A big day for bachelor boys

Ladies, start your engines ... Eamon Sullivan. He’s more likely to go a few laps with you  if you’re a supermodel.
Ladies, start your engines ... Eamon Sullivan. He’s more likely to go a few laps with you if you’re a supermodel.

OLYMPIC swimmer Eamon Sullivan was named Cleo Magazine's Bachelor of the Year last night, with 1.6 million people voting for the Perth-born athlete. And while in the past the title has gone to men who were in a relationship - according to Cleo, a taken but unmarried man still counts as a bachelor - Sullivan said he was single. In fact, he hopes the win will help him find a date. ''There's been some great names that have come before me so I hope I can follow in their footsteps and do the title proud - especially if it involves dating a supermodel," Sullivan said last night. Sullivan beat 50 finalists to be named Australia's most eligible bachelor, winning a brand new Nissan Micra. He was presented with his prize by Cleo's editor, Gemma Crisp, and event host and bachelorette Sophie Monk. Dan Ewing, better known as bad boy Heath Braxton from Home and Away, took second place, while Paul Verhoeven, a presenter on radio station triple j, came third. The grand finale was held at the Ivy in Sydney and guests included VJ Ruby Rose.

MINDERS FOR THE MINISTRY

The new NSW ministerial media contact list has been published. We know, it's hardly the Australia Day honours list, but it is another little window into the soul of this new government. Brad Burden remains as Barry O'Farrell's flack but his offsider, Sam Fairlie-Cuninghame, has been passed on to the office of the new Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian. It seems the government is taking transport very seriously, as Fairlie-Cuninghame will work alongside Lisa Mullins. Mullins is married to Paul Mullins, who until his retirement in 2008 was the longest-serving journo in the press gallery, but she has more than enough of her own connections, having worked for Fairfax and News Ltd papers and even for the controversial Labor ministers David Campbell and Joe Tripodi. One of the Herald's former health reporters, Kate Benson, has jumped ship to work for the Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, while a former John Brogden staffer, Lance Northey, returns to Macquarie Street, this time with Duncan Gay in Roads and Ports. The veteran crime reporter Norm Lipson has popped up in George Souris's office, where presumably he will dispel the notion that state political media minding is a job for ambitious youngsters eager to be humiliated by talk-show hosts in the pre-dawn murk for the chance to get ahead.

EXTRA BACK-UP

The lovelorn men of Australia are confident, attractive and approachable - but that's not always a good thing. And therein lies their problem in pulling women, according to the professional pick-up artist Adam Lyons, of PUA Training. The Briton is in Sydney running boot camps in the art of seduction, and he reports his students from the first weekend session were ''good looking, had good careers, really cool guys''. But that enticing combination can have a flipside. Lyons said: ''A lot of guys we look at and think 'they're confident', they're actually overconfident, which is a very unattractive quality.'' To wit, he was recently forced to pull aside a student in a Los Angeles boot camp and tell him: ''You only have one eyebrow. You need to sort this out.'' While perusing his charges as they went about the task of seducing women in bars, nightclubs and coffee shops over the weekend, Lyons was really concerned only for one battler, who took to walking away from women in mid-conversation if he felt things weren't going his way. ''In the end I stood behind him and actually had my hand on his back to hold him in place.''

RIPPING INTO ROYALS

As the rest of the world swoons and flutters in the lead up to the royal wedding, two of England's angriest old men have engaged in a parade pissing competition. In his column in the online magazine Slate, Christopher Hitchens has advised Kate Middleton: ''If you really love him, honey, get him out of there, and yourself, too … Leave the throne to the awful next incumbent that the hereditary principle has mandated for it.'' (If Hitchens's social media presence is a measure of his foresight, perhaps she should take his advice. Hitchens has tweeted just once and has 18,000 followers.) Diabolically, his mate Martin Amis staged his betrayal in a French magazine, telling Le Nouvel Observateur that the royal family were philistines and that he'd rather not be British at all. He did have a kind word for Prince Charles, though, a man he described as ''charming'' and possessed of a ''pretty extraordinary laugh, like a pig's snore''.

TRANSPORT SOLUTION

Last week we ran an item on Derek Poundstone, ''America's strongest man and the world's strongest cop'', whose job it was on Friday to drag around a bus full of fitness instructors. Well, there's nothing new under the sun, so they say. An 83-year-old reader called to say Poundstone reminded him of an Aussie, Don Athaldo, who used to drag ''horses and buses in the '30s'', but he was concerned that his memory was inaccurate. Not so. The Australian Dictionary of Biography says Don Athaldo (1894-1965: real name Walter Joseph) ''made his reputation by spectacular demonstrations of strength and by his flair for showmanship. Probably his most famous feat was pulling a touring car with six passengers more than half a mile [800 metres] up the hill in William Street, Sydney, to Kings Cross.'' The state government should have a few Athaldos ready for the next transport standstill. In fact, that's it! Forget the Parramatta-Epping link: think instead of relays of toiling strongmen.STAY IN TOUCH WITH...

WITH ALMOST ROYAL JELLY BEANS

AS TIME ticks down to the big day for Kate Middleton and William Windsor, few details have escaped the attention of the British press. Which is why they naturally enough carried the story of Wesley Hosie, a trainee accountant who spotted something special when his girlfriend, Jessica White, opened a jar of jelly beans. ''As Jessica opened the jar, I saw her immediately. She was literally lying there staring back at me,'' he told London's Daily Telegraph. In the latest instalment of the jelly bean saga, the Independent newspaper's version of the story, circulated through their Twitter account, invited readers to look closely at the red and yellow jelly bean to see what Hosie now hopes will fetch him about £500 ($769): the faint but unmistakable image of a sweetly smiling Middleton, immortalised in its sugary coating. However, many were more than a little distracted by the story's web address, or URL, which finished: ''utter-PR-fiction-but-people-love-this-shit-so-f----it-lets-just-print-it-2269573.html''. The Independent's web editor, Martin King, said the site automatically updates any incorrect web addresses based on the story ID - which was why the fake address that spread via Twitter still led to the original story. ''We are, however, acting urgently (as are now some of our major competitors) to find a way to avoid such abuse,'' he said. ''Meanwhile, I can only apologise and profess our embarrassment that we were caught out.'' But there was more sacrilege to come. A spoof jelly bean has appeared on eBay, with a top bid last night of $US10 ($9.40).

WITH GRACE BEFORE MEALS

WITH all the restaurants and stores opening their doors at the sparkly new Westfield Sydney yesterday, the spectacle of a Buddhist monk spreading peace and serenity seemed slightly incongruous. But contrary to appearances, a new shopping palace was not what drew Abbess Manko to the big smoke from the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong. Rather, she came at the invitation of restaurateur Simon Goh, whose Malaysian venture, Sassy's Red, is among the new eateries. Goh is in the habit of getting monks to bless his restaurants - they have visited Chinta Ria Temple of Love at Cockle Bay several times, more to update the good vibes than to dispel any misfortune. ''They just chant and purify the place,'' Goh said. ''Every new business I embark on, I like to get it blessed

to create harmony.'' Other eateries to open yesterday included Becasse Bakery, dumpling chain Din Tai Fung, which has achieved Michelin star status in Hong Kong, Pie by Mick's Bakehouse and Iku Wholefoods.

WITH LOVE'S LABOURS

A CRACK Australian team led by the director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), the choreographer Graeme Murphy and the designer

Gabriela Tylesova is working hard to rekindle the magic of Andrew Lloyd Webber'sThe Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies, which opens in Melbourne next month. The pressure is on for a show more dazzling than the maligned premiere in London a year ago. Phillips said the new version would feature a triple revolve and that when Lloyd Webber was shown a set model he was ''gobsmacked''. Such enthusiasm contrasts with view of the theatre critic Ben Brantley in The New York Times: ''This poor sap of a show feels as eager to be walloped as a clown in a carnival dunking booth …

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