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.”
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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.
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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’.
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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.
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A class night.
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