Evidently Chickentown

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John Cooper Clarke in 1979

"Evidently Chickentown" is a poem by the English performance poet John Cooper Clarke. The poem uses repeated profanity to convey a sense of futility and exasperation.[1] Featured on Clarke's 1980 album Snap, Crackle & Bop, the realism of its lyrics is married with haunting, edgy arrangements.[2]

The poem bears a resemblance to an earlier work titled "Bloody Orkney", attributed to naval officer Hamish Blair during the Second World War. In 2009 Clarke said he "didn't consciously copy it. But I must have heard that poem, years ago. It's terrific."[3]

"Evidently Chickentown" appears in Danny Boyle's 2001 film Strumpet,[4] and in Jacques Audiard's 2012 film Rust and Bone.[5] Clarke appears as himself reciting the poem in the 2007 British film Control, directed by Anton Corbijn.[6] It was also used at the end of "Stage 5", a 2007 episode of the American television drama The Sopranos. Sean O'Neal of The AV Club wrote that the poem "ranks as one of the show's sharpest and most effective musical moments, somehow capturing the vexation of a New York mafia guy with the words of a British punk who's complaining about flat beer and cold chips."[7]


  1. ^ Bennun, David (2006). British as a Second Language. London: Ebury Press. 
  2. ^ Mills, Peter (2003). "John Cooper Clarke". In Buckley, Peter. The Rough Guide to Rock. London: Rough Guides. p. 202. 
  3. ^ Chalmers, Robert (8 November 2009). "A life of rhyme: John Cooper Clarke, the 'punk Poet Laureate', grants Robert Chalmers his first major interview in more than 20 years". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Smith, Rupert (2011). "Back from the Beach". In Dunham, Brent. Danny Boyle: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. p. 68. 
  5. ^ Mault, DW (31 October 2012). "Rust And Bone – Reviewed". The Double Negative. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Murphy, Robert (17 February 2009). The British Cinema Book (3rd ed.). British Film Institute. p. 405. 
  7. ^ O'Neal, Sean (6 March 2015). "A British punk captured the feelings of a Sopranos mobster". The AV Club. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 

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