If the saturation of media interest in the fate of Schapelle Leigh Corby seems somewhat absurd, consider this: yesterday morning she was a prisoner in a walled compound in a tourist suburb of Bali.
By last night, after a mad chase through the streets of Bali with hundreds of journalists in hot (and sweaty) pursuit, she once again became a prisoner in a walled compound in a tourist suburb of Bali; the new one just 4.8 kilometres and one suburb removed from its predecessor.
Admittedly her new residence — the Sentosa Seminyak — with $400 a night rooms, soft beds and luxury spa promises a distinctly more pleasant experience than her un-airconditioned, concrete cell of the past nine years.
But free she is not. The intense media interest, and the exclusive, reputedly million-dollar deal her family has signed with Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program, Mike Willesee presiding, means she could not stop outside the prison gates, she could not look at the sky, breathe the air of freedom, savour the moment.
Instead she was rushed from place to place, head bowed, jostled, dressed in a hat and full-face garb.
After two stops, finishing with an interview with officials, the police left and she was handed over to family.
Outside, the reason for the full cover became clear. Willesee calmly installed in a convoy of black SUVs. His film crew was not at the window slipping on the mossy drain. They already knew Corby would come out a side door. They already knew she would ride with them. They knew their story would be completed in no rush.
As they wrote it in the contract, it came to pass. With unhurried ease, they drove her away. Bali’s traffic, a blight to the rest of us, must have seemed untroubling to them.
Their subject was already in their custody.