John Cooper Clarke live at the De La Warr Pavilion

John Cooper Clarke
John Cooper Clarke

Britain’s best loved and most important performance poet, John Cooper Clarke is as vital now as he was in the 70s.

His biting, satirical, political and very funny verse, delivered in a unique rapid-fire performance style, resonated with the punk movement. JCC toured with all the seminal bands; The Sex Pistols, The Clash & Buzzcocks, and in the USA with Elvis Costello. He began to draw large crowds in his own right. Joy Division were proud to frequently support JCC and New Order later opened for him on their first Australian tour.

In 1978 JCC signed a major album deal with CBS Records. His records with the Invisible Girls, produced by Martin Hannett, are acknowledged as masterpieces. The unique fusions of JCC’s poems and The Invisible Girls’ highly original music, created influential records still name checked by people as diverse as Alex Turner, Plan B, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Coogan.

He also released a massive collection of his poetry and words Ten Years In An Open Necked Shirt, which became the bestselling poetry book of the 80s, and is reprinted every few years.

A figurehead for the movement and all that it encompassed, he found himself as one of the leading voices of punk and youth culture of the late 70s. He became known as the ‘Punk Poet’ or ‘The Bard of Salford’. Live, he was performing to thousands across the UK. Crowds gathered with open eyes and ears gazing up at his distinctive, and now iconic, visual appearance (tall and thin with a mess of black hair, black sunglasses, drainpipe trousers and Cuban-heeled boots) transfixed as he worked through a catalogue of work taken from his four studio albums and numerous singles.

So what of John now? Aside from being a key orator of British society during this time, his mark is indelibly seen in today’s pop culture. Aside from his fashion style spawning copy-cats all over the country, his effect on modern music has been huge.

His influence needs only to be heard in the satirical and keen social observations of the songs of the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner cites JCC as a huge inspiration and John’s work appears on the sleeve of one of their singles as well as Turner having a JCC tattoo. UK rapper and film-maker Plan B asked John to appear in his directorial film debut All Manors. Their duet Pity The Poor Fellow appears in the movie and on the soundtrack. JCCs recording of Evidently Chickentown was used in the penultimate closing scene of The Sopranos.

Tickets are £17.50 advanced, £19 on the door. Ring 01424 229111 or log onto