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Pulp’s witty program for the ‘His ‘n’ Hers’ tour
12:42 pm



It’s an oversimplification to say that Pulp hit the big time in 1995, but it will always seem to be so because of the international success of the album Different Class and especially the single “Common People,” frequently cited as one of the decade’s best songs (in 2010, for instance, Pitchfork somewhat perversely placed it at #2 behind Pavement’s “Gold Soundz”). But by that time Jarvis and Co. had been slugging it out for in excess of 15 years, with four albums and who knows how many gigs on its ledger. Just a year earlier, His ‘n’ Hers made a significant splash, reaching #9 on the U.K. charts and narrowly failing to outpace Elegant Slumming by M People (right, them) for the 1994 Mercury Music Prize (weirdly, Different Class wasn’t even nominated for 1995).

In other words, if Different Class was Pulp’s Thriller, then His ‘n’ Hers was its Off the Wall. Now Pulp has never been quick to bless the United States with a surplus of live dates, but they did support His ‘n’ Hers with eight North American dates in 1994 opening for Blur, who were in the middle of a genre-defining apotheosis all their own, although still a year away from a hugely overhyped feud with some Manchester band whose name I cannot currently recall.

That was in fact Pulp’s first foray into North America, and those residents of Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc., who made it to the gigs were treated with an opportunity to purchase a Pulp tour program spanning 100 pages positively bursting with clever-clever content of a certain kind.

I’ll let you peruse some of the pages below, but not before presenting this typical .... well, let’s call it a “blurb,” which is credited to Melody Maker (the original list, which was actually a a review of a Paris gig, was originally quite a bit longer and was written by David Bennun).


A. Pulp understand the minutiae of our dreary little lives.
B. “Babies” sounds like kinky sex doom disco.
C. Pulp are unique and brilliant. This is almost unheard of.
D. Jarvis Cocker is a truly bizarre frontman.
E. Pulp are a very good live band.
F. Pulp are a very good live band.
G. Jarvis writes lyrics like “Hey! You in the jesus sandals, would you like to come over and watch some vandals smashing up someone’s home?”
H. That’s enough.

The lyric quoted in G are from “Joyriders,” the first track of His ‘n’ Hers. Plenty of similar wit to be found below, especially in the “Catchphrases” slot.
See scans from the program, right after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A brief history of 90s Britpop as told through the covers of ‘Select’ magazine

Selective memory can be a marvellous thing. It ensures we are never wrong, always right and (best of all) that we have always had such impeccable taste in music.

In Britain there were a lot of drugs about in the nineties—a lot of bad drugs—which might explain why so many of us—who lived through that heady decade—only recall the really good stuff rather than all that crap we apparently really enjoyedMr Blobby? Babylon Zoo? Rednex? Will Smith?—well, somebody bought this shit, how else did it all get to #1?

Personally, I have no recollection (officer) as to how all these records charted, but I can certainly give you a brief illustrated history of what we were actually listening to and what we all supposedly liked.

Exhibit #1: Select magazine

Select was arguably the magazine of the 1990s—the one that best represented (or at least covered) what happened during that decade—well, if you lived in the UK that is. Select had attitude, swagger and wit and was very, very opinionated. It didn’t tug its forelock or swoon before too many stars—though it certainly had its favorites.

Select kicked off in July 1990 with his purple highness Prince on the cover. It was a statement of the kind of magazine they were going to be—cool, sophisticated, sexy, sharp. Prince was good—everybody loves Prince. It didn’t last long. Over the next few months, the magazine struggled to find a musical movement it could wholeheartedly endorse. In its search for the next big thing—even The Beatles (rather surprisingly) featured on its cover.

Select threw its weight behind such bands as Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Blur and most significantly Suede—who never quite managed the level of success the magazine hoped for. Then Select did something remarkable—rather than follow the trend the magazine decided to shape it.

In April 1993, Select published an article by journalist Stuart Maconie entitled “Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr. Cobain?” In it Maconie made a very convincing case for abandoning the influence of American music (grunge) and taking up with the “crimplene, glamour, wit, and irony” of local British talent.

Maconie offered up a list of bands he thought would make it big—Suede, Saint Etienne, Denim, The Auteurs and Pulp—lumping them together under the title “Britpop.” Within a year—the idea of one journalist had become a movement of disparate bands, genres and styles—from Oasis to Blur, Elastica to Pulp, Sleeper to The Verve.

Maconie’s idea gave Select their drum—one they were going to bang until everyone was deaf or the thrill had gone.

Select lasted for just over a decade 1990-2001. Its final cover featured Coldplay—which might explain where Britpop had gone wrong. Some kind soul has scanned all of the back issues—inside and out—and a trawl through their covers tells the story of what was in, what was hip, and what was “going on.”

If you’ve a hankering for the past or just want to relive the heady days of the 1990s, then check here to read, view and enjoy the whole archive of Select magazine.
Prince on the very first cover of ‘Select’ July 1990.
Something old, something new… a taste of what’s to come…
Something very old: The Beatles—but a hint of what this magazine hoped to find in the 1990s…Britpop. November 1990.
You get the feeling this bloke’s gonna feature a lot in this magazine…Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder, January 1991.
More Select covers for selective memories, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pulp’s awesome rejected James Bond theme song
10:17 am


Jarvis Cocker
James Bond

Pulp, if you think about it for, oh, about ten seconds, would seem to be the very most perfect candidates ever to be picked to record a James Bond theme. In 1997 the Britpop band submitted “Tomorrow Never Lies” for Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007, but the the film was re-titled Tomorrow Never Dies instead and their song shelved in favor of a mediocre Sheryl Crow number. Sheryl fucking Crow? That had to have hurt!

Cocker was asked about what happened by James Bond fansite MI6:

“It was weird. They set up a kind of American Idol situation, where they asked about nine different artists to come up with a Bond song. They listen to nine different attempts of working “tomorrow never dies” into a lyric. We were told on a Wednesday that the deadline was Friday. Consequently, I was really pissed off when they went with Sheryl Crow instead.”

What deaf idiot musical supervisor made this blinkered decision? So stupid.

“Tomorrow Never Lies” eventually came out as the B-side to Pulp’s “Help the Aged” single in 1997, their fifth consecutive top 10. It was later re-issued as an extra track on the expanded edition of This is Hardcore in 2006.

Here’s the opening credits for Tomorrow Never Dies with Pulp’s song swapped in instead of Crow’s. It works great, doesn’t it?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sexualized: Jarvis Cocker takes Viagra and has a heavy nite with his Relaxed Muscle
02:19 pm


Jarvis Cocker
Relaxed Muscle

Jarvis Cocker takes a selfie as his alter ego “Darren Spooner”

After Pulp went on their rather extended hiatus back in 2001, Jarvis Cocker kept quite active. He got married, became a dad and a stepfather, moved to Paris, DJ’d, and did voice-overs for Wes Anderson. He also worked on solo albums and various one-off collaborations with the likes of Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull and perhaps the strangest project of his career, Relaxed Muscle, a freaky duo formed with electronic musician Jason Buckle. Previously Cocker had worked with Buckle when the latter was a member of the Sheffield-based All Seeing I collective. Cocker recorded with them and even appeared live with All Seeing I on Top of the Pops in 1999 singing “Walk Like A Panther.”

Relaxed Muscle was a dirty-sounding, dirty-minded concoction conceived to be an “anonymous” band. The name seems to refer to Viagra, which relaxes smooth muscle to allow for more blood flow to the penis. One of the songs on the album, A heavy nite with… Relaxed Muscle, is called “Rod of Iron.” You get the idea. Musically they sounded sort of like Suicide meets Cabaret Voltaire meets Add N to (X). Richard Hawley played guitar under the moniker “Wayne Marsden” which is the name of a kid who bullied Jarvis at school.

The lengths Cocker—who was billed as his alter ego “Darren Spooner”—went to hide the fact that he had anything to do with Relaxed Muscle (which I think was a pretty open secret) included using a Darth Vader voice box during phone interviews with journalists and wearing a skeleton leotard bodysuit and deliberately naff corpse paint on his face in photos, videos and when they played live. Few were fooled.

Cocker spoke about his split personality with Self Service magazine’s Ezra Petronio in 2003:

Which brings us to Darren Spooner. How did he come about?

Jarvis: Oh, right. Well, that happened years ago. Pulp was making a video for one of our songs called “Mis-Shapes”, which is on that DVD. It’s not one of our better songs, to be kind. And the concept the director had come up with, which we agreed with, was that I was going to play two characters in the video. So I played myself, and then I played this kind of rough guy who was the leader of this gang. In England we used to call them townies. It’s the kind of guy who would go out on a Saturday night and they’ve all got a sort of short-sleeved shirt on even when it’s the middle of winter, and just want to have a fight after the pub. Kind of like that. So I drank about three quarters of a bottle of brandy, and then did my acting bit, and anyway, I got into character, and suddenly the name Darren Spooner came into me mind. I don’t know why because I was so drunk, but I guess because it sounds a bit like Jarvis Cocker, it has the same number of syllables. And I became Darren Spooner for that day. And unfortunately when I went home, I couldn’t get out of character. My girlfriend at the time came into the flat we shared and I was on the kitchen floor singing “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by Michael Jackson. Anyway. So that was the first appearance of Spooner back in 1995. And then it became my pseudonym, like when I was on tour and I checked into hotels.

And for those last couple of years did he reappear? Is there any trace of him in the last couple of years of Pulp?

Jarvis: I’m sure it comes out now and again. But more probably he comes out when I’ve had too much to drink.

So for that video you shot, he made an official kind of coming out.

Jarvis: Yeah, but then, I didn’t want people to know it was me.

Oh, well done!

Jarvis: I thought if I had skull makeup on, people wouldn’t know. At least I wouldn’t look like myself. I was happy with it. He’s like an anti-superhero, a super nasty hero. And I thought he was quite good. I was nicking his look really. As l said, a lot of it is instinctive, so I can’t say why really.

Make-up can’t really disguise how tall someone is, can it? By the time Relaxed Muscle played live, the pretense was definitely over, although I don’t think that really mattered to any of the participants, who seemed to be having a good time:
More Relaxed Muscle, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jarvis Cocker’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ revealed!
10:55 am


Jarvis Cocker

Since 1942, guests on BBC’s long-running radio program Desert Island Discs have imagined what they would take with them into exile. Each “castaway” who visits the show gets to choose eight records, one book—the Bible and the works of Shakespeare are yours for free, so those boring answers are out—and a luxury item. There’s something about contemplating this unlikely scenario over the course of an hour-long broadcast that tends to disarm the guests.

Jarvis Cocker was Sue Lawley’s guest in April 2005, and as you’d expect, he brought along a fabulous playlist. Prompted by Lawley between songs, Cocker tells an abbreviated version of his life story, lingering on events from his youth in Sheffield that are at once sad and hilarious. His mother mistook pregnancy for a case of appendicitis; she forced him to wear lederhosen to school. He fractured his pelvis trying to impress a girl by swinging from window to window. And so on.

Since the podcast version of the show only includes clips of the songs, I’ve linked to the full recordings in the list below.

The songs:

Robert Mellin, “Theme” from The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, performed by Gian Piero Reverberi

Joy Division, “Transmission”

Lieutenant Pigeon, “Mouldy Old Dough”

Engelbert Humperdinck, “Ten Guitars”

Scott Walker, “The War Is Over”

Dory Previn, “Lady with the Braid”

Johnny Cash, “I See a Darkness”

Ronald Binge, “Sailing By,” performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra (castaway’s favorite)

The book:

Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout

The luxury item:

A bed with a mosquito net

Here’s the full radio broadcast, for your enjoyment:


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Watch this meticulously edited ‘Star Trek’ fan video for William Shatner’s awesome Pulp cover
01:08 pm


Star Trek
William Shatner

In 2004, Ben Folds produced William Shatner’s album Has Been which included a surprisingly great cover version of Pulp‘s hit song “Common People.” Folds enlisted ‘80s icon Joe Jackson to sing on the choruses of that cover. The Has Been album was surprisingly well received by critics, and many agreed that “Common People” was the “hit” on that record.

Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker even praised the cover version, stating, “I was very flattered by that because I was a massive Star Trek fan as a kid and so you know, Captain Kirk is singing my song! So that was amazing.”

A fan has created a video for Shatner’s “Common People” using clips from Star Trek: The Original Series.

What makes this edit truly incredible is the attention to detail in matching shots with the lyrical content, even nailing specific lines of the song to lines spoken by Kirk in the show. Check twenty-seven seconds in where “I want to live,” or forty-seven seconds in where “I’ll see what I can do” sync perfectly.  The amount of work that went into this is apparent and astounding.

You can’t say Trekkies aren’t a dedicated lot.

This is totally worth four minutes your time:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Common People’: Identity of slumming Greek socialite in Pulp song revealed at last?

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Cheeky gold records designed by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp
02:25 pm


Jarvis Cocker

One of the pleasures of crate-digging for old 45s are the colorful labels—the swirly Capitol design to be sure, but also Dunwich, Cameo, Etiquette, Chess, and Laurie, just to name a few. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp currently has an exhibition running at Red Bull Paris that plays on just such glories, an exhibition called “20 Golden Greats” that whimsically imagines an alternate world in which Jarvis was putting out singles for Polydor, London, and Belter Records. In an interview, Cocker mentioned that Pulp has received gold and even platinum records, but he had no interest in them and gave them to his mum for safekeeping.

His interest, however, was sparked by the idea of painting his own record labels for imaginary songs he never recorded for labels he was never involved with. For instance, there’s “22/7” for Map City Records, home of We the People; “Partystopper” for London Records, who obviously put out songs by some band called the Rolling Stones; “Love Handles” for Polydor, home of Slade and Motörhead; and “Am I Missing Something?” on Capitol, of the aforementioned orange and yellow swirl.

Jarvis clearly appreciated the economy of suggesting an entire recording session and radio run of a song with just a couple of words: “Titles are an important part of the music; in just a few words, they reflect an artist’s imagination. ... As a songwriter, someone who works with words, I enjoy the challenge of expressing something in barely three words.”

They started out as regular records, but in an apparent twist of egomania, I decided that they should be Gold records. At certain points in my career I received gold and platinum records but I always felt a little bit embarrassed, I was never quite at ease with the idea and always gave them to my mother because I certainly didn’t want them in my house.

This was the challenge I faced with this exhibition: how to make the gold record something desirable, something with class and sophistication, because as far as I’m concerned, gold records, and especially those you see lined up on the walls of recording studios, are always rather ugly.

The show runs through August 28.

Here are a few of Cocker’s imaginary gold records:




Cocker worked up these three tracks to accompany the exhibition: .

Some more of the labels—click on the image for a better view:


via It’s Nice That

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Common People’: Identity of slumming Greek socialite in Pulp song revealed at last?
12:19 pm

Class War


“She came from Greece / She had a thirst for knowledge.” So starts “Common People,” the epic 1995 song by Pulp that combined a glam/arena aesthetic, punk rock vitriol, and a nuanced understanding of the lived experience of class-based resentment that even Thorstein Veblen would envy.

The entire song is structured as an obliterating rebuke to a female Greek student who claims to “want to live like common people,” with the sly, cutting afterthought “like you.” Along the way, the narrator (or the song’s writer, Jarvis Cocker, if you prefer) succeeds in utterly dismantling the unnamed Greek woman’s blithe acceptance of class inequities, reminding her that when the project of pretending to live your life “with no meaning or control” gets too unpleasant, what with roaches climbing the wall and all, “if you call your Dad he could stop it all” but also emphasizing the authenticity that “common people” have that she never will; she is “amazed that they exist” and “burn so bright.” The song is the third track on Pulp’s breakthrough album Different Class.

It seems that the identity of the woman who inspired the Britpop classic may have been revealed on a Greek website—none other than video and installation artist Danae Stratou, who is also married to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Cocker has been unhelpful bordering on coy, stating the following: “On that BBC Three documentary [The Story of “Common People”], the researchers went through all the people who were contemporaries of mine at St Martins and they tried to track her down. They showed me a picture and it definitely wasn’t her. I dunno. Maybe she wasn’t Greek. Maybe I misheard her.”

Danae Stratou—a picture from her Twitter page
Paul Farrell at Heavy helpfully explains:

The Athens Voice reports that Danae Stratou met Pulp’s lead singer Jarvis Cocker while they were both students at St. Martins College of Art Design in London. She attended the school between 1983 and 1988. Cocker had previously told Brit-music bible the New Music Express that the song was about a Greek girl he met at the school. He added later that the girl told him that she “wanted to move to Hackney and live like ‘the common people.’”

St. Martins is, of course, mentioned in the song.

Furthermore, according to Farrell, “Danae Stratou’s father was a millionaire Greek industrialist,” which means that she didn’t marry into money but was wealthy when she was a student as well.

So is Stratou the slumming Greek socialite? We can’t be sure—yet—but right now the signs look auspicious. 

If you haven’t heard the song lately, here’s your chance to have it in your head for the rest of today (and probably tomorrow, too):

via The Quietus

Thanks to Edward Angel Sotelo!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Sick Drugs Stunt’: That time when Pulp were ‘Sorted for E’s & Wizz’

There are not many pop lyricists as good as Jarvis Cocker. Listen to the best of his solo work or the songs written with Pulp and you’ll hear a man who eavesdrops on life and turns the everyday into poetic gold.

When he started, Jarvis had a romanticized view of the writer’s life—the noble poet ensconced in some distant high tower contemplating his own suffering and angst. This all changed after a brief spell in hospital when he tuned into the conversation of his fellow patients and found their lives and tales to be more fascinating than his own. It changed the way Jarvis wrote his lyrics—changing from songs of myself to songs of experience.

When Pulp headlined at Glastonbury in 1995, Jarvis explained his inspiration for the band’s new single:

“‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’ is a phrase a girl that I met in Sheffield once told me… and she went to see The Stone Roses at Spike Island and I said “What do you remember about it?”. And she said, “Well there were all these blokes walking around saying ‘Is everybody sorted for E’s and wizz?’” And that’s all she remembered about it and I thought it was a good phrase.”

‘Drugs: Pulp Fiction’—NME fire an early warning shot about ‘Sorted…’.
When Pulp released the “Sorted for E’s & Wizz” as a double-A side with “Mis-Shapes” in September 1995, there was a sense that “Sorted…” would have the curtain-twitchers of Tunbridge Wells scratching angry letters to the papers. But as it turned out, it wasn’t the lyrics or the song’s title that saw a tabloid hate campaign launched against Pulp, but rather the single’s sleeve that caused a furore, as music paper Melody Maker explained at the time:

The cover of the single features a photograph of a page from a magazine folded into the shape of a speed wrap. No drugs are shown on the sleeve. The inside booklet features a series of origami-style diagrams showing how to fold a piece of paper to make a speed wrap. Again, drugs are neither mentioned nor shown. However, under pressure from retailers and Island Records, a new, plain white sleeve has been printed.

The press denounced the cover as a “sick drugs stunt,” and the Daily Mirror ran a campaign to ban the single claiming the band were “offering teenage fans a DIY guide on hiding illegal drugs.”

Exhibit A: The offending drug wrap cover.
I think it fair to suggest that most teenagers or twenty-something Pulp fans in the 1990s already knew how to make a drug wrap, because everyone was sorted for E’s, wizz, coke and anything else you could get your jammy little mits on during that decade—and this includes a whole tier of hypocritical Fleet Street journalists and TV producers, who snorted in their executive toilets but damned users in print and picture. Right or wrong, it was just the way it was, and Pulp’s song reflected the ubiquitousness of that culture.

But the Daily Mirror wasn’t just content with keeping down some working class pop stars, their journalists cruelly phoned a father whose son had died from taking ecstasy, and used his experience to damn the band. Classy.
It forced Pulp to change the single’s cover and opt for a clever and rather tasteful knitting pattern design for the song “Mis-Shapes.”

As Jarvis explained the change was more about giving people the chance to hear the song than just giving in to the ire of a few media pundits. In an interview with the Melody Maker, he discussed what happened:

When did you first become aware that the Mirror was going to run with the story?

Jarvis Cocker: It was about half past 10 on Tuesday night. It was my birthday. Usually I would be out on my birthday, but I wasn’t that particular night, and I got a call saying it probably was gonna happen. The next thing I heard about it was my mother calling up at quarter past 10 the next morning, saying breakfast TV and various people had been ringing her up trying to get my number and trying to get her to make a statement about it, and stuff. But me mum’s alright, she’s not daft, so she didn’t say anything to them.

It surprised me, cos the thing that I was anticipating having trouble with was getting the record played on the radio. I’d been told that, because it mentioned drugs, they wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. They wouldn’t listen to it, and so they wouldn’t realise that it was just a song about drugs. It wasn’t saying drugs are fantastic. So, you know, I thought we were home and dry, but then they started taking exception to the sleeve. It’s stupid, cos that’s basically an origami diagram. Origami does not lead to drug addiction, as far as I know - I might be wrong. Nowhere on the sleeve does it say, ‘Put your drugs in this handy container’. People say it’s obvious what it’s for, but it’s them who’ve spelt it out. It’s like saying if you have a picture of a gun on a record cover, that means you’re gonna go out and shoot people. The subject matter of the song is about drugs, so it’s appropriate that it has drug related imagery.

Any road, the Daily Mirror took it upon themselves to ring up the Association Of Police Officers and get their opinion on it. It was kind of weird, cos they rang back and said they thought the song was great and they had no problem with it, but they thought the sleeve was bad. That was a problem for us, cos basically that could have led to it being banned from a lot of shops. So I thought to myself, I think it’s an important song for people to hear, and if the sleeve is gonna get in the way of people hearing the record, I don’t want that. I’ve been quite angry today cos there’s all this stuff to do with the chart people and all this daft formatting business, and they’re saying if you change the sleeve then it’s another format so it’s not eligible for the charts any more.”

More from the Melody Maker:

Ironically, the pre sales on the single were already well over 200,000 before its release on Monday - the biggest advance figure in Island Records’ history, according to the label’s marketing director, Nick Rowe. Regardless of the tabloid reaction, with Sorted For E’s & Wizz, Pulp seem to have tapped into the wider debate going on in the media concerning drug use in Britain. Recent examples being Channel 4’s ‘Pot Night’ and the current series, ‘Loved Up’.

Jarvis Cocker: I’m not saying I did it cos I thought we could open up a forum for discussion, but I think the drugs thing in Britain now is something that people can’t ignore any more. So many people are doing it you can’t just say it’s these fringe elements and they should be rehabilitated. People are just doing it on a recreational basis and treating it in the same way as they treat drinking or having some fags, so you can’t just say everybody who does it is an evil monster, and you can’t just like shut your ears to it every time somebody mentions it. There’s got to be some kind of a change in attitude to it. That’s why I thought it was great that it got played on the radio, cos that to me showed that there had been a change in attitude to drugs.”

Exhibit B: The offending diagram showing how to make a wrap.
Despite all the unnecessary hoo-hah about nothing much in particular, “Sorted for E’s & Wizz”/“Mis-Shapes” went on to hit the number two spot in the UK pop singles charts.

Below Pulp premiere “Sorted for E’s & Wizz” at Glastonbury 1995.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets
02:41 am


Jarvis Cocker

Greetings from the super fun Sheffield Doc/Fest!

After spending a delightful two days in Glasgow, where Tara and I met our friend and longtime DM ally Paul Gallagher in the flesh for the first time (and where we saw the Necropolis, the University of Glasgow and the beautiful West End district, plus ate some insanely good curries), we arrived in Sheffield shortly before the big hometown premiere of New Zealand-born director Florian Habicht’s Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets.

Habicht’s film is as much about the city of Sheffield as it is about the group it spawned. In the few hours before the screening began, I walked about the city center for a while to soak up, you know, the local atmosphere and found myself very charmed by the city and her residents. Young people out and about, laughing and having a good time, families with little children and plenty of old people milling around too (there are lots of older fellows, the type who wear wool caps and call you “guv’nor,” sitting on benches bullshitting all over Sheffield). The Kiwi filmmaker had parachuted into the city in a similar manner—he’d never been here before he started filming—but when he went around looking for local color (and finding it in spades!) he took along a film crew. The results, I thought, were magical, but I’ll get to why in a moment.

When the box office opened, there were probably a good 2,000 people milling around in front of Sheffield City Hall waiting to get in. You could tell that a situation was brewing whereby the whole town basically wanted to be involved. People from all walks of life were queuing up and there was—truly—a “special” feeling in the air. I was excited myself. I’ve been a huge Pulp fan for over twenty years, but sadly I was never in the same city as they were when they played America (which was almost never). When I got back to the hotel to collect my wife, I saw Jarvis Cocker and several of his family members in the lobby getting ready to walk over to the venue (where the band members greeted friends and fans alike on the steps outside City Hall).

Inside the venue, with both balconies packed to the gills, a palpable feeling of excitement was in the air. A huge neon PULP sign topped the screen. When the film started, everyone in that room seemed totally psyched. I know I was.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets did not disappoint. It’s not, strictly speaking, a “rockumentary.” It’s close to being one, but it expands on the form so much that the term becomes kind of meaningless to describe it. What it is is an affectionate portrait of a city and of a band that are that city’s favorite sons and daughter. Nominally “about” Pulp’s final hometown show, many of Sheffield’s quirkier denizens get as much screen time as the band. When the film ended, the locals in the movie were asked to stand up and take a bow, and nearly all of them had been sitting in the section we were sitting in. I felt that the film was a triumph—moving, funny, sweet, eccentric—and the reaction from the audience, well, it’s the kind of thing that makes you feel like you are smiling with your heart. Two people who I spoke with were moved to tears. How many rock docs can you say that about?

Well, you can say it about Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets, that’s for sure. There was a mediocre review of the film in The Guardian last week that complained about Habicht’s film that “you can’t help thinking he’s missed the point of Pulp. Their music denigrated the people [of Sheffield] as much as it celebrated them.”

BULLSHIT! Try telling this to anyone in the audience in Sheffield on Saturday night. Introducing “Common People” onstage in the film, Jarvis tells the hometown audience that although the song isn’t about Sheffield and doesn’t take place in Sheffield, it could only have been written by someone who is from Sheffield. I think it was The Guardian that missed the point. Entirely. Would that the reviewer had seen Terry, the newspaper seller who makes a few appearances in the film being treated like he was a celebrity at the afterparty, he might’ve had a different opinion.

PS: After writing this, but before posting it, I ran into director Florian Habicht in the hotel lobby, introduced myself and basically said everything to him in person that I have written above. 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop’ with Oasis, Blur and Pulp
01:04 pm

Pop Culture


I have always thought Britpop was a bit like another famous British institution, the Carry On… movies. Both had likable and identifiable characters: Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims and Charles Hawtrey in the Carry Ons; and Damon, Jarvis, Noel and Liam in Britpop.

Both produced populist entertainment that was at once nostalgic and contemporary. The Carry Ons offered traditional music hall humor, poking fun at British institutions like the army, the National Health Service, education, unions and foreign holidays. While Britpop drew its influence from Sixties’ pop (Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks), and mixed it up with a punk rock swagger.

The Carry Ons came out of drab, gray, post-war Britain, while Britpop was more of a media construction, a handy (or possibly lazy) way to categorize the very disparate talents (Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Powder, The Boo Radleys, Menswear, Elastica, etc) that appeared during the drab, dull years of Conservative political rule during the 1990s.

Britpop was pitched as a nineties reinvention of the “swinging Sixties,” with two bands—Oasis and Blur—dominating the pop charts (much like The Beatles and Rolling Stones once did). There was a much publicized “fight” for the number one spot in 1995. Blur won with the single “Country House,” Oasis came in second with “Roll With It”—they may have lost the battle but Oasis eventually won the war.

If you have ever wondered what all the fuss was about, or why those days back in the 1990s were an exciting time to be young, British and full of hope for a better future, then this documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop will explain all. It’s a wonderfully made and very entertaining film that brings together Noel and Liam Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, 3D (Massive Attack), Louise Wener (Sleeper) and artist Damien Hirst, amongst others, to discuss, pontificate and reflect on why Britpop was arguably the last great musical movement from the UK—which says much, as it is now twenty years ago. If you haven’t seen this documentary, it is certainly worth seeing, once. Enjoy.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A belated Britpop Xmas present: a brand new track by Pulp

Don’t blame the band for the late arrival of this brilliant new tune on Dangerous Minds, blame me (though they could have picked a better time to put this out than on December 26th when I’m on my hols, ferchrisakes.)

By far the best of the ‘Britpop’ bunch, you’ll probably be aware that Pulp got back together again, after a ten year absence, for a string of live dates last year.

Well they didn’t just tour. They also went into the studio with none other than LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and laid down a brand new tune called “After You,” a power-disco-pop gem that fits snugly into the band’s canon of modern classics. It leans towards the band’s more uptight-funk sound—it’s even got a bongo breakdown—but as ever is carried along by Jarvis Cocker’s caustic with, and a delivery that combines hard-nosed snark with pure sexiness.

Here’s to more brand new Pulp tracks in 2013!

Pulp “After You”


BONUS! After the jump, the entire, two hour Pulp headline set from the 2011 Reading Festival.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Pulp’s unused James Bond theme, 1997
05:25 pm


James Bond

Another disused James Bond theme, this time from Pulp. In 1997 the Britpop band submitted “Tomorrow Never Lies,” but the the film was re-titled and their song shelved in favor of a Sheryl Crow number, instead.

“Tomorrow Never Lies” came out as the B-side to “Help the Aged.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Thunderball’ opening credits with the theme song that Johnny Cash submitted

Alice Cooper’s unused 1974 James Bond theme

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Pulp’s splendid performance on the Jimmy Fallon Show last night
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Jarvis Cocker
Jimmy Fallon

Pulp performs “Common People” and “Like A Friend’ last night on the Jimmy Fallon Show.

Jarvis Cocker is a rock star at a time when there ain’t a lot of ‘em left.

Pulp is on tour and if you’d like to see Mr. Cocker and his band, here’s some upcoming tour dates:

10 April 2012 Radio City Music Hall New York, NY, USA
11 April 2012 Radio City Music Hall New York, NY, USA
13 April 2012 Coachella Indio, CA, USA
17 April 2012 Warfield San Francisco, CA, USA
19 April 2012 Fox Theater Pomona, CA, USA
20 April 2012 Coachella Indio, CA, USA
23 April 2012 Palacio de los Deportes Mexico City, Mexico
4 May 2012 SOS Festival Murcia, Spain
6 July 2012 Ruisrock Turku, Finland
8 July 2012 B’estfest Tunari, Romania
13 July 2012 Fiera della Musica


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Elmore Leonard: Rules for Writing

The best advice for anyone wanting to be a writer is, Write. Sure, read books, learn from others, keep a notebook, but it always comes down to just one thing: you and a blank page.

Here Elmore Leonard explains his rules for writing, in this rather hastily edited package from the BBC Culture Show of 2006. As Leonard explains writing is mainly rewriting, and it takes the pulp fiction maestro 4 pages of hard graft to produce one finished page. Now you know, so get cracking.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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