This review by Colin Gibson first appeared in The Hastings Independent Press September 2018

Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare

Heathcote Williams (Public Reading Rooms £9.95)

A retrospective review of a book now more important than ever


In a post-truth world where idle conjecture has replaced fact and where public opinion is shaped by the keyboard tapping of sociopathic web-dwellers, it is refreshing to read our current PM’s fellow Etonian, the late Heathcote Williams’ forensic demolition of Boris Bunter Johnson. What makes this acerbic hatchet job such an especially delightful bowl of schadenfreude is its deadly accuracy.

Every regrettable Boris quote from the wildly racist “Left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain” to his description of the uber-rich as “a put-upon minority like Irish travellers and the homeless” is surgically researched and annotated by source, location and time, along with every swivel-eyed career move in Johnson's mendacious ascent of the greasy pole.

The question of course is; how did this bumptious, over privileged hooligan, (whose mindless cruelty reached a sort of apotheosis at Eton’s exclusive Bullingdon Club, where the entertainment might occasionally consist of stoning a caged fox to death with champagne bottles during a gluttonous banquet), gain any political credence whatsoever? How did this duplicitous overgrown schoolboy manage to establish himself as a floppy-haired national treasure, a mayor of London, and finally, via some shockingly two-faced Brexit jockeying, become foreign secretary, and eventually Prime Minister?

Williams charts his life, and that of his equally unscrupulous father, with terrifying precision, and riven as it is with hair-raising descriptions of violent cronies like fraudster and PG Wodehouse-soundalike Darius Guppy, it is not a pretty story. In my opinion, the sooner this magnificent account of political flimflammery is filmed or televised the sooner Johnson’s ersatz star will burn up and plummet to earth, and the better it will be for all of us. There is a wonderful quote from Pulp Fiction which sums up the fat fornicator perfectly; “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character”, but my favourite has to be this: “There’s a German word for people like Johnson: Backpfeifengesicht. It means a face that needs to be punched.



This review by Colin Gibson was first published in The Hastings Independent Press


NB: American Porn, (see below), is Heathcote Williams’ poetic dissection of that other oddly-coiffured star of the new age of permanent adolescence, Donald Trump. It was released by Thin Man Press on inauguration day, January 20th 2016, surely there could be no better time than now to revisit this book.


In this collection of polemic and investigative poems on the theme of American politics, Heathcote Williams argues that the shock election of President Donald J. Trump is, in fact, the logical historical outcome for a nation which owes its very name to an early Italian pornographer and has been steeped, for centuries, in violence, falsity and corruption.


‘On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.’
              H.L. Mencken   Baltimore Evening Sun July 26, 1920


‘Williams is a gadfly, wit, dazzler, libertine, an erudite, mellifluous polemicist, anarchist, republican, anti-war, vegetarian Puck with a reverence for nature, an empathy for the marginal and a remarkable capacity for the imaginative verbal lash.’

Timothy O’Grady, Irish Times


‘Scourge of the establishment for 50 years, Heathcote Williams is back with a vengeance...’

The Independent




'A brilliant, eccentric book.' Observer Book of the Year

In this Age of Endarkenment, everyone should read this book. Unfortunately those who require it most will not, for the following reasons:

1. It is a book.

2. It addresses concerns in a way which conflicts entirely with the views of those who would propagate absurd conspiracy theories, ludicrous 'medical' opinions and superstitious, delusional claptrap. The conflicts arise because Wheen is a writer who employs reason, logic  and analysis and conducts actual research, as opposed to merely trawling the social media swamp for ideas which support his own; ideas, it often turns out, propogated by utterly fraudulent 'experts', and mentally ill megalomaniacs such as David Icke.


Wheen has a Swiftian relish for exposing the cant that attends the 'new rationality'…bullshit's enema number one.'
Tim Adams, Observer


'Lightly and often hilariously told as it is, this book does make it clear that respect for truth and reason is retreating and mumbo-jumbo has a new confidence everywhere…This amusing, intelligent and elegantly argued book is as good a demonstration of the values it defends as could be imagined.
Philip Hensher, Spectator


‘This book is a manifesto for rescuing the greatest philosophical movement of the past millennium. You have a choice: either read it or, pre-emptively shred your brain in anticipation of the coming darkness.'
Independent on Sunday