I’m not sure whether we should be sharing this with the public. But we are. We couldn’t help ourselves.
The story starts in the wee hours of the morning of 28 April 2018. The Rumrunning Team, it so happened, was burning the midnight oil and was therefore awake and able to take an incoming call from a private number. Brrring! Brrrring! Brrring! went the phone. And, “hello, Rumrunners’ Mobile Bar Service”, we said. Like we always say.
“Yeah boys it’s Baz here. Baz Luhrmann”.
Hold on, what?? The Rumrunning Team looked at each other.
“….Baz Luhrmann”, said Baz Lurhmann. “Are you there?”
“Surely this is a prank”, we thought to ourselves. But it wasn’t a prank. It was far from it. It was the real deal. And it was a horrible deal, actually, because, as the phone call proceeded further, it became apparent that Baz was very desperate and potentially in danger and it was us — only us — that could assist him as you will determine as you read further.
What I will say before I disseminate this sure-to-be-scandalous news piece is that it is a tricky business, the business of being rich and famous. These people have problems (just like you and me have problems) but their problems seem to be much, much worse than ours.
The reason I make the point about the problems of the rich and famous is to demonstrate that there is no malice in my choice to publicise this story. I understand Baz and Leo’s problems. But that doesn’t mean that I should keep their problems a secret. No. Their problems are, to be frank, very weird and CERTAINLY incredibly indulgent. What’s more, it is 2018 and we are living in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Hollywood has a lot more dirty laundry that it needs to hang out and it follows that I feel warranted in airing the problems that Baz and his buddy Leo have caused for us, a small business that provides mobile bar hire and cocktail services.
But I digress. If I don’t tell the story now I am going to lose your attention. Or have I already lost it? Hopefully not. Anyway, it is time to tell the story. Time to go back on our promise to Baz’s lawyers to keep what happened ‘hush hush’. The story begins:
It was 4:15AM. Baz had introduced himself. Although we were not sure whether or not Baz was actually Baz, what did become apparent was that the human on the other end of the line (Baz or no Baz) was in some trouble.
Baz explained that the only way that we could help was by providing the “IMMEDIATE rendering of Little Rumrunners’ pop up bar services”.
“Immediate rendering?”, we thought. That’s impossible. And we explained that it was impossible, Sir, for us to render our professional cocktail services immediately, but, that we could render our services WITHIN AN HOUR providing that you, Sir, are located within 25 kilometres of Brisbane’s CBD.
Baz was not located in the Brisbane CBD. He was located in Sydney, at Baz’s waterfront mansion.
“Hmmm”, we thought. If the man on the other end of the phone line is a prankster then he is doing a darn good job. His description of his harbour-side mansion was finely executed and he does speak in that same blend of “Californian/ high-brow-Bondi-hipster” as the real Baz Lurhman does. Perhaps this is the real deal, we thought. Goodness. The real deal? Baz? The actual baz? No matter his odd demand, we better start playing along.
But we didn’t need to play along. Baz was under the influence of some sort of a recreational drug and and so he happily continued to explain the situation.
It was at this point that he mentioned the presence of “Leo”. “Leo”, he said, was going to “hurt” him if he didn’t provide some “contraband”.
None of this made sense to us and we weren’t yet aware that “Leo”, was, like, the actual Leonardo DiCaprio. “Please explain”, we said.
Upon us saying that we didn’t understand what he was talking about and that he would need to explain, Baz started to fall apart. He must have realised at that point that it was unlikely that we were going to be able to meet his odd request. His voice became nervous. “Please”, he said.
Then we heard yelling. Yelling from the man called Leo. “Oh, goodness”, we thought. That yelling sounds familiar. The man called “Leo” sounded very much like Jay Gatsby, that fellow from THAT movie.
Leo’s yelling increased, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut Up!”.
Wow, we thought. This fellow is crazy.
Leo got closer to Baz’s phone and yelled again, “Shut up, Wolfsheim! Shut Up!…. Tell them that they don’t need an explanation. I need the contraband liquor now”.
It quickly became apparent that this was a very odd situation indeed. Very odd. There was some sort of physical scuffle on Baz’s end of the line and then Baz’s voice again, “You see boys, Leo is a method actor. And.. well… he seems to have taken an hallucinogenic drug which has magnified the method of his method acting.”
It was at this point that everything clicked. We realised, then, that we were talking to the real Baz Lurhman and the real Leonardo DiCaprio. What. The. Hell. OMG. Could this actually be true?? It was. But, now, what do we do? Do we ask for verbal autobiographies? As it turned out, there was no time for that at all.
Baz continued, “He [the real Leo DiCaprio] is convinced that the year is 1930 and he sees – on the internet – that you are rumrunners and that you operate a mobile bar and he is expecting you and your smuggling sailing ship to tie up at my harbour-side mansion sometime tonight. He’s cooked. Absolutely cooked. He’s lost his marbles”.
Let me remind you that Baz, too, was a little cooked. And, so, not all of what he said made sense either. Baz was scared, though, and, on learning that we wouldn’t be able to turn up right away, he put the phone down (but kept us one the line), and attempted to calm Leo.
“Leo”, he said. Look out the window, across the water. East egg. You see it? Yes… good work, old sport. Do you see the navigation marker? Yes, to the left of Turnbull’s boathouse, yes, right there. The green one. Yes. Yes. The green one. That’s the Buchanan’s place. Daisy’s place. The light is a methaphor. A ‘met’-‘a’-‘four’, yes. Go out onto my jetty. Get closer. The closer you get to the light the more powerful the metaphor. Yes, really. Okay. Excellent work, old sport. I’ll see you out there.”
There was a resting silence on the line. Then Baz picked up the phone and started speaking to us. “Boys. He’s gone down to my jetty.” “Can you be here in a few hours?”.
Stunned silence on our end of the line. Of course, we thought, we needed to say “yes” as we would be more than happy to meet our acting hero Leonardo DiCaprio and especially so if his fantasy was to have Brisbane’s mobile pop up bar hire business at his best mate Baz’s house.”
Baz was intimidated by the silence. “I’ll pay you $10,000”, he said.
“We can leave now”, we said.
We put down the phone and yelled “action stations”. The Rumrunning workshop became a scene from a fire-fighting movie. All of a sudden, Karen (our bartender from Friday’s, a well-known cocktail venue in Brisbane) slid down a fire pole and entered the workshop. She must have overheard the conversation. Everyone one was excited. The mobile cocktail bar was loaded into the van as well as some mobile beer kegs. Glassware was lowered from the ceiling into our special, custom-built chest on the roof of the van. Everything was ready. Our Brisbane mobile bar hire service had never posted such a quick set up time.
We sped off with imaginary sirens blaring on top of the rumrunner’s van. As we turned onto the M1, Siri, Google’s voice-activation service, interrupted the song that we were playing. It was the titantic theme song. We loved Leo. We couldn’t wait to see him.
Four hours into the journey we shot Baz a text. “Hey mate, rumrunners here. What’s your address again? We’re five hours out”. Back to the car’s acoustic system. This time, the soundtrack from Leo’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
Two hours later. No response from Baz. We had passed Coffs Harbour and have been “flashed” by four fixed speeding cameras already.
“Maybe they’re asleep”, I said. “Even famous people sleep, apparently”. The others agreed. The consensus was that Baz and Leo were likely asleep, but still wanting to proceed with their booking. They had to be, right? How else could this crazy story end??
We entered Sydney. We paid a lot of tolls. We took a lot of wrong turns. We took the tunnel and not the bridge. Dammit. Missed the view. Everytime. It is at this point that we need to decide what to do. Baz still hasn’t provided us with his address. We pull up at a local sailing club where there are lots of mums running in active wear in the early morning sun. Hmm. What do we do? What can we do?
Finally someone says what everyone is thinking. “Maybe they are ghosting us”, said Karen.
“Unlikely”, I replied. “They were pretty cooked. It’s more likely that Baz has lost his phone. Where does Malcolm Turnbull live? “Right there”, said Karen, who always reads the “Wish” pull-out magazine in ‘The Australian’. Where? “Right there”, she points across the bay. Hmmm. We look across from Malcolm’s place and it is readily apparent which house is Baz’s. It is the most gaudy house of them all, by a long way. “Right there”, I said. “Let’s go”.
We had discussed our plan in detail. Karen brought the glassware. The other members of the team brought the contraband liquor which would satisfy Leo’s psychotic obsession with the 1930s. Quickly, we dragged a small sailing dinghy from the beach and loaded it with our contraband.
Under the shadow of Point Piper we made our way to a larger sailing boat.
As predicted, a light southerly was being funnelled through the tall office buildings in the city and into the bay. The sails of the larger sailing boat were filled and we dropped the mooring without needing the keys to the boat’s motor.
Under sail, we approached the gaudy house that was Baz’s. And. Then. We heard the screams from the shore. Someone was shouting at us. Someone was accusing us of stealing a boat.
Hardly important, we thought. We run a mobile bar business and the importance of this mission is paramount. You can have your sailing boat afterwards!
Fenders down and we come to rest on the windward side of the jetty with no issues whatsoever. Time to unload the cargo. But, first, time to call Baz and Leo out.
Oh, but, what is that, in the distance, entering Baz’s estate.
A sea of policemen. And policewomen. And also police dogs. I’m not sure what gender the dogs are. But the police. My goodnesss. What has happened?! Perhaps we were too late. Perhaps Leo got to Baz before we could. Please, no! The police arrive. They arrest me?? They arrest the Rumrunning team. Why? “This is the Prime Minister’s house”.
Oh, Karen. How could you? You pointed to the wrong house! We’ve gone to the wrong house! Karen! You’ve mucked everything up! Completely and utterly! Oh, no, we’re criminal! But we can explain. And as I try to explain I look out over the bay toward a red navigation light that glows in the early morning sun and I see two men, looking, with interest, at the going-ons on our side of the bay. The two men were Baz and Leo.