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The Age

(Metropolitan)

Author: Kendall Hill
Date: 09/09/1996
Words: 1496
          Publication: The Age
Section: Metro
Page: 10
MATCHED AND DISPATCHED.

FORMER Perfect Match co-host Debbie Newsome is about to make a comback to the world of game shows, but this time as a contestant, not a sidekick. In yet another celebration of 40 years of Australian television, the Nine Network's Sale of the Century recently taped a celebrity challenge - to be screened from Monday - featuring a host of old (or older) TV faces. Among them will be the likes of the cigar-toting Ugly Dave Gray, and Lucky Grills (alias ``Bargearse") but they'll be offset by some younger talent in Ms Newsome, and special guest Gary Coleman, the stumpy funny kid from the early `80s American sitcom Diff'rent Strokes.

Speaking with Metropolitan yesterday, Ms Newsome proudly informed us that although she didn't win her heat, she shrugged off her lifelong fear of appearing on Sale to notch up a credible performance. But a contestant she will stay. Although she speaks highly of Sale host Nicki Buckley, Ms Newsome says she has no desire to reprise her sidekick role. Parenting and her singing act on the Sydney club circuit will keep her busy for some time yet.

TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND.

ROBERT HAUPT, this paper's much-celebrated and now, since his death in New York last week, sadly missed former foreign correspondent, seems to have left lasting impressions on colleagues all over the world. At the weekend cartoonist Bruce Petty reminisced about Haupt's polyglottal performance at a faraway airport that won the admiration of the entire, multicultural waiting lounge. Another colleague of Haupt, political editor Niki Savva, has her own tribute to pay.

``Haupt was in Moscow when I went there as Washington correspondent to cover the last Bush-Gorbachev summit in 1991. Another journalist and I went to Haupt's place for dinner. All he had, he put on the table - caviar and vodka. Dinner went for many hours.

Needless to say we were legless by the end. But sober or not, Moscow was not the sort of place you could ring for a cab, or find one on the kerbside.

``Haupt took us out on to the street as dawn was about to break and hailed a truck. He said trucks rattled around the city all hours of the night delivering black-market goods, and told us not to worry, it was perfectly safe. He instructed the driver, in Russian, to take us back to our hotel, which he did. Next morning, I found a Shostakovich CD that Haupt had been playing during dinner, and which I had admired. He had slipped it into my bag without a word. It was only one of several acts of generosity over the years from a lovely man."

KISSING FACTIONS.

PLEASE indulge us in one more tidbit from Sunday's wedding of Labor MP Andrew Theophanous to his archeologist bride Dr Kathryn Eriksson. A spy tells us that at one stage in the proceedings all the guests, which included a heavyweight selection of Labor's leading lights (we're aware this may sound like an oxymoron to some ... ), lined up on the right-hand side of the church to pay their respects to the bridal party. One face in the queue was that of Laurie Brereton, former Minister for Industrial Relations and Transport mishaps, and a key figure in the legendary NSW Right faction of the ALP. In his sights was Dr Andrew Theophanous, member of the rival Victorian Left faction. As he approached his target he muttered: ``This is a picture the NSW Right would die for ...", and he lunged forward and kissed Dr T. on both cheeks. Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

THE TOWN HALL LEADS.

METROPOLITAN has an update on the Parliament House-Leeds Town Hall conundrum. A former Leeds fellow, Mr Graham Baker, (born there in 1948 and emigtrated here in 1972) has kindly consulted an ancient tome his family brought out here called Annals of Yorkshire. In it are intricate details about the planning and construction of the town hall - but we're afraid there are still some unanswered questions as to who copied the plans from whom, or if in fact the startling similarities between Leeds Town Hall and our own Parliament House are pure coincidence.

On New Year's Day 1851, Leeds council decided to build a new town hall, and council granted 22,000 pounds for the project.

By the end of 1852, judging of plans was complete and the winning architect, Cuthbert Brodrick from Hull, was announced.

On 17 July 1853 the first stone was laid by the mayor, John Hope Shaw, esq. But, in another spooky coincidence, in September of that year, the council declined to grant a further 7000 pounds for the erection of a tower. Unlike their Victorian counterparts, however, the Leeds folk somehow (it's not recorded) went ahead with the tower at the time. All the dramas over, the inauguration of the building was performed by Queen Victoria in September 1858. So even though their town hall took longer to come to fruition, it seems it was indeed conceived before our seat of government (which opened in 1856), and that the idea for such a magnificent Victorian design was originally theirs. Of course, historians and the like are invited to beg to differ ...

LOST HEART.

``IT FEELS like someone has ripped my heart out," former Olympian Duncan Armstrong has told Woman's Day. He's referring to the loss of his gold medal, the one he snared in Seoul in 1988. The medal - which he fears may be traded on the black market for thousands of dollars, or smuggled overseas - went missing from a newspaper office in Sydney (and it wasn't one of ours ...) just days before the Atlanta Games. Armstrong had left the medal with a journalist writing for an Australian newspaper so it could be photographed. And he says that, despite the journalist's promise to protect it with his life, the medal's now missing. It hasn't been seen since the reporter gave it to the mail boy to send to Armstrong's sister in Queensland.

But this isn't a case of the gold disc being mislaid. While Armstrong hasn't had any leads yet - despite the best efforts of police in two states - a Brisbane clairvoyant has confirmed for him the medal was not lost but stolen ...

BIGGER NOTES.

UH OH. Yet another soapie star is about to assault our ears by meddling with music. Home and Away`s Nick Freedman is chasing stardom as frontman for a grunge band called Lurch - but he's adamant he's not trying to cash in on his TV fame to springboard on to the music charts. In fact, the 27-year-old actor dismisses such suggestions as ``silly prejudices". ``I'm up against silly prejudices that say you can only be recognised creatively in one field - which is usually just a manufactured image anyway. But Lurch's music is bigger than nonsense like that.

" And don't forget the all important word ``than" in that last sentence ...

ON THIS DAY ... NEXT YEAR.

The ACTU has denied claims by member unions that it is ``gutless" and ``wimping out" after it accepted partial responsibility for the disappointing performance by the Australian Women's Basketball Team in the Pacific Championships. The ACTU said it accepted that talk of the possibility of limited industrial action may have affected the morale of Aussie sporting heroes here and abroad. The ACTU has also accepted responsibility for all economic and social problems anywhere at any time since the rise of the Sumerian city-state, including design flaws in a number of new-season hatchbacks, the band Redgum, and the existence of the emotion ``sadness".

``Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out." Joseph Heller (1923- ).

PUBLIC EYE.

HUSSEIN TOPPLES CLINTON.

SADDAM HUSSEIN toppled the Public Eye last week with a score of 723 points and a margin of 74 over Bill Clinton. Howard's Pacific trip reduced his usual exposure, putting him in third place with 522 points, 193 clear of Benjamin Netanyahu. The week saw: Jeff Kennett applaud the success of Tabcorp and its boss Ross Wilson; Senator Richard Alston being less than circumspect about the Telstra sale; Pete Sampras win admiration for his quarter-final performance in the US Open; Joseph Gutnick reaffirm his support for the Melbourne Football Club; Gary Ablett forced to play his last game of the season for free, and; Jennie George face pressure as the ACTU boss.

THIS WEEK                                       LAST WEEK
1  Saddam Hussein, Iraqi President                  -
2  Bill Clinton, US President                       1
3  John Howard, PM                                  2
4  Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM                   -
5  Jeff Kennett, Premier                            7
6  Richard Alston, Minister for Communications      -
7  Pete Sampras, US tennis player                   -
8  Yasser Arafat, Palestinian President             -
9  Gary Ablett, footballer                          -
10 Kim Beazley, Opposition Leader                   -
11 Jennie George, ACTU president                   20
12 Joseph Gutnick, businessman                      4
13 Tony Lockett, footballer                         5
14 Mark Philippoussis, tennis player                -
15 Dick Morris, former Clinton strategist          10
16 Boris Yeltsin, Russian President                 -
17 Mal Colston, Senate deputy-president             -
18 Steffi Graf, German tennis player                -
19 Alexander Lebed, Russian Defence Minister       13
20 Bob Dole, US presidential candidate             12
-- PJBray Research: Based on a count of appearances in
last week's Age, Herald Sun and Australian
 
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