Category Archives: Aussie weirdness

Hollywood unbottles memories

YOU would kill for a pair of loafers worn by Clark Gable in the film Gone with the Wind.
You do not have to go that far; just part with $8-10,000 and they are yours.
If you have not got $10,000, then it is back to Plan A. If you do go toJulien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills Gallery on Friday or Saturday with intent of murderous theft, please do say I mentioned it.

Juliens kindly sent me an invitation to Monday’s “exclusive press exhibition and press call for Hollywood Legends, the auction”.
I live way down in the southern part of the world in Queensland Australia but I receive media releases about Southeby’s auctions in London and Johannesburg and now Julien’s Beverly Hills.
These invites perk up my workaway day in journalism, but this blog is the only avenue to spread the word about the auctions. I do not want the releases to stop so here goes.
You can buy casting videos of stars trying out for films and they are a steal at $2-4000. I presume they are limited edition because you can get the whole damn movie for under 20 bucks.
You can buy copies of Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore and Helen Hunt for roles in Jurassic Park. I hate to be a spoiler but I have to tell you none of them got a part.
Ben Affleck, and Lisa Kudrow audition with Ellen DeGeneres for roles in the film Mr. Wrong, Weren’t Bill and Lisa lucky they missed out and avoided that 1996 stinker on their bio!
William Shatner’s laser rifle from the second pilot episode of the Star Trek television series is expected to fetch a lousy $40-60,000. And we all thought any cashed-up nerd would part with at least a hundred grand for such a thing.
A brown cocktail dress worn by Marilyn Monroe has an estimate of $5-7000. A stylish woman would probably get with a little brown dress today, but I could not imagine an earlier generation conceiving of dun glamour. No doubt whoever buys the dress will send us a picture of her or himself in it.
A car from The Green Hornet is expected to attract a winning bid between $40,000-$60,000 while Jay Chou’s five-piece Kato costume could go for as high as $10,000. Everything about the $120 million film The Green Hornet is overpriced. The producers were in discussion with Nicolas Cage to play The Villain but they decided the film looked like being bad enough without Nic being in it. They were proved right.
Hollywood Legends is at Julien’s Auctions Gallery, 9565 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, across from Saks Fifth Avenue. That sounds a pretty swank address. I do not know if they would have let me in if I showed up for Monday’s press call.
More than 800 items go under the hammer during sessions as follows:
Friday, April 5th Session I: 10:00 a.m. P.S.T. Session II: 2:00 p.m. P.S.T.
Saturday, April 6th Session III: 10:00 a.m. P.S.T.
Nah, I don’t know what P.S.T. is but some of you will.
If you go can you but me a little something – one of Groucho Marx’s cigar stubs will do.
As far as actors go, they do not come more straight-shootin’ than Charlton Heston, so here is a recent tribute to the man. (Sorry, you gotta click on it – good exercise, but.)
And here is the reply from responsible gun owners

That is why they call him a bookie

That is why they call him a bookie
BOOKMAKER Tom Waterhouse is at again.
The son of leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse is fresh from betting on the Sotheby auction of the Edvard Munch pastel The Scream.
Aussie author Miles Franklin

He follows up with a market on the prestigious and time-honoured Australian literary award the Miles Franklin which carries a winner-take-all purse of $50,000.
The Franklin is more than 50-years-old. An even older wordy institution The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper could not resist a comment on the bookie’s sideline from wagering on reality TV shows, The Voice and Brain Surgery with the Fishmongers. I apologise; I believe the latter one is called Dancing with Stars.
The SMH or the Herald – Sydneysiders are the only Australians who call it that, as there other Heralds in Oz – wrote about the betting on the books in one of its online entertainment stories.
The Herald wrote, ‘The day after the shortlist was confirmed, bookmaker and celebrated literary critic Tom Waterhouse released his list of odds on who would win…’

Oh yes, that bit about “celebrated literary critic” was definitely taking the piss, having a go/ dig at the bookie or having a lend of him. (Alright, you pedants technically that should be the noun loan, not the verb lend; but Aussie slang is what it is.)
The irony – bonus points coming for my using the term irony correctly – is the Miles Franklin yarn would probably have never made it to the SMH entertainment pages if it was not for the quirky gambling angle.
SHE: Darling, there is a story online about the Miles Franklin short-list
HE: Franklin, my Dear, I don’t give a damn.
Five Australian novelists have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and Waterhouse tells his punters what the race is all about:
‘…the $50,000 prize for the novel judged to be of the highest literary merit which must present Australian life in any of its phases,” said Tom Waterhouse, Managing Director of
Tom or one of his agents copied the description from the Franklin website
It did not seem to trouble Tom or the many entrants what exactly “Australian life in any of its phases” is meant to  mean.
I automatically thought of the eight phases of the moon but the aim of such an allusion eluded me.

Judging this year was further confounded by the trustee The Trust Company formally authorising the five-person judging panel to use their discretion to ‘modernise the interpretation of Australian life beyond geographical boundaries to include mindset, language, history and values’
Crikey, when you add the fact, the winning author does not have to be Australian, the five Aussie scribes are bloody lucky Forrest Gump was not published last year.

Certainly the Waterhouse favourite for the Miles Franklin Anna Funder’s All That I Am, is only fleetingly grounded in Australia because one narrator Ruth Blatt is spending the last years of her life in Sydney around the turn of the 21st century.
Funder’s is a “factional’’ novel, a term the author may dislike but then she is unlikely to be reading this yarn.
The novel is about five Jewish-German opponents of Hitler who flee to London and later one to America.
Tom Waterhouse says the new rules are among the reasons he made Funder favourite.
‘(The new authorisation) is significant given that Anna’s highly acclaimed debut novel is set across three continents and several decades.’ (A note for future reference, Mr Waterhouse, it is not Anna. We in the writing game refer to authors and artists by their family names unless we regularly enjoy soy latte with them, a fact we need to disclose.)

The 2012 Miles Franklin winner will be disclosed on June 20 so we have lots of time to place our bets.
In my next yarn on the topic, I will discuss the form of the five finalists.
For more quirky looks at Australia’s place in the universe my book 7 Shouts is available from Google Books, Amazon and affiliates.

Munching on $80+ million

AUSTRALIANS will gamble on two flies. crawling up a wall, they say.
Aussie bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is currently betting on how much Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream will fetch at a Southey’s auction this month.
Waterhouse has previously wagered on the winners of reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars and The Voice to add a bit of zest to mundane wagers on political elections and Academy Awards.
Waterhouse’s mother is leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai and the bookie regularly reports on Monday how punters cleaned him out on Saturday backing Mum’s horses such as great mare More Joyous and unbeaten 2-year-old Pierro. It is always “Mum’s horse” though it is a surprise the trainer does not say, “When I am in a professional capacity, it is Ms Waterhouse to you, sonny boy.”
Tom Waterhouse needs to bet on an exotic event such as the Southeby’s auction to recoup some of the damage Mum’s ponies have reeked on the bottom line. It does not hurt that weird bets attract media attention, something London bookie Ladbrokes worked out decades ago.
I do not know how much Tom and Mum know about art but I would like to think it is a lot. It is comforting to believe wealthy people might slip a few stray bucks the way of artists.
Here is Tom’s analysis of the race to buy The Scream or Le Cri, in the land of the Oo-La-La.
“Sotheby’s in New York is auctioning one of four versions of The Scream created by Edvard Munch and, as the only version owned privately, is betting $1.90 that it breaks the US$106.5 million record set by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust two years ago.
“Of the four versions of The Scream, the one that’s up for sale is the most colourful and the only one whose frame was hand-painted by Munch to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration.
“Sotheby’s has listed The Scream at $80 million, the highest pre-sale value that the auctioneer has ever put on an artwork but even that figure looks somewhat conservative given the level of interest in the famous painting.”
So here’s the market.
The Scream sale price (including the buyer’s premium)
$5 Less than US$80m
$10 US$80m to US$89,999,999
$9 US$90m to US$99,999,999
$4 US$100m to US$106.5m
$1.90 More than USD 106.5m
I am sure my gambling anti-hero Steele Hill would have a wager after consultation with arty girlfriend Natalie and polymath-bookie mentor, the Gooroo.
As a punter and an art fancier, I think Tom and his crue have got the market way wrong.
Tom admits there are four paintings of The Scream though he fails to mention the brace of Munch lithographs. This contrasts with one Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.
The prose-poem embedded in the frame is Munch’s reflection on how he came to paint The Scream.
I am not sure how many millions it is worth.
I was walking along a path with two friends –
the sun was setting –  suddenly the sky turned blood red –
I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence –
there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city –
my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety –
and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
That is my versification, BTW. I am not sure how Munch does it on the frame.
I reckon the best bet is the $5 shot, less than $80 million, though I would make sure the bookie wrote the ticket as fewer than $80 million.
Check out this blog shortly to see who is right.
If you wish to smile about the place of quirky Australia in the Universe buy my book 7 Shouts from Google eBooks or Amazon.

   7 Shouts Google                           7 Shouts Amazon