I regard award-winning Brisbane author, reporter, historian and true-crime story teller Matthew Condon as the eminence gris of the many mainstream journalists and long-form prose writers working in the genre of crime.
His diligent research, meticulous attention to detail and easy way of telling a difficult tale by plonking the reader right in the middle of the scene set him apart from the pack, and his 3 part + 1 series comprised of Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers, All Fall Down and now Little Fish Are Sweet (an excellent read BTW, put it on your Xmas list) are perhaps the definitive tale of police corruption in Queensland over the course of the half century leading up to the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
Condon’s retelling of the shadow world that existed beneath the pious, shiny surface of Queensland during that period adds several extra dimensions to the slowly unravelling portrait of the once-hidden depravity of those responsible for justice, law and order and good government in our State. If as they do the books don’t catch all, that’s simply because they are not the size of the Bible, and if some small sections are factually incorrect – parts of the Shirley Brifman story, particularly those about her sister ‘Marj’ – then it’s not Condon’s fault, because that’s the story that the source material he was working off told, and until Archie came on the scene no-one knew any better.
Set those small blemishes aside though because even Elle McPherson sometimes gets pimples. Its the whole look that matters, and Condon’s unravelling of the secrets of Queensland’s corruption, crooked cops, canons, killers, cardinals, kiddy fiddlers, cover-up merchants. cads, counsellors, constables, conmen, court-reporters, Catholics, Christians, C of E queen-lovers, car-salesmen, choirmasters, commissioners, cock-suckers, Queens of the testicled variety, craven cocksuckers, pre-pubescent c*nt-f*ckers and a whole lot of other crims and concubines of the Devil is a wonderful piece of work and a testament to the status that I and many (most) others afford him.
In fact, you’d have to say that as far as crime writing goes up here in the Sunshine State Condon’s daylight ahead of the chasing pack. Which is simply a polite way of saying that Archie’s not chasing, because I’m leading by so far that I’m up the road and around the corner and Matthew’s somewhere back there but nowhere to be seen.
Do you reckon I’m on myself? My old Mum used to say so. Look what happened to her though, bless the poor dear’s soul.
No punters your humble correspondent is no peacock or poser, don’t you worry about that. I’m merely doing what I always do and telling it how it is, and in this case it is simply stating an obvious and – unless your surname’s 5/6th’s of a franger – undeniable fact: . Archie’s the leader of the pack.
If you want proof just have a quick Captain Cook at Little Fish are Sweet and cop it straight from the colt name Condon’s mouth:
Regular readers who follow my rollicking true-crime tales replete with an ever-increasing array of revelations about the sordid characters in the porn, pills and powders, illegal poker, prostitution and pedophile games will already now that I broke the Whitehouse story that, if properly picked up by writers with much larger resource bases to fund their research, promises to become the biggest story about Queensland ever told. It’s very nice of Matthew to acknowledge it too, and that’s because he’s a decent guy and gives credit where credits due.
Or he does sometimes anyway.
Other times, like today, he simply breaks a blokes heart.
I’m talking now about Condon’s stories in this morning paper about the pedophile Professor Paul Wilson, his friendship/acquaintance with Clarence Henry Howard-Osborne, and the plainly perverted views that the criminologist held about the court-reports crimes against children.
You can find those stories by clicking here and here, and if you haven’t already read my 11 part series on Thursday (at least one Aussie 11 has to score some hits) I suggest that you do so quick smart before you read on, both because they are dazzling brilliant, and because you will immediately something so bloody plain that it’s staring you in the face. What’s that something?
Condon’s wearing the silver medal again.
Archie beat him to the punch by 48 hours. Scooped him, as they say in the trade. You’ve just paid the price of a decent feed for a couple of days for a Biafran orphan just so you can read second hand news in the form of a condensed version of a much broader expose published on a free news and opinion site – this one – 2 days before.
Oh the shame of it all. Beaten to the punch by a bloody blogger from the Bung! Poor old Condon will never live it down; in fact he’ll be so feeling too low for zero, thinking he’s on a losing streak and worrying about the sh*t he’ll cop if he runs into Kevvie on the streets of this town any time over the weekend.
In fact he’ll probably be so bloody depressed that he might even stay in bed all day rather than making the customary 3 trips to the bottlo at the Paddo, the first in the car, the next on the pushie, the last on the hoof, walking unsteadily because he’s wearing the wine-loving runner-up’s designer version of the famous Geebung wobbly boots, identical replicas of thongs but with a pretty picture printed on them and a price tag twice the size.
The poor bloody pub owners the McGuires will be wondering what’s happened to their best customer, and worrying that sales are going to halve on a Saturday without him. Little will they know that he’s had the missus sneak off in the SUV down to the drive-through at the Alderley Arms to sneak him a couple of bottles of Shiraz to keep the professional heebie-jeebies away after having his pants pulled down by a not normal type of larrikin character from some joint full of waterholes somewhere deep out in the burbs.
I’d almost feel sorry for young Matthew if not for the fact that he neglected to acknowledge my work in today’s articles, despite having a clear 3 pages of copy in which to slip the credit where credit’s due in.
Mind you it may not have been his fault, as his ‘Big Ups to Archie’ bit might have been pulled by a petulant editor given that News Ltd and I are locked in a game of death legal battle about their insistence that I not use their photos to warn young gay blokes in the Valley that the psycho who killed young Matt Leveson in Sydney and buried him in the forest is on the loose and prowling the streets of Vegas looking for fresh meat, and my refusal to accede to such a patently stupid and absolutely unconscionable demand.
It doesn’t matter though, because that bloke at the head of the procession surrounded by all the blushing half-dressed good sorts is none other than Monsieur Butterflty, moi.
Being a rather classy cut of a cove I’m not going to celebrate the Condon arse-kicking by gloating. I have far more decorum than that. So I’m simply going to do what great men so confident in their ability that they don’t need praise to preen their feathers do.
I’m gunna scoop the bugger again!
Watch this space sportsfans., the train will be coming soon (Qld Rail Eastern Silence Time)
Editors note: Mr Condon does not really drink 3 bottles of wine on a Saturday. He drinks four. And his missus is not driving all the way to Alderley just so that he can get pissed, start singing ‘It’s Business Time’ while dressed like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, and fall over and pass out before he gets to the marital bed. He’s sent the kid down instead, with a note and his phone number in case Mr McGuire has some type of issue with selling moonshine to minors. He didn’t really rip the story off either, I was just too quick for him. Mine are much better though, my Mum says so through the Ouija board.