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25 October 1979
... I sometimes​ argue with my friend HeathcoteWilliams about his use of pornography as a means of attacking his political enemies. It seems to me an irrelevant weapon in any context, and in the hands of a man with Heathcote’s anarchistic, optimistic ...

War Poem

Heathcote Williams

5 March 1981
... After the success of the 14-18 European Folk Festival ‘The Festival To End All Festivals!’ The Sponsors spent over twenty years preparing for a global version. When they held the 39-45 Folk Fest, A lot of people came, But a lot of people went. There was Adolf Church and the Boer Constrictors, Hyacinth Hitler and the Pig Stickers, And many other supporting and suppurating bands – Notably the Bismarck ...

Great Creatures

Christopher Small

17 August 1989
Sacred Elephant 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 175 pp., £9.95, July 1989, 0 224 02642 9
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... Whitman doesn’t supply any of the fragments selected by HeathcoteWilliams to shore up his poems. You won’t find, in Leaves of Grass or elsewhere, more than passing allusion to whales or elephants. Williams, a child of the late 20th century’s technological manipulations ...
19 January 1989
Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... but if you are involved in green propaganda you have to be flexible and appeal at every level of sophistication. The peaceable whale is the least cute and most awesome of our fellow animals, and HeathcoteWilliams rises to his subject with a volume which is not only a picture-book of the whale, and an anthology of human observations of the creature and its meaning for us, but is held together by his ...

It’s the plunge that counts

Heathcote Williams: Waterlog by Roger Deakin

19 August 1999
Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain 
by Roger Deakin.
Chatto, 320 pp., £15.99, May 1999, 0 7011 6652 5
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... Roger Deakin has swum through England. Instead of a travelogue, he has written a waterlog, and instead of being waterlogged, he has moved around the country untrammelled, and often naked. In this seductive book he gives a rare and visionary account of what it means to feel an affinity with the lakes, springs, rivers, streams and seashores of these islands, instead of the motorways, car-parks and Little ...
31 July 1997
... I arrive at Wilsford in June 1965. It’s a strange arrival: told that a cottage lies empty by the River Avon, I’ve come down from London in a small furniture van. My companion is the playwright HeathcoteWilliams; he’s just completed the play which excites the Sixties, AC/DC – and he’s brought as luggage a large radio and no more. He’s promised to help unload two beds, a table and some ...


Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows

7 October 1993
... even hasty, muddled Robert Nye, Ann Quin, Penelope Shuttle, Alan Sillitoe (for his last book only. Raw Material indeed), Stefan Themerson, and (coming) John Wheway (stand by): and if only HeathcoteWilliams would write a novel’. In 1968 Penguin published Writing in England Today, edited by Karl Miller. The prose was exemplary, clear but a bit dull; the overall effect curiously journalistic, perhaps ...

Ends of the Earth

Jeremy Harding: ‘Mimesis: African Soldier’

6 December 2018
Mimesis: African Soldier 
by John Akomfrah.
Imperial War Museum, until 30 March 2018
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... in which humans turn on one another and the rest of nature, are glossed by readings from Melville, Nietzsche, Virginia Woolf, Derek Walcott (‘then came the men with eyes heavy as anchors’) and HeathcoteWilliams (Whale Nation, 1988). The spoken texts play in and out of the deafening audio mix as whales breach, icecaps melt, huge shoals of fish migrate from screen to screen and flocks of birds darken ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... shifting and more anarchic: it appeared in Clash songs and had the Windrush energy as well as the 1960s vibe and the sense of class rebellion of one sort or another coalescing on Portobello Road. HeathcoteWilliams and his friends wrote graffiti around the streets. ‘We teach all hearts to break,’ it said on the wall of the Isaac Newton School on Lancaster Road. ‘Squat Now While Stocks Last’ on ...

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