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Urgency Is Not Enough

Peter Campbell, 6 April 1995

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of Aids 
compiled by Ted Gott.
Thames and Hudson, 246 pp., £12.95, March 1995, 0 642 13030 2
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The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of Aids 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 406 pp., £17.50, November 1994, 0 571 15353 4
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... in which the personal, the imaginative and the technical are intertwined. Garfield must take on Derek Jarman as artist as well as activist. The images of the Princess of Wales sitting with people with Aids, and an account of Neville Hodgkinson, the Sunday Times medical correspondent who has argued that HIV does not cause Aids, cannot be separated from ...

Short Cuts

James Butler: Love of the Gardenesque, 23 June 2022

... rowans. The English oak isn’t English. Hollyhocks come from China, apples from Central Asia. Derek Jarman, who did much to free gardens from their cultural confinement, warned against those ‘bad children, spoiled by their parents, over-watered and covered with noxious chemicals’ (many now banned). His own garden was wild but meticulously ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... Sontag called them in Aids and Its Metaphors: ‘the future ill’. The artist and film-maker Derek Jarman remembered his HIV diagnosis, in 1986: I thought: this is not true, then I realised the enormity. I had been pushed into yet another corner, this time for keeps … The perception that knowing you’re dying makes you feel more alive is an ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art, 7 September 2017

... artistically frustrating. You can imagine a Queer British Art for which 1967 is a pivot towards Derek Jarman, Gilbert and George, Aids activism and beyond, or that dared to ditch even that narrative for more electric affinities between queer modernity and ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gardens, 8 July 2004

... Little Sparta in the Pentland Hills, the garden Patrick Heron had in Cornwall and the garden Derek Jarman made on a shingle bank at Dungeness. Each makes different use of plants in landscape. Finlay’s intention was polemical and the exhibition includes a set of photographs of his garden, mounted in pairs like the pages of an open book. It is ...
... chance of seeing Heathcote play the part of Prospero in a film version of The Tempest directed by Derek Jarman. ‘Isn’t that bit about me breaking my staff and drowning my book supposed to be rather important?’ he asked me. ‘Well, Derek said he had trouble fitting it into his conception of the play and I think ...

Green Thoughts

Brian Dillon: Gardens in Wartime, 26 April 2007

Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime 
by Kenneth Helphand.
Trinity, 303 pp., $34.95, November 2006, 1 59534 021 1
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... Deeper’, Helphand finds himself in Dungeness, the eerie shingle spur on the Kent coast where Derek Jarman lived intermittently, in the shadow of a nuclear power station, for the last eight years of his life. Jarman’s famous post-industrial garden, which contains pastel blooms of old plastic, trellises of rufous ...
Noël Coward: A Biography 
by Philip Hoare.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 605 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 85619 265 2
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... half-heartedly, with talk of Coward’s ‘inverted emotional acrobatics’. He quotes the late Derek Jarman as saying that drug-taking in The Vortex was a synonym for homosexuality – ‘Noël Coward put his homosexuality in a little silver box and sniffed it.’ It is vastly more likely that Coward simply sat down to write a shocker about ...


Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... twenty pages. Elton John is represented by an account of the rent-boy allegations made in the Sun, Derek Jarman is dragged in to reminisce about swinging in San Francisco and NYC, and out of all the British bands to make their mark in the last four years (the Stereo MCs, Blur, Primal Scream, M-People and Oasis), the editors choose Suede, not, it ...


Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... the nearer one gets to production the bolder one gets. I hope it’s boldness anyway. 23 February. Derek Jarman has died. I liked his writing more than I did his films though I wish he had made the film which he once asked me to write, about his father, a Battle of Britain pilot who turned kleptomaniac in his old age. ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush, 17 April 2014

... quite spelling things out. My own list would include Powell and Pressburger, Nic Roeg, Paul Nash, Derek Jarman, Anna Kavan, as well as under-celebrated British surrealist painters like Ithell Colquhoun and Emmy Bridgwater. This art revels in the threshold places, the hidden rivers and eerie copses of the British landscape.5 At first it may feel rather ...
England’s dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock 
by Jon Savage.
Faber, 602 pp., £17.50, October 1991, 0 571 13975 2
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... and feral children is something of a commonplace in post-punk English artworks, in the cinema of Derek Jarman and in the writing of Martin Amis to name just two examples. But thankfully Savage has not the patience for too much metaphor, and quickly hardens the imagery up. That space is a small, oddly-shaped shop at 430 King’s Road, at World’s End ...


Iain Sinclair: My Olympics, 30 August 2012

... could see a moored cruise liner. Those with a rind of cultural memory will carry away images of Derek Jarman, who staged his punk apocalypse on this ground. Shrouded figures with flaming brands coming down to the dock: The Last of England. Jarman’s torch, carried out to sea in the morbid darkness, was a romantic ...

Thank you for your letter

Anthony Grafton: Latin, 1 November 2001

Latin, or the Empire of a Sign: From the 16th to the 20th Centuries 
by Françoise Waquet, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 346 pp., £20, July 2001, 1 85984 615 7
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... death of Latin everywhere, except among tiny groups of scholars. When the British film director Derek Jarman was making his film Sebastiane, whose script is in Latin – part of the decadent thematic central to Jarman’s oeuvre – he was forced by the incompetence of some actors in Latin to abridge their lines. It ...

Pal o’ Me Heart

David Halperin: Jamie O’Neill, 22 May 2003

At Swim, Two Boys 
by Jamie O'Neill.
Scribner, 572 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 7432 0714 9
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... historical themes. O’Neill’s novel deserves to be read alongside Hollinghurst, the films of Derek Jarman, Mark Merlis’s American Studies and An Arrow’s Flight, Robert Glück’s Margery Kempe, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and, above all, Neil Bartlett’s inexhaustible Who Was That Man? A Present for Mr Oscar Wilde as well as his more ...

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