Quentin S. Crisp Quotes

I don’t know if Britain ever really achieved that much glamour. We had post-war austerity rather than post-war prosperity, and our cultural products of the time include some pretty dour kitchen-sink dramas of the A Kind of Loving variety. (This kind of film seems disillusioned with the sixties before they’ve even really begun.)

I like the concept of an anti-muse, though I’m not quite sure what that is. If there is such a thing in my life, I suppose it is just this weariness, this sense that it is more fulfilling not to exist, to efface all traces, than to limit oneself to the determined expression of manifestation.

[Antinatalism ] seems to oppose the idea of writing anything at all. To reproduce is to pass on genes. To write is to pass on memes. In that sense, it really is a kind of reproduction, which antinatalism should, theoretically, oppose, or at least which I feel that it opposes emotionally in my own experience.

My favourite tea is lapsang souchong.

I was born in the seventies, age of bad haircuts and grainy colour photos.


I’ve never been baptised.

I’m more a dog person than a cat person.

I grew up in North Devon, by the sea, and feel a special affinity for the landscape there, despite a lack of actual ancestry.

I feel almost as if I had been born in a vacuum of innocence, and then had to come to terms with the fact that actually, I was born into the middle of history – the rather grimy normality of the 70s, which did, indeed, retain some traces of human innocence, but were also girded about by the demons of experience.

I never seem to find what I’m looking for, though. I suppose I feel, these days, too aware of schedules and things, to let myself get lost in the rain. Anyway, I came back home, and it was still raining, and as I was approaching the driveway of the house, and the front garden with its bushy flower bed, I caught a cooking smell from somewhere on the air. I don’t know why, exactly, but it appealed to me as a Nagai Kafu moment.

[My muse] is, in fact, a woman of the world, and precisely because of this, hopes that a diversity of cultures will endure, and that one bland monoculture does not swamp everything.

As children in the seventies we were told about nebulous ‘strangers’. By definition, we didn’t know who these strangers were, and we didn’t know what they wanted to do, but only that they were sinister. I think that was the stage the seventies were at.


[My muse] feels nostalgic for Japan, and, perhaps strangely, for the pioneer days of America.

If you look at the ox-herding pictures – specifically the newer set of ten pictures rather than the older set of eight – you see that after the blank circle of the void, the cycle comes back to a river flowing by the roots of a tree (both strong symbols of nature, the life-force, the unconscious) and to the wanderer returning to the market place, which is the realm of human society and activity.

If we do overcome linear time, I would hope this means dwelling more directly in the fertility of the imagination rather than denying it, as some aspects of Buddhism seem to.

If future history is not to be just one damned thing after another in space, then what we really have to do is in some way overcome this linear experience of time that makes all existence a quest for something that will never be found.And philosophies such as Zen seem to hint that this is possible.

The peculiar thing is that, in focusing only on the here and now, Buddhism seems to despise the world.

Some Buddhists, however, never seem to get past the void, and I suppose I view this as a kind of Buddhist ‘Old Testament’ that I don’t especially like.

Non-pantheist models for god seem almost completely untenable to me, though not without interest.

It’s interesting, the sense of pastoral utopia that exists in so much fantasy – in [Edward ] Dunsany, [John R.R.] Tolkien and so on.

I associate my childhood with two things, mainly: the North Devon countryside and a sense of connection to another world.

I also remember a line from a song by Smog [Bill Callahan], which seems to describe the experience of a town-dweller moving to the country: “I was raised in a pit of snakes/Blink your eyes – I was raised on cake.”

We all know about the car breaking down on a deserted road scenario. That’s cliché. I’m thinking more of Cider with Rosie, as in, the dark side.

Perhaps I can also add something about the rural setting of Remember You’re a One-Ball! The countryside is a place – in mythological and perhaps in very real terms – of mixed innocence and sin. It is seen by townsfolk as idyllic, lazy, free of urban crime and social problems. But those who grow up in the country can tell stories that often surprise those who grow up in the towns.

Lots of things were there [in the seventies], in the social experience, but not quite named, lurking like a stranger on the edge of the playground.