Poet; Rock Star; TV & Radio Presenter; Comedian; Cultural commentator
"I say to people, have you heard of John Cooper Clarke and if they say, yes, yeah he's an absolute genius and you just go, 'oh - ok, you've saved me a lot of time" Steve Coogan
John Cooper Clarke shot to prominence in the 1970s as the original ‘people’s poet’.
His unique poetry and delivery style was recorded and put to music by legendary producer
Martin Hannett and a band of Mancunian stars, including Buzzcocks Peter Shelley and The
Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, masquerading as The Invisible Girls.
Seminal tracks such as Beasley St and Evidently Chickentown featured on the hit album Snap
Crackle and Bop, one of 4 big selling original album releases in the late 70s and early 80s. They established John as one of the most prolific artists of the Punk years. The albums were big sellers worldwide and firmly placed John as a major talent. In 2015 Sony honoured JCC with a Book set, Anthologia, a CD and DVD collection of his entire live and recorded history, with tributes from amongst others Sir Paul McCartney and Kate Moss.
JCC’s early live shows were renowned occasions. He headlined gigs with support from many soon to be superstars, including Joy Division, New Order and Duran Duran. He himself featured as special guest on many shows by the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Clash, as well as carving his own unique niche as a stand up poet.
His first poetry collection 10 Years in An Open Necked Shirt came out in the early 80s on
Random House, featuring the lyrics to classic tracks from his albums and more original material. It is one of the biggest selling poetry books ever in the UK, Canada and Australasia.
Since then his career has spanned cultures, audiences, art forms and continents.
These days he performs purely as a stand up solo poet. His unique poetry show has been
running in theatres and festivals worldwide for over 15 years.
John's 2018 poetry collection The Luckiest Guy Alive (Picador/Macmillan). Features 30 new
poems, including live favourites such as; I've Fallen In Love With My Wife, Beasley Boulevard
and Get Back on Drugs you Fat F*ck.
Dr John Cooper Clarke's long awaited 2019 autobiography, named after his most famous poem I Wanna Be Yours, published in Hardback by Macmillan, is a groundbreaking piece of
literature. JCC goes into fascinating detail about his early life in Manchester leading up to punk superstardom, drug addiction and then the massive comeback as major poet he enjoys today. It will soon be reprinted for the 4th time and a soon to come paperback edition will see sales soaring again.
JCC is as relevant and vibrant as ever and his influence is just as visible in today's pop culture. Aside from his trademark ‘look’ continuing to resonate with fashionistas young and old, and his poetry included on national curriculum syllabus, his effect on modern music has been huge. His influence can be heard within the keen social observations of the Arctic Monkeys, amongst many others. The Monkeys put the lyrics to Johns I Wanna Be Yours to their own music, on their worldwide smash, the genius A:M. JCC's collaboration with Plan B, Ill Manors spawned a best selling soundtrack album and a hard hitting movie.The list of people who cite him as a major influence is endless.
John's track, Evidently Chickentown, was used as the soundtrack over the credits of the
penultimate episode of the hit TV show, and best selling ever DVD box set worldwide The
Sopranos. He continues to feature on many British TV shows, with frequent appearances on 8
out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You, Pointless Celebs and Have I Got News For You, being
particularly well received. Alongside his frequent BBC 6 Music shows they have opened up a
whole new audience for him.
John’s own film company produced the hilarious documentary EVIDENTLY JOHN COOPER CLARKE which records and celebrates his life as a poet, revealing his significant influence on contemporaryculture over four decades. With a bevy of household names including Bill Bailey, Plan B, Steve Coogan,Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and cultural commentators Miranda Sawyer and Paul Morley, the film “Exposes the life behind one of Britain's sharpest and most witty poets”. It was shown on The BBC many times and is still available on Johns online shop as a DVD.
His other film and TV shows include appearing as himself in the Joy Division Biopic Control,
presenting a documentary on Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in the BBC's second series of The Secret Life of Books.
In July 2019 John was the well received guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. A fan of
the show for 60 years, he described it as having "all the finality of a suicide note, without the
actual obligation of topping yourself". His book choice was Against Nature by Joris-Karl
Huysmans, his luxury item was a boulder of opium twice the size of his head and his favourite
track was "How Great Thou Art" by Elvis Presley. John was recently a participant in BBC's
Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
In July 2013, John was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts by Salford Uni, in
"acknowledgement of a career which has spanned five decades, bringing poetry to
non-traditional audiences and influencing musicians and comedians." Upon receipt, Dr JCC
commented: "Now I'm a doctor, finally my dream of opening a cosmetic surgery business can
become a reality."
His latest live show, touring across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada & Australasia, is a mix of
classic verse, extraordinary new material, hilarious ponderings on modern life, good honest
gags, riffs and chat - a chance to witness a living legend at the top of this game.