Tag Archives: Ginger John

Clarkey In New Youth

John Cooper Clarke in Hulls New Youth zine, number 4, 1984.

Were you definitely a Punk, or did you just find it coming along at the right time for you?
“Yeah, I was already doing this sort of thing in the period immediately before Punk, but to an extent. Yeah, I suppose I was, plus I definitely altered my style to suit.”

You broke the ground for Poets, it must have taken a lot of guts?
“Yeah, it was a bit dangerous at times.”

But you made poets more acceptable for audiences at rock gigs ’cause there’s a new wave now; Attila, Swells, Swift Nick, Ginger John, etc. It’s easier now…
“Well that may be true, but I wouldn’t say it was easy!”

Has your book been selling well?
“Yeah, great. It’s sold out of the original print run and we’re well into the second set now.”

Is that suit you wear now the one you started with originally?
“(Laughs) No, not exactly. At first it was separate pairs of pants and trousers.”
Tim Dalton, (Spring St.) “First thing he asked me when he arrived tonight was, ‘What suit did I have on the last time I was in Hull’…!
John, “Well I’ve only got one with me you see and I wanted to know if it was the same one as last time. (Laughs) I mean if I don’t set a fuckin’ example, who will!!”

We noticed you hired a flashy car to get here tonight, are you making loads of money these days?
“I owe it all out! I owe my record company £36,000 and the travel agents, who’ve arranged the lat three tours, a few thousand as well!”

Are you bothered?
“Well you can’t take it seriously – I worry more about owing him (a friend) a fiver than I do the record comps… and travel agents.” His friend: “Fuckin’ right, yo should worry!”

Are they your bodyguards? (meaning his two friends)
“Sort of!”
The next few minutes are impossible ’cause his two bodyguard/managers keep singing “One step at a time, sweet Jesus…’!!!

I liked what you said on that programme recently, about you being a socialist in a capitalist world..?
“What you mean ‘I can’t be an Island of Socialism in a sea of Capitalism'”
That was it…
“Yeah, it’s right, y’see I am a Socialist but you can’t decide to live your socialist ideal on your own. It’s impossible. We have to keep going along with capitalism at the moment until we can change it. At the moment I make what I can… I have to, same as everyone. If you do live out your own little socialist ideal… you’ll be left with nothing and you’ll have changed nothing… you’ll just be a martyr, and I mean, a fuckin’ martyr’s no good to anyone (laughs). They’ll just say ‘Oh yeah, he was a nice bloke, but anyway he’s fuckin’ dead now!'”

Trendy Social Workers

Ginger John in Jamming! (the monthly version), number 24, January, 1985.
The poems that month were picked by Richard ‘Cool Notes’ Edwards.

Hummm OK Yarrrrr!!!!

Totally opposed to the modern modes
Of the hipsters way of life
You can see them in the streets
The candidates of chic
Cos they’re Harpers and Bizarre on my life.

They’re trendy social workers
With their Citroens and calculators
And the Guardian tucked
Underneath their arms.

They wear multi-coloured jumpers
Hush Puppies or bumpers
And safari suits
That make you wanna cry.

An’ they’re always in the boozer
An’ it turns into manoeuvres
When you try to get some beer
An’ they’re in flight.

About all the donations
They’ve made to starving nations
An’ the peace camps
They’ve visited for an hour.

They’re the total social misfit
A social democrat candidate
A cheese and wine party bore
They’re the Hoooo Ray Henry’s
The Tupperware trendies
The Habitat habit forming bores
An’ you know them
When you see them
Cos you always hear them screaming.
Hummm OK Yahhhhh!!!!

Ginger John

Punk’s A Feeling

Ginger John from Leeds zine Raising Hell, number 1, 1983.

Punk’s A Feeling Not A Fashion

Pogo pogo til ya drop
it only dies if you forget
cos punk’s a feeling not a ‘fashion’
How do you hype what’s really happening?
Poverty boredom no hope future
Tory government goosestep coming
Rockets bombs and nuclear waste
pogo pogo human race
cos we don’t care what happens to you
it’s up to you to see what’s true
Cos punk’s a feeling not a fashion
forget the clothes look what’s happening
No jobs no money no opportunities
put in your place cos of the Torys ruling
No right to work
No right to think
No right to hope
Your future STINKS

Ginger John the Doomsday Commando

Ginger John and young poet Sarah Fletcher, June, 2015.

Ginger John – Nowt

From New Youth, number 4, 1984.

You’re the engaged tone in my mind
The blank cassette that won’t rewind
The high pitched whine on the telly at night
A census form in a derelict house
A holiday for two in the Afghan hills
A sales rep for Argentinian beef
A union shop steward in Polish steel
A National Front candidate in Notting Hill
A Young Conservative outta work
A pain in the place where it really hurts
You’re all of these, you’re not worth nowt!
A transistor radio without a battery
A video tape without a player
A motor car without an engine
A prostitute without a clinic
A bank account with nothing in it
The S.D.P. dream of running the country
You’re all of these, you’re not worth nowt!
You’re just a square wheel on the road of life
An abcess in the mouth of mankind
A late night bus that’s broken down
A telephone box that’s been vandalised
You’re all of these, you’re not worth nowt!

Ginger John


Apples And Snakes

From NME, 31 March, 1984.

The poetry promoters launch their first book.


Poets of a certain age, and stage of inebriation, sometimes flick through the book and ponder ‘where are hey now?’.
There’re some decent poets in the book: Attila the Stockbroker, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mark Steel, Little Dave, Nick Toczek, John Hegley, Claire Dowie, Ginger John, John Agard, and Marsha Prescod amongst many othes.

Emily Harrison reading the book en route to a gig.