"The Prez" By David Spiteri #274

 ‘’The Prez” by David Spiteri

‘Shovelling shit is no way to spend a Saturday morning, but that’s what Peter Winifred and his mate Brian Corrigan did when they were twelve’. And so, David Spiteri, long time Rosebank resident, begins his story about the formation of one of the first outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia. Peter, known as Winnie, and Brian are already enterprising in their ability to make a few dollars collecting manure and selling it door to door to their neighbours. Little did they know then that in the not too distant future they would stop peddling manure and start distributing a different sort of shit, making more money than they could have possibly imagined. Big Kev and Ocker would join Winnie and Brian to become founding members of The Miners, one of the first outlaw motorcycle gangs in the country.

‘The Prez’’ charts the club’s growth from the early 60’s through to the mid 80’s. David’s down to earth, conversational prose paints lives where frequent, explicit sexual encounters, episodes of extreme violence and regular drug use was the norm. It also traces the beginnings of the now infamous and well documented links with the illegal drug industry.

There appears to be no shortage of women up for group sex in the bikie world. When a couple of off duty nurses accept an offer to visit the clubhouse with Winnie and Big Kev, Winnie assures them that the only thing that might happen to them that they won’t like is perhaps losing a game of pool. Despite this surfeit of female flesh, they mostly seem to settle down with one regular woman and interestingly their regular women for the most part don’t seem too bothered by their infidelities – or perhaps it’s an ‘’out of sight out of mind’’ thing.

While true stories of bikies and their clubs have been popular for years, this is the first one (as far as I’m aware) written by a former president and as such was a risky undertaking in many ways. David says that while recovering from an accident some years ago, well-meaning friends gave him some of these bikie books to read, none of which rang true so he decided to tell it how it how it really was. Of course all of the names and locations have been changed, for obvious reasons – but all events in the book are real.

Some of the violence is hard to read. There’s one scene involving socks and a blow torch that had me squirming. And if you’re looking for political correctness you best look elsewhere. One memorable party scene has a dwarf balancing a tray of cocaine on his head while muttering ‘’The pay’s good.”

What is apparent is that there is a strong code of behaviour that exists in outlaw motorcycle clubs. Winnie and the others formulate the rules for their club early on in the book. Loyalty to the club is paramount – with only loyalty to family more important. In this way, Winnie says, the club becomes family. How this loyalty is demonstrated and how retribution is delivered when loyalty goes astray kept me turning the pages.

By Lea Wilson

Purchase a copy from The Book Warehouse, tell them that you read the review in the Village Journal and go in the draw to win a $30 voucher.

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