Return of the punk poet
Era-defining bands Joy Division and New Order proudly opened for
John Cooper Clarke, which shows why he is the nation’s foremost
performance poet – and has been for more than 40 years.
Yet his lyrics are not trapped in the bygone age of the punk
movement – where he toured with the likes of the Sex Pistols, the
Clash, Buzzcocks, the Fall and Elvis Costello – but have stayed
Three of his poems are on the GCSE syllabus and his work has
also been studied by thousands of A-level pupils across
In 1978, John, known as JCC, signed a major a album deal with
CBS Records, putting his verse to music by the Invisible Girls.
Produced by Martin Hannett, best known for working on Joy
Division’s two albums, they have since become acknowledged as
A tall, thin figurehead for youth culture, with his trademark
mess of black hair, black sunglasses, drainpipe trousers and
cuban-heeled boots, JCC faded into heroine addiction in the
He kicked the habit in the early 1990s and has inspired the
satirical social observations of the songs by the Arctic Monkeys,
whose frontman Alex Turner has JCC’s name tattooed on his arm.
Plan B asked the 63-year-old to appear in his movie Ill Manors,
and he also appears on the soundtrack to the rapper’s directorial
JCC’s Evidently Chickentown was also used in the penultimate
scene of TV show the Sopranos.
So it is fair to say its is something of a big deal that the
Salford-born poet will be appearing at Rochester’s Royal Function
Rooms on Friday, November 23. Tickets £18. Call 01634
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