The Mandarin of Marvel comics was a Chinese scientist, exceptional martial artist and purportedly a descendant of Genghis Khan. And that was in the 1920’s. The ‘Mandarins’ – a term used with a smidgen of contempt to describe the poor sods running the public service for the government of the day – in that era in Canberra would have a jolly good laugh at the new hot off the presses Mandarin Code by Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis. Is it a comic, a boys own adventure or just a rollicking good story?
All of that I reckon!
To see our now grown up city through the eyes of Uhlmann and Lewis is to know, but not really know, maybe just have been told, a few of the seemingly preposterous parts of this romp around the beds, the business and the b… s… of government using the real to fabricate and fictionalize what is a damn good story. But then of course we longtime Canberrans know a thing or two too with the myths and legends passed through the generations and spoken of when the oldies get together.
The machinations behind the scenes to get this mandarin marmalade of a story onto the small screen is now in the boardrooms of Foxtel, Matchbox, Screen Australia and Screen ACT. And that would be so good for us to show we can be the centre of the lights cameras and action. Cameos of Rupert Murdoch strolling in the fog along Mort Street and Kerry Stokes at Julianas would put a smile on a few faces.
Launched by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott who found a lull in the business of current government history in the making saying he was surprised at the size of the gathered audience, probably suspicious of a few and ably pretended bewilderment at the “coruscating analysis” in this novel novel. But wait there will be more he asserted, as the memory stick is still in play.
I love that some of our favourite journalists get a mention as players in the media landscape and that the formidable Foreign Minister who in the blink of an eye can send her department into a frenzy, uses social media to connect with her world, but is still there. You know where I mean if you’ve read the Marmalade Files. And you must before running up Mount Ainslie with the early morning pack, meditating on the mezzanine, eating drinking and making merry all over our fair city and eventually coming back to the brink.
The Mandarin Code is at Dymocks where the city shop has a rather interesting window display with that universal outline of a dead body a stark feature. I’m told the model for that is well and truly still alive.