Nov 15

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/8359762.stm

Pulp singer given honorary degree

The singer studied at the institution when it was Sheffield Polytechnic

Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has been given an honorary degree in his home city of Sheffield.

The singer picked up the doctorate at Sheffield Hallam University.

Cocker, who has also had success as a solo artist and radio producer, studied at the institution when it was Sheffield Polytechnic.

Receiving his certificate at a ceremony at City Hall, the 46-year-old said: “I’m called a doctor now. Don’t worry, I won’t open a surgery.”

He added: “But I guess if you are a songwriter maybe I could have some kind of musical surgery.

It’s a great honour to be given this, especially in my home town
Jarvis Cocker

“If you had a song with a swollen chorus, or a varicose verse, or if you need a little bit of help I could try and heal your song for you.”

Cocker did an access course at the poly before winning a place at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in London.

The singer had his big break with Pulp at Sheffield Polytechnic in 1981 when they handed over a demo tape to John Peel, and he invited them to record a session for Radio 1.

The band went on to be nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in 1994 and the following year their single Common People reached number two in the charts.

In the past decade the singer has launched a solo career and also moved into film-making and art.

He told graduates at City Hall, who were there to collect certificates, that he had done most of his learning outside formal classrooms.

“Sometimes people call it the university of life,” he said.

“The only trouble with the university of life is the graduation when you’ve checked out, so it’s nice to actually have a graduation whilst I’m still here to enjoy it.

“It’s a great honour to be given this, especially in my home town.”

Wooo!! Now to get him on the Sheffield Walk of Fame next to Def Leopard!

Oct 10

Im a synth whore, so this is a great article to see (especially with the iconic Gary Numan being the lead picture *swooon*) and one of the reasons why I so adore British pop from the late 70s and early 80s (and why I have had an obsession with Sheffield since I was about 18) Enjoy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/oct/10/synth-pop-80s-reynolds

One nation under a Moog

As new BBC4 documentary Synth Britannia shows, the synthesizer first dehumanised then re-humanised British pop, fulfilled the DIY promise of punk, and changed how bands looked forever

Photo of Gary NUMAN

Numan nature: Are ‘Friends’ Electric sent synth-pop overground, changing the face of British pop Photograph: GAB Archive/Redferns

The synth-pop era really kicked off in June 1979, when Tubeway Army’s Are ‘Friends’ Electric? hit No 1. The sound and visuals owed a substantial debt to David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and his stranded alien in The Man Who Fell To Earth. Chuck in some Europe Between The Wars atmospherics and you had the recipe for Visage’s Fade To Grey and The Damned Don’t Cry; Japan’s Nightporter and Ghosts; Ultravox’s Vienna And bringing up the rear were the pioneers, the chaps who’d coined the whole mittel Europa/Mensch-Maschine shtick in the first place: Kraftwerk, No 1 in February 1982 with their 1978 tune The Model. But synthesizers in popular music actually go back much further than the mandroid melancholy of Gary Numan. All the way back to the psychedelic 60s, when American groups like Silver Apples and The United States Of America ditched guitars for oscillators. In 1969, George Harrison put out a whole album of Moog doodles called Electronic Sound. German cosmic rockers Tangerine Dream gradually streamlined their Pink Floyd-wannabe grandeur into a minimal, darkly pulsing, all-electronic sound. Floyd themselves forayed into full-blown synth-rock with Dark Side Of The Moon’s On The Run, whose brain-searing wibbles anticipated acid house. Other proggers like ELP’s Keith Emerson and Yes’ Rick Wakeman performed behind massive banks of electronic keyboards, but tended to use their synths as glorified organs, hamming it up with Bach-style variations and arpeggiated folderol. Far more unearthly electro tones could be heard on the telly via science-fiction series like Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People or at the cinema, courtesy of dystopian movies like A Clockwork Orange, The Andromeda Strain and Logan’s Run. Black music also had its share of visionaries besotted with the synth’s cornucopia of otherworldly tone colours, from fusioneers Weather Report and Herbie Hancock to funkateers Stevie Wonder and Funkadelic.

The British groups who took over the charts were catchy and concise

Photo of KRAFTWERK Kraftwerk Photograph: GAB Archive/Redferns

Black or white, these precocious knob-twiddlers all had a freakadelic, proggy mindset: they dug synths for the “far out, man” noises they generated, so they let rip long, noodling solos or oozed out abstract dronescapes. None stood a chance of troubling the hit parade. In some ways the crucial word in synth-pop isn’t “synth” but “pop”. The British groups who took over the charts at the dawn of the 80s were catchy and concise. Here they followed the lead of Kraftwerk, who were not only the first group to make a whole conceptual package/weltanschauung out of the electronic age, but were sublime tunesmiths. It’s righteous that Kraftwerk’s long-awaited remastered catalogue is getting reissued at almost the same time as the long-awaited remastered catalogue of the Beatles, because Hütter & Co rival the Fab Four for both their transformative impact on pop and their melodic genius.

Equally inspiring to the synth-pop artists was Kraftwerk’s formality: their grey suits and short hair stood out at a time of jeans and beards and straggly locks, heralding a European future for pop, a decisive break with America and rock’n'roll. Perhaps even more of a portent here was Giorgio Moroder’s Eurodisco, whose clockwork-precise sequencers and icily erotic electronics forged the connection between synthesizers and the dancefloor, as opposed to the early association of Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze-type music with getting stoned and supine on your sofa. Released in 1977, Donna Summer’s Moroder-produced I Feel Love and Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express divided pop time in two as profoundly as Anarchy In The UK. The 80s begin there.

Bands seized on the cheapo synth as the real coming of do-it-yourself

Conveniently, these singles arrived at a time when synths got vastly more affordable, portable, and user-friendly. As the BBC4 doc Synth Britannia reveals, what once cost as much as a small house (and therefore stayed the preserve of prog superstars) became something you could buy for a few hundred quid, or cheaper still if you mail-ordered a build-your-own-synth kit and were prepared to spend weeks assembling the bugger. Groups who’d been inspired by punk’s confrontational rhetoric and sartorial provocations but who found the actual sonic substance of punk rock to be too ye olde rock’n'roll seized on the cheapo synth as the real coming of do-it-yourself.

Synth-pop went through two distinct phases. The first was all about dehumanisation chic. That didn’t mean the music was emotionless (the standard accusation of the synthphobic rocker), but that the emotions were bleak: isolation, urban anomie, feeling cold and hollow inside, paranoia. In the post-punk underground, that meant Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, both of whom ironically used a fair bit of guitar but treated it heavily with electronic effects. On the pop overground it meant John Foxx and Gary Numan. Gaz also used guitar prominently on his early hits under the name Tubeway Army. The secret of his success was that his music, for all its majestic canopies of glacial synth, rocked. Even when he dropped the guitar along with the name Tubeway Army and went fully electronic on Cars, he kept his flesh-and-blood drummer.

The second phase of synth-pop reacted against the first. Electronic sounds now suggested jaunty optimism and the gregariousness of the dancefloor, they evoked a bright, clean future just round the corner rather than JG Ballard’s desolate 70s cityscapes. And the subject matter for songs mostly reverted to traditional pop territory: love and romance, escapism and aspiration. The prime movers behind synth-pop’s rehumanisation were appropriately enough the Human League (just check their song titles: Open Your Heart, Love Action, These Are The Things That Dreams Are Made Of).

Suddenly pop was packed with duos who divided labour neatly between the composer-operator, and the singer-lyricist

Marc Almond with Dave Ball of Soft Cell in 1982 Marc Almond with Dave Ball of Soft Cell in 1982 Photograph: Eugene Adebari / Rex Features/Eugene Adebari / Rex Features

Soft Cell were also crucial with their songs of torrid passion and seedy glamour. Their lineup – male diva Marc Almond, keyboard wiz Dave Ball – set the template for the first half of the 80s. The new compact synths resembled an orchestra in a box; you didn’t need to have a whole band of instrumentalists. Suddenly pop was packed with duos who divided labour neatly between the composer-operator, and the singer-lyricist: Eurythmics, Yazoo, Tears For Fears, Blancmange, Pet Shop Boys. The shape of a synth-pop outfit was subversive, or at least enough to make rockists uneasy: the rock band’s gang-like structure replaced by same-sex “couples” plus the occasional female diva plus male boffin partnership.

Yazoo were a classic example of this fire-and-ice combo: Alison Moyet’s proto-Joss Stone soulfulness matched with Vince Clarke’s pristine perkiness. Clarke had been the brains behind Depeche Mode, or so everybody thought. Yet he went on to commit a spree of cultural crimes under aliases like the Assembly and Erasure, while it was Depeche who unexpectedly grew into major artists, leaving behind dinky ditties like Just Can’t Get Enough for the musically sophisticated, politically engaged/enraged Construction Time Again and Some Great Reward. The anti-monetarist smash Everything Counts caught the melancholy of that moment after the re-election of Thatcher, while Master And Servant combined an S&M-inspired personal-is-political allegory about power. (”It’s a lot like life”, so “forget all about equality”) with a pop translation of Einstürzende Neubauten/Test Dept-style metal-bashing. Best of all was the haunting Blasphemous Rumours, a jibe at the Almighty which suggested “God’s got a sick sense of humour.”

One running theme in Synth Britannia, voiced repeatedly by Daniel Miller, the founder of Depeche’s record label, Mute, is the notion of electronic music being essentially un-British. But that would seem to beg the question of why the UK became the world’s leading nation for synth-pop, and later the major force in electronic dance music all through the 90s. The truth is that the real kingdom of synthphobia was the United States. But this also meant that American misfits could express their deviance by spurning standard high school fare like Mötley Crüe for “faggy” English electropop. Depeche’s cult following in the States expanded as they turned out to be surprisingly kick-ass live performers on the arena circuit, peaking with a 1988 show at the Pasadena Rose Bowl that drew 70,000. They were bigger still in Europe, almost Beatles-level in Germany, where to this day there are Depeche raves that play Mode music all night long.

A curious thing that comes through watching Synth Britannia is how the futuristic-ness of this music is largely irrecoverable to us, precisely because we live in the future that the synth-pop era helped to bring about. Electronic tonalities are omnipresent to the point of banality, thanks to 90s techno rave and noughties R&B, videogames and ringtones. “Electro” in the early-90s meant cutting-edge, the future-now; nowadays “electro” refers to the kind of sounds that lit up hipster bars in east London through this past decade and then went mainstream this year with La Roux and Lady Gaga, which is to say synthetic pop that doesn’t use the full capacity of the latest digital technology, and is therefore almost as quaint as if it were made using a harpsichord.

With the future-shock aspect depleted, what comes through now is the pop in synth-pop: OMD’s pretty tunes, the aching plaintiveness of Numan and the Human League. Oddly, what’s made this music last are the same things that made the Beatles and Motown immortal: melody and emotion

Feb 15

yes it is Feb 14th. Yes im only getting around to this NOW.  sorry. my (rather really) late review of sheffield.

Well I got there about 4.30pm due to sudden Tuesday afternoon traffic that came from nowhere in sheffield.  I met some girls from the States (actually I would say about 85% of the people there werent from the UK) who let me sit with them. though it took me some time to find somewhere to sit and suddenly got a flashback to being back in hs trying to find an empty table to sit at during lunch. made me really regretting not pre-arranging a group before hand through nkotb.com. I did try but it all feel apart. *sigh* anyways about 5pm or so the guys were ready for us, though a little subdued (they drove up from londontown to sheffield..) I was in group E with the only guy there in the group.. Im thinking he was someones very good natured bf..

So I go in between the CURTAIN and aim for Joe.. MY Joe. 20 years in waiting Joe. *sigh* As I go in (i think running – oops) for Joe Jordan looks at me and smiles. I sheepishly smile back and go for Joe. I am then outstepped by two girls who say thier English is limited and flew all the way from Poland to meet them. I cant fight with that. Anyways Mr Jonathan Knight is there. God is he gorgeous (but hes still not going to steal another Joe girl away!!) and is so nice. All I could manage to spew out was ‘My sister is really jealous of me right now’ . Ugh no explination how I was different and that I actually lived there nadda.  A few moments later and its picture time! I can feel Jon pull me in slightly to me and Joe is touching my back! OMG Heaven! then, then, then some bitch comes outta nowhere between Joe n I and sneaks in. COW!!! Anyways, It doesnt matter if I was next to him or not because I can feel his hand on the small of my back and thats all I need.  I need to also add, as I was leaving I gave Danny a casual nod and he smiled back. :D

Then the show.. Sooo soo good. Meet a lovely blockhead from Leeds sitting next to me and had a great time! Donnie even pointed out to her in the crowd and talked to her for a few minutes. Soo soo jealous!! Show was everything I imagined it to be (sans Joe almost ripped off the stage) and such a shame it didnt sell out. No advertising will do that you know? Even still it was half filled. I had such a GREAT time. they played some new hits and loads of old ones. Guys came out in either England kits and Joey had on an arsnal one and donnie in his liverpool.

The guys better come back (according to Danny in Cardiff they are just waiting on some dates to be finalised) and Im hitting up Manchester and London. Hopefully Ill be able to go with some of my NK girls and we can be one large group together. I know Im doing at least one show 5*. Even though we only had like 5 minutes with the guys, Id so do it again.  Completly worth not standing outside St Pauls hotel in the winter cold!

Jan 19

from Glasgow last night:

Well at least we know which new kid is all leg. Joey!!! ♥

Apparently a fan had given these to the guys backstage during the 5* meet and greet and I guess the guys ran with it :D

This is completely awesome and I am so jealous of their idea. Scotland has all the cool stuff. I cant exactly present to the guys a bottle of Hendersons and a steel girder now can i? haha.

Dec 2

Looks like theres a sequel to the seminal Sheffield documentary ‘made in sheffield‘ and its will be called ‘the beat is the law‘ with a 2009 release. Which is very exciting to me, as I really loved MiS. Apparently on December 5th & 6th there will be a special screening of Made in Sheffield at the famous Showroom, which will also hold the debut of the full length trailer for ‘The Beat is the Law‘.  Im going to try to go depending on what my work schedule is that day..

For more info:

http://www.thebeatisthelaw.com/

Nov 26

Mr Cocker came home tonight..

DJ Jarvis after the set finished..

Im trying to upload video and when I get a moment will sort out the setlist I wrote down from the show.. stay tuned for this post here..

Edit 2:

Okay I’ve just woken up and though the show was BRILLIANT! (okay I might be a slight be biased because I’m obsessed with Jarvis, but thats besides the point) Played a great mix of old and new (those songs sound GREAT! if anyone loved Jarvis, youll love the next record!) and told a few stories.. Gave a lecture on Take Thats writing skills and his opinion of their new single as well (why put the emphasis on ‘oh’?? you generally emphasize what you want like ‘Can I have a LAGER mate’, not ‘Can I have a lager MATE’ or something like that.. the vodka is clouding my brain) and showed a few pictures of this great city (me stupidly shouting ‘Thats Sheffield’). Such a good time and such a great performer.

He was on stage for about an hour and a half and then DJ’d the remainder of the night until the venue turned into a club night.  WE stayed for most of it, but my friends wanted to get a few drinks in before the pubs closed, so off to Division street we went. I had an awesome time, and it was just as brilliant as when we saw him at the .plug last year

I still need to grab my phone and upload some video.. I dont have many pics of the performance because we arrived a little later than we wanted to and we had to stand far back underneath the over hang. The camera kept focusing on THAT instead of Jarvis. Stupid technology, not knowing what *really* matters.

Edit 3 – the Setlist:

Into
Further Complicationsr* (thank you Mr Travers)
Tonight
All Caucasian Band*
Girls Like Today*
Big Julie Rules the World
I Will Kill Again
Angela*
Bones*
Big Stuff
Black Magic
————–
Encore 1
Fat Children
Another Fucking Song*
Cunts Are Still Running the World
————–
Encore 2
Dont Let Him Waste Your Time
Cover song (disco he said, but cant find the right lyrics to match)
—————-
DJ set for 45 minutes or so

*New Tracks from the upcoming record

Edit:

First video:

Black Magic

Big Stuff

Ranty Jarvis before the start of the new track, ‘Angela’

Nov 25

No Sleep ’till Sheffield

Great little documentry from circa 1995 about Pulps rise to fame after Different Class’ release.

The ‘real’ story of the song that made Pulp from BBC3

Nov 24

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/nov/24/jarvis-cocker-pulp-pop-music

‘You can snort as much cocaine as you want and have as many beautiful women as you want … but it doesn’t make you happy’

Jarvis Cocker talks fame and excess with Simon Hattenstone

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker photographed in Ladbroke Grove. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

Jarvis Cocker wants to reinvent the wheel. Again. Thirteen years since Common People, a stomping vignette about a rich girl sexually slumming it, brought Pulp’s unique brand of kitchen-sink pop to the nation’s attention, he’s off again. This time, he’s going on the road, determined to create a new type of spectacle. “I want it to be part show, part lecture, and part disco.” He smiles at the ridiculousness of it all. Jarvis has got a lovely smile – knowing, a little bit ironic, but ultimately sincere.

His mini tour is partly to celebrate 30 years of Rough Trade records, home to the Smiths and, more recently, bands such as Arcade Fire and British Sea Power. Although Jarvis has only recorded one album on the label, his first as a solo artist, he has been managed by Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis and Jeanette Lee for the past 15 years.

He’s 45 now and wearing a reclusive-pop-star beard – black with a few sprigs of silver – but is otherwise little changed. He’s still a stick insect of a man. A trendy stick insect, mind, with his carefully cultivated designer-Oxfam look: grey jacket, blue cords, a tie that thinks it’s a cravat, spectacular specs and stack-heeled leather shoes taking him up to 6ft 4in.

We meet at Rough Trade, where we have been lent the marketing manager’s office. I am sitting behind the desk, Jarvis in front, like a job applicant. I offer to swap places, but he seems to like the subservient role.

Back in the 1990s heyday of Britpop, there were three headline bands – Oasis with their no-nonsense classicism, Blur with their arty rock, and Pulp with their literary pop. Cocker sang and wrote the words, which resembled short stories written by a down-and-dirty Alan Bennett – the sour nostalgia of Do You Remember the First Time?; the bitter vengeance of I Spy, addressed to the husband he has just cuckolded and the world that has failed to embrace his genius; the pulsing desperation of The Fear when he realised success has made him even more insecure than he was in the first place. Often he was the hero, or anti-hero, of his own songs; sometimes he would appear in the third person; occasionally he adopted a female persona.

Cocker’s epitaph could well be, “Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.” He grew up in Sheffield, a shy, gawky boy who was desperate to be a pop star. One of his heroes was Scott Walker, who became a huge success and then ran away from fame. Cocker continued to strive long after most would have given up, and eventually his band also became huge. He loved music and performing, but he hated success even more than failure and, like Walker, did a bolt. The “glory years”, as he calls them with that smile, seemed to happen at hyper-speed. On one album, he was anticipating the big time and the perks it would bring; on the next he was despairing at the sell-out he had become.

I tell him that what I love about his songs is that he sounds as if he has spent a lifetime eavesdropping. “Yeah, well I have, I suppose,” he says. His father left home when he was seven to make a life for himself as a DJ in Australia. From then on, Cocker remembers listening in on the chatter of his mum and Auntie Mandy, whose husband had also walked out. “I learned most things about the adult world from eavesdropping on my mother and her friends. There was another friend whose husband had also fucked off, so they discussed the various blokes they were dating. They’d talk in the kitchen over a cup of coffee and I knew if they shut the kitchen door they’d be discussing something quite juicy so I’d go and listen.”

Despite the famous song, when he was growing up his family were considered anything but common. After all, he was called Jarvis, his sister was Saskia, his grandfather had a successful DIY shop, and they lived in a big stone home set back from the road, which had once been the manor house. It was only when he went to Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design as a mature student at 25 that he discovered what really posh people were like – people such as the Greek girl in Common People who wanted to sleep with him, largely because of his accent. He says he found it quite liberating to discover he was working class, after all.

Cocker is one of pop’s great observers, and he has never observed anybody quite as closely or as critically as himself. I ask him what he thinks he’s good at and what he’s rubbish at. “Erm … well … I don’t know. I guess I’m fairly insistent and maybe consistent. If I decide I’ll do something, I generally will.” He speaks slowly, pedantically, in an Eeyoreish monotone. Sometimes, he sounds so lugubrious you can forget how funny he is. “Pulp existed for 12 years before we got famous. Now, you could say that was just lack of imagination, but it’s some kind of quality isn’t it? Tenacity.” He pauses. “You could also say it was sloth.”

But he could also say he stuck with it because he loved it? “Yes, I think so, otherwise I wouldn’t have kept doing it. The main thing I don’t like about myself is an absurd level of self-consciousness that makes any sort of social encounter an ordeal for me.”

He recently went on a trip to the Arctic with 40 artists and spent the weeks beforehand worrying how he would cope socially. In the end he enjoyed it, and he has determined to become more sociable. “I’ve been going out a lot more. You have to try yourself out on other people, don’t you?” I ask him if his wife, the French stylist Camille Bidault-Waddington, thinks he’s antisocial? “She thinks I’m a bit autistic, basically.” They live in Paris with their five-year-old son, Albert. Has Cocker made friends in France? “Maybe three or four. You don’t need more than that, do you?”

If he were so shy, why on earth did he want to be a pop star? “Oh well that’s easy to answer because it’s a way of being sociable but at a safe distance. You’re on a stage but people are a bit away. You’re singing songs that are a personal expression, but you’re not doing it individually to people; you’re doing it to a mass of people. I find it much harder to be open with someone I’m intimate with.”

And that, he says, has always been the problem with him and his relationships. “Every woman I’ve had a relationship with has found this maddening; the fact that I will talk about anything on the stage, and reveal all this stuff, and yet when I’m at home, I clam up and won’t discuss anything intimate or personal.”

But he does express himself honestly in music? “Yes. But it must be unhealthy if you only express yourself in that area and you don’t express yourself in your real life. That’s a bit fucked up, isn’t it?” He often turns his statements into a question. If he didn’t express himself through music, wouldn’t he go potty? “Yeah, I’d explode. As I say, that’s what I think art’s for.”

In some ways success was great – the acceptance, the feeling that people were finally listening. But, he says, apologising for another paradox, he lost the most important thing to him – his invisibility.

“The way that I work is reacting to things that are going round and listening and picking up on what’s going on, and to do that you have to be anonymous, basically. So my natural habitat disappeared. Then it becomes very internalised and that’s not good for anyone.”

There is a famous quote from his drinking, druggy days that sounds embarrassingly self-congratulatory. I recite it back to him. “I had access to the most quality fanny available.” Ah, he says, that’s taken out of context. “It is a bit embarrassing, I suppose, but it wasn’t meant in a show-off way. It was more that they’re the rock’n'roll cliches; they’re the things that are supposed to bring you happiness, aren’t they? You make it, and you’re bathing in champagne and you can snort as much cocaine as you want and fuck as many beautiful women as you want. Then you find you can do those things, but they don’t actually make you very happy.”

How long did it take him to realise? “About six months.”

Early on, he says, he really did believe Britpop was a new dawn – not just musically, but politically. If the alternative, rather than the mass-produced, could be embraced by the mainstream in pop, maybe that would be the harbinger of social change. “I had high hopes that it would be some kind of revolution within English society. But I think the mainstream is too strong. It’s flowing too fast. These little jagged things go in there and they get smoothed off straight away.”

What kind of revolution had he envisaged? “What makes society and life interesting is diversity, so if something that embraced that diversity could be accepted in the mainstream that would mean mainstream society would be more open and accepting. And that’s what excited me about it. That that could happen.”

He says he’s always been a bit naive, and it was hardly the first time he had been pulled up short from his dreams. “I’m always going through these false dawns. It was the same the first time I went to a rave. I thought, this is fantastic, people are dancing all night, they’re all being friendly to each other, they’re not really drinking, it’s not about pulling birds or having a fight. And I thought, that’s got to have an impact on society. When they go home after being all loved up and talking to everybody and being really inclusive, how can that not have some knock-on effect in normal life? And yet it didn’t.” He smiles, baffled. “That was the last spontaneous youth thing. I can’t think of anything that’s not been stage managed since then.”

Once the photographer’s camera is on him, Cocker seems to relax. He explains why he wears heels. “It’s like, what are you going to gain from wearing flat shoes? You’re still tall, so why not just go for it? I admire that about Beth Ditto – she just goes, ‘Here you are, that’s it.’ I think it’s great. By not being ashamed of it, and accentuating it even, you turn it into something quite positive rather than something you’re ashamed of.”

The worst thing, he says, was seeing gangly, geeky Jarvis turned into a brand. “If you’re an inadequate person, you make this thing called a group to give you something in life that you’ve got some control over, a little bit of a fantasy to escape things. And then that thing becomes popular. So that very personal almost self-medicating thing you’ve invented gets taken way from you and becomes a product. And in some way, your personality and your funny clothes and your funny glasses also become a product. So you start feeling you’re part of some capitalist system. Something personal has been made into a commodity that is considered valuable. And I hated that.” On This Is Hardcore, he compares himself to a pornography worker who has been violated through every orifice and then given the heave-ho. “But you have to realise you’re complicit in that act. You’re taking your clothes off in the first place.”

In 1996, at the height of his fame, he protested at the Brit awards when Michael Jackson turned himself into a contemporary Jesus for a performance of Earth Song. Cocker invaded the stage and waggled his bottom disrespectfully in the direction of Jackson. There was a tremendous hoo-ha, which resulted in performing children receiving minor injuries as security tried to get Cocker off stage. It led to Cocker being labelled the antichrist by the press the next day, although he was later feted for ridiculing Jackson’s messiah complex. This one act branded him more than anything as Cocker, the situationist prankster. He is all too aware that this is the first thing many people associate him with. Again, he knows he has no one to blame but himself. “I guess lots of people have one particular incident that overshadows just about everything else they’ve done in your life. Although I don’t regret it as a moral action, the fact it will be the first line in my obituary is just a little bit disappointing. I’d like to think I’d given more to the world.”

He says that after Pulp, he almost walked out on music for good. It was only when he was on the verge of quitting that he realised how much it all meant to him. Even though he’s spent most of the intervening time in Paris being a dad and recovering his anonymity, he’s involved himself in a surprising number of projects – writing songs for Marianne Faithfull, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Nancy Sinatra, curating the Meltdown festival, making music videos for bands, lecturing on lyrics, working on his second solo album and now the tour. And more than ever, he’s determined to make it special – hence the mix of gig, lecture and disco. “Even when we were deeply unsuccessful we used to cover the stage with tin foil or hang things from the stage. People used to take the piss out of us, but I always thought it defined it as a night that’s not the same as every other night in that venue – I think it shows a bit of respect for your audience.”

Does he think this time around he can have success without becoming a commodity? “Well I hope so; otherwise I’m fucked.”

He had been about to hit 40 when he considered walking away from music before. “I just thought, ‘You’re too old to be in a band.’” Does he think that he’s too old now he’s 45? “Yeah, but who cares? I am too old. I have resigned myself to the humiliation that goes with it now.” I laugh. “I have!” he protests. “I have, because I realise it’s the only thing I was born to do”.

• Jarvis Cocker headlines Rough Trade Records’ 30th anniversary UK Tour from tomorrow. Details: roughtraderecords.com/lookingroughat30

Nov 23

ive been helping out with the parking situattion at work – even though i dont drive – because people would moan about it and then not do anything. i hate that, why whinge and then do nothing about it? anyways, i took it on so people would stop ‘passing the buck’ in a way.  all it cost me was using a connection or two i had at work to talk to a local councilman and a few hours of emailing my floor – not even the whole building – to put a small plan in place. all i gathered was a little bit of data (< 50 or so people responded to my intial email), put it in a spreadsheet and passed it along when the parking scheme went under review in late September.

nothings been set in place yet, but the council, theyre actually LISTENING and taking on board all the information i gathered to help put a plan in place. In fact the plan theyve almost agreed to is the one i came up with just looking at the situation from being on the outside.  its weird, because the council asked why no one has brought the issue to anyones attention until now – when the scheme was under review – and not before it was put into place in Oct 2007. apparently no one objected at the hearings held nor was the issue discussed at work. its great this is actually happening because people always moan that councils dont listen to their residents. well apparently this one is listening to me.

anyways, it feels good doing something to help make my town a better place to live and where i work a better place to be. its just a shame it took this long to sort it out, when it really didnt take THAT much effort in the first place. i jut wish i could say EXACTLY what was happening, but cant until meetings take place in late January. ahhhhhhh

Nov 21

hah.

look like everyones blogging!!

mr jarvis cocker has posted a blog as well…

Friday, November 21, 2008

RT 30th Competition & a New Blog

You may be skint, you may be unconvinced, you may just like the thrill of the unknown – if so, why not enter our on-line competition to win free tickets for the up-coming “Looking Rough at 30″ shows? All you have to do is e-mail Mr Ryan McCann at ryan.mccann@roughtraderecords.com (stating your venue of choice) & he will randomly select 8 lucky winners. What have you got to lose?

Ok,ok, ok – if you were my child you would have been taken off me, due to neglect. I never told you about South America, I never told you about North America, I never told you about Greenland, I never told you about Scott (Walker) Land. But I CAN tell you this: the new era is beginning.Oh yes. Something is happening isn’t it? Things feel different – like we all just woke up after a particularly bad dream. It’s not time to punch the air just yet but it IS time to get out of bed & get dressed. And put some decent clothes on will yer? Concerts in a week’s time; a chance to meet up face to face & breathe the same air. The physical realm DOES exist. I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen but I know I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us.

mmhmmhmm i can not wait until tuesday night to meet up at the Disco 2000!!! yayaya

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