Quentin Crisp – genius or mad old tart?

Barking?

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.

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3 comments to “Quentin Crisp – genius or mad old tart?”

  1. Can’t bear him. Never understood what there was to like. Not funny, not clever, not clean.

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  2. No ground to break? Damn.

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  3. I loved the Naked Civil Cervix, but only thought of Crisp as an oddity, if amusing. Also legendary ligger so one much give him koodoos for that.

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