tag: dandy in the underworldsebastian horsley

April 2008

I want to be wise witty and pretty 24 hours a day …

  • About the author MS
  • April 25, 2008

The show must go on, as they say … here’s a recent interview with Sebastian with the CBC

Life is just basically smoke through a keyhole, its just chasing after wind…

July 2008

Literary un-shame

It seems like the biggest news this week is the publication of Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer’s conclusion to the Twilight saga. I haven’t read any of the books, and don’t know anyone who has (with the exception of my department head’s 14-year-old daughter), but it got me thinking about books or series with this huge level of hype, where people often openly scorn you if you haven’t read them. My own personal example of this would be Harry Potter. When the last book was released, several of my co-workers just couldn’t accept that not only had I not read any of the books, but I had no desire to. Zero. And I was not ashamed.

Of course, Harry Potter and Twilight are hugely hyped books, but the hype can get out of control for any book if everyone around you is into it. I can imagine how someone who had no interest in Dandy in the Underworld would have felt when everyone at Harper Perennial (me included) went nuts for it. Then again, how could you not find this guy to be completely and utterly charming and intriguing? (bonus, that’s CK’s voice in the video).

(And PS, I’m intrigued enough that I probably will read Twilight. Another, non Harper Perennial related part of my job involves a lot of vampire books, and I’m curious. But I’m still no-Harry-Potter-4-life.)

December 2008

NYR: sebastian horsley

Answers from Sebastian Horsley, whose sex, drugs, and Savile Row memoir Dandy in the Underworld got him kicked off U.S. soil

What was the best book of the year?

“Dandy in the Underworld.” How can I top that when the logical thing would be to top myself?

What was the best movie?

Any movie, even the worst, is better than real life. I hate real life only as a human being who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. Life lies in a pit, covered in shit. It is a cesspool of buffoonery. It is a place so ugly I treasure my beauty. Oh well, miserable or not, life is the only worthless junk a man possesses; those who love life deserve it.

What was the best song/album?

Mine. I’ve waited so long to sing this song. And if you don’t like it, you’re still going to hear it. Was it a cry, a scream or a song? Who cares? Worship baby. I am not by temperament averse to the messianic role.

Favorite Blog?

Fuck off. That is like asking a man crawling across the Sahara desert if he would prefer Malvern or Perrier water. The worst is not to die of thirst.

Who was the person of the year?

Me. Being banned from your shitty little country – the US of A. Obviously you were frightened of me. I was a threat to national insecurity.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To be known by everyone in the whole world, to sleep with everyone in the whole world, and to be adored by everyone in the whole world. Apart from that – nothing really.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

We’re in a sewage pipe baby. We’re going to have to crawl along it until we die. Oh but what about Obama I hear you squeal. A black at the White house! He’s no more black than you are me. Everyone’s coloured, or you wouldn’t be able to see them. He’s half-black half -white. Must be confusing for the cunt. Doesn’t know whether to rob you or shoot you. Don’t be fooled. Men who have greatness within them don’t go in for politics. He’s just another white at the Black house.

Our fate lies not in the stars but in ourselves – a star.

Good fucking night. Happy Kiss My Ass.

February 2009

Sebastian on the joys of staying in

Sebastian Horsley, author of Dandy in the Underworld, on what home means to him in the London Times:

Sebastian Horsley, author and dandy: “My bank called to tell me my flat is in negative equity, like my life. I’ve got the opposite of the Midas touch. I can turn gold to coal and glitter to litter faster than the speed of a bullet. Staying where you are, of course, saves money. I live alone with my gas fire, by choice. Neither of us goes out unattended. And I don’t believe in travel — I prefer to lie on a divan in my parlour and let the world come to me. I write and paint to fill the hours.”

June 2010

sebastian horsley, 1962-2010: a tribute

“We can’t all be stars because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as I go by.” Sebastian Horsley

Lately, everyone on twitter’s been talking about books that changed their lives. Some have even been taking it quite literally, naming their own books (because writing a book certainly changes your life) or books by their spouses or books they’ve worked on. Sebastian Horsley’s Dandy in the Underworld is that kind of book for me.

Way back before I worked in marketing for Harper Perennial, I worked in a different, way less cool department here at HarperCollins. I had many duties (talk to me about my days writing back cover copy for romance novels!), but the one I liked best was working on the Harper Perennial catalog. I was already an avid, ferocious reader of Harper Perennial books, and I was eager for any contact with them, even if I was so far removed as to be in another dept. One day, I was dropping off some catalog pages in the office of our publisher, Carrie Kania, when I saw some bound manuscripts of Sebastian’s book, with this incredibly intriguing cover:


Carrie told me to read it and tell her what I thought. It was already bought and slated in for an upcoming season, but she still cared about what I had to say. In my old dept, no one cared what I had to say about books. I’m pretty sure it was this moment, and then reading and loving Dandy in the Underworld, that made me set my sights on joining the Harper Perennial team, a quest that involved a lot of patient waiting, a lot of mentioning how happy I would be to work there, and a lot of blogging here to show what I could do.

This morning we got the news from London that Sebastian died last night. Now, of course he’s not the first Harper Perennial author to die, and not even the first one to die while I’ve been working here. But while we’re always upset, while we always mourn the loss of any of our literary legends, Sebastian was more than just an author to Harper Perennial. His writing and his antics (including being prevented from entering the US for his book party on the grounds of “moral turpitude”) made us think and made us laugh. Carrie had this to say about him:

“Sebastian was a thoughtful, sensitive, caring and genuine person. He would scold me now for calling him genuine, as he always felt that he was a genuine fake. But as an artist, writer, dandy – friend – he left a genuine impact. His book, Dandy in the Underworld, will live on as a benchmark of an artist trying to understand what is truth.

His heart, simply, was too big for this world.

He will be very missed by his family, his friends and all of Soho.”

Though I never met him (see the aforementioned moral turpitude and not being able to enter the US), I’ll be thinking about Sebastian today.

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