The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'pulp'



The Observer has an interview with Jarvis Cocker, in which he talks about his plans for the Meltdown festival he's curating, Pulp, his Darren Spooner alter-ego, and living in Paris whilst not speaking French, among other things:

This is the terrible irony of Jarvis's life: having longed for fame ever since he was a child - 'It's the classic way of getting over your social ineptitude: you think if you're a star, people will come and talk to you' - and having waited an incredibly long time for it, until 'Common People' in 1995, he found when it arrived he didn't like it at all. He didn't like being recognised in the street or being pointed out at parties - he wanted to be the observer, not the observed - and he could only cope by getting drunk. Whereas Paris is fine: nobody recognises him at all. 'If I went and stood in the indie section of the Virgin megastore,' he muses, 'maybe someone would come along and say, "Ooh, look, it's Jarvis!" If I was really desperate one day and needed to reassure myself that people still knew who I was, I could do that. But that would be a bit sad, wouldn't it?'

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Tonight, some 10 years after the Blur vs. Oasis battle, BBC Four held a Britpop night, running several programmes on the whole thing.

First up was a half-hour documentary by John Harris about the history of the phenomenon. It reprised much of the territory in his excellent book The Last Party, only squeezed into half an hour and with fragments of music and video, and interviews with various people from the time reminiscing over what it was like. It started with the wilderness of Nirvana and shoegazer (which Harris described as being similar to grunge), and ended with the comment that Britpop was responsible for ushering in the age of bland balladeers like Coldplay, Keane and Snow Patrol, and of course those quintessential rockist classicists, Oasis.

This was followed by a programme with Damon Albarn presenting a selection of live videos; it's reassuring that he has ditched the mockney accent and look-at-me-I'm-working-class affectation, though perhaps a tad disappointing that the title designers did the lazy thing and equated britpop with Mod. Then they played Live Forever, the Britpop doco from some years back, and then a 1995 BBC fly-on-the-wall piece with Pulp, which was rather interesting. It involved backstage footage from a gig in Sheffield, Jarvis talking about appreciating kitsch knowingly yet unironically, and some footage of Pulp's support band, an outfit named Minty who seemed to have been England's answer to Machine Gun Fellatio or something.

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As the 10th anniversary of the Blur-vs.-Oasis stoush approaches, John Harris (author of the definitive Britpop history The Last Party) looks at Britpop's legacy:

Frischmann is about to begin life as a mature student in the US. Cocker called time on Pulp in 2002, and seems to have settled into a life of semi-retirement. The lion's share of Britpop's mid-table attractions - Sleeper, Gene, Shed Seven - have split up. By the time you get into the bands who fell at the first hurdle, you begin to wonder whether they ever existed at all; who, aside from the most hard-bitten trivia buffs, has any clear memory of Powder, Northern Uproar, Laxton's Superb or Octopus?
The world these people built, however, has endured. It's where just about every worthwhile British band aspires to be: that speedy production line that takes promising musicians from their local pub venue, introduces them to the NME, and then - if everything goes to plan - inducts them into the head-rattling world of mainstream celebrity. The idea that there was ever an "underground", where bands could ply their trade without paying any attention to the world of commerce, seems almost laughable. Less than a year ago, for instance, the Kaiser Chiefs were an unknown, transparently Blur-influenced band from Leeds. Now, their small handful of keynote hits has become inescapable, and their fans include Paul McCartney and Richard Gere.

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William Shatner has a new album out. It's produced by hipster darling Ben Folds, features guest appearances by Lemon Jelly and Henry Rollins, and the first track (on the site) is an inspired semi-spoken-word cover of Pulp's Common People.

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Oh dear, oh dear, what has Jarvis Cocker been up to? It looks like he's going around calling himself Darren Spooner and trying to be Rob Zombie or someone. No idea what his new band sounds like, though perhaps they should do a cover of Pulp's Master of the Universe; given that he looks like Skeletor, anyway. (thanks to Lauren for the heads-up)

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