Heathcote Williams

One of our first ever client’s Heathcote Williams, the radical poet, playwright, actor and polymathic English genius, has died at the age of 75. He had been ill for some time and died on Saturday 1st July in Oxford.

We have helped in the development, creative structuring and editing of the layout of many of his publications, plays and we were about to complete work this week on his latest book.

The Guardian reported today the 3rd of July

He was the author of many polemical poems, written over four decades in a unique documentary style. They included works about the devastation being wrought on the natural environment – Sacred Elephant, Whale Nation and Falling For a Dolphin – and Autogeddon, a grim and majestic attack on the car.

Williams also wrote several successful stage plays including AC/DC, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1969, and The Local Stigmatic, commissioned by Harold Pinter and revived in 2014 at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London on its 50th anniversary. His most recent play, Killing Kit, was about the life and death of Christopher Marlowe.  He was an impressive conjuror and a member of the Magic Circle. One of his TV plays, What the Dickens!, featured Dickens performing magic shows for children.

His literary output was prolific. It included a book on Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, published when he was 23, and in later life he wrote several poems a month, driven by news and current affairs. This confinement did nothing to diminish his creative energies nor his anger at the direction in which society was going in the hucksterish era of Brexit, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

Williams retained his principled fury to the end. In 2016 he published Boris Johnson: The Blond Beast of Brexit – A Study in Depravity, an excoriating attack reprising the foreign secretary’s lies, evasion and adultery, sold as a pamphlet from the London Review of Books bookshop. Another work, Royal Babylon, lambasted the Queen.

His last volume of poetry about Trump, American Porn, was published in January. Williams wrote that Trump’s real name – Drumpf – “suggests dumbness, even the passing of wind/ As well as the merciful transience of fame.”

He will be missed by all of us at carbon colour.

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