Peter’s Blog

I need to place on record my feeling that overwhelmingly throughout my life, my contact with my fellow men, women and children has been a total delight.
It is a recurring pleasure which I experience each day and is among the precious things which makes my life rewarding and worth living, not least because moments of the keenest enjoyment can as readily occur with a complete stranger as with family and friends.



A cherished dream, my book   One small place on earth …  discovering biodiversity where you are,   self-published in August 2019, has been long in the making. Jan Watson created its design template nine years ago. The idea of doing a book seems to have occurred during my stay with Clive Tempest, the website’s first architect, when I was visiting the UK in 2006. By the time Steve Guttormsen and I began sustained work on the book in 2017, much of which I had already written, the imperative was to create a hard copy version of a project whose content is otherwise entirely digital.


People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change – global warming on my website. There are two related reasons. Firstly, if former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2007 remark that climate change is the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age” is true, we have not acted accordingly before or since. Rudd’s statement is only true if we collectively live as if it is true, Rudd included. Instead, our politics has wasted decades favouring business as usual, and a global economy excessively dependent on fossil fuels – in the wilful absence of a politics intent on achieving a low carbon economy. Secondly, although it is open to individuals to strive to live the truth of Rudd’s remarks, the vast majority of people, myself included, do not. I salute those who do. The precautionary principle alone makes me regard climate change as a current planetary crisis, but because I have only marginally changed the way I live, and still wish to fly, I am not inclined to pontificate on the subject.


The ‘Film Diary’ entries are selected items from the diary I keep whenever I am filming. To check location references, click on ‘Tamborine Mountain’ on the top information bar then hit the ‘Tamborine Mountain’ button on the map. 


Not The Brisbane Line / 11.07.2007

I received an email from Sandrine Meats, the Sorbonne student who interviewed me last year about my nefarious past. This was for her dissertation on performance art in the UK in the 60s and 70s. It was a roaring success and she has been awarded a scholarship to undertake a PhD.  Also she been asked by the leading contemporary art magazine in France to write a lengthy article about WHSHT (the loose grouping of artists to which I belonged and whose multi-media and street theatre events I produced).

Now is a good time to respond to Clive’s request for a blog piece about my early career!


It seems surreal to contemplate that while I was having a ball in the avant-garde art scene of late swinging 60s London, the Neocons were starting to put together an agenda that would capture American politics more than thirty years later.

The ball started for me a few years earlier during my time as a student at Hornsey College of Art in north London. I was part of the Light/Sound Workshop which created… Read Complete Text


Other / 27.06.2007

The forum was held at Griffith University in Brisbane from June 25 – 27. I was particularly interested in presentations about biodiversity projects in South East Queensland by two professors from the university.

I had been in contact with one and the other was known to me by name and reputation. I was able to briefly meet both of them.

There were many interesting talks about rainforest in North Queensland as well as in the local area. A talk about fungal conservation in a remnant gallery rainforest was right up my street, given my love of filming fungi.

Hearing the scientists and naturalists talk at the forum, and some of them touch on wanting to find ways to inform the public about their work, confirmed a feeling which I had started to formulate about the potential value of video archiving biodiversity research projects. I mentioned this to both the professors. One found the presence of a documentary crew filming his project (involving scientists from many parts of the world) intrusive. I said it need not be intrusive. I suggested to the other that he should consider video archiving his project using… Read Complete Text


Other / 28.05.2007

It became clear after attending the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol last October that in order to add to my archive I needed to buy an HD (High Definition) camera. I chose a Sony HVRV1P. It is a lot lighter than my trusty Canon XL1.

Editing my previous footage took three years. Remastering from digital tape to DVD and getting the website up and running took a further year. So I was delighted to resume filming at last, on 1st April.

My first subject was three Asian water buffaloes gracing a field next to a main road – rather exotic and picturesque. I made the mistake of immediately viewing the footage on an HD TV. The upshot was that having just forked out a tidy sum for the camera, I found myself forking out a whole lot more on an HD TV. Of course it would have been crazy to film in HD without being able to view the footage on an HD monitor.

The camera tapes run for 64 minutes. I have just started my fifth tape. I plan to add to the Archive one 60 minute DVD at… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 17.05.2007

In 1976, while still living in the UK, I devised an art event based on what I termed a universal political slogan Left is Right. It took the form of an A3  poster bearing the slogan, being sent anonymously to every Member of Parliament, every member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and to the Director General and chairmen of the committees of the Confederation of British Industries, all told to 702 of the most politically active men and women in the country.
The idea of a universal political slogan expressed my disillusionment with politics. At the time I felt that the difference between Labour and Conservative government in practice was barely perceptible in everyday terms. I no longer subscribe to the view that left and right are virtually indistinguishable. However small it may be, the difference between them is crucial, particularly at the time of an election. 

The fundamental distinction between left and right politics is as true today as it ever was. Left politics tends to favour the have little over the have lots and right politics tends to favour the have lots over the have little. 

In the 2000 US… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 11.05.2007

I was never convinced by the almost universally voiced conviction at the time, that the events of 9/11 changed the world. I could not see them in the same light as the end of the Soviet Union symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the end of apartheid in South Africa symbolised by Nelson Mandela walking out of prison. Nor do I now.  For both these events ended decades of oppression affecting  hundreds of millions of people.  What 9/11 did was to unleash the war-monger in GW Bush, with terrible consequences for the world, but I am optimistic that the damage he has caused will begin to be made good at the 2008 US presidential election, particularly if a Democrat wins.

The simultaneous 9/11 attacks were the most devastating terrorist strikes ever and the first instance of the US being hit by an enemy on continental home soil since the 1812 war with Britain.

Hysteria seems to be part of the American psyche. It can be seen in the whooping and hollering of chat-show audiences and in the behaviour associated with the conduct of celebrity trials. Those of OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton… Read Complete Text


Other / 08.05.2007

I had a half-hour live Queensland-wide interview on ABC Radio with Steve Austin, my favourite presenter, which apparently went very well. I enjoyed doing it – though, as ever, there were things I should have mentioned that I didn’t.

Since we launched the archive and website I have done a number of live radio interviews, either over the phone or in the studio. I only do them live, you know. Seriously, I have so far found them a lot of fun. I particularly recall an interview last year with another excellent presenter, Trevor Jackson on ABC Coast FM.