Oscar Humphries

Beau Horsley

Dandy in the Underworld


Sceptre 320pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Sebastian Horsley is an artist, writer and libertine. He’s the grubby/moderately brighter equivalent of the model/actor. He’s slept with 1,000 hookers and he’s flown to the Philippines to be crucified. He has had dinner in New York with Quentin Crisp, likes Mark Bolan very much, and has struggled with a drug addiction for some time. He paints a little. And writes too. And that’s it. This is what makes him both a little interesting and rather dull. He is a self-proclaimed dandy in an age when all the dandies are dead. His book is about dandyism, waste, and addiction. It isn’t about art. Nor is it art. It is a book about him, written in the language of other people. Endless unattributed witticisms, which, I’m guessing, Horsley hopes the reader will attribute to him. I have a feeling that his heroes (Brummell, Byron, and his namesake Sebastian Flyte) wouldn’t have liked Horsley. They didn’t talk about their conquests in quite the same way. They were noticed without asking to be noticed.

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