Deafening whispers loud and clear. The sound of nothing meets my ears. I get the message - I know the drill. This is the day the world stood still."
A little hush, please, as BIG DAY OUT 2007 welcomes a true poet laureate, The Bard of Salford, JOHN COOPER CLARKE. Inspired by Kerouac and Ginsberg, peer to punk's originators, a forebear of Billy Bragg and Mike Skinner.
A poet he may be, but JOHN COOPER CLARKE speaks with the wildfire rhythms of rock'n'roll, fuelled by something stronger than the joy of wordplay. His performances are confrontational, but funny and playful as all get out.
"Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss. Your attitudes are platitudes, just make me wanna piss. What kind of creature bore you? Was it some kind of bat? They can't find a good word for you, but I can... TWAT." (Twat, John Cooper Clarke, 1979)
JOHN COOPER CLARKE - he of the wild hair, ever-present shades and drainpipe trousers - began his career as a teenager in the clubs of Manchester. It wasn't long before stand up comedy was ram-raided by punk rock, and he was suddenly performing with musicians, releasing records, earning the name "The Punk Poet", even enjoying a brush with the UK Top 40.
He supported The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello and The Fall - the latter a partnership that continues to this day.
"The man with ï¿½that certain nothing', the only poet you can dance to, JOHN COOPER CLARKE. From Gaberdeen Angus and the wittily polemical You Never See a Nipple in the Daily Express to the ever popular Psycle Sluts and Kung Fu, this man is magic. I could quote until the cows come home but it's far better that you get it from the horse's mouth." (NME, September 1978)
Twenty-five years after the release of his last official album, Zip Style Method, JOHN COOPER CLARKE remains an enigmatic, influential force, still in demand on the UK circuit, armed with his poems and a lifetime of true stories that raise eyebrows and cause jaws to hang slack. A social realist with a far out style.
"We walked out - tentacle in hand, you could sense that the earthlings would not understand. They'd goï¿½ nudge nudge ï¿½when we got off the bus, saying It's extra-terrestrial - not like us. And it's bad enough with another race, but fuck meï¿½ a monster ï¿½from outer space." ([I Married a] Monster from Outer Space, John Cooper Clarke, 1978)
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