Heathcote Williams hates Boris Johnson like everyone should, says Jeremy Hardy.On 15 September 2016, comedian and broadcaster Jeremy Hardy, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and ‘father of alternative comedy’ Tony Allen were among friends, collaborators and admirers who crowded a Housmans Bookshop for the launch of Heathcote Williams‘ latest book Brexit Boris – From Mayor to Nightmare. Watch video here.
Jeremy Hardy called the book forensic and poetic in its anger: “It’s fucking visceral. He hates Boris Johnson, in a way that everyone should” he said. “It’s prose, but it could only have been written by a poet, it could only have been written by Heathcote … and it would utterly destroy Boris Johnson, if he had the attention span to read more than a couple of paragraphs.”
Tony Allen recalled how he and Heathcote had pioneered graffiti culture in the 1970s and how they ran the Ruff Tuff Creem Puff Estate Agency for Squatters in Notting Hill.
David Erdos, who produced Heathcote’s epic Killing Kit at the Cockpit Theatre in 2014, told the audience how many years ago browsing in a second-hand bookshop, he stumbled on Heathcote’s play The Immortalist, which “blew my head off and ignited my love of language and what writing can do.”
Young author Saira Viola, whose latest novel Jukebox has been highly praised by Heathcote, explained how he had inspired and encouraged her in making her way in the world of literature.
Actor-producer Roy Hutchins, who has presented Heathcote Williams’ work in theatres across Britain for over 30 years – from Whale Nation in the 1980s to Poetry Can F*uck Off at this year’s Glastonbury Festival – was joined by guitarist Steve North in performing three of Heathcote’s poems put to music: Video here…
To cap an evening that launched Heathcote’s book and celebrated his 50 years of uniquely prolific work across many media, Housmans sold a record number of Brexit Boris. You can buy Brexit Boris now in the PRR shop…
Click image to enlarge photos by Tim Gluckman, Tansy Hoskins, Charles B. Anthony, Manuela Beste
Heathcote Williams is a poet, playright, essayist, lyricist, actor, artist, magician, political agitator… and much else besides. He has been a scourge of the establishment for 50 years, admired by – among many others – Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs and Hollywood actor Al Pacino.
“All his work is deeply political,” said Pinter. Al Pacino, who has been obsessed by Williams’ work since the 1980s, funded and starred in a film of his play The Local Stigmatist.
As an actor, his numerous films include Alice in Wonderland, Orlando, Wish You Were Here and playing Prospero in Derek Jarman‘s production of The Tempest.