Monday, 14 July 2008

Blogging a Dead Horsley

Earlier this evening I saw a young man in Camden Town looking ever so slightly ludicrous in an ill-fitting top hat, and I was reminded of Sebastian Horsley. Horsley is fond of a topper, I reflected. It makes him feel important. I shared my thoughts with Ange – with whom I had spent the day at London Zoo, of all places – and then she mentioned that she’d read a rave review of Horsley’s autobiography in the Guardian. Of all places.

So when I got home a short while ago I read said review and then went to check out Horsley’s blog. I imagined there’d be a publicity post gloating over the acclaim, as well as any other recent plaudits. Instead I discovered that six weeks ago, Horsley stopped blogging.

The curious thing was that my first reaction was one of genuine disappointment. I felt sad.

‘I’ve had enough of this shit,’ Horsley types. ‘The internet is for those who lack the flair for conversation. A blog is what you write for after being rejected by all the reputable publishers. It is Loser Central. The last refuge of the refuse. Anyone who has a blog or leaves comments on a blog is a wanker.’

Even more curious. After reading this – in which yet again he comes across as a petulant, attention-seeking little boy – I began to feel sorry for him.

‘It is far too undignified for a man of my stature,’ he continues. ‘That it attracts such bitterness is not surprising. For one person spoilt by success, a thousand are spoilt by failure. Success makes people, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel. I can make no more of you than a hedgehog. You are too dull to be ridiculous.’

It was very odd. I felt that I was seeing Horsley with a new clarity, seeing him as a deeply, deeply unhappy man, too ridiculous to be merely dull. I felt instinctively that I was seeing a man wholly incapable of feeling love for another human being.

‘I am the only thing of value on the internet,’ he concludes, ‘and I am removing it immediately. Goodbye.’

Oh, God. Then that his final flourish should be reek of grammatical ineptitude was just too sad.

He’s absolutely tragic. He reminds me of Horatio Alger, the American arch-moralist and zealous advocate of the American Dream who took it upon himself to instruct the world how to live correctly, citing hard work and respect for other humans, but who all the while was a self-hating sickening boy-rapist. (His first novel incidentally, was called Ragged Dick.)

I get the feeling that Horsley is similarly tortured, similarly living a lie. He’s carved out this niche for himself, created this character, this rather contrived cocktail of the Marquis de Sade and Oscar Wilde who struts through life, whoring, pontificating, smoking crack and playing the gigantic ‘I am’, when all he really wants is someone to hold him close, mop his furrowed brow and tell him that everything is going to be alright. That’s right: all he really wants is love. But of course he is incapable of accepting love, even when it is offered. Incapable of accepting it, incapable of offering it. Because he is a narcissist. And a deeply, deeply unhappy man.

But of course, who the hell am I and what the hell do I know? Well, I'm a man who's had a few ales and is perfectly aware that he could be very wrong. It’s just a feeling I got on reading his last hurrah tonight. And I thought I'd share it. On my blog. Like the wanker I am.

I should probably read his book.

One moment, please.

There. I’ve reserved it at the local library.

Now, to sleep.

PS. I’ve just found this. You can’t deny, he does have his moments.

UPDATE :: As some of you have pointed out, Horsley is back blogging again, without so much as shamefaced nod to his 'last post'. Lack of hypocrisy my arse, Nicholas Lezard.

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Angela-la-la said...

Oh who cares about Seb Horseface, I nominated you for Post of the Week and you won! Well, half won. It was a tie. But still, yay!

Anonymous said...

had never heard of Horstley... read through a bit of the blog. Share your confusion - but he posted again on 13 Jun.

perhaps the 'anti-blog' rant was part of his crafted persona?

Anonymous said...

Sebastian's back blogging - but knowing him as I do, I knew he would be....

BPP said...

I attempted to read this idiot's tripe on the recommendation of The Urban Woo. I didn't get very far.

savannah said...

july 13th

Anonymous said...

Bete, I've been meaning to ask you:

If you could recommend one book, what would it be?

: ) Good luck picking...

Anonymous said...

Oh, my dear, you're a far better writer than that silly man, any day of the week.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

the real questions is, does anyone really truly care about his leaving in a hissy fit. blech.