John Cooper Clarke–The Bard of Salford

First shock of the night – The Sub89 venue can have seating! So civilising.

Second shock of the night – the support, Alan Clayson, was actually very good in a strange way.

Third shock – JCC is a much better poet than he is stand-up comedian. Someone should tell him.

I’d never heard of Alan Clayson before the gig and assumed he was just some aging crackpot support act.  Although this assumption wasn’t wrong, he wasn’t a bad entertainer at all and I’d recommend people to keep an eye out for him. It’s difficult to describe his set – folky Hawkwindish, I suppose – but fortunately he has samples to listen to. I love the advert on his web site for the gig with John Cooper Clarke in little letters at the bottom – marvellous!


John Cooper Clarke, the main act, had a large number of fans in the audience. I could tell this as they faithfully laughed at his jokes where others might just have groaned. Stick to the poems, John.



  • Hire Car
  • “Lydia, girl with an itch” (with story about “Lydia, Lydia” and Dean Friedman)
  • Poem about the death of the Queen Mum
  • A non-rhyming Limerick
  • “It’s rotten here in jail” (with chat about lack of interest in votes for prisoners).

Which got me thinking about whether there should be an MP for the “Prison” Constituency. There are around 90,000 people incarcerated at her majesty’s pleasure which is larger than the number of voters in Reading East (75,000) where I live. A significant number of prisoners are going to be behind bars for a whole parliament so would make a reasonably static population. Would be funny to have a “hung” parliament decided by the votes of the convicted.

  • Convent Conversion
  • “Belgium is the ??? of the world” (didn’t scribble the title too legibly)
  • Beasley Street” (Snap, Crackle & Bop, 1980)
  • “Beasley Boulevard”
  • “Christmas at someone else’s house”

At some point he made Kojak references in his conversation which I thought would have gone over the heads of anyone under 40 years of age.  Freshen the act a bit, John.

For the encore:

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