His recorded output has mainly centred around musical backing from The Invisible Girls, which featured Martin Hannett, Pete Shelley, Bill Nelson, Paul Burgess and Steve Hopkins. ‘Ten Years In An Open-Necked Shirt’ remains his most popular and successful published work.
Clarke has opened for such acts as the Sex Pistols, The Fall, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Elvis Costello, and New Order (at their May 1984 Music for Miners benefit concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall). His set was, and still is on occasion, characterized by lively, rapid-fire renditions of his poems, which were usually performed a cappella. He opened for Be-Bop Deluxe on their 1977 U.K. tour and later for Rockpile on their 1979 U.S. tour. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Clarke enjoyed some chart success in the UK with the single “Gimmix! Play Loud”, and subsequent album Snap, Crackle & Bop. In 1979 he applied to join actors’ union Equity, but as there was already a member named John Cooper Clarke, he joined under the name Lenny Siberia.
Performing in Cardiff, 1979
Often referred to as “the bard of Salford”, he usually refers to himself on stage as “Johnny Clarke, the name behind the hairstyle”. His first job was a laboratory technician at the University of Salford. Having released a handful of records into the early 1980s, Clarke performed his live act less frequently, and spent much of that decade addicted to heroin. He made an appearance in two UK adverts for Sugar Puffs in 1988, taking second billing to the Honey Monster. More recently, Clarke has turned some of his stage act away from an emphasis on performance poetry and towards more of a stand-up-oriented affair, but poetry is still very much a key part of his performance. He also supported Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. He can often be seen supporting The Fall on British tours or performing as a headlining act in his own right. He also duetted with a poem entitled Last Resort with Reverend Jon McClure at a Reverend and the Makers concert at London’s Spread Eagle, which Later was released as the b-side for the band’s single “Heavyweight Champion of the World”. Clarke also recorded a song with the band entitled “Dead Man’s Shoes”. Clarke’s recording of “Evidently Chickentown” from his album Snap, Crackle & Bop was also featured prominently in the closing scene of The Sopranos episode Stage 5. A live performance of the same poem appears in the film Control with Clarke portraying himself in a re-creation of a 1977 concert where he supported Joy Division, despite having aged 30 years since the events depicted in the movie. Clarke had a “domestic partnership” with singer Nico in the 1980s.
At Bedford’s Rhythm Festival, 2006
Clarke appeared in a 1982 music documentary compilation Urgh! A Music War, where he performed his poem “Health Fanatic”. The film featured live performances of main-stream artists (The Police, The Go-Gos, Pere Ubu, XTC, Devo) as well as more obscure bands (The Alley Cats, Invisible Sex, Athletico Spizz ‘80, Chelsea) using concert footage from around the world. For many people, this was their first introduction to the works of John Cooper Clarke. He also starred in another 1982 film titled Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt, produced for the Arts Council of Great Britain and Channel 4. Somewhere between a narrative film, a series of music videos, and a documentary, the film features interviews and performances by the poet.
His poem “Out of Control Fairground” was printed inside Arctic Monkeys’ single “Fluorescent Adolescent” CD, which was released on 9 July 2007. The poem is also the inspiration behind the single’s video in which clowns brawl. Another poem was printed inside the 10” release of the same single. Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys has said he is very fond of Cooper Clarke’s work and takes inspiration for lyrics from his poems. A version of his poem “Evidently Chickentown” is performed at the start and end of the video for Joy Division’s “Transmission” single which shows John Cooper Clarke reading the refrain and third verse from the poem whilst coming down escalators and then walking in the Manchester Arndale Centre.
Où est la maison de fromage? (1978)
Disguise in Love (1978)
Walking Back to Happiness (1979)
Snap, Crackle & Bop (1980)
Me and My Big Mouth (1981)
Zip Style Method (1982)
Poets,Punks,Beatniks and Counter Culture Heroes DVD (2010) rare JCC film footage from 1980’s
Autore modifica: warm_gun (data: Gen 3 2011, 23:15)
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