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In Memory of Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois

Rosemary Hill: Where is Bohemia?, 6 March 2003

Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts 
by Elizabeth Wilson.
Tauris, 288 pp., £11.99, October 2002, 1 86064 782 0
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Quentin & Philip 
by Andrew Barrow.
Macmillan, 559 pp., £18.99, November 2002, 0 333 78051 5
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... in country towns and even suburbs. The subjects of Barrow’s ‘double portrait’, his friends Quentin Crisp and the surrealist poet Philip O’Connor, were both children of the Home Counties. Crisp, who began life as Denis Pratt, found his way to bohemia from the Pooterland of Egmont Road, Sutton. O’Connor spent ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: The Portraits of Angus McBean, 3 August 2006

... time and trouble.’ Sycophancy, you might think, was also part of McBean’s stock in trade. Quentin Crisp said that ‘unlike most of the men who work with the rich and famous he was genuinely star-struck. I never heard him speak badly of anybody well known.’ But the ability to play the pond to Narcissus required more than passive ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: What Writers Wear, 27 July 2017

... would conventionally deny them that are the most revealing. This was the impulse that propelled Quentin Crisp, ‘blind with mascara and dumb with lipstick’, through the ‘dim streets of Pimlico’. ‘Sometimes I wore a fringe so deep that it completely obscured the way ahead,’ he recalls. ‘This hardly mattered. There were always others to look ...

Dressing and Undressing

Anita Brookner, 15 April 1982

The Language of Clothes 
by Alison Lurie.
Heinemann, 272 pp., £10, April 1982, 0 434 43906 1
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The Thirties Family Knitting Book 
edited by Jane Waller.
Duckworth, 95 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1601 3
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Chanel and Her World 
by Edmonde Charles-Roux.
Weidenfeld, 354 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 297 78024 7
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Dior in Vogue 
by Brigid Keenan.
Octopus, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 7064 1634 1
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Creative Dressing 
by Kaori O’Connor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £4.95, September 1981, 1 4004 6247 9
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Doing it with style 
by Quentin Crisp.
Eyre Methuen, 157 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 413 47490 9
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... and efforts at transcultural chic. Their eclecticism is bewildering. Yet style, according to Quentin Crisp, depends on consistency. Mr Crisp is, of course, a dandy – once, and famously, a dandy without means. Faced with the task of self-creation, of self-validation, Mr ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art, 7 September 2017

... and tackle, and frames this ‘surrealised’ arrangement with silk drapery. His 1941 study of Quentin Crisp is an astonishing instance of the retoucher’s art, the subject’s burnished flesh so perfect it is hardly there at all. Is it armour or invitation, this confected gleam that connects the queer and the modern? It’s everywhere in Cecil ...

Disgrace under Pressure

Andrew O’Hagan: Lad mags, 3 June 2004

Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men's Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men’s Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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... the girl. Then there’s a piece about the joy of not wearing underpants. The agony uncle makes Quentin Crisp look like Charles Bronson, or is it Charles Bronson like Quentin Crisp? ‘Quilt covers or eiderdowns?’ an anxious letter-writer asks. ‘Blinds or curtains? Carpet or wooden flooring? Wallpaper or ...

Guilty Men

Michael Neve, 5 March 1981

The Fate of Mary Rose 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Cape, 208 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 224 01791 8
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Darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble 
by Caroline Blackwood and Anna Haycraft.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, November 1980, 0 224 01834 5
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... harsher. We seem to deserve each other, or at least to deserve to be reminded of hard truths, and Quentin Crisp is on hand to provide the recipe, as we ‘drop in’ on each other. It is the closest that food can come to ashes:                  Tibetan Workhouse Soup I have never cooked seriously either for myself or for anyone ...
Biting the Dust: The Joys of Housework 
by Margaret Horsfield.
Fourth Estate, 292 pp., £14.99, April 1997, 1 85702 422 2
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... at the age of 14. The continuing fight against men’s slovenry is amply covered in these pages. Quentin Crisp, who ruled, ‘After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse’ (‘Dust into dust, and under dust, to lie’, as the Rubáiyát says), is leniently described here as ‘inimitable’. Horsfield, who has written for the ...

It’s Only Fashion

James Davidson, 24 November 1994

The Wilde Century: Effeminacy, Oscar Wilde and the Queer Moment 
by Alan Sinfield.
Cassell, 216 pp., £10.99, July 1994, 0 304 32905 3
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Cultural Politics: Queer Reading 
by Alan Sinfield.
Routledge, 105 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 415 10948 5
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Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford 
by Linda Dowling.
Cornell, 173 pp., £21.50, June 1994, 0 8014 2960 9
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... through the 19th century (for instance, in the persons of Fanny and Stella in 1870 and Quentin Crisp in 1940), to the present day.’ Or again, ‘a same-sex coterie may well have flourished at the court of Queen Elizabeth, around the Earl of Southampton, and may have involved a same-sex identity recognisably continuous with that experienced ...

Private Lives

Ray Monk, 22 November 1990

... is a man who’s seen it all. He’s seen Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean have a drunken row, Quentin Crisp mincing the streets, Dylan Thomas in an alcoholic stupor reciting poetry in a loud voice, and much else. Including, perhaps, Wittgenstein cruising for rough trade? Surely, one might think, that is what the passage quoted by Sykes is meant to ...

If everybody had a Wadley

Terry Castle: ‘Joe’ Carstairs, the ‘fastest woman on water’, 5 March 1998

The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of ‘Joe’ Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water 
by Kate Summerscale.
Fourth Estate, 248 pp., £12.99, August 1997, 1 85702 360 9
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... Glenn Gould, the late Princess of Wales) down to minor bog-sprites such as Eartha Kitt, Cher or Quentin Crisp. (Such lists are infinitely expandable.) What links each of these disparate individuals is a singularity so tangible as to border on the uncanny. We register each as a unique assemblage of moral and psychic tics: and each, in turn, seems to ...

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu 
by Simon Callow.
Cape, 640 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 224 03852 4
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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 460 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 316 91437 1
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... an affair with the actor Francis Carpenter, described by Callow as ‘camp beyond the dreams of Quentin Crisp’. The homosexual directors of the Gate Theatre, Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards, were clearly smitten, though as Callow fairly notes, ‘the sexual undercurrent’ in MacLiammóir’s account of Welles’s physical impact (‘small ...

Sheep don’t read barcodes

Glen Newey: ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, 22 March 2012

Thinking, Fast and Slow 
by Daniel Kahneman.
Allen Lane, 499 pp., £25, November 2011, 978 1 84614 055 6
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... 50:50 gamble between losing nothing and losing £400, people are more likely to chance their arm. Quentin Crisp once said that a pessimist is someone who won’t get out of the bath to answer the phone. There’s nothing irrational about having risk-averse preferences towards gaining more of a good, while being risk-friendly towards losses; such patterns ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 20 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... whose names began with every letter of the alphabet except Q, because the only possibility was Quentin Crisp and he couldn’t face it. There were other rare glimpses of his interior life in conversations with friends. He once said that he thought his life was a failure because he had never been in love and had hurt those who had loved him. An insight ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... indeed its death had been pronounced repeatedly for at least twenty years by Soho habitués from Quentin Crisp to Jeffrey Bernard. At the root of the perhaps unlikely friendship between Waugh and Attallah was a commitment to keeping up the old ways. The offices were cramped and editorial work was done amid chain-smoking, bridge playing and heavy ...

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