❚ FABER AND FABER EXCITEDLY ANNOUNCE they are to publish Jarvis Cocker’s Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics, in October 2011. Only days earlier the prestigious publisher of T S Eliot, the leading poet of modernism, unveiled their monumental digital milestone The Waste Land for iPad, itself probably the mightiest poem of the 20th-century. Now they have signed Pulp’s singer and songwriter, as a spry chronicler of Britain’s common people fast achieving the status of a national treasure. In the video [above] Jarvis talks to Faber publishing director Lee Brackstone about writing lyrics, his inspiration, habits and thoughts on putting together his first published collection.
It was shot on the day he’d signed the contract, three weeks before today’s announcement and right after the reunited Pulp’s triumphal UK comeback at the Isle of Wight festival after a nine-year absence. Jarvis is visibly thrilled to bits and he gives a hugely entertaining interview. “I fell into the thing of writing lyrics when I was 15 because nobody else would. It was like homework, it was as appealing as that. The first lyric I ever wrote started, Shakespeare rock, Shakespeare roll.”
He tackles the risk of writing cosmic bilge, his breakthrough precipitated by an accident when his gaze shifted to the everyday, and the influence of Scott Walker who married realism to cinematic orchestration: “I liked his song The Amorous Humphrey Plugg [deft and witty lyrics by Walker from his 1968 album Scott 2] which is about slipping on a newly waxed floor… a humdrum everyday thing with a massive orchestral backing. I’d been looking for the epic in the everyday. I don’t think everyday life is mundane. I’m curious about what keeps people functioning.”
➢ Pulp’s reunion concerts continue through the summer, with their headline gig at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park this Sunday, returning to the UK for Reading and Leeds festivals in August