Saturday, 18 September 2010


John Cooper Clarke and I 

Hi there cats. Are you all chilled this fine weekend? I've had a sensory overload in that on Thursday night, not only did I get my allocated 15 minute face to face interview with John Cooper Clarke, but ended up enjoying his company all evening. My friend and I somehow found ourselves seated at the Dragon's Rendezvous on Donegall Pass sharing stewed aubergine and other such culinary delights with JCC and his manager, Phil Jones.

We were regaled with tales of rock n'roll excess involving the legendary Mark E Smith of The Fall, JCC's time in the 80's as the housemate of Nico from the Velvet Underground and even got a rendition of 'I've fallen in love with my wife' at the table after he had forgotten the words at the gig. All in all an amazing and surreal evening which will not be topped for some time to come. If only all genii were as charming!

I'm in the process of writing up the long and detailed interview which I will be then hawking to some newspapers. It'll be up here in due course too. JCC's manager has asked me to help them garner a bit of a buzz for the Irish tour with some live reviews also.

Catch him down in Whelans on Tues the 21st, for more deets.

Here's a review of the Black Box gig on AU's website:

Go on and leave a nice comment on AU's website if you like it!

John Cooper Clarke

Black Box, Belfast

The Bard of Salford, heir to the throne of Poet Leaurate, the English Bob Dylan: the Black Box is packed to the rafters to witness John Cooper Clarke’s visceral short sharp bursts of punk poetry.
Much of the audience look like they are fans from Clarke’s early days when he ploughed a lonely furrow as a poetry-reading opening act for bands like the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Elvis Costello and Siousxe and the Banshees.
Clarke walks onstage to wolf-whistles and screams of delight. He looks the part of rock star punk poet – jet-black Robert Smith-esque hair, a tweed jacket, long spindly legs clad in drainpipe jeans, an elegant silk scarf and of course his ‘fitted as standard’ rose-tinted specs.
He fires straight into ‘Hire Car’. The poem’s linguistic hurdles still sound as fresh and vital as ever: “Hire-car, hire-car / Why would anybody buy a car? / Bang it, prang it, say ta ta / It’s a hire car baby.” It’s all about the words, delivery and every syl-lab-le baby.
There has been criticism from some quarters that Clarke’s live shows have shifted more towards gags as opposed to the performance poetry he started out with. Tonight it’s a mixed bag and flows along perfectly. We get stories, ramblings, jokes so funny it starts getting painful to laugh and inspiring punk poetry. The poet has said that it’s just something that has happened naturally and no-one appears to be complaining tonight.
He tells us of his native Manchester and his early days gigging in the working men’s clubs. “Don’t let the fancy titles fool you, these places were rough,” he says. “Let’s put it this way – they came with their own coroners.”
We also get reditions of ‘Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman’, a hilarious take on aging in ‘Things Are Gonna Get Worse’ and the poet’s most famous poem ‘Evidently Chickentown’ – which appeared in The Sopranos. Anyone from a small town can relate to it as Clarke dissects the town in a brutal fashion. The poem is delivered at a breakneck pace and packs a punk rock punch.
“The fucking scene is fucking sad
The fucking news is fucking bad
The fucking weed is fucking turf
The fucking speed is fucking surf
The fucking folks are fucking daft
Don’t make me fucking laugh
It fucking hurts to look around
Everywhere in chicken town”
Other highlights include his attempt at a haiku (“To con-vey one’s mood, In sev-en-teen syl-la-bles, Is ve-ry diff-ic”) and a gag about the late Sir Bobby Robson’s son bringing out a book about coping with his father’s death, to be entitled Over My Dad Bobby.
This shit is funny.
Afterwards I tell Johnny, “It was brilliant, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” To which he replies, “Was I that bad?”
John Cooper Clarke is a larger than life character who, three decades on, is still at the top of his game. In a word, genius. Tia Clarke

More pics... 
Aileen, JCC and moi 

Johnny's bag of coveted poetry! 

When the cat's away... 

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