peteg's blog - noise - books - 2011 02 18 PeterLloyd InsideStory

Peter Lloyd: Inside Story

/noise/books | Link

I've been keen to read this book since it was published back in October 2010. Luckily for me Borders was offering 25% off and free shipping from their online store, an offer which doubtlessly triggered their bankruptcy. I find it ironic that these bricks-and-mortar shops bleat about how the internet is destroying commerce while offering steeper discounts via that very same channel than I can get in-store anywhere.

Anyway, I knew of Peter Lloyd from his coverage of events in Asia for the ABC, and was saddened to hear that he'd gotten busted for drugs in Singapore in 2008. I completely understand the need to do drugs while in Singapore, not that I condone being there in the first place. Given that he lived in India and previously Bangkok and presumably had events to cover elsewhere, why in hell subject oneself to the tyranny of Lee? Well, his boyfriend works for Singapore Air.

Lloyd is one of those intelligent restless people who quickly learns enough about whatever to sound authoritive without actually being so, and moves quickly enough not to be caught out. Therefore his small stuff-ups irritate me immensely, such as his "mister ant" — it is highly unlikely that he met a male ant in his Singaporean gaol cell. Also Australia is not the biggest continent (that would be the one he was incarcerated on), merely the biggest island. Moreover the swearing in this book brings the tone down and does little more than signify that he's in a non-professional mode here. He doesn't even pretend to be objective about Lee Kuan Yew, and it is unfortunate that his venting about Lee/Chinese supremacy is so damn unsurprising, or that the wheels of justice are square-shaped in that city.

Perhaps fatally for the longevity of this narrative, doing time in a Singaporean gaol is terminally banal, and possibly even less violent than on the streets of that city. So this is more of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diary, a story of survival by someone who was never going to go under; an account of a small dip in an otherwise upward trajectory that won't even be noticed by the proceeds of crime mob. He's back "home" now, entangled in Lateline; what with Leigh Sales moving to 7:30 he may even be the anchor.

The gay stuff always leaves one wondering who's wearing the trousers. He seems unaware of the cliche/exploitative overtones of/colonial vibes of Western man finds solace in Asian man/woman, and does nothing to defend himself on that front. How did they meet? Who was looking for what? Pisani was great on this front as she always had a reason to be anywhere, and was sure enough of herself to let all this sexual perversity in the orient wash over her.

He leaves us hanging at the end: did he get his diary out? Did he break up with his bloke? We have a right to know!

Here's a thoughtful review by an ex-journo and Lloyd interviewed by David Marr at Gleebooks last November.