Skip to main content

John Cooper Clarke

When John Cooper Clarke declaimed an epigrammatic “Why struggle?” at
the opening of his final late-night 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show
in his trademark deadpan northern twang, the statement was a typically
double-edged mix of the philosophical and the practical. While the
be-suited and be-shaded bard of Salford’s proclamation smacked of
existential enquiry, in actual fact the motor-mouthed stick-insect was
merely moving a table closer to the microphone in order to rest his bag
full of verses on top and within reach.

What follows is a rapid-fire barrage of rhyming vignettes that map out
life’s everyday absurdities with a decidedly surrealist vision. Hire
cars, not so wedded bliss with a bug-eyed extra-terrestrial and a
verbal picture postcard on the salubrious delights of Greater
Manchester’s satellite suburbs are all in the mix, each one punctuated
with the driest of one-liners that rounds Cooper Clarke’s act up into
the deadliest of routines. All this and slumland grimoir ‘Beasley
Street’, a ‘Wasteland’ for the Thatcher generation that’s followed by
its regenerated sequel, the pithy ‘Beasley Boulevard’. Set in the
interior expanse of the inflatable upside down cow that is the
Underbelly’s Udderbelly space, the effect falls somewhere between
high-concept Dadaist cabaret and chicken-in-a-basket top light
entertainment for grown-ups.

Five months on, and Clarkey’s back, this time in the more bijou
subterranean setting of Glasgow’s Arches space to continue a public
rehabilitation that has seen him championed by the Arctic Monkeys,
while a decade back Christopher Eccleston recited the whole of
‘Evidently Chickentown in Danny Boyle’s TV movie, ‘Strumpet.’ Cooper
Clarke is resolutely pragmatic about such praise.

“It’s good to have Dr Who on your side” he says, clearly having missed
the last two Time lords. “It opens up as whole new fanbase among the
sci-fi fraternity.”

John Cooper Clarke, The Arches, Glasgow, January 29th

The List, January 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…