Bette Bourne
actor, former member of Bloolips,
performed as Quentin Crisp in the play,
Resident Alien, at the Bush Theatre, London

Quentin was not "homophobic," but he found sex disgusting. I think he missed out there, poor dear. But strangely he was a potent force in the world. He was for me the Shakespearean clown for the queers; as well as making us laugh, he spoke the truth. This was good I think, and he was whipped for his trouble. I can’t say I agreed with him on—well—many things, but I loved being with him. He "got me going" and I always wanted to see him everytime I was in the City. For me he was a real fairy.

He was out publicly as an "effeminate homosexual" in the ’20s, the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s, the ’80s, and there he was again in the ’90s. Ninety and still tinting. . . . Not bad. Especially when you think about his being born within the immediate shadow of Wilde’s fall, when just being queer was dangerous, let alone being "out" in the regal way that he was.

No, we won’t forget that queen in a hurry. His life was a

Copyright © 2000 by Bette Bourne and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved
Photograph copyright © by Martin Fishman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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