Apoc­a­lypse noir

The Australian - - INQUIRER -

As he whiles away his time in jail whit­tling horses from soap, Obeid hope­fully was cheered by the fre­quency and en­ergy with which he was men­tioned in dis­patches yes­ter­day. On a cheerier note, we’d like to men­tion a finer fig­ure from Ke­neally’s Mac­quarie Street days. We speak, of course, of Imre Salusin­szky, who for a lamentably brief pe­riod went all noir in these au­gust pages. Ex­hibit A: “A sickly light had be­gun to spread across Syd­ney by the time the car dropped me off in Chi­na­town. I walked up the stairs into the Golden Cen­tury. They were still clean­ing up the joint. There was a blonde stand­ing at the bar, nurs­ing a mar­tini. She looked fa­mil­iar. Or maybe it was the mar­tini. ‘I’m look­ing for some­one,’ I said. `Some peo­ple call her Kristina. Some peo­ple call her the Right Honourable KK Ke­neally. Some peo­ple call her …’ She cut me off. ‘Hello, Imre. It’s good to see you again. How’s the be­nign prostate en­large­ment?’” Ke­neally re­sponded to Salusin­szky’s stylings with a mis­sive to our let­ters page. “I am, in line with your NSW po­lit­i­cal re­porter Imre Salusin­szky’s de­ci­sion to re­port on the elec­tion in the style of Ray­mond Chan­dler, re­spond­ing in kind,” she be­gan. And so she did, even­tu­ally mak­ing it to this: “I sighed. I knew there were im­pres­sion­able journos, open to the charms of Mike Baird’s bat­ting eye­lids. But Imre? Surely not. Yet there it was. In black and white. Imre’s dal­liances in the past, his ref­er­ences to Sweet-pea, the risk of him be­com­ing a lackey mes­sen­ger for Big Barry. It turned my blood cold. I knew one thing. Shoot­ing the mes­sen­ger had never been my style. But styles come and go.” Alas, Ke­neally in­formed Strewth at the time she would “not be de­liv­er­ing my cam­paign launch speech this week­end in Chan­dleresque style”. A mis­take, as it turned out.

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