Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator. This memoir covers John Cooper Clarke's 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.
... compelling reading, an eloquent and unconventional memoir from an extraordinary character who has shared stages with some of the most epochal talents of the 20th century ... Clarke detonates zingers on every page, plus there are priceless cameos ... one of the most magnificent and hysterically funny memoirs of modern times.
Clarke’s hyper-consciousness of what’s cool is gleefully self-deprecating ... For someone who is nowadays seen as a curiosity, it’s a surprise to be reminded what a relatively mainstream figure Clarke was ... He is capable of moments of real loveliness as well as comedy ... you’d rather such emotional avoidance than the poor me-whining of many celebrity memoirs ... Basically, I Wanna Be Yours is fantastically entertaining. The only vice it shares with conventional rock star autobiography is its formlessness, a tendency to the undifferentiated recitation of events — which hotel I stayed in, which theatre I played, what my agents said to me. But Clarke’s life was so uninterruptedly interesting, you don’t mind ... As a writer of comic prose Clarke is the match of anyone alive, and his turns of phrase are as sharp as his suits ... His drawl is as much a part of his peculiar ars poetica as the words of the poems themselves. Every sentence he writes, you read in his voice. By the end of the nearly 500 pages of I Wanna be Yours I felt I’d not so much read a memoir as listened to an outrageous confession from a psychoanalyst’s couch.
... sprightly ... Much of his tale is as bleak as his poetry, but Clarke is a droll observer of his own life, guiding us through a childhood of benign neglect to later heroin addiction and an often terrifying cast of characters ... As with his performances, his comic timing as a writer appears effortless but is highly skilled ... The least interesting parts of Clarke’s book deal with heroin addiction at the height of his career (he has been clean for many years) ... For aspiring poets, he deconstructs his writing process, explaining an intriguing technique of writing backwards ... Clarke’s primordial gift for language is everywhere in this book. It is almost impossible not to read passages out loud — a meta reminder of his contribution to the joy of spoken-word performance.