Saturday, June 02, 2007

How to Have a Lifestyle

from the diary: “Sunday 1/10/88

“Last night I read: How to Have a Lifestyle by Quentin Crisp. A very unique person to be sure. Very valuable book cuz no one else I know (or have read) looks at the world the way he does. I can’t describe it.”

I remember watching John Hurt’s BBC TV adaptation of Quentin Crisp’s autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant. The local PBS affiliate ran The Naked Civil Servant during Gay Pride Month. They did that for years. There weren’t many films they could show, I guess. There are more now. I remember being bothered by Crisp's determinedly hopeless search for the “great dark man” who would complete him – it was hopeless at least partly because no man sexually attracted to men would ever qualify. One of my earliest gay friends, a doctor in San Francisco, loathes Crisp. “He’s everything we’re trying to prove gay people aren’t,” he would insist. But I was intrigued. I admired Crisp’s bravery in presenting his hennaed hair and painted nails (and toenails) to a Britain often hostile and occasionally brutal.

There are number of Crisp quotes at The Quotations Page, including these:

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.

The English think incompetence is the same thing as sincerity.

For flavor, instant sex will never supercede the stuff you have to peel and cook.

Besides the Wikipedia entry on Crisp (which has an engaging bio), there are two comprehensive sites worth checking out, Crisperanto and

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