REVIEW: John Cooper Clarke The Arena, Winter Gardens

John Cooper Clarke
John Cooper Clarke
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On a weekend when Blackpool found its showbiz mojo again, one of its unlikeliest exponents was also playing to capacity houses in the resort.

Rod Stewart at the football stadium; Mamma Mia starting its summer season in the Opera House; and next door in the Winter Gardens Arena one-time jester at the court of King Punk, John Cooper Clarke, hosting two bizarre nights of entertainment.

Jazz-rock combo, Dave Formula and The Finks, set the unlikely scene; a timid Ren Harvieu eventually proved her vocals have nothing to fear; and former Manchester librarian Mike Garry plays warm-up poet to the headliner.

John Cooper Clarke’s near two-hour stage act nowadays carries as much stand-up comedy as stanzas, a little of it close to the politically incorrect but much of it rooted in the playground.

It’s testament to the power of impish personality that he gets away with it all.

Meantime Clarke’s I Wanna Be Yours is a track on the latest Arctic Monkeys album, ensuring his legacy to another generation.

But it’s the poems his audience want to hear, delivered at the rate and the rhythm of a runaway train.

Hearing an audience shout out for their favourites was just another jewelled facet of one of those diamond nights out.

David Upton