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ARTS DIARY: COMEDY John Cooper Clarke/Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead.

Byline: MIKE CHAPPLE

THE last time this reviewer saw the human stick insect was when he was reinventing himself, transforming from rapid-fire rhyming machine to combined stand-up comic/poet.

It made for an occasionally hilarious but uneven affair.

Five or so years on and the boy's got it just right with a non-stop, kaleidoscopic triumph of one-liners, comical stories and achingly funny verse that had the audience hooting with laughter.

A measure of the so-called punk poet's influence over 30 years was shown by fetchingly anarchic support sets from Wirral's own comic bards, Lenny Rosso, Nick Payne and Jason Richardson, which drew a warm response.

It whetted the appetite for the Bard of Salford himself, fashionably late on his impossibly thin pipe cleaner pins.

There were none of the golden age classics such as Kung Fu International, Beasley Street or the sublimely offensive T**t.

Instead, we got newer gems such as transsexual trauma drama Crossing the Floor ("I'm a man trapped inside a woman's body/I feel like Madonna but look like Bill Oddie"), and the ode to getting old Things Are Going to Get Worse ("I've seen the future and I'm not there"). There was also an especially enjoyable rant about the grimness of Burnley ("That's where the hotels pinch YOUR towels!").

"I'd do this place more often - if I knew where it was," he jokingly drawled.

We hope you do, mate, we hope you do.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2007
Words:238
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