Warning: the YouTube link in this article contains the rudest words in the English language. If you are in any way sensitive to bad language do not follow the link. If you’re okay with curse words and appreciate punk poetry, you’re in for a treat.
At some point I will write a piece dedicated to the great punk poet John Cooper Clarke, having mentioned him in a few posts (like this one and this one). I first saw him perform nearly 40 years ago. His act mainly consisted of the poems with which he made his name, like “I married a monster from outer space” and “Evidently Chickentown”, punctuated by witty observations. These days there’s more stand-up routine than poetry in his set and it’s all good.
Until recently my first encounter with every single one of his poems has been at a live performance. Back in the 1970s that was the only way you’d hear them. There were no recordings available to buy, there was no YouTube or Spotify. Times have changed and you can now hear his entire set from Glastonbury 2015 on YouTube. The set includes the poem that has lodged in my head over the last month, and there are links to two YouTube pages at the end of this piece: the entire set, with a running time of 65 minutes, and the subject of this article, a mere 150 seconds.
Remember, if you are sensitive to curse words then do not follow the link but if not I would like you to hear the poem without knowing too much about it in advance. Hear it for the first time as if you were hearing it live. As the good Dr Clarke says in his introduction, it’s called “the title appears on the end of each subsequent verse with monotonous regularity”. Maybe you should listen through headphones or ear-plugs; if you can’t, make sure that there are no children or over-sensitive adults within earshot.
Here are the links.
May’s Earworm, 150 seconds of classic John Cooper Clarke
The full set from Glastonbury 2015