tonight, May 30th 2012 is a very important night because tonight we see the first documentary about John Cooper Clarke to go on National TV. i use the word important a lot these days but when it come to john cooper clarke the word, important is perfect because John is important.
I’m on tour with him at the moment and we are doing dates throughout the UK and it is an honour to simply sit with him and talk – he is funny, nostalgic, intelligent and when it comes to poetry, he knows his stuff – he’s not blagging it – he can quote baudelaire, shakespeare and psalms and even if he doesn’t like a poet, he knows about them.
He carries a plastic bag round with him full of poems handwritten on foolscap/notepads and the backs of fag packets and every now and then he’ll go “Mike, listen to this” then he will read a masterpiece he did over breakfast about an incident that happened to us the night before. It’s important.
We’ll be talking before a gig and he will bring the conversation onto the stage with him and it will form half his set. – He is a natural and his sets are amazing, funny, candid, political very very important.
“suicide bombers are on the increase as a result, suicide bombers are on the decrease” is my favourite joke at the moment but its not his jokes that impress me, it’s his pathos. his deep understanding of common man is amazing.
We talk about religion a lot, well we are both RC so we can’t avoid it and he is, as i am deeply religious but you can’t talk about that because “you sound like a bloody god botherer” but it’s important and John Cooper Clarke is important.
then there’s his poems and they speak for themselves – his new stuff is amazing, thoughtful, tender, reflective and ………important. “Rotten here in Jail” is hillarious and”Falling in Love with my wife” is beautiful and yes, you guessed it – important.
He is truly at the top of his game at the moment – he’s not smoking a lot, he’s writing everyday and, believe it or not, eating like a horse – i recently sat and ate with him at the lowry and it must have taken him 2 hours to get through his meal. He loves his food and eats well – all this combined means that John is fit, healthy, motivated, working hard and in love, which is important.
Sharing time with John is like sharing time with prophet/philosopher/preist all rolled into one. I am a big gob by nature but when i’m with John, i’m concious to keep my trap shut and listen to the man because everything he says is……………..important. He is also a true gentleman and welcomes my wife and kids with open arms and goes out of his way to make sure they are happy, comfortable, fed and watered at our gigs.
but most importantly – he gives people a voice –
i am regularly greeted by people who say they love my poems so much it made them want to get their pens out and have a go – “well, i thought, if you can do it, anyone can” yes it is a compliment & i know it is because thats what i felt when i first heard john read and i speak to so many poets who say the same thing and in a society where young men don’t read or write it is important to have people like John Cooper Clarke to motivate them to read & write.
I’m excited about tonight for all these reason and also because I did an interview for it, it probably wont make the final show but the guys who made the film were ace – not doing it to make loadsamoney but because they love john and think his work is important.
so go to johnnys website gigs page
and go and see him cos he’s………………………………..ace. and i’m not bad as a warm up.
Now, that’s important.
Evidently John Cooper Clarke tonight 10pm BBC 4