In memory of the great Glenn10 Aprile 2021 - 08:30
On April 7, 2017 Glenn O'Brien died. He was everything he wanted to be. But, above all, he was a man. His story explained in this article
Glenn O'Brien was everything he decided to be. He joined Andy Warhol's Factory at a very young age, only to be later bewitched by the television system – once he said that "it's a form of government" – and by the arts industry, befriending (among others) Jean-Michel Basquiat, to whom he dedicated a movie.
A good life lover and a fashion expert, he was able to boxe and to cook a perfect risotto (an Italian rice dish). He was everything. Or, maybe, Glenn O'Brien was just a man: "Virility – he wrote in Essere uomo (Piemme) – is a kingdom that you can rule. Use your head. Do your best. Don't stand right there without reacting. Get up and play your own role. Call a spade a spade. Do what it must be done. Live normally. Tell everyone where they can stick it. Don't slip away. Give everything you must give. Be coherent. Turn your words into facts. Hit the mark. Take your own responsibilities. And, in the end, leave something memorable to the world".
Glenn O'Brien, with his Julius Caesar–styled hair and his unkempt beard – before it went out of fashion –, had no style. He was the style. He could give advices about everything because he had lived everything. Some of his maxims are truly unforgettable: "Wedding is like a Las Vegas' casinò: rigged against you and hard to beat, but nonetheless funny". It's hard not to agree with him.
He was a progressive in the purest sense of the term. He indeed believed that people had to dedicate life to their own self-improvement: "Being men means giving the best. Evolution is about us. Put in the right condition and with a bit of effort, a man can be much more than a mere man; he can be a gentleman, a sportsman, an inventor, an artist, a philosopher, a bard, a magician, a hero".
He dispensed advices on everything: from ties to chest hair, and even on the last words to say on the deathbed. He was never banal. And he was never wrong; except, perhaps, once: when he popularized the socks with sandals, even though only to cover some certainly-not-perfect feet. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum: "Of the dead, say nothing but good". That's why we give him the benefit of the doubt. But only if wearing those socks with sandals was him. Because he was the great Glenn.