Iconic ‘punk poet’ John Cooper Clarke revels in Frazer Theatre

John Cooper Clarke with Release the Hound's director Steph Jones.
John Cooper Clarke with Release the Hound's director Steph Jones.

Review by Stuart Gadd

Last Wednesday two Manc lads travelled over the pennines into ‘deepest darkest Yorkshire’ to play a gig at Knaresborough’s small, but perfectly formed Frazer Theatre.

Thanks to Stef Jones and the Release the Hounds team for bringing us the iconic punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke and equally talented poet and wordsmith Mike Garry to play in our town.

The theatre was packed with ardent fans as former librarian Mike Garry took to the stage to regale us with off the cuff ad libs and poems that clearly shows how much he loves Manchester and its people.

Not to forget things that have inspired him along the way such as his mum and a brilliant, moving poem he was commisioned to write by the BBC to commemorate musical impresario Tony ‘St Anthony’ Wilson.

After an introduction by former Clash road manager Johnny Green, the last of the english dandies, stick thin,with a wild untamed mane Johnny Clarke took to the stage.

With his own immitigable machine gun delivery he started with Guest List, his set continued with a mix of old classics such as Beasley Street and new material read from his notes, occasionally halted as he struggled to read his own writing!

A good portion of his show was his line in stand up, bringing us hilarious jokes, edgy wit, surreal observations and his idiosyncratic view on life, and even the odd song in his smokey, lived-in voice.

And his epic battle with the mic stand was something else.

Far too quickly the show came to an end as he finished with expletive-ridden Evidently Chickenrown, which was recently featured in the Soprano’s TV drama and was thankfully missing the BBC bleeps he told us about.

To rapturous applause and a standing ovation the show was over.

Both performeers seemed to love the intimate atmosphere of the Frazer Theatre. It was certainly a pleasure to have them here.