-Rex to Wham with a few of the biggest chart topping songs penned along the way. He lives most of his  time in Thailand now and is writing another book-the last 3 having been best-sellers with 'Black Vinyl White Powder' regarded by critics as possibly one of the best books ever written on the music industry. I recommend "I'm Coming To Take You To Lunch" about Napier-Bell's  successful scheme to get Wham to be the first western band to ever appear in China. At times it reads like a thriller and is one of those books you find difficult to put down.

Our Shuttler says he went on a few adventures with Mr Napier-Bell to foreign parts and has some very saucy tales to tell but is keeping them for his own tome. He did let us in on one episode though when the pair visited Rome for a weekend.
Being our Shuttlers first and only ever visit to the glorious city, the 2 set out for a stroll along the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens on a perfect Roman spring day. 

Within minutes they spotted an extremely handsome young Italian stud who sent all the right  gaydar signals. Our Shuttler wheeled around and insisted upon following the young Italian. He says it was like a scene out of Death in Venice - the young man would stop occasionally to allow them to gain traction and then speed off again. All that was missing was the black hair dye running down our Shuttler's face in the heat.

In a two hour trek at lightening speed our Shuttler whisked past sights he had dreamed of one day visiting, seen only out of the corner of his eye in a blur. Down the Spanish Steps, along the Via Veneto, past the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City, the Coliseum and so on.  Ten yards behind Mr Napier-Bell did his best to keep up pleading for a cultural  interlude but ignored.

On a hill high above Rome with our Shuttle staffer believing success was soon to be his and his own Roman Spring of Mrs Stone was about to blossom, the young Italian turned around, laughed, gave a sporty wave and sped off to disappear forever into a labyrinth of alleyways.
He remembers little of Rome from that weekend except a later visit to a disco to drown his sorrows whereupon  he rounded on Napier-Bell and accused him of wrecking what was destined to be a romantic love tryst, by lagging so far behind.

In a huff he walked off in high dungeon and out the door to return to their hotel - and straight into a broom closet. Where he waited a full hour before he emerged in embarrassment.
Ever the perfect host, Mr Napier-Bell was patiently waiting with  a fine bottle of white wine on ice.

Years later our Shuttler was dining with mutual acquaintances who had recently  met with Mr Napier Bell in Singapore and they commented on how entertaining he had been. Which included recounting the tale of the race through Rome !