Quentin Crisp Omnibus by Quentin Crisp

Quentin Crisp Omnibus by Quentin Crisp

Author:Quentin Crisp
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Published: 2012-02-23T04:35:13+00:00


The first finger that beckoned me across the Atlantic was not American but Canadian. A woman's voice spoke to me over the telephone.

'Will you come to Toronto?' she asked coolly.


'Well, now, actually.'

'For how long?'

'Just for the day.'

If until that moment, I had only suspected that the world had gone mad, the notion now became a certainty. In fact I was still employed by several art schools and could not leave at once. I went a fortnight later and stayed a day and a half. The journey was my first long-distance flight. It is impossible not to regard the cloudscape below you as the surface of the earth. You are not aware of any motion and feel that you are standing in a disused lighthouse surveying a snowbound planet, long since bereft of human habitation, making its last meaningless, million-year dash towards the sun.

Inside the plane a cosier atmosphere prevails. The staff of British Airways has been schooled in more than mere airworthiness. The stewards address you by your name and, if you seem reluctant to eat or uncertain what to choose, with twinkling eyes and seductive smiles, they act out the various delicacies on their trolleys. Because I was such a novice, I could not help contrasting their treatment of me with that inflicted on me by the slaves of British Rail.

In other respects, I found air travel less exciting than the movies had led me to expect. No one became hysterical, no one near me was handcuffed to anyone else and I couldn't glance nervously at the ice forming on the wings because I couldn't see the wings. You eat, you sleep and you go to the movies. You're hardly any better off than on earth.

A tailor would say that the east coast of the new world had been poorly finished off. Coming into Canada it is hard to say at what exact moment you leave the ocean and are flying over land. At first there are below you innumerable capes, inlets, islands and tiny lakes.

Toronto is very beautiful. Its skyscrapers are honey-coloured which, as they are mostly banks, is appropriate. They seem almost to rise out of the lake and are lit horizontally by a light emanating from the water. In the middle of the city is a secular minaret which I was told was the highest freestanding structure in the world. I did not ascend it; the lifts were loaded with tourists because the day I was there was Columbus Day. This I thought was an apt coincidence because my sense of wonder at the new world compels me to go on about it as though no one had ever been there except me and Chris.

Many of the buildings in Toronto are made of identity parade glass. I hope that from the inside of these edifices you can see out. From without all I saw was a reflection of myself standing at a window with the words 'Toronto Hotel' written backwards above my head. On my first


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