– THE DANCEHOUSE THEATRE, MANCHESTER –
It’s gone 10pm when our very own Broughton Bard strides gingerly on stage at Manchester’s Dancehouse Theatre. Clutching a bottle of water in one hand and tatty carrier bag in the other, there is no mistaking this instantly recognisable skinny figure.
As the years have passed since his support slots with bands such as The Sex Pistols, Joy Division and The Fall, John Cooper Clarke’s gigs have departed from the typical poetry recital, to a more intimate affair, including comical tales and jokes, interspersed with his uniquely styled poems.
Reaching into his carrier bag to produce a highly disorganised clip file, he gives a quick fix of jokes to fill the time whilst he rifles through loose pages of crumpled papers, to find tonight first poem, ‘Hire Car’.
This gives us the reasons of why we should not buy our own car and a list of how to treat the hire car as badly as possible. Next is the four-lined ‘Home Honey, I’m High’, his tribute to Martini.
Before giving us a reading of ‘Attack of the 50ft Woman’, he tells us of how his failing eyesight was the cause of him originally thinking the film was in fact, about a soft woman, rather than a 50ft woman and how this would not be as good a grounds for a film.
The Dracula story is also on his hit list tonight, by pointing out how in the beginning, the count was immortal, but then as time went by he could be killed in many different ways. Most of which, would kill any human being too.
Delving into his mass of papers again and he manages to find ‘Beasley Street’, a tale of a slum class street and its inhabitants. As many towns and cities have been changed and updated since this was released in 1980, he thought he should do the same here.
The newer version, ‘Beasley Boulevard”’, gives us a view into how this once down trodden area has been regenerated, with money and the upper-classes.
We are now heading well into the second hour, when the town of Burnley and its population take a bombardment of light-hearted abuse.
One of the last, but most wanted to be heard, is ‘Evidently Chickentown’. This finely-tuned tirade of words contains more expletives per sentence, than any Quentin Tarantino film could ever dream of.
As the clock approaches midnight, our intelligently funny and humble host gathers his papers from the stage floor and leaves.
There is no doubt tonight, that JCC should and will continue to be a one off wordsmith of the highest calibre.