In conversation series:
Interviewee: Alf Le Flohic
Interviewer: Christina Reading
Date of interview: 15 April 2010.
Summary : Alf Le Flohic remembers when Derek Jarman visited the Duke of York’s in the 1980’s.
“I was in Brighton in 1987 and this was an event at the DOY on the 21 April 1988. The Conservative government was pushing through Clause 28, which became section 28, making the promotion of homosexuality illegal. I got involved with Brighton Action against Section 28 to try and prevent this becoming law. This group met at the Brighthelm centre and they decided to put on some events. Lots of people nationally were quite outraged because they felt that it would prevent people writing or creating material that was considered illegal. We wanted to prevent the fear that this culture was creating and Derek Jarman was quite outspoken on these issues. I don’t know who organized the event but somebody got in touch with him and got him to agree to make it a benefit for Section 28.
One of my friends did the flyer for the event. It was before computers really. Everything was very hand made and done on photocopies and handed out. Brighton hadn’t really had a Pride yet. It was all really breaking new ground. Somebody had the idea of getting Derek Jarman down and getting him to introduce his film The Last of England. As part of the programme, they showed Caravggio, The last of England, followed by a talk by Derek Jarman about clause 28 and then a question and answer section.
I was sat upstairs with a cold but, I was determined to go because I am a fan of Derek Jarman, I love the DOY and I really wanted to be there. I was 23 and I was with my boyfriend at the time who was also quite political. The atmosphere at the time was very exciting, everybody was buzzing and the place was packed. The audience was quite mixed, but full of lots of young freshly politicized and arty people.
Derek Jarman didn’t speak for long but he was raffling off a copy of The Last of England and a couple of tea shirts with the last of England printed on it. I had the raffle ticket for one of those tea shirts . I didn’t feel very well and I knew Derek was HIV positive and so I sent my boyfriend down with the ticket. He was very excited and got the tea shirt afterwards. Then we all piled down into the lobby and there was Derek Jarman in the midst of it. He stood around talking for a bit and I think he then went on to somewhere else afterwards – maybe the Zap club. Although I cant remember very well to be honest. My boyfriend kept the tea shirt and it was my ticket. I thought that was most unfair.
I am a member of the Duke of York’s and occasionally. The London Lesbian and Gay film festival always used to have several nights and I used to try and make it out to those but over the years they seemed to be less and less well attended.”
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