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This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to… John Cooper Clarke March 5, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Let’s stay in the early 1980s after last week’s Simple Minds. It’s funny, I was listening to John Cooper Clarke’s Zip Style Method the other day, for the first time in ages and suddenly… suddenly I realized where my love of all things dub must come from because listen to the backing music from the Invisible Girls (and to say it’s backing music is almost to do it an enormous injustice – the enormously muscular approach of them was a key aspect of the overall identity of JCC) and you’ll hear the dub sounds suffusing it. And the Invisible Girls were a remarkable outfit when one thinks about it… Martin Hannett, Steve Hopkins and a rotating personnel rota including Pete Shelley and Bill Nelson and Paul Burgess who had played with 10cc.

Listen to the music on “The New Assassin”, these weren’t thrown together melodies, but strong enough to stand with the best of the material around at that time.

What can one say about Cooper Clarke? Well not a lot more than I already did here.

Saw him some years back in Dublin and he was fantastic. No music, but no need. Quick-fire delivery, no end of gags and that was all it required. Some of those I was with weren’t so keen, but to be honest that the man is still standing is an achievement in itself.

Here are a selection of tracks mostly from Zip Style Method, his last album and all the way back from 1982. A pity “I Travel in Biscuits” hasn’t been uploaded. Check out the video to “Midnight Shift”, from kind of sort of documentary ‘Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt’ (also available on YouTube). That’s Manchester as I remember it from the mid-1980s. I liked the place. Even spending a week or two in a draughty flat in Hulme which had, so I was told, once belonged to a member of the Fall.

Given how many members the Fall had been through even then I was slightly less than impressed.


Midnight Shift

I Don’t Want to be Nice (Live)

I wanna be yours/Conditional Discharge/Night People

The New Assassin

Beasley Street (Live, Old Grey Whistle Test)

Interview with JCC by Tony Wilson on So It Goes…


1. dilettante - March 5, 2011

Missed the best one WBS


WorldbyStorm - March 5, 2011

Cracking track.


2. Chet Carter - March 5, 2011

Loved John Cooper Clarke from day one when I got his first EP on Rabid Records. Mail order from Rough Trade I think? Check these lyric from ‘Suspended Sentence’

Sit right down – write a letter to the Sun
Say… “Bring back hangin’ for everyone”

The took my advice – they brought it back
National costume was all-over-black
There were corpses in the avenues and cul-de-sacs
Piled up neatly in six-man stacks
Hanging from the traffic lights and specially made racks
They’d hang you for incontinence and fiddling your tax
Failure to hang yourself justified the axe
A deedely dee, a deedely dum
Looks like they brought back hangin’ for everyone


WorldbyStorm - March 5, 2011

It’s the ‘deedely dee, a deedely dum’ that captures the whole mindset, homely and horrific.


3. Captain Rock - March 5, 2011

What about this one: put to good use in Sopranos


WorldbyStorm - March 5, 2011



4. Crocodile - March 5, 2011

‘that the man is still standing is an achievement in itself.’
Mark E. Smith is 53 this weekend. Ditto.


WorldbyStorm - March 5, 2011

For some reason I’ve always thought he was older!


5. De Northside Socialist - March 6, 2011

I saw John Cooper Clarke in London at a social event following a left conference in the mid ’90s and he interspersed his poems with piss-poor sexist jokes, not a million miles from Bernard Manning’s or Chubby Brown material. Perhaps JCC was being “ironic”, he was also off his face, which I’m sure is part of the act. Needless to say I headed for the exit.


WorldbyStorm - March 6, 2011

Understandable on your part, but he’d cleaned up his act then by the mid-2000s.


ejh - March 6, 2011

Odd. I saw Clarke in the Eighties, and he wasn’t like that at all.


6. ejh - March 6, 2011

Evidently Chickentown appears to owe quite a lot to Bloody Orkney. I don’t know if anybody has ever asked Clarke about this.


ejh - March 6, 2011

(I do now).


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