A biker’s tale

Rosebank author David Spiteri.
Rosebank author David Spiteri. Cathy Adams

Men who stick by their mates and who will do anything to defend their code of honour, even if it means violence.

What they have in common: a love of motorbikes and "the brotherhood".

Welcome to outlaw motorcycle clubs as they are portrayed in a no-holds-barred book by long-term Rosebank resident and former Lismore fish shop owner David Spiteri.

The Prez is a gritty account of the birth of the clubs in Australia, based on David's own experiences, and it's already attracting plenty of media attention.

It's packed with sex and violence, explicit language, drug-trading and not a little bit of humour ... just the kind of thing that's sure to make it a bestseller.

Says David: "I started writing it 10 years ago when I had a bad motorcycle accident.

"I was in hospital and everyone kept bringing me bikie books. But they had no real soul.

"No one had told our story, which is a social history of the working class."

David says he was 10 when he saw the famous bikie film The Wild One.

"It excited me," he says. "I couldn't wait to grow up."

He joined the Bankstown Vampires but, even then, he says, bikies were looked down upon.

"That's never changed. But it's a false perception of what clubs are about."

At 17, he signed up with the Royal Australian Navy and spent the next 20 years in the services.

It kept him out of some trouble, he says, and it's where he got most of his tattoos, with the exception of the one that adorns his shoulder blades, a tribute to the Nomads bikie club he helped found.

David started the Byron Bay chapter and still belongs.

For most members, the clubs are about being part of an extended family, he says.

"A lot of people join motorbike clubs for the wrong reasons.

"They bully people and stand over them and that brings disrespect.

"What they wear on their backs reflects on us."

The result: usually they're given a hiding, kicked out of the club and their motorbike is taken.

Violence is part of the bikie lifestyle, acknowledges David.

Of The Prez, he says: "I had to change the characters, not to put anyone offside.

"But what is in the book is 100% true."

All the crimes in the book have been through the courts, he adds.

So what's next? A movie, hopes David, with a Russell Crowe-type playing "the Prez".

And the publisher...

What the publishers, HarperCollins say: "David Spiteri is a long-standing member and former president of one of Australia's first outlaw motorcycle clubs. He has seen the clubs develop from loose affiliations of riders to the well structured and well connected groups we see todaywith links to police, politicians and layers. In this never-before-told story, Spiteri puts himself at risk to reveal everything from the drug trade which funds the clubs' operations to the extreme violence that continues to make them infamous. The true extent of the clubs' corruption is exposed and the treachery and subsequent retribution enforced by their own brand of law known as 'the code' is brought to light. This is a truly shocking and compelling look at Australia's bikie culture from a man who has been there from the start."

Topics:  big read northern star weekender

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