Tag Archives: Jarvis Cocker

➤ Jarvis Cocker joins Faber: national treasure as literary arbiter

❚ JUST LISTEN TO THE POPSTAR AS SEER, Pulp’s singer Jarvis calling a grey wall heroic, “It says a lot, that wall, to me”, and calling himself “a workshy fop” who has never done a proper day’s work. This South Bank Show from 2007 [above] is compulsive. Just read the comments people have posted beneath it! Now Britain’s most prestigious publisher has asked pop’s national treasure to become its editor-at-large, a broad commissioning role similar to that filled by the 20th-century poet T S Eliot…

➢ Excerpt from today’s Guardian report:

❏ Home to 12 Nobel laureates and six Booker prize winners, venerable publisher Faber & Faber is now looking to bring a little Britpop magic to its list after hiring Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker as its new editor-at-large. The appointment will see Cocker given an open brief to acquire books for a small list at Faber from January 2012.

Jarvis Cocker, Pulp, pop music, Faber,editor,publishing“Jarvis felt like a natural fit with the Faber sensibility, both as author and editor, and I’m sure the small list of books he will develop will represent his eccentric and yet popular touch,” said publishing director Lee Brackstone. “We now have an excellent portfolio of authors from the pop world and our intention is to develop these relationships and continue to build a reputation as the home for exciting and original writing on music.”

➢ Jarvis sees his book of lyrics published by Faber next week — view another riveting interview when he signed up to Eliot’s publisher in June

➢ And talking of national treasures, here’s Jarvis talking about another one, his own hero Scott Walker:


➤ INDEX of posts for June 2011

Boy George, 50th birthday,Jon Moss, Barbara Moss,

That Man in the Middle: George O’Dowd at his 50th birthday party with former Culture Club drummer and father of three children, Jon Moss and his wife Barbara. © Dave Benett/Getty

➢ Jarvis takes his lyrics to Eliot’s publisher Faber — video interview with Pulp’s songwriter

➢ Too cool to crow — Paradise Point just happen to be gigging in Hyde Park before Grace and Pulp top the bill

➢ Lest we forget: man has changed his ways since Peter Wyngarde cracked the sickest joke on vinyl

➢ Irrational, Professor Cox! Discussing science in a tent at Glastonbury?

➢ Martin Kemp’s Stalker gets autumn DVD release

➢ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho? Plus — Pulp’s finest hour at the art school’s farewell party

➢ Heaven 17 remind us how electronic music can send the soul soaring!

➢ The Blitz Kids WATN? No 28: Stephen Linard, fashion designer

➢ Hot days, cool nights, as Blue Rondo join the new Brits changing the pop charts — first glimpse of the crazy seven-piece as the 1981 charts fill with the new British pop

Pepsi DeMacque, Shirlie Holliman, Pepsi & Shirlie, then and now,Here & Now, tour

Back on tour: Pepsi & Shirlie in 1987, and this year photographed by Shirlie Kemp’s daughter, Harleymoon

➢ When Shirl asked Peps if she fancied an arena tour, Peps said to Shirl, Why not? — TV interview

➢ EPIC forecasts for the 2015 media landscape loom closer than we think

➢ Aside from the freaks, George, who else came to your 50th birthday party?

➢ One million people think Charlie really is SoCoolLike — meet  the UK’s most popular YouTuber

➢ 1904, The day Nora made a man of Joyce — Bloomsday celebrated

➢ Boy George hits the big Five-0 and he now says, yes, he has ‘lots of regrets’

Paradise Point, Run In Circles , video, Cameron Jones,pop music

Cameron Jones: Paradise Point vocalist

➢ Hear about the many lives of Midge Ure, the Mr Nice of pop — This Is Your Life, 2001

➢ Wise-cracking Sallon shimmies back onto London’s party scene — Boy George’s best friend recovers after assault

➢ Mix your own version of Bowie’s Golden Years with a new iPhone app

➢ 2010, Lady Gaga ousts Lily Allen as UK’s most played artist

➢ Martin Rushent is dead — friends pay tribute to the man who made stars of the Human League and shaped the sound of 80s electro-pop

➢ What happens when retromania exhausts our pop past — Simon Reynolds on our compulsion to relive and reconsume pop history

➢ Up close and cool — Paradise Point’s first official video wins Boy George’s approval

Farewell St Martin’s, Pulp, Jarvis Cocker,University of the Arts, CSM,

Pulp playing at St Martin’s: Jarvis Cocker bids farewell to his old art school at the best party for years. Grabbed from gstogdon’s YouTube video


➤ Jarvis takes his lyrics to Eliot’s publisher Faber

❚ 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


➤ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho?

William Roberts ,Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel ,Tate Britain

BLAST! Hackney-born William Roberts was an apprentice poster designer, who at the age of 14 attended evening classes at St Martin’s School of Art in London. Within four years he was taken up by Wyndham Lewis, who was forming a British version of the avant-garde Futurist movement. Ezra Pound suggested the name Vorticism, and 19-year-old Roberts’s work was featured in the radical Vorticist magazine BLAST in 1914, a seminal text of 20th-century modernism. A lifetime later, Roberts painted the group (he is seated third from left) in one of the defining images in European art — The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel, Spring 1915 (detail) — currently showing in The Vorticists: Manifesto for the Modern World at Tate Britain until September. (Courtesy of the Estate of William Roberts/Tate)

London’s grooviest art school is leaving the bright lights for the wide open spaces two miles north of their historic manor, where the impoverished Marx wrote Das Kapital and Hazlitt the finest essays in English, and the painter Francis Bacon was a founding member of the Colony Room, a notorious watering hole for misfits. Can our savviest creative spirits really thrive once uprooted from Soho’s 300-year heritage, its dissenters, eccentrics, streetlife and dens of inquity?

King’s Cross Central,Central Saint Martins ,University of the Arts, London

King’s Cross Central: the University of the Arts at Granary Square will form the hub of a new cultural quarter, a 67-acre development that is the largest in London for 150 years. (Courtesy of Anderson-Terzic)

❚ AT MIDNIGHT LAST NIGHT, before an artsy audience spanning many generations, Jarvis Cocker and Pulp were bashing out their hit song Common People in the heart of his ramshackle old college, St Martin’s School of Art, as it was still called in 1988 when he met that girl made famous by its lyrics. While he studied film-making, she seemingly “studied sculpture”. The song says she came from Greece and her Dad was loaded, yet she wanted to slum it by going to live in down-at-heel Hackney. Jarvis explained years later: “It stuck in my mind what she was saying — that she wanted to sleep with common people like me.”

Jarvis Cocker, Pulp, popCommon People has become much more than an anthem for Jarvis’s generation. Everybody knows the words and the 800 former St Martin’s graduates — gathered to bid farewell to their alma mater as it leaves Soho for King’s Cross — erupted into a riotous sing-along, because those lyrics are stiff with truths that aren’t entirely universal, but they are, or were, peculiarly British. What we now know is that, in real life, Jarvis hardly knew the girl and in the end they didn’t get it together, but what the encounter had triggered in him was an awareness about class differences in our society that, as a lad from Oop North, even at age 25, he’d been oblivious to: that she would always have Daddy to help her “never fail”.

The definitive song of the Britpop era begins as satire but ends in anger. In deeply felt rage. As with the socially mobile 60s, this was the edginess in the 80s that divided British society and in our art schools sparked tangible creative tension, when talented working-class lads came up against genteel gals from the moneyed middle-classes, especially those on the smartest degree course for fashion in the land. Many posh parents saw this as an alternative kind of finishing school, yet the sloganeering designer Katharine Hamnett tells fashion historian Judith Watt in a forthcoming film documentary about St Martin’s, directed by Oleg Mitrofanov: “I actually had to change the way I spoke because I’d come from public school and nobody would take me seriously.”

Gilbert & George  Singing Sculpture, St Martin's, performance art,

♫ Underneath the Arches ♫ Gilbert & George perform Singing Sculpture in Cable Street, London, 1969 © Courtesy the artists

St Martin’s ,art school, Richard Long, Barry Flanagan

Radical sculptors of the 60s: Richard Long outside St Martin’s in 1967 (Alammy) . . . One of Barry Flanagan’s giant bronze hares in O’Connell Street, Dublin, in 2006

Why the Blitz Club became the potent subcultural melting pot that it did in 1979 was down to its geography — located midway between St Martin’s on Charing Cross Road, and Central School of Art & Design in Holborn, in the no-man’s land between the then trendily refurbished market area of Covent Garden and the sleazy, yet always cool red-light district of Soho. As one early 80s fashion graduate reminds us: “Essentially, the Blitz was an art students’ club.” Then into their midst, lured by new music, came the working-class soulboys and girls who were themselves several sharp steps ahead of their own class for style. Naked one-up-manship inflamed ambitions all round.

Hussein Chalayan, collection,1993, Tangent Flows

Graduation 1993: for his collection, The Tangent Flows, Hussein Chalayan buried silk garments in his back garden, then exhumed them. Joan Burstein of Browns put the entire collection on show in her windows

The pole position of St Martin’s has been reconfirmed with each generation of graduates who become household names: from Frank Auerbach and Joe Tilson, Lucian Freud and James Dyson, Terence Conran and his son Sebastian, Isaac Julien and Belinda Eaton, Bruce Oldfield and John Galliano, to Stella McCartney and Sarah Burton who stepped into Alexander McQueen’s shoes following his sudden death.

Through the 60s and 70s, both under Anthony Caro’s tutorship then in revolt against it, abstract sculpture had been St Martin’s strength, but with the 80s the fashion department responded to the force of Britain’s subversive street style which was exciting the international media. The impact of alumni such as Jacques Azagury with his New Romantics collection made London Fashion Week an essential stop-over for the fashion world’s globetrotting commentariat.

Sex Pistols, debut, plaque, anniversary, St Martin’s,

30 years on: Pistols bassist and St Martin’s painter Glen Matlock unveiled this plaque at his old college. It was designed and made by potter Douglas Fitch and graphic designer Mike Endicott

Is the old Soho alchemy about to lose its magic? Last night’s party  for alumni was organised by one of them, Birmingham-reared Katie Grand, stylist and editor of Love magazine and coincidentally partner of Pulp’s bass player, Steve Mackey. It was a generous and fitting farewell to the shabby seven-storey building on Charing Cross Road that has blazed as the beacon among London’s half-dozen undergrad art schools for the past 50 years. Though technically St Martin’s School of Art (founded 1854) merged with Central School of Art and Design (founded 1896) two decades ago, only now does the resultant Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design have a purpose-built new home to house its 3,800 staff and students — two miles away from the life of spice that energises Soho.

Platon Antoniou, Barack Obama,photography, St Martin’s

President Obama by photographer and St Martin’s alumnus Platon Antoniou: he succeeded to Richard Avedon’s job at the New Yorker magazine

Not for nothing did the anarchic Sex Pistols choose to play their first gig at St Martin’s in November 1975. GQ editor Dylan Jones, who graduated in 1980, told The Independent a while back: “We were 400 yards from the 100 Club, 200 yards from the Marquee, and a mere spit from the Cambridge, which is the pub everyone used to congregate in before they went onstage — the Pistols, the Clash, Adam and the Ants… St Martin’s at the time felt like the most exciting place on earth, not just because of all the wonderful painters, designers and boulevardiers who had studied there, but also because it was central to the whole punk explosion.”

So will the renegade artistic heritage that evolved with the growth of Soho over 300 years become somehow dissipated? Britain’s most visible sculptor Antony Gormley, another St Martin’s graduate, made a case more detached from bricks and mortar in Wednesday’s Guardian: “The place stands for a certain anarchic idea of permanent revolution – of every generation overturning the orthodoxies of the previous one.” Indeed, from the stage in the old St Martin’s studio last night, Jarvis Cocker capped his anthemic song by criticising the government’s introduction of £9,000 annual student fees that are bound to deter new generations of common people from even considering art school. He then indicated the walls of the buliding, and said, “It’s not about THIS … It’s about THAT”, pointing at the heaving dance-floor.

Which seems to suggest that the spirit of the age will ultimately trump any spirit of place. Aha! Germanic Zeitgeist versus the classical genius loci. Discuss.

Alexander McQueen , fashion,Savage Beauty,Metropolitan Museum of Art ,New York,

McQueen lives on: The 2011 Costume Institute Met Gala, held in New York on May 2, honoured the life of the British fashion designer Alexander McQueen who died in February 2010 at the age of 40. His Savage Beauty exhibition is running at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until July 31

➢ Oleg Mitrofanov’s blog, I Hate My Collection, follows
his progress in making a film documentary about
the exodus of St Martin’s from Soho


Peter Kardia, Christopher Burstall, The Locked Room,Richard Deaconm,St Martin’s

“The Locked Room”, a radical teaching experiment at St Martin’s from 1969: a dozen first-year students, including Richard Deacon, were locked in a room and observed in silence. What were they to make of it? From Christopher Burstall’s BBC documentary A Question of Feeling. Photograph © Garth Evans

❏ SOME OF US WHO were later required to recruit new talent in our workplaces learnt a novel lesson in 1970 by watching a compelling BBC documentary shot at St Martin’s. How do you assess somebody for a creative job which has few boundaries and rests heavily on self-reliance? Invite them to an interview, don’t say a word and see how they react! Such was the inspiration yielded by Christopher Burstall’s documentary A Question of Feeling, which observed a dozen first-year sculpture students including Richard Deacon who were locked in an empty studio and not allowed to speak. Each was given one particular material — a block of polystyrene, say, or a bag of plaster. They were left to deduce for themselves that these were raw materials with which to work, without critical feedback, despite their tutors’ constant surveillance.

The experiment known as “The Locked Room” came in response to the prevailing trend towards non-objective art, itself a reaction to Anthony Caro’s giant abstract works in steel, all of which posed the problem of how you set about teaching conceptual art. This was a bold attempt to erase tradition. Tutor Peter Kardia said: “I wanted to put them in an experiential situation where they couldn’t grasp what they were doing. What I wanted was ‘existence before essence’.”

➢ More about Richard Deacon’s work at the Tate



Judith Watt, St Martin’s, fashion, historian, Twentieth-Century Fashion Writing,

Judith Watt photographed by The Clothes Whisperer

❏ JUDITH WATT, fashion historian who has taught the history of fashion and writing to Fashion Communication and Promotion BAs since 1998, reports:
“Most current students were not invited to the party; so it was helpers — many my lovely students — and those who graduated this June. It was a shame, as students are so much of what makes up St Martin’s unique character (with the added magic dust of some staff). There was a mix in terms of the alumni, but so many of the youngsters have no idea about those important days of the late 70s to the mid-1980s, when St Martin’s was the beating heart of British fashion and style; who the people were, or the magic uniqueness of it. Stephen Linard was there, and I thought of how many of my students have xeroxed pictures of him and his work from The Face, i-D and Blitz but didn’t know he was in their midst. Which spoke volumes about them, and the hideous metamorphosis of fashion, not him.

“John Galliano (obviously) was not there but homages of all kinds to him were graffiteed on the walls. I saw Dean Bright, Jacques Azagury, Ninevah Khomo, Claire Angel, Paddy Whitaker and Keir Malem, Christopher Brown, Andrew Groves, David Kappo, Tristan Webber, the lovely Christopher Kane. Sadly not there were Fiona Dealey, Rifat Ozbek, John McKitterick, Ike Rust, John Maybury, Simon Ungless, and, of course, Amanda Lear. Great line up really … Most asked-about former tutor was Bobby Hillson, who set up the MA Fashion course and was the person who arranged for Lee McQueen to enroll as a student and who supported him in those early days. She was sadly not there … and was sorely missed.

“Jarvis Cocker hit just the right note … it’s a long time since St Martin’s has felt like an art college to me — and last night it did again. Pulp playing Common People was particularly apt, as of course it’s the thread that binds so many of the people who make up the subversive British music and style underground. With the fees now at around £9,000 a year, that may be a lot more difficult to find.”

Corinne Drewery, Christos Tolera, Stephen Linard, Robert Leach, London,St Martin's, farewell, party

Two alumni, two gatecrashers, four ex-Blitz Kids: At St Martin’s farewell to CXR party, Corinne Drewery (fashion, Swing-Out Sister), Christos Tolera (ex-college cafe customer), Stephen Linard (fashion, own silk suit), Robert Leach (ex-Kingston — photo from his Facebook album, Goodbye Charing Cross Road, June 24, 2011)

❏ HOW TO DRESS FOR A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME PARTY — Fashion note by Stephen Linard (class of ’81, pictured above):
“That suit is a one off from 1990, silk rep candy stripes, to my own design. I was the belle of the ball. Etro print shirt, Drake’s linen madras check scarf, printed pastel paisley hank, lime-green suede Paul Smith Hush Puppies.”

Willie Walters,St Martin’s, farewell party

Partying with her stars: Willie Walters, BA fashion course director, in a shirt by Lucie Sutton. Photographed by Alexandra Gordienko

❏ Kay Barron, FCP/CSM graduate, reports at Grazia Daily:
“Everyone regressed to their student selves. In fact some (sorry) became even younger when Pulp took to the stage. I would like to apologise for pushing, screaming and bouncing on people’s feet like a 16-year-old as Jarvis (an ex-student himself) wiggled his way through Disco 2000, Sorted for Es and Whizz, Misfits and Common People (natch). They have never sounded better.

“This party was as legendary as the college. Beyond any fashion party, as no-one was putting on airs and graces, everyone was relaxed and felt bloody lucky to be there.

“St Martin’s is bigger than a building. Give it a year or two and the spanking new building in King’s Cross will be as rough around the edges as CXR, and another 72 years of creative genius will be shaped there. And there will be 800 new alumni enjoying Absolut cocktails, and drawing obscenities on the wall — really, all that talent, and penises are still the illustration of choice!”

St Martin’s, farewell party, Iain R Webb

Iain R Webb Absolutly aglow. Photographed by Robert Leach

❏ Iain R Webb, CSM professor of fashion, reveals all about his 1970s soulmates at the Harper’s Bazaar blog, and puts Friday’s bash in perspective:
“The Farewell to Fashion at Charing Cross Road party was a strange cocktail (fuelled by lashings of Absolut vodka) of nostalgic sad tidings and glittering ecstasies. Past generations of graduates, from Swing Out Sister’s Corinne Drewery (who DJ’d in the Illustration studio) to Katie’s ex-classmate Giles Deacon, rubbed shoulder pads with the current cohort and a Sex Pistol — Glen Matlock, who along with the original Pistols line-up played their first gig at St Martin’s. Dressed up to the nines (and tens in some cases — the boy in the gold knitted dress that unravelled as the evening wore on), the colourful crowd (who says fashion folk only wear black?) displayed a flagrantly flamboyant individuality that is the very lifeblood of the college and has played no mean part in the success of its alumni who have over the decades become big players on both sides of the catwalk.

“The St Martin’s media mafia still fills the international front rows, Twitter on about trends and play dress-up with popstars and supermodels. The party on Friday night was an appropriately loud, glittering and bumptious, sexy and downright messy affair. Confirmation of the enduring talent born out of St Martin’s School of Art.”

London,St Martin's, farewell, party, Chi He

Farewell CXR<3 thanks for the amazing memories: fashion print-maker Chi He from Shanghai (second right) and friends at the St Martin’s party. From her Facebook album

➢ Farewell CXR<3 — happy snaps from Chi He’s party album

❏ CHRISTOS TOLERA, painter, musician and not a former student, who nevertheless idled many away teenage hours in the St Martin’s cafe, reports:
“Pulp started with Misfit and ended with Common People which I listened to in the rain from Charing X Rd as I left. If I was 22 I think I would have thought it was one of the best gigs ever. Jarvis was charming in between songs and had presence but was drowned out during the enthusiastic performance.

“However the energy in the room was palpable and reminded me of the olden days, of gigs in warehouse spaces and a certain abandon rarely seen in these overly organised and calculated times. I left because I wasn’t drunk and had seen enough. It made me feel old. I didn’t really have anyone with me who was looking through the same eyes, seeing what I was seeing. There was something quite romantic about listening to the last song from under an umbrella on the street, with no one really aware that the very audible racket coming from the first-floor window was actually Pulp and not a dodgy covers band.

“All in all I found it sad. Not the band but the memory of me as a 17-year-old hanging out in the cafe at St Martin’s thinking I’d arrived only to find out I was just passing through like the rest of us. My night was summed up when the girls in the cloakroom asked why I was there and I told them I’d modelled in a seminal show (Stephen Linard’s) there in 1980. ‘Oh, that was nine years before I was born’…”


King’s Cross Central, CSM, Central Saint Martins, Granary Building

King’s Cross Central: The focus for CSM’s new home will be the Grade II listed Granary Building of 1851, built to a design by Lewis Cubitt

➢ Wednesday’s Guardian G2 cover story laid out the arguments for the move — Alex Needham writes:

❏ THIS WEEK marks the end of an era, as CSM leaves its two buildings in central London and moves to a new premises in King’s Cross, just across the road from The Guardian. The move won’t be welcomed by Professor Louise Wilson, legendary course director of MA fashion, who believes that the very grottiness of the Charing Cross Road building has helped drive her students – from McQueen to Christopher Kane – to succeed. “You feel that you’re better than this corridor,” she says. “In the new building you want to hide…”

Charles Peattie, alexcartoon,

Yesterday’s topical Alex cartoon strip: created by another St Martin’s painter, Charles Peattie, together with Russell Taylor. © alexcartoon.com


2011 ➤ Pulp: the Britpop comeback everyone’s been waiting for, hooray!

Pulp,  Jarvis Cocker,original lineup, Britpop, Sheffield, pop music,

❚ ALL THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF PULP, the coolest band to represent Britpop, have decided to get together and play some concerts next summer, starting with May 27, 2011 at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain, and on July 3 at the Wireless Festival in London, United Kingdom. Formed 1978 in Sheffield, England and originally called “Arabacus Pulp”, the six-piece achieved sudden success thirteen years later during the Britpop era as much for their music as for frontman Jarvis Cocker’s antics, ho-ho. Their unimpeachable breakthrough single was an ironic survey of class tourism titled Common People from their 1995 album Different Class which won the Mercury Music Prize the next year. The original lineup last played together onstage in 1996. They are frontman Cocker, drummer Nick Banks, keyboard player Candida Doyle, bass guitarist Steve Mackey, guitarist and violinist Russell Senior and guitarist Mark Webber.

➢ To know more, visit Pulppeople.com
➢ Catch Brian Eno on Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service on 6Music
➢ To hear and see Pulp, visit Last.fm