Posts from 14th July 2000

14
Jul 00

PULP: The Early Years

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PULP: The Early Years

Accounts tell us that, prior to achieving fame, Pulp made pretentious art-wank for Fire Records. Some may argue, yours truly included, that the only things that have changed are that the band is a lot older now and the label is now Island Records, but that’s neither here nor there.

I seriously doubt the veracity of these claims: Not that they’re wrong mind you, but I can’t believe that anyone could have listened to those records and have LIVED TO TELL ABOUT THEM. Even if they did survive, rock journos don’t get paid enough to listen to such rubbish. I’d go back to my copies and verify their reviews…if I ever owned them in the first place! I’ve heard enough, though, in stores, at parties, at friends’ to judge: Sometimes, dear readers, it is best to jump to conclusions.

PULP: Rock Star Cock Star

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PULP: Rock Star Cock Star

Jarvis’ flashed his arse at Mikey (in the animal kingdom a gesture of submission to an alpha male – it is a mark of Jarvo’s weediness that he could even subconsciously consider Michael Jackson an alpha male) because he didn’t like the Wack One’s messianic rock star bullshit. Sho why in the subsequent years did Jarvis:

i) Write a song comparing himself to Jesus? (And a bad one at that)
ii) Try to write a Bond theme, and when Cubby Broccoli nigh on laughed himself to death after hearing “Tomorrow Never Dies”, be so shameless as to put it out on a B-Side?
iii) Take the most hackneyed pop star route of all and write a political song (maaaan) which in classic pop star style makes no suggestions, no real accusations, and in fact says nothing other than that some politicos like a bit of nose candy. A considerably smaller proportion of politicians than Britpop stars, might I suggest. “Cocaine Socialism” was also put on a B-Side because Jarvis is a cowardly custard: even Roger Taylor had the courage of his convictions and stuck “Nazis” out as a proper single. Damn him to hell forever.

PULP: Candida’s Camera

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PULP: Candida’s Camera

Behind every great man there is a great woman – so the saying goes. So conversely, behind every jumped up talentless twat there is an equally talentless gormless chick swaying badly behind a selection of keyboards she found in a junk shop. Along with her clothes. We all knew girls like Candida at school. Genetically pre-disposed to have a hair lip, they hung around by the bins at playtime getting beaten up by their imaginary friends. The tended to wear their Gran’s curtains and on the odd occasion you talked to them they appered to have no social skills whatsoever.

This of course made her a shoe-in for a band where not having social skills is a positive advantage. But how important is this Doyle to Pulp. Well, think of those Wakemanesque keyboard solos and you tell me? Well, I suppose being in Pulp is better than putting the lids on fertizer tubs for a living. Still full of shit though

PULP: Answer to Jarvis’ Questions

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PULP: Answer to Jarvis’ Questions

“Is this the way the say the future’s meant to feel
Or just 20,000 people standing in a field?”

Its twenty thousand people stick-insect lad, and they are all after your blood. The future does not feel like anything, because said people have killed you. Hah!

PULP: The Steve Wright Connection

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PULP: The Steve Wright Connection

Remember when Steve Wright did his hopelessly unfunny Radio One program in the late eighties? Around the jingles, the appaling music and the so-called “characters” (Mr Angry is not a character – its a name with ideas above its station) he did little discussions with his dolly bird researchers. These inane chats were called “talkie bits” – I suppose because they talked for a bit. Unfortunately El Jarvo also thought this was a good idea so started putting talkie bits on his records. Also known as telling a rubbish story over lacklustre backing.

David’s Last Summer anyone? There is no plot, there is no story here – it is merely an excuse for Jarvis to talk a bit about sex (quelle surprise) and not actually have to worry about writing a tune. That bit in the middle of contemporary rock opera Sheffield (INSERT JARVIS’ FAVOURITE WORD HERE) City where he imagines himself to be a fourteen year old girl full of boredom and, oh, thinking about sex. I suppose when he talks we don’t have hear his ready voice trying to hold on to a tune. But that is little consolation really. And he also deserves a slap for giving the idea to Arab Strap.

PULP: Unsung Heroes

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PULP: Unsung Heroes

Every great comedian needs a straight man, and the career of Pulp shows that dreadful unintentional comedians need them too. Jarvis rightly earns the champion’s portion of hate here, but let’s spare a thought for his long-suffering backing boys (the suffering in question being entirely ours).

First off, Russell Senior. Sour-faced fop who quit Pulp because he couldn’t stand the fame. I’m sorry! What fame? Nobody knew who the fuck you were, they were all gazing at your twitching leader. Anyway, Russ left and has proved himself much better at avoiding fame that he was at hem-hem winning it by allying himself with no-hopers like Baby Birkin.

His departure allowed Mark Webber to step into the light. Mark was a man with a mission – he didnt want to be playing this unchallenging pop music, oh no, he wanted to be playing Serious Experimental Music with Drones and Long Notes. To this end he persuaded Jarvis to tape down a key on the synth at the end of their last album and let it play for fifteen minutes. Maybe it was to thank him for this, frankly the best bit of This Is Hardcore by a country mile, that Jarvis agreed to play a benefit gig for silly avant-beardie La Monte Young. It’s more likely, though, that Webber told his none-too-bright singer that Lamonte Youngs were a brand of continental cigarettes.

PULP: Disco 2000

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PULP: Disco 2000

Disco 2000, which tanked in the charts at New Year and thus gloriously failed to provide Jarv and the lads with the pension-fund payoff they’d so cynically hoped for, is famous for several reasons. First off it ripped off a piss-poor soft-rock track, to the delight of the worm-brained rock press (Yeah, very cool, NME, but somehow I don’t see Self-Control: The Greatest Hits Of Laura Branigan (Hallmark, 2.99) getting too many spins on your office stereo, so why put up with it coming from Mr. Gangly Pants?) But secondly it got props for using the word ‘woodchip’ in a song – how, y’know, un-rock-and-roll of it.

Discounting the fact that ‘woodchip’ was surely one of the top twenty Words Most Likely To Appear In A Pulp Song, this kind of masturbatory Thesaurus-worship is a fool’s game. A song is not somehow improved because somebody used a word in it, particularly not if the ‘message’ of said song is “Ha! It is the year 2000 and I am now a famous pop star and you’re a poverty-stricken single mother, that’ll teach you to knee me in the goolies and call me a skinny freak when I tried to cop a feel in the school lunch queue, bitch!” But try telling that to the critics: drop a word like ‘woodchip’ in and suddenly you’re a people’s hero with a poet’s eye for detail. Belle And Sebastian, among others, learned the lesson well – put ‘velour’ and ‘Terry underwear’ in the winsome first track off your second album and bish-bosh, you’re suddenly the greatest songwriter in the world. Noel Gallagher tried the funny-word-game with ‘Acquiesce’ but couldn’t actually put it in the song because he’d no idea what it meant – nul points, Nozza.

Past Masters of this sordid practise are of course Shriekback, who have guaranteed themselves a place in the hearts of show-offs and wankers everywhere by slipping the word ‘parthenogenesis’ into their overcooked snarly white-funk travesty “Nemesis”. Shriekback were formed after Barry Adamson got kicked out of XTC (and think how bad you’d have to be to get kicked out of XTC) for writing what is surely the most laughable song ever written, “My Weapon”, the chorus of which goes “I’m gonna take it out on her with my weapon / my weapon / my weapon / my secret weapon”. Somewhere in Sheffield a young boy paused between bouts of self-love and paid attention.

PULP: Lest We Forget

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PULP: Lest We Forget

…that when Pulp began their illustrious career they were not called Pulp. Oh no. They were called Arabacus Pulp. Arabacus Pulp. There’s no excuse for that, not age nor ugliness nor virginity: it sounds like a character in a Jethro Tull track, for Heaven’s sake.

PULP: This Is Arsecore

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PULP: This Is Arsecore

When Cocker, Doyle et al shambled off to the studios in 1992 to record yet another batch of singles, do you think that any of them suggested that if these werent hits they might just call it a day? How close were we from being spared the gangly, putting-peoples-eyes-out antics of the Sheffield Sexaholic? What is it with you people in Sheffield. Is the social situation so bad that you could not even take the piss out of a perennially underachieving band? Were Pulp just waiting for British music to get bad enough so that their kiddie porn pop would appear spectacular in comparison? Ah well, Sheffield are also responsible for Moloko and Def Leppard so surely the fuses have already been set.

Still Pulp isnt a one man band and having noted that lets really lay into Jarvis. A man who went around in a wheelchair for six months to see what it would be like. It would be like sitting down and moving you damn fool. Still, he already wore glasses and had probably found that it was not stopping people hitting him. Im no lover of Michael Jackson (he makes music remember) but a fair fight between the King OPop, and The King OFop would have been a lot better than what we got. Jarvis falling over lots and showing his boney arse. Jacko hangs round with Monkeys do you really think arses hold any fear for him?

Its stating the obvious to say that Joe Cockers bastard lovechild never lived like Common People. Common homo sapiens man only thinks about sex once ever five seconds on average. How do you think that average came about eh? Jarvis puts in stints for every man and boy out there. His eyesight used to be perfect you know (not that you could tell from his taste in clothes which resemble nothing more than pages 18-34 of the childs eyesight test book). Jarvis talks about his art school days, and hes never rented a flat in his life. He often talks wistfully about squatting. I can just imagine that the squatting in question loosens his bowels so excrement like Help The Aged can come out fully formed.

By the way Jarvis: that wasn’t Hardcore. Hardcore is either:
a) Mid-eighties borderline thrash guitar noise esp. from the Twin Cities region
b) Early nineties breakbeat – pre-jungle
c) The lumpy constituent of concrete
Not self obsessed songs about sex in tower blocks. Oh and Doyle – you can get keyboard stands which are level you know. Propping your Mini-Moog up at a 70 degree angle is asking for trouble of the broken ankle variety. Especially when your singer is an human daddy-long-legs who seemingly has no control over his limbs. Tossers.

HARDchord.com – Top 40 Like a Bullet to the Head

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HARDchord.com – Top 40 Like a Bullet to the Head: is a new music site, which claims a “major aversion to radio-friendly music” but the best column in its first issue is about N’Sync, and the second-best mentions the Spice Girls, so I think they’re just closeted. Anyhow, this looks promising – no astonishing insights yet, but the emphasis on commentary rather than reviews is still pretty unusual for a website, and it’s one I like.