Not content with the success of his critically acclaimed UK tour of 2014, Dr John Cooper Clarke is back in his home town this weekend.

He’ll be headlining at Manchester’s O2 Apollo on March 21 where he will be joined by some of his exceptionally talented friends – Mike Garry, Luke Wright and Simon Day (performing as Yorkshire poet Geoffrey Allerton – trust me, this one is hilarious).

All in all it promises to be a lyrical barnstormer of an evening, at one of Manchester’s biggest and most iconic venues.

But is JCC looking forward to entertaining a home crowd?

“I am Kaz,” he says in his legendary adenoidal timbre. “In fact, I look forward to every show these days but, go on then, I admit to a touch of the sentimentality when it comes to Manchester audiences.”

And presumably it’s a sentimentality right back-at-ya from the crowd?

“Yes, there is a certain vibe in my home town,” he admits, “but, you’d sort of expect that – hopefully.”John Cooper Clarke

JCC is on tour until December when he closes the nationwide and international run with a Christmas show in London.

But, and let’s not walk on eggshells here, is being on the road a bit draining these days?

“No,” he says, without missing a beat. “I love it, love it. It’s my job and, let’s be completely honest here, it’s a lot more luxurious than it once was.

“I used to go to gigs on public transport – I’d be buggered if the bus was late or the train was cancelled – but now I’ve got a driver so it’s all door-to-door service and luxury en-suites.

“A much more civilised state of affairs.”

While Dr Clarke has adopted a more modern mode of transportation to and from gigs, the shows themselves are still as raw and fresh as when he first stepped on the stage at the Apollo back in 1979 (“I was supporting The Damned I think”) with a mixture of his classic verse, hilarious pondering on modern life, good honest gags, riffs and chat – all mixed in with extraordinary new material.

“I’ve been writing a lot,” says Clarke. “So there’s a lot of new stuff in the shows but I’ll still be doing some of the old stuff too.”

He’s recently collaborated with the Inspiral Carpets on their hotly anticipated self-titled new album – the band’s first in 20 years – with a single called Let You Down, a partnership he cites as “a truly wonderful experience”.

“They’re a fantastic bunch, Clint and the lads,” he says, “so it was a real treat working with them but I can’t see me making a solo album or anything like that.

“Mind you, if it hadn’t been for the stuff I did with The Fall and Arctic Monkeys, Chickentown might not have been picked up by The Sopranos and, well, as they say, the rest is history.”

By Karen Connolly

Main Image by Chris Payne


What: John Cooper Clarke Live 

Where: O2 Apollo, Manchester

When: March 21, 2015

More info:; for more tour dates click here