LOSE-UP Julian Clary by etssetcf


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                         Julian Clary
       Are you a Mincing Machine?        positively asserts himself in
       That is what Julian Clary         a prejudiced world that
       asks at the end of his act.       would use Section 28 to put
       Here he is, the man who can       an end to his show. None of
       mince like no other, quip         us has either the brains or
       about how daft it was at-         the looks to fend off abuse as
       tempting the Matterhorn in        succesfully as he does. With
       slingbacks, and still manage      great composure, and care-
       not to put himself down. 'Un-     ful timing, he presents an
       canny' and 'unnatural' he         image the tabloids would
       may claim to be but his caba-     love to hate, except that his
       ret generously controls wha-      script is better than their
       tever hostility he might          copy. If Larry Grayson and
       arouse. He may look and           John Inman seemed gro-
       sound like a poofter but he's     tesquely self-oppressed, Ju-
       really rather nice. And he        lian Clary shows you why.
       knows that just as much as        They had something to hide.
       you do.                           Julian hasn't. He is an out
         In the driest camp delivery     gay man. And that is his
       and zaniest of costumes, Ju-      strongest resource.
       lian Clary sends himself up         Parody is his mode. Never
       better than anyone else. And      for one moment does he let
        it's this that distinguishes     us imagine that how he looks
        him from the sit-com and         and acts is anything but a
        show-biz queens of the 70s       send-up of how bigots would
       who could let their wrists go     like him to be. You don't
       limp in a tv studio but never     glimpse the 'real' Julian
       dare to set foot at Gay Pride.    Clary underneath the cosme-
        (Remember those cringeing        tics. Instead, he masters our
        squeals of 'Oh what a gay         gaze on his post-modern at-
        day' and 'Are you being           tire, mixing up 14-hole pa-
        served?'. Hardly encourage-       tent leather Doc Martens
        ment for those of us who          with luminous cycle shorts.
        wanted to step - rather than      His props include a fluffy
        mince - out of the closet.)       pink truncheon as a defence
          It's hard to get away with      against Manchester's police
                                          chief, James Anderton.
                                            Clary's achievement is to be
'He presents an image the                 political without getting te-
tabloids would love to hate,              dious. And this puts a new
                                          gloss on his frequent use of
except that his script is better          smut. All those really funny
than their copy'                          jokes on 'erections' and          Joan Collins Fan Club: Strangely attracting the punters
                                          'behinds' are 'exposed' for
                                          what they are: send-ups           Treat was nothing like as so-      Breakfast Show on Radio
        laughing at the Joan Collins      of the vulgarity to be-found      phisticated as Julian's own        One ...) Unlike Mike Smith,
        Fan Club. You laugh with          on the regular club circuit.      stage performance. The Joan        Julian is, of course, a ta-
        him instead. Although his         He reminds us, all the time,      Collins Fan Club got more          lented person. His exotic
        stage act doesn't refer to        how stupid 'straight' humour      applause than Radio One's          presence tells you that Mike
        Dynasty's Alexis that much,       is.                               DJ.                                is as brain-dead as the blue-
        the blusher on his cheeks is        Increasing numbers of            Trick Or Treat has been his       eyed heart-throb next door.
        his key reference-point: to a     punters now find themselves       initiation into the mains-         While Mike reels off bad
        melodrama that almost             strangely attracted, as he        tream. He has a series             jokes from the autocue, Ju-
        seems camp by accident.           would say, to what he does.       planned to go ahead on Chan-       lian shows what it takes to
        Joan's fans are also Julian's.    From more traditional work        nel Four, provisionally            powerdress with wit. His is
        And since his image is based      on the stage, he moved into       called Sticky Moments With         the last laugh on a tv culture
        in popular telly, it made per-    the alternative club scene,       Julian Clary. How come now         tired to death with being so
        fect sense for him to appear      found his way to the Edin-        is the time to have a gay man      safe and so straight. If Julian
        on LWT's recent quiz show         burgh Fringe, and ended up        in front of the family while       can be popular, what hope is
        parody, Trick Or Treat.           on tv. But his act had to be      they're eating their tea? Will     there for an endless sche-
          Julian Clary doesn't want to    adjusted for the LWT pro-         he turn a nation of young          dule of bland quiz shows on
        be tolerated as an alternative    gramme he hosted with the         Mike Smiths into bum-boys?         deregulated tv? He's now
        comedy queen. In fact, it's       man with the mail-order             The answer is obvious. He        well placed to brighten up a
        the other way round. With         catalogue looks, the inno-        will help us to 'relieve our-      wet Sunday on the box. •
        his killing one-liners, he        cuous Mike Smith. Trick or        selves'. (If only he did the       Joseph Bristow

                                                                           48      MARXISM TODAY             JUNE 1989

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