Net Curtain Twitching Perverts: Pulp

p01x1wwhWhile some bands wheeze on to the finish line, others know when to quit. Sure, they reformed for a few shows, but Pulp are still much missed.

They were the net curtain twitching perverts, seemingly speed addicted art students who burnt out, regarding sex and intimacy a chore like taking the bins out or doing the hoovering. But always with a sense of the ridiculous.

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In unlikely sex symbol frontman Jarvis Cocker, there was a tongue in many cheeks approach to lyrics: Sheffield Sex City, for example, sets out its stall with a wry riposte to Bill Drummond’s statement that “It’s grim up north”. Deadpan, hilarious and prurient, he was a working class (more attractive, if scrawny) Serge Gainsbourg who, you sense, liked them a bit older. I can just picture him round the back of a car park with a faded soap matriarch, corduroy trousers round his ankles.

They were way more interesting than Blur or Oasis, with influences from Roxy Music to obscure disco, French cinema to Berlin- era Bowie.

 

I love this next clip, where he wanders out into the audience, during His’N’Hers, asking, “What makes you frightened?” and the girl isn’t listening to him at all. His response and ad- lib is brilliant. Bet she feels embarrassed now…

Their music got even murkier though, with the brittle album, This Is Hardcore. They sounded sick of playing the pop game. Gone were the springy yet angry anthems like Babies and Common People.In were menacing, John Barry like string arrangements courtsey of composer Anne Dudley, erstwhile member of Art Of Noise.

And Cocker sounded bitter and world weary. “That goes in there, and that goes in there, and that goes in there, and that goes in there…” he sighs on the title track. “Then it’s over. Ohh… What a hell of a show. But what I really want to know… Is what exactly do you do for an encore?”  The pervert considering retirement. Let’s just ignore the follow-up album produced by Scott Walker (it wasn’t very good).

 

 

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