Quentin Crisp

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Quentin Crisp
Quentin Crisp (born Denis Charles Pratt, 1908–1999) was a gay writer, performer, and raconteur.

He was born on Christmas Day 1908 in Sutton [1], and went to Kingswood House, a private school in Epsom, and then on a scholarship to Denstone College, a public school in Uttoxeter. He studied journalism at King's College London, and then took art classes at Regent Street Polytechnic. In his twenties he changed his name to Quentin Crisp, and began cultivating an ostentatiously effeminate appearance. He writes about sitting for hours with his friends in the Black Cat in Old Compton Street.[2] For six months he worked as a male prostitute,[3]

At the start of World War II he attempted to join the army, but was rejected on the grounds that he was "suffering from sexual perversion". He remained in London during the war, stocked up on cosmetics, purchased five pounds of henna and paraded through the black-out, picking up GIs, whose kindness and open-mindedness inspired his love of all things American.

In 1940 he moved into a bedsit in Beaufort Street, Chelsea, where he lived for the next 40 years.

Quentin and Philip, by the journalist and novelist Andrew Barrow, is a double biography, describing the author's friendship with two eccentrics, Quentin Crisp and the surrealist poet Philip O'Connor.[4]

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  1. Lived in Egmont Rd where his mother Mrs Pratt is listed in the local Directories
  2. http://qxmagazine.com/pdf/gayhistory-soho.pdf
  3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/211644.stm "Crisp: The naked civil servant", BBC News, 21 November 1999
  4. Andrew Barrow, Quentin and Philip, Pan Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0330391856