The punk poet

John Cooper Clarke
John Cooper Clarke

WHAT do punk legends the Sex Pistols and the Honey Monster have in common?

Answer: John Cooper Clarke, Britain’s first and perhaps only punk poet.

Clarke, aka the Bard of Salford, first rose to prominence as the Pistols’ support act but to many he’s best remembered for his surreal appearance in a TV advert for Sugar Puffs alongside the Honey Monster.

Manchester-born Clarke, who comes to the Citadel on May 28, first emerged as a poetic force in the mid-1970s during the rise of punk.

All Dylan-esque hair and Bible-black trench coats, he quicky became a favourite with musicians, regularly opening gigs for the Sex Pistols, Joy Division and New Order.

Book deals follows but his life was blighted in the early 1980s when he embarked on a decade-long heroin addiction.

He kicked the drug in the early 90s and he now back to his writing and performing with a kind peculiar Northern élan all of his own.

Poems such as I Wanna Be Yours are regularly read at weddings, while other showcase his razor wit.

Many will perhaps remember him best, though, for his surreal appearance on a Sugar Puffs TV advert alongside the Honey Monster. Legend has it JCC was once asked what he was on when he appeared on that advert. “Two hundred quid an hour,” came the acid-tongued reply.

John Cooper Clarke was born on the 25 January 1949 at Hope Hospital, Salford, Lancashire. His father George was an engineer, and his mother, Hilda, was an unpublished poet. He has one younger brother.

After teenage years as a Mod, John served time as an apprentice engineer, a lab technician at Salford University (then Salford Tech) and also a lead type compositor. After a brief unsuccessful marriage, and a stint living in Dorset, John returned to Manchester and started reading his poems in clubs.

Due to the champions league final the doors will now open at 9pm (not 8pm) and John will be on stage at around 9.45pm.

For tickets or further details call the Citadel box office on 01744 735436.