Balans Soho Society Honorary MembersSebastian Horsley

It takes a rare quality to truly stand out on Soho’s streets. Sebastian Horsley – variously described as a dandy, artist, writer for The Observer and The Erotic Review, wit and pervert – striding along, touching 7 feet tall in heels, in his bright red suit and matching top hat certainly had whatever it takes to have the world-weary patrons of the local bars and restaurants turning their heads. He was a man who simply defined the word ‘excess’. A life of drug addiction and sexual misadventure had led him to reportedly spend over £100K on prostitutes, had him banned from the United States for ‘moral turpitude’ and self-crucified in the name of art. The question is not why Balans Soho Society is celebrating him, the question is why it took us so long to do so.

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An English eccentric to his very fingertips, he died of an overdose of heroin in 2010, aged 47 and Soho mourned the loss of one of its very own.

He once told The Independent, ‘the air used to be clean and the sex used to be dirty. Now it’s the other way round. Soho has lost its heart’.

Sebastian used to live at 7 Meard Street, right in the centre of Soho. There is a sign on the door which reads, ‘This Is Not A Brothel. There Are No Prostitutes At This Address’ as doorways on the street were often used by scammers to trick punters out of money, inevitably leading to angry confrontations with the innocent, (and in Sebastian’s case not so innocent) occupants.

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