As a proud Northerner living in Amsterdam, it never fails to make me happy to hear a fellow Northerner is playing in town. To hear John Cooper Clarke was playing in the intimate setting of Amsterdam’s alternative venue, Maloe Melo, had me bordering on the mystical.
I was first introduced to the rantings of the veteran punk poet about 8 years ago, courtesy of some old friends from back home, The Prophets. As the inhabitants of Dalton-in-Furness dreamed a little dream about being somewhere else, we were holed up together in the Cav late at night, laughing with painful recognition at Evidently Chickentown and marvelling at the striking observations of Beasley Street.
JCP has been on stage since the 70s, performing on the same bill as the Sex Pistols, Joy Division and The Fall (to name but a few). Over 30 years and a couple of drug habits later, and his legendary black bouffant hairdo and skinny black jeans remain hip; his acid wit and astute observations of working class England still completely relevant.
His show now comprises spoken word, stand-up and poetry and how we loved it. Plenty of humour, social class jokes and intelligent observations to go along with the poetry. The bard of Salford is alive and kicking arse.
At the end of the show, I shrugged off my shyness to shake his hand. He’s a very approachable bloke – it’s part of his charm – and it turns out his ex-wife and best mate are from my hometown, Barrow. So we also have a bit more in common than a shared love of pies and taking a fortnight to drag out a vowel.
Here’s Beasley Street…enjoy!