Arctic Monkeys and the possibility of an autobiography From The Argus
“Don’t call me a national treasure it seems like something you would say about a dead person or someone not working any more. I’m working more than at any point in my life.”
Indeed, with two visits to Sussex in 2014, and his first collection of poetry for 25 years set for release in book form soon, Dr John Cooper Clarke’s star is firmly in the ascent, almost 40 years on from his early appearances as a punk poet in the late 1970s.
“It doesn’t feel like work,” he says. “Somebody up louis vuitton outlet there likes me. I’m able to make a living out of what I do, although I’d be doing it whether I was paid or not.
“The past five years have been unbelievable I’ve got the poetry bug again, although it’s almost a sickness.
“I don’t know what brought it on although, you know, the more you work, the more you work. Yo louis vuitton outlet u’ve got to put the hours i louis vuitton outlet n, there’s no way around it and the law of averages says some of it has got to come out good.”
This rise in productivity has coincided with an increase in interest in the one time bard of Salford. He was the subject of a BBC Four documentary Evidently. John Cooper Clarke, and his poem I Wanna Be Yours featured on the GCSE syllabus.
That same poem was also put to music by Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner for their Mercury Music Prize nominated latest album AM.
Arctic Monkeys are a band Clarke can’t speak highly enough of.
“Their version is terrific,” he says. “I’m really dead grateful to Alex for that.
“Arctic Monkeys are a proper beat group they didn’t just answer an advert in the back of the NME. They are schoolmates with the Beatles thing about them and they are developing like bands used to. They keep reinventing themselves they went to the States and came back with an LA sounding album. It’s an inspiration.
“They know where they can get me, obviously, if they want to do something why would I say no to that?”
In recent years Clarke has also collaborated with Reverend And The Makers and Plan B, featuring in Ben Drew’s Ill Manors movie.
“All the people I work with I like,” says Clarke. “There is a tribalism in music which I feel is very much an English thing. In my life I’ve met a great many of my heroes Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, the real originators who came out from nowhere the genii.
“Musicians are only interested in music they aren’t interested in packaging.”
Old school style Although he is still keeping up with current trends, Clarke is defiantly old school writing down ideas louis vuitton outlet wherever he goes with a notebook and pen (“never let a line go by”), not owning a mobile phone (no doubt to the distress of his PR, who struggles to get hold of him on his landline to set up the interview), and refusing to engage with the computer world.
“People are talking now about the waning of newspapers,” he says. “People don’t use newspapers when they can get all the information they need off the web.
“The web doesn’t have any perspective with it the information could be from an idiot. If you have a job on a paper somebody evaluates your skills as a journalist they put their trust in you to deliver the goods. You know what he’s felt about matters in the past and how they square with what you feel about things, and you adjust your assimilation of his claims accordingly.
“It doesn’t take long to find the general political view of any given newspaper, and armed with that knowledge you evaluate its content. In the random world of computers who are they writing for? Who is paying them? Money comes into it the professional versus the amateur.”
He admits he may be talking out of ignorance as a non computer user, although his wife Evie does have one in the house.
“The thing with a computer is I know how good they are,” he says. “My three main interests are movies, men’s fashion and pop music they would keep me in front of a computer screen until the end of time.
“I know how little discipline I have there’s no end to my curiosity. I can never know enough about Elvis. I’m just the kind of guy who can’t be allowed in front of a computer I would be found six weeks later dead under a pile of pizza boxes.”
It was this curiosity which led him to start rhyming words at the age of 12.
“I can’t remember a time before 12 when I couldn’t write rhymes,” he says.
“I was aware of rhyme before I went to school because of the Rupert The Bear books they had a rhyming couplet across the top. The Daily Express used to run it every day.
“I don’t know what it is about reading and writing that gets some people more than others. I would read anything if it had print on it.
All this stuff now about the contents of processed food I could have told people about that ages ago, I’ve always been a great ingredients reader!”
His choices were admittedly limited growing up in Salford, reading his mother’s Women’s Own, or the Autocar his uncle brought into the house.