Excuse the Onion dot com style headline, but I’m trying to get some attention. Because it seems to me sometimes, as this site’s only real up-close observer of London cultural life, (and this from the safe distance of Budapest, 900 miles away) so much flits across my proverbial screen, but this is one that I just could not let slip – the accidental death from a heroin overdose by soi disant artist Sebastian Horsley.
In case you haven’t heard of him, or need reminding, Sebastian Horsley was an art exhibitionist whose exhibition was himself. For one thing, he had himself crucified, literally, at a ceremony in the Philippines in 2002. He also wrote a memoir a few years ago called Dandy in the Underworld, in which he chronicled his chronic addiction to heroin (I suppose there’s no other kind) and his almost commensurate appetite for sex with prostitutes, as well as revelations about a love affair with a tough Scottish gangster and his own period spent working as a male escort.
When his agent decided to send Horsley to New York to publicise the book, Horsley went aboard the plane togged in his usual attire; which is to say stovepipe top hat, regency era crushed velvet suit and so on. After a 9 hour ‘interview’ with the INS, he was put back on a plane to London. If he felt sorry for himself about it afterwards, he certainly didn’t let it show. The border patrol had turned him back for ‘moral turpitude’ and Horsley joked that it should have been for “Gross moral turpitude”.