John Cooper Clarke, photo by Tim Duncan

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Last week I squeezed into a packed and sweaty auditorium at the South Bank Centre to watch performance poet and punk legend John Cooper Clarke’s show for the London Literature Festival.

The Bard of Salford was on good form, despite the temperature. Now in his 60s, he still has the style of Bob Dylan, mixed with the dead-pan delivery of Alan Bennett and just the right sprinkle of Bernard Manning. He delivered a stream of curiously old-fashioned stand-up, interspersed with his own brand of rapid-fire performance poetry. His disjointed jokes and puns revelled in an infectious love of language, perfect for a literary festival. (“If you shot a peasant, could you get off on the grounds of dyslexia?”)

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