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


Not The Brisbane Line / 02.04.2007

My pet archive spin-off project is the idea of a documentary series about biodiversity.

That was my reason for attending Wildscreen 2006. It was the opportunity to meet producers and senior TV executives and talk to them about my concept, which has the working title The Abundance of Life.

It was always the longest of long shots. As a last throw of the dice, I today sent the concept to the Head of Development at the BBC Natural History Unit. In my covering letter I made it clear that I wanted to entrust the concept entirely to the NHU because I feel that it is uniquely able to make the kind of series I have in mind. Moreover I have no desire to be a filmmaker or cinematographer, even though I would be happy to help develop the concept and possibly be involved in other ways.

Should anything happen you’ll hear about it. Meanwhile I am publishing the material on this site: ‘You read it HERE first’.



Planet earth is teeming with life. Only a fraction of all the species (about 1.8 million)… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 09.02.2007
I hope my Tamborine Mountain Archive will inspire others to do similar projects.

For anyone interested in how I set about it I have made some notes about the process, illustrated with a Flow Chart, extracts from my Film Diary, shot selection lists etc.

See my Notes.

This is not an exhaustive account. Hopefully it provides a fair idea of how complex a process making the archive was.

As you can see from the Flow Chart, the archive consists of two data streams. The arrows show how the streams progress and how they relate to one another.

I employed two editors, one for Parts 1 to 5, the other for Part 6.


The Film Diary lists the number of each camera tape and consists of a brief jotting-down of what and where I filmed each day. There are 1105 diary entries.

A whole day’s filming could be of a single garden – such as entry 248 which consists of 120 shots – or it could entail filming a titan stick insect, a couple of wallabies, vegetation above the western shelf land, a… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 28.08.2006

Have just arrived in the UK and had a most enjoyable interview with a Sorbonne student who is writing a thesis on British performance art in the 60s and 70s.

It’s been suggested that I write about avant-garde art in London in the swinging 60s – and my notorious past. I will, I will, but not just now!



Not The Brisbane Line / 11.04.2006

There is a difference between the Archive and a Natural History documentary film.

'Viewers must recognise that something unfamiliar is on the screen. The Archive is a visual record, not a narrative. It can only be incidentally entertaining . . .'


Given the ubiquity of television documentaries in general and the popularity of natural history documentaries in particular, I suspect that it will be well-nigh impossible for viewers of the Archive not to be instinctively drawn into the documentary mode of viewing.

But to fully benefit from looking at the Archive in all its rich variety, viewers must recognise that something unfamiliar is on the screen.

The main purpose is to give viewers a sense of what outstanding biodiversity is. This requires them to make a connection between all the Archive’s parts so that they’re aware that one section relates to another already seen, and that indeed all the myriad things they are looking at live in this one small place on earth.

One thing that attracted me was creating a succession of pictures within… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 06.03.2006

What does biodiversity mean to me, as an artist?

I set out to present biodiversity in an intelligible way on video – so that the viewer can get a sense of what biodiversity is and can experience its ultimate and compelling inclusiveness . . .


I set out to present biodiversity in an intelligible way on video –

so that the viewer can get a sense of what biodiversity is and can experience its ultimate and compelling inclusiveness.

Why film on Tamborine Mountain? Because I live here . . . And because this is a thriving community living in western affluence, comfort and convenience, which is surrounded by outstanding biodiversity.

Apparently there are more frog species on the mountain than there are in the whole of Canada! The Mountain’s published plant list amounts to about 80% of that of New Zealand. A recent and by no means exhaustive survey increased the plant list from under 800 to over 900.

The Mountain’s biodiversity is on a par with that of nearby World Heritage Listed Areas. All this on a plateau of some 2,300 hectares surrounded by an escarpment… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 15.02.2006

'Until I came to Australia, where the energy of the earth beats so powerfully, I had known only civilisation . . .'

I arrived in Australia in February 1987. I came straight from London to Tamborine Mountain. Half my luck, as they say here.

I was bowled over by the natural abundance of the place – the brilliant colours of the birds and the size and profuse growth of the vegetation.

I had not long been in the country when I visited nearby Lamington National Park and went for a walk on one of its many trails. Someone I happened to tell of my visit, remarked that there were gorges and gullies in the park that no human foot had trodden.

This had an enormous impact on me.

Also in those early days, I took my five year -old son on a car trip north along the coast and then west into the interior. The look of the land impressed me deeply, particularly the immense flat expanses where the appearance of a solitary tree became a notable event.

As you fly for hour after hour over Australia’s… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 28.12.2005

I have ongoing difficulty with the Guardian’s long-held anti-Israel stance, which has become ever more pronounced in recent times. My view is based on recollection and is not supported by extensive research. I have lived in Australia since 1987 and for several years I have been a subscriber to the Guardian Weekly. In the UK, the Guardian was my paper of choice. In what follows, I mostly tend to equate the Guardian Weekly with the Guardian and vice versa, although I surmise that items which appear in the Weekly may be edited versions of what has appeared in the Guardian. And of course, the Weekly does not have the space to be as diverse in its contents as the Guardian.

As a Jew it grieves me that Israel proceeded to settle the West Bank and Gaza, a decision which reverberates in its brutal and oppressive occupation of these areas. In this regard Israel’s current troubles are of its own making. But the reality that perhaps uniquely in the world, Israel since its creation, has had to deal with enemies dedicated to its annihilation, is not of its own making. Decades later, the Palestinian fighters bent on annihilating Israel,… Read Complete Text