Just a word or two about Felix Dennis

News Simon Brew 24 Jun 2014 - 06:45

The man who owned Den Of Geek died on Sunday night. Allow us just a word or two about Mr Felix Dennis...

Den Of Geek, on rare occasions, gets nominated for an award. Thus, we pop along, duly clap as someone else wins, and we stand awkwardly at the side of the room, lamenting the amount of wine we've drunk.

However, on one such occasion, I found myself seated next to Felix Dennis. Felix Dennis is the man who, bluntly, owned Den Of Geek. Without him, his publishing company, and the people who run his publishing company, Den Of Geek simply wouldn't exist. I was always told he had a soft spot for us too, albeit never by himself. I did see him hit a handdryer once, though.

Anyway, as it turned out, Felix Dennis was getting a lifetime achievement award that night. I'd never met the man before, but the subsequent couple of hours would see him loudly heckling Ronnie Corbett, then loudly heckling Bruce Forsyth, then declaring it "all a load of bollocks" when everyone on our table lost their awards, and then, when being presented with his own gong, ignoring the no speech rule to read a poem he'd written about Rupert Murdoch.

As he left the stage, Bruce Forsyth turned to Ronnie Corbett in genuine bemusement, looking vaguely shell-shocked, and asked "who was that scary man?".

That was Felix, Bruce.

Several other encounters with Felix followed, but none quite as memorable as the first time. If you were looking for someone that offered a unique mix of generosity, volume, anarchy, self-belief, passion, drink and brilliance, Felix was your man.

And here's the really shitty bit. We lost Felix on Sunday night. He was 67 years old.

He died of the cancer he fought and had bloody nearly beaten a year or two back. Since his first round of treatment, that had cost him plenty, not least his beard, he'd written more poetry, gone on tour, turned up at a company event and broken the specially commissioned memento he was presented with, and continued - without wavering once - to back us all to the hilt.

Felix's legacy isn't just the magazines and websites he leaves behind though. Nor the many people in the world who have Felix stories to tell (the most exaggerated ones? They're the ones most likely to be true). No, Felix turned his wealth to planting trees. In particular, the Heart Of England Forest Project. He spent many years buying up land in the middle of England, and instead of putting buildings on it, he put trees. So far, over a million have been planted. How many other people do you know who would turn their wealth to such a project?

Felix once wrote that "whosoever plants a tree, winks at immortality". If true, that's a lot of winking he's been doing. You can find out about the Heart Of England Forest here.

Felix is survived by lots of people he came into contact with, who now have amazing stories to tell. 98.4% of those stories will be true (you'd routinely have to knock 10% off if Felix told you the story himself). And cancer? We absolutely hate you.

Thanks for everything, Felix. 

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