I caught up with John Cooper Clarke this week and he still doesn’t mind being referred to as the ‘punk poet’. I reminded him of those days when he signed to CBS Records for an unbelievable deal releasing singles and albums on coloured and shaped vinyl, many of which lie gathering stoor in my loft. The image of the tall lad in skinny jeans and Chelsea boots was only enhanced by his shades and big hair remarkably intact today. Live From South Bank (Safe Cracker), is his new DVD featuring not only an effortless stand up routine but also some rapid fire poetry delivered comically with wit and intricate rhyme. Extras include a rare live duet of 36 Hours with Frank Sidebottom on guitar. This must be one of the last films of Chris Sievey’s comic character with the papermache head before he succumbed to cancer in 2010.
Meanwhile Johnny Clarke has a full UK tour taking him to the Edinburgh Playhouse on Saturday. With an opening Welcome To My World we return to ever progressing Depeche Mode on their new album Delta Machine (Mute). More than anyone they move ahead with electro industrialism dark at times with Angel heavy on the bass or hauntingly melodic on The Child Inside. Even lapsed fans will appreciate the keyboard repeat loops on My Little Universe, a characteristic of leader Martin Gore still active and still producing the majority of the new material. The new tour takes them across Europe, then to the US before a one nighter in Glasgow in November. In terms of associated music when Bernard Sumner (New Order) joined Johnny Marr from The Smiths we expected great things back in 1989 and further compounded when the duo joined the Pet Shop Boys to form Electronic. The resultant album is now remastered as a 2 CD set.