Larry Ashmead

Quentin Crisp’s editor
at HarperCollins Publishing

I have many fond memories of Quentin Crisp, but I think my favorite is this one. It happened during one of his many performances of An Evening with Quentin Crisp.

Quentin charmed the audience with his stories of high and low life, good and bad movies, and how much he was enjoying life in America. He was in top form, as usual. But Quentin always excelled during the impromptu question and answer sessions. On this occasion, a woman of a certain age and a rather superior air raised her hand and asked, "Mr. Crisp, do you believe in reincarnation?"

Quentin quickly responded, "No, I don’t, do you?"

"Yes, I’m sure I will be reincarnated."

Quentin raised one of his beautiful eyebrows: "And whom shall we expect you to return as?"

She responded, "I will come back as myself."

Quentin, not missing a beat, said in an admonishing tone, "Lady, have you no ambition?"

Copyright © 2000 by Larry Ashmead and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Jean Harvey. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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