Words: Mark Edwards, Photographer: Nigel Shafran
Taken from Arena, February 1996

In the first of Arena's snapshots of modern Britain, we go on tour with the common people.

There's a police horse pissing in the street outside The Ocean Wave restaurant. The un-mounted police who are standing around it have to step back hurriedly to avoid being splashed. The crowd of fans queuing to get into the Spa Theatre, Bridlington, cheer. Last week they would have been queuing for The Good Old Days, starring Bobby Crush. Next week it will be Ice Fantasies. But tonight it's Pulp. Bridlington council have already tried to ban the concert; now the fear that the band who sing Sorted For E's and Wizz will corrupt their youth has brought the Bridlington constabulary out in force. A mobile police command centre is parked out back. Mounted police roam the streets.

At the door, everyone is searched. About 20 Pulp fans are arrested. Meanwhile, backstage, two-thirds of pulp - singer Jarvis Cocker, guitarist/violinist Russell Senior, bassist Steve Mackey and drummer Nick Banks - are discussing their love of British seaside resorts. "The irony of it", says Mackey. "Here we are saying how nice it is around here, and the council wants to stop us and the police are round here trying to bust us." "They're in plain clothes," notes Senior, deadpan. "There's lots of rastas with little 'taches."

Steve: This side of the coast is where you went if your parents were a bit short on money - Skegness, Cleethorpes, Scarborough, Bridlington. Then if you had a bit more money, you went to Blackpool.

Jarvis: I only ever went to Blackpool once when I was a kid, and that was just because a scrap-metal dealer was going out with my mother and wanted to impress her that he had loads of money, so he took us to stay in a holiday flat for a week.

Jarvis: It was quite weird when I realised that I'd been to a roller disco here seven, eight years ago. In this place here. It was my girlfriend's birthday. I like staying off-season.

Steve: There's a bit of a pathos to the town, isn't there?

Jarvis: I remember walking along the front, and there were all like, these big plastic ducks from some fairground ride, only they were all kind of huddled underneath the pier to stop them getting too much crap on. It just looked weird. The hotel we stayed in, we had the whole floor to ourselves so we could run around the corridors and mess about.

Steve: All the things like clowns' faces look grotesque off-season when it's all grey and raining.

Russell: It's like a Scooby Doo episode - the haunted fun fair that's all shut down. Your out-of-season resort has got that to it.

Jarvis: Or there's bingo and there's only two or three people playing. It's a bit reminiscent of some of our early gigs, actually. They had that kind of out-of-season air to them.

Russell: ...end of the pier, falling into the sea...

Nick: My best holiday was Butlin's at Skegness. My grandma was taken ill. My granddad said: "Well, we can't waste a week's holiday." So my grandma was shovelled off into hospital and I took her place. I was about 11. I was running round Butlin's on my own.

Russell: A bit like Jack Nicholson, were you?

Nick: No, there were other people there. It was just my granddad, though. Not my parents.

Steve: You didn't see these two little twin girls down the corridor, did you?

Russell: The other thing about Butlin's was the swimming pool. It had this glass side, and in the restaurant downstairs you could see the people in the pool. It was like a big aquarium. You could see birds and that.

Russell: A very strange thing happened to me at Scarborough this year. Have you seen our album? There's a photograph of me dancing with some donkeys. Well, I was walking along the Scarborough beach thinking I was getting away from it all when, by pure coincidence, I happened to come across this scene. Me and the donkeys. I came across them shooting it. Because they did it with cutouts - I don't know if you've noticed that.

Jarvis: I remember my sister going on this roundabout in Skegness. She spent all her pocket money on going on it three times in a row straight after having dinner, then she got off and threw her sausage and chips up... and then I knocked out this scrap man, who was courting me mother. I didn't mean to. We were playing Crazy Golf and I don't think I'd played it before. Because I'd seen it on telly that you swing when you play golf... and he was stood behind me. I cracked him right on the top of the nose and knocked him out. I was trying to drive it down the fairway.

Jarvis: They are good places. The good thing about them is that, unlike other bits of the coast, the Yorkshire coast is quite undervalued. Quite a lot of it is unspoilt.

Russell: Actually, it's totally crap.

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