Withnail and I: Psychotropic Cinema
Quite early on Withnail and I presents one of the most powerful cinematic sequences of all time. For sheer thunderous energy it compares with the famous helicopter assault in Apocalypse Now. There the machine-assisted rape of a coastal Viet Cong village is reinforced by Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. In Withnail the scene is only the demolition of some Georgian terraces in shabby 1960’s Camden Town but – with a Hendrix soundtrack absolutely dwarfing Wagner’s best efforts – an image of merely local obliteration somehow becomes the final destruction of all cities.
Arthur Rimbaud: The Golden Dawn
I’d seen the main landmark from the roof of the derelict. Gazing south across the housetops towards Bloomsbury I’d looked up – from Rimbaud’s Promontoire – and visually traced the Gothic silhouette of Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras Railway Hotel. This seemed to mirror ‘in a miraculous way’ Promontoire‘s coastal palace of military aspect.
Arthur Rimbaud: The Brigantine
Looking at the poem Promontoire in Rimbaud’s Illuminations, linking it to the psychogeography of inner London.
Arthur Rimbaud: Love’s To Be
I have travelled with Arthur Rimbaud for many years. He changed my life in a supernatural manner when I wasin a dark place turning twenty. Two decades later I stood on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in front of five-thousand people to recite the prologue of an epic poem which had taken twenty-three long years to write, years spent living on the streets of London, years spent meditating in derelict houses.
Arthur Rimbaud: The Third Man
In Bruno Braquehais’ group-portrait most probably showing Arthur Rimbaud in the Place Vendome the poet is the psychological focus of the plinth-group. An inverted triangle comprises the poet himself, his friend from the 88th regiment (who places his left hand on Rimbaud’s left shoulder in a cordial and protective gesture) and a third man who stands in the foreground almost like a herald. I would now like to examine the identity of this last figure.
Arthur Rimbaud: Racing the Clock
The handsome renegade of the Place Vendome stands as tall as he can, franc-tireur incarnate. With his rifle-butt raised in his right hand and his bayonet pointing at God’s blue sky he challenges all the basic premises. Europe is going to hell and has to change. As poet and freedom-fighter he dreams of transformation. The free-state of Paris will show the rest of the world. A new order of cosmic socialism is coming.
Arthur Rimbaud: The Secret Police File
There is a famous sentence in a French police dossier of 1873: ‘Young Raimbault (sic) belonged, under the Commune, to the Paris Irregulars.’ There is nothing tentative about this statement, the file is clear: ‘young’ Rimbaud is accused of a crime against the state.
Rimbaud: In Arthurian Country
An androgynous nineteenth-century Che Guevara glares nastily out of the Place Vendome, personally overseeing the destruction of the Imperial cosmos. We are looking at some ‘marvellous boy’ who has just masterminded the coup d’etat of all time. We are looking at the face of an angry demiurge really pissed at a substandard universe. (We don’t even really see the eyes but the black fire coming out of them is unmistakeable.)
Arthur Rimbaud: The Discovery of Two New Portraits of the Planetary Poet-laureate.
On the left the possible new face of Rimbaud, on the right the well-known Carjat studio-portrait.Rimbaud Forever The burnout of the messianic Arthur Rimbaud makes the mythological fall of Icarus seem more like a minor hang-gliding accident. The world's most original...
An Armoured Inkwell
Written for The New English Ballet as part of the Armistice Centenary celebrations, the poem features in the film of a ballet called Remembrance, largely based on the wartime romance of Marie Rambert (my grandmother) and playwright Ashley Dukes (my grandfather). During his time as a cavalry officer in Normandy, he would use the inkwell (pictured above) to write letters to Rambert, who passed it on to me many years later.
Body of Work published
The first of my forthcoming digital editions, Body of Work is a collection of shorter poems spanning several decades. The idea is that sequences of poems are distributed to different parts of the body; so there are poems of the head, poems of the hands and feet, poems...
A Storyteller’s Tale
Amabel Clarke is a very close friend and I've often heard her cycle the Hanrahan narratives of WB Yeats. Red Hanrahan as Yeats presents him is a sort of Celtic trickster-bard who scandalizes Ireland - not an easy thing to do in the good old days. Recently, under a...
The Shamanic Universe
A French woman scientist has written a study of a grey parrot with whom she has been rationally interacting for twenty years. One can hold a detailed and elaborate conversation with this winged genius, he has a sense of humour and is numerate. On leaving the house he...
A sonnet for Napier Marten
Here's a poem for a special friend. Napier Marten is the founder of Mirthquake, a frontline site for the pooling of knowledge about cetaceans. Napier has long-standing links with the Mirning, a dispossessed group of ‘whale dreaming’ First Nation Australians; and also...
The Essence of Ambiguity
This sonnet is addressed to a sick Blakean rose. I had been looking into the mysterious subject of indole, that fecal essence which haunts the biosphere. In concentration indole has the most horrific fragrance but in homeopathic amounts it smells flowery and...
No Song – the video
The Amazon Basin is in flames as Emperor Trump gracelessly fiddles, out of tune and out of time, out of sync with the zeitgest and the will of God. How long can such denial be maintained, how long can a madman's head remain buried in burning sand? Here is the video...
Pulling Down The Wheel
'Pulling down the wheel is dangerous' says this sonnet. Which wheel? The wheel of death and rebirth? Are we talking about a ferris wheel, a funfair 'roller'? (There's definitely a whiff of Harry Lime in the air.) Is someone murdered here? I'll leave you to decide...
An Alchemical Perspective
Quite soon our misguided governments will announce a War on Death. Then, having obediently eaten our artificial immortality pills, we will be face-to-face with a nemesis far more dangerous than any traditional narcotic. In ancient China scholars and poets who wanted...
Imagine a moon out of control, its attraction too great, its gravitational pull so intense that it threatens to destabilize a cosmos! This poem imagines such a moon; it references a romance which almost destroyed a world. Words and music by Aidan Andrew Dun, lunar image by Kerry Barbour.
The Triad in Granary Square
Some time in 2008, when the redevelopment of Kings Cross was green-lighted, I painted two triads from a long poem called The Brill on the walls of soon-to-be-demolished Battle Bridge, a place of very special significance to me. Then the bulldozers moved in. The first...
Ravello Records ‘HONEYLAND’ interview
Ravello Records talk to Aidan Dun and Lucie Rejchrtova about ‘Honeyland’ – impressionistic settings of poems to piano, with early 20th century influences.
The poem is dedicated to Cedella Marley Booker (1926-2008), the mother of Bob Marley. In her biography, 'Bob Marley, My Son', confessing that times were tough bringing up Bob on her own in the hills of Nine Mile, ‘Ma’ Booker mentions a green mountain-retreat where...
Kandinsky at Dawn
The sky has come down to lie on the grass. A low sun looks on in wonder, sidelong. Pale-blue intersecting ice-kingdoms extend. Someone has patterned the lawn with diamonds. Sapphire worlds flash. Criss-crossed figures coincident heiroglyphs interlink, dazzle....
An explorer lost at the pole, searching for the world’s axis ship crushed in grinding ice sees no morning till a distant summer raises the sun from dark months. Imagine that returning light as mystics decribe warm rays shining into separation from a supernatural face...