"I think sometimes being gay can be like a PR exercise," says David Hoyle. "At the moment, we've all got to portray ourselves as being completely sane and sorted professional people living in loft-style accommodation, as if all along we just wanted to be simulacrums of the straight people and fit in. Well some of us aren't and some of us don't. I still believe in the queer perspective."

Still one of our funniest, smartest and most thought-provoking cultural commentators, in the late-Nineties Hoyle took the performance scene by storm as The Divine David. A by turns scary, touching, hilarious and rather visionary creation, he sent up the narcissism of the gay scene (which he famously dubbed "the biggest suicide cult in history") through song, dance, painting, pole-dancing, the lost art of applique and the over-enthusiastic application of make-up.

Then in 2000, when two late-night Channel 4 series had brought him to the brink of the mainstream and cult fame and drug and alcohol use had brought him to the brink of mental illness, Hoyle killed off The Divine David in an ice-skating spectacular staged at Streatham Ice Rink.

He spent six long years contemplating the wallpaper in his Manchester flat, a time about which he remembers very little except that "I don't think I was really in the real world - it has taken me a long time to feel as if I'm even running parallel".

Now the king/queen of off-kilter cabaret has returned to performance under his own name with a show called SOS - that's either Save Our Souls or Show Of Shows, depending on how you want to take it.

When I call he's shopping in Manchester for a clothes rack, having run out of space on the radiator. "I try to arrange my socks as they would be in a Wolfgang Tillman photograph," he jokes with practiced weariness, "but it never quite looks the same".

"I'm older now, and that does make a difference," says Hoyle of his new show, which includes autobiographical elements inspired by his childhood in Blackpool amidst the trademark conflation of mediums. "Also I now drink wine, as opposed to vodka, and I think that can make a difference. I think you're a bit less car-crash and a bit more poetic on Sauvignon blanc.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know really what happens to people my age on the gay scene. I think you either go into the leather and denim thing or you start staying home and wondering about soft furnishings."

Although Hoyle is not quite at the "Ken Barlow stage", he has developed a strong interest in gardening. It started with 2005's It's Queer Up North festival, where he was invited to create a garden inside Manchester's Contact Theatre. Inspired, he and his neighbours have made a communal garden for their block of flats, which he typically found a very self-expressive experience.

"You've got your colour palette to play with and various different textures in the form of foliage, and then you've got perspective vis-a-vis the heights of various shrubs," he enthuses. "We'd really like a frog living there."

Are there any mediums which Hoyle would still like to try before the Ken Barlow phenomenon sets in?

"I think hang-gliding would be quite nice," he muses, "especially if, from a hang-gliding position, you could make some sort of drawing on the landscape." As for tonight, Hoyle's "very happy to go where the audience want me to go and just be a conduit for the energies of the evening. We can define the parameters together."

  • 8pm, £10, 01273 647100