Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Underbelly: The Gangland War

By Andrew Rule and John Silverster

GET FUCKED! Not every book I read has to be highbrow la-de-fucking-da, does it? Go fuck yoursleves and suck a lemon, you who judge me. Up yours and sit on it cumrag. Pansy toff cunts!

(I was too embarrassed to buy it at Readings so I went across the road and bought it at that other store.)

As for a review, well, I mean, sweet Jesus, it is what it is. You know those concise articles Rule and Silvester write in the papers? Well, the book is just the same, but longer.

A re-print in about 20 years will be more interesting when they can actually print all the names. I got a bit confused with all the pseudonyms. I got confused anyway. There were 25 murders and none of them made any particular sense. The motives for the murders are as flimsy as a cardhouse, but I guess that's what makes them all the more compelling.

I went on a blind date last week. It didn't work out. I wanted a womb. She wanted a Trillionaire who looked like Johnny Depp. We got along okay though. Culturally we had nothing in common even though we were both skips from the 'burbs, but she was all Sex & The City and I was all Russian Ark. But anyway, we were at The Retreat in Sydney Rd and as we left, we peered down towards the Brunswick Club where Lewis Moran was shot. Our final chat was about the gangland killings. We had both watched the series on pirated DVD's and we chatted about 'em and I thought to myself, "This is such a bonding Melbourne thing." I reckon the gangland killings, like footy, is another of those great levellers that enables complete strangers to talk to one another. Carl Williams is a fucking celebrity whether we like it or not, and we're fascinated with him and his skank wife. I put it to you, behind this cloak of anonymity, that we're glad he's still alive; not because we are opposed to senseless death, but because there's a chance we can hear more about everything. The more they print, the more we'll buy The Age on Saturday, sit in a cafe and make sure everyone can see us reading the Book reviews and News Extra, but secretly we'll be busting to get home to read the GANGLAND 5 PAGE FULL COLOUR SPREAD EXCLUSIVE in the privacy of our own home where our comrades from the chattering classes can't see us. We're like fatties on diets, hiding in the toilet to eat a Mars Bar.

The Gangland Killings (TM) is interesting.

(I'm sure innocent patrons who happened to be drinking at The Brunswick Club will disagree with me).

But it's like what Jean Baudrillard said about 9/11. He made a bold statement... hell, it's more than bold. It's ugly. It's foul. It makes me squirm every time I think of it, and fuck, I don't even know if I wholly agree with it or whether there's any truth in it at all, but, I dunno, the line hits me somewhere that makes me feel very uncomfortable with myself. Here it is:

To put it in the most extreme terms, they did it, but we wanted it. If that's not taken into account, the event loses all its symbolic dimension...

- Jean Baudrillard


Look, on the one hand, Underbelly is the tale of very real people being very really slaughtered over drugs and cash, and the whole episode is abhorrent, and I'm thankful I had absolutely no connection to any of it.

On the other hand, when I read that Graham 'The Munster' Kinniburgh, when late to his own wedding, turned to his rather angry bride and said, "Sorry love, I had to see a bloke", I can't help but smile and think, "Heh. He had to 'see a bloke'"

They were a bunch of murderous thugs and utter cretins and I'm glad that they had the good manners to shoot each other instead of me.

But gee, they're kind of fun to read about. I give it a B Minus.


squib said...

I missed the whole Underbelly/Gangland thing. It was so far away, it didn't really register on my radar

Baudrillard? Well I think that's a very glib thing for him to have said but then I guess the whole event wasn't real to him anyway. I don't like speaking ill of the dead or I'd say just what a bunch of boring tossers I think him and Barthes, Derrida, and Lacan were

A couple of summers ago I read a series of historical romances, each book was about 500 pages. When I'd finished about 4 I realised I couldn't possibly put them on my bookcase inbetween Bulgakov and Gorky - whatever would people think?!! I sold them on e-bay and the really strange thing is I got close to the full RRP for them

Perseus said...

I'm happy to speak ill of the dead if they deserve it, like, say, paedophiles.

But yes, in the case of 9/11, it is wrong to speak ill of them, but I don't think that's what Baudrillard was doing. He wasn't saying anything bad at all about the victims. It was about the 'event' itself, I think, and how many of us couldn't get enough of it. I was glued to the TV for days. That's not 'wanting it to happen' per se, but, it is, as well. I'd need 50 pages to explain myself.

Derrida = Boring. I'm with you there Squibster.

squib said...

Sorry crossed wires! By speaking ill of the dead I meant calling Baudrillard et al. boring tossers

Melba said...

if you are interested in this sort of thing, and aren't we all, check this out:


someone there left a comment on my blog ages ago when i posted about mick gatto throwing eggs at the press in his dressing gown.

i never left a comment there, i don't think you should either.

they seem for real. either cops trying to get info or the gumbas themselves.

Perseus said...

Weird site! I'm with you. No way I'm commenting there.

Mick Gatto threw eggs at the media in his dressing gown?

Melba said...


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Underbelly, eh Perseus.


Perseus said...

Oh right, like you're not secretly wanting my pirated DVDs after Catlick sends 'em back to me.

Cath said...

It heartens me that you read pulp on occasion - it can't all be Proust and Shakespeare. I look forward to upcoming reviews of Dan Brown's latest blockbuster.....

Perseus said...

I read page 1 of 'The Da Vinci Code'. That was enough Dan Brown for my lifetime. I actually read it three times but couldn't get past the line, "The albino drew a pistol from his coat..." without laughing hysterically.

Artful Kisser said...

A modern day Roman holiday. I do wonder if so many Victorians would have been at all intrigued if a ban on the tv series hadn't been put in place - everyone loves to see something when someone tells them they cant. Any which way it's interesting and yeah, it's probably a Melbourne thing.

Perseus said...

Yes, it's a Melbourne thing, just like our AFL, Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and art gallery obsessions, and proudly so.

I was in a cafe in Perth once and after I ordered a long macchiato the waitress said, "You're from Melbourne, right?" and I said, "Why do you think that?" and she said, "Because you're pasty, you're wearing all-black, chain smoking, reading some fancy book and ordering weird coffee."

Melba said...

that would have to be a compliment of the highest order, perseus. the bit about pasty, wearing black, fancy book, weird coffee.

stand up and be proud, i say.

Ann O'Dyne said...

I wish I could find the blog of that Perth waitress.

2. but Readings were not embarrassed to be selling it were they!?

Perseus said...

The one that guessed I was from Melbourne? Her blog entry would be, "Some pasty chain-smoking idiot in a black suit came in and asked for a weird coffee. He tipped me a dollar, which was the only reason I didn't smash his face in, ay."