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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Clary 'comes out' as a novelist
Clare Gabriel
BBC News website

Julian Clary
Julian Clary signed books for his public at Hay
The sun came out at the Hay Festival on Sunday and so did Julian Clary, in his new guise as a would-be novelist.

The comedian also told the mid Wales literary extravaganza the full story of his original coming out as a gay man.

He revealed that he turned to valium and other drugs after losing a partner to an Aids-related illness.

Clary was one of the main draws on a relaxed Sunday at the border town festival, along with Booker Prize- winner Kazuo Ishiguro.

Comedian Clary, the current presenter of the Saturday lottery show, graphically revealed the trials and tribulations of being gay at a time when it was less tolerated by society.

He told a rapt audience of how he was beaten with a studded belt by a monk at his Catholic school, how he was bullied relentlessly by classmates for his uncompromising homosexuality.

Bricks were thrown at him and once his clothes were set alight on a bus.

So what if you know I've slept with all these men? That doesn't matter
Julian Clary

But he admitted he - and another gay school friend - encouraged some of the bullying.

"It made us sort of celebrities," said Clary, hinting at the fame that was to come in later years.

He described supportive parents who clearly accepted their son's sexual orientation, and said his new autobiography, A Young Man's Passage, was in many ways a catharsis.

"When I first had fame, I would do things like refuse to ride in a maroon car," said Clary, condemning the unreasonable way in which he and other celebrities can act.

Now, 46, he is clearly repaying a debt of honesty owed from those days.

He said he had not wanted to write a "I met Cilla Black and then there was Rolf Harris" account of his life to date - being honest was part of the process.

Julian Clary
Clary said he was still dancing after Strictly Come Dancing

That honesty included a list of his past conquests, at least all those he could remember.

Among them was "the man from Madrid who pronounced me 'magnifico'", Morgan the Organ, and Jacques the Frenchman with wind".

"So what if you know I've slept with all these men? That doesn't matter," said Clary.

But he also spoke of the deep depression he fell into after nursing a partner as he died from an Aids-related illness.

"I was having these all-day panic attacks and the only way I could stop them was valium," the entertainer said.

"I went through this haze for some months and I realised that had to stop."

Clary, who reached the final of the reality TV hit, Strictly Come Dancing, said his five producers on the live National Lottery Show were in "a state of terror" over his possible off-the-cuff remarks.

But he said would not say anything which would get the show taken off air.

After his debut "sex and all" book, he said he was now moving into new writing territory.

But he would not give any more away about the novel to come.

"I've only written a paragraph," he admitted.


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