In the established, plush expanse of The Glasshouse’s Hall 1, time seemed to stand still as Dr John Cooper Clarke (JCC) held court, his presence a testament to the enduring power of his poetic prowess.

I saw JCC at the Greyhound pub in Wivenhoe, near Colchester, Essex as a student in the mid-90s. It was a totally different setting to hall 1, I can assure you and yet in many regards, nothing has changed. JCC is still one of our country's most talented wordsmiths - it's just the venues that have become far swankier.

In the Greyhound one Saturday night pre-New Labour, locals and drifters mix seamlessly in this great authentic Essex boozer... but tonight the seats were velvet and clean, not beer-covered stools.

Back in the 90s, JCC was getting back on track. After wilderness years - triggered by drug abuse, which he openly discusses in his memoir, I Wanna Be Yours, he was slowly re-emerging and redefining himself.

The Northern Echo: Dr John Cooper Clarke commanded the Glasshouse stage with energy that belied his age

There were some notable TV advert appearances along the way (who remembers R White’s lemonade, or the honey monster ads), but the heights he has achieved were not necessarily on the cards back then - or so one might have thought.

But JCC is professional first and foremost. Despite the anti-establishment persona - the look, dialect, and lack of observance of traditional class-based mores or norms - John understands that he has trade, and you have to work at it to perfect it. And that is what he’s done - despite being the self-professed laziest man on earth.

Derided as a youth for deciding to pursue a career in poetry, the lad's not done too bad. Ending the finale of Sopranos with his classic Chickentown, and also being included in the school English syllabus are just two nods to a man who has gained cultural relevance in today’s society despite never really seeming as if he could be bothered to.

He filled the Glasshouse Hall 1, in Gateshead, easily. People of all ages, shapes, sizes and genders were there lapping it up. And for a staggering one-and-a-half hours, he commanded the stage with energy that belied his age (75), delivering a litany of poems scattergun style. With each word, each gesture, Clarke held the audience in the palm of his hand, a master of his craft at the peak of his powers.

As the evening unfolded, Clarke delved into his extensive repertoire. From the biting satire of 'Evidently Chickentown' to the poignant introspection of 'I Wanna Be Yours,' each poem was delivered with a raw honesty that resonated deeply with the crowd.

Despite having lived for longer in Essex than Manchester, it’s the inimitable Mancunian brogue which provides the poems with an intensity - a raw, biting honesty that can send shivers down the spine at times. It was a journey through the annals of Clarke's career, a testament to his enduring relevance in a world that's constantly evolving.

The Northern Echo: Dr John Cooper Clarke commanded the Glasshouse stage with energy that belied his ageDr John Cooper Clarke commanded the Glasshouse stage with energy that belied his age (Image: DAVID BOOTLE)

And this from a man who admittedly does not possess a mobile phone or a computer. "If you gave me a computer, you would find me seven days later, dead, under a pile of pizza boxes." he quips. But you can imagine it somehow.

But Clarke wasn't content to simply rest on his laurels, he infused the performance with a vitality that left no doubt about his commitment to his craft.

With each witty aside in between poems he captivates the audience. His funny asides about being unrecognisable now in Manchester due to weight gain amuses particularly as he resembles a stick insect, with his trademark Bob Dylanesque lacquered bouffant on top. It was this ability to connect, to bridge the gap between performer and audience, that elevated the evening from a mere recital to an unforgettable experience.

Throughout the performance, Clarke displayed an acute awareness of his surroundings, peppering his set with references known well to Geordies. From nods to T Dan Smith, the infamous council leader of the 1970s, to subtle allusions to local landmarks, Clarke demonstrated a deep understanding of his audience, with the skill of a seasoned raconteur.

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His new stuff also got a run out - from the new book What. Anger Manager stood out for me. But several got a resounding applause acknowledging that when the man puts pen to paper he’s still got it.

But it was the energy that was palpable as he launched into the familiar rhythms, his words echoing through the hall of the Glasshouse, a testament to the enduring power of his art.

For about five decades, Dr John Cooper Clarke has been a beacon of creativity and inspiration, his words transcending the boundaries of time and space to touch the hearts and minds of all who encounter them. And on this magical evening in Gateshead, he proved once again why he is truly one of a kind.