Biography of Felix Dennis
Felix Dennis (27 May 1947 – 22 June 2014) was an English publisher, poet, spoken word performer and philanthropist. His company, Dennis Publishing, pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the United Kingdom. In more recent times, the company added lifestyle titles such as its flagship brand The Week, which is published in the UK and the United States.
Felix Dennis was born on 27 May 1947 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, the son of a part-time jazz pianist who ran a tobacconist's shop. He grew up poor in northeast Surrey, for a time living in his grandparents' tiny terrace house in Thames Ditton, not far from his birthplace, with his mother, Dorothy, and brother Julian. A place with "no electricity, no indoor lavatory or bathroom ... no electric light, but gas and candles".
In 1958, he passed his 11+ exam to enter St. Nicholas Grammar School in Northwood Hills, Middlesex. His first band, the Flamingos, was formed with friends at school.
In 2006, Felix said in an interview with Oliver Marre of The Observer newspaper:
I was brought up in rather unusual circumstances. When I was three, my father emigrated to Australia and for reasons I've never wanted to know, my mother didn't follow him. Eventually they got divorced, which was incredibly unusual at that time. So I was brought up by a very strong woman who set out to prove that her early failure, which is how she must have seen it, was not going to blight her children's lives. She went to nightschool, trained as a chartered accountant, and turned us middle-class. Meanwhile, I was the alpha male in the family. When I was about 14, my mother remarried a gentle giant. He was a wonderful man, but for me he was a second alpha male in the house and that meant I left home very early.
In 1964, Dennis moved into his first bedsit at 13 St Kildas Road, Harrow, earning rent playing in R&B bands and working as a window display artist in department stores. Briefly working as a sign-painter, he also enrolled at Harrow College of Art.
Dennis died of throat cancer at his home in Dorsington, Warwickshire, on 22 June 2014.
The bluebell wood
We walked within an ancient wood
Beside the Heart-of-England way
Where oak and beech and hazel stood,
Their leaves the pale shades of May.
By bole and bough, still black with rain,
The sunlight filtered where it would
Across a glowing, radiant stain—
We stood within a bluebell wood!