Legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke is to return to Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree on Saturday, April 18, as part of a UK tour.
One of the country’s best loved and most important poets and performers, he began his performing career delivering biting, satirical, political and very funny verse in cabaret clubs and tough venues around Manchester.
His work resonated with the punk movement which picked up speed in the late 70s and saw JCC, now 66, begin to draw huge crowds in his own right after touring with most of punk’s seminal and ground-breaking bands including Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Fall, Elvis Costello to name but a few.
A figurehead for the movement and all that it encompassed, he became the Punk Poet and The Bard of Salford who found himself as one of the leading voices of punk and youth culture of the time.
Live, he would find himself performing to thousands across the UK, crowds gathered with open eyes and ears gazing up at his distinctive, and now iconic visual appearance (tall and thin with a mess of black hair, black sunglasses, drainpipe trousers and cuban-heeled boots) all transfixed as he worked through a catalogue of work taken from his four studio albums and numerous singles.
Echoing the decline of punk, JCC spent most of the 80s with a serious heroin addiction which saw his output wane dramatically. But a tough battle saw him kick the habit in the early 90s.
Aside from being a key component of the punk movement which has shaped countless bands since and being a key orator of British society during this time, his effect on modern music has been huge.
His influence needs only to be heard in the satirical and keen social observations of the songs of bands like The Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner cites JCC as a huge inspiration and John’s work appears in the sleeve of one of their singles as well as Turner apparently having a JCC tattoo), Reverend and The Makers.
The revival of the 70s punk phenomenon over the last few years has seen a whole new generation clamouring over John’s work and watched his star rocket once again.
No bigger accolade and platitude of his work is that three of his poems are now in the GCSE syllabus.
He is studied by many A level students and his poetry is prolific within UK and Irish University courses, all ensuring that he will be forever ingrained in the psyche of Britain’s new youth.
Tickets for his Lemon Tree appearance in April are available online at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com, by calling 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.