Sebastian Horsley’s body was found on the morning of Thursday 17th June at his flat in Soho, the cause of death being a suspected heroin overdose. Horsley had just witnessed the opening of a new play about his life at the Soho Theatre, which was set to be made into a film produced by his friend Stephen Fry.
Sebastian will be greatly missed by The Chap – he provided the world with a much-needed dose of flamboyance, excess, colour and dandyism. His stance as an anti-fashion, anti-hero, anti-artist with absolutely no care for public opinion or political correctness made him a true dandy in the Byronic tradition. Without Sebastian the balance is tipped even further in favour of blandness, banality, ambition and denim. “There are only two things I cannot tolerate. The first is murder and the second is denim,” he said many times.
A meeting with Sebastian Horsley was always exciting, hilarious, outrageous and largely predictable. He would happily trot out the same pithy aphorisms, many of which he had plagiarised from other sources – though always freely admitting it. He was by turns cattily pompous and wittily self-effacing, describing himself as having “wings of tinsel” at one moment, the next as being a “complete loser.”
Sebastian wrote several articles for The Chap, with mixed reception from the readers. His deliberately provocative opinions were sometimes too much for the more sensitive chaps; yet as a dandy he was accepted by all as one of the few who really belonged to that small group composed of Brummell (whom he loathed), Baudelaire, Byron and Bunny Roger. Sebastian’s final article for The Chap, published only days before his death, was, perhaps fittingly, on his hero Satan, in which he uttered these lines: “The only real power you have in this life is over your own body, so why not drink and drug it to death?”
8th August 1962 – 16th June 2010
Rest in Three-Piece