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The Only Way is Down

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New Jarvis Interviews
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I've been checking the Newsnow feeds for new Jarvis press material and there's quite a bit as you'd expect in the week before his new album comes out. See the three interviews below.


The Daily Mail's (who I thought would be the last people Jarvis would be talking to after his Tory-allegiance misquote!) is the most extensive and has some great new photos  but some of Jarvis' quotes sound alarmingly mid-life crisis...Lovely anecdote about Pulp on their brief seaside tour of Britain just as Different Class was exploding. 


I'm pretty sure the interviewer from The Independent has done Pulp articles before. Nick Duerden sounds very familiar (is/was he a reviewer at Q aswell?) and the last article by The Scotsman has a wee bit more on the marriage break-up.

Interestingly, there's a few sites running a ''Pulp will never reform says Cocker'
story, based on quotes not exactly saying that in this month's Q, though he does say ''I'm a contrary sod so if someone wants me to reform a band I tend not to''.





'I turned into this horrible caricature': Jarvis Cocker on the Pulp explosion

Virtually ignored for ten years, Pulp joined Oasis and Blur to become one of Britpop's headline acts in 1995, with their anthemic hit singles Common People and Disco 2000.  However too much partying and an infamous Brits appearance all became too much for their frontman Jarvis Cocker. But now pop's most charismatic oddity is back...

By Jon Wilde

Last updated at 9:50 PM on 09th May 2009

 

Jarvis Cocker

'For six months it was great. I was having the time of my life. Then I realised that none of it, not even the fame, was making me happy,' says Jarvis Cocker of hitting the bigtime in 1995

Cocker has never given the impression of being the most sunshiny of characters. With his famously lugubrious manner and a complexion as pale as a candle, it's hard to imagine him relishing the prospect of a day on the beach with a bucket and spade.

But here he sits, in a sun-bathed beer garden near his home in east London, and clearly he can't wait for spring to be over and another great British summer to begin.

'I love the feeling of summer approaching,' he says.

Jarvis Cocker

'It always puts a spring in my step. You get the feeling of the seasons turning and everything coming back to life. You imagine what the summer is going to bring. Everything seems filled with promise.

'Then summer arrives and it never disappoints. The air is filled with the smell of suntan lotion, wet swimming trunks, candyfloss and vinegar sprinkled over chips. With that smell around you, anything seems possible.' 

His mood of radiant optimism refuses to be spoiled by talk of the credit crunch from neighbouring tables.

'I think the credit crunch is a brilliant thing,' he says, unashamedly. 'We should all stop moaning and start celebrating. When times are tough, it's an opportunity to start looking at life in a different way.

'Unless you're living on the street and surviving on a diet of discarded turkey drumsticks, there's no point in being gloomy. We've spent too long trying to cheer ourselves up by spending money on brightly coloured things we don't really need. We've stopped using our imaginations.

'Now is the time to realise that another new pair of shoes isn't going to make us feel better for long. I'm not saying that shoes aren't important. But how many pairs does anyone need?

'The things that are guaranteed to make us happy are right in front of our eyes and they don't cost sixpence. A bit of sunshine and a nice walk along the beach - you can't go wrong with that combination.

'I've always had an eye for nature, but it's the sort of thing to keep quiet about, because I don't want to come across as a mad hippy. But it makes sense to appreciate those things.'

Despite the fact that he's recently separated from his wife of seven years, fashion stylist Camille Bidault-Waddington, Jarvis has much to feel cheerful about.

Most notably, he's about to release his second solo album, Further Complications, arguably his most potent collection of songs since the heyday of Pulp. It's the culmination of a seven-year period that's seen him establish himself as something of a Renaissance man.

The mind-boggling scope of his recent activities would greatly surprise those who imagine his career was bookended by the birth of Britpop and his bum-wiggling gesture towards Michael Jackson at the 1996 Brit Awards.

He's made regular appearances on TV documentaries and curated London's Meltdown Festival. He's written songs for Marianne Faithfull, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tony Christie and Nancy Sinatra. He's earned rave reviews for his concert lectures on the art of songwriting. He's even appeared on Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes (doing a flawless imitation of Rolf Harris) and popped up in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire to play the leader of a fictitious pop band. While he gears up for a summer of live dates, he's also been putting the finishing touches to his work on the forthcoming animated Fantastic Mr Foxmovie.

Unless you're living on the street on a diet of discarded turkey drumsticks, there's no point in being gloomy

Meanwhile, he's been busy making plans for his summer holidays.

'You won't find me sitting around on a beach in Majorca reading a terrible airport novel and getting sunburnt. I can see why some people would want to spend their holidays doing that. If you do a job that entails sitting at a desk all day, you don't get too many opportunities to lie down during the daytime.

'But I don't do a proper job. I spend most of my time lying down. That's a big part of my job. I get a lot of my thinking done when I'm having a good lie-down.

'When I go on holiday I want to get away from that. I want to do things. If I'm on a beach, I want to be swimming or playing a bit of sand cricket. If I'm in the countryside I'll go canoeing down a river or cycle around on my old Raleigh bike. I don't mind a good hike so long as the mountain isn't too tall. Very tall mountains make me dizzy.

'For the first 15 years of my life I very rarely ventured beyond a couple of miles from my house. The exception was the summer holiday to Torquay, where we'd build sandcastles, ride donkeys, the usual seaside stuff. My grandad would take us down there in his silver-grey Jaguar, which was the most sophisticated thing I'd ever seen. It had red leather seats and there were these little tables where you could play with your toy soldiers. That car seemed unbelievably posh to me.

Jarvis Cocker

'When I was 11 we went abroad for the first time. Majorca. Then Ibiza. But it wasn't quite as exciting going to those places because I didn't get to ride in the Jag.

'Not all my foreign holidays have been happy experiences. A few years ago I took my family for a boat trip around the Greek islands. It was very peaceful until we stopped off at one of the islands for a bite to eat. The whole island was rammed with ravers. It was like being locked in the world's biggest nightclub. A complete nightmare.

'Personally I prefer taking holidays in Britain. I took my son (Albert) camping last summer. I wanted him to experience life in the north of England, so we set up a tent in a field in Derbyshire. I had a marvellous time. But I think he found it a bit boring.

'I think it was my fault - I didn't plan the trip carefully enough. Albert was very keen to do a spot of fishing, but I wasn't in the mood. I thought I could get away with tying a piece of string to the end of a stick and using a worm to try to catch a fish. He was only five but he could see through my ruse.

'He turned to me and said, "Dad, this isn't really proper fishing, is it?" I had to admit it wasn't. But he took it in good spirit and it was fun while it lasted.

'I seem to recall that we listened to Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime rather a lot. A classic song for the hot weather, but I took care to point out to Albert that having "a drink and a drive" is not a clever thing to do and will probably get you killed.

'I almost made the mistake of playing him Summer Night City by Abba, but just in time I remembered it was about romantic goings-on in the park. Nothing wrong with a bit of that, but Albert's too young to know about it.'

Jarvis chuckles and takes a long sip on his warm pint of bitter. Now 45, he's recently taken to cultivating a large, unruly beard. Facial growth aside, he's remarkably unchanged from when I first interviewed him in 1983. The same deliciously dry wit. The same pipe-cleaner physique. The same wonderfully eclectic taste in clothes.

Today he sports a grey linen jacket from a second-hand shop in Paris, a pale green V-neck APC jumper he claims to have found on a London park bench, a red check shirt by Yves Saint Laurent, brown Herr von Eden trousers from a market stall in Hamburg and dilapidated black shoes from a thrift store in New York.

He adds helpfully, 'I'm also wearing American Apparel Y-fronts. Not boxers. I find that boxers provide insufficient support.' 

I remember seeing a bloke on the carousel with his son at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. For some reason I started crying

He admits he gives considerable thought to his summer wardrobe.

'It's easy to make sartorial mistakes when the weather gets hot. I've tried walking around in shorts, but it's not a good look on me. In a pair of shorts I resemble a very large grasshopper. I prefer a nice pair of long canvas trousers, a shirt and sandals. No socks, obviously. I don't like too much sun on me, so I'll often resort to a hat. A beanie will do me. I like the beanies with a little zip in the side where I can tuck my bus pass for safe keeping.

'I've been known to wear swimming trunks. But only when I'm swimming. You won't find me sauntering around a beach in a pair of trunks. I'd look totally ridiculous and people would laugh at me. It's good to know your limits. Swimming trunks might work for the George Michaels of the world, but they don't work for me.' 

Unlike George Michael, Jarvis was always the most unlikely of pop stars. Growing up in the Intake area of Sheffield, he was a shy, awkward, gangly kid who had to wear spectacles from the age of five after a life-threatening bout of meningitis. 

Jarvis Cocker

At the age of seven, his self-confidence nosedived when his father left home to seek work as a DJ in Australia. Always a target for playground bullies, he endured further humiliation when his mother sent him off to school wearing lederhosen.

'School was never a particularly happy time for me,' he says.

'So I always longed for the summer holidays. Those six weeks seemed to last forever. I was from that generation that stayed outdoors as much as possible. If the weather was nice, I'd be out there building dens or playing on waste ground.

'I was also quite big on fire. I stopped short of setting homes alight, but I got a lot of pleasure making a fire in a hedge then running off.'

It was the advent of punk rock that gave him the idea of fronting a band. Pulp, originally called Arabacus Pulp, were officially formed during an economics lesson at school in 1978. By 1981 they'd appeared on John Peel's radio show, but success proved elusive, and for much of the Eighties Jarvis signed on the dole in Sheffield. Pulp gamely soldiered along. Band members came and went. Albums were released on independent labels to little fanfare.

By 1986, Jarvis could be seen on stage performing in a wheelchair, having fallen out of a fifth-storey window while trying to impress a girl.

'She might have been a little impressed when I was balanced on the window ledge. She was much less impressed when I landed on the pavement and shattered my leg and pelvis. The police got involved. This girl had a bit of a history of beating up men and it was assumed that she'd thrown me out of the window for a laugh. But that was all my own work. I spent six weeks in hospital and was told I might never walk again. It was a definite low point.'

Two years later, in sheer desperation, he decided to move out of Sheffield.

'That was quite an emotional decision for me. On my last day in Sheffield, I rented a rubber dinghy and went on a trip along the River Don. That's a trip I'd recommend to anyone, but it was particularly magical for me. I was travelling through the city that had always been my home and I was seeing it from a completely new angle. I was sad to be leaving Sheffield, but somehow I felt that my life had to change.'

Jarvis Cocker

 

He moved to London, found a squat and enrolled at St Martin's College of Art, where he studied film-making. Pulp continued on their cryptic course, seemingly going nowhere fast.

Then in 1994 they landed a deal with a major record label and released their breakthrough album, His 'N' Hers. The album went platinum and was nominated for a Mercury Prize.

'That was a wonderful time. At the end of 1994, we did a tour of seaside resorts. I like those places at any time of year, but I especially like them in the winter. We'd set off early for the gigs so we could spend an afternoon walking along the windswept beaches of Cleethorpes and Scarborough.

'I remember going to Blackpool and visiting the Pleasure Beach, which was all but deserted. There was just this one bloke riding on the carousel, holding his son. For some reason I started crying. There was something so poignant about that, something perfectly English. You don't find that sort of thing in Ibiza.'

In 1995 Britpop exploded. Along with Oasis and Blur, Pulp became one of the scene's headline acts. Their fifth album, Different Class, sold a million and birthed anthemic hit singles in Common People and Disco 2000.

Jarvis Cocker

Virtually ignored for ten years, Cocker's kitchen-sink pop songs detailing the grubby reality of small-town England were now warmly embraced by the mainstream. Suddenly he found himself absurdly famous and obligingly threw himself into a fast-paced lifestyle of beautiful girls and endless partying.

'For six months it was great,' he says. 'I was having the time of my life. Then I realised that none of it, not even the fame, was making me happy.

'I'd find myself at some party hanging out with some coked-up actor from EastEnders who'd spend all night telling me how great he was. Then I'd wake up the next morning with some woman whose name I didn't know and I'd feel terrible. It didn't help that I had a girlfriend at the time. Without realising it, my personality was disintegrating.'

His life became even more confused the following year when, after invading the stage at the Brits during Michael Jackson's messianic performance of Earth Song, he was detained by police on suspicion of assault. The incident enhanced his fame in a way he was unable to cope with.

'Suddenly I turned into this horrible caricature,' he says.

'I felt I'd turned into this grotesque showbiz figure and knew that if I wasn't careful I'd be trapped in that for the rest of my days. I'd formed a band in the first place because it was a way for me to deal with the world and communicate with people.

'Being chronically shy I needed to create a persona for myself and be involved with a band where I could be ruler of my own kingdom. Then Pulp became hugely popular and I lost control of it, which is when it all went wrong.'

His feelings of insecurity and self-loathing were poured into Pulp's 1998 album, This Is Hardcore, an uncompromising work that lost them most of their mainstream audience.

A final Pulp album, the poignant We Love Life, arrived in 2001. After which, Jarvis got married, moved to Paris to live in an apartment and started a family.

Jarvis Cocker

The idea of Jarvis, the quintessential English songwriter of his generation, living in France seems comically incongruous. But Cocker sees it differently. 

'I've always felt like a bit of a fraud saying that I moved to Paris. I've got a house there and my son goes to school there. But I've also kept a house in East London and I've always been backwards and forwards. It's not like I bought a cottage on the Rhone valley and started growing my own grapes. I'm a five-minute walk from the Eurostar.

'I've been playing at living in France really. I've got all the English TV channels. I even know places in Paris where HP Sauce and Marmite are available. I still think of myself as British but I'm not sure I'd want to move back here permanently.

'I don't like the way this country is changing. Brown used to be my favourite colour but not any more. Brown's Britain is an unforgiveable place.

'We've been turned into a nation of mean-hearted snoopers. There's about four CCTV cameras in the whole of Paris. There seems to be one every few yards in Britain. There's this obsession now with spying on people to see what they're doing every minute of the day. It's a much less tolerant country than the one I grew up in. I think it's a lot more difficult now for people to live their own lives.

'There's a big pressure for everyone to be completely normal. That goes against my way of thinking. My main ambition in life was to be something other than normal. I think I've succeeded in that.'

Still oblivious to the credit crunch conversations still taking place all around him, Cocker says, 'It's a beautiful day and I fancy looking at some trees.'

And, with that, pop's most charismatic oddity downs the last of his warm English pint and happily wanders off for a walk in the park.

'Further Complications' is out on May 18.

For tour details, visit jarviscocker.net


JARVIS COCKER'S MOST MEMORABLE FESTIVALS

 

THE SHEFFIELD SHOW (Sheffield, 1979)

'My first festival. I was heavily into punk at the time, but I was only 15, so I wasn't allowed into clubs. The Sheffield Show would let anyone in. It was an odd line-up which included the Dooleys and an early version of Def Leppard. I left before Keith Harris and Orville came on - I was hungry, so I went home for some bread and jam.' 

GLASTONBURY (1995)

'The Stone Roses pulled out at the last minute, so Pulp were drafted in to headline. Common People had only been out for a few weeks and we had no idea just how popular we'd become. When we went into that song and the whole crowd belted out the words, it almost knocked me out. An amazing moment.'

THE MIGHTY BOOSH FESTIVAL (Hop Farm, Kent, 2008)

'I came on between Gary Numan and the Charlatans to do a DJ set. Thinking I was being clever I played a steel-band version of Cars. But it was very windy and the needle kept flying off. It sounded great to me. It was an ideal festival. Not too big, and people dressed in funny costumes.'



-- Edited by Eamonn on Wednesday 13th of May 2009 03:40:28 AM

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They won't all fit in one post. Here's the other two:



Jarvis Cocker: 'Gordon Brown is crushingly dull. I'd advocate a revolution'

Interview by Nick Duerden
Saturday, 9 May 2009



You don't find the little café that sits at the bottom of Brookhouse Hill, on the outer reaches of Sheffield's town centre, without exerting a considerable amount of effort. First, you have to insist to the taxi driver who believes otherwise that, yes, it really does exist, and then, when you have reached the end of the deeply suburban road that appears to lead nowhere, you get out, pay the man, cross the road, squeeze through a gate, and head down a winding path until you get to a frigid lake whose few ducks look as if they wish they were elsewhere. It is the middle of April, British spring time. Consequently, it is freezing cold. It is also disquietingly misty round here. "Not misty," says Jarvis Cocker, Sheffield native and still proud of the place he left 20 years ago. "Atmospheric."


Anyway, we carry on around the lake, step through another gate directly into what is very likely the past, and then finally there it is: the café that sits at the bottom of Brookhouse Hill. Jarvis looks relieved. "See?" he says. It's like arriving at a little corner of 1950s England, a small, undeniably quaint, little hovel set into the hill itself, whose ancient Formica counter is littered with the kind of cakes you haven't been able to buy from your local supermarket for a good generation now.

Though he is dressed quite deliberately, it transpires like a 1970s geography teacher ("It's the look I'm most comfortable with. Why else do you think I have the beard?"), Jarvis seems entirely at home in this pocket of post-war nostalgia. He points out a chrome tap behind the counter upon which is written the legend HORLICKS. In deference to modernity, there is also a cappuccino machine alongside it, though it looks nothing like the cappuccino machine at Starbucks. When somebody comes in later and orders one, the sound it generates is that of a jumbo jet about to crash land.

We opt for tea and teacakes (total cost: mere shillings) and repair to a corner table where, over the next hour or so, we nearly freeze to death, central heating having yet to arrive at Brookhouse.

"Don't mock," he says. "This is a popular local hotspot, especially in the summer months. Families, dog walkers." And, presumably, former local pop stars? Jarvis arranges his face into what it was clearly chiefly constructed for deadpan irony and sort-of smiles. "I do like to visit when I'm back, yes," says the man who has spent the past few years living in Paris. "I always expect a ticker-tape parade in my honour. Hasn't happened yet, but then Sheffield isn't particularly a ticker-tape kind of place, is it?" The smile becomes less ambiguous. "Which is precisely why I like it, of course."

France will never entirely claim him, he insists, though he finds himself increasingly less enamoured with an England he believes is veering perhaps inevitably towards another period of Conservative rule.

"I was recently quoted," he begins with a heavy sigh, "as saying that a Conservative government is now necessary. What I meant, of course, was a necessary evil. It's not like we have much of a choice any more, is it?"

Cocker had grown disillusioned with New Labour long ago. He says: 'I had hoped Brown would have brought something to the party that Blair didn't.'


You don't find the little café that sits at the bottom of Brookhouse Hill, on the outer reaches of Sheffield's town centre, without exerting a considerable amount of effort. First, you have to insist to the taxi driver who believes otherwise that, yes, it really does exist, and then, when you have reached the end of the deeply suburban road that appears to lead nowhere, you get out, pay the man, cross the road, squeeze through a gate, and head down a winding path until you get to a frigid lake whose few ducks look as if they wish they were elsewhere. It is the middle of April, British spring time. Consequently, it is freezing cold. It is also disquietingly misty round here. "Not misty," says Jarvis Cocker, Sheffield native and still proud of the place he left 20 years ago. "Atmospheric."


Anyway, we carry on around the lake, step through another gate directly into what is very likely the past, and then finally there it is: the café that sits at the bottom of Brookhouse Hill. Jarvis looks relieved. "See?" he says. It's like arriving at a little corner of 1950s England, a small, undeniably quaint, little hovel set into the hill itself, whose ancient Formica counter is littered with the kind of cakes you haven't been able to buy from your local supermarket for a good generation now.

Though he is dressed quite deliberately, it transpires like a 1970s geography teacher ("It's the look I'm most comfortable with. Why else do you think I have the beard?"), Jarvis seems entirely at home in this pocket of post-war nostalgia. He points out a chrome tap behind the counter upon which is written the legend HORLICKS. In deference to modernity, there is also a cappuccino machine alongside it, though it looks nothing like the cappuccino machine at Starbucks. When somebody comes in later and orders one, the sound it generates is that of a jumbo jet about to crash land.

We opt for tea and teacakes (total cost: mere shillings) and repair to a corner table where, over the next hour or so, we nearly freeze to death, central heating having yet to arrive at Brookhouse.

"Don't mock," he says. "This is a popular local hotspot, especially in the summer months. Families, dog walkers." And, presumably, former local pop stars? Jarvis arranges his face into what it was clearly chiefly constructed for deadpan irony and sort-of smiles. "I do like to visit when I'm back, yes," says the man who has spent the past few years living in Paris. "I always expect a ticker-tape parade in my honour. Hasn't happened yet, but then Sheffield isn't particularly a ticker-tape kind of place, is it?" The smile becomes less ambiguous. "Which is precisely why I like it, of course."

France will never entirely claim him, he insists, though he finds himself increasingly less enamoured with an England he believes is veering perhaps inevitably towards another period of Conservative rule.

"I was recently quoted," he begins with a heavy sigh, "as saying that a Conservative government is now necessary. What I meant, of course, was a necessary evil. It's not like we have much of a choice any more, is it?"

He had grown disillusioned with New Labour long ago, "but I had hoped Brown would have brought something to the party that Blair didn't." He smiles thinly. "He has certainly done that, but it can hardly be called an improvement. Gordon Brown is dull, crushingly so, and that's the very worst thing that can be said about anyone. Given what has happened to the economy this past year, I'd advocate an uprising, nothing short of a revolution. We should take to the streets in protest."

And would he be right there alongside us?

"If Eurostar services weren't disrupted as a result of it, then yes," he says. "Yes I would."

Jarvis Cocker, arguably the best, if most unlikely, pop star of the 1990s, is a middle-aged man these days. He is 45, and about to release his second solo album called, with a nod to all things midlife, Further Complications. He is cautiously optimistic about this record, which is more than can be said the last time he released a solo album. The Jarvis Cocker Record, released in 2006, was his first post-Pulp release, a record he never imagined he'd come to make at all as, back then, his head was filled with only one thought: retirement.

"I had recently turned 40 and I thought it was maybe time, you know, to make a dignified exit before things got embarrassing." He fusses with his heavy-framed glasses. "The last two Pulp albums were not happy experiences, and I didn't want to go through that kind of pain again. Plus, I was pretty much convinced I had said all I needed to say." "In music?" I ask. He laughs drily. "In everything."

Though he may wince at the cliché, Jarvis had reached an undeniable crossroads in life. His band was over, and he had recently met and married a French woman, stylist Camille Bidault Waddington, with whom he had a son (Albert, now six). When she expressed a desire to return to her native Paris to live, he thought, why not?

"I spent much of my younger days socialising as much as possible because I wasn't particularly comfortable with my own company," he says. "To suddenly be in Paris was a useful ... exercise to learn to, well, I hesitate to say love myself, but not fear myself quite so much. And also to ponder what to do next."

The man who had always been so capable of skewering life's key moments in song everything from sexual awakening to drug overload to bitter disillusion spent those early French days haplessly trying to pinpoint his strengths. This proved arduous.

"I came to the realisation that the ability to jiggle one's elbow while singing is not exactly a particularly transferable one. What could it possibly lead to? Life as a children's entertainer?"

He did briefly consider writing songs for other people, but though he went on to do just that for, among others, Marianne Faithfull, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Nancy Sinatra he decided that the emotional commitment songwriting required of him was too great to then give the songs away. Plus, he adds, "I learned that if I had any real skill at all, it was to put inappropriate subject matter into songs, and then sing them myself. And so I wrote my first album very much from the point of view of me, a post-40 isolated man, in my room, in Paris." Was there a lot of torment in it? He picks a raisin from his teacake and seems not quite to know what to do with it. "Possibly, yes."

Torment rears its head throughout Further Complications too. In fact, if the musical vigour and lyrical confusion that permeates much of the record suggests a man in emotional turmoil, then there is good reason for it. Though he refuses to address the topic in conversation (it is too private, too painful, something to sidestep with a dip of the head and a wave of nervous fingers), Jarvis recently split from his wife, though they remain, a spokesman later suggests, "amicable". He continues to live in Paris in order to be close to his son, but his life, much like the record, throbs with the urgency of having gone through the emotional wringer only to now have to start everything all over again at the age of 45.

"I was DJing at this terribly chic Parisian nightclub the other night, Regine's," he says. "I really enjoyed myself, as it happens, but a few years ago, I used to look at older people who bothered to still attend nightclubs and couldn't help but wonder why. Didn't they realise how foolish they looked? Of course, now that I'm one of those people myself, I have decided that such rules don't apply to me." He laughs at himself here, then stresses that part of accepting middle-age is to no longer care what anyone else thinks.

"But middle age is confusing. I used to think that one day I would reach a stage in life where everything would finally make sense, everything would fall into its rightful place and I'd start enjoying myself," he says when I ask him about the album's wonderfully grumpy title track. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm not enjoying myself right now but that, basically ... Well, that's why they invented the concept of heaven in the first place, isn't it? To look forward to getting to a place where, ultimately, we will all be happy all the time. It certainly doesn't exist in real life."

He says that he still finds himself improvising in everything, expert at nothing: "And when you have children, things just get even more complicated. They ask awkward questions. I wish I knew the answers."

One song on the album, called "Leftovers", concerns a fortysomething man who still wants to run rampant around town, cock of his very own walk. "He had anticipated," Jarvis says, "that he would by now have grown out of sexual desire in favour of simply giving out sweets to small children, but instead the leftovers of desire continue to plague him." "Fuckingsong" Jarvis always did have a way with an eye-catching title does what it says on the tin, while "I Never Said I Was Deep" is a biting exercise in self-abasement: "My lack of knowledge is vast," he sings, "and my horizons are narrow".

"When you first start a band as a teenager, you can't help but think of yourself as terribly deep and that you will, in some profound way, bring about a change in the world through your own creativity. I certainly did. But the more time has gone on, the more I've realised that I'm not deep at all. I am, in fact, profoundly shallow. Oh well."

The ironic smile that comes with this speech means that you cannot be entirely sure whether he means it, but perhaps he does because it never quite reaches his eyes. Behind him, the cappuccino machine erupts into terrifying life. He looks relieved by the interruption.

Jarvis Cocker spent his entire Sheffield upbringing dreaming of becoming a pop star. Shortsighted and gawky, he was the archetypal kid at school who was no good at sport and never got the girl. Instead, he would observe her from afar or, in the case of one particular girl he would go on to write about (in 1992's "Babies"), from the vantage point of the wardrobe in her bedroom. He was obsessed with Scott Walker, an odd choice for someone who claimed to crave stardom Walker hated fame but an oddly prophetic one. He formed Pulp in 1978 at the age of 15, and his band would go through countless line-up changes over the next decade. Though no one out of Sheffield knew of their existence, Pulp nevertheless built up a small but loyal local following, Jarvis already worthy of idolatry to some. There is a wonderful story, possibly apocryphal, hopefully not, that during an attempt to woo a girl inexpertly, as was his way he fell out of a second-storey window and spent the next six months in a wheelchair. Fans would turn up to subsequent Pulp shows in wheelchairs themselves, in honour of the seated frontman.

By 1988, he had moved to London to study film at Saint Martin's. Much of the band came with him, and four years later, things started to happen for them. Pulp songs were by now wonderfully sparkly affairs, full of supersonic melody, each emboldened by Jarvis's darkly funny, observational lyrics that would soon get him hailed the Alan Bennett of pop. They fell into Britpop almost by accident, but were undeniably buoyed along by it, and by 1995, the year of "Common People", they were headlining Glastonbury. A year later, at the Brit Awards, Jarvis took umbrage at a Michael Jackson performance that required a bunch of children to worship Jacko as if he were the Second Coming. Jarvis stormed the stage and showed his anger as only he could: by wiggling his bottom. The next day, he was the most famous pop star in the country.

His biggest dream had come improbably true. Jarvis Cocker was a celebrity. But, just like his idol Scott Walker, he came quickly to loathe it. 1998's This Is Hardcore was a breathtakingly depressing record, informed by drugs and self-loathing, that achieved precisely what its creator hoped for: it cut his mainstream fanbase in half. Pulp would not recover from this, and after limping through 2001's We Love Life, they called it a day.

"Did I expect to hate success as much as I did?" he repeats, fiddling with his glasses again. "No, not at all. I hated that I hated it so much. I should have been having the time of my life, and I couldn't understand why I wasn't. Trouble was, I was always happiest being on the outside watching in. To suddenly become the centre of everything didn't suit me at all."

He refers to his old band as "a noble enterprise", but if he doesn't miss Pulp, it's with good reason. Unlike many frontmen, who fade from view once their band have had their time in the sun, Jarvis went on to straddle various sectors of the media with gloriously awkward aplomb, becoming something of a national treasure.

Last September, the former reluctant pop star received an invitation out of the blue. He was invited to spend 10 days on a boat sailing to the North Pole in the company of 39 other creative types musicians, writers, filmmakers to help highlight global warming. The organisers hoped that their guests would not only assimilate the very real fears of the destruction of our planet but also perhaps allow it to inform some of their subsequent art. Jarvis ended up writing a song called "Slush". It appears on the new album.

"I guess, tangentially, it does relate to global warming," he says, suddenly wary that by talking of saving the planet he'll be dubbed an indie Sting, "because slush is what snow turns into, and nobody likes that. Presumably, then, nobody would want the North Pole to turn into a dirty great lump of the stuff either, right?"

A couple of months later, he was invited to guest edit an edition of Radio 4's Today programme, which he loved: "I got to meet Tony Benn!" He has since been inundated with offers. He has given lecture tours on the art of songwriting, curated the South Bank Meltdown festival, and is currently in talks with the BBC to help create a series of programmes about the north of Britain.

"I'm not really sure why I get asked to do these things, to be honest, but I'm glad I am. It helps keep the brain ticking over. It doesn't mean I'm some kind of Renaissance man, though," he adds, now using both hands to straighten the glasses that were perfectly straight all a long. "I can't simply turn my hand to anything. I'm all too aware of my limitations. I've just learnt how to work within them, that's all."

'Further Complications' is released by Rough Trade on 18 May






Jarvis Cocker interview: Jarvis


Different class: Cocker sees playing live as a chance to come out of his shell


10 May 2009
By Chitra Ramaswamy

TEN minutes into meeting Jarvis Cocker, the spindly singer, leaps on to the table of a quiet pub in the East End of London. He starts dancing, a thoughtful expression on his bearded face, all angles from his elbows to his specs.
If I was Michael Jackson, he might whip round and bare his bottom for me, but I'm not and this isn't the 1996 Brit Awards, when Cocker lampooned Jackson's Jesus complex. Cocker has long since moved on from such chemically enhanced antics, and he is showing me what music does to him at the age of 45.

"The thing I like about music, and why I started to do it in the first place, is that I'm a fairly reserved person in normal life," he says, before he lifts a long leg on to the table. "It was always my chance, when I got on stage, to show off and come out of my shell a bit. It would be kind of stupid to deny myself that. Well, I can't help myself actually. I kind of do it to get excited."

Age comes up again and again during our lengthy, rangy conversation. When Cocker moved to Paris six years ago, he considered retiring from performing because "I thought it would be better for a man of my age to take a more arm's length position". It didn't take him long to change his mind. His new album, Further Complications, is a posturing slab of glam rock'n'roll complete with handclaps and pianos, very much the sound of Jarvis Cocker rocking out one more time. "I'd better do it while I've still got the ability," he says ruefully. "I keep thinking I'm going to have to go to a gym to get in shape. I imagine it's going to be quite strenuous to perform it." He addresses the dictaphone: "So come along people, and see if I have a heart attack trying to do it."

One of the best songs on the album, Leftovers, is a plea for love in the face of a dying relationship, and indeed Cocker has split with his wife, more of which later. He sings "I want to love you / While we both still have flesh on our bones" and refers to himself as "no eligible bachelor". He seems to be becoming more and more haunted by the sand slipping through the egg timer. "I was in the Museum of Paleontology in Paris looking at this dinosaur skeleton and there was an attractive woman in there," he says of the inspiration for the song. "As a man of a certain age you do start to become more aware of your mortality. Being attracted to people... you kind of wish you could just stop that. It would make life that much more simple if you didn't fancy anyone when you're supposed to be a mature and sensible person."

There are some things he likes about getting older. "But the physical decay aspect is horrible, just foul," he says. "It was like a joke as soon as I got to 40. Within a month my hearing started going. You just have to accept that you're going downhill. It's in the post and it will arrive. There's nothing you can do about it."

Cocker is a gift of an interviewee: intellectual, extraordinarily well-mannered for pop royalty, and full of the deadpan wit that made him Britpop's Alan Bennett. He likes the phrase "shit happens" and is good on mundane trivia. When I ask him what he misses about Britain, he talks about pedestrian crossings. "In Paris the amber light is only on for one hundredth of a second," he notes. "Here, you get flashing amber, like 'you could cross, the cars will start up soon, but it's up to you'. I prefer that British attitude."

Cocker is a brilliant lyricist because of his knack for observation. Being an outsider must appeal: the quintessential British artist exiled in Paris with his nose pressed up against the window of his homeland. He says, however, he's only playing at living abroad and comes back to London regularly. He still has a house nearby, pays his taxes in the UK and most of his friends live here. While we talk, a stream of people including Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, who Cocker arranges to meet for a pint later wander into the pub and stop to chat to him.

"I'll always be a foreigner in Paris," he says. "Some shopkeepers say hello to me now but I'll never be one of them. That's good but you should never be too much of an outsider. I think my impetus for doing things has always been the feeling of being a bit apart or not fitting in but being fascinated by it. What I'm trying to do is make myself fit in, or at least understand it."

Would he come back to Britain? "If enough people keep inviting me and being nice to me," he says. "I haven't got anything against it." He likes to think of himself as straddling the channel like a colossus, or "like in Jason And The Argonauts".

Cocker always felt like the odd one out growing up in Sheffield. He remembers being eight years old, painfully shy yet desperate for pop stardom. "I thought it would solve problems, that if I got famous everything would fall into place," he says. "I was very shy with girls. I thought if I got famous then girls would approach me." And it's true, they did, "but only crazy girls".

Pulp played their first gig in July 1980, but it took more than a decade for fame to come knocking. When it did, in May 1995, as Common People perfectly captured a class-fixated moment in time, it was a steep, drug-fuelled ascent. A year later, after the cover shoots, the tabloid exposes and the cocaine, Cocker was done. "There was a lot of crap to sort out and it took a long time to sort it out," he says. "It probably would have been better going to a shrink. It would have sped up the process, but then if you sort it out yourself it's cheaper and the lessons you teach yourself tend to stick a bit more."

Why didn't fame agree with him? "I wanted it to do something it couldn't do. I think it makes you go more into yourself because you can't go out. I'm an observer so I need to go out, and if I can't I'll just observe myself and disappear down a black hole, or up my own arse. It just wasn't right for me."

Pulp won't be reforming like a certain other Britpop band, but he did see Damon Albarn recently and, although "we didn't get on very well for a long time, it was nice and I'll probably go and see Blur".

Cocker is much happier now he is in his forties, grim awareness of mortality aside. He used to say he would never marry or have children, but then he met French stylist Camille Bidault-Waddington and had a son, Albert, who is now six. They split up "quite a while ago", though he still lives on the same street and refers to her as his wife. But it is testament to Cocker's lack of interest in celebrity these days that the news only came to light last week. His own father left when he was seven so being separated from his son has made him all the more determined to be around. "It was a big thing for me. I certainly didn't want to be an absent father. My father disappeared and I know the effects of that. When I met him many years later there was nothing there. It wasn't like we were antagonistic but there wasn't a feeling of love or affection and that was a bit sad. I guess I'm determined not to allow that to happen with my son."

A song on Further Complications with the title of I Never Said I Was Deep features the lines "If every relationship is a two-way street / I have been screwing in the back seat while you drive". Cocker's lyrics are often autobiographical he tells me he sees his albums as the only record he has of his life but he wrote these lines years ago while he was in Pulp. Further Complications was done by the time he broke up with his wife. "You have to be careful with that," he says. "You don't want to exploit people. You mustn't sacrifice your life on the altar of what you do. It's more important to have a life."

Is he managing to balance life with music? A rare smile glints through his salt and pepper beard. "I'm trying to reach maturity, whether I ever get there..."

Further Complications is out 18 May on Rough Trade. Jarvis Cocker plays ABC, Glasgow, 12 June, www.jarviscocker





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I'm not sure whether the photos in the first article are terrible or brilliant. Perhaps a little bit of both.

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The guy who wrote it certainly seems to have toned down his style since he wrote this - can't imagine the Mail on Sunday standing for images of "Art Garfunkel picking the pubes from his teeth" somehow.

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His rant bout england is a bit unfair.

France society is way more worse than england, a lot more judging and spying, just not as obvious as in england. But i guess he doesnt know, coz as he said, he's playing living in France.

Good article.

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Fuss Free wrote:

I'm not sure whether the photos in the first article are terrible or brilliant. Perhaps a little bit of both.




the first piture with him on the bicykel gives me religious...vibes.



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Good reading that. The first lot of photos are bizarre, and the part about Jarvis wearing Y fronts because boxers 'provide insufficient support' was most definitely too much information.

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anet wrote:

..the part about Jarvis wearing Y fronts because boxers 'provide insufficient support' was most definitely too much information.




I was more bothered by the fact that it was specifically "American Apparel y-fronts". Not only because I don't want to associate Jarvis with that hipster trash, but also because the comment strikes me as disingenuous product placement.

Advertisers have started paying celebrities to name-drop their products during interviews. I would hope Jarvis is ethical enough to avoid such slick, covert marketing, but it appears that may not be the case... anymore.

Watch and see if he mentions American Apparel in other interviews, and then we'll know for sure if he sold out.



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Well it wouldn't be the first time he's done it - I'm ashamed to say that a few years back, I went out and bought a pair of red Kickers, on the strength of seeing Jarvis wearing them.

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Jarvis talking or selling his underwear..it's just euuwhhhhhhhhhh. I have no problem with all the humping and moans in songs but some who is Jarvis + underwear a very icky combination.

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I suppose it is a bit pants.

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I'm sick of questions about Jarvis' response to fame.

Really, the man was hugely popular on a national-level for roughly 18 months, and he's been milking it for 12 years. On one hand, Jarvis says he doesn't want to be a nostalgia act, but on the other hand, he seems to be cultivating it.


-- Edited by Fuss Free on Friday 15th of May 2009 12:02:05 AM

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it's just an easy arc for journalists.  sorry, "journalists". 

i had an ex girlfriend meet Jarvis backstage in 2006 and he, apparently, had all his personal belongings backstage in clear plastic pouches.  in one, was a series of proudly displayed American Apparel briefs.  in course of a five minute conversation, he actually managed to bring them up and then decided to carry them around with him for the rest of the meet and greet.  conclusion: he is either part of the most abstract whisper campaign for American Apparel underwear in marketing history or he just really likes them.

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Fuss Free wrote:
On one hand, Jarvis says he doesn't want to be a nostalgia act, but on the other hand, he seems to be cultivating it.

Is he becoming a nostalgia act?  I don't believe so - the new album seems to be his attempt at diversifiying musically.  Maybe other people are trying to pigeon-hole him as a nostaligia act, because this new direction doesn't seem so popular with everyone,  mainly because it doesn't sound like the old Jarvis.  Is he in a no-win situation now?

 



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Fuss Free wrote:
I'm sick of questions about Jarvis' response to fame.


Really, the man was hugely popular on a national-level for roughly 18 months, and he's been milking it for 12 years.


This is a fair point. On the other hand, it's not really his fault if people keep on asking him about it. And he's not as bad now as he was a few years ago, when he seemed to talk about it in every single interview he did, and the magnitude of the difficulties he'd been through seemed to become greater every time they were discussed - the few probelms and uncertainties he was admitting to in 1997 interviews had become a "complete mental collapse" by 2002. Funny bugger.

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In fairness, in 1997 he was stil largely going through his ''breakdown'' so he was hardly going to admit to it at the time. With the passing of time he obviously got some perspective on it.

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From The Irish Times today:



Friday, May 15, 2009 A Different Class

His unpredictability has always been part of his appeal, now Jarvis Cocker is hoping to charm the world with his most unpredictable album yet. The former Pulp frontman tells BRIAN BOYD about turning his back on fame, his band and Michael Jackson

JARVIS COCKER has missed his Eurostar train connection from Paris (where he now lives) to London, so he rings to rearrange the interview location. Ill be sitting outside a cafe in St Pancras International Train Station, he says on the phone in his lugubrious flat-vowelled Yorkshire accent. He then goes on to describe what he looks like, until I butt in and reassure him that, like most of the Western World of a certain age, I wont have any difficulty picking him out in a crowd.

Along with the Gallaghers and Damon Albarn, Cocker was a poster boy of Britpop the musical movement that reigned supreme in the UK in the second half of the 1990s. The singer of one of that decades landmark songs, Common People , he achieved notoriety (and martyrdom in certain quarters) for invading the stage at the 1996 Brit Awards while Michael Jackson and a cast of shiny, happy children were doing their heal the world thing.

What always distinguished him from the pack was his thrift-shop geek persona, coupled with an Alan Bennett-like ability to write about the banal minutiae of ordinary lives. He was the awkward outsider who gate-crashed the citadel of celebrity and wallowed in that champagne/cocaine lotus-eating world for a while before, as he so delicately puts it, spunking it all away.

As Pulp were fizzling out, he met a French stylist, Camille Bidault-Waddington, married her and went to live in Paris. He doesnt speak that much French and he suggests his days there are punctuated by endless strolls down elegant boulevards searching for somewhere to buy a bottle of HP sauce.

He returned to the musical fray with an acclaimed solo album, Jarvis , three years ago and hes now releasing the follow-up. A few weeks ago he separated from his wife, but will stay in Paris to be near his six-year-old son, Albert. He hit the headlines last week for reportedly calling for a Conservative government in Britain.

Dressed like a geography teacher, he now has a grey-flecked beard, and his Joe 90-style glasses seem to take up more of his face than before. Hes initially wary and cautious but soon warms up, and more than two hours later (with the tape unable to take anymore), hes still returning to and further elaborating on subjects as various as Susan Boyle, cocaine, The Wire and whatever happened to that girl he wrote about in Common People .

ON FAME: YOU THINK IF YOU BECOME FAMOUS, EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU, AND IT WILL VALIDATE YOU AS A PERSON

I started Pulp when I was 14. Theres this dreadful cliché that people from working-class backgrounds either become a pop star or become a boxer to escape their surroundings, but in my case it was never about escapism; it was about wanting to fit it. Ive always felt awkward. I still feel awkward.

If you feel like you are an inadequate person which I did growing up in Sheffield you buy into that myth of fame. You think if you become famous, everyone will love you and it will validate you as a person.

I distinctly remember deciding on forming a band. I was listening to a local Sheffield radio station and punk had just broken. This DJ was dismissing punk rock saying he wouldnt be playing that type of music so I changed the dial and came across John Peel. That show was my musical education.

The first song I ever wrote was called Shakespeare Rock and you can guess from the title just how great that was [laughs]. And remember Pulp were going all during the 1980s and releasing albums, but it wasnt until His n Hers in 1994 that we got any response. People often said to me: At least, you had a long time to prepare for fame, but I was probably the least prepared person ever for any sort of fame.

ON BRITPOP: YOUD SLEEP WITH SOMEONE AND THEN IT WOULD BE IN THE SUN THE NEXT DAY

It was Britpop and there was us and Oasis and Blur. I remember presenting Top Of The Pops the week that Oasis and Blur had that big battle for number one (between Country House and Roll With It ) and there was this feeling that Britpop could actually change the culture.

Then there was the whole New Labour thing. I had to go to live in New York for a while in 1997 I was a bit addled shall we say and got this phonecall from one of the New Labour People going I hope we can count on your support. I remember thinking: You cant be any good if you think you need the support of an addled pop star like me.

In those days celebrity meant a bit more than it does now. I know I sound very moany and a bit rubbish when I start to give out about the other side of fame, but really this was all just before people began starting to see through the myth of celebrity. Its different now. Jade Goody was a sort of morality tale in that respect. Its as if the fame was a radioactive substance that gave her cancer. This is the thing about reality TV. Its not real. Its a choreographed version of real life. Susan Boyle the ugly duckling with the voice of an angel. Thats all fine, but you can sense the moving of cogs in the background.

What I found really difficult about the exposure was that I had moved from being the observer to the observed. Things like youd sleep with someone and then it would be in The Sun the next day. And I think I was a bit patronised. When I first started doing interviews in the NME , they used to write it up in this northern English patois. If you interviewed a reggae artist and wrote it up in Jamaican patois youd be accused of racism. It would be like me writing this up with silly Irish phrases.

ON THE BAND: PULP HAD BECOME A PRODUCT. I TOOK A PERVERSE ENJOYMENT IN FUCKING IT UP

We were never millionaires. We did very well with Pulp, but the money was (and very rarely so) split between all six members of the band. We were all friends that was always how we were going to split it.

At the height of Pulp, we were about to go out on a big tour and Island Records sent me along to a doctor because they wanted to get me insured in case I died of a drugs overdose or something. I asked if I was also insured as me and they said no, this insurance was them protecting their investment.

I had become a commodity, a cash cow for the label. When it got to that stage, I just thought fuck it. Pulp had been completely tied up with who I was as a person. I hated the idea that something I had invented and nurtured along with my friends this little thing I had which was precious to me that it had become a product.

I took a perverse enjoyment in fucking it up, in spending close to a million pounds on a record ( This Is Hardcore ) which was very unpopular and a further quarter of a million pounds on a video for a song which was seven minutes long and never got played on the radio.

When I found myself attending the 10th anniversary party of Starlight Express I knew there was something very wrong in my life.

ON THE COMMON PEOPLE GIRL: IN SHEFFIELD USING THE WORD COMMON ABOUT SOMEONE IS A REALLY BAD INSULT

The BBC once sent a documentary crew to Greece to track down the girl Jarvis wrote about in the song Common People, but they didnt find her. I met her while I was at art school in London. I dont know where she is now. I think the documentary people found a friend of hers. I suppose the song is a claim to fame of sorts for her. If shes embarrassed about it, she could always say it was 15 years ago and shes matured a lot as a person since then.

Maybe shes a really nice person and I totally misheard what she said. But no, she definitely said I want to sleep with common people like you and that was the thing that got me. In Sheffield using the word common about someone is a really bad insult.

ON THE NEW ALBUM: MORE AND MORE NOW, THE SWIPES ARE AIMED AT MYSELF

It was a surprise when he enlisted the noted American noise-rock practitioner Steve Albini, most famous for his work with Nirvana, to produce it. By Cockers standards, its a very butch-sounding record.

I know people are going to think that Steve Albini has put all these loud guitars all over it, but the thing about him is that he doesnt call himself a producer he only says he records an album. Which means that he doesnt interfere, he just captures the sounds. Its not like he was putting fuzz pedals over everything. The only thing he raised an eyebrow at was the disco song Youre In My Eyes , but he didnt change anything on it.

If people have a problem with the loud guitars, then it should be with me and the band. I think the playing on this is authentic. Not to denigrate Pulp, but we were never musical virtuosos. The drummer in this band is a big Black Sabbath fan and the guitarist is really into 1960s garage rock. It would have been so achingly dull to do the Pulp sound again. Im still taking swipes at people lyrically on this record but I find more and more now, the swipes are aimed at myself.

ON THE NEW SONGS: IF THERES ONE PLACE YOU DONT WANT TO LOSE A CHILD ITS IN A RAILWAY STATION

The albums standout track is Hold Still . That happened just 30 metres from where were sitting now. I live in Paris, but Im back here all the time. Last year and because Im so disorganised I was running down with my son to catch the last Eurostar train back to Paris. I had all these bags with me and was rushing to get on the train. I turned around and Albert was gone he had disappeared. My blood turned cold.

If theres one place you dont want to lose a child its in a railway station. Thankfully, Albert had the presence of mind to go to the ticket office and they called my name over the tannoy.

Another track on the new album is titled Slush . Theres this group called Cape Farewell, and last year they assembled a bunch of artists, writers and scientists to go on a cruise to the North Pole to see first-hand the effects of climate change. The idea is to get some form of cultural response from them in their subsequent work. They asked me to go, and although Im not very sociable at all, I thought Id never get to the North Pole under my own steam.

Slush is about that. Yes, I suppose its a climate change song. Already people have said to me: You shouldnt be writing about that, youre supposed to write about domestic situations. But it is what it is.

ON WRITING: REALLY, LYRICS ARENT THAT IMPORTANT IN MUSIC

As a side project, Cocker now travels around musical festivals presenting a lecture called Saying The Unsayable: An Investigation Into The Role Of Lyrics In Popular Song.

When I think about lyrics that I like, I find that they all deal with what would be called inappropriate subject matter.

It was fascinating for me to look deep into the role of a songs lyrics. I know this may sound a bit strange, but really, lyrics arent that important in music. You could have bad lyrics but a good song, but you cant have it the other way around. A great set of lyrics can never redeem a really bad song. Thats part of the joy of music it really is a bit dumb.

Jarvis on ...

Es, WIZZ ETC

The thing about cocaine was that when it first became commonplace among musicians, everyone used to say its great, you cant overdose on it. What they dont tell you is that you can undergo a spiritual death from it which is worse than a physical death. Your body is still ambulant, but theres no one home. Its very, very bad for the human spirit.

BEING TORY BOY

In an interview with GQ magazine last month, Jarvis said: A Conservative government is necessary. There is no credible alternative. The Tories scrambled to recruit him, but he later clarified his remarks saying that in the absence of a viable alternative, a Conservative government now, unfortunately, seems inevitable.

That GQ interview was the first interview had done in about five years. I was out of practice. I didnt have my media manipulator hat on. What I was trying to say was that in Britain we live in a two-party system. I think after 12 years, New Labour have had their time. Personally Im all for a full-scale revolution.

JACKO

Its not regretting what I did; its regretting that it will probably be the only thing Ill be remembered for.

MIDDLE AGE

Im a middle-aged man now. You can sense changes taking place. Ive changed; of course I have. But when I look back, all I think is: Ive come out the other side. And not everyone does.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Further Complications is released today



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New interview from Billboard.

A few new bits of info - a bigger tour planned for autumnm (hopefully to coincide with 'Girls Like It Too's belated release); Putting-up some old films from his college days on the website?! Very interesting.

The bit about considering a Pulp reunion if he was offered a shed-load of cash, he's obviously being tongue-in-cheek (a bit!) but it's interesting, as in Q this month, he alludes to already receiving offers to do it.





By Evie Nagy

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has just released "Further Complications," his second solo effort. The sharp, unpredictable Britpop iconoclast continues to keep fans on their toes, from his counterintuitive choice of Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies) to produce the new album, to his announcement this month that his band would webcast rehearsals from a French art gallery.

Billboard spoke with Cocker about his new album, song licensing opportunities and his thoughts about cashing in on the '90s revival.

Billboard: "Further Complications" explicitly plays with different rock styles. Was that calculated during the writing process?

Jarvis Cocker: With me having started making music around the punk time, the rock orthodoxy was the establishment you rejected. Obviously there is a lot of bad rock music, but there's also really good rock music, and I got an education. I thought, 'This band can play that kind of music -- would I be able to write a record that would be able to use that but also not be a joke?' I haven't started wearing leather trousers, a sleeveless T-shirt and a bandana.

Billboard: How did you connect with Steve Albini?

Cocker: We were doing the Pitchfork music festival in Chicago last year. Steve Mackey, who's my bass player and used to be in Pulp, and (drummer) Ross (Orton) knew all about him and his studio in Chicago that he built himself. So they suggested that while we were in town we should try it out. It's fortunate because the songs had been written more in this band context, and I wanted to kind of capture that in the recording as well. And it just so happened that is really the way Steve Albini prefers to work.

Billboard: You were on Island for a long time with Pulp, and now you've done both solo records on Rough Trade. How has the record business changed in the past decade?

Cocker: I feel fortunate to be on an independent label now, because the business model is changing, and the major labels have to really grapple with that. Obviously independent labels have to sell records to stay alive, but I don't think of it as being an industry -- more as providing people with something that they like. I don't think that will ever go away. But everybody's out to adapt -- like when you buy a vinyl record, usually you'll get one of these cards so you can get the digital version. Things that acknowledge people have their music in different places and use it in different ways.

Billboard: What are your plans for promoting "Further Complications?"

Cocker: We're doing a lot of traveling (in Europe), playing festivals, a few shows in the U.S. in July. And then I think we'll probably come back in the autumn for more of a proper tour. I'm putting more stuff on (jarviscocker.net) -- films that I made when I was in college, a couple of radio shows that I've done recently.

Billboard: Are you looking into licensing opportunities?

Cocker: What did somebody suggest? Because the record's called "Further Complications," we could have a word with Apple, and have it go (sings) "Apple Applications" or "iPhone Applications." That could work really great, couldn't it?

Billboard: 2009 seems like a '90s revival, with a bunch of major reunions including Blur's in July. Are you feeling pressure to reunite Pulp?

Cocker: I don't play Pulp stuff in my shows, not to be awkward and horrible to people, but we all learned how to play together from a young age, and we weren't the greatest musicians in the world, but we did have a sound. If my current band played Pulp songs, they just wouldn't sound right. There are no plans to revive Pulp. If someone comes up with a giant suitcase of money, maybe I would have to come around. Maybe this is the place I can encourage someone to do that. Come on, whoever's still got money left, offer it all to me.



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Cocaine Socialist

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I hope it would never be about the money. Reunite cos you want to, not because someone pays you to do it. There's a shitload of bands 'reuniting' at the moment - yes, even Spandua Ballet and Kajagoogoo. I think if a reunion is to work, it has to be done with a new album, not just trotting out the old songs.

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Hardcore

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Apologies if this has already been mentioned and I've missed it but there is a decent interview with Jarvis from BBC Look North:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8059555.stm

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The Only Way is Down

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Cheers Deebs, hadn't seen that.

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