|Bret Christian's speech at 'The Mickelberg Stitch' Book Launch - 12/08/2002|
you all for coming to the official launch of The Mickelberg Stitch. It is
an important occasion.
My name in
Bret Christian. I'm a journalist and a friend of Avon's for 25 years,
long before the mint swindle. Way back then Avon was publishing a suburban
newspaper that had the journalistic guts to make the rest of Perth's press
look like an arm of government.
It may seem odd to launch a book 17 years after it as first published, but The Mickelberg Stitch is no ordinary book.
There are many good reasons this book did not have an official launch in 1985. For a start, it was pretty hard to launch a book in the middle of the night at Perth Airport. What happened was that the original edition of the book was printed in Singapore.
The book was much-anticipated. The rumours in Perth about the dynamite it contained were already around, but where were the books? Turns out it missed being loaded on the plane. I think Avon and his ever-loyal distributor Charlie Thomas were spotted jumping up and down on the runway shouting at the night sky.
The first defamation writ against Avon personally was issued by a detective named Tony Lewendowski.
I think it's
Avon's never-say die attitude and sense of humour that have enabled him
to survive so far.
The lucky few readers who got in early and bought a copy of The Stitch before the book was banned were riveted, fascinated and appalled by its contents.
As a journalist,
it struck me what a superb work in investigative journalism this book
is. Ten years ago I nominated The Mickelberg Stitch and its sequel, Split
Image, for a Walkley Award, the highest journalism award in Australia.
But no-one wanted to know.
Avon's commitment and enthusiasm to getting the truth out there is an inspiration to us all.
It is a direct
result of The Mickelberg Stitch that Mr Lewendowski has made his amazing
Avon's peculiar Irish enthusiasm and excitability have sometimes got him into hot water. We'll find out how hot and how deep when he is sentenced in the Full Court of Western Australia on Thursday.
But our society
badly needs its Avon Lovells to keep it honest.