"It's easier for me to pose than not."
March 7, 2010 1:39 AM   Subscribe

After the publication of The Naked Civil Servant, Quentin Crisp talked about his life in a short documentary (1970) by Denis Mitchell. Part two, part three. Crisp previously and previousler.
posted by The Mouthchew (6 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Since no one else has left a comment, I'll step forward to say that I enjoyed it. Crisp has fascinated me mildly for twenty years or more.
posted by cropshy at 6:50 AM on March 7, 2010

"I'm an ascetic ... I'm a puritan ... " he says at the end of part one. These are the essential keys to Crisp's wonderful appeal. He's also a stoic, who understands that he can't control events, but that he can control his response to events and his attitude toward those who torment him. He describes sitting on a bus once and having a man in a bush hat come up behind him and comb his hair -- neither man spoke, nor looked at one another. "I dress as I do as a protest, and those who beat me up are expressing their disagreement." He understands and accepts that. He's Epictetus in a ruffled shirt (given to him, not purchased), Marcus Aurelius in mascara. It is very hard to be a "fan" seeing the quarter inch of dirt on every surface of his apartment, the long, unclean fingernails, the personal inertia, etc. But he speaks such astonishing wisdom, you find yourself questioning your habits, not his.
posted by Faze at 7:17 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I saw that documentary as a teenager, and it made me read the book. I was struck by how ordinary a person Crisp was, and yet so heroic. It made me think that I could be an ordinary person and yet make a difference.
posted by acrasis at 8:18 AM on March 7, 2010

Well said, Faze. He's fascinating. He's like the living embodiment of a koan.
posted by Drexen at 9:17 AM on March 7, 2010

Quentin Crisp is role model for us all.

Also, he has a swell little monologue on Morgan Fisher's Miniatures.
posted by ovvl at 2:41 PM on March 7, 2010

I didn't see this post until now, which is why I haven't commented on it. My husband is delighted to hear about this because we just got An Englishman in New York from Netflix and he, sadly, isn't as well acquainted with Mr. Crisp's works as I am. This will help get him up to speed since he's not going to get to see The Naked Civil Servant first.

I'm looking forward to it too. Thanks for posting.
posted by immlass at 8:43 PM on March 7, 2010

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