The American people have done so much for me, have restored so fully my self-confidence, that I am constantly twisting and turning in an effort to live up to their expectations of me. Ingrid Bergman said, “You must go on the stage knowing they want you to succeed.” She meant American audiences. In England the people in the stalls sit back in their chairs with folded arms, saying in their stony hearts. “We’ve paid a hell of a lot for these seats. We hope you’re going to DO something.” In Manhattan, the audience is leaning forward eagerly, crying, “Tell us!” You can tell them anything – how to be beautiful, how to be successful, how to be thin, how to be saved. They will listen intently.

Quentin Crisp, “Resident Alien: The New York Diaries”.


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