John Cooper Clarke – Live

5 Nov

There are few 60-somethings who can get away with donning spray on jeans and oversized shades like John Cooper Clarke.

Even fewer would have the gall to perform a show to promote National Poetry Month and deliver only eight poems in an hour and a half set.

Nevermind, because the rest of the ‘punk poet’s’ routine was cobbled together with ad-hoc comic musings, gags and random mumblings, making it more of a stand-up shindig than a poetic masterclass.

There was no structure as such, more a spewing of missives depending on where his mind wandered. He reflected on age, “put it this way I don’t buy green bananas”- the latter word stretched out with his Salford drawl –  the “benefits” of Alzheimer’s, “you can hide your own Easter eggs”, and his vehement disgust of men with white beards, “It’s like they’ve given up,” he said, insisting only Father Christmas, Karl Marx and Kenny Rogers can get away with it.

On the poetry front, it was the grim classic Beasley Street that got the biggest cheer, closely followed by it’s up-to-date version Beasley Boulevard. Here. Clarke mused on the tarting up of the area where the “boarding houses and the bedsits full of accidents and fleas” have been replaced by “basement gaffes”, “noodle bars” and “phoneboxes clear of hookers’ cards.”

Proof, if it were needed, that Clarke’s taste for biting social commentary is as insatiable as ever.

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