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Gay Times


Posted Friday, 28 August 2015   |   6924 views   |   Men's Interest   |   Comments (0) It’s with some excitement that news of Julian Clary’s return to the literary world reaches the offices of Gay Times.

The comedian – and, let’s go there, national treasure – has published six books, but it’s been three long years since his last novel, Briefs Encountered.  But The Bolds is something of a departure – it’s a book for children.

“Yes I’m quite surprised,” he agrees at the suggestion this perhaps wasn’t a route people may have anticipated seeing the former Joan Collins Fan Club travel.

“Like lots of things in my career, you couldn’t make it up. You couldn’t predict ‘I think I’ll learn to ballroom dance’ or Big Brother. Having written the novels I found it very difficult. It’s a very difficult process writing a novel. It sort of takes a lot of out of you. But children’s books, you just find your inner child and you can just use your imagination. It’s obviously a lot easier. The problem I have with the adults is getting anyone to take you seriously as a writer – and now you don’t have to wish for that with the children’s books. It’s as silly as you want it to be,” he explains. “Children’s books can work on different levels, so it’s for the adults reading it to the child as well. It’s a bit like when I did panto, it’s a children’s show but I’ve got sort of one eye on getting a laugh from the adults. “They’re children’s books but part of me thinks I’ve written these for gay men to read, because they’re quite camp too.”

The idea for The Bolds – a family of hyenas who pass themselves off as humans – goes right back to his childhood. “I used to be a member of this junior club for the World Wildlife Trust, so I used to get all of these newsletters, and I used to know all about wild animals. There was a family living in the same road as us in Teddington that were quite hairy. I had this daydream that they weren’t people at all, they were hyenas living in disguise and I used to watch them for signs. And if they laughed at all, that confirmed my suspicion that they were hyenas, and I just revisited the idea.”
He admits he daydreams about “having a whole row of Bolds books” on the shelf, and says that the sequel is already due for release in 2016. But a return to ‘adult’ novels isn’t off the cards. “I’d like to. I might do. I mean, the way my life’s worked out I just seem to rotate different activities, so you can do a tour and then panto, then you can do Just a Minute. So to keep myself interested in myself, it seems I have to kind of change what I do every few months. So after all the fun of children’s books, I think a bit of filth and adults books will be called for.”

Animals have always played a large part in Julian’s life, but what about actual children? “No. I thought about it and it’s something I really wanted about ten years ago. I was talking with my lesbian friend about having a child, I remember she worked out her cycle for when I had to go around and ejaculate in the bathroom but we didn’t somehow get around it. It’s too late now really, I’m 56. I don’t know if I’ve got it in me. So there we are. It’s dogs and chickens.”

His love of animals is well documented throughout his glittering, showbiz career. Most recently, he fronted Give a Pet a Home on ITV, and a new show, Nature Nuts, is imminent.

Further dates are lined up for his shows at the suitably stylish Crazy Coqs in London this year, followed by a stint in panto for Birmingham Hippodrome’s Aladdin, with a tour to follow in 2016. Thankfully he’s still got his country home to escape to.
“I remember when we used to go on tour, the show was one thing but it was all about, ‘oh we’re in Sheffield, we must go out’. So you just go to all the gay clubs in all the different towns. And now if I do a show, you just go back to the hotel. You might have a dry white wine in the bar if it’s Friday night, but the sort of raving side of life doesn’t interest me anymore. We evolve, don’t we? It’s all for the good.”

Also, there’s less gay bars. “I know, the gays only have themselves to blame. Being on Grindr, who needs to go and sit in a bar and buy drinks when you can just look on your phone. I’m so upset that The Black Cap closed. My place in Camden is just around the corner and I used to go there a lot, but I haven’t been there for about five years myself, so I can hardly become radical about it. But there was a different case to that. If I think about it, that place was quite busy. It was closed for sort of commercial, financial reasons rather abruptly.”

Gay venues closing down is becoming more commonplace across the UK… “Yes, it’s awful. I think there’d be repercussions. If it’s not all about sex, if you just want to be with other gay people, there’ll be nowhere to go.”  The repercussions also include the way that people interact with each other, we suggest. Because they’re so used to only doing it online and being quite short with people.

“Yes, I know. ‘Hello, are you top or bottom?’ is people’s opening lines to me now. Also people’s emotional development and, who knows, in ten years time, no one is going to know how to have relationships. Just get straight down to business. I don’t know what people will be like. It’s heartless isn’t it?”

The Bolds is out now, @julianclary

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