Image: Unity Works
Dr John Cooper Clarke returns to Wakefield’s Unity Works on May 5th for evening of poetry and comedy.
Clarke previously performed to a sold-out audience at the Westgate venue in November 2014. Prior to his show at the remodelled Unity Hall in 2014, Clarke had also attended Wakefield Lit Fest in September 2013.
This year’s visit to promises “a mix of classic verse, extraordinary new material, hilarious ponderings on modern life, good honest gags, riffs and chat” and is just one night of his twenty-plus location tour spanning throughout April to November.
Who is John Cooper Clarke?
Born 25th January 1949 in Salford, Clarke emerged out of the punk scene of the 1970s and became known as the country’s first ‘people’s poet’.
He has performed alongside an array of seminal punk and post-punk artists including
Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Sex Pistols alongside fellow Lancashire natives The Fall and Joy Division
In 2007, Clarke portrayed himself in ‘Control’ by Anton Corbyn, a biopic about the life of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis – reciting his poem ‘Evidently Chickentown’ in a scene recreating a stint supporting the band in 1977.
In the same year, Clarke’s poem ‘Out of Control Fairground’ was printed inside the CD cover of Artic Monkey’s single ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and also inspired the song’s music video.
Images: Domino Records
Clarke’s influence on popular culture and music has endured the years. Despite his only entrance to the UK Top 40 being “Gimmix! (Play Loud) in 1979, Clarke has been an instrumental part of two tracks featured on number one global selling albums over the last five years.
In 2012, Clarke appeared in the film ‘Ill Manors’ directed by rapper Ben Drew (better known by his stage name, Plan B). Clarke is seen reciting the poem Pity The Plight of Young Fellows which was later incorporated into the song ‘Pity The Plight’ on the film’s titular album.
Then in 2013, a cover of Clarke’s 1982 poem ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ was featured as the closing track on Arctic Monkey’s fifth studio album, ‘AM’.
Frontman Alex Turner, originally from Sheffield, is a proud fan of Clarke’s work. ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ is a key text for GCSE English and it is this very classroom scenario which first exposed Turner to Bard of Salford.
“I was your typical teenager, trying to be cool and not interested and the teacher proceeded to read ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, doing an impression of Johnny. It made my ears prick up in the classroom because it was nothing like anything I’d heard, especially on this syllabus. Had I not seen him do his thing, I wouldn’t have started writing like that,” Turner has previously stated.
Clarke was delighted at Turner’s inclusion of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ on ‘AM’ calling him a fantastic lyricist and commending updating the song for a more modern audience in an interview with the NME.
Location & Ticket Information
Doors open at 7:30pm and attendees must be over 16 years old – ID may be required on the door.
Unity Works, Westgate, Wakefield, WF1 1EP