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Dancing Ledge

Derek Jarman

Publication Year: 2010

From his sexual awakening in postwar England to life in the sixties and beyond, Derek Jarman tells his life story with the in-your-face immediacy that became his trademark style in both his films and writing. Accompanied by nearly one hundred photographs of Jarman, his friends, lovers, and inspirations, the candid accounts in Dancing Ledge provide intimate and incredibly vivid glimpses into this iconoclastic filmmaker's life and times.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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A Footnote to My Past

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pp. ix-x

When I started to write Dancing Ledge in a Roman hotel room (Croce di Malta) late in 1982, my worklife was becalmed, deserted by the funding bodies and the British cinema renaissance running hard for Mrs. Thatcher’s new Jerusalem—absolute beginners all. ...

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I: The Rough Cut

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pp. 1-28

All through Christmas, spent in this old farmhouse high on a windy hill in Tuscany, I have told myself I must begin recording the labyrinthine saga of the Caravaggio film - 1.30 and the family has left for a hunters' lunch with the contadini, who have been chasing wild boar all morning through the maize fields ...

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II: Painting It Out

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pp. 29-58

Great-Uncle Tommy, who worked with my grandfather in India, had a secretary called Merle Oberon. When she later became a film star she never failed to invite him to her premieres, until one day he unwittingly mentioned their shared past. ...

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III: The Thaw

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pp. 59-87

Life was to change for ever after my return from America in the autumn of 1964. By October I had discovered my first gay pub - the William IV in Hampstead; and shortly after, the La Douce in Poland Street and the Gigolo in the King's Road. These were two of a handful of gay bars which were the only haven in a city of eight million souls. ...

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IV: The Most Beautiful Room in London

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pp. 88-105

In August 1969 I moved into the first of a series of warehouses on the river front. Upper Ground was at the end of Blackfriars Bridge. It was a large, airy L-shaped room. After seven years in cramped Georgian terrace houses and basements the change was exhilarating. ...

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V: Home Movies

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pp. 106-131

The 'home movie' nights of my childhood were the most exciting. To watch Grandma Mimosa cutting up the Sunday chicken in 1929 seemed no less than a miracle - in Grandfather's home movies with their title cards: 'BACK TO SCHOOL, YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW THEY FELT', ...

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VI: St Sebastian

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pp. 132-159

I met James Whaley, who was to become the producer of Sebastiane, at a Sunday lunch. He asked me what I did. Films. 'What sort?' 'Little ones.' Have you ever thought of features? No - impossible! Well I'm going to make one, he said, what ideas do you have? The Tempest perhaps. ...

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VII: Chelsea on Ice

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pp. 160-173

Spring-Summer 1977: The Super 8 film I was planning with Jordan took off like a roller coaster after the success of Sebastiane at the Gate. The John Dee script was pirated and used as a framing device; Jung's Seven Sermons to the Dead, and the Angelic Conversations of the good doctor Dee were scrambled with SNIFFin Glue and London's OUTRAGE. ...

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VIII: Stormy Weather

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pp. 174-198

At the end of July 1978, I went to Taormina in Sicily to help with the Italian pre-publicity for Jubilee. The trip proved as disastrous as I had expected. The film was shown on the last night of the festival at 2.30 a.m.; I left an hour into the film, leaving an audience of nine in the cinema, of whom at least four were asleep. ...

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IX: The Oblivion Digits

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pp. 199-226

After The Tempest it seemed a matter of months before a new project would be funded. But I miscalculated the resistance to anything that does not reflect the commercial norm. The budgeting of my films was virtually non-existent — no chance of anyone making much more than a simple wage; ...

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X: Dancing Ledge

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pp. 227-241

I have a very low opinion of art and an even lower opinion of what is accepted as art, put high on a pedestal, high as it is possible to make it without rendering it totally invisible. Incarcerated in bunkers, sold, bartered, and reproduced so that even the most potent images are nullified, 'art' is eulogized into something other. ...

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XI: An Inventory

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pp. 242-243

Conducting an inventory. At forty I have debts of £2,000 to the bank and a further £1,000 to friends. I have no stable income, and although Nicholas hopes to sort things out in Rome, it is always tomorrow. I'm stuck with this project like an iron lung - it's too late to go back, and in any case, impossible to think of anything until Caravaggio is completed. ...

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XII: Epilogue

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pp. 244-245

I love these rocks with their emerald-green pools and sea anemones - the sea roaring against the cliffs with their huge silent caves. Jenny changes into her white Elizabeth dress which Christopher has made with lace gloves and great chandelier drop jewels. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816675142
E-ISBN-10: 0816675147
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816674497

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2010