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Stage Editorial

johncooper19.jpg Rhyme and reason

John Cooper Clarke probably wouldn’t want to be foisted with ‘National Treasure’ status, which is tough because he’s more or less got it. He’s playing Middlesbrough Town Hall in February.

There are not too many poets around who are famous enough to get a slot on Pointless Celebrities but John Cooper Clarke is certainly one of them (Roger McGough is another – has Pam Ayres ever been on?) A raconteur and natural performer he cut his teeth reading poems out at punk gigs and is now considered the godfather of British performance poetry. In 2018 he issued his first new book of verse in decades in ‘The Luckiest Guy Alive’, which showed that he had lost none of his scabrous wit, obtuse insight or deft social comment. He continues to be a compelling live performer – I was lucky enough to be at a couple of the gigs he played in the north-east in recent years which were both outstanding – and it’s great news that he’s back with us again in February.

John Cooper Clarke, Thursday 21 February, Middlesbrough Town Hall, 8pm, £22.50. middlesbroughtownhall.co.uk