Below is Part IV of my Tasmanian Travelogue commissioned by Trouble Magazine Editor Steve Proposch. While part 1, 2, and 3 (to be found here:
) were duly paid a miserly 50 dollars an A4 page (check ASA standards for decent rates!), part 4, which was equally commissioned, was never paid by Trouble Magazine Owner who claims to support and respect artists. You can check the advertising rates that are being applied for this magazine at the bottom of this travelogue.
NO ARTIST WISHES TO BE EXPLOITED AND ROBBED. I WILL NEVER EVER CONTRIBUTE TO THIS PUBLICATION AGAIN. I guess this is typical of what to expect of someone who wants to take advantage of distant collaboration.
I find it utterly disgusting.
One morning I woke up and saw over forty vintage cars parked in front of my hotel. As part of Tasmania’s Veteran Car Club, a group of retirees enjoying Tasmania’s laid-back lifestyle to the full were on a country trip nonchalantly preparing for their next rally. The great freedom you experience when driving a vintage car is that you need not buckle up, according to legislation. Why? Probably because of the cars’ low maximum speed and the fact that these collector’s items were not originally fitted with seatbelts. How convenient!
They were all heading for Bicheno, a township where you may meet award-winning novelist Arabella Edge who runs a cosy chalet and Glamorgan Spring Bay Council Mayor Bertrand Cadart. Donned in conspicuous outfits, quipping his guests with the most surprising ideas, Cr Cadart, whose inquisitive mind keeps him mentally alert, cuts a very colourful figure in the Australian political arena.
Widely known as “The French Mayor”, Cr Cadart has developed a French connection in Tasmania that extends all the way to New Caledonia. Last February, he hosted Nouméa’s Mayor Jean Lèques in the hope to establish partnerships between New Caledonia and Tasmania. School, sport and cultural exchanges, linguistic programmes, investment opportunities and tourism are the main areas where he would like to develop mutual benefits. The French Mayor knows that he has a lot of support and appeal in Nouméa where he returned last June for La Foa’s cinema festival to present George Miller’s Mad Max, a movie in which he played a minor part.
Bertrand Cadart and his fiancée Catherine Fouquet introduced me to the best winemakers in this quaintly picturesque region. I guess there is no denying that the French love their wine! And this certainly contributes to making the French Mayor beam with optimism. He has even turned one of Winston Churchill’s quotes into his motto: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Oddly enough, despite the aging population, a sense of dynamism pervades the region. When interviewed in Square (an Arte programme that most Australians would dismiss as arty-farty), Austrian movie director Ulrich Seidl, who was lamenting that our society was squeezing out solidarity while increasingly getting individualistic and egocentric, would probably have qualified his jaundiced vision if he saw how Tassie solidarity manifested itself under so many guises: locals volunteering for the reptile rescue or in the emergency services, dedicated men restoring sailing boats in Tassie Men’s Sheds, environmentalists saving Tasmanian Devils, culture vultures setting up and running a Francophile festival, etc. – every little helps. The closely-knit township communities are united in boosting the local economy that suffered from a severe blow ever since wealthy environmentalists Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood bought out the the Triabunna woodchip to shut it down.
But passion-driven Bertrand Cadart, who has made Glamorgan Spring Bay Council the first motorcycle-friendly municipality in the Southern Hemisphere (Here comes the Southern Hemisphere complex again!), hopes to bring optimism-tainted solutions to his adoptive country. The stakes are high but the odds may not be against him. The future will tell.
Jean-François Vernay acknowledges the financial assistance of La Coopération régionale du Gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie for generously sponsoring this Tasmanian experience.