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Julian Clary's Next Top Drag Queen

Thu 22 Apr 2010 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

Julian Clary doesn't quite know why, but he is on a mission to find Australasia's best drag names. The iconically camp performer is in New Zealand for the first time in more than a decade. He is performing his show Lord of The Mince as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. The British comedian is fresh from a tour of Australia, where he was amused by the originality of the drag names, taking to his Twitter page to make long lists of his favourites, which include: Courtney Act, Claudia Eyesout, Tora Hymen, Etta Cockwell, Eureka Fish, Tilly Blows, Betty Swallocks, Theresa Crowd and Wilma Fingerdo. He has already added Kiwis Gloriousole and Fonda Boys to the list - and is intent on finding more while deep Downunder. "I'm compiling a list for reasons I don't know - I could put them all into my next novel, some sort of convention of drag queens." Clary is not sure whether it has been 12 or 15 years since he was last in New Zealand, but either way he says it has been far too long. "I'd quite understand if no-one remembered me . . . 'cause I've been to Australia since then. And usually when I look at my schedule I think 'well why am I not going to New Zealand - don't they like me anymore?' And it's just to do with logistics and budget and all that." It has been six years since he last visited Australia and he says people seemed very pleased to see him. "It's very interesting. I think I might start not phoning my friends. I'll only phone them every six years and see if I get the same response." Clary is only performing in Auckland and Wellington on this trip, which he regrets, saying he would like to once again visit places like Palmerston North and Christchurch as he did in a previous month-long tour. He will not have a lot of time to explore the country, but is planning to go out after his shows and fit as much as he can in. After turning 50 last May, Clary says he has reflected and noticed a number of changes, which are chiefly positive. "I mean obviously you're getting older, but you feel a sense of achievement and a sense that I feel quite contented with my lot," he says. "You're happier. I think each decade in life you get a bit happier. Which is the compensation really for the degeneration physically and mentally that goes with it." Clary agrees the little things stop mattering as much as you get older. "And you don't choose to do anything you don't want to do. You know, I remember in my 20s going out with people I didn't even like because I didn't know how to not do it. And going to places I didn't want to go and all of that nonsense - it's all gone by my age." In Lord of The Mince, the master of hilarity talks about himself for a couple of hours, with the first of the show half based on reflecting on the things he's done in his life - along withthe things he shouldn't have done. He says the second half involves a number of psychic experiments with members of the audience."And then I sing a song. And then we throw some glitter around. And that's about the size of it." Clary says he continues to revel in being on the stage and does not want this tour to end. "I've done about 100 dates now and I never tire of it. I'd forgotten how satisfying it is, making people laugh and sending them away happy. It's quite a nice service to provide." Clary has toned down his costumes, explaining "one doesn't need to get one's nipples out at my age". He says there is still a lot of dressing up, make-up and glamour, but it is more appropriate to his 50 years. Anyone going to his shows be warned - he likes audience members to make an effort in the wardrobe department and has a strict no-corduroy policy. "In Australia people don't dress up much. I've had shorts in the front row... but as long as people don't wear corduroy I'm happy." Julian Clary performs Lord of The Mince at Auckland's Town Hall on Saturday and Wellington's Opera House on Monday. Tickets are on sale now.   Kitten Power - 22nd April 2010    

Credit: Kitten Power

First published: Thursday, 22nd April 2010 - 2:37pm

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