Trampolene frontman Jack Jones tells us, in his own words, how his love of music and poetry lead to an obsession with the bard of Salford, John Cooper Clarke.
I came from the city of Dylan Thomas and listened To Bob Dylan…
Words, words, words. Growing up I liked the sound of them, but I couldn't spell them. Being dyslexic meant that education and me didn't get on. The words just used to swim around on the page. They still do. I thought it was like that for everyone.
So I turned to music and the guitar, playing endlessly without stopping to sleep, eat or even breathe. At least that's how it felt.
But bit-by-bit I became equally obsessed by the words as well as the music. Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Ray Davies, Richey Manic, Bowie, Lou Reed, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Alex Turner, Peter Doherty, Paul Weller, Billy Bragg and Morrissey. They all spoke to me in their different ways.
And from there I began looking at poetry on its own.
The fact that Dylan Thomas was born about a half a mile from where I grew-up, and went to the same school as me made me feel like I knew him, in some kind of weird Swansea way. He was afflicted with Asthma and bronchitis and I was afflicted with Crohns disease - not really a link but I thought it was at the time.
Now he could really write, and lots of it was about places I knew like Cwmdonkin Park, Mumbles, Gower and Under Milk Wood, which is something truly out of this world… No wonder Bob named himself after him...I would have too if he hadn't thought of it first.
I moved to London looking for fame and fortune (obviously) and happened to be put up by a couple of successful writers, and one of them gave me a poetry book, and from there I started reading poems from Larkin, Wordsworth, Blake, Dickinson, Plath, TS Eliot, Yates, Wilde, Tennyson, Poe, Keats, Lewis Carroll, Byron, Rimbaud, Lawrence…
My world opened up (even though the words still swam around) so I started to jot down stories and ideas between recording takes. These were about my life and some of the things going on in and around it.
Our flat was full of poets, artists and musicians. And one day I wandered into the kitchen and heard a poet called John Cooper Clarke being blasted out through a broken iPhone. A poem called ‘Beasley Street’. I got obsessed with him, like I do with most things I love, and bought everything he ever did. My Favourite John Cooper Clark Poem, if you’re interested by the way, is ‘Drive She Said’. It’s in his poetry book ‘Ten Years In An Open Necked Shirt’, an essential for any fellow word lover.
He was someone who spoke to me in my language about everyday things. Great poems, images, word play, sound, pictures and colours. Best of all he was a great performer - and very funny.
I felt his poems were meant to be heard, not read. They created impressions. So I started to say my poems out loud, or into my phone as I walked down the street. Mine came out very different but with a similar kind of spirit. People who saw me or heard me reciting poetry as I walked down the street must have thought I was raving mad.
I was lucky enough to know someone who knew JCC, and they sent a couple of my poems off to him, I jumped so high after I read his reply that I think my footprints are still on the ceiling.
The Bard of Salford – YES, indeed. And more.
Jack Jones TRAMPOLENE
(La Dinette, Muswell Hill, April 2016)
Above you can watch Jack recite his poem PoundLand for us at Sub-Sonic Live, where Trampolene supported The Buzzcocks in 2015. Or listen to other examples of his work by following these links - Health & Wellbeing (at Wood Green Job Centre), Artwork Of Youth & Ketamine. Or scroll down to watch an exclusive live video of Trampolene's performance of their song 'It's Not Rock & Roll' further down this page.
Trampolene Tour Dates
6th Friday Birmingham - Victoria
21st Saturday Preston - The Ferret
27th Friday Swansea - the Scene
1st Wednesday Leeds - Headrow House
3rd Friday Sheffield - The Rocking Chair
4th Saturday Manchester Night & Day Cafe 18th Saturday Bedford Esquires
6th Saturday North Lincolnshire (Party in the Pines Festival)
Jack Jones Solo (supporting Pete Doherty) Dates
11th Wednesday Bristol Academy
13th Friday Glasgow Barrowland
14th Saturday Aberdeen - Garage
16th Monday Newcastle - riverside
17th Tuesday Manchester Albert Hall
19th Thursday London Hackney Empire
20th Friday London Hackney Empire
Photograph by Lee Blanchflower