Cracker by Damian Christie

Sit & Spin

After thirty-odd years, Deep Throat has finally stepped out of the shadows and confirmed his identity. Being born in the same year as Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, the mystery had never featured highly in my adult consciousness.

I'd previously thought Deep Throat was Linda Lovelace.

This made for an interesting incident when I received an email from a friend the other day, hunting for an informant, or as she put it, a "deep throat".

My mind boggled.

Maybe 91-year old former FBI Director Mark Felt wanted a little time in the sun before retiring into the earth. Maybe he yearned for the highest honour in American society – appearing on a talkshow. Maybe he'd hoped Woodward & Bernstein would spill their guts

(And yes, I'd previously credited Woodward & Bernstein with writing The Pirates of Penzance…)

In this day and age where journalists, politicians, and all manner of confidantes leak more than Felt's nonagenarian bladder, who'd have thought the two hacks would stay true to their word?

Now that we've got the Watergate scandal out of the way, we can move on to more pressing matters. In particular, a local riddle that has held my attention for almost a decade now. Perhaps one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in New Zealand politics. Except that I seem to be the only one who cares….

Who wrote The Spin?

Obviously the reason no-one cares is because it wasn't especially well-written, it wasn't particularly insightful, and overall it was about as compelling as Geoff Murphy's Winebox adaptation Spooked. But I just need to know. I feel the same way when I miss the answers to John Campbell's trivia question following the second commercial break.

I even have a copy of The Spin on my bookshelf, and it sits there taunting me. You see, every other New Zealand book I own is signed by the author. It's an epidemic over here, authors running around with pens, waiting to scrawl their name on your shiny new purchase. I've been told that if you can find a copy of I've Been Thinking *not* signed by Richard Prebble, it's actually worth more.

Anyhoo, long story short, I need to have my copy of The Spin signed.

So here are my suspects. I'm willing to add to, or subtract from, this list if I receive strong leads or solid denials:

Simon Carr. Simon gains points for actually being a writer. From what I'm told he largely wrote Act's early flurry of books (does this put Prebble's signature on "I've Been Thinking" in the same category as Helen's art fraud?) Even Rodney admits "Prebble's book" wasn't a solo effort.

While Simon may actually be too skilled a writer to have penned The Spin, the time constraints required (remember it was released during the interregnum, before Winston jumped into bed with Jim Bolger) could explain any lowering of standards.

Murry McCully. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on McCully. When The Spin was released, Muzza was very, very interested in keeping tabs on all the publicity it generated. Someone, I think it may have been Linda Clark, also thought it was McCully, recalling he'd used a phrase from the book before its release. Circumstantial evidence of course, but sometimes you've gotta go with your gut.

Michael Laws. The only person in New Zealand to actually get a stiffy watching "Spin Doctors", Laws is largely responsible for bringing the 'Dark Art' of media manipulation into the public's imagination. If anyone were going to write a book to boost the sexiness of his profession – rather than the mundane reality of trying to get the skid-marks out of Tuku's underpants – it'd be Laws. On the downside, it's impossible to believe Laws would do anything without taking credit for it.

Any suggestions?