Tigger Pissed On Me.
Or: The skeletons in Pulp's Closet

Words: Nick Griffiths
Taken from Deadline, July 1992

Welcome to widescreen, stereophonic anecdote-drama, with extra special guests, Pulp. Meeting them is a privilege.

The scene

Bunjies Coffee House, London, aka "The Folk Cellar", where the strains (literally) of celebrated folk guru, Gary Numan, are piping through cappuccino stained speakers. Enter three members of Pulp, Sheffield's answer to strangeness in pop - proof that Sheffield at least has an answer to something. Someone once wrote that Pulp took the stage "looking like the escape party from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", which was unfair. Drummer Nick's uncle is (the) Gordon Banks. Guitarist/violinist Russell maintains (misguidedly, even though he does stare a lot) that he is "the guy from Sparks". I suggest that singer/guitarist/object-of-impressionable-girls-desires Jarvis Cocker looks ever so slightly like Jimmy White. He does not take this as a compliment.

Skeleton One

RUSSELL: It was a snowy day and I was going to see a film. I arrived at the cinema, and there was a queue outside of about 20 people. I was behind this girl that I vaguely knew and l just started making conversation: "It's cold isn't it?: Yes it's cold: Very, very cold: Yes it is, very cold. Feel my cheeks." And I felt her cheeks and there's me thinking - cold, like a fridge - and I said, "Oh yeah, can I put my meat in your mouth?" People in the queue started turning round, and I'm holding her cheeks, and at that point the connotation of what I'd said dawned on me, so I tried to rectify it. The whole queue's watching me and I'm going - cause it's cold, like a fridge - I still had to stand there in that queue, cause to have gone off would have been admitting that was like, y'know... She never spoke to me again.

Skeleton Two

JARVIS: I once wore pink tights and a blonde wig for a school play, Twelfth Night. It was good though, because I got to feel the English teacher's breasts. We were doing a dress rehearsal and there was this bit where I had to make a gesture and land my hand on this girl's breasts. Which was a good part for me, cause I wore specs at school and had bad teeth, so I never used to get girls. But then she was ill this day and the English teacher, who everybody fancied, stood in for her. Halfway through the scene I realised I was going to have to grab hold of her tits. So I did, and everyone was going "What were it like? What were it like?"

ALL: What was it like?

JARVIS (Enviably nonchalant): It was alright.

Skeleton Three

JARVIS: Russell used to be a rocker. He used to be into Hawkwind (To Russell). Did you ever wear a lab coat?

RUSSELL: Ahem. No, I didn't actually, no.

JARVIS: And he used to have a very thin pencil moustache.

RUSSELL: I was in a heavy rock band called Isengard.

JARVIS: Isengard?

RUSSELL: It's a valley in Lord of the Rings.

Skeleton Four

JARVIS: Nick's got Nina Hagen written on his drum bag.

NICK: That was my friend's.

JARVIS: These are the excuses he comes out with.

NICK: I did go and see some very dodgy punk bands. I went to see Angelic Upstarts in Rotherham. Me and a couple of mates were right up for it. We got the tickets and on the day thought "Fookin 'ell, there'll be loads of skinheads there; we might get beaten up." I put on this punk T shirt to go down there and we decided to go in the back way in case there were loads of skinheads round the front. We got close to the entrance and still thought there may be loads of skinheads there, so we decided to go round to a friend's house and come back later. In the end we never actually got to the concert cos we were so scared of getting beaten up by skinheads.

Skeleton Five

RUSSELL: I got pissed on by a tiger on a school trip.

DEADLINE: What were you doing lying underneath a tiger?

RUSSELL: No, we were at the zoo and it was time to go, and I'm looking at this tiger and it's looking at me. It turned it's back on me and cocked its tail - and have you ever seen Tomcats spray? Tigers do it, like, big stylee. There was no escape from it: It was just like
"Ppsssscchwooosshh". And I'm saturated in this tiger piss and it's like "time to go now". What do you do? I'm sat on this coach seat on me own and all the way back they were going "What's that horrible smell?". It's like "Oh, Miss, a tiger pissed on me". What can you say?

Skeleton Six

RUSSELL: I tried to fly. I used to have a cacky conservatory with a red and white striped awning made of plastic. And I decided to make it into a hang-glider - although hang-gliders weren't really invented at this stage; It was just a big kite. I made this massive thing about 15 foot long and I'm running up and down our road. like, jumping. And I took it on our school field and there's all these people watching me, and I'm running down it and I did start to take off, and it nosedived and landed on top of me. So I'm trapped underneath and I couldn't crawl out, and everybody's lying around laughing. Then I had to drag it back home and nobody would help me. I was really pissed off. Dragging this thing back like it was a bloody cross or something.

Skeleton Seven

JARVIS: I used to have loads of rubbish hobbies. I had collecting badges - nice big ones.

DEADLINE: What sort?

JARVIS: Oh, anything - double glazing... Even me Mother was always trying to get me to write to Swap Shop to be on it. She even knitted me a jumper and said, "You can put all your badges on that", Which I thought was sad. She asks me if I've still got it.

Skeleton Eight

JARVIS: We did our first ever concert at school. We decided we wanted to have dry ice, so we had a word with the chemistry teacher about it and he said, "Oh yeah, yeah, I'll sort you something out". We played this concert on the school stage and there was the chemistry teacher with two swotty kids, and he had a bunsen burner. And he kept getting a bit of magnesium ribbon and it'd just go 'pff'. And that was supposed to be pyrotechnics. It was like a little chemistry lesson at the side of the stage. A bit of green smoke that only went a couple of inches. Very tragic.

Actually Pulp are very cool

  • Alvin Stardust (During his Shane Fenton period) slept on Jarvis' parents' floor.

  • It's rumoured that Joe Cocker fitted Jarvis' parents' gas fire.

  • One of Mike Harding's guitar strings hangs around a statue at Jarvis' parents house.

  • Nick has met Ken Goodwin (All: Who?)

  • Tony Christie used to live around the corner from Jarvis.

  • Emlyn Hughes (allegedly) used to shag a woman who lived at the bottom of Jarvis' road. "It got to be known that he was doing it, so the kids used to gather around on a Sunday Morning and shout up at the bedroom window."

  • Pulp are "deep personal friends" of Paul King.

  • Jarvis has "done a fart next to Mike Edwards" of Jesus Jones. "It was this party in a pub. There were only two urinals; he went to use one, I went to use the other one. And you know when you do an involuntary fart when you're having a pee? There was nobody else to blame it on, and I wasn't finished, so I had to stand there looking embarrassed."

  • Nick has drunk from the League Cup.

  • Jarvis has Dixon of Dock Green's and Brian Clough's autographs.

  • Nick: "Tommy Cooper once brushed past me"

  • It's all getting a bit tenuous now, isn't it?
  • The Plug

    Pulp have a sense of humour. Lots of other bands don't. The only reason they might gaze at their shoes onstage is to check that they've put their shoes on. Pulp could easily be the hippest band of this year, if only they could sort out their contractual wrangles and if only people would have heard of them. To say Pulp are refreshing live is like saying that Martin Amis is quite pretentious. They are a Bounty Ice Cream on a very hot day. Buy their new-ish "O.U." EP this instant, otherwise people will point at you and laugh.

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