Chatting With Jarvis
Interview by Taylor Parkes, London, February 1996
Taken from the UK Arena Tour Programme, February 1996

So. Does the world now know all there is to know about Jarvis Cocker?

Oh, no. It's got the edited highlights, that's what it's got. It's got the bits I think are fit for public consumption. If you gave everything, then that'd be it, you'd die - your soul would wither away and you'd cave in on yourself. There'd be nothing left.

Tell us something we haven't already heard then?

I've got six toes on my left foot.

Is it hard to be humble?

I've never been very humble, really. Even in my worst situations, I've always thought I had something that was worth having. I mean, I don't consider myself to be "better" than anyone else, but I don't consider myself to be worse than anyone else either. I don't think there's anyone to touch me... but that's not necessarily a big-headed thing to say.

So how do you control your ego?

I don't. I am great.

When did you last stay up all night? And what on earth were you doing?

It was the last night that we were in Tokyo. And we decided to go to a bar that, as it turned out, had been taken over by some Spanish thugs. And they didn't like us coming in, especially as we had some good-looking girls with us, there was going to be some trouble. But luckily, we were all so drunk that we didn't realise that it was getting into a nasty situation. And one thing led to another, and I ended up dancing to... what did I end up dancing to?... Ace Of Base, that was it, so I must have been quite drunk, and then we went to the hotel, and I decided, unwisely, to have breakfast before we went to the plane, and I fell asleep at the table. But because the Japanese are so polite, nobody disturbed me, so everybody else in the band came down and bad their breakfast at the same table, but with me asleep, and then they carried me to the van. So we got on the plane to fly to Denmark, and I had a panic attack on the plane and vowed never to stay up all night again. No, I won't keep to it, you're right.

Would you consider yourself an artist?

Well, I think that pop music can be art. The only thing that puts me off saying that is that "artist" has got very bad connotations, hasn't it? But I think the definition of art is taking things from your life and presenting them in some form where it becomes entertainment, but it still communicates that experience to whoever listens to it - or if you're a painter, whoever looks at it, whatever. And if that's what an artist is then sometimes I achieve that.

What's the worst party you've ever been to?

I remember a couple of years after we first came to London I went to a party, and I didn't like it at all, because I was used to going to parties where everybody'd be really irresponsible, and end up trying to snog each others' girlfriends, and people'd be sick, and to me that was what a party was. So I went to this party, and they had music on and everything, but it was just people sat around talking, and it all seemed a bit mature. I thought "Jesus, I hope this isn't what parties are going to be like from now on." It made me worry that I'd taken a wrong turning and gone into this adult world... I remember there was even a bloke there, and he was a bit of a New Man type, y'know and he had his child there in one of those carrying pouches round his neck, obviously trying to be a bit right-on, and say "Yeah, my three year old child can be at a party too, I've got nothing to hide, we're all one" - but if it was a proper party, you shouldn't have your three year old child there! No way!

Where next for Pulp?

Seeing as we are hurtling towards the year 2000, I think there's a duty now for people to try and make the music of the future. To take some bold steps and attempt to produce something that's fitting for going into a new era. I don't think it's a good idea to go into a new era still playing jangly guitar riffs, you know what I mean? So what I hope is that we could somehow get to work on making that new music for the new millennium. I think there is a sense that people are starting to prepare for that new era. But what worries me is that, you know how bad it is on New Year's Eve anyway, when you're trying to find a good party, well how bad's that going to he when it's the year 2000? I think people might get quite het up on New Year's Eve 1999. I mean, I spent New Year's in a taxi once, due to bad planning, and that was pretty tragic. Imagine how bad that'd be.

Do you really, truly, believe in love?

Yeah, I do think it exists, but the way it's been defined and depicted has hidden the real meaning of it. I mean, people are scared to say "I love you" to someone, aren't they, because it sounds like such a clichéd thing to say. They feel like they're just repeating some line from a film they've seen. But I do think it exists, but it's not a chintzy, pot-pourri, nice-smelling thing, it's a physical force...

Do you ever miss Sheffield?

Yeah, I do sometimes. Mainly because it's the place where I grew up, and it reminds me of being young, which is something I miss. It sounds a bit sentimental really, but the people in Sheffield are quite good. It's a good place to be brought up, because there was never a lot going on there, so people had to develop a personality and a bit of imagination to entertain themselves, so you can have quite decent conversations with them. Like, we went to East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down - not that I'm saying Sheffield's that bad - and the people were much more interesting than the people on the West, because the people were quite restricted, but you can't restrict people's ideas or imaginations, so that was all they had.

Have you ever believed your music could change anything?

Music changed my life, because when I heard it as a child, I knew that I wanted to have something to do with it. But I don't like music that has a big sense of its own importance and thinks it can change things. That's the good thing about pop music, it is entertainment, but because people have it in their homes and in their lives it can go and have that kind of effect. All the people in the band can do is do it as directly and clearly as they can. The people have the power in that respect, I believe. But I don't think it could cause a revolution or anything, I mean, I'd like to see a revolution occur, but...

Is there going to be a time when you feel as if you're too old to be in Pulp?

Oh yeah. When my back goes. Hopefully, we'll all have the good sense to realise when we shouldn't be doing it any more. There's nothing worse that being irrelevant. There's too much irrelevant music around as it is. And it would he terrible being part of the problem.

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