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Old 09-06-2009, 03:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default John Cooper Clarke


John Cooper Clarke is a spoken word poet who is closely associated with the British punk movement of the 1970's. His poetry is spoken very fast in a similar tone to those of the punk bands at the time. Perhaps most well known for the poem "Evidently Chickentown" (The version with fuck as the main word doesn't seem to exist in mp3 format on the Internet) and got wide exposure when it was used in an episode of the Sopranos. Back in the '70's he became pretty well known in the U.K. for opening up for acts like Joy Division, The Fall, The Buzz****s, and Elvis Costello.

My dad was the one who first introduced me to John Cooper Clarke, using him as a way of bridging my love of poetry and British punk music. He wasn't as tech savy at the time so he wasn't able to really find me anything and I was too lazy to really bother looking anything up till one day where I was just bored out of my skull and found the sticky note with the name on it. Since then I've been working to find a hard copy of his work. I'm just recently watched a documentary on Punk music and it had a few interviews with him and it kind of brought up the motivation to start a topic on him. Incredibly well spoken and brilliant wordsmith he really does deserve more exposure then he has. Here's a few of his poems coupled with videos if you're too lazy to read them.

(I'm doing the "bloody" version of Evidently Chickentown for filter reasons)

"Evidently Chickentown"

the bloody cops are bloody keen
to bloody keep it bloody clean
the bloody chief's a bloody swine
who bloody draws a bloody line
at bloody fun and bloody games
the bloody kids he bloody blames
are nowehere to be bloody found
anywhere in chicken town

the bloody scene is bloody sad
the bloody news is bloody bad
the bloody weed is bloody turf
the bloody speed is bloody surf
the bloody folks are bloody daft
don't make me bloody laugh
it bloody hurts to look around
everywhere in chicken town
the bloody train is bloody late
you bloody wait you bloody wait
you're bloody lost and bloody found
stuck in ****ing chicken town

the bloody view is bloody vile
for bloody miles and bloody miles
the bloody babies bloody cry
the bloody flowers bloody die
the bloody food is bloody muck
the bloody drains are bloody ****ed
the colour scheme is bloody brown
everywhere in chicken town

the bloody pubs are bloody dull
the bloody clubs are bloody full
of bloody girls and bloody guys
with bloody murder in their eyes
a bloody bloke is bloody stabbed
waiting for a bloody cab
you bloody stay at bloody home
the bloody neighbors bloody moan
keep the bloody racket down
this is bloody chicken town

the bloody pies are bloody old
the bloody chips are bloody cold
the bloody beer is bloody flat
the bloody flats have bloody rats
the bloody clocks are bloody wrong
the bloody days are bloody long
it bloody gets you bloody down
evidently chicken town
the bloody train is bloody late
you bloody wait you bloody wait
you're bloody lost and bloody found
stuck in ****ing chicken town





"Twat"

Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.
Like a recently disinfected ****-house, you’re clean round the bend.
You give me the horrors
too bad to be true
All of my tomorrow’s
are lousy coz of you.

You put the Shat in Shatter
Put the Pain in Spain
Your germs are splattered about
Your face is just a stain

You’re certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.
Do us all a favour, here... wear this polythene bag.

You’re like a dose of scabies,
I’ve got you under my skin.
You make life a fairy tale... Grimm!

People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
You’ve got this slippery quality,
it makes me think of phlegm,
and a dual personality
I hate both of them.

Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.
Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.
Like a death a birthday party,
you ruin all the fun.
Like a sucked and spat our smartie,
you’re no use to anyone.
Like the shadow of the guillotine
on a dead consumptive’s face.
Speaking as an outsider,
what do you think of the human race

You went to a progressive psychiatrist.
He recommended suicide...
before scratching your bad name off his list,
and pointing the way outside.

You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.
You’re heading for a breakdown,
better pull yourself apart.

Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.
Your attitudes are platitudes,
just make me wanna piss.

What kind of creature bore you
Was is some kind of bat
They can’t find a good word for you,
but I can...
TWAT.





"Beasley Street"

Far from crazy pavements -
the taste of silver spoons
A clinical arrangement
on a dirty afternoon
Where the fecal germs of Mr Freud
are rendered obsolete
The legal term is null and void
In the case of Beasley Street

In the cheap seats where murder breeds
Somebody is out of breath
Sleep is a luxury they don't need
- a sneak preview of death
Belladonna is your flower
Manslaughter your meat
Spend a year in a couple of hours
On the edge of Beasley Street


Where the action isn't
That's where it is
State your position
Vacancies exist
In an X-certificate exercise
Ex-servicemen excrete
Keith Joseph smiles and a baby dies
In a box on Beasley Street

From the boarding houses and the bedsits
Full of accidents and fleas
Somebody gets it
Where the missing persons freeze
Wearing dead men's overcoats
You can't see their feet
A riff joint shuts - opens up
Right down on Beasley Street

Cars collide, colours clash
disaster movie stuff
For a man with a Fu Manchu moustache
Revenge is not enough
There's a dead canary on a swivel seat
There's a rainbow in the road
Meanwhile on Beasley Street
Silence is the code

Hot beneath the collar
an inspector calls
Where the perishing stink of squalor
impregnates the walls
the rats have all got rickets
they spit through broken teeth
The name of the game is not cricket
Caught out on Beasley Street

The hipster and his hired hat
Drive a borrowed car
Yellow socks and a pink cravat
Nothing La-di-dah
OAP, mother to be
Watch the three-piece suite
When ****-stoppered drains
and crocodile skis
are seen on Beasley Street

The kingdom of the blind
a one-eyed man is king
Beauty problems are redefined
the doorbells do not ring
A lightbulb bursts like a blister
the only form of heat
here a fellow sells his sister
down the river on Beasley Street

The boys are on the wagon
The girls are on the shelf
Their common problem is
that they're not someone else
The dirt blows out
The dust blows in
You can't keep it neat
It's a fully furnished dustbin,
Sixteen Beasley Street

Vince the ageing savage
Betrays no kind of life
but the smell of yesterday's cabbage
and the ghost of last year's wife
through a constant haze
of deodorant sprays
he says retreat
Alsations dog the dirty days
down the middle of Beasley Street

People turn to poison
Quick as lager turns to piss
Sweethearts are physically sick
every time they kiss.
It's a sociologist's paradise
each day repeats
On easy, cheesy, greasy, queasy
beastly Beasley Street

Eyes dead as vicious fish
Look around for laughs
If I could have just one wish
I would be a photograph
on a permanent Monday morning
Get lost or fall asleep
When the yellow cats are yawning
Around the back of Beasley Street





I'm assuming some of the older British members like right-track and Urban Hatemongerer will be familiar with this particular artist, and if you're not then I apologize for the assumption.
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Heard of him, never got anything by him. Where do you suggest I start?
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Snap, Crackle, and Bob is probably his best work (at least in my opinion) it has all the examples I posted. If you want a link I can see what I can do about digging one up.
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
Snap, Crackle, and Bob is probably his best work (at least in my opinion) it has all the examples I posted. If you want a link I can see what I can do about digging one up.
Nah, I'll make my way.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
I'm assuming some of the older British members like right-track, Urban Hatemongerer, and jackhammer will be familiar with this particular artist, and if you're not then I apologize for the assumption.
John Cooper Clarke...one of Manchester's favourite sons.
Still gigging too. I saw him open for Bauhaus a few years back.

The Chicken Town vid shows the train leaving from the city centre heading towards Salford. The building on the corner @ 56 seconds is The Hacienda (an old stomping ground of mine).
Looks like typical Manchester weather too.
Not too difficult to see where bands like Joy Division and the writer of 'Dirty Old Town' got their inspiration from is it!
btw...the background band is probably Joy Division doing JCC a favour.
Dead giveaway really.

I posted this vid a few years back in some unrelated thread. Can't remember why.
Nice to see he's got one of his own now.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was like 99.9% positive you were a fan of his work right-track. Still that .01% was still there so I didn't want to insinuate too much. I did a quick search and couldn't find any other threads and figured he well deserved one.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Never heard of this guy to be brutally honest and when it comes to spoken word musicians I live and die by the master linton kwesi johnson but I will definitely delve into his stuff more when I get the dedicated time.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I kind of like it
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default John cooper clarke is the xmas fairy!

A few years ago I made a cheesy pastiche 70's Xmas single called "Topsy Turvy Xmas" and asked John Cooper Clarke if he would voice the Fairy on the Tree for me. He very kindly agreed and can be heard introducing the recording as the somewhat sinister fairy. I just had it remastered and have put it on iTunes for your listening pleasure. Go check it out... Merry Xmas!
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Best version ever of Chicken Town
YouTube - Christopher Eccleston reciting Evidently Chickentown
Done by fellow Salford head Christopher Eccleston done in a nice friendly local
Manchester pub.
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