A major tragedy of Sebastian Horsley’s early death in 2010 was that are so damned few video recordings of the man by which we can remember him. Even when he was doling out second-hand witticisms or well-told tale,s the artist, writer and self-described dandy was still worth watching as he provided rebellious entertainment in a world that is being slowly homogenized to a lowest common denominator.
Horsley was conceived through the accident of a split condom, after which his mother tried and failed to abort this unwanted fetus. He arrived in August of 1962, but his mother remained distant as did his immensely rich father, who was more interested in public charity and helping prisoners than his family. This may explain Horsley’s later fear of intimacy, though he did marry and certainly fucked a considerable number of women and men during his life.
He lived in Edinburgh during his marriage to the Scottish artist Evlynn Anne Smith, where Horsley worked with the former-hardened criminal-turned-artist Jimmy Boyle (with whom he had a long sexual relationship) at a rehabilitation center for prisoners.
It was not until after his separation from Evlynn and a move south to London did Horsley evolve into the character he had always threatened to become: a decadent dandy, an artist, a wit and a writer. He became notorious for his love of prostitutes and drugs, and was literally barred from entry into America for his book tour on grounds of “moral turpitude.”
In 2000, Horsley traveled to the Philippines where he was crucified in a piece of performance art. He later claimed Jesus had stolen his act, as Horsley had been crucified for his art while Christ had only been crucified for our sins. It was this kind of outrageous humor that endeared him to many, for it disguised the good and sensitive man lounging underneath.
This is Horsley interviewed at the Standon Calling Festival 2008, talking about crucifixion, America, drugs and our only earthly certainty being oblivion. It’s an enjoyable introduction to the man who saw the futility of life as reason to “bring drama, richness and texture into existence.”