Pulp People Newsletter 30. Summer 2000.
You were going to receive a brand new sexy Pulp postcard with this mailout, but the new photos haven’t materialized so it hasn’t been possible to get them printed up in time. They will definitely be sent out with the nest issue, I promise! Instead, you get the chance to go to a fan club concert...see facing page for details!
Thanks to everyone who renewed their membership since the last issue – and of course a special welcome to all our new Pulp People, who hail from as far afield as the States, Greece, Sweden, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, and the UK. Had a letter from the Ukraine the other day too - I tell you Pulp get everywhere!
Coming up in issue 30:
Can I just say that Jarvis’ deformed head, featured on the inside front cover of issue 29, was nothing to do with me – that was down to out printer Martin, a lovely guy, but not very good at cutting round heads that you can’t see the outline of...
This was posted on the site as soon as I received it but is so funny I felt you would be missing out if I hadn’t also printed it here....
“Why the fuck are pulp playing at the reading festival, i thought the reading festival is a rock festival, why don’t pulp fuck off and get replaced with a talented band such as Metallica! Please can u not play at Reading, Pulp are so poor!”
And how long ago was Reading Festival actually called Reading Rock?? WAKE UP MISTER!! Whilst we’re at it, someone called Tanya Headon really has it in for Pulp. Check out her crazy rantings at www.freakytrigger.com/hate.html. Give her a call! These people are so funny.
We don’t give a toss about the Queen Mother being 100 – out birthday tributes go to Nick, who was 35 on July 29th, Candida, who will practically be celebrating on stage at Reading on the 26th August, her birthday being the previous day; and it isn’t so long until Mark’s big day on the 14th September (it’s the big 3-0) and Jarvis on the 19th.
That’s all. See you at the concerts! Please come and say hello.
No kidding! Pulp are playing a warm-up-to-a-warm-up-show especially for you.
This special concert will take place on Tuesday 22 August at The Garage, Highbury Corner, London, pretty much opposite Highbury & Islington tube.
By Pulpy standards this is a titchy venue, with a capacity of just 500, so book your tickets NOW or you’ll be waiting outside in the rain.
HOW TO BOOK
Tickets will cost just £7 from the venue (plus a booking fee if you use the credit card hot-line). You will be asked for the secret password when purchasing your tickets, which are limited to two per person.
The password is KEEP CALM and the hot-line number is [...]
Doors will open at approximately 7.30pm but because this is all such late notice I can’t be sure – best to phone the venue / contact me nearer the time. Same goes for on stage times.
This show is not being advertised on the website, it is only for members of Pulp People. I’m really sorry that the people living outside the UK probably won’t be able to come (unless you are very rich).
As I said, you can buy your tickets direct from the venue, 20/22 Highbury Corner, London N5 1RD. (Tel [...] – note – this is not the credit card line).
SEE YOU THERE!!
MORE LIVE DATES!
This is a warm up date for Reading and Leeds. Support comes from Dublin’s JJ72 (also playing Reading on the 26th, 1.25pm and Leeds on 27th, 1.10pm, Evening Session stages) and Clearlake (playing Reading on Sunday 27th, 12.40pm, Leeds Saturday 26th, 12.45pm, Evening Session Stages), both faves of Jarvis. Those of you with access to the website will know about it already but I’m sure it won’t be too late to buy tickets. These are available through Edinburgh Festival outlets and Edinburgh Virgin Records, and cost £15. The 2500 capacity Corn Exchange is at 19/11 Newmarket Road, off Chesser Avenue, Edinburgh; Tel [...].
26 August: READING FESTIVAL (on stage 10.15pm)
27 August: LEEDS FESTIVAL (on stage 9.45pm)
As I type this Pulp are deciding on the set list for these festivals. So many to choose from! Don’t expect to hear a Pulp Golden Greats set though...they will be a mix of both old and new. You know all the relevant details for these dates, as they were reported in issue 29, so I won’t go on. Tickets cost £33 for a one day ticket or £80 for the full three days, including camping. For more info call the NME Virgin Cola Ticketline on [...] (Leeds), [...] (Reading) or the Mean Fiddler info line on [...]. Websites with useful information are: www.leedsfestival.co.uk, www.readingfestival.co.uk, and www.nme.com/weekender/site/
Richard Hawley will be joining Pulp for all their live performances this summer.
LATEST NEWS FROM THE STUDIO
Since the last issue Pulp have been writing, demo-ing, mixing then re-recording lots more new songs, but so far haven’t actually got any further than that. Such teases! At the time of going to press all studio work has been temporarily shelved so they can rehearse for the live shows. As Mark so kindly reminded me, “concerts don’t happen by magic”. They will premier some new songs at the dates above, plus some old(ish) favourites. As always, don’t believe anything you read on other websites or in the press regarding finished albums / new singles / dates for release. Ask me first!
SPITTING IMAGE COCKER UP FOR GRABS
This mini-Cocker will have been snapped up by the time you get to read this but I’ll tell you anyway. The moulded latex puppet of Jarvis, created for the satirica puppet-based err, comedy sketch series (how would you describe it to someone who has never seen it??) Spitting Image, has been auctioned by Sotheby’s. The company regularly sell off puppets that are no longer socially / satirically good value, which I suspect is good news for Jarvis, ad news for Pulp’s not-exactly-high-anyway public profile....
The mini (91.5cm long) Jarvis boasts “eyes with air operated blink, fully clothes foam torso with wooden arms and foam hands controlled by rods” but suffers from “wear to hands” (Blimey – just like the real thing) and can be yours for – I’M SORRY, HOW MUCH????!!!!! – a minimum bid of $900.00. Oh – news just in – Apparently it fetched £755! Or is that dollars? Must be dollars. Arthur Scargill fetched 1,987!!!
Remember in issue 30 I told you about the “Fan Club Head To Head”, feature due to grace the paged of this literary masterpiece? Well apparently t’s been shelved (probably trying to find some half decent competition for us). I’ll keep you informed.
“I’VE GOT A LIFE” – MARK IN SHOCK REVELATION
Ex-Pulp Person David Hemingway in his new role as top music journo (I tell you, this place is just a springboard to stardom) has interviewed Mark for a feature on fan clubs for a new offshoot of Mojo. We hope that the article will tell the world more about how ace we are (seeing as Loaded can’t be bothered). The article covers the history of fan clubs, from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Tenor. Apparently David picked Pulp People “Cos I’m lapsed member of it and it’s fairly legendary”. Mark was “the humble fan club bloke and then overnight he became a rockin’ guitar hero”.
As mentioned in the last issue, Pulp contributed some music to “Wild Side”, the crazy film by Donald Cammell. You know the plot now so I won’t repeat myself, hopefully some of you have even been to see it, if so let me know what you made of it!! Mark saw a preview at the NFT a while ago, at which point the soundtrack was incomplete, and only one short piece of Pulp music was included. Still don’t know how much of what Pulp did will be in the final but, but Mark, Jarvis and Steve did get a big credit for additional music at the end of the film.
YUMMY CHOCOLATE LAYERS
Steve & Jarvis donned their DJ remix hats once again recently for two more remixes: The first of these is “Dirge” by Death In Vegas, which was done for Levis. The original track is the one used on the current “Twisted” jeans ad campaign, and the remix is going to be on a CD to be given away with the new jeans at select launch parties across Europe...(collector alert!).
The second remix is of Black Box Recorder’s “The Facts Of Life”. Mute (BBR’s label) haven’t decided where this mix will turn up yet – possibly as a B side of a future single.
DEDICATED LITTLE STABS AT HAPPINESS SITE
For up to the minute info on Mark’s club, bookmark the new web page at www.littlestabsathappiness.com. It’s got great links and information on what’s happened / is happening / going to happen down there at the ICA. You can join a mailing list to be sure you are up to date. Read Little Stabs’ DJ Greg’s piece about the new site in this issue!
IN YOUR FACE
Jarvis was once of the many famous faced to contribute a 20th birthday ‘thing’ to the anniversary issue of The Face, whose airbrushed cover is vaguely reminiscent of the artwork of His ‘n’ Hers... Jarvis’ piece is a kind of ornithological montage...
TOP 25 PULPY SITES
Ian Clarke, although not a Pulp Person, is a big fan who maintains a popular site at <http://welcome.to/rarepulp> mailed me with the following information which I promised to pass on:
“This is going to the Lipgloss list and some Pulp webmasters. I am starting a “Top 25 Pulp Sites” list, to help promote your sites as well as others. Viewers are allowed to vote by clicking a small “Vote for me” button your site. If you are interested in joining, go to the following address and you can register your site. Also, please tell your friends who may be interested in joining. The URL is http://www.topsitelists.com/start/ilclark/. If the number of sites gets to 25, I will make the limit 50 so there is room for more sites. You can include a banner of your own aswell as a description. If you have trouble, please let me know and I will sort it out for you”.
So now you know. Also can I remind you to send me the URL of any sites you might be setting up if you want a link from the Pulp site.
DJ COCKER & MC MACKEY
Steve and Jarvis embraced the online community on Friday 21 July when they DJ’s at dotmusic’s monthly club night, Transit, with Barry 7 of Add N To (X) and JP Buckle of AllSeeing I. The event was webcast live and apparently offered those logging on a chance to have a chance with the DJs online......let me know if anyone did!
NICK IN SHEFFIELD STAR
Living the life of a megastar never stopped Nick from participating in the local culture, as this startling evidence from the Sheffield Star “Best Friends” photographic competition shows (left). Thanks to whoever sent it in, I would have missed it otherwise and as you can see, the Banks tradition of rock ‘n’ roll excess if still...err...nowhere to be seen, actually. So Nick – did you win??
Still on a Sheffield theme, those of you with access to the internet can check out a Pulp special on The Northerner’s site at www.ayup.co.uk. They are also on the lookout for someone to review Pulp’s performance at Reading for them - no money in it but it would apparently, “look grand! “ so any budding journos out there, here’s your chance. Send them to me & I will forward them. Please feel free to review the concert for Pulp People too! I’ll be printing them in the next issue.
Check out the re-vamped site at www.venini.co.uk – maintained by Pulp-Person-turned-Venini-Press-Officer Mark Sturdy. All the info you need plus downloadable singles. Now you don’t need to buy them!
Meltdown, a fortnight of events at London’ Royal Festival Hall, curated this year by, let’s face it, one of the latter part of the twentieth century’s greatest & most respected singers, featured a performance by Jarvis, Steve, Mark and glass harmonica player Alisdair Malloy entitles “A Touch Of Glass: (ho ho).
Sandwiched in between Austria’s Fuckhead (Mmm, thanks Austria) and Smog, A Touch of Glass, barely rehearsed and looking slightly apprehensive, played a short-ish but very beautiful set. They were joined on stage by the fabulous Swingle Singers for a version of “My Body May Die” and finished with a cover of Scott Walker’s “On Your Own Again”. The evening is reviewed here by Pulp Persons Milena Michalski-Gow and Heike Seidler, with photos by Roz Leach. We all clearly thought it was great but I’m informed that we were in the minority!
As the first motes were struck it was clear that ‘A Touch of Glass’ would be no ordinary event. The audience’s patience (or at least mine) had been sorely tried by the preceding band, Fuckheads, who seem to have taken some of their best ideas from Laibach and then removed any meaning from them. After their endless and ear-splitting performance, ‘A Touch of Glass’ seemed all the more sublime. With sings of such musical mastery, spiritual subtlety and emotional resonance, the musicians (including Alisdair Malloy on the amazing glass harmonica, Jarvis on his white Omnichord, as well as Mark and Steve) left much of the audience behind. This was not a scaled down Pulp gig, it was something unique and exquisite in its own right.
The first song was a reworking of ‘I Spy’, and although the thrill of recognition was part of the pleasure, it was also an axploration of a new realm. This interpretation highlighted the musical depth of Pulp’s songs, which stand alone without the lyrics, although critics don’t usually appreciate this. The second song was, ‘My Body May Die’, written for the recent remake of ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’ but, as Jarvis said, “don’t let that put you off.” I though it worked OK on TV too, but freed from the ephemerality of the programme it became a profoundly pure and overwhelming piece. The performers were brave to attempt this live, and the risk paid off as the result was breathtaking. The song is built up layer upon layer, music and voice wrapping themselves around each other. Everyone involved was concentrating hard and the intensity of the instruments, including the beautiful glad harmonica, the lyrics and the voices of Jarvis and the Swingle Singers combined to create moments of transcendent ethereality. All this, yet things never became over-earnest. In fact, there was a real sense of stripped down simplicity there, no pretentious posturing, in contrast to the other acts. Unnecessarily but charmingly modest, Jarvis then told Scott Walker that he might want to leave the building as they were about to cover one of his songs, ‘On Your Own Again’. I hope he stayed, as this was also perfect. A song exactly suited to Jarvis’s voice and attitude, it was as moving and understated as it was brief. As with the best things in life, ‘A Tough of Glass’ left me yearning for more. After that the headlining band, Smog, seemed dull and predictable, even if they were technically and lyrically quite OK.
Max Bell, writing for the London Evening Standard, had this to say: “Jarvis Cocker and his Pulp friends soothed the nerves with synthetic variations on systems music, Beach Boys enhanced samples and well designed excursions into the nod-out zone where Tangerine Dream meet Popul Vuh. There were easy on the ear.”
Adam Sweeting (The Gaurdian) was more, well, wrong really: “Jarvis Cocker has all the stage presence of a garden rake. You could make your own Cocker at home, using a couple of pipe cleaners and an old sock, and it would no worse than the real thing. Yet he has no shortage of fans. Cocker had assembled a bunch of louche instrumentals that wouldn’t be too difficult to play on his dinky electronic keyboard, plus two songs for good measure....as his combo meandered through their three chord ambient stuff, given weird colouring by a bizarre keyboard device called a glass harmonica, it was pleasant, but scarcely compelling. A version of Cocker’s song ‘My Baby May Die’ (sic) was rendered whimsical by a chorus he introduced as the Swingle Singers... [How do these people get to write professionally?? How???! – Ed.]. Finally, there was a perfunctory trot through Scott Walker’s ‘On Your Own Again’, which seemed to stop before it had started properly...
This review was accompanied by a photo of Jarvis from at least 5 years ago. Journos eh??
International Film Festival
As reported in #29, Mark was invited on to the panel of judges at the Oberhausen International Film Festival in Germany back in May. The Festival presents hundreds of short films and videos in competitions and special programmes, as well as hosting the world’s biggest short film market.
Mark presented a programme of shorts called “Came The Loop Before The Sample” which included films chosen “to demonstrate how the invention of the sampler has led to the partial downfall of popular music by allowing laziness and unoriginal creativity”. Mark selected films by Robert Nelson, Peter Kubelka, Anthony Balch & William Burroughs, Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow), Malcom Le Grice, and Bruce Conner. He was also on the panel of jusges for the MUVI Award for the Best German Music Video.
Here’s what the thought of the event:
“Had a great time at Oberhausen, everyone was so nice and I was sorry I couldn’t be there for longer. The screening went well – starting with a big audience and ending with a reasonable one (understandable). MuVi awards a farce – very low standard and all 3 of us were in agreement and shocked.”
It’s looking like there might be a chance to experience the LSaH thang outside the Big Smoke, when it (maybe) hits the north later on in the year – it’s not confirmed yet though. Keep and eye on the website or write in if you want to go along (and I strongly suggest that you do!).
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the year, all taking place at the ICA as usual.
August 12 – The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976, USA) plus Shitter (Taka Iimura, 1971, Japan), X (Vincent Grenier, 1976, Canada), Tung (Bruce Bailie, 1966, USA).
September 9 – Christiane F. (Ulrich Edel, 1981, Germany) plus Tantra 1 (Gordon Payne, 1960’s, Canada), Epileptic Seizure Comparison (Paul Sharits, 1976, USA), An Aesthetic Quality (Vaughn Obern, 1967, USA)
October 21 – Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968 UK) plus Le Sexe Enrage (Roland Lethem, 1970, Belgium), The Visible Compenduim (Larry Jordan, 1991 USA) and The Dread (Stan Brakhage, 1960, USA)
November 18 – Inserts (John Byrum, 1975, USA) plus High Stepping (Roger Hammond, 1974, UK), Marilyn Times Five (Bruce Conner, 1968-73, USA), and Flak (Graeme Ewans, 1970, UK)
December 16 – The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Peter Yates, 1973, USA) plus Babobilicons ((Daina Krumis, 1982, USA), 7P (John Smith, 1978, UK), A Film of Their 1973 Spring Tour commissioned by Christian World Liberation, and Front of Berkely Califormia (Owen Lands (formerly known as George Landow), 1974, USA)
Some of these films might change – keep checking the site to be sure.
Overleaf Little Stabs DJ and Mark’s right hand man Greg tell’s you a bit about the all new Little Stabs at Happiness website.
And remember, there is the chance to win two pairs of tickets EVERY MOTNH on the website!
The Little Stabs at Happiness web site is now up and running, if you haven’t visited it already. We are really just starting to develop it, but at this point in time you will be able to find out the listings for the Features and Short films coming up, and also an archive (with help from Alex at PP) of all the flyers and films that have been shown since wen all that time ago (nearly 3 years now, where does the time go...?)
A lot of people have asked us: what are those beautiful pieces of music you play before the short films?” Well, you can now find out on the music page: A veritable goldmine of music awaits. There is also a comprehensive list of the loud records we play after the feature. (We realise that some of these rock’n’ disco gems may gave vexed some people for a while, now you will know exactly which B.A. Robertson / Gina X / J. Geils Band compilation to buy for your next party).
What will happen in the next update of the site will be more in-depth information about the Underground films and their makers, so that you can discover the rich currents and background to the works. It’s really encouraging that such a large proportion of the audience at the club watch the shorts, and we think that it’s high time we filled people in on them.
Another feature of the site is a gallery of photos which will also expand in the future. If anyone has photographs that they have taken at the club, then we would be very interested in porting them up. If you send them via email@example.com in a j-peg format, we will definitely sort through and publish the best ones.
It has been continuously heartening to see familiar faces returning to the club, and we do appreciate that some people travel great distances to make it. We can only apologise, to such dedicated people and the audience in general, for the sometimes tragic copies of the features, (funnily enough the shorts are usually fine) This is an ongoing lottery, really. We do try to locate the best copies and struggle with the dialogue mix, but you must appreciate that some of them are very old prints, especially some of the more obscure ones. I think the worst was probably “Harold and Maude” which was a not too bad print, but it was subtitles for the deaf!
Many thanks from all of us for the continued support of everyone who comes, even if it’s just the once, the club wouldn’t be an option at all without you. We hope that it continues to be fun, and we hope that the website might add to your enjoyment of the films.
Hot on the heels of Julia Trice, Roger Middlecoate, Richard Priest and Mark Scott comes calm, cool & collected Mel, and essential part of the Pulp Management team. Here we find out more about the day to day grind of keeping Pulp number one in our hearts (if nowhere else).
Hi Mel. You’ve not been in this particular job ling – when did you start working for Rough Trade Management?
I started in mid December 1999
What did you do before that?
My last job was with Dreamworks Records, where I was the International A&R and Marketing Co-ordinator. Before that I worked at MCA / Geffen Records as a Marketing Assistant / Junior Product manager.
Cool. That sounds ace, I can’t imagine why on earth you would want to move! I guess the move to Rough Trade must have been quite exciting?
Yes and also to be working at Rough Trade with Jeannette and Geoff and all the crew. It is very refreshing to be working in a small indie environment after working in such large corporations.
Tell us a bit about your job – what it involves, who you have to speak to, how many hours a day you spend on the phone....
You name it, I help make sure it happens. I do talk to lots of people in the course of the working day, from band, crew and agents to a wild and wonderful array of people requesting Jarvis and Pulp to take part in various projects.
Job Title: Management Liaison
Date started working for Pulp: December 1999
Employment History: MCA / Geffen Records, and International A&R and Marketing Co-ordinator for Dreamworks Records.
Things will be getting pretty hectic at Pulp management now, what with the concerts and the recording schedule. How do you cope with the pressure?
There isn’t pressure as such, just varying degrees of busy-ness.
Is this the sort of job you had in mind when the School Careers Officer asked you what you wanted to do?
Believe it or not I did actually mention music management to our Careers Officer, as my A level choices and interests did steer me in this direction (Music, Performing Arts, Business Studies). After 3 years of a music degree, I knew that I didn’t want to perform, but definitely wanted to work within music. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jarvis by Karen Melrose, of Solihull
'Rough Trade have been playing the new material in the Office for month now (you lucky people!) – what do you think of the new songs – how do they differ from the last album?
The new songs sound great and I am going to keep you all in suspense by keeping quiet. You will hear a few at Reading, promise.
So, compared to other groups you have worked for how 1) easy going 2) sexy 3) pretentious are Pulp?
I have been quite lucky with the bands I have worked with in the past, but I would say that Pulp are all very down to earth and intelligent group of people who are usually a pleasure to work with. (Such tact! Ed.)
Did you go to many Pulp concerts before you started working with them?
Yep a few, Finsbury Park and Wembley.
Are you coming to see Pulp at the upcoming concerts?
Do you have any favourite Pulp songs?
And finally, what advice would you give to people who want your job?
Steer clear, I have it!
Thanks very much for you time. See kids – it pays to work hard if you end up with a cool job like Mel; be a lay-about and you’ll end up running a fan club!!
Last issue I asked for captions for this photo (by Paul Burgess) of Pulp in jocular mood. Many thanks for all your responses, some of which made more sense than others... The winning entry was the one that made me laugh the loudest, send in by Leilah Leask, of Culross, Fife:
“Try as they might, they couldn’t get Mark out of the virtual reality sex machine”.
This is closely followed by Andy Coles, of Rotherham, who sent in the following:
“Depsite their best efforts, the lads failed to blag a turn on Mark’s new state of the art portable underwear vending machine”
“Alas, Mark’s failure to grasp the basics of Candida’s Knit-O-Matic resulted in a visit to accident and emergency”.
Signed copies of the ‘A Tribute To Polnareff’ CD on their way!
Still on offer are two more signed copies of the Polnareff CD plus two promotional This Is Hardcore stamps, plus a signed copy of the “Oral” book featuring the lyrics to Deep Fried in Kelvin. To win one of these highly sought after iems, I’m setting you something of a challenge – a word search, sent in by our sole inmate Pulp Person, Phil Rowland, currently twiddling his thumbs in Leicestershire. Thanks for this Phil, saves me coming up with a question! Although it does of course mean that you can’t enter....
There are 15 song titles to find (none of which are O.U. by the way!). Send your completed forms to me with the words circled clearly – no deadline, just the next issue. Good luck!!
Hot on the heels of the last thrilling Pulp fact is another, this time coming to you direct from Russell, via Mark Sturdy, revealing the source of another crazy title.
“Srpski Jeb” (Number 1 in 1984) literally translates (from the Russian) as “Serbian fuck”. Apparently the phrase is a popular Russian aphorism for rough sex. So there you go.
Now why am I not surprised that this information came from Mr. Senior??!
Mark is going to be putting on a programme of films in Sheffield in September as part of the Showroom’s Soundtracking festival. Details are brief so far but the evening will probably include some DJ-ing in the bar by LSaH stalwart Gregory, some experimental films, some shorts of the Factory / Velvet Underground plus, hopefully, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones”, the documentary of the legendary 1972 US Tour.
Sounds as if it’s going to be like going round to Mark’s house for the evening! Should be really great. More info in the next issue and I’ll keep you up to date on the site as usual.
What’s been keeping us on our toes at Pulp Towers.
ESG – A South Bronx Story
ESoJ – demos
Kraftwerk – Tour de France
Walker Brothers – Portrait
North Mississippi All Stars – Shake Hands With Shorty
Deep Throat soundtrack
Stooges – TV Eye (Take 14) from Funhouse sessions box set
Joes Pass – The Stones Jazz
Curtis Mayfield – No Thing On Me
Abba – Super Trouper
“Confront your mortal soul at an evening of visionary cinema. A selection of ten films on life, death and the after-life. Mortuaries, cemeteries, slaughterhouses, safaris, nuclear testing, Vietnam, extinction, assassination and the Bardo Thodal. The imagery of adversity will be complemented by maudlin music form the collection of Mark Webber. If the persistent images of suffering overwhelm then drown your sorrows in the adjacent bar. Please feel at liberty to come and go of your own free will. Admission may be cheap, but the memories will remain with you to the Beyond.”
Mark’s programme of films for the Matters of Life and Death event at Battersea Arts Centre on Sunday 2 July was slightly less well attended than anticipated, probably because it clashed with the Euro 2000 final and a Sonic Youth concert. It certainly can’t have been because of his cheery introduction (above).
I hope not, because the films I saw, despite their disturbing subject matter, were peaceful and moving (although I realise that the ones I missed were not), especially Bruce Conner’s Crossroads – US Government footage of the first underwater Atomic Bomb test in 1946.
The Pulp People who travelled from far and wide to experience the joy that is one of Mark’s film nights were suitably impressed. This is what Sarah Wilson, Richard Bradley, and Heike Seidler thought of the evening....
Reindeer Slaughter at Lake Kruttvattret (Louise O’Konoe), b/w, silent, 6 min
Le Sang Des Betes (Georges Franju), b/w, 20 min
Unsere Afrikareise (Peter Kubelka), colous, 12.5 min
Diploteratology, or, Bardo Follies (Owen Land) colour, silent, 20 min or 7 min
The Act Of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (Stan Brakhage), colour, silent, 32 min
The Dead (Stan Brakhage), colour, silent, 11 min
Time Of The Locust (Peter Gessner), b/w, sound, 12 min
Mass (For The Dakota Sioux) (Bruce Baullie), b/w, sound, 24 min
A Report (Bruce Conner), b/w, sound, 13 min
Crossroads (Bruce Conner), b/w, sound, 36 min
I was a little apprehensive about going to “confront my mortal soul” at the “Day of Reckoning” film programme. After encountering Mark (and his gorgeous new hairdo) on the stairs, I took my seat for this exhibition of visual morbidity.
The near-4 hour event kicked off with the lights dimming, whilst over the PA a melancholy chiming bell introduced David Bowie’s “Please, Mr Gravedigger”, a sinister poem with infanticidal overtones.
The first three films, “Reindeer Slaughter at Lake Krutvattner”, “Le Sang des Betes” and “Unsere Afrikareise” dealt primarily with the slaughter and manipulation of animals. The opening film showed reindeer being herded into a pen like a colossal tidal wave. The slaughter men round up and lasso the creatures and they oscillate (often in slow motion) around the enclosure. Those that are chosen are dispatched with pistols before sliding down to butchery shed, where they are skinned and carved. What is left of these legendary animals as the film draws to a close is a row of severed heads, lined like ghastly game souvenirs, and hides hanging out to dry.
The second film gave the viewer an insight into the abattoirs of Post-war Paris. Opening with a glimpse of the famous capital, a romantic female voice tells of the glory amongst the shabby ruins of the Parisian outskirts, as we are drawn into the gates of the city and to the portals an infamous slaughter house, whose speciality is the slaughter of horses. The viewer is introduced to the tools of this brutal yet necessary occupation, as a large white horse is brought into the yard, and with a blow to the forehead from a bolt gun, sinks quickly to oblivion. Similarly cattle and sheep are led to their doom. There were some disturbing moments, for example the tide of blood, offal and excrement that occurred during the butchery. In one scene a slaughter-man is seen swinging a marlin spike above a cow’s head. Instead of cutting away the camera stays right through to the moment of execution/ The continuous slaughter was not without it’s moment of humour, however dark. One could not help but laugh at the one-legged horse butcher or the cattle slaughterer who could saw through a beef carcass in the time it took the town clock to strike twelve. Overall the film produced a poetic vision of the occupation, yet one could not help feeling thankful that all the gory detail was shot in monochrome.
“Unsere Afrikanreise” was a short document of an African safari for Austrian tourists. Whereas the first two films showed animals being slaughtered for practical purposes, this film depicted the killing of wildlife for sport, showing as it did the rich and idle white man basking in the sun, cut with images of the industrious natives. To highlight the fact that class privilege extends beyond that of racial difference, a shot of a lone Slavonic peasant, meandering through a snow covered landscape, ended the film.
The last film before the interval, “Diploterology”, or “Bardo Follies” was Owen Land’s (filming as George Landow) treatment of the Bardo Thodal (Tibetan Book of the Dead). The film opened with a repeated loop of a woman reclining on the banks of a river, taking a puff from a cigarette and lazily waving to a boat load of tourists. This single repetitive image was them multiplied and confined to three small circles whilst the rest of the screen remained dark. Then the film cut to two images, one being as before and the other being a shot of celluloid film burning and melting away. The images of this deteriorating plastic remained until the end of the film, creating almost floral patterns in their degradation. For me, it conjured images of the dying cells in a carcinogenic lung, symbolic maybe of the fate of the smoker in the opening scenes.
After a short interval came two films by Stan Brakhage. The first was The Act of Seeing With One’s Eyes, which tool the viewer deep into one of the most forbidden locations of human culture: The Autopsy Room. The film started with a series of cadavers being measured and recorded and finally being dissected before the real forensic investigations took place. The practices of the coroner and his assistants was a true eye-opener as the camera swung between shots of various corpses being dissected and eviscerated. Although nothing was left to the imagination, the film was mute, the director perhaps understanding that the sound of cracking ribs and the whine of a bone saw as a cranium was opened and the brain within revealed, would be too overwhelming for a sensitive audience. As the organs are carved and surveyed, we are drawn back to the corpses, now little more than husks of bone and skin, giving rise to the idea that without sense, reason or emotion, we too are but empty, lifeless shells. As the film ends we see an assistant mopping the floor and now we see that even in this place, surrounded by images of our own mortality, life still continues as normal.
The second Brakhage film, The Dead, showed images of a Parisian graveyard. The images switch between monochrome and negative and it is hard sometimes to figure out which shots are created in which format. This change also alters the perception of visual time as the imbalance of formats distorts between day and night, giving each shot a cross between a pastoral day and an ethereal night. Street scenes showing the living Parisian population once again showed how “life goes on”.
The last film before the second interval was Peter Gessner’s Time of the Locust, a documented exposure of the war in Vietnam, shot at a time when the Western world was experiencing and practising the twin ideals of peace and love. Compiled from American newsreel, footage from the South Vietnam National Liberation Front, and suppressed film taken by Japanese cameramen, the film shows not only both sides of the war, but the suffering and agony of the Vietnamese civilians as they are literally caught in the crossfire. This film is a warning to future generations about the futility and brutality in combat and how it is the ordinary citizen rather than the opposing sides that faces the true fatal consequences of such action.
Like Unsere Afrikareise, Mass (for the Dakota Sioux) shows the affects of colonization on a native tribe, but with far more startling outcomes. We see images of modern American symbolized by rows of terraced houses, industrial estates and youth riding motorcycles, the scenes punctuated by quotes from the Sioux on their religious philosophy of life and death, and of a man lying face down on a pavement, seemingly sinking into his own oblivion as bystanders watch with morbid curiosity and the paramedics who stand helplessly by, doing nothing but placing a white shroud over the corpse before removing it into an ambulance. These images are a painful reminder that like the Sioux and their natural/spiritual world, they were wiped out by a race that thrives on a religious system that thrives on life, death, the afterlife and most importantly brotherly love between ALL men.
The programme ended with two films by Bruce Conner. The first, “A Report”, documented the assassination of JFK, with the actual footage of the Presidential motorcade, moments before the fatal shooting. A repetitive image of the smiling, waving President seconds before his demise, while a disembodied voice-over announces the movements before and after the murder created an almost spine tingling sense of suspense. The narration changed as well as the images in the latter part of the film, cutting and detailing between the fore and aftermath of the assassination. Scenes which show Kennedy shaking hands with an eager crowd are inter-cut not just with scenes of the widowed Jackie entering in a hearse and the funeral procession, but symbolic images of Bull fights and modern appliances and consumer/commercialism which cleverly give a new spin on the narration. The final shot of a secretary, with her finger hovering over the SELL key of her computer, highlights not only the price, but the futility and waste of life in building a capitalist society.
The final film, is Conner’s Crossroads, a compilation of American Government underwater testing of the Atomic Bomb at Bikini Atoll, shot from air, sea and land. When the first explosion occurs, the fallout rises like some supernatural flower from the water, shaping into the familiar mushroom cloud and you are confronted with a glimpse of Armageddon: an ultimate, apocalyptic, destructive force. The nearness one of the detonation not only gives a dizzying sense of mortality but the fear of the well being of the camera crews who filmed these images. For the most part the explosions are muted and trance like music, courtesy of amongst others, Terry Riley, juxtaposed with the violent eruptions. As images of the same test is run again and again from so many different altitudes and locations one sense only beauty and poetry.
Watching these films did not fill me the sense of dread that I had expected. Instead the visual representations of death gave me a sense of relief and joy to be alive. Even when surrounded by death in all it’s various forms, one is reminded of a quote by Dr Ian Malcom in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park: “Life will always find a way”...
Rich Bradley travelled all the way down from deepest Derbyshire to witness the event, and even recorded his meeting with his hero on film (left). Not only that but he memorized the entire conversation word for word:
Mark: “I’m not expecting many people to come because of the football and there’s Blur and Sonic Youth concerts tonight”. I said that maybe the morbid subject matter had also put people off, and asked him if he liked to watch things like this in his spare time, and he said yes, and I said maybe that’s why he had a reputation for being so miserable, and he grinned. Then I asked if he wouldn’t mind having his picture taken with me and he said OK, you should do it in the corridor because the light’s better in there and it would come out better. Mark said he was “glad it was being taken from an above angle because it’s more flattering. You can’t see double chins so much”... As we were going back into the cinema I implored Mark to record Roald Dahl and he said they’d recorded a different version of the song the previous Sunday and played it at “Jarvis’ Meltdown thing”, but that he didn’t think it would ever get released. And that was it really...
The day of reckoning came without warning (except for a bit of small print on the back of the programme stating “please be aware that these films include scenes that some people may find disturbing” – a bit like sending someone to a naturist camp saying a few people may not have many clothes on). So if you’re a warm hearted, sensitive creature then maybe you should stop reading this review now! The again I would say I was a warm hearted, sensitive creature (no comments from the Ed. Please!) but I went to see the films. No, really, please stop now please stop. OK So you reckon you’re the adventurous type the... Well I’ll give you all the gory details then shall I? The most disturbing descriptions are printed in very small print to that those can be easily skipped. Here we go...
First up was Louise O’Konoe’s “Reindeer Slaughter at Lake Krutvattnet” The title pretty much summed up the content – the scenes of shooting der were not particularly disturbing, but the blank, emotionless faces of the people killing was a bit chilling.
“Le Sang des Betes”, by George Franju started out with rather poetic scenes of children dancing but it soon became apparent that this was going to be a disturbing piece of film, including footage of a white horse, cows, calves and sheep being slaughtered. The quote in the programme said “Amidst steaming blood and men wading in excrement, even Vietnam and the concentration camps are not too far away”. I couldn’t have put it better really.
Next up was a film about Austrians on safari, “Unsere Afrikareise”. The pictures of the animals being hunted down and killed were not particularly gruesome or shocking, the bit I found the most revolting was the horrible, cold sarcastic laugh of one of the women, which Kubelka seemed to interject every few minutes. I guess this was this way of illustrating the hunters’ indifference towards the animals and the gleeful enjoyment they seemed to get from killing.
What followed was the most abstract film of the night. It looked like cells under a microscope. Mark has his own technique of watching this film, which I’ve christened Webb-o-Vision. What you need to do is wrap your hands around your yes, binocular fashion, to blank out everything in your view except for the screen – get the idea? Try it, you might like it!
After a short, much needed, break, we we in for a “real treat” – “The Act Of Seeing With Ones Own Eyes”. More like “The Bravery Of Continuing To See With One’s Own Eyes”. Basically you got to spend half an hour in an autopsy room watching dissections. Mark afterwards confessed that he had had a copy of this film for over a year and until now had not been able to bring himself to watch it.
Hard to believe the next film was by the same director – pictures of a Paris cemetery with overlapping layers of film, a sort of collage that was quite relaxing to watch.
Next up was a film by Peter Gessner about the Vietnam War, a collage of American news films and photographs, mainly of people’s faces. Some scenes showed killings, and without any commentary the images seemed even stronger in their message.
After a short break we returned for the last three films. “Mass (For The Dakota Sioux)” by Bruce Baillie depicted a man dying after collapsing on the sidewalk of a busy city street, whilst people pass by. Although the film had a sadness to it, it was also uplifting, especially the scenes of a man on a motorcycle crossing a bridge, and I found the music (Gregorian chant) very calming.
We returned from the bar for the final film of the evening which turned out to be my favourite. “Crossroads” assembled US government footage of the first underwater A Bomb tests from 1946. I found it a bit disturbing and saddening at first, but the more I watched I felt it had a strangely beautiful quality to it. The accompanying music by Terry Riley really complemented the images with it’s repetitive structure.
I hope this review does not stop people going to see Mark’s selections of films. You might not know what you’re letting yourself in for, but you will not come out of the cinema without some food for thought. So for all you nonbelievers and couch potatoes out there, all I can say it “See you at the next one!”.
Despite what Mr. Metallica and Ms. Headon on page two think (maybe they should get together), Pulp HAVE written some great songs, and the votes keep coming in for THE BEST PULP SONGS IN THE WORLD...EVER! chart. The list of songs voted for now stands at 118, and as this goes to print the top songs are as follows (last issue’s figures in brackets)
This is Hardcore 90 (72)
Common People 84 (69)
Babies 69 (59)
With Razzmatazz making a late bid for success with 65 (58)
The Worst Pulp In The World...Ever! chart is almost as nail-bitingly exciting, let me tell you. Interesting to see the songs that you are voting for. Remember that most people are sending lists of three or four songs, let’s face it if you’re sending in lists of 10 or 20 you’re in the wrong fan club. But, nobody’s perfect, and according to you lot, Pulp’s biggest mistakes are:
97 Lovers – 7
Silence – 6
Manon – 6
Love Love – 4
So there you go. You always get some joker don’t you, and we’ve had votes for Razzmatazz, O.U., and Babies. Now that’s just being silly.
No particular reason for the picture of Steve there, except that it’s a good one.
The hits on the site have passes 40,000 now, which for me is quite thrilling, assuming that it isn’t just 40 people visiting the site a thousand times each (not out of the question). I’m hoping people are realizing that it is THE place to come for Pulp facts, although I am well aware that many other sites are way ahead of me when it comes to hi-tech effects and video / sound clips, and also that there are people out there who aren’t actually interested in facts but, preferring to spend hours discussing rumours and speculation rather than consult me, but that’s OK, between us I reckon we’ve got it covered.
The main menu on the site now comprises News; Discography; Videography; Biography; Pulp People; Little Stabs At Happiness; Lyrics; Books; Fans; Fanzines; This Is Sheffield; Sound Files; Merchandise; and Links. The most recent additions are:
Straight from the hand of Pulp – we decided it was high time the ancient personal stats printed in Disco Very II were updated! Mark’s somewhat surly response was “just add two inches to every measurement”, which turned out not to be true at all, and I also think Webber must be one of the few people in the world to go DOWN a shoe size...
Complete with notes by Jarvis on the making of some of them, this is I think a fairly complete list on not only the commercially available compilations but also promos and not-available-anywhere older stuff.
See where you all live on my quite crap world maps...still working on this section!
Thanks to everyone who has sent me images of records and CD’s I don’t have, particularly Thanos for all the compilations. Still a way to go though.
Constantly updates, our links page now has 23 links to Pulp sites, 9 to Pulp associates sites, 9 shopping links, Mark & Jarvis’ fave sites, and our own top 15 current favourites.
Please remember though that the site is protected by copyright, so please don’t nick anything without asking permission. I would do the same for you...
Penpals, Wants Ads, Lost Pulp People...
In case I don’t get another newsletter out before the end of September, here’s some more dates for your diary. The long – awaited and definitely not to be missed World Tour by Pulp favourites ESoJ.
26 Nottingham Social
27 Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
28 Manchester (venue tbc)
29 Glasgow (venue tbc)
30 Sheffiels (venue tbc but possibly the National Centre For Popular Music) (it it’s still open)
3 Brighton (venue tbc)
4 London Spitz Club
ELECTRIC SOUND OF JOY
Same deal as issue 29 – still have no news on 2000 goodies buy I know you prefer it if there is something available, if only to buy that last minute item for the summer festivals. As usual p+p is free in the UK but fans living anywhere else please add £1/$5/10FF per item when ordering T-shirts. Remember to give a second choice. If you’re not happy with your order, we can exchange it but we can’t give refunds. Please don’t send foreign coins or cheques, they are no good to us. Remember you can also check out these items in glorious technicolor on the fabulous Pulp website.
Free Sweatbands with every order over £4 (still!!)
A. Sky Blue T-Shirt with white dog logo, L, XL £14 / $22 / 140FF
B. Black T-Shirt with pink Pulp logo on front, This Is Hardcore on back, XL £14 / $22 / 140FF
C. Navy T-Shirt with album cover logo on front, M, L, £14 / $22 / 140FF
D. Sweat Bands, black with pink pulp logo, £4 / $6 / 40FF pair. Handy for summer sporting activities (I’m sure Pulp wear them for their tennis matches).
E. Nylon ‘Rock’ Scarf, black with pink This Is Hardcore logo, £5 / $8 / 50FF
F. Sun Visor, red and white with Pulp logo on front, £4 / $6 / 40FF. Very good for sun blindness.
G. Pulp Badges, unique to Pulp People! Pink on black, 58,, diameter. 50p / $1 / 5FF each, what a bargain! Choose from Pulp / Pulp People / Party Hard / I’m A Pulp Person / I Am Hardcore / Pulp Person.
H. Enamel Pulp Badge, black & silver. £4 / $6 / 40FF – very limited stocks!
I. Programme (includes sticker sheet), A5. 14 pages, colour, £5 / $8 / 50FF
J. Coaster As given away with issue 27. They can be yours for a mere £1/$2 / 10FF. For sale within the fan club only, these cannot be bought anywhere else, not even on the website.