Jarvis Cocker Goes Back to School

Article published on November 2, 2011.

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Jarvis Cocker is widely regarded as one of the most original and memorable lyricists and performers of the last three decades. Here, for the first time, is a selection of sixty-six lyrics, presented with commentary and an introduction by the man himself. In this volume, readers (and Pulp fans) will find such classic Jarvis lyrics as ‘Common People’, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Babies’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’ The selection, assembled by the author, reveals a sensibility that is unmistakeably Jarvis: a sometimes visceral, sometimes everyday take on love, relationships and the things we do to each other when the lights get low. Mother, Brother, Lover takes the reader on a thirty-year tour into the life, art and preoccupations of one of the great British artists of the late twentieth century. Shocking, sharp, clever and funny, it is a beautiful collection of lyrics and commentary.

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Performing on the stage that was the scene of Pulp’s very first gigs way back in 1978, he treats the students (and the teachers) to a rather memorable school assembly, discussing his career and sharing some of his less successful early attempts at the form – ‘Shakespeare Rock’, anyone? He also hands out advice to future songwriters – ‘Write about your own experiences’ – and peforms one of his best-known songs, Babies.

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