Taken from Melody Maker, 27 April 1991
"Getting in touch with the spirit of Barry White is the thing," says Jarvis of Pulp as his Florida Spring Vegetable soup simmers obediently. "Because as you know, he is quite spiritual. So if you tune in to his wavelength, it's possible to get that sound, even without the Love Unlimited Orchestra."
Pulp have returned after some years' mysterious silence with a single which reminds us why many once hailed the Sheffield group as "the best band in the otherworld". "My Legendary Girlfriend" pulsates with not only the spirit of the great Barry but also echoes of Iggy Pop, Human League, and any great existential profundity you care to raise. It really is a bit of a corker. A big bit.
"What do I admire about Barry White? His personal approach. The way he always has the hi-hat 25 times louder than anything else. The way he can say lines like, 'Take off that brassiere, my dear' - I'd sound stupid if I said that, but then so would he if he came from Sheffield. Did you know he used to be a cat-burglar, like his brother who is currently in prison, but he was so fat he got caught stuck in a window and so turned to singing?"
Jarvis has been making films and videos because "music gets on your nerves if you do it too much. Overall, though, I prefer music because there's more chance of meeting nice girls. More opportunity to show off handling a microphone. I live in hope, anyway".
"My Legendary Girlfriend" doesn't actually exist, but perhaps that's the whole point. "She's a legend in my mind. All our songs are about mundane everyday things that assume the status of high art in your own life. I used to get too precious about our records and think they'd alter people's lives; I'd try too hard. Now I've mellowed, I'm simmering down, just like this soup. Making records is like bricklaying, and if people are impressionable that's up to them."
An album, "Separations", will follow, and Pulp play their first London gigs in simply ages later this month (without the infamous wheelchair prop). It's a "show full of showstoppers".
"Sometimes," Jarvis muses, "you do go round in the middle of the night, hope she's in, throw stones up at the window. And sometimes she's annoyed with you for being noisy. But sometimes you can persuade her to come out and you can have a little adventure. It's not like I sit around pondering modern existence. Making soup is as profound as anything else. When you're having a drink in a bar and someone says, 'What's it all about?, that's too much, that's too vague. If they ask you something more specific, like, 'What's your opinion on the new Vauxhall Nova?', then fine..."
What's your opinion on the new Vauxhall Nova?
"Pulp are light and shade, a dog snapping off its lead for a bit and running around then getting caught again. I can hear a train going past."