Eccentric Dandies and Roger Courtney
When one thinks of eccentric dandies, who pop in mind, Oscar Wilde, perhaps? A dandy is a gentleman who affects extreme elegance in clothes and manners; a fop.
Sebastian Horsley is one who just passed away at a young age of 47. He is described as an eccentric artist. Roger Courtney rides in this groove, like a member of the Aesthetics. As with two previous stories in this series, I associate my account of Roger with others in his genera. This is the last and therefore the ending for Roger Courtney, but as you can see, others like him have gone long before their time.
Please refer to the previous story and it will help for you to catch up. http://my.nowpublic.com/culture/flamboyance-and-roger-courtney
Roger was conniving in a gentle sort of way. He plotted and planned and staged his activity toward an outcome that would satisfy him.
I told to you part of the story involving Roger’s Jaguar, but we must put the Jaguar in reverse for a moment to account for how he happened to purchase it at a Sotheby’s auction. Roger had become chummy and he said that he wanted to give to me a quiche pan since he had several and needed only one. Furthermore, he wanted to discuss an investment opportunity with me in private.
I was a little uncomfortable with this but my wife said I should go ahead and see what he wants. Roger invited me to dinner at his place and promised to make a fine ciapino, a fish soup popular in San Francisco like boulibase. Knowing now that Roger was in dire financial straits, his making ciapino was an expensive dish requiring select fish, lobster, scallops and the like.
I arrived on time and we had a martini and appetizers during which he described a business proposition. He said that he wanted to purchase a vintage Jaguar that he saw listed at Sotheby’s though he was $17,000 shy at the moment and wanted to know if I would like to take stock as a partner in the deal in exchange for an opportunity to double my money in short time.
He claimed to be on track to acquire the Jaguar and that he had a target buyer to whom he would move the property at the earliest opportunity. (The target buyer may very well have been my own brother-in-law who was buying and trading collector automobiles about which Roger may have learned from my sister-in-law at a party.) He did not divulge this to me, and only later did I discover the possibility that Roger may have been co-opting me into swindling my brother-in-law.
We discussed how this would work and why I could make some fast cash, but the story did not hold water and I am risk averse. We had a fine meal and with my sincere regrets, I waved off the opportunity.
In a few weeks, I learned that Roger had somehow purchased the Jaguar from Sotheby’s. I saw him driving it around town.
At a party, Roger confided that he was going to sue Sotheby’s. Apparently, he owed them $17,000 to complete the transaction, but he discovered that the Jaguar had been in an accident and that the repairs were not to original manufacturer’s specifications and therefore undervalued the asset and Roger was therefore defrauded.
He wanted Sotheby’s to drop the claim for $17,000 and let him keep the asset on which he promptly placed a for sale sign. Of course he called me to see if I wanted to purchase the Jaguar. When you have a fish on the line, don’t let it go.
The last time I spoke with him he said that he was on his way to visit Jim Neighbors (Gomer Pyle) in Hawaii who was also suffering from cancer.
I would love to know more about the details about Roger Courtney, but don’t have a lifetime of research to discover it. He was a dandy.
“Sebastian Horsley, 47, dies; eccentric artist chronicled London underworld
By Matt Schudel, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sebastian Horsley, an eccentric British dandy who once was crucified in the name of art and whose life of unabashed debauchery and drug addiction caused him to be barred from the United States, died June 17  of a heroin overdose at his home in London.
His death came days after a play about his life, "Dandy in the Underworld," based on his autobiography, opened on the London stage. He was 47.
Mr. Horsley led a life of scandal, notoriety and high style, strolling the streets of London's Soho in elaborate velvet suits, fingernail polish and a stovepipe hat. He was born into wealth and invested shrewdly in the stock
market, but he spent much of his fortune on prostitutes and drugs and, as he put it, squandered the rest.
"I'm an artist -- depravity is part of the job description," he told The Washington Post's Kevin Sullivan in 2008.
Mr. Horsley was a painter who had occasional exhibitions, but with his epigrammatic wit and writing style -- modeled after Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and Quentin Crisp -- he found a niche as a sex columnist and
chronicler of the London underworld. He expressed some concern that his newfound writing career might ruin his reputation.
"Don't tell my mother I work as a journalist," he told one reporter. "She thinks I'm a prostitute."
In fact, Mr. Horsley did briefly work in the sex trade, but he was better known as an enthusiastic customer. He claimed to have enjoyed the company of more than 1,000 prostitutes, saying, "I can count all the lovers I've had on one hand -- if I'm holding a calculator."
He found his greatest infamy when he went to the Philippines in 2000 to participate in a ritual crucifixion. (Outsiders have since been banned from taking part in the Easter rites.)
Refusing painkillers for once in his life, Mr. Horsley was placed on a cross, and nails were driven through his hands. He passed out from the pain and then began to fall from the cross when a wooden foot support gave way.
The episode was captured on film and included in an exhibition with a series of Mr. Horsley's paintings.
"An artist has to go to every extreme to stretch his sensibility through excess and suffering, in order to feel and communicate more," he said in 2002.
Mr. Horsley told the story of his life in a 2007 memoir, "Dandy in the Underworld: An Unauthorised Autobiography," which a London Times reviewer pronounced "one of the funniest, strangest and most revolting memoirs ever written."
In March 2008, when he came to the United States to publicize his book, Mr. Horsley -- wearing his foot-tall stovepipe hat -- was detained by authorities at Newark Liberty International Airport.
"One of the first questions they asked me was, 'What have you got inside that hat?' “he recalled. "I said, 'My head.'"
Because of an earlier drug conviction in England, he was denied entry into the United States on grounds of "moral turpitude."
"America, the land of the free," he told The Post, "but, sadly, not the home of the depraved."
Sebastian Horsley was born Aug. 8, 1962, in the northern British city of Hull, which he later described as "a cemetery with traffic lights." His name at birth was Marcus, he wrote in his autobiography, but it was soon changed.
His father was the millionaire chairman of a food products company, but both of his parents were alcoholics who had little use for their son. Years later, Mr. Horsley wrote in "Dandy in the Underworld," his mother visited
him at a drug rehabilitation clinic.
"Have I failed you as a mother, Sylvester?" she asked.
"It's Sebastian, mother."”