by KATE HUNTER
I did it again this morning. Even though I told myself I wouldn’t.
Along with most of Brisbane, I gossiped about the Baden-Clay case.
I was at my daughter’s netball practice, and another mum said her husband, a lawyer, couldn’t help with the kids this morning because he had to be in court.
‘His client isn’t named Gerard, I hope?’ I joked. Ha ha ha.
Sometimes I despise myself.
Because as soon as the words were our of my mouth, I looked at our 9 year old girls darting about the netty court – their biggest concern being pulled up for stepping. Then I shut up, remembering the three Baden Clay girls aren’t actors on CSI or characters in a book, but kids no different to mine. Except they’ve lost their mum in the worst of circumstances – violently and famously – and now they face losing their father too.
Brisbane works hard to shake off its ‘big country town’ label. But like any city, we’re a collection of gossipy little villages. It’s three degrees of separation in suburbia, and you don’t have to look far to know someone who went to school with Allison Baden-Clay, or worked with her husband, or whose parents knew their parents. The rumor mill is working overtime, and last night, updates on Baden Clay’s arrest filled the boring bits in the State Of Origin telecast.
How weird that only 48 hours ago we were feeling bad about how we’d vilified Lindy Chamberlain for how she looked and behaved after her daughter’s death.
It was so much fun, back then, to play armchair detective and chat about whether it was possible to fit a dead baby into a camera bag. It must never happen again, we said.
But it’s irresistible, this type of murder – a real-life whodunit, and it’s happening just up the road. And these days, news doesn’t stop, even when there’s no news, and the opportunities for speculation are endless. There’s even a website where you can post your personal theories, based on what you heard at the hairdresser. But the hairdresser’s sister’s boyfriend once bought a house from a guy who worked with Baden Clay, so he would know. Sometimes I wonder why we bother with police at all.
Gerard Baden Clay’s arrest is news. His trial will be covered in salacious detail.
And all the while, three little girls will be trying to get through each day without their parents – going to school, maybe playing netball. Just like my girls. I must remember that.
Kate Hunter is a mother of three and the writer of all sorts of things. In addition her work as a columnist at Mamamia, she’s an advertising copywriter with hundreds of ads under her belt and an occasional panellist on The Gruen Transfer. She’s also written The Mosquito Advertising trilogy of novels for young readers about a bunch of kids who start their own advertising agency. You can follow her ramblings on twitter @katelhunter (and you should – she’s brilliant).