Wednesday 21 May 2014

Poetry, John Cooper Clarke & Mike Garry

A few months ago I was reading an article in Brainpickings about reading and a discussion of the answer to the query "how is one to develop that discerning taste, especially in determining what is worth reading and what is not?" Maria Popova was mostly discussing and asserting Joseph Brodsky's suggested answer of  "read poetry". The arguments were good ones, and I have noted it well. I used to read (and write) a lot of poetry and am determined to re-form this habit. The timing was good as about the same time tickets went on sale for a night with legendary bard John Cooper Clarke at the wonderful venue of Vicar St. in Dublin. My ticket was acquired immediately and magnetised to the fridge door for several months. The event finally took place last Saturday and left a sold out audience in raptures.

Since JCC had put out several albums that I knew from the early 80s, I wasn't sure until arriving at the venue whether or not a band was going to be playing with him. There was a single mike and speaker set up on stage so I knew it was going to be a solo event and got excited -- I was going to hear things as poetry not as songs!

I once lived in a place in Toronto where my friends refused to visit because it reminded them too much of John Cooper Clarke's song "Beasley St". I have been told that this area has been unrecognisably gentrified. so it was with some amusement that I heard JCC's update "Beasley Blvd".

The support act was another poet, Mancunian Mike Garry. I had not heard of him before but he was fantastic also. Here he is in action, with his tribute to Tony Wilson (founder of Factory Records & La Hacienda nightclub in Manchester):

It was a fabulous evening of poetry and a good reminder to me to keep up that habit that Joseph Brodsky recommended. Very appropriately, the night was started with a long walk into Dublin, stopping along the Grand Canal at John Coll's sculpture of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh .

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