in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant
Denis Charles Pratt was born in Sutton
, Surrey, the fourth child of solicitor Spencer Charles Pratt (1871–1931) and former governess Frances Marion Pratt (née Phillips) (1873–1960); he changed his name to Quentin Crisp in his third decade after leaving home and cultivating his outlandishly effeminate appearance to a standard that both shocked contemporary Londoners and provoked homophobic
By his own account, Crisp was effeminate in behaviour from an early age and found himself the object of teasing at Kingswood Preparatory School in Epsom
, from where he won a scholarship to Denstone College
, in 1922.
Keeping up with the Joneses was a full-time job with my mother and father. It was not until many years later when I lived alone that I realized how much cheaper it was to drag the Joneses down to my level.
The rest of the world in which I lived was still stumbling about in search of a weapon with which to exterminate this monster [homosexuality] whose shape and size were not yet known or even guessed at. It was thought to be Greek in origin, smaller than socialism but more deadly, especially to children.
Exhibitionism is like a drug. Hooked in adolescence I was now taking doses so massive they would have killed a novice.
Sometimes I wore a fringe so deep it obscured the way ahead. This hardly mattered. There were always others to look where I was going.
To my disappointment I now realized that to know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody.
I started to shed the monstrous aesthetic affectation of my youth so as to make room for the monstrous philistine postures of middle age, but it was some years before I was bold enough to decline an invitation to "Hamlet" on the grounds that I knew who won.
I acquiesced in this on the grounds that the most anyone can expect from a holiday is a change of agony.
As someone remarked, when told the new atomic bombs would explode without a bang, "they can’t leave anything alone."
The distinction between indoors and outdoors, which in England is usually so marked, was temporarily suspended in a hot gauzy haze.
The proprietor had hair so red that pigmentation had flowed out into every visible inch of his skin and even into the pinks of his eyes, as the colour of flowering cherry trees stains their leaves.