Tag Archives: John Cooper Clarke

Peel’s Picks

John Peel’s NME Readers’ Poll 1980 selections, from the NME, 24 January, 1981.

Disc Jockey

John Peel

Most wonderful human being: Kenny Dalglish
Event: Birth of my son Thomas James Dalglish Ravenscroft
Creep: Originator of the “Ripper 13 Police nil” chant taken up by Leeds United supporters
Best group: The Fall
New act: Bow Wow Wow
Male singer: Mark E. Smith
Female singer: Barbara Gogan
Songwriter: John O’Neill (Undertones)
Guitarist: Marco Pirroni
Bass: The Shend (Cravats)
Keyboards: The Pig (wife)
Drums: Phil Calvert (The Birthday Party)
Other instrument: Sheena Easton (“Bagpipes, tambourine – she plays on my heart.”)
Single: ‘Totally Wired’, ‘How I Wrote Elastic Man’ (The Fall – joint favourites)
Album: ‘Misty In Roots’
Sleeve: ‘Cravats In Toyland’
Best dressed: John Cooper Clarke
Haircut: Mine
DJ: Allan Dell (Dance Band Days DJ)
TV show: Minder
Movie: Sir Henry At Rawlinson’s End (“Because I work unsociable hours it’s difficult to go to films. I didn’t go all last year, but I’d like to see this one.”)

Poetry Olympics Weller

The lead up to the 1981 Poetry Olympics in the NME, 28 November, 1981.

Weller yes, but no Jam at Poetry Olympics

Sorry, but Paul Weller won’t be joined by The Jam when he appears at the Poetry Olympics next Monday (November 30). Last week’s NME news story, reporting that the group would play, was based on some mis-information.
However, Paul will still be there to read his own poetry, as part of the three-day event being staged at London’s Young Vic theatre, starting this Saturday (28) with, amongst others, Linton Kwesi Johnson and John Cooper Clarke.
The Weller set will last up to half an hour, and he’ll be sharing it with two collaborators in his Riot Stories publishing venture, Aidan Cant from Newcastle and Anne Clark from Croydon. Work by both guests has appeared in Riot Stories and December’s Child, and further contributions, including work by Weller will be included in a special Poetry Olympics issue of New Departures.
The Monday session at the Young Vic is now sold out.


LKJ and Clarkey’s singles reviewed in Sounds, 3 November, 1979, by Alan Lewis.

John Cooper Clarke:
Splat/Twat (Epic).
‘You make life a fairy tale – Grimm… here, do us all a favour, wear this polythene bag… speaking as an outsider, what do you think of te human race?’ These and other gems from Liverpool’s answer to Pam Ayres, recorded live at the Marquee. Trouble is, this is supposed to be a ‘Twin Grooved Single’, but my needle (sharpened only yesterday) refuses to pick up the ‘Splat’ track, if indeed there is one. Is this a conceptual joke?

Linton Kwesi Johnson:
Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-sus Poem) (Island).
Police victimization and its inevitable backlash described with chilling effectiveness in the form of a prisoner’s letter home to his mother. As ever, LKJ’s cool, almost deadpan delivery is a more deadly weapon than any amount of ranting and sloganeering.

Punch In The Puss

Clarkey gets some love in Bag, the NME letters page, 14 October, 1978. Ruled that week by Charles Shaar Murray.

DEAR MELVYN Bag, Music needs another punch in the puss. The only exciting things in the last two months were John Cooper-Clarke and some Solid Senders.
ELUSIVE ETHEL OF EDINBURGH. PS I hope this arrives before the Cooper-Clarke backlash.
Tony and Julie are out, Ethel, so I can’t tip you off about the Cooper-Clarke backlash. The Solid Senders backlash starts – according to my desk diary – on December 16th. ‘Til then – enjoy the album and catch the tour. – CSM.

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!'”