Gossip week: It’s been over 10 years since Metro’s legendary gossip columnist Felicity Ferret came out on top. We have revisited some of their greatest gossip stories from the celebrity scene of the early 2000s.
Throughout the week, The Spinoff will take a look at the role of gossip in Aotearoa’s past, present and future – read more about Gossip Week here.
From 1982 to 2002, and then again briefly in 2009, Felicity Ferret metro’s furry eyes and ears in the most extravagant corners of Auckland high society. Created by founding editor Warwick Roger and written by a range of writers – most famously Rogers himself, Judith Baragwanath and Stephen Stratford – Felicity was a feral savage with teeth the local media had never seen before. No one was safe from her anger when she exposed the bad and bizarre behavior of “wasted teenagers”, “ponsonby urinals” and the ubiquitous “old farts”.
“You heard about Sleepless in Seattle; Read now about Pissed off as a parrot in Ponsonby. A star, who regularly appears on the 34cm mural, but unfortunately cannot be named (deep sigh), was watched by pretty much everyone who walked by, snoring legs apart and snoring the effects of a big gurgle into the drunkard.”
So it went on. Women on TV news were “hackettes,” models were “laundry horses,” and Parnell was renamed Parn Hell. Felicity even referred to herself as “your old favorite slapper” who loved to carry her own name as much as anyone who dared step into the City of Sails for a night. Felicity Ferret was struck out at the beginning of Simon Wilson’s reign as Metro editor in 2010. Her parting words to the readers ended with a macabre description of their own death and these words: “The bottles are empty … This city would have been nothing without me. Nothing.”
“And Wcap am i proudest? That I did all of this without ever going on the damn panel. Adieu.”
The Spinoff was not content with saying “goodbye” to New Zealand’s most famous clamshell forever, but instead spent an afternoon in the Metro offices, happily rummaging through their dirty laundry. Much of this is now completely unpublished for a myriad of reasons including, but not limited to, defamation, sexism, racism, slut shaming, ableism, Robbie Williams sexploits, and repeated use of the term “tit monster”. But we found some, especially from the early 2000s, that appealed to us. Without further ado, here are some of the biggest Y2K celebrity sightings of Felicity Ferret.
Russell Crowe is not amused
In June 2000, Hollywood megastar Russell Crowe, who was born in Kiwi, returned to motherland to hold a very special private gladiator demonstration for his sick uncle. While it was certainly a touching and poignant event for the entire Crowe family, Felicity Ferret decided to focus on a different part of the visit. Because Crowe had arrived with the company jet from Universal Studios and is said to be “starting to get annoyed” when sniffer dogs romped through the plane.
“Plod and his canine buddies searched for hours, the dogs were excited and apparently on the trail, but a lucky baccy or Bolivian march powder was never found. Only later did the truth come to light. One of the reasons why the animals (the four-legged friends) were so difficult to get out from under the airplane seats was Crowe’s fondness for the large Australasian meat pie. He’d left big chunks of steak and kidney all over the magic carpet at Universal. “
An obsession with L’Estrange
Felicity Ferret had a real knack for discovering world designer Denise L’Estrange-Corbet out and about in the City of Sails. In March 2000, she observed L’Estrange-Corbet and her partner Frances Hooper in a particular New World supermarket where a number of ferrets were sighted. She said the couple looked like they had escaped from a burning building and that “The Very Strange One” was devoured “from neck to floor in a very large pleated sack”.
Another case we discovered occurred in June 2001 when L’Estrange-Corbet was discovered by the ferret in Ponsonby. “Jumped! In the wee hours of a weekday, fashionista Denise L’Estrange-Corbet adored puppy dog on her lap as she sat behind the wheel … not her perky shiny new little Daihatsu shopping basket, but a rusty old Mazda that looked unlikely to be the next WOF -Inspection passed. ”
Dick Frizzell chokes on the steak
Gossip about visual artists is noble – it has an air of superiority. You imagine people sucking on cigarette holders, their tightly coiffed hair sitting under black berets. Gossip about visual artists choking on small pieces of steak may be less classy, but definitely more fun. Felicity Ferret gave us the best of both worlds in this exciting 2001 article: “Scoop! Scoop! Extra! Read all about it! Dick Frizzell is through with death! Our greatest living artist nearly fell to a famous death during a night of partying at a lightning store on the high street.
“It happened after a gallery opening, when he was full of the joys of boxing chardonnay and surrounded by the usual band of grouchy flatterers, in the middle of a fascinating dissertation on the wonders of abstract expressionism, when suddenly he went from a loud knowledge of everything to a (grinning ) hoarse whisperer. Then it was muted. A half-chewed cube of Boeuf Bourguignon was stuck in his throat. According to one source, it began to take on such a remarkable shade of green that it has so far only been replicated in a Bill Hammond painting. “
David Arquette X Dickies collapse
Does something say more in 2001 than the phrases “David Arquette” and “Dickies”? How about this entry from the 2001 Gray Lynn Festival? American actor David Arquette, who temporarily lived in Aotearoa to direct Hercules episodes, was spotted lounging among the crowd of artistically tattooed Dickies-wearing 20-year-olds listening to Nice n ‘Urlich and the raging Chris Knox. ”
Helen Clark’s snooze gate
Before You a painting signedbefore she didn’t know how her car drove fast, Helen Clark starred in a Felicity Ferret scandal that anyone could forgive her: She was spied on while nodding off during a play. “Was it? Could it be? The hero of the fighting artists, master of ballerinas, toast of opera lovers?” The ferret snapped breathlessly. “Our own Prime Minister HELEN CLARK is slumbering through a play by the Auckland Theater Company, an art budget of 80 million Forget the US dollar. ”
Tim Tam slammed Morpheus
In another observation from the aisles of the “moi own supermarket”, the ferret was enchanted by the sight of the Matrix star Lawrence Fishburne, who was looking through the products on a rainy day in September in 2000. Your concerns? Not with the dilemma of the red pill, blue pill, or how the hell his tiny Morpehus glasses stay on his face, but with his shopping list. “If his trolley is something, the man just doesn’t get a balanced diet. What did those furry eyes find that rolled around in his car? Nothing but lots of schnapps and a pack of TimTams. ”
The Watsons & Matthew Ridge get the cold shoulder
The year is 2001. Matthew Ridge and Eric and Nicky Watson can be seen all over Auckland’s social pages. A British band called Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of the song “Yellow” and will perform at the historic St. James Theater in Auckland. Felicity Ferret is there, watching and waiting to put someone in their place.
“Isn’t it pathetic when rock and roll groupies with ragged asses try to sneak a starter when they don’t have a ticket?” She began. “Take it from moi, it’s worse when the rising wannabes are as filthy rich as Eric and Nicky Watson and Matthew Ridge. The wealthy trio weren’t happy with their free tickets to Britpopsters Coldplay at St James a few weeks ago. Once inside, they witnessed them trying to talk their way into a special, reserved, $ 65 per capita area on the upper floor of the theater. ”
Subscribe to the weekly Rec Room newsletter, which has the latest videos, podcasts, and other recommendations from The Spinoff delivered straight to your inbox.