Jarvis in Paris, 5 March 2009 Jarvis Cocker: Soundtrack Of My Life
Words: Will Hodgkinson, Photographer: Ed Alcock
Taken from The Observer Music Monthly, April 2009

The Saint Martins College student turned cultural provocateur reveals his inspirations

The First Song I Heard: Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), Peter Sarstedt (1969)

I'm interested in the way songs stick with you and mean different things at different times. When I was four or five this really scared me because of the line 'I can look inside your head'. Years later, I was in Amsterdam and declaiming the song to my then-girlfriend, and I almost had a citizen's arrest put on me by passers-by who objected to my rendition. Then recently I was watching an awful Piers Morgan programme about Monte Carlo, and I was reminded of the song again as it describes a poor girl from Naples joining the jet-set.

My First Love Affair: Burning Up, Madonna (1983)

I started going out with this girl when I was 21 - I was a late developer - and she wasn't really bothered about music. She had three records: Madonna's first album, Parade by Prince and, weirdly, Howard Devoto's solo album. At the time I would never have listened to Madonna, being Mr Alternative, but being limited by my girlfriend's musical choices I found myself hearing this track a lot, and ultimately really liking it. It educated me about my latent musical snobbishness. Hearing it now reminds me of a happy period.

The Song That Reminds Me Of Art School: French Kiss, Lil Louis (1989)

It's the end of the 80s and the beginning of my raving days, and this track encapsulates that time. If you described it to someone it would be nudge nudge, wink wink because it features a woman faking an orgasm, but it's revolutionary. It features one riff that goes on and on, and when you're at one of those parties and you might have partaken of a substance it makes perfect sense. It exists in its own space-time continuum and certainly isn't a song in a normal sense: more a stimulus for dancing based around a simulated orgasm.

The Song That Reminds Me Of My Son: Milk And Alcohol, Dr. Feelgood (1978)

It's unfortunate that I associate this with my five-year-old, and it certainly doesn't mean I've been using alcohol to pacify him. I'd look at the most played list on iTunes - it's interesting because you create your own charts that way - and I was surprised that this was in the top five. Then I realised: my son had learned to use my computer and he kept playing Milk and Alcohol. The composer Raymond Scott made great electronic music for kids, but that gets taken off as soon as I put it on. Why my son likes Dr Feelgood so much, I don't know.

The Last Song I Heard: The Whole World's Got The Eyes On You, Legendary Tigerman (2008)

It's important to be looking for new things, to stay interested. I was wandering around Paris recently when I went into a new record shop and they were playing this. Legendary Tigerman appears to be a guy from Portugal without the greatest grip of English, if you go by the title. This song sounds a bit like Alan Vega from Suicide when he went solo - minimal rockabilly made by a guy with a guitar and a drum machine. Tigerman's got a highly designed website, and he likes pictures of himself with naked or semi-naked women.

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