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Review: John Cooper Clarke, Gloucester Guildhall

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

By David Jordan

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John Cooper Clarke’s generational appeal was wholly apparent at a sold out Gloucester Guildhall, with a mixture of young and old coming together to experience the punk Poet’s unique collection of satirical and observational work, spanning over five decades.

His cult status confirmed by the eclectic crowd of fans hanging on every rapidly fired word from his mouth, for his first appearance in Gloucestershire since 2011.

It’s easy to see why his appeal is so long lasting, while garnering new fans seemingly all the time. The Salford born wordsmith began his journey into poetry and music at a young age and shared the bill during the 1970’s and 80’s with legendary bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks and Joy Division.

His influence on current music and culture cannot be underestimated either with Alex Turner, lead singer of Arctic Monkeys, citing Clarke as an inspiration and placing his word’s to music on I Wanna Be Yours from their hugely successful album AM.

He has also made contributions in recent years to music by Reverend and the Makers and Plan B.

The fact that a number of his poems are currently being taught on the syllabus for GCSE’s as well as at Universities is a testament to his importance as a British poet and social icon.

With his critically acclaimed appearances on BBC Radio 6, John Cooper Clarke is now considered by many to be a national treasure.

The evening started with the Mancunian poet Mike Garry taking the stage.

His relaxed style recounting tales of gritty urban life as well as poignant words about parenthood and family were very well received, as shown by the long line of people queuing up after to buy his latest book and to hear and share more stories.

After supporting Iggy Pop, New Order and Patti Smith just last month, his upcoming single ‘Saint Anthony’ will be released in August and promises to be a great record.

After a short interval, the Bard of Salford was then introduced to rapturous applause from the crowd.

His ability to hold the attention of a packed room was incredible, with his social commentaries and an endearing habit of going off at a tangent ensuring there was no drop in energy in between his poems.

He showed himself to be a true wordsmith who is able to conjure up magical literature about real life every day issues and share it to the crowd in the most exuberant and energetic way.

New poems such as Hangings Gardens of Basildon fitted in seamlessly with old requested favourites like Beasley Street and the set closer Evidently Chickentown.

After an encore of I Wanna Be Yours and a sayonara and bow to the room, Cooper Clarke left the stage to yet more applause from a very satisfied crowd.

A fantastic night’s entertainment from a man who will be welcomed back to Gloucester anytime with open arms!

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