Felix Dennis – symbol of a revolution
Felix Dennis was unlike any man I have ever known. A complete one off. He was a rebel in every dimension.
He was a key component of Oz magazine. It was a publication so fabulously satirical and provocative to and about the establishment that eventually he and others on the magazine landed in court, in the celebrated Oz trial.
Felix was emblematic of the screaming revolutionary sixties – an era thought by the establishment to be about revolution, and by many involved (including Felix) to be have been about having a whole load of politically motivated fun.
Felix had fun in spades. Indeed to those of us who knew and loved him, he had so much fun that many wondered whether he would live past 40. But he did, and lived life to very fullest.
Felix was a brilliant wordsmith, discovering his poetic muse relatively late in life and then delighting tens of thousands with his live performances at which he dished out liberal quantities of fine wine. His show Did I Mention the Free Wine? filled theatres and public spaces across the UK – tens of thousands enjoyed live poetry as rarely before.
He wrote half a dozen books of poetry – the last and I think the best is Love of a Kind, written when he was already suffering from throat cancer.
But of course Felix was also famous for being rich, I mean staggeringly rich, and equally generous. His wealth derived of his supreme business judgement and enterprise – he was into computer magazines before many realised there were even computers to be into.
The company he founded and ran, Dennis Publishing, also owned the Week and one or two saucier magazines Like Maxim in the US.
For all his unorthodox life – more than his fair share of drugs, women, and song – Felix had a Midas touch when it came to business. He spotted and spawned success all his business life.
His wealth was expressed in part by the manor and estate where he lived in Warwickshire and the house he bought from David Bowie. I came to know him through trying to blag money off him for the charity I work in – the New Horizon Youth centre for homeless teenagers in London.
Needless to say, he looked into what we really needed, which was computers, and computerised the entire centre and had a computer training room established for our users.
Finally, Felix has left his vast wealth to one singular project – his greatest love – trees. Yes his entire fortune , or most of it, is to be dedicated to his Heart of England Forest project. He’d already seen its millionth tree planted before he died.
It is today the largest privately owned forest in England – sited as it is in his home county of Warwickshire. He will be buried beneath its trees.
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