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Post Info TOPIC: Senior Moments - Part One


The Only Way is Down

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Well, we've topped five copies. here's your first thousand words!

This is at the part of the text where I still had high hopes of turning the whole thing into an article. Hope you don't feel too short-changed by my prose!

Keep posting your Amazon purchases in either this thread or the other one, and Part Two will surely happen shortly after!

Russell Senior, one of the two key founders of the band we know as Pulp has written an autobiography of sorts. It's an odd piece of work that has as its backbone a series of diary entries from their astonishingly well received and secretive, media blackoutted reunion tour. He uses the revisiting of certain cities, venues and experiences to veer off on a tangent onto what it was like first time round before a somewhat acriminous split with the band in 1997 just as their commercial star began to wane.
 
We were granted 90 minutes of Russells time in his gorgeous, Pulpish home in Sheffield. Sloping white plastic chairs, all his herbs and spices in identikit jars with self-made labels; you get the picture. We had fancy tea and he made us feel quite welcome. We talked a lot. Russells words are precisely chosen and unlike most of us, his sentence structure is something to be seriously envied, even verbally. The highlights follow, largely unedited.


"I always felt I should write a book about Pulp. I liked writing, and I wanted to be a writer and I'd write other stuff, but it was kind of inescapable to do that because when you tell somebody you're writing, they'd all say like, 'Oh, so you're writing about Pulp?', and I'd say, 'Oh no, I'm writing a geologies-themed mystery romance set in the Peak District, and they'd say, 'Why aren't you writing a book about Pulp? That's the one people would be interested in. Stop being so obtuse'. So I thought, 'Right, Id better do that', but I couldn't really get around to it. Its a big story. The follow-through chronicle of Pulp - even from my perspective - is a many volume enterprise. I could never really get a handle on where to start with it. But then on the 2011 tour, I started keeping a diary as I was doing that, and that just caused one to have flashbacks to it, because when you go into a place, you're back in that situation. So I'm getting these reflections, the songs are bringing stuff back, so it naturally had flashbacks in it really. So it gave it that a form that wasn't this tedious chronicle. It was the 2011 tour - and these are some thoughts that you have on it and that was the basis of it really. "
 
The book is both generous and kind, as well as being a witty and spirited read. Many had expected the book to be a somewhat embittered tone, potentially reminiscent of Luke Haines angry diatribe at the music industry from his position as the frontman of the Auteurs, but Seniors book frequently surprises. Whilst one might expect barbs at his protégé, Pulps rhythm guitarist Mark Webber, whom Senior used to use in his stage preparations in the early 90s before the then teenager joined up full-time in 1995, eventually superseding Senior as the bands lead guitarist, there are none. Senior puts in a few stories about how Webber winds people up, but just a few pages on relates how he's a genuinely lovely, kind-hearted guy. 
 
"The thing is that I'm not necessarily this lovely fluffy person, but the book with all the bad stuff in is too big a book to write, its not that interesting and it'd be quite repetitive. So I did have that thing - if you cant write anything nice, don't write anything at all, and although you have to tell the truth... I will allude to it, to someone being irritating, rather than giving you three chapters on why they're irritating at great length. I hope its truthful, and there is another kind of truthfulness in it in that it's not all about everything's to the max and doing it large because that wasn't the reality. That may be the reality for some people, but it wasn't our reality. It was moments of glamour interspersed by great swathes of Wagnerian tediousness, and then you have those other bits so I thought, 'Well, I'll write about the interesting bit but I'll also give you a flavour of the fact that it isn't all groupies and cocaine'. There's little bits of that but the truth that people wont tell you is actually its not that glamourous all the time. I still think its a truthful book even though I've not spent a lot of time as it were dishing the dirt cos the dirt's kind of dull, you know."
 
Whilst Pulp weren't all snorting cocaine off groupies, they did have a reputation for engaging in tour games, and Russell was definitely chief party planner on "forcing everybody to have quizzes and all of that. We were always playing games so it was more like Famous Five go touring rather than The Mission shag lots of groupies. When we were up and coming, The Mission [a fellow Sheffield band featuring early Pulp member and producer, Simon Hinker] they were really huge and he was schooling us on how things would be because they were almost a by-word for decadence at the time. It didn't happen that way to us, our fans were different. There's that kind of teeny-bop thing [but our fans] weren't fifteen, they were twenty-three, they were at college studying art. They were dressing like fifteen year old girls with hair grips and necklace sweets you can eat but they were smart kids, they knew what they were doing so there wasn't that kind of teen hysteria. I remember noting the difference because people were throwing underpants at Jarvis quite a lot but its just really a conscious decision of were going to play at being teenyboppers, you know, were smart girls that are going to have a play at doing this world. Then I kind of end up hanging around with Menswe@r now for them that was lust, that was genuine, that was trying to climb through the window and they were scared by it. There was that sort of playful interchange there and I think the ones screaming your name were actually clothes designers and things like that, they weren't fifteen year old girls.



-- Edited by Stephen on Friday 5th of June 2020 12:28:54 PM

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The Only Way is Down

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Finally! Great start, a bit of punctuation wouldn't go a miss though! Speaking of Menswear, I read earlier today that they're releasing a "career-spanning" box-set to mark the 25th anniversary of their debut!

Back on point - did you hear from Russell after the interview at all i.e did he wonder about it being published at all? It was a real pity that Aurum weren't fully equipped for a proper launch of the book. He did a few BBC (5 Live/Sheffield/6 Music/Look North) interviews but I can't remember any of the national press reviewing the book or Russell doing any book-signings.

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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Yes, bravo. I've not fully ruled out buying this damn book again if I need to...

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Hardcore

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Enjoyed that! And inevitably I now want to read the entire book again to look out for those allusions :)

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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I think he's being a little bit disingenuous with the whole "our fans were 23 year old fashion students pretending to be teenyboppers" schtick. Maybe there was an element of that in the 93/94 period, but I was at school and going to Pulp concerts in 1995 there were LOADS of teenage girls (admittedly the more studious type mostly) who were properly into Pulp.

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The Only Way is Down

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Yes Eamonn, however I've managed to paste it seems to have stripped out a fair amount of apostrophes and commas. I'll try harder for instalment #2! I've given this one a bit of an edit.

I did listen to all of the Russell interviews at the time, but as you say, the publishing company did drop the ball on this. I think the PR person assigned to it disappeared and took a while to be replaced.


Mark, I imagine he is referring to that earlier - idealised - era. 93/94 must have been peak-Pulp for him, and presumably the memories he most wants to remember!

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The Only Way is Down

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Paging Mark Sturdy.



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Common Person

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Amazing!

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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Hurrah. Can't wait to read the rest, wherever it ends up

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