Razzmatazz tour supporting Saint Etienne.
Guest DJs: Stephen and Katrina of the Pastels.
An audience recording exists.
Wham Bam, Thank You, Glam!
Pulp and Saint Etienne. How very apposite. The Rebirth Of Glam-Pop #47, right?
Well maybe, but that's not to disregard some important differences that will probably radically affect the fortunes of both groups. Watch tonight's audience reaction to Pulp as Jarvis, the gangly disco goon, routinely introduces a string of grimy Europop pearls such as "Babies" and "Razzmatazz". I love them as life itself, but the funereal calm around me tells me that Glasgow mightn't be ready for a string of incest references and a guitarist who, to all intents and purposes, is Ron Mael from Sparks.
Which is a great pity, because Pulp ought to be a national treasure. It's not going to happen in Britain though, a country which insists on music that mirrors its long-gone imperialist past – be it the booming pomposity of Walton or the kind of indigenous rock the BPI creams its corporate pants over.
Will the British never understand that by coming to terms with our seedy underside we may become humane individuals? Jarvis – Serge Gainsbourg in the body of Mr Bean – should move to France immediately, with its risible military history, philosophers who claimed that the human soul was a pea-shaped tissue behind the nose (Descartes) and melancholy musical sleazes like Chopin and Gainsbourg. As tonight's baffled audience testifies, the British are just too darn repressed to deserve him.
If Pulp could be aurally likened to "Last Tango In Paris" then Saint Etienne are more like "Take Me High", that crap film Cliff Richard made in 1973. The sleaziest thing about them is that you and your parents thought that Sarah Cracknell was dead lush on "Top Of The Pops".
[… continues with Saint Etienne review]
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Et's a Knockout!!
A mirrorball of confusion spins and sparkles over the hall. Blank faces stare at the stage where Pulp are playing. Is this pop?
Forget the aesthetics and arguments about what constitutes pop. As far as this Glaswegian audience is concerned it's bubbly videos, Going Live phone-ins and St Etienne. It's not, it appears, the flea market fashions and knowing irony of Jarvis Cocker.
Pulp seem to be making a comment about pop, rather than making pop itself. Yes, 'Babies' is a very fine tune indeed, but the Jarvis theory and attitude falls largely on deaf ears. There is room for irony in pop (Pet Shop Boys, Erasure), but only when it's dressed up in dayglo colours and milkman-friendly singalongs.
You want pop? Here comes St Etienne. If Sarah Cracknell was a stick of rock she'd have pop star written all the way through her. A hip Anthea Redfern for the '90s, all blonde hair and beaming smiles, she exudes charm and style. Is that voice a little on the weak side? Who cares?
[Saint Etienne review continues]
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