I recently came across a quote used on a fabric print designed by an artist on Spoonflower (http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome) that I had never heard before by someone I had also never heard of before. The quote was “Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” and was spoken by a gentleman by the name of Quentin Crisp. Ever curious, I looked him up and was instantly drawn to him and his life story. Upon meeting him, he would absolutely have been someone who would forever be as much imprinted on one’s heart and soul as he was in pop culture and the gay and lesbian community. Although admittedly, once you read a bit about him (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin Crisp ), not always for positive reasons.
Quentin Crisp was born in December, 1908 and died at the age of 90 years old in November, 1999. He lived his life as he chose, made no apologies for who he was and as a result, had experiences, wisdom and many entertaining and stories to tell and share. He lived through almost 100 years of history, politics and cultural changes and seems to have left quite an impression in the societal, entertainment and pop culture worlds that he inhabited.
Boy George of Culture Club fame cites him as a role model of sorts based on the trials and tribulations faced by Mr. Crisp while trying to exist as a young homosexual man living in homophobic surroundings.
You really do learn something new everyday as apparently, one of my favourite songs by Sting, Englishman in New York, is dedicated to Crisp. In late 1986, Sting visited Crisp in his apartment and was told over dinner – and the next three days – what life had been like for a homosexual man in the largely homophobic Great Britain of the 1920s to the 1960s. Sting was both shocked and fascinated and decided to write the song. It includes the lines:
- It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile,
- Be yourself no matter what they say.
Sting was quoted as saying, “Well, it’s partly about me and partly about Quentin. Again, I was looking for a metaphor. Quentin is a hero of mine, someone I know very well. He is gay, and he was gay at a time in history when it was dangerous to be so. He had people beating up on him on a daily basis, largely with the consent of the public.”
Every so often, I come across someone that reminds me how we are all different. It is my feeling that whether or not we can relate to or agree with that person’s choices or lifestyle, we have to at least accept that God has made us who we all are for a reason and the world is just an all around more interesting place because of it. Life would be so dull if we were all robots and carbon copies of one another. We all have something we can impart to or share with each other, one just has to allow their mind to be open enough to hear and see it and take something positive, however large or small, from it. I encourage you to go to the link I have provided and read a bit about Mr. Crisp and see if you can’t just learn something new about the world and yourself today as I have.
Quentin Crisp was a very inspiring person and someone who I have now added to the list everyone has – if you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to dinner, who would it be? What an evening to remember that would be!