The Last of England

Thisdurational outdoor piece was made for Beacons Icons & Dykons, to accompany a showing of Jarman's Last of England. A poetic, nightmarish journey through a dark landscape of totalitarianism and despair...


DARK, COLD, the faint smell of sulphur in the air.

Her body wrapped in the fluttering flag, regal and proud she stands in the night. 

She squeezes the newspaper wrapped chips, another symbol of her land, held aloft in her hand. Ketchup trickles slowly down her arm.

The body crumples; the image scatters and the soggy chips rain to the floor. 

During this section The Queen is Dead video (Jarman) flickers on the wall, on her body.

She sings. 

Has the world changed or have I changed?

Raw cauliflowers are arranged in lines [of battle] below her and she descends to attend them. She systematically spills a small amount of her blood on the head of each one, a ceremony.  She lovingly caresses them, her children, her sons, her lost causes.

 She then returns to them and tears them apart with hands, with her teeth; ravaging and injesting each one, spitting out that which she can’t consume. 

Has the world changed or have I changed?

The piece is stark and disjointed, to honour the film. The cauliflowers are a direct reference to The Last of England, but for me, they took on tender and current significance. Victims of unjust wars, suicides and deaths to Universal Credit and very much echoing the climate and premonitions of Jarman’s work. Sending our children to war, or into a system that we did not create, that we want no part of. This piece feels even more relevant to me now, than it did in 2016 when current events were unfolding.

This gorgeous short film by Piski films documents the evening.

Beacons Icons and Dykons Presents The Last of England by Derek Jarman from Tom Marshman on Vimeo.