Saturday, October 07, 2006

Things you may not want to know about Australia's former first lady

Since praising the wonderful Margaret Whitlam a few weeks back I have contemplated buying the new biography of her.

I happened upon a story about the book in a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly which is not my normal reading pleasure. Anyway you can trust the Weekly for a nice, non-controversial story. Imagine my surprise when I happened upon the following paragraph:

Certainly, a less secure person than Margaret would have stepped back from revealing some of the more intimate truths of a 64-year marriage - whether, for instance, she was able to have an orgasm on her honeymoon; whether Gough was, in fact, a good lover; and whether she ever fancied another man. On all three counts the answer is a resounding, "Yes".
Well, my giddy Aunt. This is not the sort of thing you expect in the Weekly! And Margaret! Gough! Their honeymoon! Crikey!

Now we know there might be more in that famous Nicholson Cartoon was after an earthquake during the Whitlam's trip to China in 75.

But wait there is more in the Weekly:

Not only was Gough a good lover, he actually read her poems by
Keats, Shelley and Byron when they were in bed together. "I suppose you'd call
it foreplay and I just thought it was lovely".

Gough you ole romantic devil you. Surely even die-hard Lib women would read that in envy. Bet Malcolm never did that for Tammy, and I'm damn sure John Howard doesn't...sorry can't finish this sentence. Will go and wash my mouth out.


I am a fan of old Hollywood films and love a good old-fashioned dish-the-dirt Hollywood biography, particularly if it is written by or about an actor or actress who is largely forgotten about today.

Sure it is a strange and unfashionable habit that is possibly more suited to a gay man or a sad old bloke with a bad toupee (hello Bill Collins) but what can I say - I love the old goss. Even since I read Evelyn Keye's autobiography to escape the horror of a caravan park holiday when I was twelve I had enjoyed this guilty pleasure. Poor old Evelyn called her book Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister for all those in the bookstore who asked the question "Who?"

I had reason to leave Batville this week and travel to the Sticks. One compensation of country travel is the discoveries you can make in second hand bookstores. Imagine my excitement at the following purchases which added up to a grand total of $14.

I have no idea why Stewart Grainger has called his autobiography "Sparks fly upwards" but I am sure I can report on this soon. Strangely if you had asked me last week what I knew about him I would have said bugger all really but I would have guessed that he was married to Jean Simmons (the actress, not the lead singer of KISS). Scanning the book I was able to confirm this. Why did I know this? How did this piece of truly useless information stick in my brain when I can't remember to buy coffee when I run out? Very odd.

As for the other book I have always liked Sheilah Graham even since I saw the movie they made about her and F Scott Fitzgerald Beloved Infidel. Gregory Peck played Fitzgerald very unconvincgly but Deborah Kerr was wonderful in her kind English way as Sheliah.

A weekend of reading bliss awaits.

No Roulettes, but plenty of fun (but not if you are a Swans supporter)

Well the AFL Grand Final has come and gone. I am devasted to report that there was no Ms Batville viewing of the RAAF Roulettes which is so sad I have taken a whole week to recover. Almost as bad was that John Paul Young did not sing "Love is in the Air" instead choosing "Yesterday's Heroes" which was a very strange choice given he was sharing a stage with Brian Mannix.

Highlight of the pre-game entertainment was not Irene Cara although she tried hard, but rather Sean Kelly (Models) snarling his way through "I hear motion". I had a HUGE crush on that man in 1986 and it haunts me still. Why Wendy Matthews left him is beyond me. He still has that rock star charisma, unlike his fellow band-mate poor old James Freud who is looking a tad corpulent these days.

Commiserations for all those Sydney fans. A one point is a hard thing to stomach. Always sad to see the post-game heartbreak, it is usually the closest thing some Australian men come to letting out their emotions. Thanks anyway for pouring your tourist dollars into Melbourne when nursing your thoughts over a few beers.