John Cooper-Clarke -

Edinburgh Assembly Rooms,

August 1996

 

The legendary punk poet is back, they say, though in fact he's shuffled more towards stand-up these days - not a bad thing, though his laconic style is met by rapturous applause from the old timers in the audience and bemusement by the casual Fringe-goers. But there's helpful advice for the younger more impressionable members of the audience, such as "never ask a lifer how long he's in for"and "don't ever ask me to take off my shades". There's rhyme such as 'Health fanatic' - "he makes me sick". For a man who's "bent more spoons than Uri Geller" this may be more tongue-in-cheek than ever. When he's not being helpful he's quirte the reverse, having a pop at just about every area in England (though sensibly not Scotland) - Burnley in particular gets it - "where people still point at aeroplanes... Darwin's waiting room".

At his best when attacking people, he finishes with a high-octane version of Chickentown, having made a few new friends. He might even keep them.