Jarvis: Big Julie (song)

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  • The spoken intro features Carson McCullers reading from her book The Member of the Wedding

Written by: Jarvis Cocker
Produced by: Graham Sutton and Jarvis Cocker


"It happened that green and crazy summer. It was a summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and she was a member of nothing in the world. And she was afraid."

She's by herself again
in the quiet secret night
Below the neighbour's window
Hands in pockets; head on one side

And the radio plays an unknown song
that has nothing at all to do with God
But it's miles away from this sad town
And the stupid kids who get her down
Just wait until Big Julie rules the world
Big Julie rules the world

Well, the radio still plays:
Floating beyond time
Like the greatest people in the world
All springing up and feeling fine

And it's far away from these sweaty lads
who say that boys cannot be slags
And if it's not them then it's their dads
Like the guy who felt her up in class
And Sunday school teacher who said she had beautiful breasts
And the local radio DJ who is so obviously obsessed
Yeah, form an orderly queue when Big Julie rules the world
Big Julie rules the world

Yeah, go and chase your dreams
But if your dreams are not your own
then wouldn't it be better
just to work things out at home?

And she knows sex is just for dummies anyway
Something you do when you've run out of things to say
But this song will play until the light
It's the sound of her trying to find something to like
The sound of her walking day and night
And this song may lead her far away
But tonight it seems to light the way
And she can almost see the future shine
And everything's in tune and everything's in time
It will play until the day Big Julie rules the world
Big Julie rules the world


  • This song was inspired by The Member of the Wedding: a novel, which was written by Carson McCullers in the 1940s, and made into a film in 1952. It's about a 12-year-old girl, Frankie Addams, living in the southern United States during the 1940s. Frankie dreams of leaving her small-town home for a more eventful life elsewhere. These feelings are partly brought about by the impending wedding of her older brother (who is coincidentally called Jarvis). The story explores Frankie's state of mind, in particular, her feelings of loneliness and isolation, and her coming to terms with the transition from childhood to adolescence.
  • The name 'Julie' possibly comes from Julie Harris who played Frankie in the 1952 film.

Although the intro is an abridged version of the opening paragraph of Carson McCuller’s ‘The Member of the Wedding’, much of the song’s lyrics are freely borrowed from McCuller’s ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’. In particular the lines ‘In the quiet, secret light she was by herself again. It was not late- yellow squares of light showed in the windows of the houses along the streets. She walked slow, with her hands in her pockets and her head to one side.’ [Penguin Modern Classics reprint 2008, page 106]. The book partly explores a 14 year old girl called Mick Kelly, who is an outsider, atheist and dreamer. In this expert, she hides in a neighbour’s garden and listens to Beethoven being played on a radio. The music transforms her ‘It didn’t have anything to do with God’


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Page last modified on August 30, 2010, at 09:21 PM