Summer Tales of a Dandy

My current summer book, which I’m still in the middle of devouring, is a memoir of the British self-proclaimed dandy, Sebastian Horsley.

To introduce, Sebastian Horsley was an artist who dealt mostly in oil paintings. A self-tormented individual who seemed to eternally crave attention, Horsley often relapsed into his love affairs with heroin and prostitutes.

He’s probably best known for being crucified in the Philippines in 2000 for his upcoming series of paintings that ended up being exhibited in London in 2002.

"As an artist I don’t want to paint things as they are but the way I feel and sense they are. I can only feel and sense how they are by undergoing the experience." – Sebastian Horsley


Unfortunately, Horsley was found dead of a drug overdose on June 17, 2010 in his London home. While his life may be over, his influence on my world has just begun, all thanks to his memoir: Dandy in the Underworld.

What struck my interest in Dandy in the Underworld was the dirty, brutal honesty in which Horsley talks about sex, drugs and his dysfunctional upbringing, which undoubtedly made him the attention-seeking artist that he was.

Although I have read a few negative reviews of the memoir, claiming him to be a knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off of Oscar Wilde, all negativity aside I find the read to be excruciatingly fascinating.

I’m a sucker for one-liners (Chuck Palahniuk being my absolute most favorite author), and the dirtier or more sex-filled they are, the more I fall for them.

Dandy in the Underworld is no exception. Within its first few pages I found myself engrossed with the tale of his accidental conception, his mother’s failed abortion that was self-induced by an overdose, and his crippled father’s continuous infidelities.

Without spoiling any more, I’ll leave you guys with what has been my favorite sound-byte thus far into the memoir…

“The police may grovel for their wages in the excrement of the world but they weren’t having mine. My shit was worth their diamonds.” - Dandy in the Underworld

R.I.P. Sebastian Horsley, may your soul finally have all of the attention it craves, because you have undoubtedly captured mine.