Different Class UK and Ireland tour, supported by Minty.
Pulp - the gig of 1995
Frightful people, these pop aficionados. 'JARVIS!!!' yelled some overexcited young thing in the audience at the SFX in Dublin last Wednesday week. 'You Complete Sex God!!!'
I think I was partly deafened in both ears at the sheer volume of this young woman's lusty pronouncement. To his credit, the centre of her attentions, the lead singer of Pulp – Mr Jarvis Branson Cocker – threw his azure eyelashes up to heaven a la Liberace, then sighed.
And this is what he said: "Who let my mother in here?"
A further, no less brash, request to take his snake-hip-trousers down was met more eyelashes thrown towards the rafters, and the skinniest pop sensation to come out of Sheffield since, well, nobody really, declining the offer. "No I'll keep my clothes on if you don't mind because I'd be arrested and won't be able to leave the country." Mr Cocker smiled. And he had every reason to smile.
Without too strenuous recourse to hyperbole or derriere-licking, Pulp at the SFX was the gig of 1995 so far. No contest. When he sang Common People, Sorted For Es and Whizz and Underwear – all from Pulp's audacious new LP Different Class – Jarvis gave the dull and the idle a momentary reason for existence.
It was ninety minutes that those who were present will look back on in years to come and tingle with a vaguely sexual excitement. Mr. Cocker's art school, Gene Kelly-on-acid hoofing also inspired a mass fit of carnal hysteria. Tall as a beanpole and smiling like a cute hoor TD from hell, he seemed to enjoy the reaction his gyrations occasioned too. In short, all the girls fancied him something Johnny rotten.
And all the gay men in the audience wanted to take him home. Me? I just wanted to know were all these strange songs he writes autobiographical. I mean, one song has Jarvis climbing into the wardrobe in his sister's bedroom, waiting for she to come home with her boyfriend from up the road, and then – not unlike that scene in David Lynch's Blue Velvet – watching them have sex on the bed. Hmmmm.
Those soft-brained critics who labour on the quintessential cheesiness of the lyrics miss the point by such a large degree that we're all laughing like drains. While not being Ken Loach or even Dennis Potter, Cocker is on a par at least with Morrissey or Mark E Smith as a fine observer of modern British life. Minutiae has never sounded so compelling.