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Dandy in the Underworld Hardcover – 6 Sep 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 1st Edition edition (6 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340934077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340934074
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 512,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Sebastian Horsley is a pervert who stands for everything that is wrong with British society today.'

(Jeremy Vine )

'He is simultaneously enthralling, charming and fantastically annoying.'

(Will Self )

'A posturing popinjay, a neon narcissist, an incorrigible entertainer'

(Jessica Berens, Observer )

'Sebastian is an atheist, but the first I've ever met whose spiritual tradition doesn't just come from a lack of imagination. His attempts to become other than he is, are epic.'

(Nick Cave )

'Dandy in the Underworld is immortality for a while (with a dashing immorality)'

(Sarah Lucas )

Book Description

'One of the funniest, strangest and most revolting memoirs ever written' Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Skarzynski on 10 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Five stars or one star - not too many books get such extreme reactions? The truth is this book deserves both ratings and extreme reactions are certainly what Horsely seeks.

In this his autobiography, Sebatsian simultanesouly views himself as the solipsistic centre of all that matters and yet confesses to abject poverty in terms of originality and ideas. Half of the book is about the main-line hedonism that can be enjoyed if one has absolutely no morals and total self-conviction, the other half is about the abyss of self doubt and a decline into addled lunacy.

Suffice to say, Horsley provides some of literature's more extreme scenarios - I will not quote the startling lines that follow a first "romantic encounter" with a Scottish hardman gangster of some renowned. Despite having read some pretty outre stuff, I still winced. And few autobiographies feature detailed descriptions of having oneself crucified.

Horsley has a nice turn of phrase a lot of the time and if occasionally it is all a bit over-wraught, then move on and some new gem of offensiveness appears. Dancing on pretty thin ice on pretty much all matters of possible contention (relationships, sex, race, age, disability, family) there is something to offend everyone here. Surely an achievment of sorts?

I suspect that what those criticsing this book really mean is that they don't like the sounds of the book's main protagonist (one Mr Sebastian Horseley). Given the ends to which he goes to ensure he portrays himself as an utter degenrate this makes his work quite a success n'est pas?

"Dandy" is well worth reading - reading is not always meant to be about nor nodding emphatically while reaffirming one's existing ideas. I suggest following this up immediately with another autobiography - "Quite Contrary" the autobiography of Mary Whitehouse. Life is full of oppositions - enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 3 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sebastian Horsley is (or rather was, since he has sadly died recently) a very intelligent author. Every sentence has been thought out carefully. I enjoyed this book more the second time, when I could savour the words rather than looking for the story. Some of the things he did were unpleasant, but only to himself. He is not some stupid punk rocker, but a sensitive man who chose to live an eccentric lifestyle. His attitudes to life, the universe and everything are refreshingly honest and free from the need to appease other people's points of view. We can't all live our lives in such an uninhibited manner, but reading about someone who did is interesting, if not a role model.

I don't understand why some people find this book offensive. Sebastian was always very polite and well spoken and I would suggest people check out his YouTube videos. Whilst I would not choose to follow his examples, I do think that many of his conclusions about life are totally correct. He was sanguine about his own future death which unfortunately has come to pass due to a heroin overdose. I would have liked him around for longer to see how he viewed the world as he got older (he was my age). But at least we have his book as a record of a remarkable person who made his mark.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This might rank as one of the strangest autobiographies you will ever read. Horsley describes in alarming detail his very peculiar upbringing, his alienation from his parents, his drug taking, his whoring, his dandyism and his artistry; no "sordid" detail is obscured.

But, start at the beginning; this is an "unauthorised autobiography", and this sardonic vein continues through it. While it's witty, the jokes are mostly derivative, the puns are obvious and somehow expected. Ultimately, it gets to be a bit tedious; he's trying to be too clever, yet failing. And this might typify his life; a poseur posing as a poseur.

You almost never get to meet the real Horsley, he's hidden behind a veil of wit and parody; despite being frank, there's always the feeling that he knows that he is a failure. He's the little lost boy seeking the maternal love that he never had, and if he recognises this, he's too scared to admit it.

And when you've read the book, look up "foetal alcohol syndrome" and wonder if he had not experienced this, whether he might have been a true artistic genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Claire Mortimer on 27 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is both shocking and moving at the same time .... there are times when the reader will really find him most annoying but he is so honest that you can't help but be moved by his story .. its now even more shocking knowing that he is no longer with us. I doubt I would have like him if I had met him in real life but I 100% enjoyed the book.
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By mrwotzit on 19 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in a HMV sale and loved it so much I bought it again for my sister. Within the first few paragraphs it had me laughing out loud. I didn't know who Sebastian Horsley was at the time of reading, but by the end I was looking him up and his work. Sadly he's dead now, so there won't be any more tales to add ... but you'll be glad he put together this little gem.

As a brief synopsis, this is the life of an artist, a rebel, a madman, a genius and quite possible a pervert, or perhaps sex addict, all of which is put out there without the slightest bit of shame and without the feeling anything is being held back. If you want a guide book about how to life life for its opportunities then you should take a look at this.
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