Words: Siān Pattenden
Taken from Select Magazine, October 1994

Russell Senior is the guitarist with "mad, staring eyes" and an interesting sideline in violin-playing with Pulp. He lives in Sheffield with his girlfriend and two children in a Coronation Street-style abode with a "certiflable lunatic" over the road who throws stones at his window. He is having a problem getting rid of the Artex that swamps the walls of the house at the moment, and has just finished painting the bathroom.

"I've always liked the idea of it, but only recently have I been able to afford to do it. The idea of sophistication like in a James Bond movie. It's just civilised values. Particularly in Sheffield, there's a tendency for things to turn into a Hogarthian nightmare. All these lairy people wandering about. It's for people like me to keep a stiff upper lip."

"I have so many. It started a few years ago in France. I wore these sunglasses, and afterwards in a nightclub loads of French people offered me money for them. I thought, Here's a way to earn money. So I bought loads of pairs and wandered around waiting for people to buy them. They didn't. Also, I've got these mad staring eyes. At concerts people'd be dancing, but there'd be a pool of emptiness in front of me, with people looking terrified. I started wearing sunglasses so I wouldn't disconcert people."

"She's my daughter, she's six. She's very into the macabre, Egyptology, vampires, things like that. Her favourite book is the Tibetan Book Of The Dead. Her teachers must think we're Satanists or something, because I see her school books and it's all drawings of vampires and stuff like that. I quite like horror films and horror books, but it's mainly her interest. She wants 'em."

"It's my own and I have worn it, but I wouldn't wear it to do the gardening. I got it from the cat shelter at the top of our road - a charity shop, not a place for beleaguered cats. I think originally it was the jacket that the mayor of a small American town owned."

"These are from East Germany. I bought dozens of boxes of these in a car boot sale and they're the only ones left because they're so fragile. They're amazing, the kind of thing that would be in Modesty Blaise. They're completely impractical, which isn't really me. I like everything to be functional. I only use drinking glasses that are not made this century. It's tacky, new glass. I don't like tack and I don't really like the '70s either."

"You know lava lamps? I used to sell them. That's very Pulp, innit? That's a glitter one. The thing about your lava lamp is they take an hour to warm up, and they're good to look at but the light they give out isn't terribly interesting. Whereas the glitter ones give out a nice warm light. That's from my dealing days - kitch value that is, but I use it."

"About three years ago Sophie found a large golden key in a wood near us, and recently she found a bottle with a map. We found this old tunnel from the map, and we came across this treasure chest. It's true. It had brass candlesticks in it, rum, spices, amber, old books in Latin, Roman coins - treasure. It was worth nothing individually, but accumulatively... it was everywhere the glint of gold. It's here to stand for the fact that I'm the treasurer of the abode, which means doing things like doing the books."

"It's fairly neutral. The main thing in this house is getting round the Artex in the other rooms. I regard Artex as an affront to civilised values, a deeply cynical form of decorating. To me it's the epitome of bad taste, I try to avoid it."

"I play on tour. Touring is 90 per cent intensely boring, and there's always a tendency to do the most mind-numbing things - to be surrounded by screwed-up cans of lager, play Nintendo and have three kinds of music all playing at the same time. It's terrible. Whereas chess perks the mind up. I'm not a good player but it's one of those civilised things."

"I don't think it looks very nice. It's OK, but you've got to put it on all the black hifi stand stuff. I've got a thing about keeping any sort of reference to music out of the mainstream of my life. You won't see any Pulp posters in my house. I don't listen to our records."

"I used to be an antique dealer. I attempted to sell it, but no one would pay me a decent whack for it, so I kept it. It's black and white with a poor picture, so I don't watch it. I stopped dealing about two and a half years ago, because I foolishly believed we were going to become pop stars. Our manager at the time was saying, 'You're going to be on Top of the Pops by Christmas'. I sold my car and we just sat around waiting for records to come out that didn't."

"I use them in cooking, I pick them to eat them. I learnt about them from books. I had this chart with mushrooms on, I saw all these exotic things you could find in the woods. Fungi is an amazing world, but there's a certain snobbery involved - it's just an excuse to charge exorbitant prices for a meal. Most of them aren't as nice as ordinary mushrooms from a shop. That's the truth, as someone who's tried most of them. The best? A shaggy parasol is probably the finest."

"I like having all the herbs and spices there are, every nut in existence, every seaweed. I like going to shops to buy a nice vegetable or piece of meat, and come home and think, What are we going to do with you then? I like having every possible cuisine available to me. That choice. If I was going to live in London it would be because you can't get fresh basil in Sheffield."

"I don't listen to that much, but I'd listen to Wagner and Bach quite a lot. The Rolling Stones are probably my favourite classic rock band. (Confidentially) I have listened to The Auteurs a bit, that's my concession to the '90s. It doesn't play a large part in my life music, at home."

"Plastic and fluorescent, maybe luminous. I wouldn't have that kind of rubbish in my living room ordinarily, it's my one token Pulp thing. If you're going to say Pulp is all about '70s-ness and kitschness, well, it's one media perception that isn't me. There are other elements to Pulp of which I'm one."

"To represent my amazing violin playing in the group, such as it is. My violin's at the practice room. No, I don't play it round the house to amuse the kids."

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