This website will guide anyone who wants to know about Jonathan Bowden.
Here you will find (1) information about Jonathan Bowden, his published works, and works about him; (2) an archive of his orations, articles, artwork, and films; (3) information about the annual Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize; (4) a photographic gallery; (5) reports of events commemorating Jonathan Bowden.
This venture is supported by the Jonathan Bowden Trust, chaired by his executor, Michael Woodbridge.
Jonathan Bowden (12 April 1962 – 29 March 2012) was an author, outsider artist, intellectual, and political figure in the United Kingdom. Though obscure in his lifetime, he is considered by many to have been the best orator in the English language of his generation.
He began his political career in 1990 as a member of the Conservative Party Monday Club, in which he served, along with Stuart Millson, as co-chairman of the Media Committee.
During this period, Jonathan met Bill Hopkins, who would prove his greatest influence.
In 1992 Jonathan left the Monday Club and, with Millson, co-founded the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus (RCC). The organisation was intended as a pressure group to the right of the Monday Club, but one influenced by Continental philosophy instead of High Toryism. The group produced a quarterly journal, The Revolutionary Conservative Review (later renamed The Revolutionary Conservative). During this period, Bowden's book, Right, was published by the European Books Society. Bowden was also said to be prominent in the milieu responsible for the emergence of Right Now! magazine. The RCC dissolved in the Autumn of 1994.
In 1995, aged 33, Jonathan published his Collected Works, a six-volume set collecting 27 books, written between 1979-80 and 1994. These early writings cover a wide range of cultural, artistic, and political subjects, and belong to multiple non-fiction genres.
From 1996 he rededicated himself to his paintings, although he kept this activity hidden until his final years. As a child he had been influenced by Marvel Comics. As an adult, his style was an extreme expressionism. Over the following 16 years, Jonathan produced close to 400 paintings, a number of which would later illustrate the covers of his various works of fiction.
Sometime in 1997, he also authored a volume of dialogues, which would be published ten years later under the title Apocalypse TV.
In early 1999 Jonathan became involved with The Spinning Top Club, and arts and culture discussion group that met in London on the last Sunday of every month. The salon was originally founded, organised, and hosted by Steven Taylor in early 1998, but had been taken over by Michael Woodbridge by the end of that year; Woodbridge was responsible for the name. Jonathan eventually chaired the group until it dissolved in 2001.
Also in 1999 , Jonathan joined the Freedom Party, for which he acted as Treasurer for a short period. Subsequently, with Adrian Davies, he was a member of the Bloomsbury Forum. Jonathan contributed an essay "Hopkins—An Angry Young Man" to a book of 20 essays, published by the Forum and titled Standardbearers - British Roots of the New Right, which he, with Adrian Davies and Eddy Butler, also edited.
During the early 2000s, Jonathan worked on an experimental film, Venus Fly Trap. Another film, Grand Gignol, would be produced in 2006.
In 2003 Jonathan joined the British National Party. He acted as the party's Cultural Officer for the next four years, during which time he became a popular speaker at regional party meetings around the country. He resigned after a bitter dispute with the party leader, but, at the insistence of regional organisers, he resumed speaking at meetings (as an unaffiliated guest) in the later half of 2008, cutting all ties with the party in 2010.
Concurrently, in 2004 Jonathan also became involved with the London New Right, a forum created by Jonothon Boulter and Troy Southgate, who organised the bi-monthly meetings. Jonathan chaired this group until 2012. It is in this context that Jonathan delivered his most memorable orations. His talks typically revolved around forgotten cultural figures, but ventured far and wide, in a volcanic dispersion of cultural references, obscure political sects, anecdotes, and insights. Jonathan's stated aim was to revive ideas that had been marginalised, suppressed, or forgotten in what he saw as the decadent cultural desert of liberal modernity, in order so that we may have a basis upon which to regenerate the West. Jonathan was able to extemporate hour-long presentations, combining forceful delivery, humour, intellectual content, and a plethora of oratorical devices in a manner that reached audiences from all walks of life. Uniquely, he was equally effective at an intellectual salon in Chelsea as he was at a rough working-class pub in East London.
From 2007 onwards, new written works began surfacing. His later writing consisted of horror fiction in the form of short stories, novellas, and plays. Stylistically, many of these these works are difficult and they contrast sharply with the high journalism approach of his earlier prose.
By 2009, Jonathan's reputation as an orator had reached the United States, and he began receiving speaking invitations. His first American speech, delivered in Atlanta, proved the most blistering performance of his career. It was never recorded, but it put him immediately in demand. Unfortunately, Jonathan's health began to decline sharply from this point, and he was unable to profit from the opportunities that came his way.
From 2010 Jonathan also contributed cultural articles and reviews to an American website, Counter-Currents, which has since republished them in book form, along with transcripts of some of his speeches and interviews, collected in two themed volumes.
From 2011 Jonathan began speaking at the London Forum, a group similar to the New Right.
In February 2012, Jonathan delivered in second and last American speech, this time in San Francisco, California. His last speech anywhere was delivered in London, only five days before his death.
Jonathan was active until the end. At the time of his passing, aged 49, he was about to begin production of his third film.