Pulp play a game of Consequences
Words: Johnny Cigarettes, Photographer: Stefan de Batselier
Taken from the New Musical Express, 23/30 December 1995

Washing your dirty underwear in public is, some would say, foolish, but having it fall out of your trouser leg in a club is just plain horrible. Unless you're Pulp, of course, who would simply wave said pants merrily above their heads. In fact, is it possible for us to find a scenario that would faze them? Dogs shagging legs, dribbling in public, caught in an act of voyeurism from inside a wardrobe... Let the play commence!

This has been a year of exciting success for Pulp, the band they said would never make it, the band who once seemed destined never to escape the dark corner of our culture known as 'End-Of-Mark-Radcliffe-Show Type Amusing Northern Weirdos'. But suddenly the country has fallen at their feet, and a nation's youth are putty in Jarvis Cocker's beautiful hands.

And yet some have cast suspicion on their astonishing rise to the top, and suggested that they sold their soul to the devil at the crossroads on Bramall Lane, and are now hell-bent on a campaign of moral subversion and sexually depraved anarchy. To test this theory we strapped each of them into a chair and asked them a series of questions from the popular board game Consequences.

The questions are moral and social dilemmas, and the aim of the game is for the other members of the band to guess which of the three options their colleague will choose. This will hopefully cause all manner of disagreement, through which we can glimpse the true ethical colours of this most mysterious of bands.

We went round each member of the band and asked them a question, vaguely in turn, unless they'd gone off to the bog or something. The conversation will shock every right-thinking person in Britain. Here are the edited highlights, Read 'em and weep...

THE PANEL:

Jarvis Cocker, Russell Senior, Steve Mackey, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, and Mark Webber.

QUESTION FOR JARVIS:

Whilst crammed into a wardrobe during a drunken game of hide and seek, you hear someone come into the room, followed by a series of 'intimate' noises. What do you do? a) Burst out shouting 'Surprise!' b) Stick your head round the door saying, 'Is this the bathroom?'. c) Stay cramped and embarrassed in the wardrobe, trying not to make a sound.

Jarvis: Well, that's an easy one, isn't it?

(But first the other members of the band have to guess what he would do... alas, they seem to have thrown the rule book away already.)

Steve: I think this is quite similar to the following imaginary scenario. You are in a band and before you become successful you have to have twin rooms with another member of the band. So what happens if that other member of the band comes in late at night and starts having sex in the bed next to you. Do you (a) Keep quiet, (b) Interrupt (c) Give them marks out of ten for technical merit? See, I have experienced this exact scenario, with the words F- me! F- me!' being shouted. I'm not naming the member of the band.

NME: We can make an educated guess. So, to return to the question, what would he do?

Russell: He'd think up the tune by the time they'd finished shagging.

Candida: He'd definitely be trying to spy through a keyhole.

Nick: And fumbling with his own underclothes.

Jarvis: I don't think there's anything wrong in doing that. I mean, you're just having an innocent game of hide and seek, so it's their problem if they don't realise someone's in the room. I think you have every right to have a look. The worst thing would be if they caught you after they'd been at it for half an hour. But some people pay good money for that sort of thing.

QUESTION FOR STEVE:

You fall asleep on a long-haul flight when you wake you find your head on the person-next-to-you's shoulder and you've dribbled on to their jacket. What do you do? a) Apologise and give them all your foreign currency to have it cleaned. b) Attempt to clean it with a spot of gin and tonic. c) Hijack the plane.

Russell: I think actually this question should be directed at Nick. That's the sort of thing he does regularly.

Nick: In my experience, if you fall asleep on someone's shoulder you're usually so pissed you don't even realise you've done it. I suppose you could feign mental illness.

Candida: I think Steve would try the gin and tonic cleaning trick.

Russell: I think you could get away with it if it was just a jacket. I'd certainly plead total ignorance.

Steve: Well, I would order several gin and tonics, and then very publicly dribble while drinking them, thus indicating I'd got a problem with my mouth which deserved sympathy rather than recriminations. And if they did complain, I would try and force myself to be sick all over them before the end of the journey, for such churlish and petty behaviour.

Nick: Especially if it was Mark.

QUESTION FOR NICK:

You dress hastily for a night out pulling on a pair of discarded jeans. Later that night as you bop your way onto a crowded dancefloor a pair of knickers falls out of the trouser leg. What do you do? a) Dance discreetly away, disowning them. b) Dance over them, then quickly pick them up. c) Pick them up, wave them around and put them on your head.

Steve: Is there anyone who doesn't agree on (c)?

Candida: I've got a friend who's done that twice, Cheryl. It happened when she went to visit a friend of hers in prison.

Nick: No, I'd probably stand on them, attempt to do some dancing that didn't involve movement of the feet, and then try to shuffle away with them discreetly - do a moonwalk, perhaps, over to the side of the dancefloor, then kick them under the table.

Steve: Nick, would you like to tell everyone what is inside your bass drum, every night of the week?

Nick: There is a vast collection of ladies' brassieres and knickers.

Steve: I rest my case.

Nick: Well, it's just they slide down your leg while you're drumming... No, when they get thrown onstage, Jarvis will peruse the gusset, and then they get filed away inside the bass drum, for, erm, future reference. Heh heh!

Jarvis: I'm sorry, it's just a purely academic curiosity. You've got to have a peek, haven't you? It's not like I keep 'em at home and secretly try 'em on for kicks and walk round the house in 'em. Honest.

QUESTION FOR CANDIDA:

You meet a friend who is out on a date with a stunningly attractive person who appears more interested in you than in your friend. What do you do? a) Make your excuses and leave. b) Give them a stern talking to. c) Play footsie and swap phone numbers.

Nick: I think Candida would not make excuses and leave, but chat for a while, and then leave, having taken notes on the relationship that's about to blossom, so she can sabotage it, and then when it's all over, Candida will steam in and take off with the prize.

Candida: How long would that take, though?

Nick: Well, knowing your deviant tricks, about 40 minutes, I reckon...

Russell: Well, I think the moral choice is clear. If your friend is with someone who's not that happy with them, then you're doing them a favour taking them off their hands!

QUESTION FOR MARK:

You notice that the lonely hearts' column in your local newspaper has several adverts circled. You suspect your partner. What do you do? a) Contact them and warn them off. b) Contact them and encourage them. c) Have a closer look to see if any adverts take your fancy.

Mark: I haven't actually got a partner.

Russell: OK, then, make it (c) and specify 'Wants to meet someone like Chris from Menswear.' (in-joke based on the fact that Mark is currently living in the same house as said Swearist. Not in the biblical sense, of course.)

Mark: Well I was considering doing an advert saying 'Blonde girl at front of Pulp concert at Forum, guitarist wants to meet you.' But I think if this happened I'd just ignore it, pretend it wasn't happening.

Steve: Why live in the world when you can live in your head? As someone once said.

Jarvis: Wow! Sheer poetry, Steve!

QUESTION FOR RUSSELL:

The checkout girl at the hotel cloakroom mistakenly gives you a fabulous cashmere coat in a very distinctive colour. What do you do? a) Keep quiet and lap up the compliments. b) Offer it back to the checkout girl explaining the mistake. c) Take it and have a good look through the pockets before handing it back.

Steve: Well, considering Russell did in fact force one of our fans to swap coats, on a permanent 'borrowing' arrangement and has since worn it many times...

Russell: Well, if it was in a posh hotel then I'd go through the pockets. And if there was a large sum of money I'd think, 'Well they can obviously afford this and I would like that money'.

Steve: We once found this very expensive leather case with a judge's wig in and all the legal documents for a prosecution case. We rung up this judge and told him if he gave us a large sum of money we'd give him it back. So he came to the McDonald's rendezvous and gave us 5.

Nick: We saved a man's career and he gave us five pounds! Couldn't even afford to get a milk shake each... so the question is, does honesty pay?

Russell: I think English people are very honest, though. I even lost 80 in Chesterfield market, and they're pretty poor round there. Me dad said, 'Ring up the police station', and I thought, 'Yeah, right, fat chance of anyone handing it in'. I rang up and they said, 'Can you describe it. So I said, 'Queen's head, y'know', and someone had handed it in. Warms the cockles of your heart, don't it?

QUESTION FOR JARVIS:

Your boss has invited you round to dinner. During dessert his wife starts playing footsie with you under the table. What do you do? a) Play footsie back and flirt away for the rest of the evening? b) Take your boss aside and tell him everything that's been happening? c) just kick her in the shins?

Candida: I think he'd go for (a).

Steve: I think he'd go for (a) and then climb under the table shortly afterwards, and engage in foreplay as soon as the boss left the room.

Jarvis: I s'pose if you fancied her it'd be quite exciting. I certainly wouldn't tell the boss. That's boring. It'd be especially good if you didn't like your boss, you could get your own back on him. If you don't get paid much that'd be your fringe benefits! I can't really tell, though, because I've never done a day's work in my life. But I guess if she was the fishmonger's wife, and she lay down on the slab and said 'fillet'...

QUESTION FOR STEVE:

You are mistaken for a celebrity in a local restaurant (arf), and a child asks for an autograph. What do you do? a) Write something really rude. b) Invite him to appear in your next video. c) Give him a clip round the ear for speaking without being spoken to.

Jarvis: They usually think he's Alex James from Blur.

Steve: No, if I was I'd pour some champagne and camembert over him and say F- off peasant, I'm going to the Groucho Club'.

Jarvis: I'd get my own back by doing (b) and winding the kid up that I was going to make him famous.

Mark: I think Steve would be quite offended, actually.

Russell: Me and Nick got a cab once and the driver, for some reason, thought Nick and I were from Blur. So just to keep the character up I was rude and obnoxious the whole way, and signed it Damon!

QUESTION FOR CANDIDA:

You are in a charity shop when you find a 5 note in the pocket of a jacket you are trying on. The jacket costs 4 but is slightly too small. What do you do? a) Offer to buy the jacket for 9. b) Buy the jacket with the 5 note in it, risking the assistant finding it in the pocket. c) Take the money and run.

Steve: Leave the shop with the jacket and 1, having used the fiver to pay for the jacket. Or more likely, she'd take the fiver and ask the shop assistant to knock the jacket down to 2.50.

Nick: Then she'd use the fiver to gamble on a game of cards, so she could make it up to 15.

Candida: Well, I think I'd try to nick the fiver.

NME: But it's a charity shop. You are, therefore, the scum of the earth.

Candida: Yeah, well, I do a lot of good work for charity, but I don't like to talk about it. No, the trouble is that it would take me about an hour, because I'd be so nervous about nicking the fiver. And I'd feel guilty for about a week.

Nick: If you're on the dole, then that's a chance you've got to take. But if by chance you're a pop star with a Number One album, you're a bastard.

QUESTION FOR RUSSELL:

You go out on a first date with someone. At the end of the drunken evening they lean forward as if to whisper in your car. They then vomit all over you. What do you do? a) Ignore it and kiss them long and hard. b) Say, 'Even your vomit is beautiful.' c) Do the same to them as gesture of your newly shared intimacy.

Nick: I know quite a few people that's happened to, usually while dancing intimately. The worst one was actually shagging someone and they vomited into their mouth! I don't think they had a second date.

Steve: I think Russell would be very offended and slap them.

Candida: Yeah, he'd be outraged, and plan to get them back in some very cruel manner.

Russell: I think I would perhaps not see them again. Heh! Heh!

Candida: He would have to do more than that.

Russell: No, but I don't really have any experience of that situation. In the ten years I've been seeing my girlfriend, I don't think I've ever even heard her fart. A better man than I would probably see the erotic potential in a situation like that, but it's a bit gross for me to handle.

Steve: Well, once a philosopher, twice a pervert. (Eh? - Ed.)

QUESTION FOR JARVIS:

You discover a lover's diary in a drawer. What do you do? a) Control your curiosity and respect their privacy. (Steve: Have you read any of our lyrics? Nick: Forge a career out of it!) b) Make detailed notes to be used in any future argument. c) Go through it and change any bits you don't agree with.

Steve: Following on from the song 'I Spy' on our album, I think Jarvis would look at it, use it as a means of revenge, but feel very guilty about it. Then write a song about it! Ha ha ha!

Candida: I'm not sure, I think it might be (a).

Russell: Yes, Jarvis is quite a moral person, isn't he?

Steve: You've everything to lose and nothing to gain. You could find out if they love you, which you think anyway, or you could find out that you're a vacuum of a person and crap in bed. But I still think natural curiosity would get the better of him.

Jarvis: I greatly appreciate the (a) votes. But I know that I wouldn't be able to stop myself. I would feel bad about it, but I know I would do it. Bad isn't it? It'd backfire on you, I reckon. It's a nasty side to human nature.

Steve: I once sat on the loo with a girl's diary, because I thought it was a private place. But she sussed me out somehow, and nearly broke the door down trying to get me out. Didn't do any good in the long term.

Russell: It's like driving past an accident. I actually had a similar thing with one of Jarvis' letters. I opened it, not realising it was a personal letter and read the first bit, started skimming for the juicy bits and then I managed to stop myself.

Jarvis: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

Steve: What's that you said about never lying, Russell?

QUESTION FOR STEVE:

A stranger offers you 1,000 to deliver a small parcel to an address in a seedy part of town. Cash on delivery. What do you do? a) Refuse, and report the incident to the police immediately. b) Refuse but feel as if you have passed up on the chance of a lifetime. c) Secretly nick a bit of the package's contents for yourself, then enjoy spending the easiest 1,000 you'll ever make.

Russell: I think he'd look for the nearest mirror and razor blade.

Nick: Perhaps you could sell the package yourself, assuming it was worth a lot more than 1,000, and then set up your own small business!

Steve: No, I'd get Richard (Pulp road manager) to get a bike courier on Savage And Best's account (Pulp publicists), and then bike the money safely back to me.

Russell: You should be OK, though, because the seedy address is quite likely to be your house, actually! Someone delivering it to Justin - from Elastica - Steve's flatmate. Is this all incestuous enough for you? Ha ha ha ha!

QUESTION FOR RUSSELL:

You are at a dinner party where the dog keeps trying to copulate with your leg. The host is turning a blind eye. What do you do? a) Grin and bear it. b) Discreetly hit the dog hard on the head with a soup spoon. C) Explain to the dog that you don't believe in sex between species.

Russell: We had a similar scenario recently when the next door neighbour's dog attempted to crap on our garden. As it was squatting I kicked it in the nuts.

Candida: Aw, you are horrible.

Russell: Not hard! But it got the message across, so that's what I'd do this time.

Nick: But surely you could make a dog trying to shag your leg an amusing part of the dinner party festivities?

Russell: I don't think I'd see the erotic or the humorous potential.

Nick: Don't you believe in sex between species, then?

Russell: Well, in your case I might make an exception...

QUESTION FOR JARVIS FROM STEVE:

You find that you have become one of the greatest songwriters of your generation. What do you do? a) Have a wank... (Er - that's enough of this one.)

QUESTION FOR JARVIS:

You are staying at a guest-house and you wake to find yourself stark naked on the landing. What do you do? a) Hide in the bathroom until you can get someone to fetch you some clothes. b) Using a nearby painting as protection, you go and get help. c) Run through the corridors shouting 'Party'.

Candida: I think it's definitely (a).

Russell: Or perhaps steal a rug off the wall.

Nick: Yeah, any interesting '70s rug from the wall of a guesthouse in Norwich. Ha ha ha! (This series of events is obviously entirely fictitious.)

Jarvis: No, I would definitely hide in the bathroom because they're likely to have towels in there, and even if you were naked you could pretend you'd just had a shower or something. I certainly wouldn't want to parade around the place in my birthday suit.

Russell: Not even now you're a sex symbol?

Jarvis: No, there'd probably be a spy from the Mirror there, and they'd put me naked on the front page. 'Jarvis in nude sex romp! Ban this sick c-!'

Nick: Imagine that over your cornflakes. F-ing hell! Ha ha ha!

And there we must leave it, having perused far more of Pulp's dirty underwear than any sane human being could ever need to. Legal requirements dictate we must allow our quarries to wander off into the night wreaking destruction, depravity and degradation on a generation of innocent pop kids. And kids, next time you're in bed with your loved one, remember to check the wardrobe...

(Pulp were playing the magnificent Consequences game, available from all good toy shops now.)

Press Menu    Home