Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Derek Jarman: It Was 20 Years Ago Today

In the (perhaps artificial) historical perspective of this anniversary, Jarman cuts a curiously old-fashioned figure for an avant-garde enfant terrible. An Edwardian Andy Warhol, a Victorian Jean Cocteau, yet terribly English, born out of a Noël Coward upbringing – his RAF father, the colonial, middle-class background. Perhaps that explains the elegiac quality of his sense of the past, forever seen through his Super 8 lens.

Ultimately, Jarman's was a love-hate relationship with "England". How ironic that it is this fractured connection, an accident of birth and what he called "a barbed-wire crèche", which defines him as an artist of lasting significance. And how remarkable the shift in that landscape – from the cold war of Jarman's youth and the queer war of his career, to now, a society in which gay marriage is promoted by a Tory prime minister...

Philip Hoare pays tribute to Derek Jarman on the 20th anniversary of his death in The Independent.

Thought this was interesting as it foregrounds Derek Jarman's poshness - arguably as central to his work as his sexuality.

PS This is hilarious - Peter Tatchell pays tribute to Jarman by writing about... Saint Peter!

Update: There are two Jarman books out to mark the anniversary. Colin MacCabe reviews them - and him -for NS.


  1. I miss Derek Jarman still. Such a lovely man and his films are beautiful.

  2. At least it's fairly accurate.

    Jarman was great. I still enjoy reading his diary entries. A lot of it is still politically apt, particularly with another Tory government in office.

    He wrote very elegantly and I've no doubt he would have eventually moved away from film in favour of writing.