For the second time, I recently watched a BBC4 documentary about John Cooper Clarke (BBC4 documentaries are great, by the way – especially music-related ones). Cooper Clarke has become widely recognised, acclaimed and loved for his work at the intersecting fringes of poetry, punk and stand-up. He has carved out a singular place in each of those fields despite there being absolutely no precedent for what does, and when watching the documentary you quickly begin to see why. He’s incredibly witty, incisive and obviously talented. Hard-working too.
But the whole thing got me thinking about the implied inevitability of success that’s inherent in threading his story into a narrative. “Of course he’s successful, he did X, Y and Z and he’s talented, smart and hard-working. It’s inevitable”.