Anne Clark (poet)

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Anne Clark
Birth nameAnne Charlotte Clark
Born (1960-05-14) 14 May 1960 (age 58) Croydon, London, England
Origin London, England
Genres New wave, dark wave, electronic, avant-garde
Occupation(s)Poet, singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur
Years active1982–present
Labels Red Flame (Ink Records)

Virgin/EMI (Virgin SP, Ten)
Sony BMG (Columbia Records)
SPV (Germany)


netMusicZone (Germany)
Associated acts Eyeless in Gaza, Angel Haze, Depeche Mode, Benny Benassi, John Foxx, Paul Weller, Patrik Fitzgerald, David Harrow, Virginia Astley, Pet Shop Boys

Anne Charlotte Clark (born 14 May 1960, Croydon, London, England) is an English poet [1] songwriter and electronic musician. Her first album, The Sitting Room, was released in 1982, and she has released over a dozen albums since then. As of June 2017, her net worth was estimated at around £5.4 million.

Croydon town in South London, England

Croydon is a large town in south London, England, 9.5 miles (15.3 km) south of Charing Cross. The principal settlement in the London Borough of Croydon, it is one of the largest commercial districts outside Central London, with an extensive shopping district and night-time economy.

Her poetry work with experimental musicians occupies a region bounded roughly by electronic, dance (techno applies on occasion) and possibly avant-garde genres, with varying hard as well as romantic and orchestral styles.

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.

Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno in reference to a specific genre of music was in 1988. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which a number of sub-genres have been built.

Avant-garde works that are experimental or innovative

The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.

Clark is mainly a spoken word artist. Many of her lyrics deal critically with the imperfections of humanity, everyday life, and politics. Especially in her early works she has created a gloomy, melancholy kind of atmosphere bordering on weltschmerz. She has been considered one of the pioneers in the spoken-word music genre, as well as being highly idolised over the board of techno-pop and new wave music, especially across Europe.

Spoken word is a performance art that is word-based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. It is a "catchall" term that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud, including poetry readings, poetry slams, jazz poetry, and hip hop, and can include comedy routines and prose monologues. Although spoken word can include any kind of poetry read aloud, it is different from written poetry in that how it sounds is often one of the main components. Unlike written poetry it has less to do with physical on the page aesthetics and more to do with phonaesthetics, or the aesthetics of sound.

Melancholia mood disorder of non-specific depression

Melancholia is a concept from ancient or pre-modern medicine. Melancholy was one of the four temperaments matching the four humours. In the 19th century, "melancholia" could be physical as well as mental, and melancholic conditions were classified as such by their common cause rather than by their properties.


Weltschmerz is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who believes that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. This kind of world view was widespread among several romantic and decadent authors such as Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, William Blake, the Marquis de Sade, Charles Baudelaire, Giacomo Leopardi, Paul Verlaine, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alfred de Musset, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolaus Lenau, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Heine.

Early life

Anne Clark was born the daughter of a Roman Catholic Irish mother, Cecilia and a mixed Scottish and Welsh Protestant father, Herbert. She has one brother, John and mentions in her spoken biography 'Notes Taken Traces Left' that her mother also had another son who died shortly after being born. From this biography there are also mentions of her two nephews. Clark recollects her childhood in her spoken biography as being "troubled but loving at the same time". At the age of 16, she left school. She took various jobs, one of which was as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. Clark then got a job at the local record store (and label), Bonaparte Records. Punk rock was finding its way into London's music scene and perfectly matched Anne Clark's emotions.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands typically produced short or fast-paced songs, with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

Clark soon became involved with the Warehouse Theatre, an independently financed stage for bands, that was always low on cash. Although the theatre's owners initially objected to the strange, pierced punk scene characters and their leather outfits, Anne was able to successfully arrange the program. Anne Clark managed to fill the theatre with artists like Paul Weller, Linton Kwesi Johnson, French & Saunders, The Durutti Column, Ben Watt (who is now a member of Everything But The Girl), and many others. She experimented with music and lyrics herself and first appeared on stage in Richard Strange's Cabaret Futura with Depeche Mode. Clark worked with Paul Weller to help set up Riot Stories. He had put up an article about helping young writers that had no chances of being signed up to major records. Clark said that at first the relationship was troubled due to him not replying to her letters. She announced "After a pretty heated letter calling out his rudeness, I received one back in the same tone." Clark subsequently goes on to talk about how the relationship ended up being a strong one, which still exists today.

Warehouse Theatre former theatre in Croydon, London, England

The Warehouse Theatre was a professional producing theatre in the centre of the Croydon, England. Based in an oak-beamed Victorian former cement warehouse, it had 100 seats. The theatre closed in 2012 following withdrawal of funding and the discovery, after a survey, of serious faults in the building.

Punk subculture anti-establishment culture

The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, fashion, and other forms of expression, visual art, dance, literature and film. It is largely characterised by anti-establishment views and the promotion of individual freedom, and is centred on a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock. Its adherents are referred to as "punks", also spelled "punx" in the modern day.

Linton Kwesi Johnson Dub poet

Linton Kwesi Johnson is a Jamaican dub poet who has long been based in the UK. In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. His performance poetry involves the recitation of his own verse in Jamaican Patois over dub-reggae, usually written in collaboration with renowned British reggae producer/artist Dennis Bovell. Johnson's middle name, "Kwesi", is a Ghanaian name that is given to boys who, like Johnson, are born on a Sunday.


In 1982, Anne Clark published her first album, The Sitting Room, with songs written by herself, the album placed in 11th place on The Top 100 Albums of 1983. [2] On the following albums, Changing Places (1983), Joined up Writing (1984) and Hopeless Cases (1987), Clark benefited from an acquaintance from the Warehouse: keyboardist David Harrow contributed all the music as the co-author and producer. The songs created by this team, such as "Sleeper in Metropolis," “Our Darkness," and "Wallies," have since been considered milestones of the 1980s and 1990s. David Harrow's music of "Our Darkness" is sampled in Benny Benassi's 2003 hit "Love is Gonna Save Us." The song was also the main feature in the 2016/17 Women's Versace catwalk. [3] Our Darkness has been considered as one of the 20 best industrial and EBM industrial records of all time. Factmag describe it as "An influential proto-house record". [4] Clark mentions in her autobiography Notes Taken Traces Left that she has no vivid memory of the creative phase of Our Darkness however, clearly remembers the exact time and place of writing the words to her other club anthem hit Sleeper in Metropolis. This song was subsequently re-released in 2003 as a remix project, this remix reached #4 in the World Dance/Trance Top 30 Singles and also #38 in the German Top 40. [5] Clark was set to start touring in the United States of America in the late 80's however, was subsequently in disagreements with Richard Branson which led her breakthrough in America to be cancelled. Nevertheless, Clark has become a very famous and well respected artist across Europe, especially in Germany where she has a cult following.

David Harrow is a record producer, DJ, and multimedia artist currently living and working in Los Angeles

Benny Benassi Italian disc jockey and music artist

Marco "Benny" Benassi is an Italian DJ, record producer and remixer. He is best known for his 2002 summer club hit "Satisfaction", seen as the forerunner of electro-house who brought it to the mainstream.

Versace Italian luxury fashion company

Gianni Versace S.p.A. usually referred to simply as Versace, is an Italian luxury fashion company and trade name founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. The main collection of the brand is Versace, which produces upmarket Italian-made ready-to-wear and leather accessories, while other diffusion lines are Versace Collection, Versus Versace and Versace Jeans. The Versace logo is the head of Medusa, a Greek mythological figure. The logo came from the floor of ruins in the area of Reggio Calabria that the Versace siblings played in as children. Gianni Versace chose Medusa as the logo because she made people fall in love with her and they had no way back. He hoped his company would have the same effect on people.

In 1985, Clark released the album Pressure Points. It was created in collaboration with John Foxx, who wrote the music and plays on the first five tracks.. The album features the song Heaven which was considered a moderately successful hit across Europe. The song was even meant to be a hit globally, but instead the promotion schedule for the single and subsequently, the album, lead for it to not be as successful as it could.

In 1987, Clark went to Norway for three years, where she worked with Tov Ramstad and Ida Baalsrud, among others. In co-operation with Charlie Morgan, she released the album Unstill Life in 1991 on SPV Records. Tracks included The Moment, Unstill Life, Abuse and Empty Me. This album was also released in the USA on Radikal Records. During 1992, she released a non-album collaboration on maxi-CD (SPV) with Ida Baalsrud, who both played the violin part and co-wrote If I Could; furthermore, there was also a remix of Our Darkness included on the last track of the CD. At the very end of 1992, in December, Charlie Morgan unexpectedly died of cancer at the age of only 36, which caused many planned collaboration projects to be abandoned.

After several months of reorientation, Clark eventually released The Law is an Anagram of Wealth in 1993, once again in collaboration with Tov Ramstad; the other musicians involved were Paul Downing, Martyn Bates (of the band Eyeless in Gaza), and Andy Bell (not of Erasure fame but talented musician and programmer) and completed a major European Tour.

Just one year later, in 1994, Anne Clark ventured into a style that she had not experimented with before: acoustic music. This eventually culminated in the release of Psychometry (1994), which featured a concert recorded live on stage in the Passionskirche in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Continuously, Clark went on following her musical roots and the influences of folk and classical music. Her 1998 album, Just After Sunset, a collaboration with Martyn Bates, featured poems by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke translated into English. This album was re-released four years later in 2002 when Clark regained the rights to the album. The re-release included some additional video footage, although it was of rather poor quality.

In 2003, another album joined her series of acoustic albums: From The Heart – Live In Bratislava, which she recorded together with Murat Parlak (vocals/piano), Jann Michael Engel (cello), Niko Lai (drums and percussion) and Jeff Aug (guitars) in Bratislava, Slovak Republic.

Anne Clark live in concert (M'era Luna Festival) in Hildesheim (Germany) 2004 Anne clark.jpg
Anne Clark live in concert (M'era Luna Festival) in Hildesheim (Germany) 2004

In 2005, Clark joined up with the Belgian act Implant for the album Self-inflicted, on which she delivered guest vocals. The album was released via Alfa Matrix Records, which in the meantime had become her home label outside of Germany. She also appeared on the Implant EP Too Many Puppies.

2006 saw Clark back again in the recording studio with Implant for the EP Fade Away, on which she delivered guest vocals and performed a duet with Leæther Strip's Claus Larsen. And she also appeared on the album Audioblender by Implant, again released via the Alfa Matrix record label.

In 2008 Clark was in Germany to record her next album The Smallest Act of Kindness, which was released in September 2008. This album was dedicated to her late mother Cecilia Ann Picton-Clark (nee. Murray) At the end of 2010, Anne Clark released the first chapter of an ongoing project Past & Future Tense, the first release on her own label, After Hours Productions.

In January 2011 Anne contributed an arrangement of the Charles Baudelaire poem Enivrez-Vous (Be Drunk) to the audio book and radio play Die künstlichen Paradiese ("The artificial paradises"), (Hörbuch Hamburg/Radio Bremen).

In 2016, Clark announced she would take a year sabbatical, then in January 2017 collaborated on the song Donald Trump Praesidend (Quack Quack) with artist Ludwig.London, intended as a parody in light of the recent election of Donald Trump. In July 2017, Clark headlined the W Festival in Belgium alongside acts such as Peter Hook and others. [6]


Anne Clark's live band 2008 (from left to right): Jann Michael Engel, Murat Parlak, Anne Clark, Niko Lai, Jeff Aug Anne Clark Konzert 20080728 B.jpg
Anne Clark's live band 2008 (from left to right): Jann Michael Engel, Murat Parlak, Anne Clark, Niko Lai, Jeff Aug

Current live band members:


Anne Clark live in concert in Germany, 2008 Anne Clark Konzert 20080728 E.jpg
Anne Clark live in concert in Germany, 2008





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  1. Hartmann, Olga Yael (17 May 2000). "Anne Clark's poetic technology". Jerusalem Post . p. 11. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  2. "Top 50 Music Albums of 1983". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. Rodgers W. (26 February 2016). "Versace Fall Winter 2016/17 Women's Collection". YouTube . Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  4. "The 20 best industrial & EBM records ever made". 27 November 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  5. "Anne Clark - Sleeper In Metropolis". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  6. "W-Festival 2017" (in Dutch). Festivals Belgie – Nieuwsblog 2017. 2017. Retrieved 2018-02-20.