He’s been around since the golden age of punk in 1977, and his 35 year career has seen him successfully battle drug addiction to become one of the most recognisable poets whose work is taught in some schools today.

It’s no wonder that Ben Drew aka Plan B gave him a part in his film “Ill Manors”, as his hyperactive delivery and self deprecation make him a performer who is really entertaining to both watch and listen to.

He starts by reading a poem called “Official gust list” with all manner of weird and wonderful names invited to his party. Throughout his set he engages with rambling monologues any stand people comic would be proud of, and poses ludicrous rhetorical questions in his trademark nasal, deadpan Mancunian drawl such as:

“If Jesus was Jewish then why does he have a Spanish name?”

“Why is there only one Monopolies Commission? ”

“What does cheese say when it’s having a photo taken?”

After a particularly long monologue where he wants to know if there are any marine biologists in the audience, he reveals it’s because he would like to know how deep the sea would be if there were no sponges in it.

These long humorous monologues are obviously a bit too much for one idiot seated near the front, who starts shouting “do some poems” and generally interrupting. However, he’s ably dealt with by Cooper Clarke who after all does talk for a living so a heckler would be no problem.

Plus, we DO get poems like “The hire car poem” and “Lydia, the girl with an itch” with Clarke asking why the term VD has been transformed into the less offensive STI. He then barrels through
“Home honey, I’m high”, “Things are gonna get worse” and his classic “Beasley Street”. He also does an updated, gentrified take on this one called “Beasley Boulevard”.

He finishes with “Evidently chicken town” to thunderous applause and finally encores with “I’ve fallen in love with my wife, prefacing this poem by saying that he considers marriage to be a “sexual relationship recognised by the police” and that when he divorced his wife they split the house and he got the outside.

He paints vivid pictures with his words in the way that Ian Dury used to do, as indeed all great lyricists do. All in all, it’s a fantastic 90 minutes in the company of a witty wordsmith. Excellent.

Peace

http://www.johncooperclarke.com/

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