U2 Bücher » Ray Cokes - My Most Wanted Life (English)
Buch: Ray Cokes - My Most Wanted Life (English)
quotes Ray Cokes in his recently published autobiography (2014, Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag) and that could just as well be his life theme.
Born on the Isle of Wight (UK) in 1958, Ray Cokes became famous and popular during his MTV period, particularly due to his Most Wanted show that is (more or less) subtly referenced in his book title. Those watching back then, remember that MTV really was a MUSIC station at the time, centrally broadcast from London and therefore completely in English, reaching millions of households Europe-wide - thus Ray Cokes became not only the real (and best) English teacher of many non-native speakers but, very likely, permanently influenced many a viewer's taste in music with his shows. And: he met them ALL, all who were big in the music business (and some of them still are) - but more "name-dropping" later...
Younger U2 fans most likely got to know of and love Most Wanted and Ray Cokes with the 2011 release of the deluxe version of Achtung Baby - included on one of the bonus DVDs is the legendary 1992 Most Wanted Show on the occasion of a broadcast of a U2 concert in Sweden to a single lucky competition winner (still a dream for every U2 fan!). By the way, since 1981 Cokes' and U2's paths have crossed time and again - Cokes also offers a look behind the scenes in his book regarding these meetings.
But let's take one thing at a time: If an author starts his autobiography with a message to his parents, asking them to NOT read the book as it could ruin their image of their son forever, the readers' expectations are really high. And Ray Cokes delivers as promised - he tells his life's story with ruthless and, at times, almost brutal honesty. And yet, it is exactly this honesty that captivates the reader and in spite of sometimes not quite legal actions, Cokes remains an absolutely likable character throughout his book.
He takes his readers on a time travel and describes his abandoned "career" as teenage shoplifter, how he became a Punk (and somehow remained one), how he began a training to become a chef and how he somehow ended up in Belgium, where he in addition to several jobs had his first chances to work as radio DJ and later on as TV host. Why U2 (without Larry) partied wildly in his house in Belgium. How he was hired by MTV and almost fired on his first day. How he developed his own style at MTV and how his concept of no concept reached cult status ("We were a bunch of freewheeling, noisy troublemakers and we loved every minute of it."). How his alter ego Roy Cakes came to life. Why Robbie Williams showed his naked bum to the camera in his show. How David Bowie had him on. How he was allowed to play the guitar with The Cure (and later received a very special wedding gift from them). The fact that Radiohead and Blur had their MTV Europe debuts in his show... And all stories "seasoned" with sex, drugs and rock'n'roll and, above all, with the typical and so lovable Ray Cokes humor.
Yet, he also dwells on the downsides of his life: In 1996, Ray Cokes' MTV career ended with a bang on Hamburg's Reeperbahn - he gives a detailed account of what really happened back then and how this led to his departure from MTV and how his life continued after that. Cokes does not leave out anything - internet and sex addiction, depression, drugs, and more or less successful attempts to get back into the show business. As he was avoided like the plague in England (following the Reeperbahn incident), he moved to France, later on to Berlin and then returned to Belgium (where he still lives and works).
And there is a (somehow) happy ending (for now) that must be mentioned: 13 years after the infamous Reeperbahn "bang" he successfully re-conquered the Reeperbahn as host of his own Ray's Reeperbahn Revue as part of the annual Reeperbahn Festival! You cannot avoid the feeling that this "ending" initiated a new beginning: today, Cokes is successful judge of Belgium's Got Talent. And this leads us back to the Chumbawamba quote at the beginning of this review.
Conclusion: A definite must-read: the (music) world needs more Ray Cokes! His autobiography is humorous and entertaining and captivates the reader from the first to the last pages. In addition to many real(!) insights into the backstage areas, the readers learn a lot about times back then and the music business and how it changed (until today) - this in particular is extremely interesting to music lovers of any age. Access all areas!
Favourite quote: "And anyway - you only get guarantees with washing machines."
Rezensent: Sabine Schieweck
(6) Ein absolutes Muss!
(5) Sollte man als großer Fan gelesen haben.
(4) Eine der besseren Veröffentlichungen.
(3) Ganz OK, aber mit einigen Schwächen.
(2) Wirklich kein Muss, aber mit netten Fotos.
(1) Braucht kein Mensch.