Paul Gorman is…

Vinyl: John Cooper Clarke’s Innocents EP

Front cover, Innocents EP, 1977.

Chance encounters with heroes can be tricky, but bumping into John Cooper Clarke outside the Festival Hall late one evening last week proved pleasurable beyond all expectation.

Clarke looked the bomb, naturally in dark glasses as midnight approached, his frame draped in a coat worn across the shoulders gangster-style with white silk scarf hanging loose. Charm personified, he returned my compliments with words of praise with which I’m still coming to terms.

It hasn’t taken much to versify them into this lame appropriation of Clarke’s rat-a-tat style:

“I know your work,

I’ve got The Look,

I was first on our block with that book.”

With his “See ya, kid” echoing around the emptying South Bank, I pondered my first encounter with this Titan: 1977’s fabulous Innocents EP.

Back cover.

Inner featuring Frank Sidebottom-style figures.

On Rabid Records in a DIY duochrome folded paper sleeve, the EP was the first showcase of the mini-soundtracks constructed by the brilliant Martin Hannett to backdrop Clarke’s linguistic adventures.

I was captivated on first listen 34 years ago, and I’m captivated by JCC still.

A regret in a lifetime of accumulation is that I didn’t keep hold of a VHS copy of the 1983 Channel 4 bio-doc 10 years In An Open Necked Shirt.

But there it is, over on YouTube, and here is one of it’s many highlights, Evidently Chickentown:

And here’s JCC making his TV debut with Tony Wilson on So It Goes at his 1977 workplace, the tool room of Salford Tech (BTW for  the audiophiles among us, a YouTube choice after this clip is Hannett talking Wilson through 24-track recording procedures at the hallowed Strawberry Studios) :

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Author: / Published: Jun 21st, 2011 / Category: Vinyl / Comments: 6

6 Responses to “Vinyl: John Cooper Clarke’s Innocents EP”

  1. Will Birch
    on Jun 21st, 2011
    @ 7:40 pm

    @Paul, I too know the feeling, in fact I also bumped into our poetic hero not many minutes or metres from your encounter. It must have been 30 years. I reminded him of the time we met on Fulham Road and he asked me where I was living and I said ‘Acton’ and he replied ‘Ooh, lovely’ in that thick Salford accent and it sounded like he meant it. And last week, yes, he was charm personified, coat over shoulders and big black specs. Right, must dig out Snap Crackle and Bop!

  2. Paul Gorman
    on Jun 21st, 2011
    @ 7:45 pm

    Glad you can confirm it Will. Still feels like a dream. I was just thinking I’m in a Valley Of The Long Lost Women from Disguise In Love mood.

  3. Ian Harris
    on Jun 28th, 2011
    @ 1:27 pm

    Seen him a few times and have a copy of ‘Splat/Twat’ the double groove single with clean/obscene lyrics, but you didn’t know which groove the needle would fall in! No wonder the beeb didn’t play it. Always has been one of my heroes and a National treasure. Poetic genius in my opinion!

  4. John Gall
    on Jun 28th, 2011
    @ 2:00 pm

    I met him in J.Simons a few years ago. He was the proverbial kid in sweetshop as JCC is an old mod and big Ivy fan. He was sweet and charming and bought a tie – “one size fits all” he drawled. He spotted me, peered at me over his dark shades, and murmured “you look like a regular here”. A very lovely, laconic, easy guy to chat to.

  5. Mark P
    on Jul 1st, 2011
    @ 2:53 pm

    Also on YouTube are a couple of television adverts JCC did for Sugar Puffs – truly bonkers!

    Tummy Time

    Sugar Puffs Ad

  6. mike @bluzcolife
    on Aug 18th, 2013
    @ 2:20 pm

    I my copy in 1977/78 teenager returning from pub playing vinyl or something. Got a new copy direct from Rabids office with accompanying not from Chris Sievy of the Freshies extolling the virtues of his forthcoming releases- CHRIS of course was Frank Sidebottom

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