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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Very touching 'in memory of'. I've never heard of Flexi but obviously am familiar
with some of the stuff he was behind the scenes of. I will Google this man and
have a look at his legacy.


Blimey he sounded like an interesting bloke:)
Love the way he planted all those trees.

I will always think of him as Flexi Dennis from now on.

He sounds like he wasn't a normal corporate executive.Am I right that he had a background in counter culture publishing as he was part of OZ magazine,the 70's publication which Brian Bolland and John Peel were involved with,before he established Den Of Geek?Condolences.

This man's work was a huge part of my teenage years, with publications like Viz and, in particular, Your Sinclair being a huge influence on the person I would become (I still use YS-isms to this day).

A sad loss.

Yep, that's him!

I wasn't previously aware of Mr Dennis but he sounds like an absolutely top human. We need more like him. Always seems to be the ars*holes that linger until well into their 90s, more's the pity. Very nice memorial piece Simon, and my condolences to all who knew him.

Sorry to hear for your loss guys. Sounds like an awesome gent.

Surely we all need to be wearing "he who plants a tree, winks at immortality" T Shirts now yes?

I didn't know he had anything to do with Viz!! Well I never..

Hahaha I obviously missed that typo but flexi Dennis does have a ring to it

Yes - Dennis bought it out in 2003. This was a few years after I used to read it but YS' writing style was influenced in part by Viz so it's like the circle became complete (sort of).

Sounds like a really cool guy :)
Wish someone like him ran our country!

In this age of 'faceless' corporations who are more than happy to put money above all else whilst desperately trying to put a bland, obsequious image over to the public, people like Mr.Dennis are sadly too few and far between.
He very obviously couldn't give two flying figs about what people thought of him, and he pushed the boundaries in the best way (see the Oz trial). I know it tends to be pretty rote these days to say there are few of thme left, but with Dennis I think that applies all to well.
RIP Mr.Dennis.

A true modern buccaneer.
Lived his life on his own terms.

I've Mr. Dennis to thank for my favorite ever (and life changing) magazine, Fortean Times. And this website. And other stuff. A legacy that will continue to please many people for years to come.

Sad news - Thanks for everything Felix

If somebody releases a "he who plants a tree, winks at immortality" t-shirt, I can bet everybody here will buy one and wear it with pride.

RIP Mr Dennis, thank you for giving us this website!

Magnificently put, Simon. I was lucky enough to catch his "Did I mention the free wine?" Tour last year, which was quite simply a wonderful evening. Truly a top gent and a sad loss, especially to the world of poetry.

Sorry for your loss guys. He sounds like an awesome human being.

Bummer. He sounds like he was a great guy. Cancer needs to go away and never come back.

Felix gave us Your Sinclair. Thank you and rest in peace Felix.

Thanks Felix for supporting this, my favorite website. The world needs more characters and you certainly seemed like a character!

I am sorry to hear of his passing. I stupidly assumed that this website was just run by a bunch of cool and determined group of people that enjoyed sharing their love of movies, games and more. Very sad.

Your assumption remains correct. Apart from the 'cool' bit.

The best computer magazine of all time.

I think i'll 'sponsor a sapling' in honour of all the joy this website has brought me over the last few years. I hope i get to visit his forest one day.

The man was a don, missed already.

I didn't know Felix Dennis personally, but he does sound like an interesting cat and an absolute stand-up guy. He created this cool website, some great magazines and gave something back to our Mother Earth by planting trees. It infuriates me that so much time and money is spent bombing third world countries to smithereens, but humanity still hasn't eradicated cancer once and for all. R.I.P. Felix.

Your Sinclair was awesome! I've still got the first 12 editions tucked away in a drawer somewhere. The writing was superb and a world away from the likes of Crash and C&VG at the time. T'zer rocked! RIP Mr Dennis...

The writing of YS has had a huge influence on me. I write short stories and also the occasional article for this very site and, upon reading stuff back before submitting, I find it peppered with little idioms that have stuck with me.

So jealous that you still have your copies! I got rid of mine when I left home. You can still read scans of all the old editions at sites like World of Spectrum and YS-The Rock 'N' Roll Years...

I might suggest a retrospective of YS to DoG for my next article!

The Daily Express website has an article acknowledging Mr Dennis' death from Anna Pukis which is more biographical than anecdotal,and is a nice companion piece to this article,if anybody wants to be more informed about him.Take a look,if you want...

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