Saturday, November 7, 2009

tits, clips, whips and chains



john cooper clarke strikes a ridiculously cool pose, 1977.



inner sleeve, "suspended sentence" ep. TOSH 103.

This, as the BBC was once quick to retort, is little more than a lachrymose repeat.


John Cooper Clarke first released an EP on the Manchester based label Rabid Records in 1977, backed by a coterie of musicians named the Curious Yellows. Produced by Martin Zero for the "Criminal Gramaphone Company" - with artwork by Kirk Van Gough Studios - "The Innocents" EP first seized my ear like a fish hook whipping off the indecently turned cheek of a small boy on a weekend fishing trip.
Casting off. A sinking feeling as feathers and lure sail out from the end of the pier and the line snaps.

this is what happens when you pogo round your bedroom without due care and attention.

In equal measures punk poet and stand-up comedian, Clarke had few peers. In hindsight, he probably did more to ignite an enduring fascination with words than a classroom full of yellowing paperbacks. His modest three minute observations often packed more of a visceral punch than a Ken Loach film. And where Loach sometimes stumbled under a banner of self-righteous indignation, Clarke exhibited a lightness of touch more imperfectly aligned with the origami unfoldings of Mike Leigh. Not so much delicate as human and robust. Engagingly open ended.

As a result, I suspect, of HBO's clever placement of "
Evidently Chickentown" over the closing credits to an episode from the final series of "The Sopranos", Clarke has enjoyed something of a renaissance of late. Deservedly so.

JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE CURIOUS YELLOWS: PSYCLE SLUTS (PARTS ONE & TWO) from "Innocents" EP (Rabid) 1977 (UK) [R]
JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE INVISIBLE GIRLS: THIRTY SIX HOURS from "Snap, Crackle & Bop" LP (CBS) 1980 (UK) [R]
JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE INVISIBLE GIRLS: SLEEPWALK from "Snap, Crackle & Bop" LP (CBS) 1980 (UK) [R]

PURCHASE WORD OF MOUTH: THE BEST OF JOHN COOPER CLARKE
JCC PREVIOUSLY ON ART DECADE
JOHN COOPER CLARKE: OFFICIAL WEBSITE

6 comments:

Löst Jimmy said...

I first JCC on the Grey Whistle Test - way back in 77/78? - the resultant appearance became quite a talking point at the following High School. I retained a fond affection for the guy's work ever since.

The Warden said...

I first heard Innocents on a college radio station and it blew my ears off. I have no idea why the greatest hits collections leaves off this seminal song, his most straightforward punk rock explosion...

ib said...

I vaguely remember that, I think, Löst Jimmy; and an interview with (a younger) Melvyn Bragg interspersed with local (Erics ? Manchester Corn Exchange ?) live performance on the South Bank Show.

Like Dylan in an Oxfam suit. With broken teeth.

ib said...

Good to hear from you, Warden.

I agree that it was lamentable to disbar "Innocents" and "Suspended Sentence" from the CBS compilations. Maybe it was a contractual omission ?
I know the situation has been more recently been corrected 'cos I have all three on MP3 (from somewhere), and as you can see from the original Rabid EP - pictured - it certainly did not hail from own vinyl rip...

It still makes me wince. "Snap, Crackle & Bop" with the emphasis, sadly, on snap.

radioshirley said...

ib,
there's a great and recent interview with JCC over here :-

http://tinyurl.com/yzy4m42

Never knew of the Nico connection ...

the man's a jewel ...

mr.K

ib said...

Cheers, Mr. K,
I only learned of JCC's seriously intimate relationship with the Chelsea Girl relatively recently, myself. Who would have thought it ?

Right. I'm off to read that interview.