sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-07-03 06:57 am

O where is the sailor with bold red hair? And what is that volley on the bright air?

Oh, God damn it, Heathcote Williams died. He was Derek Jarman's Prospero and I didn't know a quarter of his other art and activism, but his collection of political, scientific poems Forbidden Fruit (2011) was one of the bright spots of a post-election December—the title piece was in memory of Alan Turing—and I had started to wonder what he was doing lately. Protesting and anatomizing the current state of America, apparently. I can't disagree with that. I just wish I had found out before he died.

Heathcote/Prospero sleeps somewhere deep in the abbey in his shabby frock-coat and waistcoat of scarab buttons. He appears, rats in his hair, to devise new games and entertainments, his efforts fuelled by the Bulmer's Cider which Simon buys each day. We have brief discussions about his role, and he shyly produces lines he feels I should keep – 'Lest the blind mole hear a footfall'. He develops a cold which gives his voice a gravelly resonance. One night, at dinner, he says, 'I've been entertaining you lot far too long – if no one entertains me within one minute I'm going to piss all over you.' Then he jumps on the long refectory table and starts to pee a cider torrent. We dive for cover. Heathcote is embarrassed and apologizes – more to himself than us. He has a wild anarchic gentleness, and is the genius of oblique strategies. He breathes fire and bends keys, not to startle, but to test divine possibility. He is an ideal Prospero, performs sympathetic magic, destroys the poetry and finds the meaning. I've rarely heard lines spoken with such clarity – 'and my Zenith doth depend upon a most auspicious star.' These words are spoken softly, not bawled across the footlights. How Shakespeare would have loved the cinema!
—Derek Jarman, Dancing Ledge (1993)
moon_custafer: (Default)

[personal profile] moon_custafer 2017-07-03 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I had no Idea Bob Hoskins could eat fire. Where did *he* learn, I wonder.

He was a member of the Magic Circle, learned fire-eating from Bob Hoskins (and accidentally set himself ablaze when demonstrating his new talent to his then girlfriend, the model Jean Shrimpton

ETA -- according to this interview, Hoskins spent some time with a circus because of course he did.
Edited 2017-07-03 13:12 (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)

[personal profile] lemon_badgeress 2017-07-03 01:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Unrelated but Boston related bank fraud alert I wanted to pass on.
ashlyme: (Default)

[personal profile] ashlyme 2017-07-03 03:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Dammit. Also, he was Prospero??? I keep forgetting Jarman did The Tempest.
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-03 05:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Somewhere in my files, I think I still have a letter from him. He bought a couple of books from me as research for a (film?) role as Robert Greene. (I had a brief hobby/career republishing obscure Renaissance books that took my fancy. This was when the internet was advanced enough that I could hypothetically market them online, but still early enough that academics (and Amazon) didn't make that sort of thing far easier to find.)

I recognized his name because it's used to good comic effect in Neil Gaiman's "Being an Experiment..."
moon_custafer: (Default)

[personal profile] moon_custafer 2017-07-03 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
If it's the story I thinking of, it's more... Dionysian -- as in Gaiman (supposedly) getting increasingly drunk while writing it, to study the effects of alcohol on literary endeavour.
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-04 01:11 am (UTC)(link)
That's the one. It's a fun read, but *devastatingly* funny in performance. (It's on one of the Gaiman spoken-word recordings, as a hidden bonus track, IIRC.)
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-04 01:15 am (UTC)(link)
I did not know you had been a Renaissance bookseller

It doesn't come up in conversation often :-) That was part of my SCA persoma for some years.

(...pokes around...) Yup, the catalog is still online, though these days I mostly give away copies to the rare person who expresses am interest.
pameladean: (Default)

[personal profile] pameladean 2017-07-03 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Golly, that line is actually quite a tongue-twister; among the numerous challenges of the verse in The Tempest, I hadn't noticed before. I am sorry Mr. Williams is no longer among us.

vr_trakowski: (inspiration)

[personal profile] vr_trakowski 2017-07-04 01:23 am (UTC)(link)
He appears, rats in his hair, to devise new games and entertainments

It took me several moments to grasp the correct meaning of "rats". In the meantime I was charmed by the mental image of Mr. Williams showing someone a new game with rodents peeking happily out through his hair.
asakiyume: (definitely definitely)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-07-04 06:05 pm (UTC)(link)
asakiyume: (far horizon)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-07-04 06:05 pm (UTC)(link)
I didn't know Heathcote Williams, but I love the quote from Derek Jarman, and your subject line is just perfect. I *love* that line in that song, which I also love. I love it for its desperate anger at mortality, and it seems--based on the acquaintanceship of this one entry--very right for Heathcote Williams.