As the new decade revs up, I decided to acknowledge those people that have made my gossip column public enemy number one in the hope a new beginning could wipe the slate clean. Here's Spy's top 10 list of detractors:
1. Mike Hosking
Where did the love go? It's fair to say The Hosk and I have never gotten off on the right foot. For the man who once sneered that he doesn't "deal with people who peddle gossip" before hanging up on me and proceeding to prattle his own tittle-tattle on radio, Hosking has no qualms about airing his narcissistic confessions on Twitter too. The Hosk - who would have us believe he has no time for the gossip industry - acts as his own gossip editor, sharing his private life with us and peddling his own chitchat. What's the diff, Hosko? C'mon, let's goss and make up.
2. Sara Tetro
You would think an agent to the stars would develop a great relationship with the gossip columnist charged with blabbing about them. But not Tetro. Presumably her clout is so great, so omnipotent, that she can choose to ignore questions and return phone calls. But ignorance is not bliss when a story goes ahead with or without her participation. While fully skilled in the art of flogging a blab-all to a cheesy women's mag for cash, Tetro needs to think about the way she handles controversy - as evidenced by her client Robin Brooke's no-comment approach to the Fijian hotel allegations. Here's hoping she realises that the relationship between star, agent and gossip hack should be a symbiotic one.
3. Ali Williams
As a celeb on the books of the aforementioned agent, Ali probably has her misguided blessing to behave similarly. Pity. For a man who adores self promotion (let's not forget he arrived at the Prince William photo call at Eden Park brandishing his brand of water while banging on about dinner at his place), you'd think the social pages would be heaven. Not so. Or rather, not when the story isn't glowing. But let bygones be bygones. Barbie at your place, eh Ali?
4. Samantha Hayes
Oh Sammy, where did it all go so wrong? I wasn't the only one you treated so condescendingly when we were chauffeured to Farmer's Albany for a media event. Of course you tried to make amends when you discovered my vocation and I appreciate that, I do. However, it's that unnatural effort to try just that little bit too hard that I find grating. You are a beautiful woman, one of the prettiest on our TV screens, but your propensity to preen and pose on the red carpet is another turn off.
5. Barry Soper
Precious treasure Barry Soper went and got himself a young bride 33 years his junior. They posed, sucking face around the house in a women's rag spread that was cheesier than a Manchego factory. We criticised their wanton desire for fame and attention. While his missus has since ditched the opportunities for self promotion and kept her head down and focussed on a flourishing reporting career, her old man is still bearing grudges.
6. The bolshie businesswoman
For legal reasons we can't reveal the name of the prickly businesswoman who'd leave Anna "Nuclear" Wintour feeling frosty. If we took her as seriously as she takes herself maybe we'd be forgiven. But frankly, bullying and bitching is best left at the schoolyard sandpit she's never moved on from. She took umbrage when we had the gall to suggest her ensemble wasn't up to the usual standard. How could we, she whined?! Crikey, it's just fashion, sweets. No reason to get your knickers in a knot.
7. Annette Presley
The Pres has had a hate/hate relationship with yours truly for some time now. Much of it deserved, I'll admit. But when she accidentally accosted me with a book and a champagne flute at a Viaduct bar you'd think all would be forgiven. Actually, we had a giggle about it at the time. No hard feelings, eh? I like her spunky attitude to life.
8. Charlotte Dawson
In 2007, she upped and left her dog and boyfriend and the negative gossip to escape suffocating NZ for Oz. "In Australia you can still have a life without having to be in the social pages," Dawson told New Idea. Australia's Next Top Model beckoned. But fading celebrity, she is not. Dawson may have ditched us for greener pastures but she spends a good amount of time blogging random thoughts on our media and celebrities. "I understand if people in New Zealand are sick and tired of me," she told the Sunday News when she left, "and hopefully this is the last they'll hear of me". Never!
9. The broadcaster
The man behind the mike, who we better not name save he sends me more long-winded, late-night texts, took offence when I wrote about his personal life. He wanted privacy, he insisted, and yet he was happy to chat to paying members of the media in the past when the subject was broached. Okay, we won't pay for a story, but that's no reason we can't be pals. Think of Spy as your cheap and cheerful buddy!
10. Brendan Cole
As his biggest fan, Cole often feels the media has been unfairly harsh to him. He whined as much on an episode of 20/20 a couple of years ago. He reckons gossip columnists "have no morals, no scruples and stop at nothing to get a story." At about the same time as that outburst, Cole sold the story of his relationship to model Zoe Hobbs to international celebrity gossip rag Hello magazine over nine glossy pages. What about us?! Spy is a celebrity gossip rag. Hopefully not all the bridges are burned and The Cole will think of us the next time he wants to tell all.