Q&A: Julian Clary talks to Buxton Opera House

The national trinket and comedian Julian Clary will be in Buxton in April with his new tour The Joy of Mincing. Ahead of his show Buxton Opera House chatted to him about his life – on and off stage.

Why have you named your tour, The Joy of Mincing?
I don’t know why; it sets the tone, doesn’t it?

You’ve been performing for 30 years. How has comedy changed during that time?
It’s changed beyond all recognition. It used to be small rooms above pubs, in the 1980s. Our comedy was a reaction against the right-wing men in bow-ties.

Do you have fans who have been following your career for 30 years?
Yes, I’m very fond of them. You don’t know their names necessarily, but it’s always a joy to see a familiar face. There’s a delightful family from Tunbridge Wells I’ve known since the boy was 13. It’s charming.

What sort of stories will you be telling on this tour?
Well, there’s a rather long story about how I once saved Joan Collins’s life in a swimming pool in St Tropez. Then the second half is about MBEs. I give myself one and call it ‘Mincer of the British Empire’.

You’ve turned your back on partying and now live an idyllic rural lifestyle in a village in Kent? 

Yes. Well that’s what I’m telling you anyway. I think there’s nothing drearier than a 56 year old homosexual hanging around Soho in lycra.

What’s happened to the old outfits?
I’ve still got them, I might bring some of them on the tour, as it’s my 30 year anniversary. A kind of retrospective fashion show.

Are you tempted to wear them again?
Don’t be silly. I sniff them sometimes. Just for old times’ sake. Scent is very evocative isn’t it? A lung full of my old diamante jockstrap and I’m immediately transported back to the London Palladium in 1993.

How do you feel about ageing – do you enjoy it?
It’s not on the top of my list of enjoyable things, no.

What do you think the public perception is of you?
Maybe people imagine I wear full make-up and glittery outfits when I’m at home doing the hoovering. In fact I wear just a touch of raspberry lip balm and a drip dry kimono. Just like anyone else.

What would be the best way to approach you, if somebody wanted to come and ask for an autograph? 

Send a stamped addressed envelope to my agent. I jest. As long as I’m in a good mood I’ll oblige.

Your children’s book, The Bolds, was hugely successful. Did you feel any pressure writing the second one?
They flow out of me, I don’t know where they’re all coming from. It’s obviously a world away from my usual filth but that’s liberating.

What about acting?
I don’t have any burning desire to act. I’ve spent so long creating my persona that it seems strange to let that go and be someone else.

Julian Clary, Buxton Opera House, Thursday April 28 7.30pm. Tickets £25 with discounts available.
Call 01298 72190 or visit http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk

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