Yesterday, the Arctic Monkeys’ new album AM was available to stream on iTunes. You know I jumped on that right away. Listen here if you haven’t yet.
BUT HEY let’s focus on me. I’m halfway listening. Cleaning, walking around the house and I come back into my bedroom to hear the very last track. I hear Alex Turner singing words that I had sang before. Is this an old song? No, I remember being on stage reading these words at smoky bar as vivid as my own skin. I even felt maybe teenager boyfriends had scribbled them to me. I felt very, very sick. “Did I write this?” I thought for a millisecond of nausea before I snapped out of my arrogance and realized it was John Cooper Clarke.
If your formative years were shaped by going outside, maybe making some friends instead of maintaining the pale & worshiping Robert Smith, here is a crash course for you: John Cooper Clarke is a British “punk poet”. He basically sang songs without music. He was his generation’s Ginsberg. The 70-80s Oscar Wilde. Full of diabolical, stinging verse and way too cool to be poetry words that etched in your memory. Because that’s what you wanted to be: cool. I’ve used his words to charm and impress since I was 16. It’s very much a matter of debate if this has worked even once coming from a gangly, stuttering young Whit.
Like I alluded to earlier, I had a Jordan Catalano boyfriend in high school (or did he just follow me around as much as I kept hiding behind things from him?). Anyway, we were both idiots but he did introduce me to a collection of poems by the high priest JCC.
Clarke opened for punk bands. Bands during the Clash period put his stuff to subpar music alot. But now one of my favorite bands on earth is doing it… I, I’m kind of worried I made this all up in the part of my brain where “really important to me” things live.
So, yesterday, I learned Alex Turner was a JCC fan. Not just a newcomer either. He has a tattoo devoted to the poet as well. I am deeply disappointed in my horrible fangirl detective work that I never knew this.
Next I’m gonna learn he likes London, California & Alexa Chung as much as I do. WAIT.
BRB gonna try to seance with my dreamboat chimera.
Upon further thought, I think this just reinforces my decision to not get a certain line from this poem tattooed on my back when I was 19. Wow.
Here is “I Wanna Be Yours”, the closing track to AM, out September 10th.
P.S. For good measure