From the NME, 2 February, 1985
Nico/John Cooper Clarke
Jock Scott/Rythmic Itch
Nico – desperate, soporific, croaky old Nico – is, basically, the Salford of Johnny Clarke’s sickest fantasies: she drains you, nags you, relentlessly bores you, makes you redundant. The best you can do is try not to notice. Occupy your mind with something else. Watch people watching her, watch them being mesmerised by lack of purpose, movement, anything. Queueing up as a state of mind.
And the songs? What are they like? Come on, you tell me. I asked Lemmy, who was wandering about, to tell me. He said the songs were like Auschwitz set to music. Me, I think that’s going a bit far. Music? Get out, this is more than music, more than the lack of it, more than the support act, Rythmic Itch, could cobble together in a lifetime of neat little melodies and sweet little hair-dos.
In contrast, John Cooper Clarke’s sharpened up on his Jimmy Savile impersonations to the point of eeriness (and what a contrast – imagine Nico pretending to be Jimmy Savile). Between non-well-worn oldies he gives us the even more familiar guys-and-gals banter, one point for the year, two points if you can remember the title of the song, and hows about that?
Cut the cack, jack. Better-oiled than I’ve seen him, he unravels the usual scabrous verses – ‘Beesley St’, ‘Nothing’, ‘Twat’, ‘The Pest’ and so on – at such a rate that you’re always struggling to catch up, to make sense. Focus on a phrase, grasp its meaning, and others will ricochet around you, hit you in the face, make you laugh.
Basically: salford’s a dump; dull, daft, rotting, full of damaged, deranged people who have no understanding of the technology which shapes their world. Also, a woman goes to the doc, says she has a farting problm, not that they smell, you understand, but the noise is so embarrassing and the doc says do one then and she does and he says I’m going to have to operate and she says what on my arse and he says no on your nose…
And so to the evening’s pinnacle, a poem by Jock Scott at his laconic best; pointless, rubbishy, hilarious: ‘The Wag Club’. “Last night I went to the Wag/I took a bird home for a shag/and afterwards I had a fag.” nasty one, Jock. So why laugh? BUT WE DO.