|A lifetime fascination with men in knitwear began here.|
|The ubiquitous cover from a|
Magazine, pinned to my
bedroom wall for years.
|My bookmark, which|
caused such concern.
I can't pretend to have been a fan from the very early days of Pulp - to be fair, the band formed the year before I was born, in 1978. Unless I was the hippest baby in the world (which I was not - as evidenced here) the likelihood of being in at the beginning, was pretty low. However, it has been galling in more recent times to be told of the brushes I had with seeing, what became, my all time faves in earlier times. They played 'spit and sawdust' pubs in towns in Yorkshire I lived in, and gigs in the Midlands not far from my hometown, before I knew they existed. They only really came to my attention when the rest of the world also started to wake up to their talent and my first ever Pulp purchase was The Sisters EP in 1994. Babies remains a song that I am ALWAYS in the mood for.
Pulp were particularly important to me as, along with a typical teenage admiration for a sardonic sense of humour, their laconic disdain for what was deemed conventionally fashionable greatly appealed. As a fat, bespectacled, geeky, vegetarian I was never one of the cool kids. When you are in your early teens, a successful piano lesson or good English grade never really makes up for realising you will never be in the 'popular' gang. For a while, I wanted to be one of the girls that all the boys liked. I wanted to have just the right clothes and be good at netball and laugh that seemingly carefree laugh of a golden, chosen one. It never occurred to me that their life would be anything other than wonderful, compared to mine - being the butt of every joke, being 'friends' with boys but never being lusted after.
In retrospect, I was an idiot. I had parents that cared about me, supportive friends, a loving wider family, beliefs, passions and, most crucially, the opportunity to move on to whatever I chose to do. Still, for that brief time, I felt I'd been dealt a crap hand. What Pulp (particularly their wonderful call to arms for the terminally un-cool, Mis-shapes), woke me up to, was that actually, I'd got my aspirations all skewed. These people, these awkward, quirky, arty people, were outsiders too - and they had something important to say. It made me see that being different was actually the key to being interesting. Be it lanky, angular Jarvis or quiet, plastic jewellery-adorned Candida, these were people who didn't fit the mould of convention, but were undeniably cool - because of their otherness, not despite it.
The very first email I ever received from David indicated that his email address included the phrase 'pulpanarchist' and, despite there being no indication of his mis-shapeness previous to this, I was thrilled that he confirmed that this was, indeed, a reference to Sheffield's finest export. He is potentially the biggest Pulp fan you will ever meet and, frankly, if you want to know anything about band and their music, apart from my own personal ramblings, you can't go far wrong by clicking on this link here. We were both thrilled to hear Pulp would be playing live again in 2011 and managed to get tickets to see them play at Brixton Academy on 31st August. Despite the sad realisation that I am now too old for the mosh-pit (it felt like a collective panic attack on a bouncy castle) we had an amazing night. Hearing the Pulp faithful gathered again, old and young, to share the songs we all loved so much was just magical.
Pulp recently released their first single for 11 years, After You, this year, and I rather like it. Jarvis remains a constant presence on BBC 6 Music with his marvellous show, Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service and he makes regular appearances across the media. I'm hoping we also get to hear and see more of Pulp, as well as more of Cocker's solo work, in the near future.