PULP – “The Night That Minnie Temperley Died” (live MP3)

as time passes and his stature as a “sex symbol” grows, it’s getting increasingly difficult to imagine jarvis cocker as the kind of guy who has no other option but to worship women from afar. still, it’s hard to begrudge him this when he gets the mood and feeling right time and again. like many shy, sensitive, and intelligent boys, jarvis feels that he could save a woman, if she’d only let him, but she’s too busy dating football players and the like, oblivious to his very existence (sigh). “minnie, if i could, i would give you the rest of my life,” he sings, but he didn’t because she wouldn’t allow for it. instead, the rest of her life went to a suspicious fellow who gave her a lift late one saturday night. the opening lines of the song are used to tell us all we need to know about minnie as a person: her philosophy is, “there’s a light that shines on everything and everyone and it shines so bright – brighter, even, than the sun.”: it basically tells us that minnie is a trusting, optimistic, though naive girl. on top of that, she’s a looker, the kind of girl the whole world wants to have sex with. jarvis (sigh) is resigned to be nothing more than a passive onlooker giving a helpless testimony to the night, we can only assume, minnie was taken off somewhere by a stranger, never to be seen again. so as to assuage her fear that she was the victim of a senseless act of violence — something that would’ve destroyed her world view, though does it matter now that she’s dead? — jarvis coos, “he only did what he did because you looked like one of his kids.”

“minnie,” it should be said, is a work in progress. one hopes, though, that the “progress” is over because to tinker with this song would be to tamper with near-perfection — and, certainly, i hope that this wasn’t one of the songs that jarvis scrapped. the premise is quite grim — beautiful girl cut down in the prime of her life and, hey, maybe if she got with jarvis it all could’ve been different, but alas — but the music is sweet and just plain beautiful. the song begins with a thunderous sampled backbeat and scathing glam guitar licks which are eventually leavened by acoustic guitar and a soaring string arrangement. it’s a fine mix of beauty and pain, much like the happy life and tragic death of minnie temperley herself. here’s to the sadly beautiful girls out there who’ve broken all our hearts and have inspired some of the finest art ever created. may jarvis cocker never find happiness and, if he does, may he continue to fool us into thinking otherwise.