Dr John Cooper Clarke, Stamford Corn Exchange, 4th May 2017

Words: Richard Mackman
Photos: Fi Stimpson
“Like a nightclub in the morning  you’re the bitter end, like a recently disinfected shithouse you’re clean ’round the bend.”
DSC_4729
Me and my mates had memorised every line of ‘Twat’ by the time we were 17, and knew of other such classic hoots that Dr J C Clarke had inflicted upon the world such as ‘Beasley Street’ and ‘I Don’t Want to be Nice’.
Sadly it took me 30 years to getting round to seeing the man in the flesh, but finally I was to see him on the small intimate stage that is Stamford’s Corn Exchange.
The man still has the iconic look and feel to him, post punk and new-wave as heck – as if  he’d tardis’d right back to 1978. Wearing dark sunglasses that barely hide a hard stare, JC looks at each one of us it seems, just to check we are playing attention.
DSC_4757
His poems, damn sharp, clever and pithy  are delivered so quick fire that one has to concentrate to pick up every detail of his polemic. As well as the verse, recited from a large and voluminous tattered  A4  notebook, the bulk of the material consisted of extremely funny anecdotes covering numerous subjects such as ex wives, the quaintness of Stamford town (Stamford-en-le-Frith as he christened it!) to getting old and rickety.
Highlights for me included ‘Get back on drugs You Fat fuck’, ’ Things are Going to Get Worse’ and ‘Beasley Boulevard’.
DSC_4746
From the first few lines of sarcasm to the end of the set  JCC gave the impression of a guy completely at ease with his talent; and he has plenty.
We left 90 minutes later, with aching sides and faces, elated and damn happy – with a slice of Dr Clarke’s mischievous and be-devilled sense of humour jammed into our souls.
DSC_4749
A class night.

Gig Review: Bryan Ferry at Burghley House, Stamford, 11th June 2016. @BryanFerry @BurghleyHouse

On Saturday 12th June 2016, Bryan Ferry came to Stamford town… with a band amounting to the population of a small village, he was certainly well prepared for the 10,000-odd people who had turned up to see the former Roxy Music singer.

DSC_8182

Kicking off with “Avonmore”, Ferry shifts smoothly into “Driving Me Wild” and follows it up with a swoon-worthy performance of “Slave to Love”. It’s difficult to believe that moments beforehand he was reportedly having a snooze backstage. If that’s true, there was no evidence of post-nap wooziness! What a pro!

DSC_8386

The remainder of the set list did not disappoint, with a mix of his solo work, popular and much-loved Roxy Music songs and covers that he and his incredible band (those backing singers – they got soul! Amazing voices!) made their own.

DSC_8337

DSC_8263

DSC_8277

DSC_8222

DSC_8333

DSC_8217

The crowd were on top form – fuelled by a slightly boozy, slightly hazy, slightly drizzly afternoon and whatever delights were on the picnic tables, they were singing every word and dancing the night away. All the while, thousands of adoring eyes were locked on Bryan Ferry’s every deliberately mesmerising move.

Highlights of the show were “While My Heart is Still Beating” and “Virginia Plain” – it’s verging on the surreal to hear songs you know and love in such majestic setting, and I won’t forget it in a hurry!

Set List:

Avonmore

Driving Me Wild

Slave to Love

Ladytron

Don’t Stop the Dance

Beauty Queen

Oh Yeah

Bob Dylan’s Dream

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Bete Noire

Zamba

Stronger Through the Years

Tara

Take a Chance with Me

While My Heart Is Still Beating

If There Is Something

More Than This

Avalon

Love Is the Drug

Virginia Plain

Both Ends Burning

Let’s Stick Together

Jealous Guy

Do the Strand

Editions of You

DSC_8202

DSC_8345

DSC_8243