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Punk poet John Cooper Clarke, this week on ‘The Pharmacy’
07:47 am


The Pharmacy
John Cooper Clarke

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

Gregg writes:

If you do not know who John Cooper Clarke is you probably should…

Some call him a “performance poet,” others a “punk poet.” Clarke was often found reciting his rapidfire verse in unlikely places, whether it was in the burlesque bars of 1970s Manchester or opening for the likes of Joy Division, The Fall, The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and New Order. The man made quite an impression on audiences with his trademarked spiky black hairdo black suits and Ray Ban Wayfarers, resembling a mid 60s Bob Dylan or Keith Richards at his decadent “elegantly wasted” best/worst.

But by the early 1980s, Clarke’s radio went silent. With his vagabond friends—Beat poet Gregory Corso and Nico (who Clarke roomed with during this period)—Clarke traversed the dark Manchester underworld of drug addiction. Ultimately John Cooper Clarke came out on the other side of this darkness, revived, renewed and more prolific than ever… Now come listen in on my phone conversation interview with the Punk Poet Laureate and “Bard of Salford,” John Cooper Clarke here in the Rx…

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Miss Judy’s Farm - The Faces
Alright - The Groop
Intro 1 / I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore - Rx / The Young Rascals
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part One
Qui est in , Qui est out - Serge Gainsbourg
I Wanna Destroy You - The Soft Boys
Get In The Groove - the Mighty Hannibal
Sha la la la Lee - The Small Faces
Honey Hush - Jonny Burnette + the Rock n Roll Trio
Intro 2 / Blow Up - Rx / The James Taylor Quartet
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part Two
Evidently Chickentown - John Cooper Clarke
Dead Moon Night - Dead Moon
Digital - Joy Division
Summer Wine - Lee and Nancy
Intro 3 / Restless - Rx / the Cobras
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part Three
Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground and Nico
Pair of Brown Eyes - The Pogues
Baby I Love You - The Ronettes
Intro 4 / There is No Satisfaction - Rx / Manfred Hubler & Siegfried Schwab

You can download the entire show here.

Below, Ten Years in an Open Neck Shirt, a documentary about John Cooper Clark:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The punk poetry of John Cooper Clarke
10:27 am


John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke
Among poets, John Cooper Clarke is the closest thing to a rock star our contemporary times can offer. A native of Salford, Clarke and his trademark spiky bouffant have performed on the same bill as legendary Manchester bands like the Fall, the Buzzcocks, and Joy Division (as well as many other bands); managed to place Snap, Crackle & Bop, an album of his verses set to music, at #26 on the U.K. charts in 1980; and briefly cohabited with Nico in the mid-1980s.

Clarke has made his mark on the worlds of film and TV as well. He’s popped up in the documentaries Urgh! A Music War and Control, in which he recites his best-known poem, “Evidently Chickentown,” which was also used in the closing credits of “Stage 5,” an episode from Season 6 of The Sopranos. He was even in a cereal commercial.

In a way, Clarke is a traditionalist—his poem usually feature straightforward rhymes, they’re uniformly meant to be spoken aloud, and he’s never flinched from artfully reworking the everyday patter of working-class people and incorporating pop music into his poems. Here are three brief Clarke gems:

”(You Ain’t Nothing But A) Hedgehog”
You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t never pricked a predator
You ain’t no Porcupine
“Punk Rock Revival”
The rip-off riff’s authentic ring
A singer who can’t really sing
Can only mean one fucking thing
Punk Rock Revival

Affect the look of a man obsessed
Predisposed to the predistressed
Now you know you’re properly dressed
Punk Rock Revival

Wear your hair the wrong way round
Spike it up in a vaseline crown
Button up your button down
Punk Rock Revival

PVC and nylon fur
And D-rings are de rigeur
The way we are is the way we were
Punk Rock Revival

“Tom Jones”
Back in town in a black Rolls Royce
The funky, hunky housewives choice
In one fact he can rejoice
His trousers don’t affect his voice

Here he is two summers ago reciting his crowd-pleaser “Evidently Chickentown.” As wonderful as it is recited, I recommend giving it a read-through as well—its peculiar literary genius comes through all the more when apprehended with the eyes, in my opinion.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Wisdom of the idiots: Two punk legends give advice to the youth of England
11:16 am


John Cooper Clarke
Steve Diggle

It’s five o’clock in the morning and Steve Diggle of The Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke are both pleasantly wasted. What better time to dispense wisdom to the young folk of Greenstead, Essex, UK.

A message for the teenagers of Greenstead: Stay away from my fucking car.”

Gee. Words to live by… I guess.

This was shot during the annual Latitude Festival in Suffolk.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Punk poet John Cooper Clarke in Sugar Puffs breakfast cereal TV ad, 1988
09:10 am


John Cooper Clarke

Perhaps the Salford-born bard was an odd choice to put in TV commercial aimed at kids, but the paycheck probably kept him in heroin for… weeks.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Documentary on punk bard John Cooper Clarke
12:32 am


John Cooper Clarke

Ten Years in an Open-Necked Shirt is a thoroughly entertaining 1982 documentary about poet, songwriter, punk comedian and recording artist John Cooper Clarke. Among Clark’s many accomplishments: he was the only poet to open for The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks.

This is the first part of my life story.
Take a look at me now.
Genius or a madman.
All the answers are forth… the answers are forthcoming in the following chapters.

Ten years in an open neck shirt.
The real story.
From slums to stardom.
Well, not even slums.
Not even… I used to dream of living in…
The Gyp… Gypsies used to come ‘round and complain about me.
No, wait a minute, that’s their version.
See, I’ve written a censored version for the “News of the World”.
Don’t want to offend anybody, do I?

Right then.
John C. Clarke, that’s me.

Long out of print, Ten Years in an Open-Necked Shirt is a ramshackle affair, filled with exuberant energy, very much like the brilliant raconteur himself.

The film features Clarke’s good friend Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment