My first book has been published by McFarland of the US.
I have always been a great admirer of Quentin Crisp ever since I first saw the tv movie of his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant in 1975. I was frankly bowled over by this man who refused to be anything else but true to himself, no matter what the consequences. And the consequences were severe. He often woke up in hospital the next day having been beaten unconscience by a gang of ‘queer bashers’.
I was soo impressed by his courage, humanity and integrity that he came to represent for me an example of the best of humanity. A real life hero.
And so he remains to this day.
I tried to read his books and follow his life, though this was pre-internet days so it was not easy.
Anyway fast forward to 1999 and I read the news that he had died in England! (He hated England!) Even though he was just shy of his ninety-first birthday, I was still shocked.
All these years later I was now working as an internet developer. So I decided to try to do something to commerate his life and to keep his memory alive. So I created a website dedicated to him. I did not really expect this to come to much, I had done it really to try to get over my sense of loose. But withing months I started to be contacted by some of his friends, such as Guy Kettelhack, June Lang and Penny Arcade.
So fast forward several more years and it is 2007. My wife and I are injured in a road traffic accident. Thankfully my wife was less seriously injured but I was off work for months. I become very eneasy with nothihg to do. One day I decided to try to write a book about Quentin. Now I have to admit that this was not entirely my own idea. A very good friend of mine Tommy Barr, who is an artist, knew of my admiration for Quentin and had suggested it previously.
So I started. In a couple of weeks I had completed the first two chapters. But I felt very unqualified for the task. I very tentatively mentioned my idea to Penny Arcade thinking that she would laugh at me (metaphorically speaking)
But to my surprise she was totally supportive and thought it was a great idea! She pointed out that many biographers had never met their subject; that I had already a vast amount of knowledge about my subject; and that I had her and all his friends who would help me all they could!
And indeed it was true. During the next three years that it took to write the book I hastled them a lot, and even though they were all very busy people not one of them, ever refused or even delayed in answering my many questions.
Guy Kettelhack told me that he would have done anything for Quentin while he was alive and still would.
And indeed he did. He even wrote the foreword to my book. For which I will be eternally grateful.