Taking stock, counting allies and collecting the loot.
A man has to look into the mirror from time to time and ask himself what’s been achieved over the years with regard to the Somerton Body Case .. this is after publishing a book born of early frustration then taking further note of the hundreds and thousands of words written about the case since, not to mention watching and listening to all the the TV productions national and international, at times resisting the impulse to throw an object at the screen. Show me a heavy ashtray bouncing off Littlemore’s polished noggin just once!
My copy of Gerry Feltus’s book is in an extremely dilapidated state, both covers separated from the spine, notes overwritten by more notes and leaves curled over for important reasons long forgotten. We used to chat Gerry and I, but no longer. Pity that.
The inquest papers ! I’ve taken to ripping off small pieces and chewing them on nights when sleep is hard to come by, hoping the soporific effect of reading the depositions works as well when they are digested. They don’t.
Then there have been the online skirmishes, some still unresolved. World War Three with Nick Pelling followed by a vigorous and continuing firefight with John Sanders, who seems a little short of detail at the time of writing, which is usual, and of course there was the trench warfare with an obstinate Gordon Cramer. Now resolved. And not forgetting the sporadic gun fire with Derek Abbott and John Ruffles, both of whom were in the thick of the early fighting but confoundingly AWOL at the recent and decisive moment.
‘You piss people off.’ Ruffles informed me a little rudely some months ago when we spoke on the phone. I was more than flattered when he picked it up but I guess it didn’t come across that way. Ruffles said he’s an old South Bondi lad … I’ve asked around. He isn’t.
Abbott on the other hand allowed his UoA students to misinform the general public back in the very early days when they mistakenly recorded for Wikipedia posterity that the missing Tom Reade from the Cycle was in fact named Tom Keane. Then he discourteously had me temporarily banned from a Reddit thread for strongly insisting that he correct the error. He didn’t so I did. It didn’t help our relationship.
Some time later one of his engineering students emailed me a strong denial of any responsibility of misinforming the teeming masses … I forget the boy’s name but these days he’s probably designing forward thrust engines that only go backwards and good luck to him.
By the way, that’s where the title tomsbytwo was born. Nothing like rubbing it in.
So as you can see it’s hard to make friends in this business, particularly when personal beliefs are summarily challenged by a rank outsider. Everyone gets very tribal, very testy – harsh words are exchanged and many drawbridges are raised. Throughout it all however the stalwarts remain at the home barricades .. ill fed and badly armed but still at their station. Troopers all.
Clive, BD, dude47, misca the lurker, Mr Smith, and the mysterious newcomer Пожалуйста, otherwise known as Russian Boris, because translating his online moniker into its real meaning is meaningless (and you’re quite welcome, Boris).
So, what’s there to show for the bloodshed? Where’s the Somerton loot?
(1) The Unknown Man’s name was Keane, initial T.
(2) His profession was stealing cars.
(3) The tools found in his suitcase confirmed it.
(4) .. including the black substance analyst Cowan failed to identify.
(5) The man seen on the evening of November 30 was not the man found dead on the morning of December first.
(6) The police investigation was inept.
(7) Gerry Feltus’s book was self-serving.
(8) The Coroner failed to take proper notice of a deposition that would have changed the course of the investigation.
All eight are good, all solid, but not many of the above will appreciate their value. So the stand-off remains.