Peter Ind - Environmentalist
Peter is preparing two books for release in the Autumn of 2013
PLAY NOW, PAY LATER is about the London Jazz Club “The Bass Clef” which ran from 1984 to 1994 and featured a host of well-known Jazz musicians, American, British and European.
However cheerful and vivid this book may read, it must in some respects be seen as a requiem to grand aspirations. There’s an old musicians joke about how to make a million out of jazz for which the venerable punch line is ‘start with two million’. But there’s more than a grain of truth amid the humour. Jazz, as well as jazz clubs in Britain – and elsewhere – are both regularly supported by monied patrons who have made their millions already in property, or business or industry and whose selfless devotion to a frequently penniless music, might in some cases, be seen equally as an artistically-motivated taxloss. But let’s not be over-cynical. Occasionally from the woodwork comes a truly remarkable man like Peter Ind – who in the case of Bass Clef – was prepared to back his dream to the hilt from highly limited personal resources, and if necessary to go to the wall in the process. It’s not the greatest reflection on our society that, in fact, he was allowed to do so. Were Great Britain’s cultural parameters – and our media – more finely focussed, Peter Ind would have become as much a front page issue as the now-legendary portrait of a single man defying the course of an oncoming tank by the simple process of standing in front of it. Instead he was subjected to all the standard – and frequently brutal indignities – of our so-called ‘authorities’ who raided his joint and took everything away for free. At no point of course did they bother to worry their heads over the possible reasons for the proud musical existence of the Bass Clef, its constant provision of space for truly creative minds, and the musical legacy it was in the midst of creating. Luckily with this book that legacy is now set down; we can only reflect ‘better late than never’.
I played in the Bass Clef several times and was always happy to do so. The club opened its doors during a jazz period, which may now be seen as something of a no-man’s-land for the music. It had been almost two decades since the Beatles had swept away the notion of ‘star quality’ for jazz performers. And still to come was the nouveau-riche fashion-conscious era of designer after-shave named for the music; dinner jazz, smooth jazz and all the regrettable bowdlerisations, which sometimes fruitlessly attempt to shoot the balls off the music. The ambiance of the Bass Clef – in everything from décor to artistic intent – took you back to the classic years of the music when jazz soloists were required to demonstrate their art rather than dress for it. Listeners brought a critical as well as a loving ear to the performers they were hearing and the performers in turn brought forth the best from themselves in response. The Bass Clef was both a progressive and a traditional club, which acknowledged the onward push of jazz music but honoured its highest creative traditions too.
My own favourite story about the club I remember hearing when I’d gone to the Wave recording studios (situated above the clubroom) to record an album with Buddy Tate, Jay McShann, Jay Thomas, Allan Ganley and Peter Ind himself. A few weeks before a punk-rock group had been in to record and the bass guitar was a hundred yards out of tune. After several frustrated queries Peter went out to tune the instrument and found the machine heads jammed tight. ‘They tuned it in the shop’ explained the owner – ‘and then my Dad welded the heads together to make sure it stayed the same’. I’d love to have heard the record.
A CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON (with apologies to Emmanuel Kant) concerns the energy crisis that the World faces today.
In 1964 I wrote a thesis based on the study of Wilhelm Reich’s work, comparing his concepts about cosmic life energy, with the then current scientific viewpoints. Having spent several years fascinated with what Reich had written (including also my own experiments which confirmed his views) my thesis was an attempt to correlate the differing concepts. Though I still feel my thesis has value, Reich’s own work, presented a completely different concept than what was orthodox at the time.
Believing that what I wrote then does extend concepts of life energy (termed Orgone – by Reich) but in the intervening half century, little has changed regarding orthodox concepts; the gap between the two concepts seemingly as wide as ever. Reich clearly understood the limitations of orthodox theory, but having been jailed for alleged contempt of court, and dying in jail eight months later, his work, though of immense validity for the future, remains overlooked by academics and is still hardly known by the public at large.
The more so as his books were burned by the order of the court. Today it is again possible to obtain them though few people have any idea of his existence; of the huge influence he had prior to his jailing. I know of no other case that has been so thoroughly expurgated from public knowledge and awareness.
Recently I began to transcribe what I had originally written. Though I am as convinced as ever of the validity of what I had written, I have become a better writer and I have also learned of other aspects that I wish to include. Some people today are of the opinion that what happened to Reich in those days of the 1950’s could not happen now. Perhaps they are right, but my opinion is that Reich’s work has not lost any of its validity (in fact being even more significant in today’s world). However his discoveries present such a different picture and these conflict with the imperfect views of many of the World’s cartels. Therefore danger still exists, the more so whenever Reich’s work re-merges.
Whenever I go on painting trips I am looking for views and pictures that show so clearly some of the underlying facts about energy and the life energy that is all around us.
A trip a few years ago to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan illustrated this so clearly. The sand and desert formation indicates the cataclysmic disruption that took place and also evidences that this occurred in comparatively recent history, but shows how the land coped with what had occurred.
I love to paint a tree – each one is so different. “It expresses a complete life history just by being there …it just grows and grows until its life span is ended, someone cuts it down or maybe pollution levels overcome it. To me it is the living energy of life, wonderfully expressed in trees; life energy without ego. So much energy; appreciation of that adds to your own outlook on life.
We have to look at our world in different ways.
I have talked about this in the recent brochure of my 2008 Painting exhibition and the book “The Environment and Cosmic Metabolism”.
Peter’s books in the environment
The Environment and Cosmic Metabolism:
Looking at the stars and thinking about the earth
What is this book about? Some quotes
“This essay centres around the concept of energy and what this means in terms of our current culture. In a way we take it for granted but when we look around us, when we look up into the sky, if we ever peer out to space we are looking at energy, but do we understand it?”
“Space has the function of cleaning waste energy, ultimately it is the way energy is renewed and replenished. Cosmic Metabolism is the name I chose for this process of energy renewal.”
“If we understand clearly how we are affecting the capacity of the Earth to cleanse itself, then there is hope for the future”
“Colour is so important to me – the vast range of colours shows all the energies in a scene.
“If you use your eye you find that anything, the sea for example, is all kinds of colours that are not immediately noticeable.”
“We live in such a material culture. In painting I am trying to get away from that materialism and focus on the natural life giving energy that is all around us.”
Letters from a Maverick
Peter periodically posts a short section from his current writing on the Environment – Letters from a Maverick: Critique of Pure Scientific Unreason:
Climate Change and Pollution – are we ignoring history? And why?
Apart from the current world conflicts the concern over pollution and its apparent effect upon climate is seldom out of the news. But are we taking enough notice of evidence about past momentous climate change events to help us explain what we are facing?
In 535 AD something so cataclysmic occurred that totally disrupted the world at that time. For a period of almost fifty years following that event worldwide tree ring growth virtually ceased – we talk about the Dark Ages without any thought of what this means. Yet there is considerable proof underlying this fact. Few have speculated that if tree ring growth was stunted for so many years, whatever occurred must have severely curtailed other plant growth.
Such a reality as actually happened must have caused widespread starvation both in human and animal populations yet this period of time remains a blank as far as official records are concerned. Why?
What has become so clear to me over the years looking at such historical events is that there is not so much cultural ignorance but cultural avoidance of truths that do not correspond to current accepted norm. Many people blithely accept current versions of history, as though we are at the peak of culture limited by the pollution unfortunately caused merely by our super technology. We have become prisoners of our own propaganda.
Peter Ind, France, August 2009