GOLDEN MILES (FILM VERSION)
Even for all the account of writing Golden Miles you can link to off the book's page here, there is a whole other political side to the project that’s worth recounting if not so much for me to spill bile as the sharing of its reality of the writer’s life might be salutary. In a way, Golden Miles was almost as if fated from the first. In fact, it became my most fraught experience in four decades in the game. When the second edition of the book came out in 2009, Wakefield wasn't so much its second publisher as its fifth, after the first wasn't Lothian at all but a start-up outfit called Coloumb Communications, who went bust just as the book's artwork was finished. Coloumb paid off some of their debts by novating the rights over to Lothian. Then the title went through two more takeovers before it finally found a refuge at Wakefield. But it wasn’t so much the book as the film that was even more fraught.
Like Buried Country, Golden Miles was conceived equally as a book, film and soundtrack CD. I thought – naively it transpired – that off the back of the success of Buried Country, it had to look good. Sure it was ‘edgy’ as the idiots in TV say, but so was Buried Country. But if the book took five publishers to get to a second edition, the film took three sets of producers and still never got made. In fact, it was ripped off, and became the subject of a legal dispute.
In very short, I got screwed. I don't know why I'm still telling myself that discretion is the better part of bitterness. But, I got ripped off. My chain of title was clearly supplanted. By 2009 when the second edition of the book came out, my third set of film-producers and I had just received modest development funding from Film Victoria, and we were producing a showreel voiced by Julia Zamero - when we learnt that my second producer on the project, the same Machiavellian fraud who produced Long Way to the Top, Paul Clarke, now had his own version of it that he was shopping around. I mean, he took an interest in Golden MIles, and then just took off with it. And then when we learnt that his Wide Open Road series had won full production funding, we knew we were dead in the water. The graphics above to tell the story; Wide Open Road was so ordinary because everything it did was a second-best solution, and the reason for that was because Golden Miles had already used all the best ideas, so Wide Open Road had to avoid using them directly in order to avoid outright plagiarism. The whole thing was and is an object lesson in how intellectual property and non-fiction writing are not exactly mutually exclusive concepts but certainly very reluctant bedfellows. I just try to console myself with the knowledge that at least I've got stuff worth ripping off.
When a viewer going by the tag of ‘Photon’ posted a comment on Wide Open Road’s ABC Message Board on November 8, 2011, which asked, “How about a spin off from Wide Open Road concentrating on the muscle car era in both Oz and the USA?” there were a number of responses in the affirmative, including one from ‘mymonaro’ on November 11, which said, “While watching the program I was thinking that a program could be made about a book which I own. The title of the book is Golden Miles: Sex, Speed & The Australian Muscle Car, author is Clinton Walker. It is a great read.” Funny that.