Most autobiographies are too long, too dull and too self-congratulatory. Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servent isn't. Crisp comes across as completely charming: a lovely, witty man, quick to laugh at himself, ready to listen to others.
He is full of eccentricities aside from the obvious - his decision to promote his homosexuality in a time when such an activity was unheard of, by his wearing makeup/dying his hair with henna - including never cleaning his flat ("after the first year the dust really doesn't get any worse") and never reading any books, ("books are for writing, not for reading" - actually a quote from another book of his).
He is endlessly quotable and very funny.
Yet for all the humour the tone of this book is sad. Crisp was endlessly abused, beaten-up and victimised because of his appearance.
The book is also a valuble historical document shedding light on the blacked-out seedy streets of wartime Soho.
And what exactly is a naked civil servent? You'll have to read it to find out, won't you?