On 4 August 2015, back when Tumblr was popular, I posted a few screens from the Pulp:a film about Life, Death and Supermarkets movie, and I wrote: I fell for this, and I am only twenty years late.
That feeling is still very much with me today, but at least we got our very special 2023 summer.
Many summers before the summer of the 2023 encore, I was a teen and, as a teen, I was terrified by Jarvis Cocker. This is Hardcore came out when I was 14, for months his unimpressed grin and his spectacled supercool gaze stared at me from every music magazine my newsagent let me go through in my hunt for photos of some other artists. I knew that the album cover was controversial, dirty even, but I didn’t get why. I didn’t ask my mum, I bet she would have been delighted by my pure ignorance. So, no it didn’t start there.
It didn’t start even a few years later, when during university we were already throwing ‘90s revival parties. That friend who was always in charge of the music loved Common People and played it in full. Invariably, dancers got bored after the first chorus and left me moving uncoordinated and alone in the living room of some shared flat.
When the first Pulp reunion came about, I knew about them, but I did not care enough to go, not just for that one song.
A few years later I moved to the UK. I didn’t particularly like the suburban former industrial city where I ended up living. Equally, I didn’t like the condescending pity-gaze that British people directed at me when I told them where I lived. Oh you, poor thing.
The poor thing started going to an indie disco night. They always played Babies as the opening song, and it felt like home.
Shortly after, Florian Habicht’s movie came out. The portrait of post-industrial Sheffield offered me the chance to make a bit of sense of the place where I lived. Seeing the unmitigated joy of the fans getting together once again to see their favourite band slapped me in the face as I realised the magnitude of what I had missed out. I promised myself that I would not let it happen again.