Impassioned, witty and polemical, At Your Own Risk is Derek Jarman's defiant celebration of gay sexuality.
In At Your Own Risk, Derek Jarman weaves poetry, prose, photographs and newspaper extracts into a rich tapestry of gay experience in the UK. The buttoned-up repression of the fifties and sixties makes way for liberation and free love in the seventies, only to be chased by the terror and pain of HIV/AIDS. This is Jarman at his passionate best, written when he was already ill with HIV and in the midst of the moral panic surrounding the AIDS crisis. Defiant and furious, he not only celebrates his own sexuality but skewers wider society for its brazen homophobia.
Reissued here 25 years after Jarman’s death, with an introduction by Straight Jacket author Matthew Todd, At Your Own Risk remains a singular work. It is a powerful reminder of how far we have come and how much further we have left to go.
If there is any such thing as the literary equivalent of an incendiary bomb, then this is it... His semtex-packed sentences are welcome thunderflashes of dissent in the grey drizzle of a dispirited political climate
At Your Own Risk gives the reader access to something that is hard to articulate, the near asphyxiating pain, anxiety and rage which many gay people have felt living under the physical, legal and cultural attacks of the last few years
For all his anger, Jarman never seems brutalised. He retains his humanity and good humour. His is a wonderfully garrulous, mercurial, polymathic daemon
Train tickets, love notes and... rashers of bacon?! What you find hidden between pages can be a source of unexpected delight.
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