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Quentin Crisp

Quentin Crisp: Review

Quentin Crisp The Profession of Being
Quentin Crisp The Profession of Being

The following review appeared on Amazon on November 5 2011.

Read the review on the website here.

‘When some years ago Nigel Kelly asked me if he could use my portrait of Quentin Crisp for his […].info homepage right away I said: ” Be my quest.” Anything to help keep the memory of mister Crisp alive.
I answered the same when he expressed his desire to have my work on the cover of a biography on the life of Mr. Crisp he started working on.

Nigel Kelly, like so many people (including me) fell for Mr. Crisp after viewing the teleplay The Naked Civil Servant. It showed an amazingly brave, funny and very British homosexual surviving in a hostile society.
Finding the double album of An Evening With Quentin Crisp (the recording of his stage performance) in the local library really got me hooked. Mr. Crisp is a tonic!

Being convinced of Nigel Kelly’s sincere intentions I still was hoping he would be able to pull it off. How does one tell the life story of such an unique person who is an exquisite writer or as somebody put it: Not only a genuinely amusing man but a pretty wise one.

Nigel Kelly succeeded extremely well.

Mixing information given by Mr. Crisp himself in his biographical books with the information he collected from friends and family and the one-liners that made Mr. Crisp famous/notorious Nigel Kelly turned the book into a very interesting and polished reading.

It is this new information that makes Mr. Crisp a real person. Who knew he loved being part of his family? Or that underneath his politeness also lay rage?

At times he kicked against shines, especially in the gay movement and Nigel Kelly tries to explain Mr. Crisp’s motivations for certain comments.
Personally I always felt that the gay community lacked an understanding of the society Mr. Crisp grew up in. Is it so hard to imagine what Mr. Crisp since the 1930s with scarlet dyed hair and gold painted finger- and toe nails, blind with mascara and dumb with lipstick had to live through? Daily, from hour to hour being vocally abused and very often physically attacked and left unconscious on the streets while passerby’s looked the other way. For decades on end. This formed his view on the world, which was Britten at that time.

It remains unbelievable how this man first of all survived and then all of a sudden turned in to a celebrity after that teleplay. As soon as he got the change he swopped the UK for the USA, at the age of 74, to become the toast not only of the town nor the state or the country, but the whole world.
Towards the end of his 90 years the details increase, as these memories are still freshest in people’s minds. It shows that his final years were lived despite his physical decline in happiness. Even his death happened the way he wanted it.

Mr. Crisp’s life is a story of willpower, intelligence, wit and triumph.

The book ends with Mr. Crisp`s philosophy, which hopefully will make the reader eager to read the highly entertaining books by Mr. Crisp himself.
The final chapter is reserved for a few people who knew him. These words written with love and admiration express the impact of this little man on the big world.

Proud I am of being asked for my tiny artistic contribution to this fine book about the astounding Mr. Quentin Crisp.’

Maurice Heerdink