“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





04 November 2018


Leon Bignell, the state parliamentarian for the McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island region, worked for a while as a journalist at The Advertiser in his previous life. Usually known as Biggles, he collected the Drinkster and Bill Guy and drove us to the Big Smoke to a pub reunion of journalists who worked at The Tiser. 

Lots from the '70s. Probly too mean to die, most of us.

Bill was commonly regarded around Australia as the ace foreign desk editor. He came out of retirement to select six from from hundreds of cadetship applicants each year, and stay as their mentor. 

We both worked briefly on The Herald when Rupert bought that last of Australia's afternoon broadsheets in Melbourne. Man we can chat. We did the history of Australian newspapers from 1965 to now in that hour-long cruise. 

Biggles, who preferred the tabloid and sporting tv reportage life, suggested Bill is one of the last fluent speakers of Broadsheet: every sentence uttered had a few commas, a semi-colon; maybe a dash or two. Perfectly placed. Perfectly researched, with footnotes and a breakout. 

"Which I shall address shortly," Bill would say, finishing first his elegant feature. 

Who dare sub that? I wish we'd recorded that drive.

Late photographic despatch from Biggles: guess where we went for a rest? 

Looks like I'm still there ...

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