The Kaleidoscopic Career of Dr John Cooper Clarke

On Saturday 21st July, Kaleidoscope descends on the Park and Palace. It will be a collision of music, performance, theatre and comedy – perhaps nobody embodies the spirit of festival better than the Bard of Salford, the poet Dr John Cooper Clarke. Throughout his career he’s collaborated with musicians, acted and appeared in films and even released his own music.

Clarke, no stranger to the Palace having performed at the Beat The Blues Festival on the Palace slopes in 1980, will headline the Words & Comedy Stage which will also host performances from Katherine Ryan, Mark Watson and Andrew Maxwell.

The rest of the festival will feature music from bands including The Flaming Lips and The Go! Team and immersive theatre in the Palace’s basement created by RIFT. You can purchase tickets and explore the unmissable line-up here.

Relive some of Clarke’s finest (and funniest) appearances below.

Ill Manors, 2012

Clarke made an appearance in Plan B’s acclaimed movie “Ill Manors”, switching the streets of Salford for a club in Bow. In the movie we hear him performing “Pity the Plight Of Young Fellows”. Clarke also featuredon the film’s soundtrack.

Control, 2007

Directed by Anton Corbijn, Control is the biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis – lead singer of post-punk band Joy Division. Clarke appeared in the film performing his famous piece “Evidently Chickentown”. The scene is recreation of a 1977 concert where he supported the group.

AM, 2013

Clarke has a writing credit on the Arctic Monkey’s 2013 album AM. Alex Turner turned his poem “I Wanna Be Yours”, originally about capitalism, into a poignant love song. Take a listen to Clarke discussing the unlikely collaboration and performing the poem.

Snap, Crackle & Bop, 1980

Clarke’s released six musical albums, frequently in collaboration with rock group The Invisible Girls. His 1980 LP featured a recording of his poem “Beasley Street” about poverty in inner-city Salford. Upon its release it was censored by the BBC but in spite of that “Snap, Crackle & Bop” was Clarke’s highest charting LP and was named on of NME’s top records of 1980. The album also featured a recording of “Evidently Chickentown” which was later used during the end credits of a now-legendary episode The Sopranos

Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 2014

A peerless wit, it’s no surprise that Clarke’s services have been called in for a number of panel shows including Have I Got News For You and Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. In 2014 he appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks where he had this exchange with X Factor runner-up Amelia Lilly about the guinea pigs on Jimmy’s Farm.

Kaleidoscope takes place on Saturday 21st July. Tickets are available here.