Lord of the Mince

Last night my good friend Ros and I went to see the fabulous Julian Clary at Birmingham Town Hall.

It’s hard to believe, but the camp comedian formerly known as The Joan Collins Fan Club is now 50.  His Lord of the Mince tour is in part a retrospective on his life and glittering career – with lashings of gay innuendo tossed in (see, I can’t even help using it myself when I’m just writing about him).

A few years ago, Julian was controversial and outrageous; nowadays he’s something of a national treasure, a bluer version of Larry Grayson.

He was really on form.  The first half was mainly anecdotal, with many references to his 2004 appearance on Strictly Come Dancing and also his life in the country, where he is settled down with a steady boyfriend in ‘a thatched cottage with a thatched swimming pool,’ where they keep chickens and fellow camp entertainer Paul O’Grady is their next door neighbour.

The second half was more of a return to Julian’s old self, evoking the early 90s days of his outrageous Sticky Moments game show.  Clad in a ringmaster’s outfit, he dragged up two chaps from the audience – one gay, one straight – and tested their ‘psychic’ powers via a series of very silly blindfolded taste tests.

Another feature of part two was his reading of a selection of stories in the local paper, in our case the Birmingham Post.  His deadpan delivery of such sagas as the theft of a wheelie bin in Redditch was hilarious.

He closed each half by performing one of his own risqué songs, in his unique, dry, speak-singing style.

Julian’s heart-meltingly cute dogs Valerie and Jism (not sure if the latter is his real name!) made an appearance in the encore, to a chorus of ‘Ahhh’ from the audience.  They were beautifully behaved and clearly adore their master.  A mention of his late, original canine sidekick Fanny the Wonderdog drew a huge cheer too.

And the revamped Birmingham Town Hall is beautiful.  I hadn’t been since I was 17, when I attended a torturously dull A-level English seminar.  The gorgeous Victorian building has been done out in more recent years, and is now beautifully modern inside.  There is a relaxed, ‘artsy’ atmosphere.  It is yet another entertainment venue of which Brum can be proud.

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