Michael Rubbo | Bates Car
17510
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Bates Car: Sweet as a Nut

I was in the UK for some other reason when I heard about this man, Mr. Bate, a country farmer, extremely eccentric, who was running his car on methane gas harvested from his pigpen.

I was probably interested because I had recently done two films for the UN, one in Fiji and one in the Solomon Islands. A UN conference called habitat, this was in the 1970s, was focused on sustainable themes and decided that short films would enliven the conference proceedings. The one in the Solomons was about low-cost housing and probably called, Low-cost housing for the Solomon Islands. I have no copy of either film. I forgot what the Fijian one was called but it also was about harvesting methane gas. In that case, the Indian gentleman who had the methane set up on his property near Suva, was using it to cook and light his house.

I’m sure that I must’ve had this in mind when I heard about Mr Bates and set off to do a single day shooting at his farm. A  short but charming report resulted, what today would be a news or magazine item. Both films were shot by a dear friend an excellent cameraman who has long since passed away, Ian Stocks.