Friday, June 18, 2010

Death of a Dandy



If I'm honest I didn't care for his style, but I admired that he had some. Sebastian Horsley was one of those figures you only find in London, a wealthy, nihilistic, decadent street walker, who seemed to have fallen face first from Baudelaire. You saw him around. He had himself crucified in the Phillipines and was refused entry to the US on grounds of moral turpitude, he lived in Soho, with a sign on his door announcing that there were "no prostitutes at this address," which given his reputation was sort of funny.

He was an overdressed eccentric, In a way he was an Isabella Blow, only not so aristocratic, but equally tragic, though there was something far more squalid about his miseries. Dandy in the Underworld, the stage show based on his "unauthorized autobiography" opened at the Soho Theatre this week, so it seems a strange but strangely fitting time for him to die. Apparently Spielberg wanted to make a movie of it, I can't imagine his death will dent that possibility.

I met my friend Socrates entirely by coincidence this week, in a book store I had especially gone to to pick up a specific book. Only, when I got there I had no recollection of what the book was, but irrefutably, there was my friend. He's a photographer and not more than a minute earlier I had been talking about him, I think I conjured him. The late Mr Horsley recently asked Socrates to photograph him, which he did, in his apartment against a background of skulls. Socrates was in fact the one who broke the news to me today, and we spoke about how sad it is when former addicts overdose, the same thing having happened to my friend Gabby earlier this year. The last time I saw her, she was shaky, and sweaty and madly energetic, beyond garrulous, she was taking methadone and trying hard everyday to stay clean. The last time I saw Mr Horsley was last weekend, he was about three minutes ahead of me, turning down a side street off Brick Lane. I saw him from behind, his tophatted silhouette burgundy against the late afternoon sun, and I literally watched him walk into the light.

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