A cautionary tale. Sometimes, before you come off the long run, it pays to look around, just to see who might be in harm’s way when the pieces start to fly.

“You see, there he was last month, standing up in front of a room full of crooks and spivs, and the gagglers and cheaper celebrities who feed off them.”

That’s fabled News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt, home paper the Herald Sun, warming up in his attack today on Melbourne University Publishing chair Alan Kohler (yes, Kohler also works in this building as co-publisher of Business Spectator). “He”, Kohler, should be ashamed, Bolt reasons, for being involved in the publication of Mick Gatto’s recent memoir. The book was launched with a lunch at Melbourne’s Grossi Florentino. Cue Godfather theme and plate up the marinara.

“What he was doing there, God knows. With an underworld figure like Gatto sitting right next to him, grinning! Gatto, feted as our newest celebrity!”

Andrew, you see does not approve of this juxtaposition of academic publisher and celebrity felon. Kohler was there to make one of the speeches to “those assembled crooks, lairs, carpetbaggers and oglers who’d packed the Grossi Florentino”.

We can now reveal that at Kohler’s table, opposite Gatto and next to Kohler for lunch was one Simon Pristel. Editor of the Herald Sun. An ogler, Andrew? A crook? A carpetbagger? Surely not.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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