Welcome to the website of Peter Murray Scott.
This website gives you free access to my hitherto unpublished writings beginning with:
DECONSTRUCTING JAZZ - an attempt to explore the true nature of jazz by defining its special place in the larger world of music without exaggerating its importance, or underplaying its limitations. Unusual in dealing with the what, how and why of jazz rather than the who, when and where of it.
CONFESSIONS OF AN IMPECUNIOUS OPERA LOVER - describes my 70 year love affair with opera, the seed of which was planted by chance in my early teens, but was unable to flourish fully until 30 years later when it became possible for me to attend (some 250) productions of (about 170 different) operas during the next three decades of my life. After this I was increasingly obliged to indulge my passion in private by acquiring video recordings of opera performances, with the result that I can now re-visit about 250 versions of nearly 200 different operas, in this format, whenever I choose. Since my exposure to so much opera over so many years has left me with well-founded views on what does, and does not, constitute good value for the discriminating opersgoer's money, my voyage of discovery may also be of interest as a consumers' guide.
IN SEARCH OF BETTER RELIGION - examines the deficiencies in the present world religions and explores the possibilities for a new religion which satisfies our manifest need to believe in, and worship, a Creator, without requiring the suspension of our critical faculties.
ON HER MAJESTY'S CIVIL SERVANTS - the inside story written with the intention of bridging the comprehension gap between the general public and the civil service, which I discovered for myself when I was recruited into it after a career in industry; this book is a systematic analysis of the organisation and management of the British Civil Service, drawing comparisons, where appropriate, with activities in the private sector. I am confident that this methodical approach, and my own experiences in both the public and private sectors, have enabled me to paint a clearer and fairer picture than is currently available elsewhere, of the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation which has been the object of much prejudice and misunderstanding - from its political masters in particular.
MY LIFE AT THE OPERA: PART ONE; 1925 - 1955 - an autobiography which includes: my working class boyhood in the back streets of Bradford during the hungry 30s; my wartime exploits as an evacuee, trainee radioigrapher, Home Guardsman, opportunistic opera goer, and dance band leader; my post-war army service in Gibraltar with easy access to all things Spanish; my career moves to Pontefract, Reading, Nottingham, Keighley, including courtship, marriage and fatherhood; and ends on the brink of a new career.
MY LIFE AT THE OPERA: PART TWO: 1955 – 1989 – continues my autobiography from the point where I exchanged my career as a radiographer in the National Health Service for a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry during which my family and I lived in Keighley and Calverley in Yorkshire, Ealing in London, Sydney in Australia, and, finally, Fleet in Hampshire, and I visited the Netherlands, India, Italy, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand on business. After working in various capacities in two pharmaceutical companies, a set of curious circumstances allowed me to exchange my career in the Pharmaceutical Industry for a career in the Civil Service, where I served mainly in the Home Office, successively in the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Urban Deprivation Unit, and the Prison Department, during which time I was finally in a position to become a regular opera goer. Part Two ends with my retirement from the Civil Service.
MY LIFE AT THE OPERA: PART THREE: 1989 – 2017 - continues my autobiography after my retirement from the Civil Service at the age of 63, describing my unsuccessful attempts to embark on a new career while using my new-found leisure time to pursue my own interests. These included writing books on matters, about which I was reasonably well-informed, and had something new and interesting to say, eg. jazz, opera, religion, and the Civil Service, but, my attempts to find publishers for these books also prove unsuccessful, and I resort, eventually, to making them freely available on my own website. In the meantime, while working for various charities, I combine my skills as a salesman and a clarinettist to form a semi-pro Jazz Quartet, which, performing mainly in pubs within easy reach of home, becomes increasingly successful over the years. But my life in Fleet is left behind when, in 1997, my wife and I emigrate to Australia to join our daughter’s family in Sydney, New South Wales. There, we settle, first, in the small coastal town of Woy Woy, just north of Sydney where, in addition to taking holidays in Fiji and Bali, and short ocean cruises out of Sydney, I form another Jazz Quartet and found a local branch of an organisation called The English in Australia (TEA). In 2003, however, this life, too, is left behind when our daughter and her family relocate from Sydney to the North East corner of New South Wales and we decide to follow them, settling finally, in the attractive seaside resort of Ballina where I continue my writing and am invited to join a small group of fellow jazzmen who play together in private for their own amusement, once a week. My wife and I continue to enjoy the pleasant circumstances in which we find ourselves in our declining years, until, in 2009, Anne contracts motor neurone disease and contrives to terminate her own life. What follows concerns my own, increasingly limited, activities in the eight years after Anne’s death until my 92nd year.