Monday, 25 August 2008

The Stately Homo of England

Bona! The marvelous John Hurt is back as Quentin Crisp. 32 years after the first ITV film of Crisp's life, The Naked Civil Servant, a 'sequel' is being filmed right now in the US of A. An Englishman in New York spans the years spent as an elder statesman in America - he was 72 (!) when he moved there. Cynthia Nixon is also involved in what promises to be must-see TV on screens next year. Clicky here and here for more info.

The raconteur and self-titled Stately Homo of England - the subject of the illustration top right in this blog - became both a figurehead, and strangely a scourge, for the gay movement in the 70s after his depiction of life growing up in a homophobic UK. The Naked Civil Servant, when I saw it in the 80s in my teens, terrified me. The aggression with which the dandy Crisp was outcast from society was not encouraging in the slightest to someone on the cusp of coming out. But what struck a chord was the strength of the man in the face of such absolute ignorance.

This flame-haired beauty is a self-potrait from the 30s. How gorge! A comprehensive site on Crisp can be found here. And for a cornucopia of eye candy, go here - worth watching is the brilliant documentary of his life from 1970 by Brian Mitchell. It is both squalid and beautiful.

4 comments:

xolondon said...

"If manners maketh man as someone said / Then he's the hero of the day / It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile / Be yourself no matter what they say"

When you feel Sting Hate coming on, just remember his lovely song about Quentin.

Gregling said...

SOO excited abut this. There's something of a fuss here in Manchester at the minute though because Quentin died here, in Chorlton, as he was about to commence a reading and talking tour, but apparently they're relocating his final days to London for the sake of ... I dunno what. Laziness? Shame. My hopes are very high for this though I have to say.

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