Modern Nature is Jarman’s chronicle of life in his remote cottage on the barren coast of Dungeness in the years after his HIV diagnosis. Facing an uncertain future, Jarman found solace in nature, growing all manner of plants. Some perished beneath wind and sea-spray while others flourished, creating brilliant, unexpected beauty in the wilderness.
Modern Nature is both a diary of the garden and a meditation by Jarman on his own life: his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s and his renowned career as an artist, writer and film-maker. It is at once a lament for a lost generation, an unabashed celebration of gay sexuality, and a devotion to all that is living.
Rupert Everett knew Jarman personally and features in the diaries. The programme was recorded on location at Prospect Cottage, Jarman’s former home, at the very desk where much of Modern Nature was written and features a rich soundscape of the house and area where it was recorded alongside a soundtrack of music taken from works by Benjamin Britten.
Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 2019, Rupert Everett narrating Modern Nature will be available to listen to in full until September 2020.
Written by Derek Jarman
Read by Rupert Everett
Produced, abridged and directed by Simon Richardson
Programme image: Derek Jarman outside Prospect Cottage in Dungeness courtesy of photographer Howard Sooley.
JARMAN’S DESCRIPTION OF HIS PHYSICAL AND INTERNAL ISOLATION WHILST LIVING IN DUNGENESS WILL RESONATE WITH MANY PEOPLE FROM LGBT COMMUNITIES, ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME OF LOCKDOWN. 27% OF RESPONDENTS TO A RECENT LGBT FOUNDATION SURVEY SAID ISOLATION WAS ONE OF THEIR TOP THREE CURRENT CONCERNS RELATED TO THE CURRENT CRISIS. JARMAN EXPRESSED HIMSELF DURING THIS TIME THROUGH CONTINUED CREATIVITY, DIARY WRITING AND GARDENING WHICH WE THINK ARE ALL STILL FANTASTIC SUGGESTIONS, FOR OTHER IDEAS CHECK OUT OUR LIST OF WAYS TO AFFIRM YOUR LGBT IDENTITY WHILST IN LOCKDOWN.
Quote courtesy LGBT Foundation Manchester