As you’ll have seen from Rowan Dean’s announcement yesterday, our hitherto anonymous online editor, Christian Kerr, custodian of Flat White, died suddenly earlier this week.
Christian was more than just our online editor. He was the acutely perspicacious political analyst Charles Pier, media maven Marion Tomsey and several other regular Flat White contributors. His opinions and reflections, often acerbic, always witty and insightful, informed as well as provoked and entertained.
His commitment to Flat White and website was total. Even when he was hospitalised, which happened all too regularly in recent years, he continued to edit and write. Wherever he could plug in his laptop, Christian worked.
The Spectator Australia was enlivened and enriched by Christian’s presence. His preference was to stay behind the scenes as he believed Flat White was not about him but about you, our readers and contributors. And his chosen pseudonymous anonymity gave him greater freedom to express himself to the full.
Christian will be mourned and missed by many, not just in The Spectator Australia family, but from across his outstanding career as a journalist, commentator and political adviser – a senior adviser in the Howard government; the legendary political gossip and provocateur Hillary Bray of Crikey, when Crikey was sensible and centrist and not the lefty rag of today; and as a respected journalist and Strewth columnist at the Australian.
I will miss a friend, colleague, confidant. A lover of the finer things of life and pop culture. Political tragic and inveterate gossip. A big and passionate heart in a sometimes-struggling body. His baritone growling drawl of a voice. His infectious laugh. His ridiculing of the ridiculous, especially of politicians. His ability to see political discourse as a multi-faceted and pluralistic battle of ideas, and his relish for that battle.
I will also deeply miss our gossipy chats and emails in preparing my daily newsletters for you, and his wise counsel on things beyond journalism and politics. He was not perfect – he did have eruptions of temper, which usually subsided as quickly as they came on – but he leaves behind a big hole in many lives.
Christian’s suddenly leaving us is a sad reminder that the words ‘talk again tomorrow’ are a statement of probability, not certainty. Please give your friends and loved ones a call, and settle your differences if you have them, in case tomorrow never comes.
On behalf of myself, and our digital production team of Gareth, Alec and Sam who also worked closely with Christian to make our website and Flat White the must-reads they are, farewell good friend.
Terry Barnes writes our daily newsletter, Morning Double Shot
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