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, polemic 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, 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.
Derek Jarman was born in London in 1942. His career spanned decades and genres, from painter, theatre designer, director, film maker, to poet, writer, campaigner and gardener. His features include Sebastiane (1976), Jubilee (1978), Caravaggio (1986), The Last of England (1987), Edward II (1991) and Blue (1993). His paintings – for which he was a Turner Prize nominee in 1986 – continue to be exhibited worldwide, and his garden in Dungeness remains a site of pilgrimage to fans and newcomers alike.