I Wanna Be Yours

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What to expect

This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as its inimitable subject himself. This 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. At 5 feet 11 inches (32in chest, 27in waist), in trademark dark suit, dark glasses, with dark messed-up hair and a mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognizable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his own brand of slightly sick humour is never far from the surface.

I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson, Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso, Gil Scott Heron, Mark E. Smith and Joe Strummer, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic take on popular culture over the centuries: from Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe to Pop Art, pop music, the movies, fashion, football and showbusiness – and much, much more, plus a few laughs along the way.

Critics Review

  • This is not a ‘ponderous trudge through the turgid facts of an ill-remembered life’ but the kind of autobiography Rimbaud might have written if he had been a Mancunian stand-up comedian.

    Spectator Best Books of the Year
  • The bookshop shelves have been clogged up for years by musicians and artists who made their debuts in the sulphurous days of 1976-7, but I Wanna Be Yours, the autobiography of the “punk poet” John Cooper Clarke, aka “the Bard of Salford”, knocked most of the competition into a cocked hat.

    TLS 'Books of the Year'
  • Any autobiography that features both Bernard Manning and Nico is unlikely to disappoint; even less so when it’s written with such brilliantly Dickensian vigour by the Bard of Salford, John Cooper Clarke . . .this fast, funny book catches his life in its lines

    Sunday Times 'Music Books of the Year'
  • Manchester punk poet John Cooper Clarke takes a rather different approach to heroin addiction, treating it as a source of humour in his sharply observed, entertaining memoir . . . “Relentless tragedy is always hilarious,” he notes of his eventual recovery. “At some point the laughter has to stop.”

    Daily Telegraph, Best Music Books of 2020
  • [I Wanna Be Yours] might be the funniest book published this year. Few memoirists have had better material to work with: heroin addiction, years living in a squat with Nico, endless love affairs and a TV appearance with the Honey Monster. Talk about getting the most out of life.

    The Times, Best Music Books of the Year 2020
  • The godfather of British performance poetry

    Daily Telegraph

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