Belfast Telegraph

Arctic Monkeys perform poet's verse

Arctic Monkeys are to bring to life the words of a John Cooper Clarke poem which has featured in the GCSE syllabus.

The Glastonbury headliners have put his verse I Wanna Be Yours to music for the closing track on their forthcoming fifth album, which is released later this year.

Punk poet Clarke, recently a panellist on BBC One's Have I Got News For You, has long been hailed as an inspiration by the band.

Frontman and songwriter Alex Turner has often talked about how he was inspired as a lyricist by hearing Clarke's words at school as part of the syllabus. One of his poems was also the inspiration for the video to their single Fluorescent Adolescent, while the band chose their name after Clarke gave it the nod of approval.

Alex, who has Clarke's name tattooed on his arm, said of his inspiration: "I was your typical teenager, trying to be cool and not interested and the teacher proceeded to read I Wanna Be Yours, doing an impression of Johnny.

"It made my ears prick up in the classroom because it was nothing like anything I'd heard especially like on this syllabus."

Alex added: "Had I not seen him do his thing, I wouldn't have started writing like that."

Tangle-haired Clarke, 64, first found fame in the late 70s as an opening act for a number of punk bands and went on to land a record deal and make the top 40 with Gimmix! Play Loud. Other popular poems have included Health Fanatic, (You Never See A Nipple In the) Daily Express, Evidently Chickentown and (I Married A) Monster From Outer Space. Clarke, who also featured in a Sugar Puffs ad campaign, begins I Wanna Be Yours with the lines: "I wanna be your vacuum cleaner, breathing in your dust, I wanna be your Ford Cortina, I will never rust."

He has said of the poem, the words of which are often changed for live performances: "It's one of a classic style of love poem, love song, in which the writer expresses his desire to be useful to the object of his desire."

It will be released on Arctic Monkeys fifth album AM, which is released on September 9. They headline Glastonbury's pyramid stage on Friday.


From Belfast Telegraph