Dandy in the Underworld Paperback – 26 Jun 2008
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'The fabulous and fascinating story of the flamboyant artist/writer/poet growing up in a family of chaos, alcohol and insanity. Beautifully written and unflinchingly honest, this is a mind-blowing tale of a life out of control.' (Elle)
'Consistently witty...Dandy in the Underworld is not for everyone but it is also funny, moving and the best book of its type since Lorna Sage's Bad Blood. If you can stand it, it is likely to be one of the most compelling reads of the year.' (New Statesman)
'Like Salvador Dali's confessions, only far funnier and more self-deprecating, Dandy in the Underworld entertains as much as it revolts, is as tender as it is shocking, and as genuine as it is false.' (Independent)
'A flat-out demented and compelling account of a life gone wrong...hilarious, sometimes beautiful' (Time Out)
'[he] charts his diabolical decline and fall in rip-roaring style...a devilishly charming companion as he describes his wilfully deviant journey on the road to rack and ruin (Metro)
'it is his family that make this eye-popping memoir compelling...incredibly funny' (London Paper)
'Dandy in the Underworld is a compulsive autobiography that tells the blackest truths in the jauntiest tone.' (Independent on Sunday)
It's great. For although very, very funny at times, it is also useful, and possibly important; which is all the more remarkable considering that the subject, while full of a self-love that makes Narcissus look like a wallflower, would scoff at the idea of his being useful and important. (Guardian)
one of the funniest, strangest, most revolting memoirs you're ever likely to read. (Sunday Times - Summer Reads)
'One of the funniest, strangest and most revolting memoirs ever written' Sunday TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I can already feel Horsley searching around for the lace glove with which to slap my blasphemous face. That this is a man who wishes to be loved or hated is quite obvious from the contrived attempts to rile the reader that are scattered throughout. He wants to shock. He wants reaction. Sadly, I can't give that to him: he's interesting, certainly, and this is better than a great deal of biographies you can invest in; although in an era where any wealthy heiress and her dog can get their life story published for doing absolutely sod all, that's not saying much.
One of the things I enjoyed was Horsley's justification for his lack of morality and social conscience: at the novel's conclusion he's practically philisophical. I like the way he appreciates the worthlessness of his own existence. I like the fact that he steals excessively from his icons: if you criticise him for plagiarism, you're not seeing the joke.
Those are the things I enjoyed. Now for the things I disliked.
Firstly, Horsley, as a narrator is... well... really, really annoying. Yes, his self-absorption can be amusing; yes, his narcissism can be charming... but after about a hundred or so pages, it all gets a little wearing.
Horsley is at his most engaging when you catch glimpses of the frustrated and terminally neglected little boy from which he grew.Read more ›
Horsley was a one of a kind: a most privileged oddball who lived in a grand Georgian house in the seediest part of london, whose door bore the stern instruction for all passers by that "There are no prosti...'s at this address" and yet beyond that door's polished brass plate lived one of the greatest & most dedicated philanderers who ever lived. And by his standards that would be a very great compliment indeed, as you'll soon find on reading this most underrated autobiography.
Here you'll find what it is like to live the life of an uncommonly brazen addict who, unlike most, enjoyed "a certain spiritual charm that comes from having money in the bank". In many ways, Horsley was a 21st century hybrid of Bolan, Borroughs & Wilde. For his decadent ways, he made no excuses: "it is better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sebastian Horsley Was Certainly A Colourful Character...This book is brutally honest regarding Sebastian and his struggles with drug addiction..Beautuful BookPublished 17 months ago by Lucy Francis
An interesting, often hilarious and different account of his lifestyle.Published 23 months ago by queensway26
Not for the faint hearted amongst us!! Shocking in its honesty but also moving and very funny.
The early chapters about family members are hilarious. Read more
By turns, hilarious, revolting, thought provoking. A talentless artist whose whose biggest exhibition was himself. Read morePublished on 25 Nov. 2013 by strewth101
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... Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 2013 by Claire Mortimer
Brilliant book in mint condition; arrived very quickly! Sebastian Horsley's life is like a fantasy, written with flair and wit. Read morePublished on 27 Nov. 2012 by Kostis