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I Wanna Be Yours

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Poet Laureate of Punk, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator.

At 5' 11' (8 stone, 32 inch chest, 27 inch waist), in trademark suit jacket, skin-tight drainpipes and dark glasses, with jet-black back-combed hair and mouth full of gold teeth, John Cooper Clarke is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable.

This memoi
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published January 1st 2021 by Picador
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Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was riveted by I Wanna Be Yours from start to finish. John Cooper Clarke is social historian, social commentator, poet, ranconteur, joker. Every page is a delight.

I went for the audiobook version and it's sublime. I could listen to John Cooper Clarke read the telephone directory. To hear the great man read his hugely entertaining autobiography is a rare treat.

I Wanna Be Yours takes the reader from John's birth in 1949 through to the present day, and what a wild and wonderful life it has been.
Ciaran Liam
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was eagerly anticipating this and got it within a few hours of release; went for the audiobook version because JCC has one of the most characterful and listenable voices in showbusiness. Felt wrong listening to it at my usual 1.5 speed so I set it at normal pace and 15 hours in John's company later I'm going to start again at the beginning.

A joy to listen to, punctured with his trademark caustic wit and wisdom, Clarke the People's Poet is capable of a florid turn of phrase, but keeps the lyric
Paul Ataua
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was born one year after JCC and about three miles from where he was born, so it was pretty obvious this was going to resonate with me. I grew up with much the same memories: UCP cafes, meat and potato pies, running home on a Friday night to watch ‘Ready Steady Go’, and the Twisted Wheel and Jigsaw clubs in Manchester. Even his musical tastes were mine in those early days; Dylan and Captain Beefheart. I chose the audiobook version, and who wouldn’t given his unique style. A five star no-brainer ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, biography, memoir
The soundtrack of your life often reflects the time when you were a teenager, when everything sears into the memory, embeds itself deep in the psyche and remains with you. Come my old age, my nursing home will have a very different soundtrack to the Hits of the Blitz that the grandparents favoured. For me it will be The Clash, The Slits, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees and of course, The Saints. Interspersed with the most unlikely offerings that came with the dis ...more
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book that I did not want to end, so I tried to eke it out rather than devour it. A master wordsmith, his love of language and humour leaps from every page. So witty and clever, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion, music and pop culture. Any amateur review cannot do justice to the genius of JCC, so I just urge you to read it! One of my all time favourite memoirs.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The memoir all obsessives of the self-professed Bargain Basement Baudilaire have been waiting for.

I Wanna Be Yours is written in the clear, down-to-earth, witty, gritty style that make his poems sing - those familiar with his delivery, from furious pace to long-drawn out Mancunian vowels and devilish wordplay, will read with his distinctive voice in their head (I look forward to returning and listening to the audiobook read by Dr Clarke).

It was a pleasant surprise that nearly half of the book f
Nicola Pierce
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
First book of 2021. I knew nothing about Clarke but had listened to his interview for Desert Island Discs. When I saw the book in my local bookshop on Christmas Eve, I grabbed it. How often do you see a poet's memoir these days! He is a wonderful writer and storyteller but I would have swapped the first 100 pages about his childhood for a longer reflection on his most recent years. I wanted to know more about his writing but this isn't that sort of memoir. However, I laughed out loud and thoroug ...more
Ray Smillie
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have always admired John Cooper Clarke without being an outright fan and regret never going to see him play live (with no chance of that happening in the current circumstances) but what a life he has led and still living. Poetry is his oeuvre and the punk revolution of the mid to late 70s saw him fit right in, despite being the age of those regarded as BOFs by us teenage punks.

And you never will see a nipple in the Daily Express.
Lola Et La Vie
John Cooper Clarke is one of those people, who is such a cultural phenomenon, yet I did not know that much about him. When I heard that he was publishing this book I was very excited to read it. I am glad I did. It was a joy to listen to him tell his story. He has such a recognisable voice and way of speaking.

This is a pretty straightforward autobiography, but it is well-told and has a sense of humour that is very on point, but not too overdone. This is a man who has been there done that, but al
Sue Merrick
Jan 21, 2021 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book, I'm a fan of John Cooper Clarke's work and have seen him on stage a couple times and loved his shows. This book was not for me there were too many references to other muicians, which for some people would be of interest, but not me.
It felt like half of the book was about his heroin addiction and his sourcing the drug and how he took it or what the effects of it were like. I know the book is an autobography and this is what his life was like for around twenty years, bu
Reflections and lessons learned:
“Nobody is born with the ability to read but I have no memory of the preliterate life...”
As soon as he identified the mere understanding of Weetabix with hot milk being something so noteworthy as to be included here, I was hooked. A tale of yearning to live a life filled with creativity alongside getting by in Manchester, London, and a variety of other places. This combines his ability to reflect and re-evaluate via the gift of words whilst also covering the range
Carolyn Drake
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is exactly what you'd expect John Cooper Clarke's autobiography to be: witty, acerbic, irreverent, acerbic, and f***ing funny. The punk poet's voice rings clearly in your head (even if like me you read the book rather than listening to what I imagine must be a cracking audiobook). The book isn't flawless - it's unevenly paced, with a blink and you missed it race through his long-lasting second marriage and fatherhood. But it's a great evocation of Clarke's childhood, teenage years and rise ...more
Dave Pescod
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Where was the editor? I think Mr Clarke was given too much freedom with this meandering diary with a tendency to show off. I was surprised that the reviews and descriptions made no mention of Clarke's addictions. They drive the book, his difficult life and the mean spirit which is probably not his true self. It's a great achievement for a poet to get on the National Curriculum and as Clarke shows it gave him another generation of fans like Arctic Monkeys, and a bit of regular money. His life and ...more
Jonathan Corfe
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Grow up, get a sensible job, get married, get a mortgage, pay off your mortgage, die.
Not John Cooper Clarke.
Put off growing up for as long as possible, get fired from your sensible job, be a poet, become a legend, do anything but let a bank make money out of you before you die. Leave as smouldering and irradiated ashes.
Being dissolute and iconoclastic takes an absolute shirtload of courage when every ounce of sensibility screams that you get yourself into your place in society and stay there. B
Charlie Wells
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Unlike most celebrity autobiographies that I've read, especially by people that were as much 'on the scene' as Dr. Clarke, he doesn't actually dwell on his moments of celebrity, gigs and success. Because, let's be honest, these are the moments of these autobiographies that tend to be quite boring. However, where Johnny Cooper Clarke spends most of his time is on his upbringing, right in the golden age of the teenager, the 60s and 70s. As a Lancashire lad, it was great to read of the story of ano ...more
John Cooper Clarke – punk poet, bard of Salford – has had a chequered life, from growing up in post-war austerity Britain, through hardcore drug abuse, to being a kind of national treasure.

His autobiography has rather too many name check lists – places, venues, people, etc – and some of the humour feels a bit forced at times. Also, while the early years are described in loving detail, the last couple of decades are taken at something of a sprint.

You can’t deny that Clarke has had an interesting
Stephen Watt
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
As my all-time hero in poetry, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Learning about Clarke’s upbringing and social shenanigans quickly made sense about the style abd subjects which he writes and performs to sold-out crowds each year.

Although a little slow in the first half of the book, the stories are a delight and from Chapter 43 the tales of rock n’ roll excess, the rise and fall of punk, and it’s aftermath are just brilliant. From pet-sitting monkeys to being kidnapped in Europe, all slotted in betw
James Bellorini
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
There’s nothing better than a unique voice and JCC has exactly that as poet and here as his own biographer - it comes off the page to the reader in spades and it’s difficult not to hear his actual voice as you read this. The only negative thing here is that the book is IMO about 50 pages too long as the middle section gets a bit repetitive in its descriptions of various performances/tours and the details of junkie life. But JCC is so irrepressible and entertaining that it’s easy to forgive this ...more
Neil Thomas
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What else would you expect from John Cooper Clarke? This is a very funny autobiography from the 'afore referenced' exquisite wordsmith. 'Give it a name.' Brilliant!

His memory is incredible and makes me think I should have done more drugs!

The flavour of what it was like growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and motoring through the 80s and beyond is evoked wonderfully through his name checks of bands, fashions, consumer products, clubs and personalities. Observant, astute and witty asides feature
Keith Astbury
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A talented poet and very funny performer, John Cooper Clarke is a one-off who I have been fortunate to see live a couple of times (first time supporting Elvis Costello & the Attractions in 1979 at the Manchester Free Trade Hall with the mighty Richard Hell & the Voidoids on the same bill - wow! - and then supporting The Fall in more recent years where he was more stand-up comedian than poet). So I obviously had very high hopes for this autobiography. It almost lived up to them, but just...not qu ...more
Keith Kavanagh
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
one of funniest memoirs I've ever had the pleasure of being read to, by the man himself
as opposed to your usual joe soap's biography, cooper clarke talks not only of himself for the entirety of the book but of ever changing world around him, the characters he meets, unparalleled with anecdotes and analogies, never once feeling sorry for himself and comes complete with choice of newly acquainted catchphrases
this is the closest thing to the life story of a real life beano character
Will Jacks
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This memoir is so typically Clarke’s, and it's the reason i wanted to buy it. I have a signed physical copy, but couldn’t resist hearing his angelic salford-smokey voice on audiobook. He does repeat himself a lot, but the best sections have some amazing insights. The first part is like a pop art collage of the 50s, and towards the end has the inner workings of huge stars of alt rock including joy division and Elvis Costello tours. A great book with an endearing touch at the end. ...more
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but given that it runs to almost 500 pages I was disappointed that the last three decades of his life - including marriage to his 'angel' Evie and the joy of fatherhood to Stella were crammed into about the last forty pages. It was in stark contrast to the detailed account of his childhood and adolescence and then into his career. ...more
Matt Kennedy
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick Norton
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listened to on audiobook. I'd give this 6 stars if I could - hilarious, self-aware and without the junkie wallowing that blights even the best of a lot of music memoirs. Luxury. Pure, unashamed luxury. ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A cracking read, a highly detailed book written in JC-C's characteristic entertaining style. Given the pharmaceutical input, it's surprising the author is still drawing breath, so his recall of events over a somewhat chaotic life, is remarkable. ...more
Mark Folkard
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2021
Great read, I knew his poetry, but had no idea of his incredible back story.
To think, the "Godfather of British , performance poetry" now walks the same paths as me. Next time we pass each other, maybe we can discuss our mutual love of Louis Prima!
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved it, being from the region myself I pictured the background of his childhood stories almost perfectly. Also being a poet his descriptions of said locations is fantastic and I felt myself being drawn into the book.
Jaime Gardiner
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audio recommended - I could listen to this guy all night and all day. Bloody brilliant.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book! Writes very lyrically about his own life, bit of a cultural history and very insightful into music scene etc
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The Patrick Hamil...: I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke 30 11 Jan 15, 2021 07:54AM  

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John Cooper Clarke (born 25 January 1949) is an English performance poet who first became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s when he became known as a "punk poet". He released several albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continues to perform regularly.


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