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Credit: Henry W. Laurisch/Bryan Lerdson


Nick Cave says John Cooper Clarke helps to "have your faith in humanity restored"

There aren’t many people we could be considered to be spookier than the great Aussie rocker, Nick Cave. The Bad Seeds lead singer has long been the perennial man in black, skirting the outside of rock’s tropes to become one of the most important singers of the day. But there may be one man who deserves the title, someone Cave calls a “brilliant, brilliant man,” Dr John Cooper Clarke.

In his latest edition of the Red Hand Files, Cave’s forum where he answers the questions of his fans, the acclaimed singer has paid tribute to the great punk poet Clarke and answered three questions as he did so. As well as being directly asked for his thoughts on Clarke, he was also asked if he liked haiku poetry and was requested to share a joke, “We need a laugh,” the fan added. Cave, ever the efficient letter-writer, incorporated all three questions into his latest edition.

Calling Clarke “a very funny man” Cave remembered first meeting Clarke and recalled that he remembered “seeing him around back in the day, and I think we probably both had the same fondness for dangerous things — drugs and humour”.

He added: “I remember standing in the audience at some little club, maybe 40 years ago, and watching John, staggered by his speed and virtuosity and mordant humour, and laughing and laughing and laughing,” Cave said with sincere enthusiasm. To compound his point on Clarke’s penchant for humour, and answer a question about haikus, he also shared Clarke’s famous ‘Haiku’.

“To con-vey one’s mood/ In sev-en-teen syll-able-s/ Is ve-ry-dif-fic,” wrote the singer, noting the poem in its entirety.

It shows of Cave’s admiration for the poet and the singer even goes one step further adding: “So, if you’re in lockdown and feeling low and need to laugh, go online, check out John Cooper Clarke and have your faith in humanity restored.

“A brilliant, brilliant man.”