Lauren Laverne's castaway is the poet John Cooper Clarke. The programme was first broadcast in July 2019.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, Lauren Laverne, here, desert island discs is taking its usual easter break at the moment, so to keep you entertained. In the meantime, we've chosen some fabulous additions from our back catalogue for you as usual. This is a podcast, so the music has been shortened for rights reasons. We do hope you enjoy listening. My castaway this week is John cooper clock, nicknamed the board of sulphide. He first started writing poems at the age of twelve by fourteen, all he wanted to do in the early nineteenth seventies. His dream came true, though. The reality of being a professional port wasn't exactly words
emotion, recollected in tranquillity, then admonish gave him his first paid club gig and he went on to earn his stripes by surviving showers of flame and bottles to share stages with the likes of the sex pistols. Both cox and seizing the bunches he's been punks poet laureate ever since he says, poetry out of any art is the only one that everyone has a go at you, don't a load of expensive equipment or a musical instrument or top dancing lessons. All you need is imagination and a pen. John Cooper clarke, welcome to desert island discs. Hello, laura thank you for having me. So if anyone can do it, what makes a good poem a good poem? is the kiss of death agency over analyze. What you do a good poem, for instance, is one of ones that got me interested, I'm going to quote a line from from a number called woodman spare that free by a guy who
found very inspiring as a lad, phil Harris and it was woodman woodman's spare that tree shop, not a single bow. Ten years it has protected me and I'll now go joppa berkshire, Elmore, a pine but leave us slippery there, that's mine, that's the only three my wife can climb. Mr woodman spare me things like that. That's poetry and inspire you too likely subjects is a good one. You know chalk. Something of the kind of things people ignore you know when you talk, I'm open a poem. Suddenly you know you can like underline the importance of justice every you know things in the universal in the particular you gotta find in the EU.
A voice saw in particular you've said that you write in response to public anxiety, but your poems aren't political. Why not? Well, I think the poetry and the politics suffer for it. You know anybody that can converted to a particular world view because of a poem I think they're looking in the wrong places, for whatever is they want, but to hitch your poetry to any particular political wagon is always a mistake, because poetry is for you re a poem in its out there and sneak out on rights and politically you know. Well, we change wounds many times a day. Now I understand that you ve been come. While in a desert island discs music list for quite a few years. Now I happy with today's selections opera which eg man I have I've revised this list.
You know. Sixty use been a the show. For that alone, I'm not even joking. When I'm glad you put the irish people, it's a really sensationalist. Let's get stuck his eye fell on. Tell me about this one december one. Why did she cheese? It? Ah, yes, abide by the way, if I might explain how important a feel the shooter, they. I see it as like. I say you know, poetry is forever. So does island death? You know not many people get a second by apple, it has happened. I believe yes, it's too late for me to do that. So if my one John. So, for me you know: does island discs has all the finality of a suicide note without the actual obligation of shopping yourself, as you can see Emma cocoanut, half and say canada, guy
Listen, I mean it's not like that. Luckily, that's it's an uplifting selection of charter. I hope so, but with that in mind, the first choice, which is a quiet place by gum memes, really what I've got on this desert island, terrifying, low, the prospects of these objects. Learning lessons from what I've got here is everything memes one in this, a poet the kind of reminded all beethoven skittles living in the city
Thanks to the many players are the gun at me. And a quiet place. We want to take you back to another unquiet place, joan cooper, clog grown up in your neighborhood in sulphates back in the fifties. I think you once said that the best piece of it I see you ever received was from you dont george. Can you remember what it was? Well, they were true piece of advice forgotten. One was never work for nothing, flaky job like I've
and never leave a book is with a smile on your face and I am not warm so. Yes, he would tell me a little bit more about what we see tat like model was an engineer: why we're not power station? Usually choke electricity as far away as in the mess yeah, he was a a guy and real good gazer. And what about your mom, My mom was a living saint, really be a hyper illiterate and go out much my mother, breeding from her no question rid buried in five bucks? aside from the public library, those great sir public libraries and she was found, on his well yeah. Well, you nobody knows how my dad used to work away all the time she was kind of a loss. And I guess I was a movie date Well, don't worry about whereby for every two cow
We are against the movies. I'd have to go, see three, what they call women's pictures of meme movies like, for instance, the best of everything staring hope. Lang pay an plagiarists we'd go see. Me is like that I could always functional. Didn't you enjoy in lieu noted, like american move. So still I look at what the guys were, where you know, tab college shoe shots skin ivy league suits things like that. Just didn't appear in any gents outfitters outside itchy and what was sulphide in the fifties. Well, what did we do it because we always lived in apartments and our apartment, Gabriel? So what was without a doubt a busy is cross roads in the north of england. Pray
go away. So it was all that commercial traffic. You know real were chaka, I loved it yeah. I didn't, I didn't know any different. We are eight movie theaters within walking distance and when I say walking distance, I hate walking they were close. You got to be when you at seven array and you send away to convalesce with relatives in rail. How did that go? Well, I thought it was great records. Obviously I couldn't stay in the past silvered. Why was living wasn't very far away from my trafford part traffic? Pat them was probably the biggest industrial complex outside. The soviet union so ads, they get moved out and the nearest placed a mood mounts available. Can we knew we were made a moment where eleven real north wales, which them was a flourishing holiday result in o the equal of blackpool, and I was more or less feral was served.
How am I more? Let's bet did but ill treated, so he started to knock around. If ground the know, I made myself useful what was the lure of that man was sound systems, yeah yeah, well, that's right, they would be playing. You know what music, while you were, would be rock and roll, jean Vincent Elvis in all the good stuff they heavily brothers harmonies from. Heaven it's time to hear your next disk. Did you this one of the fact that this is yes, I daresay I wanna mover Jeremy Louis, the greatest piano player that ever lived
well shaken going on jerry, louis and a whole lot of shaking going on John cooper clarke. We've heard a little bit about life at home. How did you get on at school? You missed a little bit because of your tuberculosis. Yeah could have been a genius or did miss out on a lot of school, but I don't feel like I missed anything
hey it's cool. You learned anything that took me out. There was ok by me, but I've gotta a red and I'm glad they ran with those down my real fro when they did but hey it. Why I don't know I've never been really a team player that must have been on every school report I ever had was no team spirit. Wouldn't get me in a gang. He did have one teacher who biology, though your english middle, your Malone here It was a rugged outdoor type. He would return im from the summer holidays, every september, with the some kind of injury, the eight include indulge in some outdoor pursue url the mount and a rain wore a ski and abseil little, but it did offer this. Weakness for the romantic poetry, a benign seed censure, which
he conveyed so that the entire class you know, and we weren't like it. What the kind of school, where you d expect them to be over receptive to poetry, is quite self school, put it Why we had our own coroner? obviously in the air he imparted his love romance acknowledges and rivers said the entire celestial it became. It became a hot house of poetic competition to the point where it was a badge of honor to use polysyllabic speech at all times, It's amazing how it call on, but I was the best I so that's where I flourish so He said the romantic ports of the nineteenth century who connected with he fell ill and you love the one that struck me was edgar allan poe? We have today I bought by heart, Michael gove style. Really, it's the only way to do it. The way poetry works as it sneaks up on you.
Four years later, you're not going to understand it was written by a four year old guy you're twelve, learn the words and then you know the easily a you know, while it's amazing how it makes its mark. I can't think of a better way of being introduced to poetry, and then I found out about reading open, edgar allan poe earlier, I found out that sir, his entire body of work had been translated into french, charles baudelaire, so That was a name. I remembered that I resolved to read his poetry in translation and ever since then she'll do has been Adele, my number one guy poetry wise. What will you writing? What we're only poems like I got a commission to write a poem about the deal. Homes exhibition, I still had it. It was an
They then at the city hall in manchester was all delay is more comes. You know the prestige, many mop mafia, richards, stay mayans and all these things had a yearly update. So I was censored so I'll report back poetically and how did it go? Oh, it's chuck I wish I could I remember any of us all, but it was. It was a great piece of work him to labour saving devices. Yet we do not have any of those things my parents had an aversion to hire purchase, you know was always on. You know, get move will like most the working class people in the fifties they were terrified gets so the year ideal homes exhibitions of me, was wonderland, terentius its I'm visible, music. John tell us about your third disk. Why did you select this one? Our deal?
I love do what music I went to see day on that now in sixty one, and it was the best dress, the most handsome man, I've ever seen, this day on the bank notes the bell months been day on the indian friends, sixty muti, carlo mustard, Angelo fred Milano, Angelo daily day, alyosha and a net that
deal. The town months. I wonder why John cubic log after school, you took any jobs as a printing, compositae lab technician itself attack and as a fire watch. On plymouth docks you continued writing doing all of them and were convinced that poetry as entertainment would work. Why were you so certain? I was convinced that if the poetry with such hanging in enough. Why why why? Let me alone lands attainment, business and you can change this, but so that data
the edwardian musical. You know we're not even for me, stop euro cent german or nature boys, of what would really fly in the year of music halls of white jacqueline beyond you know, but what about seldom on fifteen may? Well again, you know there was always evident survey. You know the ghost of poetry. Is there with stanley all away stuff? a whole away on. Therefore, reference phil Harris, get the singers that didn't actually sing. Rex Harrison you don't as a guy that spoke every song that he was ever given you. Why can't a woman be more like a man you know what I'm saying, and I read that you did used to watch opportunity. Knox that will actually there again. That was validation. You know what I mean say you know what the professional poet for a living. You know Cassandra, that's what I sought from Renard baudelaire, your real about his life. He didn't do anything rather than write, poetry and
My around aimlessly shall had been from one How do I know that you know what I mean another. Why were the life of a useless flannel can be used to sit by virtue of poetry? That was not life for me. The life of an idol? We will have an idea, and when you are, Tell people that you wanted to be a poet here. Will they would all say nobody makes a living out of poetry and I'd mention a few poets that they might have heard of what my fellow larkin is. Brain, irian jaya azalea it with a bang clerk. You know. They all are these all jobs he received a generous die pen from oxford university on it and was always some red why they could do it, but I can it was the only life that I would settle for frankly I daily life, I could emerge, you never make it any successor and pass with poppies.
So that year will that, after opportunity, not the juice died gathering in the votes. Every week, for a year the british public will vote I so, and I was like there, you are there. You are, why not me she writes about life, I write about mood yellow, while exactly so your first paid. Gig came in the early nineteen seventies, courtesy of bernard manning at his embassy club in manchester. How did you persuade him to book you well a judicious choice of poem right, obviously we're not it's about a July said one. What is it you do? Salah, I said, poetry, Mr Mann, and you know isa is that they don't like poetry and a half of 'em. Can't bleat, pin read what you Georgia which is not so high flown. Mr mountaineer I'll give you a demo saw just written as salome set in the rich said manages which anew
It would have known very well so given the line on galofta believe my sophia conditional upon shop that kicks off and she gets dragged into it. That's why along with my fellow member alone, an alliance is there. When the pawn shop was although she was lying on the deck she fell, offers della oils a broker bleep in. So as soon as he read dies at all yeah that'll fly on, I will give you a chance. Then you are off yeah, but I was met with the poet's worst enemy indifference. They were there for me. It all it takes is for everybody is that so few, each other than that you all over, one man, one might well migrate in of italy and jaya halls in conversation with each other. You didn't have gotten a residency, a club called mistress Mrs do not well, I have to do it. Burns
You know I'm gonna, take it into the sun or a sound, but it was pre. Punk see and I count modeled myself, my saw a poetic coach, yo best persona There's a movie called the small world of sammy leash diary, I'm sending and what he does live in is a genetic see in several strict joint sitting so who nine sixty one, it's gonna reapproached, so mud move a you know, so so he kind of lives in a church. Vito sure arrival each suit look in each other, What is the uniform of the nightclub and said sane? So when punk happened, I didn't look like a hippie put it that way, which was a rare thing in those days narrow, trousers, narrow, lapels shaking so I mean punk shows pretty bracing back in the days. What was it like performing for that cried once the scene radie took off Juno. After a logic it up. It was great. You know it
Wasn't all dodgy bottles and fled not didn't last very long, some of light and some of it didn't. I was planet for life. There's a guy for how it devotes we use. It was then the senior with the boss Coxe, who convinced mid the usher bit play, these punk venues. He said you know they. He pointed out that the concerns the adult with a my poems, was singing from the same hymn sheet as the poet Robert world. For me, poetry. Is the surest way of conveying something really big. I think What my poems had in common with the lyrics john widen Joe stroman mic Jones bro totally we sure abrasive at times and yet, with its own no federal attraction, the lyrical style upon rob, I found a great kingship. With specifically ram owes you, I thought, were
insatiable lyricists child. How am I gonna sell? Em? I ain't got no cerebellum yeah, that's it I've always remain it's time to go to the music jones. Your fourth disk tell me about this from elephants. Gerald should imagine this would be a nice piece of escapism, not desert island and one thing Thank you would miss more than anything else would be the voice of a woman a voice in this case. Well, that's what elephants general! Does she sings beautiful songs chief. Well, to my mind, is there
the middle in the middle, where someone's waiting to be killed. Have you seen valley, green hm, where Ella, fitzgerald and skylark so John cooper clarke? You will make Albums of your poetry ran this time as well. You had it took forty hit with gimmicks on your first published collection. Ten years in an open nature was published in nineteen eighty three: how did you feel about your life that point well, it was only were trajectory. We're gonna, be out my hand. To be honest, it wants it Hey my gun, ensemble, these would musicians. You know not whom I really knew very well, and I may not all excellent musicians as well. Not many of them punk
When I hear it now, I hear my poems with music. It sounds to me like about one of my feet has been nailed to the floor below me cause you know I varied the speed of, and even through warm poem. You know some of it's fast, some bitch dragged out. You know I mean that only I can know I'll do that in a lunch, the sort of edgy part of it. Rarely like I say you know when poetry and music go together, it's called a song and I don't have anything against. I love saying it. That's why I drink. You once said that the taint of punk was the kiss of death once the nineteen eighties arrived. So wasn't there a place for you in the age of the musical yeah, it was all over by non jeweler. Job became conspicuous consumption, so anything that was lights out with the punk brush was surplus to requirements, ro for you, you know but passed
They must have been tough I always worked. You know never stopped working, but I was doing smaller joints and I wasn't. I ill as much as I should have been by the time you developed a heroin addiction that lasted seventeen years. How bad did it get during that period while everything was grey after that ha no, but seriously, obviously, I'm being sarcastic myself, that is the center of your universe than it was always something better to do than right, appalling ship, you gonna get to say I mean you know every drug out, jeez, virtually the same person. You noted that did not really much point in dwelling on it, but I need it more than ever so I had to work a definite glamour was fleet enough with every every new job.
Really felt like. I was sort of selling my sorry, ass. At times there was a tedious saying among hippies, if you're not part of the solution of the problem, and that's why I'm no expert, the question that Iraq should be because I was very much part of the proper yellow under our data. I did it in two ways: gradually and suddenly we scared so for any point? Now? No, no, don't remember fear. Being one of the factors know, if I'm honest, I mean I've been scary situations around it, sir. No, no, I think when I quit, I felt real really badly don't suit.
You know I'm gonna quit merely serve to. Why explained alone With a girly body that, I think you know it's a long time since I cleaned up yeah, but it's interesting that you say you felt really badly Dante, and I'm just wondering I quit yeah yeah. You know it's just you feel do in a fairer society. So? You're not alone, you don't know me thought. I was doing everybody a favor. Everybody was Worried about me. What can I say we want to be assumed- what's of anxiety to everybody, they know you know he. He just trouble it's time to go with the music. This is your fifth tell me about it, yet nico that this brings us to done. No, I guess yeah well. This is a very mysterious soon. Enigmatic wouldn't be too big a word for it, and that is a poetic connection.
If something is a mysterious value where the allure never wears off, no matter how many times you hear it, most people would describe as poetic and here is a great example of a poetic sung, some by a very poetic person, the late christa packing Nikko I'll, keep it women, I'm sorry, in, the come in me. Oh and I'll keep it with mine john cooper clock, you lived with nikko for awhile, yes,
I had an apartment in bricks, dinner she'd column tour of ITALY had neglect It's a pay, her rent, so yeah shared an apartment the people she knew was unbelievable. You know frederico Fellini, I dont know too many people can drop names. Like John have heard, you say that you had to forced herself to work to write junior Recovery tell me about that. Why did you have to make yourself sit down and put penta paper when I quit using. It took out it took a long time to get back into a kind of you know: I'd go out of the habit of right in poetry. I think it was a good thing, the poet frail right now is so markedly different pay area? So everything was around before that? truly feel this to be the case and that something
about the right in a poetry that involves a particular kind of magic I don't care to really look at, but how did it fail to get us back tonight? You still at the touch. You could still do well, marble, because I really did think that you can lose this and I'm a written now I know that you can now. I don't want anything escape now a lot of stuff I right now you met your second wife. Tv in the late eighties. I heard that you bonded over a copy of a la fleur de mile. Yes, I had recently acquired a new translation of les fleurs du mal by the afore reference charles Baudelaire, and I was anxious to find out if this was an a good translation and who better Was the miss evelyn pollutes? Who was then a language teachers and whose favorite poet was gels moodily.
You became a debt to stellar in the early nineties. What was in boys parenthood like all if known how much funding is a kid. I warned about seventeen that was a very very late to it for five you know all my life, you know, and all my mates about judge I lay beside don't ever have cage I've was always there yellow a book. I had to listen to those measurable people, because you know I thought an hour now more fun. It was, as I say, I would about seventeen although you know my daughter is as as anyone who would say special: let's have some music. This is your six described the chosen it. This is moonlight in vermont. Again. A nice switch ensure no dial landscape. Also gather bemoan knowing ski resort deciduous trees. What
life without sinatra Nothing. Lula in vermont, ski trails on the mountain side, not the sort of thing you wanna be news in verona, sweltering, island and industry. Falling a sycamore moonlight in vermont, and I finger no lie: francs,
John and moonlight in vermont, conjuring up into the beautiful musical vista john cooper clock grassroots. Indeed, thanks for bringing up up up up these, a graphic full reveries. The I've included here. It seems to me that not all of your guests take the context into account. So I think the safe way to go is geography, landscapes and vistas, as you so beautifully put it. We appreciate you going to allow effort John and you'll evidently, chicken town was used over the and credits of an episode, actually colored your story from current. On the subject of the guests. Yeah there's something I've found, gaunt nobody's ever pick the theme music, a sleepy lagoon. It's called you. He's, got lyric, nor have they have their with or without lyrics. Without dialogue delivers its golden.
Sleep lagoon and labour lagoon tropical moon, you are I do know what you mean would be a good choice if somebody's done that somebody did that yeah. So listen. I've got to ask you about the sopranos of your poem at evidently. Chicken town was used over the end credits of an episode of the sopranos in two thousand and seven, and that would prove a big turning point for you or absolutely. I was coming At the end of the wilderness years, I wasn't consulted. I didn't have any representation of any kind. So how would nobody? Nobody even knew where I lived, but I'm so glad they took the law into their own homes and used it. My goddamn opens doors a vision wise, which the three axes, the simpsons sign, failed? and mister brownlow tvs vanish three. I the sopranos, also introduced
is to you to plan b, who asked you to collaborate on the album ill manners and then in twenty thirteen, an adaptation of another of your poems. I want to be yours. Yes, it was an arctic monkeys, album a m. How did that come about with the arctic monkeys or was in the shower at the boardwalk walker in sheffield, and the proprietor said that, would you just have a word with these lads big funds are your word. They dont my stuff at school. You know it yeah yeah that was grey of emotion if ram down the reluctant throats of school children and there was nothing they could do about it. Anyway. I'm on my way out the boardwalk curb everybody's logic. During a ban. We think they're going to be really big. So it's as a oh yeah, what they called they are chipmunk. As I thought, that's a terrific: There's no monkeys in me immediately! You got a dichotomy, it's gonna! Stick it in your head, for
so yes, your nah. They were shy, schoolboys, very polite, nice, kids, but I knew they had some. Then you know, but it did mature fantastic and I couldn't appeared with their covered over. I wanna be yours. Your second collection, the luckiest skylight, was published in twenty eighteen people. Call it come back. What are your thoughts on the la martha years? I've never been away, so I actually. I'm more high profile now than I ever was, is the truth of it. You know I was kind elusive sort of salmon the glamorous shadow, a figure in the punk rock years, but now you know prey can a mainstream. You know. You'd have to have lived in a cave for the last three years to not know who to not know the name of dots at young, Oh, that's great, I wouldn't have any other way. All right and tangier seventh desk wisely chosen this one doris day, ambition
The first woman I fell in love with a very early age again with a geographical travel, look picture, her a lot bogey driving through a blizzard finally, dressed as a woman calamity jane with this one, the black hills of dakota. She was first golden vision of womanhood that registered as one hundred percent adorable the late. Sadly doris day, black hills of the bad the the beat me and that ma, am
is the boy the mines are so doris day and the black hills of Dakota june cooper clerk? I wonder what your parents made of your success. The fact that you made it oh they did see some of it yeah yea without a doubt, but not this high up chain. Level that I'm enjoy today, but now mean that while this would have impressed the hell out of me, you know they're well, my mom anyway, she was a big radio person. Yeah, I'm sure she would have been thrilled as I your site, it is an insurance by artists from several disciplines, poets, comics musicians. Where do you see your influence today I dont know about employees, but I think I have created a platform. You know it's a legitimate thing to do now: write, poetry and read it.
In public, this beau de larian idea of robin an idle life and yet contributing some house of the quality of everybody's life is just the best that I could ever have hoped for real, and what would you say to a young poet who's listening to this and is looking for advice, my advice to any poet: you have to be idle to write it, a pen, a notebook and idleness. Those are the three requisites for the manufacture of poetry. It's time for your final desert island discs, election john cooper clarke. What's it going to be well, this is a the greatest singing other ever lived if any guy changed the name. Sure of our world. It's this fellow, does any of male beauty.
You're on your own. A desert island signal, late, you're, gonna, hafta, wanna, come some plates. The nature of the community There is only one guy with the vocal equipment to do this and Elvis presley What a wonderful reading of how great thou airbus and
great thou, art john cooper clark, I'm about to cast you away, then, to a very solitary existence on your island. How do you think you'll cope well I'm not the most practical guy in the world, but I don't have a suicidal bone in my body, so I would first of all attempts or constructs and and Chad Bellum mansion out of palm fronds and shells. Well, I keep you busy for love, while I've got all the time in the one. Of course, I'll also give the bible and the complete works of shakespeare to read while you're there, you can take another book of your own. What would you like? I would like against nature by j dot k freeseman the way you you through a pain, say battling going through an art gallery, it so rich. You can actually only read it three pages at a time. You can also luxury item. What would you like? A boat or of opium twice the size.
That my own head well listeners will make up there mind about your choice, but I can't refuse you as illegal substances have been allowed as luxuries previously willows, I'm a breakin and I'm not going They worry and anybody that's a precedent that John, so that as yours, thanks and finally, which of these eight tracks that you ve so carefully chosen, which he rushed to save. If you could only keep one no hesitation Elvis john cooper clark. Thank you very much for sharing your does Anna discs with us. Thank you. So much lauren been a pleasure the, the
Transcript generated on 2022-06-09.