Back to Ours’ popular online gigs, #rightonyoursofa, continue this Friday with an evening of sheer vanity, courtesy of Valen Vain and his talented performing friends.
“Vain by name, vain by nature. Deep as a puddle in summer, and I love myself just that little bit too much. In fact, I wish I was someone else, just so I could spend some time looking at me,” said Valen.
Our conversation took place via Zoom video-conferencing. Valen, no stranger to online video stardom (he spends about 5 hours a day live-streaming his self to audiences on Twitch), sat in his living room, surrounded by mirrors, of course.
Whilst at drama school, Valen had expected to pursue a career back-stage doing something technical. However, an experience standing not in the darkness of the wings, but in the beam of spotlights, changed his career path forever.
“The whole things started a few years, when I started doing some male modelling. I did a photo-shoot at a nightclub, it was really good fun, I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Valen has now been hosting and compering shows, mostly cabaret and burlesque, for over five years. He has ‘the gift of the gab’, and doesn’t struggle exercising it.
“It’s a really interesting dynamic. I’m there for my own satisfaction. If other people like it, then great, but if they don’t, that’s not my problem, because I’m having a good time,” he said, feigning arrogance.
Valen was not offended when I suggested he may now be totally self-obsessed, in fact he seemed to take it as a compliment, a title of honour.
“I’ve become even more self-obsessed as the time has gone on. I love it, I absolutely love it.”
It seems here’s nothing timid and introvert about this guy.
“I’ve always been flamboyant. I’ve always been ‘O.T.T.’ Throughout my teenage years, maybe, I tried to fit in, but I always took it to the extremes. I’d buy the neon orange tracksuit bottoms, to really stand out. I wanted to fit in – but I didn’t really! That’s the way I live my life,” said Mr Vain.
Valen still loves dressing up, but researching for this interview I also found a Youtube video of him taking some of his clothes off again. I wondered which he enjoys more?
“Oh, taking them off, every time. I love dressing up and looking flamboyant. I love my big feather collars, and my make-up, and all this stuff – but there’s something exhilarating about getting on stage knowing all this is going to come off!”
Blimey. The show on Friday is recommended for adults only!
You may, by now, be thinking that Valen, so utterly absorbed by his own image, is unable to make friends. But that’s not so. Some of his many talented performing friends are joining in the show on Friday evening, a circus – right on your sofa.
Drawing on the performing arts skills of a select group of Valen’s friends, from the worlds of cabaret and burlesque, the online audience can expect to see things swallowed, thrown, balanced, bent, and broken.
“Friday night’s going to be a really good one,” said Valen. “We’ve been thinking outside the box for the #rightonyoursofa audience. I said to Back to Ours ‘look at all these amazing things my friends can do’, and Back to Ours said ‘we want all of it’. Well, we couldn’t get all of it, but wait to see what we do have for you!”
Valen didn’t say if there’s any singing in the show on Friday evening, but if there is, you can bet he’ll think each song is about him.
Join Valen Vain and his circus of friends, right on your sofa, from 8pm on Friday – you’ll find the stream on the Back to Ours facebook page.
Valen Vain was talking to Jerome Whittingham – editor, HULL IS THIS