In a sort of response to the post; “Ahead of Our Times: Is Political Progressivism Part of the Australia’s Creative DNA?“, I offer this post up. While I do not dispute the best intentions of Denis Bright’s piece, I would contest the best approach to bring art to the people … I would rather that “art” as we call it, be more a growth FROM the root UP rather than dropped as fruit from the branch DOWN …
Unfortunately, as with many good intentions, my meaningful attempt to gain support from the folk mentioned below in this piece was sabotaged by those ever present warring “issues” between the parties and I fear that while the notion of an idea was appreciated and will be adopted, it has been taken out of my hands completely with a govvy’ grant applied for and already would appear to be morphing into another notion completely, with only the skeletal remains of the original idea kept in place … if at all!
Anyway, here is the original sent to the Progress Assn’ …
“Just a notion of an idea.
A couple of weeks back I put up a story on my blog; “The Seven Weeping Men of Sedan.” I wrote that piece along with another local-centred story … that I also put up there, it stretches out to nearly 7000 words … It is a romance that I wanted to locate locally using local names and identifying landmarks that I feel demonstrate the Australian quirkiness of names … places like The Bulldog Run … The Sleeper Track … The Seven Sisters Junction, etc … I wanted to use these places as a background for the developing love story of the young couple … I wanted the story to show how a story grows from a point of location to a moment of … or perhaps a lifetime of … commitment to each other … sure … in this cynical age of everyone for themselves, romantic love can be seen as a fantasy … a youthful delusion best grown out of … and I can see from my own experience of grown children, the idea of romance of any kind today is looked upon with the curled lip of scepticism … But I don’t know … I think there is still a little bit of room for the desire of close affection and loyalty … and (can I say it?) … Love … right into old age.
Here is a link to the story if you want to read it.
For that story, I claim bragging rights to being the first author to place the action of a romantic tragedy in the town of Sedan!
I had a notion of an idea for such stories to be the basis … along with pieces of local history, to lay a foundation for the construction of a new direction for the town of Sedan … here in the Murray Mallee.
Sedan is just another of those slowly disappearing towns hanging on by the skin of its teeth in what was once a thriving farming area of the Germanic pioneers, but is now a fringe marginal farming district. Weather change and market needs has made the averages of cropping/stock yields turn from good to medium to now marginal … and in doing so has brought about a shift in perception for those who inherit the old farms from a career in agriculture to a more reliable income in the Barossa wine industry or other pursuits. So many old cottages have been let go for too long and much infrastructure neglected … from a once thriving centre with numerous businesses catering to a large labour force to now only three functioning operations. It is fading away.
I wanted to shift the perception from a sighted remnant of a town to one jam-packed with history, mythology and mystery … Ideally located between two major tourist drawcards of the Barossa Valley and the Murray River, Sedan has the history and the silent, brooding nature of those Germanic Pioneers to provide the mystery and the mythology for an interesting stop-over to any travellers through the town.
Sedan is different than most country towns that have the one main-street drive-through in that it is located at a crossroad north, south, east and west … traffic to and from the river district of that section of the Murray River has to pass through Sedan … and where you have crossroads, some traffic has to stop … and once stopped, people have a tendency to look about their position … and there you have them! … you just have to have the attraction to hold them.
And that is where the Sedan Hotel comes in.
Of the three remaining businesses operating in Sedan, only the hotel has the capacity to attract and hold the public … the other two being service places for passing travellers. I took that story of the “weeping men of Sedan” to the mine-hosts of that hotel and explained my ambition and the methodology for ascertaining the possible success of such a plan that I thought would be of benefit to all in the town … It was to leave several copies – anonymous – in A4 loose leaf – tied at the corners with soft cord – on the bar-top just to see if there was interest at all in the notion of a different story-line for the town … ie; would there be enough interest locally AND with the hotel managers to create an aura of mystery and mythology of the district to push the envelope further up the chain of command to the progress association and thence to the local council for further promotion.
As it turned out, there was enough interest in those pieces to encourage me to approach the Progress Association with this prospect.
As I said … the stories are there, the mystery is there as is the history … all it needs is mixing and marketing … and those stories were perhaps the blue-touch paper that could light up the imagination seeking for more!
I would propose to the progress association that we investigate the celebrating of a ceremony … perhaps a kind of “gathering” at the hotel to introduce amateur story-tellers and yarn spinners from – SPECIFICALLY – the Murray Mallee to each other in an atmosphere of convivial homeliness … tongues encouraged to be loosened with a modicum of amber fluid or vino. I would hold to the “Amateur” status for the early days so as to encourage the more reclusive or shy story tellers to yield their knowledge of tales and events of the area.
I could imagine a bit of music accompaniment at such an event would add to the atmosphere, but I would bulk at letting TOO MUCH guitar rather than say … ukulele … or banjo … or hand accordion squeeze-box … to give it that quirky feel to the stories … rather than have it fall back onto a folk-festival event.
I can see that if timed to coincide with the Barossa wine and food festival, it could lure many “over the hill” to taste a little of what we have to offer that is quirky, mysterious and different on the Murray Flats. An annual “gathering” of story-tellers and yarn spinners could re-brand the town with a completely new appreciation.
What do you think?”
(Sent on the 24/4/2019).
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!