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Julian Clary

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Julian Clary Empty Julian Clary

Post  eddie Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:50 pm

A room of my own: Julian Clary

The comic and writer in the living room of his ancient Ashford house, which was once the home of Noël Coward

Richard Rogers

The Observer, Sunday 1 April 2012

Julian Clary Julian-Clary-008
'Yes, there's a slight obsession with chickens. It must have happened when I became a rustic person': Julian Clary at his home in Kent, which dates from the 1500s. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

After the wonderful welcome from Julian Clary's dog Valerie, the first thing you notice about his living room is the chickens. There are lots – pictures on the walls, ornaments, even a chicken cushion. "Yes, there's a slight obsession with chickens," he says, looking around. "It must have happened when I became a rustic person." His favourite is the chicken on the mantelpiece, from his mother Brenda. It's near the sherry decanter, which is from director Neil Bartlett (they worked together on the 1995 adaptation of the play Splendid's).

There are a lot of things Julian's bought with his mother. He wonders if the antique bucket in the corner, which he picked up when they were "talked into" doing a celebrity version of Bargain Hunt, is too rustic. "It certainly wasn't my idea to do the show," he remembers, "but she fancied it. They took us to what they said was an antiques fair, although it looked like a jumble sale to me. Shall we get some flowers to pop in it, or is that too much?"

His house in Ashford, Kent, which dates from the 1500s, is more to his taste, having previously been owned by Noël Coward in the 1920s. "He's always been a great influence. I know my writing is seen as trivial [his latest novel is called Briefs Encountered], but so was Noël's in a way. And the taboos he faced… It's not a gay thing, but I've always felt connected to him, so I decided to imagine his story and his house in my new book." He props a copy on a stool. "It was about time this house paid for its keep!"

The hand-painted lamp, bought from a junk shop during his days as a student in New Cross, London, holds particular memories of his early days doing stand-up comedy. In the autumn he'll be returning to his roots with a new tour, for which he's currently writing two hours' worth of material.

Having had stints on stage with the likes of Joan Collins and Nigel Havers – photographed with him two years ago in panto – he's never lost his enthusiasm. "I was in a double act with my friend Linda to start with," he remembers. "She grew out of it, but I never did!"

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