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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 Boasters, the Dam Busters, The Red Hot Skin Grafters, the Body Transplants and the Soul Spivs ...

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 Chefs that blight the instincts of the traveller who is eager to commune with what is left of raw nature ...
... I sometimes​ argue with my friend Heathcote Williams 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, nearly utopian convictions it becomes puzzlingly inconsistent ...

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 Heathcote Williams 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 and separations, looks long and longingly at animals, not so much as they swim or graze or galumph there within an observant loafer’s eye-range, as in books, photography, the shamelessly ingenious intrusions of the field-video ...

Green Thoughts

Colin Ward, 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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... sophistication. The peaceable whale is the least cute and most awesome of our fellow animals, and Heathcote Williams 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 long poem which lists, in a Whitmanesque way, the ...

A Visit to My Uncle

Emma Tennant, 31 July 1997

... River Avon, I’ve come down from London in a small furniture van. My companion is the playwright Heathcote Williams; 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 rudimentary cooking utensils, so I can move into this ...


Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... only. Raw Material indeed), Stefan Themerson, and (coming) John Wheway (stand by): and if only Heathcote Williams 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 because the anthology included a ...

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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... Nietzsche, Virginia Woolf, Derek Walcott (‘then came the men with eyes heavy as anchors’) and Heathcote Williams (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 waves.The stakes are high, not just because ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... 1960s vibe and the sense of class rebellion of one sort or another coalescing on Portobello Road. Heathcote Williams 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 Marsh and Parsons, the estate agent on Kensington ...

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