Thursday, 11 September 2008

The key is to dress in such a style that you would attract attention at a Liberace concert

We had the most fabulous night at Polari last night! The Trash Palace was rammed to the gunnels with a real cross-section of gayers - from the grande dame Bette Bourne and queen diva Marc Almond, to a smattering of studenty types in Doc Martins, and some shouty lesbians.

All were gathered to listen to the "art freak" (© News of the Screws) Sebastian Horsley - in turn insulting, challenging and entertaining the audience with passages from his book Dandy In The Underworld. And what a captivating man Sebastian turned out to be, practically salivating while revealing the prurient details of his obsessive dandyism, drug addiction and hyper-sexual life.

In his own words:
"So what is dandyism? Dandyism is a form of self-worship which dispenses with the need to find happiness from others - especially women. And yet the estrangement of the thorough going dandy is not from women, but from life. It is taking up a posture of ironic detachment from the world and living it out in scrupulous detail.

"Dandyism is social, human and intellectual. It is not a suit of clothes walking about by itself. Clothes are merely a part - they may even be the least important part of the personality of the dandy. Dandyism isn't image encrusted with flourishes. It's a way of stripping yourself down to your true self. You can only judge the style by the content and you can only reach the content through the style.

"Being a dandy is a condition rather than a profession. It is a defiance against suffering and a celebration of life. It is not fashion; it is not wealth; it is not learning; it is not beauty. It is a shield and a sword and a crown - all pulled out of the dressing up box in the attic of the imagination. Dandyism is a lie which reveals the truth, and the truth is that we are what we pretend to be."
Dandy in the Underworld on Amazon

I loved it! And once the superb reading was over, we made every effort to recreate a microcosm of that truth, as Paul Burston and Dom Agius once more provided their twisted, eclectic, decadent brand of disco for the rest of the evening.

Dandies - us?

As a "Polari virgin" I am hooked. I can't wait for the next one, at which we not only have two Duffys for the price of one (Maureen and Stella) doing the readings from their works, but also the lovely Celine (who provided the brilliant Music Hall opening numbers for Marc Almond at Wiltons earlier this year)!


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