rock-o-the-north

So there’s life in the old rocker yet! Yes, Alice Cooper, that one-time scourge of Mary Whitehouse and her mates, the original animal eater, the talisman for teenage rebellion and the man who once brought central London to a standstill has been banned from playing a show in Finland.

The fact that Alice is more likely to worship Tiger Woods than the devil these days seems to have escaped the townsfolk of Tampere. But born again Christain Coop is just loving reverting to type as the original rabble rouser and enemy of petrified parents everywhere.

And we’re not surprised.

It’s a long, long time since the scratch golfer and Planet Rock DJ was deemed dangerous. But it’s amazing just what a bit of negative publicity can do in terms of boosting the ratings and reminding a new generation of fans that the original shock rocker can still cause amusement and outrage in equal measure.

Alice in 2009 is more pantomime villain than vilified hedonist. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t do drugs, he doesn’t throw live fowl into baying crowds and he definitely doesn’t worship the devil. There’s plenty of keen Satanists coming up through the ranks quite happy to fulfil that often arduous role.

What Alice does do is dress up, pretend to die, wave a stick around his head and talk about dead babies. Apparently that stuff just doesn’t impress the devil anymore. And Alice doesn’t care.

Son of a preacher and long since religiously committed to a life of clean living, he has no interest in the number of the beast. But the number of CDs he sells? Now that’s a different matter. And in taking his Tampere ban on the chin he can look forward to a surge in back catalogue sales.

As a banned artist Cooper’s credentials have suddenly taken a timely shot in the arm. There was never any question he’d fight the decision of a venue run by conservatives clearly out of touch with what this supreme entertainer really stands for.

But there was every chance he’d talk about it until the cows come home, conscious that any publicity is good publicity. And when you’re an ageing rocker on the last lap of the live circuit negative publicity is even better.

Having seen the Coop in action countless times during the past two decades I can safely say he poses no threat to anyone – apart from, perhaps, himself. At his age it’s really not sensible cavorting around the stage in tight leather pants and pretending to get his head chopped off. But it’s bloody good fun watching him give it a go.

Alice is the only rock god whose coffers I have willingly swelled by purchasing an Alice bear for my four-year-old daughter. Selling soft toys is not the work of the devil. It’s the work of an astute professional who knows his market and knows his value. Dangerous? Only to my wallet.