here are few things finer in the creative arts than a project that is totally unexpected but in hindsight makes perfect sense, like the end of a really good novel. The album This Time It’s Personal (Sony 2016) is one of those projects, a musical collaboration between the godfather of performance poetry, Dr. John Cooper Clarke, and legendary guitarist, singer/songwriter and author, Hugh Cornwell, the original Guildford Strangler, a cultural event as modest as it is huge.
This is not a review. This isn’t an earnest cultural study. This is just me… ‘Icon’ is an overused word, especially in music, but this week I got to see the real deal because John Lydon was playing in my hometown. He’d almost certainly despise me for saying so, but for my generation that’s like seeing Elvis or The Beatles – someone who represents a seismic change (arguably the last) back when rock ’n’ roll was still a serious, evolving art movement rather than simply cold, hard product – the only difference being that he remains a genuinely independent artist, not on the Fortune 500 or a grotesque parody of his younger self. This is why he was at a medium-sized campus venue on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday night in Norfolk.