This is a collectors alert. Open Head Press is about to release “Juggling Ghosts”, a series of pamphlets of previously published poems and essays by Heathcote Williams in a slipcased, numbered edition of 500 copies about his encounters — live and otherwise — with William Burroughs, Harold Pinter, Dylan Thomas, Sinclair Beiles, Christopher Marlowe, Lord Buckley, Christopher Smart, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Michael Lesser, Alan Turing, Diogenes of Synope, William Blake and the Tigers of Wrath.
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“‘God save the queen,’ they sang, ‘it’s a fascist regime.’ / And the song’s hook-line became a new anthem — / Disturbing to clutches of flag-wavers lining the streets. / And horrifying to Middle England and the Daily Mail.” — from ROYAL BABYLON
PS: In all the press coverage I have seen of the interview, it has been treated as a tale of personal tragedy, a terrible racist family squabble, for the British royals but not one mention of the larger tragedy at the heart of “Royal Babylon,” namely the immense damage caused by the monarchy’s greedy, rapacious treatment of peoples and nations the world over.
I was reminded of ‘Cobalt Blues’ this morning by Louise Erdrich’s op-ed “Not Just Another Pipeline” about “a tar sands climate bomb” in Minnesota now under construction and racing “to lock in pipeline infrastructure” before it can be stopped.
Nimble as you were in your ‘hey’day, / Your ‘wow’zone resplendent, / whenever your / Writing and way claimed a mind. / Those still on the planet salute you in love, / Winking our wish through the cosmos, / Broadcasting life’s message that yours / Is the path still to find. It used to lead / To Oxford, but now, it stretches on . . . —David Erdos
Jay Jeff Jones writes in London’s Theatre Record: Like [Jeff] Nuttall, Williams was multi-talented and constant in his espousal of utopian anarchy. He was as uncompromising as he was compassionate; an intellectual force that alternated poetry and playwriting with direct action for causes that included the homeless, battered women and the environment. His first major […]
Ever since the death of two close friends, my staff of thousands has had trouble sleeping. Recently a suffocating moment of enlightenment troubled it further. The staff was contemplating an obvious but astonishing fact: When a body expires the person attached to it vanishes. The person has dematerialized. It’s hard to wrap your head around […]
The fierce dissidence of Williams’s polemical poetry is as radical as Shelley’s. “America: How It Works” bears witness to the monster within “the most dangerous country in world history.” Words by Heathcote Williams. Narration and montage by Alan Cox. The business of America is business, And it’s number one business is war. It uses Hollywood […]
Now that the Burroughs centenary has moved into high gear, it suddenly dawned on Heathcote Williams that he’d known the man on and off for more than half a century.
Walter Benjamin said, ‘There is no cultural document / That’s not at the same time a record of barbarism…’
London’s symbol for the hub of global finance in the City (Shown on the city’s flag to convey heraldic grandeur) Comes from a blood-soaked dagger that killed the rebel, Wat Tyler, For Tyler had challenged London on behalf of the poor. The dagger survives and is on display at Fishmonger’s Hall In the City’s secretive […]
Words by Heathcote Williams. Narration and montage by Alan Cox. Written upon learning that WWI centenary Remembrance plans are to be given £50 million by the UK government.— BBC News, 11 October 2012 My Dad and my Uncle were in World War One. At least they were in it, but not in it: Conscripted but […]
And then I sent a photo of the Ernest Hemingway plaque in the series … Which drew this reply … Serving as further testament to what has been lost, or as the poet noted with his reply, “Pace Hemingway.”
“He is one of a few of genius who did not sell out and who peaks in (relative) old age. That’s quite something nowadays.” — Gerard Bellaart +++ “Fame is the first disgrace because God knows who you are.” — Heathcote Williams, “The Local Stigmatic” +++ The videos comprise Parts 1 and 2 of a […]
Narration and montage by Alan Cox. Musical accents by Louis Armstrong.
Words by Heathcote Williams. Montage and narration by Alan Cox.
Video redux for Easter Sunday 2021.
In all the press coverage I have seen of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan and Harry, it has been treated as a tale of personal tragedy, a terrible racist family squabble, for the British royals — but not one mention of the larger tragedy at the heart of Heathcote Williams’s “Royal Babylon,” namely the immense damage caused by the monarchy’s greedy, rapacious treatment of peoples and nations the worldover.
Heathcote Williams was an unstoppable force. Even in death he is unstoppable. His writings, his activism, and his personal example continue to inspire others. At heart, Williams was a revolutionary. The historian Peter Whitfield placed his work in a “great tradition of visionary dissent” stretching from William Blake and John Ruskin to DH Lawrence and David Jones. I had the privilege of recording Williams’s final vinyl LP-cum-CD, “American Porn,” at his home in Oxford several years before he died. The poems he read — “Mr. President,” “The United States of Porn,” “Forbidden Fruit, or The Cybernetic Apple Core,” and “Snuff Films at the White House” — were in their uncompromising nakedness CT scans of history.