Quentin Crisp had a flair for the peculiar, he was an attention enthusiast & a constant contrarian. He was a household name in England, but is not well-known in the US mainstream even though he took up residence in New York where he would go to lunch with anyone who paid for his meal. One of my few regrets is that I didn’t take Quentin to lunch while he was alive!
As a writer & raconteur his published works & lectures were composed of evocative accounts of his life as a self-proclaimed Naked Civil Servant. Crisp documented the troubles he faced due to his refusal to hide his homosexuality & to play down his flamboyant lifestyle. He paraded around London in full make-up, painted nails & heels at a time when gay sex was illegal in the United Kingdom.
Despite his high-profile, Crisp always allowed his phone number to be listed in the directory as he felt tasked to converse with any person who called & a duty to accept dinner invitations from nearly anyone. He was the epitome of a one-man show, constantly stirring up controversy & confusion, referring to homosexuality as a “terrible disease” or to Princess Diana as “trash” commenting that it was her “fast & shallow” lifestyle that led to her death…but all joking aside he was an advocate of change, a hero to difference & much admired for his intellect, humanity & courage.