Dr. John Cooper Clarke
Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
13th December 2015.
Christopher Lloyd checks out Dr. John Cooper Clarke on his ‘Anthologia’ tour.
Heaven and Hell?
Up above us there is a man on a raised podium. His suit is gleaning white, his hair long, and his smile – warm. The atmosphere looks inviting, comfortable even. Yet something is stopping us enter; cold glass doors and the knowledge that this place isn’t really meant for the likes of us. We feel that our place is reserved for somewhere similar, yet somewhere totally different.
Down below, there is a man on a raised podium. His suit is atramentous, as black as black can be. His hair is long, wild and unkempt, the smile – devious. The atmosphere is inviting, yet tinged with spikiness. This is where we should be.
Dr. Clarke strolls on fashionably late and with notebook in hand, and proceeds to spend the following hour regaling us with tales of lost song titles of amazing weight ‘She’s got a metal plate in her head’, throwing us some classics from his mighty arsenal of poems, such as ‘Twat’ and ‘Beasley Street’, and testing out newer material such as ‘I’ve Fallen In Love With My Wife’. We even get treated to a work in progress named ‘P.C. Gone Mad’, in which we’re painted a picture of a world where a solitary officer of the law goes somewhat insane and becomes rather quite likeable.
It’s isn’t all poetry though, at one point the set becomes some sort of Yiddish joke time as he pulls out some absolute belter dad-style ‘Jewish’ jokes that it’s apparently “okay to laugh at” (Dr. Clarke states that he himself is “half jewish”.)
Along with other jokes of a crude and crushingly funny nature, this strange part of the evening was pulled of with ease, as the man is just so damn engaging.
Before the set ends with a furiously fast reading of ‘Evidently Chickentown’, we’re treated to another new track, ‘Some Cunt used the ‘N’ word’, a hard-hitting piece that attacks the irony of 24 hour news channels and their nature of burying real news in order to focus on inane non-stories. The piece is every bit as hard hitting as the work he was producing back in the punk era, and it’s proof of why Dr. John Cooper Clarke has deservedly earned his place on the national curriculum syllabus.
The man down below in the atramentous suit is every bit of legendary as the big man playing in white up above, who goes by the name of Ken Dodd.
We all know where the real fun lies.
All words by Christopher Lloyd. More writings by Christopher can be found at his author’s archive.