The Pulp frontman answers questions from fans and celebrity admirers, discussing his legendary charm and why happy songs make him “physically want to kill someone”. Originally published in Uncut’s February 2010 issue (Take 153). Interview: John Lewis.
Jarvis Cocker arrives at a wine bar in central London, wearing his characteristic tweeds and corduroys and looking not unlike the puppet that he voices in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox. “I don’t actually get recognised that much,” he says. “I think I’ve done a really good job of sliding into obscurity. The beard helps a bit. I have to stand outside independent record shops to get recognised now.”
Yeah, right. Within minutes of his arrival, the waiters are whispering his name, and people on neighbouring tables are pointing and staring. Unaware of his presence, a posh young couple bluster into the bar, commandeer the neighbouring table and – rather imperiously – instruct Jarvis to mind their coats while they get drinks.
“Not a soul will be allowed to come within 10 yards of this table,” he informs them. Both suddenly recognise his voice and shriek nervously. “Ohmygod, it’s Jarvis,” they gasp. Jarvis bows diffidently and then turns back to the interview. “Right, next question…”
If asked to go on Strictly Come Dancing, would you do it? You’d make a great ballroom dancer!
Rachel Unthank, The Unthanks
I would definitely consider it. I’ve always found it really moving, especially going to the ballroom below Blackpool Tower, watching all these old couples dancing while a guy played the organ. I attended ballroom dancing classes twice – it was when I was studying at Saint Martin’s in London and students could get cheap lessons. They tried to teach us a basic rumba, and I was useless. I never had the discipline to learn dance moves, I was more into dancing freestyle. Maybe Latin would be the thing. You can get a bit wild with that, can’t you?
What was the best Pulp parody: Spitting Image, Goodness Gracious Me, Ali G or Brass Eye?
Oh, Brass Eye, without a doubt. Perves Grundy and Blouse, ha! Chris Morris got the moves perfectly. I quite enjoyed Goodness Gracious Me’s “Hindi People”, a kind of parody of race tourism, rather than class tourism. I think the worst one was Spitting Image. It looked more like Dennis Norden. I understand that this puppet of me is now in the possession of The Edge from U2. No, really! Apparently, there was an auction of Spitting Image figures, and he bought mine. I hope he’s having fun with it.