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Crikey loves to get its subscribers involved in various activities and was therefore delighted when “lynchy” reponded to an email out and turned up at the News Ltd Christmas party. This is his take on the night.
As all sole subscribers would be aware, Crikey this month attended the News Limited Christmas bash at Fox Studios. This writer was the sole subscriber who responded to Crikey’s invitation and joined him at the Dog Gone Bar at the bottom of Bent Street to view proceedings.

As Crikey has cast a critical eye over the performances of various companies and their directors during the recent AGM season, it’s only fair that subscribers now get a chance to analyze Crikey. Subscribers need to know the full details of the Crikey ‘production process’ to ensure that we’re getting full value for money.

“I was a bit nervous and therefore had a couple of Carlton Colds whilst walking to Fox Studios from Potts Point to get the Dutch Courage up.” – Crikey 07/12/00

Absolutely no doubt about that! Drinking on the job obviously encouraged by the powerbrokers at Crikey Media because Crikey was quite cheerful when the sole subscriber greeted him. He was by no means in a Willesee like state. More like Neale Daniher during his appearance this year on Talking Footy on Brownlow night.

Soon after the Sole Subscriber purchased another badly needed beer for Crikey, we were joined by a couple of Crikey’s mates from the Telegraph. It became abundantly clearly to the sole subscriber that Crikey has a lot of grass roots support at the Telegraph. Unfortunately this support does not stretch into the upper echelons of the business.

Crikey’s buddies spent the bulk of time concerned with who might see them drinking with Crikey. “If Col see me drinking with you, I’m fucked!” was a phrase the sole subscriber heard on more than one occasion. As more and more of the top brass started to arrive, Crikey’s buddies often scampered to the other side of the bar or to the toilet to avoid detection. Real cloak and dagger stuff!

As more of the journos rolled up, a number sought out Crikey for chat. The hot topics were:

i) Most Telegraph journos get their News Limited rumours via Crikey.

ii) The News Limited IT Department has not yet blocked access to crikey.com.au and Crikey can still send and receive emails from MATP addresses.

iii) Crikey was absolutely spot on – Madonna King did not write that list.

All in all, the sole subscriber had a great time with Crikey and Crikey was keen to hear feedback on the website and the service he provides.

But the News Limited journos were a big disappointment. The sole subscriber had the perception that journos were a bunch of hard drinkers. But the party seemed to wind up incredibly early with numerous people leaving after only 2 hours.

Maybe it’s not a Merry Christmas for all at News Limited.

ends

Okay, now this is what we penned last week about the night,

Crashing Rupert’s party

Crashing the News Ltd Christmas Party was great fun although I never actually got inside the throbbing City Liars Club at Fox Studios (loss for 50 % owner Lend Lease $140 million) with hundreds of other journalists, shallow advertising types, actors and general Rupertites.

Lachlan appears to be trying to save money after a bad year because many of these people usually get their own Christmas Party rather than being dumped in with other newspapers and departments. This might explain the surprisingly small turnout from those quality journalists on The Australian who like to think they’re above most people, especially tabloid hacks.

This all-in approach meant that only about 10 per cent of the party goers were journalists.

But at least a few of the heavyweights turned up. Daily Telegraph editor in chief Col “sink-pisser” Allan was complaining jokingly to a few people inside that he was being stalked by Crikey.

Col had apparently been at lunch for most of the day and then stumbled into the grubby Aurora Hotel near the Surry Hills head office of News Ltd for a few more cleansers so he was well and truly warmed up on arrival.

He arrived with editor Steve Howard but then wandered off into the night around 9.20pm. Crikey had secured a strategic outdoor and under shelter table at a bar about 30 metres from the entrance, and, crucially, right at the top of the cab rank.

Col was forced to walk right past on his way home and when we waved he said: “Ah, it’s the Mayne event.”

When Crikey tried to engage Col with a “how are you?”. He kept looking straight ahead and walking, simply saying “good”.

Guess that’s what you call getting the Col shoulder, but at least we door-stopped Australia’s greatest tabloid legend and got a brief comment as any color writer at an A-list function should do.

Tabloid legend Mark Morri was seen following Col and commented: “I just want to go and see where he is urinating.”

Lachlan’s replacement chief executive John Hartigan, a great mate of Col’s and former editor of the Telegraph, arrived in the chauffeur driven falcon at 8pm, offering the regal wave in Crikey’s direction in response to our big wave. Suspect he didn’t recognise who it was and we hadn’t moved two hours later when Harto departed with what looked through the misty rain to be a couple of blondes. One might have been his wife Gerry but it’s hard to say given the dark and the amount of beers already consumed by all involved.

Other chronological highlights include:

6.45pm: A gaggle of sports journos predictably are the first to arrive for the free booze. One suggests Crikey applies for Paul Barry’s job.

6.55pm: Sports editor in waiting Steve Fenech, Mario’s brother, arrives alone looking groovy in tight black tee-shirt and brown slacks.

7.10pm: Jovial pom Jerry Harris, the managing director of News’s Sydney operations and The Australian, responds with a wave to Crikey probably not recognising who it was.

9.30pm Crikey has brief conversation with The Australian’s editor in chief David Armstrong. We agree Nic Hopkins was a big loss for the Oz.

9.40pm Man vomits violently several times against tree in front of Crikey. Bloody advertising wankers!

10.27pm Man falls over in middle of road and then stagger walks into the distance. Bloody advertising wankers!

10.32pm Soul sister and Features Editor Liz Deegan emerges without pictorial boss Julian Zakarus and declares “The dance floor was full.”

11.05pm Australian business columnist Mark Westfield leaves to be with wife and three children after quick beer with Crikey. We agree on many things: Stan Howard is useless, HIH are dodgy, beer tastes good.

11.15pm: Writing is a bit hazy on this one and not sure if it is a joke entry, but it looks likes: “Coombs kisses Kerry”. Coombs is likeable managing editor and brilliant tee-totaller Rogers Coombs and Kerry is Kerry Taylor, Col’s long suffering secretary who had to call in the Draino to deal with his sink. They left in a cab together at 11.20pm.

11.18pm Animated Daily Telegraph editor Steve Howard sits next to Crikey. The notes appear to say: “What are you fucking writing here? It is all just jibber.” (doesn’t sound quite right).

11.20pm: A perfect gentleman identified as Shane Wallis approaches Steve Howard and says: “If this bloke is giving you trouble I’ll sort him out.” Thankfully, Howie declined the offer before joining Evie Gelastopolous, Andrew White, lanky Naomi Toy and Oasis groupie Kylie Keogh in the taxi queue.

A friend from the ABC and a Crikey subscriber had joined in the fun for a couple of hours but by this time they’d gone so I was alone and somewhat tired and emotional in front of about 30 people queued up in front waiting for cabs. What to do? Well, first we rang the News Ltd switchboard and told them to order a stack of cabs but the woman said they get personally charged for any outside calls. Rupert is such a tight arse some times. Then I called Legion Cabs and Combined and told them to get stack of cars down to remove all these VIPS who were crowding our personal space.

11.26pm After tolerating me for five hours, bar manager says pointedly: “Thanks mate, you’re welcome to leave whenever you like.” Maybe he’d worked out that I’d smuggled in a couple of Carlton Colds in the back pack.

11.29pm Steve Howard finally clears the queue and on getting in the cab turns to Crikey and says: “Can you mark my departure?” Consider it done old boy.

Midnight: Crash in mates bed after walking half way home through the drizzle.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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