I was thoroughly entertained by the BBC 4 profile on John Cooper Clarke and it was a pleasure to see that he is miraculously still in the land of the living after kicking his longstanding heroine addiction.
It’s heartening too to see that he is winning a whole new audience, some of whom were alerted to his genius when a neutered version of Evidently Chicken Town featured on the closing credits of an episode of The Sopranos.
This is still one of his funniest and powerful poems even when the emphatic adjective has been altered from ‘fucking’ to the milder ‘bloody’. Film of his performance in the documentary shows that there’s nothing to beat the original when it comes to the venomous delivery of peerless lines like:
“a fucking bloke is fucking stabbed
waiting for the fucking cab
you fucking stay at fucking home
the fucking neighbours fucking moan
keep the fucking racket down
this is fucking chicken town”.
Poems like this and Beezley Street (which rhymes with uneasy cheesy greasy queasy and beastly) are Britain’s answer to Desolation Row although comparisons to Dylan are exaggerated for someone who has passed the best part of two decades without writing anything new. Continue reading