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Summary

This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as only John Cooper Clarke could deliver. Inimitable and iconic, his book will be a joy for both lifelong fans and for a whole new generation.

John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator, reluctant national treasure. At 5 feet 11 inches (116lb, 32in chest, 27in waist), in trademark suit jacket, skin-tight drainpipes and dark glasses, with jet-black back-combed hair and mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his inimitable dry Salford drawl shines through the prose.

I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from all the great punks to Bernard Manning and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner and Plan B – who have championed his work. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic knowledge of 20th-century popular culture, his private passions and guilty pleasures: from Baudelaire, Pam Ayres and Rimbaud to football to Coronation Street, comprising horse racing and gambling, politics and jokes – and much more.

©2020 John Cooper Clarke (P)2020 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

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Exit the dragon, enter Johnny Clarke

Listening to this audio book read by the Bard himself with his slightly nasal Salfordian twang was a complete pleasure and it is great to hear Dr Clarke in such erudite and lucid form. There are two themes that recur which are JCC's affection for all things sartorial with his vivid descriptions of the outfits and haircuts he has sported over the decades and his penchant for chemical stimulants. Contrary to popular belief, however, Dr Clarke seldom participated in recreational narcotics; for him it was a necessity. His chemical dependency started at an early age when he realised that his dentist administrated cocaine as a pre-cursor to dental extractions graduating to more exotic substances that he carefully researched using his handy copy of MIMs formulary.

He talks about his remarkable diet which appears to consist of Shredded Wheat (in favour of Weetabix that he strangely detests), meat and potato pies and his unique recipe for tomatoes on toast (apparently fellow performance poet and junkie Nico preferred raw jelly cubes). It is easy to see JCC as a larger than life caricature of a 1950's lounge lizard crooner from a B list movie who morphed into a 1960's Dylan impersonator. In reality he really is all those things and more. Too cynical, urban and harsh to be a hippy his first breakthrough was at the sadly defunct Bernard Manning's Embassy Club in Manchester before mutating into a punk poet in the 1970's. Punk was shorter lived that people remember and so our hero re-invented himself as a sort of stand up comedian with a few poems thrown in. Too much junkie business meant that his live act did not change for a few decades until he ditched the smack and cleaned himself up and is now recognised as an inspirational figure who is now a regular once more on TV and radio, back to electrifying live performances and has even started to write poetry once again. He has now exited the dragon and its great to have him back again. This is a remarkable story told in a way that only Dr Clarke can. Poetry. Pure unashamed poetry.

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Fabulous!

I have been a JCC fan for - well - for longer than I care to say, and this is no dissapointment. Funny, observant, critical, scouringly honest, all with his wonderful linguistic ability. I am about an hour and a half in, and cannot wait for more.

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needs editing

by chapter 30 and still only recalling his school days my attention slipped. After seeing him numerous times, i expected more wild tales. sadly just not that interesting. could have been culled to half the time

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Illuminating

Honest and unflinching, the nasal Manc tones softened by a slight mid-Atlanticism when delivering certain phrases, this is compulsive listening. I’m no JCC scholar, so bits of this surprised, and at points, depressed me. Drugs may be great for the person taking them, but for the reader / listener, it can be dispiriting stuff. Still, all’s well that ends well. He’s here, happy and healthy, so it all came good eventually.

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Genius

What can be said? John is a cultural national treasure, love his poetry. Inspiring and uplifting. Brutally honest and beautifully written...more please John...👍👍👍

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Wonderful, wonderful!

First day after publication and I'm only a couple of hours into the book - but what a treat (especially for a northern lad like me). It's like a JCC poem that lasts for 15 hours! Combine this with 'The Luckiest Guy Alive' - and what a response to those who used to say that John wasn't giving us enough new material. Looking forward to the remaining 13 hours!

2 people found this helpful

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Great Listen

Interesting and unpretentious account from an iconic character. Helps if you like his work as its self narrated and a bit like a 15 hour gig!

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vocabulary enhancing

loved it top autobiography full of period northern pathos and dry humour.
highly bloody recommended.

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Solid gold

A joy from start to finish

Humour, pathos, highs, lows and a wonderful way with words

Hearing the great man read it adds another level of pleasure

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Brilliant

Great book, very real and beautifully told by the author. Made me laugh out numerous times.

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  • kristina burrows
  • 09-02-21

Amazing

The Baird of Salfords outstanding life story through the decades with countless comedic gems and incites into the horror of drug addiction.

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  • James
  • 06-12-20

Highly recommended!

I didn’t want the book to end. JCC’s performance was outstanding. A true legend. A++++