How We Met: Julian Clary & Immodesty Blaize

'The most surprising thing about Julian is how calm and quiet and solid he is'
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The Independent Online

Immodesty Blaize, 29, is a burlesque dancer. She was discovered dancing at a venue in London's Brick Lane and last year was crowned Miss Exotic World at the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame. She lives in London with her dog, Nifty

Julian and I have never argued, but if we were to it would probably be about space in front of the mirror. We first met walking our dogs in Regent's Park and I think we had a sixth sense about our mutual flamboyancy. Although, having said that, I do go dog-walking in pretty outrageous clothes: high heels and hats and everything, even though my high heels get stuck in the mud. My little dog, Nifty, has her own dog-walking outfits too as well as stage outfits. She's got a little crystal-studded hoodie she wears when she comes on stage to pick up my stockings.

Julian and I were always friendly to each other and the dogs wanted to play with each other.Then, just over a year ago, we did a TV show together, so we really got to know each other.

I have always thought that Julian was unbelievably fabulous. I'm a huge fan of camp, cutting humour and I loved The Joan Collins Fan Club. He's so outrageous on the TV you think he'll be like that in real life, but the most surprising thing about Julian is how calm and quiet and solid he is – a really reassuring presence. He is just the perfect gentleman, too – so polite, thoughtful and dignified. And yet, despite being quiet, he's got this huge presence.

He is wonderfully funny. He really makes me laugh and I value that in any friend. We like to hang out with each other and eat lovely food, anywhere we can find that's opulent and theatrical.

Julian came to see my show after we met properly and I was very nervous performing, knowing that he was in the audience – it's always more nerve-wracking if there's someone you know.

Although my show can be very sexy and erotic, it's also very tongue-in-cheek in that camp, British tradition, and I think that appealed to Julian – as well as all the costume changes and the make-up. Neither Julian nor I are exactly strangers to the dressing-up box.

When I thought about putting this show [The Immodesty Tease Show] together I knew Julian would be the perfect compere but I thought it would be presumptuous of me to ask him. It was almost like asking someone out on a date. But we took to working with each other like ducks to water. I'd love to do more ifI can. I don't exactly need any encouragement to put on a spectacle.



Julian Clary, 48, is a comedian and writer. He first appeared on the comedy scene in the 1980s with his show The Joan Collins Fanclub and later had a hit Channel 4 series, Sticky Moments With Julian Clary. He has written four books, the most recent being Murder Most Fab.

Immodesty and I walk our dogs at opposite ends of Regent's Park – I'm at the Camden Town end and she's at the Marylebone end – but I couldn't miss her.I think when I first saw her she was wearing a pencil skirt and heels andsome faux fur, with her little tiny dog – like a furry mouse – on the end of a lead. Her appearance and her walk and her entire being is all so studied and I thought,"Oh! How fabulous."

I thought perhaps, this being London, that she might be just mad, you know, a crazy lady. But then we fell to talking, as dog walkers do, and I was relieved to find that she was bona fide showbiz.

When I got to know her properly I realised that she was fascinating on all levels. To look at her you wouldn't think she was from a suburban background and a convent girl. But to look at me you wouldn't think that I'm a monastery boy from suburban Teddington. Talking to her, I found out that in our teenage years we both had a fantasy vision of what life would be like for us in the future – and for both of us it involved a lot of dressing up and make-up and escaping from reality. I used to draw cartoons when I was about 14 and she did too. We both sort of became those figures that we used to draw and I don't know if it was a psychic flash or an idea that you then work towards.

I've seen Immodesty in action and she is quite brilliant. Although she doesn't take herself very seriously, what she does is a vocation and she is completely dedicated to it. She has a complete knowledge of burlesque and its history and taught me all sorts of things I didn't know.

I think Immodesty might attract a lot of gay men to her because there's something about her that's not unlike a drag queen, and that appeals to some gay men. But that's not why I like her. She's got a lot to say and she's very interesting, calm and optimistic. I enjoy being around her optimism, I think it's a very good thing to be around and absorb. As far as Immodesty is concerned, every day is fabulous. We both regard life as fairly trivial really and, on a day-to-day basis, it's just about having fun. We are great friends and are great fun together, but I wouldn't go to Immodesty first with my problems; I think perhaps when you're around her you forget that you have any.



Immodesty Blaize and Julian Clary will be presenting 'The Immodesty Tease Show' at Koko, London NW1 on Monday and Tuesday

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