WORK IN PROGRESS: John Cooper Clarke in relective mood and in performing mode, below. He can now count Alex Gardner and Ben Drew among his fans.
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John Cooper Clarke, Britain’s premier punk poet, is enjoying a new lease of life. He talks to Graeme Thomson
"Every masterpiece sits on top of a pile of crap," he says in his wonderfully smoked Salford drawl. "But the ratio is getting better. Obviously I'm developing a bit of a knack for it."
He's joking and he's not. Britain's punk poet laureate has been doing his inimitable thing, off and on, for four decades, so one presumes he long ago developed a knack for making the magic happen. Yet Clarke has certainly shifted gears in recent years, enjoying a creative purple patch which has coincided with a remarkable resurgence in popularity. Feted by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Plan B, filling venues across the land, appearing in The Sopranos and even taking his rightful place alongside "respectable poets" – his words, not mine –on the GCSE syllabus, at 63 Clarke is on the mother of all rolls.
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