Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Bard of Salford releases a Top 30 poetry album

John Cooper Clarke : Evidently Chickentown


In April of 1980 English performance poet John Cooper Clarke released Snap Crackle + Bop, a UK#26 album. The bard of Salford's new album came out months into the Margaret Thatcher two prong attack on the working class and trade unions. There wasn't much to look forward, reflected in Clark's "Evidently Chickentown": 

The bloody pubs are bloody dull 
The bloody clubs are bloody full 
Of bloody girls and bloody guys 
With bloody murder in their eyes 
A bloody bloke is bloody stabbed 
Waiting for a bloody cab 
You bloody stay at bloody home 
The bloody neighbors bloody moan 
Keep the bloody racket down 
This is bloody chicken town

Clarke made little money from his brief flirtation with fame, telling The Guardian in 2012 "No. I ain't waving the victim flag, but considering the massive impact I've had on British culture, it's fucking diabolical how poor I am." It's true he has inspired all kinds of teens making music these days.

Another highlight of Snap Crackle + Bop is "Beasley Street", a form of reportage on life in poverty:

The boys are on the wagon
The girls are on the shelf 
Their common problem is 
That they're not someone else 
The dirt blows out 
The dust blows in 
You can't keep it neat 
It's a fully furnished dustbin 
Sixteen Beasley Street

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