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Pop: He's back, he's back

Gary Glitter Cardiff International Arena
Gary's not twinkling so brightly this year. He may not formally have to defend himself against child pornography allegations until January but the irony of his tour title - "A Night out with the Boys" - won't be lost on anyone over the next few weeks. And if questioning next month does eventually lead to charges, there will probably be only one answer to the question plastered over the tour publicity: "Could This Be the Last Time?". Those whom the gods destroy, first they give silver platform boots.

Bouncing back from the current mess will challenge even the Leader, but the ersatz rock 'n' roll that Glitter epitomises is, of course, built on much-hyped comebacks.

Through the late Fifties and Sixties, Paul Gadd assumed a number of rock personae in failed bids for stardom before he found his niche in early- Seventies glam rock. Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie gave the country a sneak preview of glam's cavalier theatricality - an outrageous combination of make-up and loon pants that Bryan Ferry and Marc Bolan refined. In answer to T-Rex and Roxy Music's sophisticated air of androgyny, Glitter and fellow Sixties leftovers Slade gave glam a bovver-boy workover. Any Seventies lads worried about their nail varnish and mascara obviously felt Glitter's chest-beating rock-outs redressed the balance. Numerous Top 10 hits followed for Glitter - including his Number One signature tune, "I am the Leader of the Gang, I am" - before punk pared back glam's excesses for good.

The pursuit of a lifestyle to match his OTT appearance nearly proved the end of Glitter. By the Eighties, the Leader was faced with the receiver and a near-fatal overdose added to the misery of bankruptcy. Within a decade, however, Glitter was back. His overblown outfits, absurd rockabilly quiff and panto stage presence had always made the ironic comeback seem likely.

Ticket sales for Glitter's enjoyable arena-sized stompalongs have been relatively unaffected by the past month's allegations, but Glitter could be falling a lot further than last year's topple from his platforms should the mud stick.

Cardiff International Arena (01222 224488), then touring. National Credit Card Hotline: 0990 661022

Mike Higgins