Very excited we were. Sitting in BAFTA – smart, private club. Nice lighting, reasonably priced drinks, soft velvet sofas – waiting for An Englishman in New York, the sequel to The Naked Civil Servant, the groundbreaking ITV drama about Quentin Crisp.
And Quentin – played by John Hurt who is more Quentin than the (Walkers) Crisp himself – zooming across that double-decker bridge into Manhattan while Donna Summer sings ‘Last Dance’ is a moment. Quentin walking down a street in what looks like Shoreditch 2009 while some big black tranny tells him ‘Honey, you’ve got it all on today!’ is another. But Quentin Crisp: what’s all that about then?
While the director and writer (both gay, both bummable) went on about what a genius and a philosopher he was at the chit-chat after the screening, you couldn’t help but wrinkle up your nose. Quentin? A philosopher?
Mad? Clearly: you don’t get together a fortune of over a million dollars and still live in squalor without being a Bourbon biscuit short of a full elevensies. Brave? Absolutely: he never gave up on his love for accessorising and his way with colour no matter what kind of kicking he’d get for it. But a philosopher? We don’t think so.
There’s frankly a difference between ‘coming up with something funny’ and being a philosopher. Besides, what a boring person it is who only speaks in one-liners? Gays beware!
The movie? Interesting but don’t be expecting any ground to break.
On the telly? Sometime around Christmas.
The rhetorical questions? Over now, don’t worry.