Interview: Mick Waters
Big Sky Wire: Road Trips and Alby Mangels
Big Sky Wire is a regular Coastalwatch column produced by Michele Lockwood & Andrew Kidman. This week, Andrew Kidman speaks to Mick Waters about filmmaking, packing up the family for the great Australian road-trip and the influence of Alby Mangels
Mick Waters is a surf filmmaker from the North Coast of New South Wales. For the last year he’s been one of the A -Cameramen working on the Spirit of Akasha project. Saving the coin earned, readying himself and his family for their second journey around Australia that begins this coming February. Mick plans to document his travels and release a follow up to Little Black Wheels - a film that documented Mick’s original adventures around our great land. I caught up with Mick to ask him about his inspirations and plans.
What inspired you want to take off around Australia again?
Alby Mangel's 'World Safari 3'. That guy is a legend and had it wired back in the day. All these surf movies with travel pieces are just poor imitations on Alby's work.
Don't you mean Alby Falzon?
Alby Falzon? Nah, mate. Alby Mangels. I grew up in the 80s not the 70s. My weekends were taken up playing footy, watching Souths lose, listening to the Sunnyboys and watching Alby Mangels repeats on TV. Who wouldn't want to be Alby Mangels? Short denim shorts, all over tan, no shirt, Judy Green travelling with him and his dog and all of this travel captured on film for eternity. That guy rules.
What kind of rig are you taking on this trip?
We are taking my wife's 4wd and a 1985 Viscount Aerolite. Alby would take the same Van if he had a family I am sure. My Transporter didn't make the cut on this trip as the girls in the Family outvoted the boys because apparently my car smells and isn't cool?
What's it like travelling with a young family, how do they cope with it?
Well for those long drives you just put them in the back, put on World Safari 1, 2 and 3 and it seems to sort it self out pretty quickly. No "are we there yet's" when those movies are playing.
As for the rest of it, well there are great days and days you just can't wait to end. It's all unpredictable and that is what makes it so much fun. Following your nose or whatever else and it all seems to work itself out. The kids love it because it is like one big adventure or school excursion. They learn so much new stuff they wouldn't in school and get educated in many different ways which seems to make them grow up a bit quicker. Maybe not quicker, they just seem more self-contained.
How do they keep up with their schoolwork?
Luckily, my wife Judy, I mean Susan is a PE Teacher, so she is going to home school them. We are off to Casino this week to see the Distance Education people so the kids can meet their teachers and can get all the work and resources sorted
Life must really change from the day to day routine of living in one place, is this what you like about it?
Most definitely. You can plan things but most of the time you are playing it by ear. You become open to so much more because you have time on your hands. You are more responsive to what is happening now and living with what is in front of you. When you are at home you can't do that, a lot of our days are planned and that is just the way it is. Cross things off and keep on moving down that list.
What are some of the places you are looking forward to returning to?
Tasmania is most probably number one on the list. That is where we plan on spending our biggest stint. Susan and I first went there in 1994 in my old Kombi and this will be our first trip back together, but this time we will have three kids with us. They are excited about going on the 'big boat' and sleeping on it. I am looking forward to South Australia, West Australia and Victoria for selfish surfing reasons. But, we are heading for the first time to Northern Territory, so that will be fun. Can't wait!
How do you think this kind of travel around your home informs your life?
I am not sure? I know I love Australia and it meets all the criteria when you are looking for somewhere to travel and it is all here in our own backyard. So, why not make the most of it? My salary doesn't allow for expensive junkets overseas. Just lock up the house, pack the belongings into a van and go. Plus, I don't want to get to sixty years old, buy a Winnebago and travel around with a stiff back and bad case of haemorrhoid's complaining about how I should have done it when I was younger. Alby Mangels didn't.
Is it hard coming back home and settling down again?
It is always good coming home especially if you love where you live. Life can quickly consume you though and you notice it doesn't take long to slip into the rut again if you let it. But, no complaints. We live in heaven up here, so it is all good.
What kind of film are you looking to make this time?
'World Safari 4'.
For more about Andrew Kidman's film celebrating 40 years of Morning of The Earth, head to the Spirit of Akasha blog here.
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