The infamous Clitty Rubquick

Addie introduces her comic alter-ego, the pink-wearing, piano-playing Clitty Rubquick, who has toured the country with a mixture of stand-up and songs.

Duration 05:06


So when I… I first came to Leeds in 1994 as a student to study at a university college called Trinity and All Saints in Horsforth and I was really lucky and, like most people, ended up with a group of friends who were like-minded. At that point I didn't know I was a lesbian; I kind of suspected I was, but having been brought up a very strict Catholic, I… I hoped I was going through a phase. Anyway I had a really lovely group of mates and we all used to socialise together and we were fairly eclectic as a group and so, quite often we would end up back at someone's house and I remember one particular evening we ended up back at someone's house and there was a piano and I play the piano. And, but the thing about me playing the piano is I can never remember all the music all the way through, so I ended up drunkenly kind of playing the piano and making lots of mistakes and making everyone laugh.

And it was a bit reminiscent of... there was an act who was quite well known – I guess the '80s and '90s – on a show called the Clive James Show called Margarita Pracatan – who I think she's still actually performing – and Margarita Pracatan's act was – she's Cuban and she's very flamboyant and she plays the keyboard – the Bontempi keyboard – and does kind of... sings like ‘New York New York’ and plays the keyboards really, really badly so it’s actually done... it’s very, very funny and she used to appear on television quite regularly and so someone said, 'Oh your act... you're just like Margarita Pracatan!'

So anyway the next time I ended up at a friend’s house slightly tipsy, you know, at the end of an evening I then got presented with this awful kind of red velour velvety dress which – I'm quite a butch lesbian – which, just frankly, looked ridiculous. I was made to put it on because we were just having a laugh and a joke, and I kind of carried on [unclear] my, you know, I guess I embellished my act and found myself, within a couple of years, kind of doing it semi-professionally and I remember saying to one of my friends, 'I need a name', and he came up with the name Clitty Rubquick, which is so on the nose it's unbelievable, but it always used to get a laugh because my act talked about... I mean it was very... it was kind of Dame Edna meets Mrs Merton so it was kind of a mixture of stand-up and, and music; so kind of one of my character’s kinda pieces is Lionel Ritchie's 'Hello' and, you know, complete with cow-sounds and like, you know, ridiculous kind of like a train running through it and so it’s kind of like so serious, but obviously done really, really badly and I, it turned... yeah I ended up kind of doing it semi-professionally. I found myself on Radio Leeds doing it; I went to Lesvos and did a summer season which was great fun.

I ended up on stage at the City Varieties in an event called ‘L of a Night’ [possible other spellings, e.g. ’elluva night, ’ell of a Night] which had Rhona Cameron who used to be very well known – she's quite well known to people my age and older – a lesbian comedienne who was really famous – and went on tour with Belinda O'Hooley and I used to – yeah, so I did quite a lot of it – I did a lot of Manchester Pride, Brighton Pride – I don't think I ever performed at Leeds Pride because Leeds Pride is, is, has become quite big in recent years but when it was like the Pink Picnic back in the '90s and early '00s I was involved – yeah I’ve performed all over the place actually doing it – and I hosted Blackpool Pride Womens' Space – that was great fun!

And yeah so I kind of had a... I guess... kind of... once I'd graduated and so kind of maybe... and I was obviously fully out by then – and I kind of was welcomed into the lesbian community very much in Leeds and I used to perform at night in, in Chapeltown and like there was a club called Milans which was, it was like a... it was called The Honey Dip disco and like all the lesbians in Leeds used to congregate there and I performed at... and they had lots of talent nights and stuff. So yeah it kind of – it, it... yeah for a time, I mean I still ...

… Bizarrely I still do it once in a blue moon so I've kind of been doing it on and off for twenty odd years. And it’s really good fun. I mean my character's dress... I mean I don't do it as me... my character allegedly comes from Mexico and of course, you know, cultural appropriation in a comedy act a few years ago wasn't obviously so frowned upon so I, if anything, that kind of has diminished massively. But you know, she allegedly comes from Mexico – Acapulco – her catch phrase is, 'Ai, Ai, Ai!', and she's got a grey acrylic wig and she wears a pink crimplene two-piece and, you know, high heels and she thinks she’s the best thing since sliced bread. So it's kind of stand-up and music and I really enjoy it but I don't think I'm going to do much any more just ‘cause of, you know, the day job kinda takes over. I really enjoyed it.