"I am one of the finest magazine publishers in the world," Dennis tells me. "That's not braggadocio—I refuse to engage in false modesty—it's what I am."
Dennis The Menace
With five homes, five Rolls-Royces, and a Rolodex of mistresses, Felix Dennis is a story worthy of his own testosterone-and-cleavage-packed Maxim, the runaway hit of U.S. newsstands. But the British media mogul's transatlantic invasion has only just begun, as he launches three more magazines in America.
The Mustique telephone directory, a stapled pamphlet, includes three-digit phone numbers for such residents as the Earl of Lichfield, Prince & Princess Rupert Loewenstein, and Tommy Hilfiger. Mick Jagger's number is unlisted. "We politely request that if you recognize visiting celebrities or members of the Royal Family, you respect their privacy and do not ask them for autographs or take their picture," reads a flier in my hotel. "Mustique isn't for the rich—it's for the very rich," Bud Fisher reminds me as we drive up a steep hill one February evening to meet his boss, Felix Dennis, who counts, being the 72nd richest man in Britain, worth over half a billion dollars, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Passing through a gate guarded by two stone Griffins spitting flames, we arrive at Mandalay, Dennis' hill-top compound and the former home of David Bowie, which Dennis bought in 1995 for $6 million. Included with the Indonesian-style pavilions were their contents: furniture and fixtures, sheets and towels, and Bowie's two pets, a calico cat and an overweight little dog.
Dennis, 54, looks a bit like one of Maurice Sendak's wild things. This evening, he wears undistinguished khakis and a Hawaiian shirt; his gray hair and thick beard are ungroomed. We walk together along a veranda lined with intricately carved teak columns and doors sent from a remote village in Java. In the courtyard are two ponds stocked with goldfish and Japanese koi; gently, water spills over from one pond into the other. We descend to a wide terrace, overlooking the lush hills of Mustique. Below us, the faint, glassy lights of sailboats and yachts portion out the bay. The salt air is scented with frangipani, jasmine and hibiscus. Tree frogs sing. Above are thousands of stars. We've just missed what must have been a glorious sunset.
"There will be others," Dennis remarks, as if glorious sunsets were a dime a dozen; perhaps they are in Mustique. Tossing a cigarette butt over the balustrade and into the bushes, he maneuvers his ample body in the direction of a stained glass door depicting two full-bosomed mermaids (one with boxing gloves, the other with a pool cue) and enters his newly constructed rec room. Eric Clapton bellows from the Rock-Ola jukebox. Silk Cut cigarette in hand (they're always in hand; he smokes three, maybe four packs of Silk Cuts a day), Dennis heads to the Harley-Davidson pinball machine. Ding! Ding! Ding! He scores! A round of air hockey follows; Dennis beats his opponent with ease. Against one wall are other pinball machines: Striker Xtreme, Adams Family and Star Trek. There's also a foosball table and leather lounge chairs shaped like a baseball glove.
Dennis lights another cigarette. "If I get lung cancer," he says. "I will die by an overdose of crack cocaine with an 18-year-old perched on top of me; I absolutely swear to you I will" Then he takes off a white Docksider to display his pale left foot: "In six weeks here these feet haven't touched the sand once!" he boasts with a laugh that makes it sound as if he's choking on a bone. "I let the guests go off and amuse themselves while I stay indoors." In the six weeks since Christmas that he has been on Mustique, Dennis has hardly left his compound. He is not interested in other people's parties.
"Watch this!" He twists around so that his body faces in one direction, his feet in another. It's a party trick. A Chuck Berry song starts up on the jukebox. Grabbing the remote control, Dennis turns the volume way up, and, not unpleasingly, roars: "Go, go, go Johnny go, go, go Johnny, go go! His mama told him someday you will be a man! and you will be the leader of a big band! Go Johnny go, go, go Johnny go go!"
Felix relishes being a hillbilly moving into a high-class neighborhood, putting a car up on cinderblocks and embarrassing everyone else on the block," says Mark Golin, who used to work as an editor for Dennis. Embarrassing everyone on the block is just what Felix Dennis did in 1997 when he introduced the American version of Maxim, his British magazine for young men. Maxim's cinderblock tagline is "Sex. Sports. Beer. Gadgets. Clothes. Fitness." Unapologetically crass, the magazine features reviews of TV dinners ("Looks bad. Like poo-poo."); jokes ("Q: How did the hillbilly find his sister in the woods? A: Pretty good."); investment ideas ("Proudly putting the 'ass' back into 'managed asset allocation.'"); etiquette tips ("In the morning, after the postcoital high and those shots of tequila have worn off, say sayonara with a line like, 'I had fun'—then get going."); and revealing photo shoots of young female celebrities you've never heard of ("If Scandinavian stunner and Vertical Limit star Izabella Scorupco is from such a wintry land, why does it feel like a sauna in here?").
When American Maxim was launched in April, 1997, few people believed it would succeed. "Anyone would have told him there was no room for another men's magazine. Men don't read magazines. It was futile," says Reed Philips of DeSilva & Philips Inc., a New York investment bank specializing in media deals. Dennis's competitors were condescending: "It's not a bad magazine," Esquire's editor David Granger informed Newsweek in early 1999, "It's just limited in its aspirations and ideas of what a man is." GQ's editor Art Cooper opined in the New York Post: "Maxim is a magazine for men who not only move their lips when they read, they drool when they read."
Apparently millions of American men do drool when they read. Today, Maxim is one of the country's most successful magazines. Each month, two-and-a-half million copies are sold on newsstands and by subscription. By comparison, GQ's circulation is 900,000; Esquire's is 680,000. On many US newsstands—including those at 7-Eleven convenience stores—Maxim is not simply the top men's magazine; it's the number-one selling magazine, period. Last year, the US edition, named Magazine of the year by Advertising Age, sold $115 million worth of advertisements—more than GQ; nearly twice as much as Esquire; and more than Playboy and Penthouse combined. Meanwhile, US newsstands are increasingly crowded with magazines imitating Maxim's PG-13 raunchiness.
Currently published in nine countries and seven languages, Maxim is but one title in Dennis's magazine empire. In the U.K., his homeland, he owns a dozen serviceable but highly successful computing, gaming and automobile titles, among them: Computer Shopper, PC Pro, Auto Express, Computer & Video Games, and MacUser. He also publishes a newsmagazine called The Week, a breezy digest of newspaper and magazine articles from around the world that is one of the U.K.'s fastest growing publications. But it is Dennis's success in the vast, lucrative, and highly competitive U.S. market that has made him one of the world's most respected and feared publishers. Indeed, making it in the United States is something of an initiation rite for foreign publishers—think of Austalia's Rupert Murdoch, who first made a name for himself here with The New York Post, and Canada's Conrad Black, owner of The Chicago Sun-Times. Two years after introducing Maxim, Dennis Publishing U.S.A. followed with Stuff, another magazine for young men which now sells some 800,000 copies a month, almost as many as Fortune or Forbes. Over the next few months, three more Dennis magazines will be introduced in the US: Maxim Fashion; an American version of The Week; and Blender, a glossy music magazine.
If bringing Maxim to America was bold, launching Blender, which will compete with Rolling Stone and Spin, seems almost foolhardy. Now that Dennis Publishing U.S.A. cuts such a high profile, more is at stake than the success of a single magazine. As Dennis readily concedes: "[Blender] will tell us whether Dennis Publishing US is a real magazine publishing company or not. … It will sort the men from the boys. It really will." As for The Week, it will be taking on such long-established U.S. titles as Time and Newsweek just as ad sales for those publications are dropping. As the Wall Street Journal asked recently, "Is Felix Dennis Mad?"
Not really, according to most people I talked to. Instead, the word that friends, competitors, employees, partners, relatives, and former mistresses reach for to describe Dennis is "fearless." "People will cross Felix at their own peril," warns Robin Miller, chairman of Britain's Emap P.L.C., the magazine publisher whose FHM competes with Maxim in both the U,K. and the U.S. "He has the habit of putting the fear of God in people." If so, it may be because, like God, Dennis is beholden to no one. "There are very few people in negotiations who are prepared to go to the brink and walk away if they don't get exactly what they want," says Peter Godfrey, one of Dennis's business partners in the U.S. Adds Robert Bartner, Dennis's other U.S. partner: "Felix negotiates fully prepared to walk away—that's his strength."
And he insists on walking away with the last word. In July 1999, for instance, about six months before Maxim's circulation numbers were first audited, Dennis took out a full-page ad in The New York Times claiming that his magazine was thrashing the competition. In a slick quick response, one competitor sent a case of Vaseline to Dennis with a note: "Apparently the numbers aren't the only thing you massage." Delighted, Dennis faxed a hand-written reply from Mustique: "Thanks, but I'm a bit too busy counting my money to polish the wood right now."
His competitive streak extends to his private life. One of his old friends told me about a party in London two years ago; with 50 or 60 people watching, Dennis got into an argument with some woman he'd just met. "It was heated and embarrassing," the friend recalls. "And in the end he challenged her to competitive strip. They got down to their underwear and it was clear that Felix was prepared to go all the way. She backed off." It was not an isolated incident. "We've been to two parties where women tried to call him out—it's a mistake, because he will always go further."
Felix Dennis has never been married. He has no children. Though he does support a number of former and current mistresses—helping with the rent, supplementing their income, buying them apartments and jeweled wristwatches, providing them with nominal jobs—he strenuously avoids the emotional and financial responsibility of family life. "He's very generous with material things; he's very affectionate physically," explains an ex-girlfriend. "But with his emotions..." She trails off, adding, "Emotional detachment gives him total freedom." In this, he's the poster boy for Maxim just as Hugh Heffner in his silk pajamas is a full-page ad for Playboy. As Dennis once snapped when a BBC reporter raised the matter of his promiscuity: "Let's get real. I mean, you know, if you had million of pounds and you could be in love with half a dozen beautiful women at the same time, and they were happy with that arrangement, would you? Or would you like to be married and have children? Choose!"
It is now past midnight in Mustique. Still holding court in his excessively air-conditioned rec room, far from frangipani, hibiscus and clusters of stars, Dennis drinks red wine, goblet after goblet after goblet. He keeps smoking. And all the while he's talking passionately, about himself. "You know, I write Maxim's cover lines," he tells his four guests. Maxim's New York editors have just faxed him a draft of the March cover, the main headline of which reads "Sexaholic!" In Dennis's view, the headline is "fucking stupid." Maxim's new cover line: "Vodoo Sex! Turn Any Girl Into Your Lust Puppet."
Unlike big American publishing companies (Conde Nast and Time Inc, for example) Dennis won't permit his writers and editors to become celebrities. At Dennis Publishing, there is only one star. While leaving the tedious details to his staff, Dennis has the final word on all major editorial decisions. "You have to subjugate your ego to work with Felix," one of his executives confides, sotto voce.
"I am one of the finest magazine publishers in the world," Dennis tells me. "That's not braggadocio—I refuse to engage in false modesty—it's what I am."
In the UK, Felix Dennis is best known for having been a defendant in the country's most famous obscenity trail. In 1970, when he was 23, Dennis and two codefendants were charged with, among other offenses, conspiring to "debauch and corrupt the moral of children and young persons." The magazine, an underground hippie journal called Oz, rocked the English establishment: there was the "Cunt Power" issue, with a cover story by Germaine Greer; the gay issue, with two naked men embracing on the cover; and the "Beautiful Freaks" issue, dedicated to LSD.
How Dennis landed at Oz is its own story. He was born in 1947 to an ordinary couple in an ordinary London suburb, but his life changed abruptly when his father, a shopkeeper, left his mother in 1950. Dennis never saw his father again. "My mother is a very strong-willed woman," he says matter-of-factly, "but it was very difficult for her. He did not send her money. He never sent her any money." For the next six years, Dennis and his younger brother, Julian, lived with their maternal grandparents in a plain brick house without electricity or indoor plumbing. Even then, it seems, Dennis was independent and fearless. At one school, his contempt for authority got him kicked out. "He was not the brightest guy around," says a former classmate, John Leaver. "But he had confidence, and at that age that's what everyone wanted—confidence. He was ballsy." He was also proud: once, when someone slandered his mother, Dennis beat the kid up.
An average student, and impatient, Dennis dropped out of school and left home when he was 15. Renting a room in Harrow, a borough northwest of London, Dennis spent a few years playing drums in a band, designing shop windows for a furniture store, and mowing lawns.
In London, a young Australian by the name of Richard Neville was launching Oz. It was 1967. The moment Dennis saw an early issue of Oz, he sent Neville an urgent tape-recorded message: "The most fucking fantastic mag I've ever seen in my life... Your editorial address to fucking slimy politicians takes the cake. I will do anything to help you guys, anything."
As Neville tells the story in his 1995 book Hippie Hippie Shake, Dennis arrived at his door: "Felix was broke. To pay for his girlfriend's abortion, he had sold a precious drum-kit, but it was not enough... 'You can have five hundred Ozes for free,' I said, pointing to the stacks of returns against the wall. If he sold the lot, he would clear sixty pounds. Felix was effusively grateful, and lugged the bundles out the door."
That was the start of Felix Dennis' publishing career. Each day, standing on Kings Road with three girls in miniskirts as lures, Dennis managed to sell hundreds and hundreds of copies of Oz. In the twinkling of an eye, he became its business manager.
Neville and his editors wore caftans and beads, smoked dope, and circulated memorial posters for Che Guevara. Dennis, on the other hand, wore three-piece chocolate-brown suits and high-heeled snakeskin boots to meet with advertisers. He also accumulated objects, filling his London flat with middle-class art and furnishings. His colleagues referred to him as a "bread-head." "Felix had an instinctive head for business," says Dick Pountain, who was Oz's production manager.
What landed Felix Dennis in jail was the issue of June 1970. Even by today's standards, the cover is dirty: nipples sucked; dildos held; rats' tails pulled. You get the picture. Recalls Jim Anderson, Oz's designer: "The printer called us, 'Boys! Boys! Do you really want to do this?' The minute the issue hit the streets the shit hit the fan."
Armed with a warrant under the Obscene Publications Act, Scotland Yard raided the Oz offices. Neville, Anderson and Dennis were charged with obscenity, conspiracy, and with sending indecent articles through the post. The trial began on June 22, 1971. John Lennon and Yoko Ono marched in "Save Oz" protests and raised money for the trial by recording a single titled "God Save Oz." David Hockney helped out by auctioning sketches of the three defendants, nude. The Oz Three were found guilty. Neville was sentenced to 15 months in prison, Anderson to 12, and Dennis to 9. "You are younger than the other two and very much less intelligent," is how the judge justified Dennis' shorter sentence. But after less than two weeks in jail, the boys were freed, their sentences commuted. Neville moved to the Australian bush and became a social commentator. Anderson joined a hippie commune on the beach in Bolinas, California. Dennis became the 72nd-richest man in Britain.
Earlier this year, visiting his country estate in Warwickshire, two hours by car from London, I asked Dennis to identify his greatest strength. "Timing," he replied, without hesitation (or braggadocio).
It's uncanny, Dennis' sense of timing—his genius for turning loss into gain. For a short time after Oz folded, Dennis published underground comics on a shoestring. But as the hippie era waned, he went mainstream, launching a motorcycle-review magazine and buying Hi-Fi Choice. One day in 1974, passing a long line of teenagers outside a London movie theater, Dennis discovered Bruce Lee. "I thought, what the hell is going on? And I went over, and they told me they were queuing up to see this wonderful Chinaman who beat people up. So I went into the cinema and had a look and I wasn't in the movie house 15, 20 minutes, seen him turn around and stare at the camera a couple of times and beat people up, and I was already rushing out the movie house down to the offices: Let's go! This is going to be big!"
The result was Kung Fu Monthly, a magazine that would eventually be published in 17 countries and 11 languages. Having landed in the business of marketing fads to teenagers, Dennis produced inexpensive "one-shots"—single sheets of text that unfolded into glossy posters of James Dean, the Bay City Rollers, man-eating sharks, and Starsky and Hutch.
In 1975, Dennis, then 28, introduced his one shots to America. "He arrived on my doorstep on West 44th Street, virtually unannounced," says Peter Godfrey, one of Dennis's partners in the US. "He pulled out of his bag a flimsy publication—It was a Bruce Lee poster magazine. Who on earth would want a folded poster? I asked." Still, the profit margins intrigued Godfrey: one-shot poster magazines could be produced for pennies and sold for dollars. With Godfrey and his partner Robert Bartner overseeing distribution, Dennis sold "one-shots" all across America.
In 1979, Godfrey called Dennis in London: "We have more returns on a Star Wars movie poster than expected, so we overpaid you a couple thousand dollars."
"Well, I've spent it," Dennis replied. "I've bought a PC newsletter."
Godfrey asked, "What's a PC?"
Bill Gates was 24 in 1979. Personal computers were largely the domain of hobbyists. Dennis hardly knew what one was. And yet, presciently, thanks to advice from friends who understood the potential of such things, Dennis had just bought Europe's first publication devoted to the P.C.: Personal Computer World. The price was 100,000 Pounds. Less than three years later, Dennis sold what was now known as PC World to a Dutch publishing company for the then-astonishing sum of 3 million Pounds. Adjusted for inflation, that's about $10 million.
Dennis' next big magazine, MacUser, hit US newsstands in October 1985, a year and nine months after the introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer. Fourteen months later, Ziff-Davis Publishing bought MacUser from Dennis and his two American partners for $20 million. Adjusted for inflation, that's $31 million.
By all accounts, Dennis had always been self-indulgent. Now, suddenly rich, he became insatiable, boasting of his 14 mistresses and hinting at odd, unmentionable, sexual proclivities. He told The Guardian that he avoided old-fashioned intercourse—"not because of AIDS, but because I found out it was easier not having penetrative sex because you can do three things at once" (Dennis didn't elaborate.) His very conspicuous consumption began with the purchase of an oversized gold Rolex watch, then a cream-colored Rolls Royce, bought on the spot at a dealership in London. In a 1993 interview with the UK edition of Esquire, Dennis described the purchase this way: "I did say the classic thing: Excuse me—how much is this? And this prat actually said to me: 'If you have to ask, it's probably too much money.' So I said: You fucking cunt, go and get me the manager! And when he came I said to him: I don't know who this cunt is, but why don't you fire him and get me someone who'll sell me this motorcar? And he said: 'Yes, sir!' I bought that fucking motorcar because that bastard told me I couldn't afford it."
The money from the MacUser sale also funded Dennis' one business venture outside publishing: MicroWarehouse, a Connecticut-based mail order operation that sold computers and computer accessories. In early 2000, the company was bought by a group of private investors. In total, it earned Dennis $100 million.
Ironically, the 1995 launch of Maxim in the U.K. was one of the few times Felix Dennis was late to market. By the time he started the magazine, other so-called lads' magazines such as FHM and Loaded were well established. When he introduced Maxim to America, however, its adolescent mix of dirty jokes and boobs—somewhere between Mad and Juggs—was a novelty. "The timing was absolutely perfect," says Mark Golin, who was one of Maxim's early U.S. editors. "Maxim was showing up at the end of the long, politically correct era. Where you were supposed to discuss Woody Allen with your girlfriend over a glass of Chardonnay, here was Maxim saying, It's ok to be a guy." Especially a guy who drools when he reads.
The success of Maxim in the U.S. sent the existing U.S. men's magazines into a tailspin. In response, Conde Nast, publisher of GQ (and of this magazine), hired away Golin in April 1999 to run Details, a once-hot young-men's magazine that was now floundering. At first, the raid appeared to be a blow to Dennis Publishing. But from Dennis's point of view, the success of Maxim had nothing to do with some editor; after all, Dennis had created it.
Within hours of Golin's resignation, Dennis co-authored a clever press release, naming "Sammy the Office Hamster" as acting editor-in-chief. The girls featured in Maxim would be selected by Sammy. "One squeak means she gets the double-page spread," Dennis told a reporter. "Three squeaks and we've found our cover girl." Typically, ingeniously, Dennis turned rejection into a win. Impressed, the Wall Street Journal ran Dennis' press release on page one of its Marketplace section.
As for Mark Golin, less than a year after arriving at Details he found himself out of work. At present, he's responsible for content at Moviefone, an unglamorous division of AOL Time Warner. No wonder he sounds nostalgic: "Felix is somebody I would certainly drop anything to go and have 9 or 10 beers with," he admitted recently over a late-afternoon gin-and-tonic.
So far, 2001 has not been kind to newspaper and magazine publishers: almost without exception, advertising is down sharply this year. Yet Dennis seems unconcerned. He claims his U.S. titles will report overall revenues of $200 million this year, a more than 80% increase from 2000. Besides, he argues that he does not publish magazines for advertisers, nor to impress his peers—at Dennis Publishing, the only thing that counts is the reader. "I adore my readers," he says. "I like my advertisers, but I don't adore them. I adore my readers. Everything I publish is for my readers."
On April 14, Dennis Publishing launches its U.S. version of The Week, whose ambitious slogan read, "All You Need To Know About Everything That Matters." The launch of The Week is expected to cost $17 million. Less than four weeks later, on May 8, comes Dennis's new music magazine, Blender, edited by Andy Pemberton, who used to run Britain's quick-witted music magazine Q. Just as Maxim made the older men's magazines look stodgy, so too does Blender promise to be younger and more inclusive than its competitors. Unlike Rolling Stone, Blender will not write about politics or cultural trends. And rather than focus on one style of music, as Spin and The Source do, Blender will cover whatever kids are listening to on their MP3 players. Above all, Blender intends to be as irreverent as Maxim; it will not be self-important. "A magazine is just a piece of fluff in people's lives," Stephen Colvin, head of Dennis Publishing U.S.A. reminds me—not the sort of admission you'd hear from most U.S. publishers, who tend to think their magazines matter.
Felix Dennis now owns five Rolls Royces and five homes, each with its own wine cellar and dedicated full-time staff. His English country house, for example, is maintained by five gardeners and seven housekeepers, among others. The gardeners clip hedges, trim topiary, and manicure grass. The housekeepers dust, wax, hoover, mop and, yes, polish the wood—every day. At Dennis's specific request, they "groom" the carpets, making very sure that every single fiber faces the same way. They also button his freshly laundered shirts which can then be slipped over his head. He has two personal assistants, three personal accountants, a bookkeeper, a chauffeur and a "purchaser," who stocks Dennis's homes with clothing, toiletries, food, and other necessities of life.
Increasingly, though, what matters most to Dennis is neither money nor women but his legacy. "He loves being successful, he loves that people like you are doing profiles of him, he loves the game, but I suspect he has other hidden motivations," says Robert Bartlett, his longtime U.S. partner. "He started as far outside the English establishment as you can get and has been moving ever inward: at some point he will be knighted, or whatever it is you get from the Queen, and that to me would complete the circle from Oz."
With posterity, or Burke's Peerage, firmly in mind, Dennis has turned one building on his English estate into a vermin-proof, humidity-conditioned archive of his life. Organized by theme and date, the archive includes every scrap of paper that has ever entered Dennis's life: bus tickets, invitations, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, receipts. As well, the archive includes thousands of pages of notes taken by a researcher hired to document his life. From time to time, 250 of his friends and associates are sent packages documenting the latest accomplishments of Felix Dennis: video tapes of his parties; bound copies of speeches he's given; recent issues of his magazines; press releases; stunning sales figures; company T-shirts. Recently, he announced that the bulk of his vast estate will go toward creating the "Forest of Dennis" in an as-yet-undecided location: 50,000 deciduous trees are to be planted on 100,000 acres of land, an area seven times the size of Manhattan.
In the past year, Dennis has also started writing poetry; it takes itself very seriously:
"I do not speak of secrets, long dormant or concealed;
Of passion unrequited, of wounds which never healed.
I seek for treasures buried, a hoard, as you might say,
Though what I seek is worthless, encased in human clay."
On a late February afternoon, at his Warwickshire house, Dennis and I share a Sunday lunch: roast lamb with gravy, green beans, and julienne carrots, all prepared by his attentive companion—his "favorite companion—Marie-France Demolis. She is a tall, suntanned, 42-year-old Frenchwoman, a hairdresser he met at a party. I have been invited here because there is something very important Dennis wants me to see. And so, after lunch, outfitted with a pair of Wellington boots and a warm coat, I am sent off with the chauffeur in a navy-blue stretch Rolls Royce to visit Dennis's current "big project"—the Garden of Heroes.
Down a narrow, rutted path, in a fog, a mile or so from the main house, the car stops. Flanking a long avenue of smooth lawn, lined up with absolute precision, are a series of life-sized bronze statues of Chuck Berry playing the guitar, Charles Darwin riding a Galapagos tortoise, Mark Twain sitting on a bench, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Hawking in his wheelchair with its attached speech synthesizer and computer screen that reads "The universe has no boundary." Soon to be installed in this pantheon, I am told, are Vincent Van Gogh, Gregory Alexander Potemkin, Bob Dylan with Woody Guthrie, Dorothy Parker with her dogs, Muhammad Ali, Yuri Gagarin, Billie Holiday, and Alistair Cook, announcing the death of Bobby Kennedy. Already in the Garden of Heroes, between Wilde and Hawkings, is a life-sized bronze of Felix Dennis from his Oz days. To quote the title of one of his poems, The Greeks Had A Word For It. As Dennis explains in a footnote to the poem, "The word begins with ‘H.’"