Graham J. Henderson joined a sell-out audience in Galashiels earlier this month for some couplets and carry-ons with Dr John Cooper Clarke.

Dr John Cooper Clarke has an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford.

JCC's entitlement can be well justified on the basis of his longevity and skilled poetry.

You do wonder if he was ever told, it just won't last and he should keep a day job!

But omnipresent he is, far outliving the time confines of the "Punk Poet" label.

Arise the Bard of Salford and fast forward to 2019.

And here we are in the Borders town of Galashiels, and a sold-out Wednesday gig at the MacArts venue.

Putting this gig into some kind of perspective, I first saw JCC supporting the Buzzcocks in 1978 so my sabbatical stands at 41 years.

An ocean has passed under the bridge. And a reminder that I'm not getting any younger as I try to grow old gracefully.

JCC's, now a septuagenarian, style has remained a constant.

His image of the suit, shagpile black hair and sunglasses remain intact. His social realism poetic constructs seem relevant today as they did during his inception, extrapolated initially from the often nihilism and tales of social decay that earmarked punk mark one.

Poetry is often a barometer of an epoch or epochs. Combining observation and the written word. JCC has become a master of mind imagery, social commentary, surrealism, and semantics and above all story telling. We get it because it resonates with us.

It is us or we know someone who it references. Sometimes dystopian, often hilarious and never dull. Add the heavy Salfordian brogue the chemistry set is complete.

The performance was slightly peculiar to what I was expecting.

Maybe my expectations were misguided or unrealistic. There were some long periods of stand-up comedy that laboured at times.

It was only when "Johnny" returned to his natural home of poetry recital that he got back on track. Though his joke about Billy Bragg being in crisis because he hadn't released an album in two weeks, I found amusing.

But when he got back to the poetry it was a reminder why most people were here.

Most poems were from the back catalogue and instantly recognisable. A greatest hit set list.

JCC proceeded with Hire Car and the sharply expletive named Get Back on Drugs You Fat F***.

Well it was an adult show after all.

Common language for common poetry. And it never did Billy Connelly any harm. The poem insinuating it was easier to lose weight being on drugs.

Beasley Street, arguably his most well-known poem received one of the best reactions of the night. Imbued with the description of a rock bottom street, a dreg of society and where everything that could go wrong did in this street. A caricature of a threadbare existentialism. Mainly bought on by social and economic deprivation.

And then a natural supersession in the form of an epilogue Beasley Street Boulevard recital, as the street had now changed into middle class suburbia.

Next up I've Fallen in Love with My Wife. A reference to marriage, the vows and marital bliss. Tongue in cheek of course.

The "bloody song" Evidently Chickentown, was greeted with widespread applause. More nihilistic scorn and deprecation of a town, that is in a state of dysfunction.

Funny how we tend to laugh at the misfortune of others. But we do.

Twat was another poem that represented consistency in tonight's performance. A crowd pleaser for all times. Twat being the ultimate character assassination and castout. Bringing sporadic fits of laughter within the audience.

The closing recital I Wanna Be Yours, famously adopted by The Arctic Monkeys for one of their songs, represented a slight U-turn in the writing of JCC. More linked to a character who wishes to show an undying love for someone else. The positives of the human condition. Did I detect some optimism!

The MacArts performance had poetry that mixes modernity with the historical. Comedic in value.

When we laugh, we are laughing at ourselves. With him, not at him. Parody is a work of art, human invention and a release from life's stresses.

He may be the luckiest guy alive, who can tell?

Graham J. Henderson