John Cooper-Clarke, the Bard of Salford, punk poet, rock star, fashion icon, UK ‘national treasure’ and acerbic wit has released his immensely engaging memoir ‘I Wanna Be Yours’. As punk emerged in the ’70s, Cooper-Clarke began gigging with bands, warming the crowd at a Sex Pistols shows and winning over tough audiences with his wit.
With his gravel-voiced on-stage renditions of rhymes about everyday urban Britain, Cooper-Clarke emerged as the first big time performing punk-poet.
John Cooper-Clarke’s gritty subject matter made him a hit. His unique poetry writing and intense delivery style were recorded and put to music by legendary producer Martin Hannett and a band of Mancunian superstars, including Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley and The Durutti Columns Vinnie Reilly.
“I was working my ass off – but getting money out of people was a big problem.” John Cooper-ClarkeTweet
‘I Wanna Be Yours’ cements Cooper-Clarke’s status as one of the most distinctive voices in pop cultural history, the memoirs covering his dark descent into a drug addiction that nearly killed him, into his chaotic and unpredictable life through the ’70s and ’80’s, right through to today as a happily married, substance-free family man.
The book takes you through his rollercoaster existence alongside the likes of Elvis Costello, Billy Idol, Ian Dury, and The Clash. Yet, it’s the stories he tells of the diverse local characters, skulking around the fringes, that tell the most entertaining tales.
He recalls his brush with death when on tour in Australia with New Order where his heart stopped after an overdose of drugs he bought from a nurse. “Thank God the nurse was around. She punched my heart back into action,” John says.
“Thank God, the nurse was around. She punched my heart back into action.” John Cooper-ClarkeTweet
His label sent him to rehab. After three months, he was clean, and he began to see another side to life.
Happily married to second wife Evelyn he tells the story of how missing the last train home and meeting Evelyn changed his life forever. He says he’s never been happier… or richer.
Today, Cooper-Clarke is as relevant and vibrant as ever with his influence and fashion style just as visible on today’s pop culture. His poetry is included on national curriculum syllabus and his impact on modern music is undeniable.
I Wanna Be Yours is out now.