Jarvis Cocker:Darren Spooner
Taken from Self Service Magazine, No. 19, Fall/Winter 2003
Interview by E. Petronio, Photography by David Sims

Over the past 25 years, Jarvis Cocker's musical ventures and subversive emotional manifestations have helped to shape him into one of the most inspiring artists around. He has invented a style that is unique, resisting conformism in the noblest of ways, and embodying all the values most of us would wish to possess - unwavering creative integrity, a capacity to roll through radical changes, and the conviction to stand up for one's beliefs. Moreover, he conducts himself with a refreshing modesty, has an unstudied style and sexiness, and possesses the nearly intangible ability to look at himself honesty, an inherently attractive quality.

Absolute in Jarvis is a desire to resist stagnation. His drive to explore has manifested itself most recently in a new family, a new hometown, a new band, and a new persona. Darren Spooner is both the reaction to and the formalisation of this shifting identity, a split-personality who allows him to access a second set of character traits. In the guise of Spooner, he grants himself the liberty to express and create as someone new. He sat down with us over dinner to discuss collaboration, experimentation, and the steps that took him from Pulp to the formation of his new group, Relaxed Muscle.

Ezra Petronio: Have you ever lied in interviews?

Jarvis Cocker: Yeah, I've tried. I'm not a very good liar.

Ezra: But like, to provoke, or to take the piss?

Jarvis: Usually just to relieve the boredom.

Ezra: And do you ever find when you're doing interviews that you don't like the role, the person you're presenting at that moment? I'm not being very clear. But like, all of a sudden you say, this is not me, what I'm doing, or have you always lived well with that?

Jarvis: Well, at first you're very excited that people want to talk to you. You think, yes, I'm very important. Music is a very abstract thing, how it works. It either grabs you or it doesn't, so there's not really very much explaining to do about it.

Ezra: That could be applied to art, too.

Jarvis: So I think it must be a very frustrating job to do, to talk all the time, wanting to know how it works.

Ezra: Or have to analyse it or judge it.

Jarvis: Because I also think the people who make music, the more they analyse it, the more they think about it, the worse it becomes. It is quite an instinctive thing. When I went to art college I studied that stuff, but I ended up really rejecting all that, which is when I kind of got into outsider art, art brut. Jean Dubuffet coined it, that all art is being "cooked" by culture, that people weren't able to spontaneously create anymore. But there were these people who were quite marginal characters, who weren't really part of mainstream society. They were producing purer work. Again, in the end it's just another theory, really, but I found it interesting to go around and meet some of the people that were doing that stuff.

Ezra: Did you visit the Museum of Art Brut?

Jarvis: Yeah, we went there to talk to the guy. Because Jean Dubuffet died not that long ago, and a guy called Michel Thévoz runs that now, so we went and we spoke to him. He has very extreme views on artistic creation. He said people go through a bad time in their life - between the ages of 11 and 65. Basically that's your whole life, when you're expected to become a proper member of society and fit in and all that. And basically that's a bad time for art. So he was really saying the only art that interested him was the stuff that kids did and people when they got to the end and retired and didn't care anymore, that then they could do true work. Which is an extreme view.

Ezra: Going back to early memories, which medium do you recall brought out your first strong emotions?

Jarvis: I think it was music, really. It seems to be the thing that came, and still comes, naturally to me. I notice it now that I have a child who I can't talk to yet, really. I'm usually humming little tunes or whistling things to music. It just seems like the natural form of communication, in a way.

Ezra: You started your band very early.

Jarvis: Pulp, yeah. When I was about 15, so when I was in school.

Ezra: Did you come up with Pulp?

Jarvis: Well, at first it was called Arabicus Pulp, which is stupid.

Ezra:: Arabicus?

Jarvis: Arabicus Pulp, which is a stupid name. I think we were in an economics class in school, and the teacher was trying to tell us about stocks and shares, and it was a commodity. I think it was something to do with coffee. I think you get Arabica beans or something. And I thought that sounded good. But then the Arabicus bit was a bit too stupid, so we got rid of that. But then Pulp's never been a good name, really...

Ezra: Why not?

Jarvis: Well, it's just not a very pleasant sounding word. When you say Pulp people always mishear it. Once we were advertised in the local paper as Pope, as in Pope John Paul.

Ezra: From 15 years old to today...

Jarvis: Basically all my sentient adult life. When you say it like that it sounds very frightening.

Ezra: To bring back that whole reference topic, do you think there are clichés about you, that you have been categorised, referenced?

Jarvis: Oh yeah, there's loads. I mean, we've become this very English group. And at one point we were supposed to be "wacky." That's because I used to talk a lot on stage and make jokes. There are a lot of things that we're supposed to be. I don't know, we probably are. "Parochial" and "ironic". Those are the other things that everyone always thinks. Which always really got my goat. Although I can see how people might have difficulty taking us seriously in any serious kind of way. Even though what we've done has always been, in a certain kind of way, quite heartfelt, even though it's been a bit weird. But ironic implies a sort of detached approach to what you do, and I've never been able to do that.

Ezra: Do you think it's the role of art today, art, music, to act as a mirror for society?

Jarvis: No, I've always hated overtly political music. I think the thing about music is that it works on a kind of purely emotional level. I think it's best when it deals with purely emotional issues. I think it's more powerful than when you get into kind of, yes, this is what society is, because let's face it, people in bands, what do they know? They're traveling around getting pissed all the time, playing concerts. They haven't got a particularly massive insight into society, have they?

Ezra: In 25 years with Pulp, you have something like ten albums?

Jarvis: Our work rate has been very poor. It's more something like eight. That's not more than one every three years. It's very Pink Floyd.

Ezra: You sold over 10 million records. What triggered your decision to put an end to Pulp? Is it temporary, a transitional period?

Jarvis: It's hard to say because my life has changed quite a lot. So I don't know. I do feel that it took up a lot of my life for a long time and maybe stopped me from getting involved with other things. You think, that's my métier, that's what I do, and sometimes you can get a bit stale or something. Maybe it is people are only good at one thing, really. Maybe I'll find out. I just felt that I had to kind of try to do something else just to find out if I was capable of doing something else. Do you know what I mean?

Ezra: Yes!

Jarvis: You can't let yourself become lazy. You have to be doing something because that's what you do and that's what you're good at, rather than just going along with it because it's easy and it's too hard to think of doing something else.

Ezra: How have these first months been for you living in Paris?

Jarvis: Well, as you know, my French hasn't really been sparkling, has it? That's something that's frustrated me. But it's funny, you know, in a way it's quite strange, because basically one of the things that I deal with is words. It's quite frustrating sometimes to be in a place where you can only communicate on the most basic level. Because for me a lot of the joy of using language and stuff is using a little, not like I want to use long words or anything, but using the little side alleys, slang or...

Ezra: The subtleties, the humour...

Jarvis: I'm still kind of at the stage of getting the correct sandwich filling for what I want. And obviously there's not a lot of subtlety coming in there.

Ezra: You said that words are what you deal with. Do you feel more comfortable with words than with music?

Jarvis: Well, I've written bits of songs, mostly the melodies and stuff, but the bit that I've always had to do and that nobody else has done has been writing the words. And that's kind of beyond me in French. If I was to try to write a song in French, I'd be pretty hard pressed. But then the other day, Les Inrockuptibles asked me to do a song. They're doing an English language album of Serge Gainsbourg songs, and they asked me to sing "Je Suis Venu...

Ezra: ... Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais."

Jarvis: Yeah, yeah. So I said send me the English words. And I got these words and they were rubbish. And I know that Serge Gainsbourg wouldn't write rubbish. So I went through it with Camille, and the thing is, I guess that songs have to rhyme. So they'd really taken liberties with the sense of what was being said.

Ezra: ... just to fit the framework.

Jarvis: ... to make sure they rhymed in English. So with Camille's help I did my own translation of it.

Ezra: So how was "Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais" in English?

Jarvis: They originally translated it as, "If I'm Here It's To Tell You I Can't Stay", which I don't think is the same thing. Because the thing is, it's a contradiction, isn't it? "I've Come Here to Tell You That I'm Going" which is like, why did you bother coming in the first place? So I tried to make it more like that. In a way it's a slightly macho song, oh I've just come to tell you that I'm going, and you'll start crying, but that's all part of it, whatever. So I've not sung it yet, but I hope I've managed to do a better version of it.

Ezra: How did you as a band write your songs?

Jarvis: There are about four approaches. Number one would be that I write a song on my own and tell everybody what chords to play and they just play it. Number two would be, "Let's make a noise and see what comes out of it."

Ezra: Which is always quite interesting and inspiring.

Jarvis: Well, sometimes it can be very painful. Number three, we used to have, like, homework within the band, someone would say a mood or an idea, like you're hunting a bear in the forest and there's snow on the ground, and everyone would have to try to make a sound that would suggest that.

Ezra: Sounds like group therapy.

Jarvis: That worked occasionally, but not really well. And then number four was we would have actual homework where we would say, "Okay, our next rehearsal is in three days time. Everyone has to come to the next rehearsal with at least one idea for a song, and tell the others what to do." And that kind of worked okay.

Ezra: Is it more relaxing for you, being here as opposed to England? Because you're well known and respected around the world, but you have that whole popular culture thing there, where you're part of the tabloids and all that. Is that strange, to find yourself such a mainstay of popular culture?

Jarvis: You have this feeling growing up, feeling like a spectator looking in on popular culture, and the idea that you could actually worm your way into that situation and become part of it seems like a dream or something. So you always get that cliché where people say, let the music speak for itself and that kind of thing, but I always thought that it was important to be able to deal with the press thing as well, to be on TV shows. I'm sure I had a theory behind it. It seemed like storming the Bastille. That's a good simile since we're in France. You were coming from some kind of background that wasn't supposed to be reflected and so it was good to kind of stick yourself in there and make a nuisance of yourself in a way.

Ezra: So when you went up to Michael Jackson on stage, was that spontaneous?

Jarvis: Yeah, it was. I certainly wouldn't have done it if I'd known the consequences of it.

Ezra: What were the consequences of it? (laughs)

Jarvis: The consequences of it were that I became one of the most recognised people in the U.K. So that kind of, on a day-to-day level, made my life more difficult. I couldn't just go out to the shops and all that.

Ezra: You were the one who, like, stood up to American cultural imperialism.

Jarvis: Yeah, to make it sound nobler you could say that. You could also say you were the bloke that got up and showed off in front of an audience of invited guests or whatever. I don't know. But that kind of haunted me for awhile. Because it's still the thing that I'm most known for in England, that one act.

Ezra: What was the first project you ever directed?

Jarvis: Well, the first time I started making films was when I was in college. To get into college I made some things on this Super-8 camera I got at a jumble sale. They were just these things of people walking around a market with music over the top. But I wouldn't really consider them proper films. The first things that people would have seen was when Warp Records started up, because they were based in Sheffield and I knew the people who started it, so they got us to do a few of the first Warp videos for them on a very low budget. We did one for a group called Sweet Exorcist, a song called "Testone", and one for a group called Nightmares on Wax, and then we ended up doing the first Aphex Twin video.

Ezra: Do you spend a lot of time working on personal video projects? Do you experiment?

Jarvis: I think that the best thing is that nowadays, with one of those DV cameras and editing it on the computer, you can do it yourself really. I did these two videos for my new band Relaxed Muscle. One was a live one for a song called "Sexualized", and the second is called "Billy Jack". That was the one in the cowboy place.

Ezra: How did your new band come about?

Jarvis: Well, on a practical level, it was just that this guy moved into my basement in London and we started recording music together. He just really handled the music and I just added words over the top, and after the last bit of Pulp, where I was really fed up with the record business and stuff, I just really wanted to do something where you could release something and people wouldn't know exactly who it was, and hopefully they would react to the record in a more kind of genuine way.

Ezra: More spontaneously, or without references? Did you feel after all those years with Pulp that you'd become part of a system, that your work was continuously judged by and compared to past references? With the weight of the past affecting people's perception of what you want to do today?

Jarvis: I think so, definitely. And also, because I've attained a certain kind of celebrity status in the U.K., as soon as you do something people are kind of like, I know that person. I know what they're about. They have some idea about you. So with my new band, I just wanted people to have no idea about it, for it to stand a chance. If anybody liked it, they'd just like it for what it was. And if they found out who it was they'd be horrified or burn it or throw it in the bin. That was the concept, but that all got blown out of the water when we played a concert.

Ezra: Which brings us to Darren Spooner. How did he come about?

Jarvis: Oh, right. Well, that happened years ago. Pulp was making a video for one of our songs called "Mis-Shapes", which is on that DVD. It's not one of our better songs, to be kind. And the concept the director had come up with, which we agreed with, was that I was going to play two characters in the video. So I played myself, and then I played this kind of rough guy who was the leader of this gang. In England we used to call them townies. It's the kind of guy who would go out on a Saturday night and they've all got a sort of short-sleeved shirt on even when it's the middle of winter, and just want to have a fight after the pub. Kind of like that. So I drank about three quarters of a bottle of brandy, and then did my acting bit, and anyway, I got into character, and suddenly the name Darren Spooner came into me mind. I don't know why because I was so drunk, but I guess because it sounds a bit like Jarvis Cocker, it has the same number of syllables. And I became Darren Spooner for that day. And unfortunately when I went home, I couldn't get out of character. My girlfriend at the time came into the flat we shared and I was on the kitchen floor singing "Want To Be Starting Something" by Michael Jackson. Anyway. So that was the first appearance of Spooner back in 1995. And then it became my pseudonym, like when I was on tour and I checked into hotels.

Ezra: And for those last couple of years did he reappear? Is there any trace of him in the last couple of years of Pulp?

Jarvis: I'm sure it comes out now and again. But more probably he comes out when I've had too much to drink.

Ezra: So for that video you shot, he made an official kind of coming out.

Jarvis: Yeah, but then, I didn't want people to know it was me.

Ezra: Oh, well done!

Jarvis: I thought if I had skull makeup on, people wouldn't know. At least I wouldn't look like myself. I was happy with it. He's like an anti-superhero, a super nasty hero. And I thought he was quite good. I was nicking his look really. As l said, a lot of it is instinctive, so I can't say why really.

Ezra: And then that got blown out of proportion because The Sun did this thing on it?

Jarvis: It's weird because we did this concert that was really secret, that we didn't tell anyone about. It was a friend's club, so I said to him, can we come play down and play three songs and film it? Not tell anyone about it? And we did that. And then like four days later we had pictures of it happening in The Sun. I guess someone must have been there and taken a good picture and sold it to The Sun. So then my cover was blown. But I'm still persevering because in a way I do feel like he's real. I think it's to do with two things. I've moved away, and he's an embodiment not of England, but of the kind of Sheffield mentality that sneers at anything that he thinks is poncey or above its station and whatever. And also I think it's to do with getting married and having a kid. You think, oh I'm becoming respectable now. And in a way you have to become a bit nicer. So finding a vehicle for those negative things, you kind of get rid of them in hopefully a fairly safe way. So it's me getting the dark side into a manageable form. It's a kind of liberating thing to kind of have a persona that you take on. Because I always had this thing in my mind before that you had to be the same person on the stage as you are off it. And I really believe in a way, whether you like it or not, you change or amplify when you go on the stage.

Ezra: How do you feel about the way music has evolved today?

Jarvis: That's difficult.

Ezra: It's a difficult question because it would be hours of conversation. I hate to try to pin things down, but do you feel inspired by what you see and hear? With that whole first wave of electro and this new Punk scene in New York, do you see good things coming out, or do you think things are being repeated?

Jarvis: It's weird, because there's definitely been a change. I've particularly been aware of it moving away. I get the NME from Gare du Nord one week late and read it and there are lots of new bands, and it's overdue, really, a kind of clearing out of the old stuff and new stuff coming into place. Now whether the new things are particularly better or just new is another question. Whereas when the whole punk rock thing happened, that was a real kind of schism, a break in the track of history, this seems to have happened in a much less dramatic way. But there has been a major shift over the last year, and that's good. And some of those new bands are good. At least a lot of it is more direct. I think it was becoming a bit safe.

Ezra: It's also quite amazing how quickly things are consumed and disregarded now.

Jarvis: Yeah, I think that's happening everywhere. Things are overdone so quickly that people lose sight of what they are. That group the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, suddenly they're everywhere. And they're quite good. But I think, through no fault of theirs, you see the name so any times you just kind of think, oh well, I know out them, which you don't really. I've never seen them live, for a start.

Ezra: Are there people you'd love to work with?

Jarvis: Well, at the moment I've heard that Nancy Sinatra is doing a new record. I've written two songs for her, but I don't know yet whether we're going to do them. But I was quite pleased with the songs. I like her. I know when you mention her most people think of "These Boots are Made for Walking," or whatever, but I think her voice has a certain kind of naivéte and plaintiveness to it, which I think you can do quite good things with. I'm hoping that we can go over and actually do these two songs with her. So I was quite excited about that.

Ezra: What were your first experiences with music? What played a role in shaping your ideas, your beliefs about music?

Jarvis: Well, my first exposure to music was my mother's record collection, and there were only about four records out it that I could listen to. There were three Beatles albums, and a Santana greatest hits album, and that was it. The rest of it was, she had Blood, Sweat and Tears. And Focus, kind of a Dutch progressive rock group with flutes...

Ezra: What was your first musical instrument?

Jarvis: It was a guitar. But there wasn't really any tuition for that. They kind of assumed that if you wanted to play guitar, you would learn yourself. So that's what I did. Like lots of people, I suppose. I bought this book called Burt Weedon Play in a Day. And it took me about a year to master it. And you just learned the chords and learned how to play stuff that way.

Ezra: What were the songs you loved to play, the covers? Because when you start as a band you usually play covers. Or maybe not, in your case?

Jarvis: No, we did. I mean, we wrote original songs from the start, but that wasn't really down to any kind of artistic period. It was because we were so bad we couldn't really master the chords in anyone else's songs. But we did manage "House of the Rising Sun". We managed that. And we managed "Gut Feeling" by Devo. We could manage that one...

Ezra: How do you see the future of you and your band, your new formation, which you signed with Rough Trade? Are you going to do more live shows?

Jarvis: It was quite good. Before anybody knew who we were we got asked to play a couple of festivals in Germany. Germany is into that heavy sound. I'd like to do more shows, but I can't see us doing a proper tour because I think we shouldn't play for more than half an hour. I want it to be quick, hard and over quickly, kind of like sex, really, so that people don't have too much time to think about it.

Ezra: So what do you think of the common people then today?

Jarvis: In London I get that when I go out of the house, "Oh you're living with the common people, Jarvis," and stuff like that. The point of that song, being called common in Sheffield where I come from, is an insult. People who chew chewing gum with their mouths open or whatever. So the idea of writing a song called "Common People" was a bit of a joke, really, because no one who understood that background would ever refer to ordinary people as common, because it's an insult. I think that attitude still does exist today. The specific incident that made that song come about was this girl that I met at St. Martins, who said it to me one night in a pub. Her dad was a Greek shipping magnate or something, and she wanted to live in Hackney and live like common people, and I said, "That's not really going to work, is it?" Because...

Ezra: ... that's not who you are.

Jarvis: Yeah. So you'll just be acting a role. And I do think there is still that kind of fascination with the lower levels of society, people find a certain glamour in it. Which is weird, because to live like that isn't very glamorous at all, is it?

Ezra: How quickly do your ideas and beliefs evolve?

Jarvis: Well, ideas come very quickly. As I said before, that's why I like music, because ideas come to you in an instant. But beliefs and stuff I'm very slow with. I'm probably very frustrating to be with because I'm very slow. I don't like change very much. It took me ages to get around to the idea of coming and living over here. Some people have been brought up with that, they move around all the time. I resist change to the last moment and then I have some kind of hysterical fit.

Ezra: Does nostalgia give meaning to the present or obstruct our ability to enjoy it? Are you a nostalgic person?

Jarvis: I think, unfortunately, I am. And I think sometimes it spoils you. I think sometimes as you get older you can't help but compare any new thing that you come across to something that you've seen. It comes back to this whole thing of new bands we were talking about, you can't help but be cynical and say, "Oh, well they sound like so and so, they sound like someone else."

Ezra: References...

Jarvis: But it's nicer for it to be new, because there's a kind of false thing that memory sets up in your mind where, because you're reminded of something else, you think the outcome of that thing is what you have seen before. And so, in a way, it leads to a kind of a cynicism about those things, there's no transitive change or progress or whatever. And I think that's bad. You have to fight that as hard as you can, otherwise life becomes fairly dull. So I think it's true that memory becomes a kind of obstruction. Fight it with all your might and maybe you can kind of get round it. I had a dream the other night, actually, where there was some kind of drug on the market you could take, and it would completely erase certain memories, but the thing was that you couldn't direct it to specific memories that you wanted to erase. So it would get rid of certain things, and I suppose if you took it and started looking it would get rid of the thing that was bugging you, but you couldn't control it. And in this dream there was this dilemma of whether you were going to take this drug or not...

Ezra: When was the last time you surprised yourself?

Jarvis: Probably getting married, I suppose. I really thought I would never do it. As a child growing up, my parents' marriage broke up, all their friends, they all broke up, and I just thought, I won't have anything to do with that. I was seven or eight or something. And I really think when you make a vow like that when you're so young, that kind of hardens into a fact. So that was a fact and I hadn't really explored the whys and wherefores of why it was a fact. So I eventually managed to dislodge that particular thing and took it out. And I suppose the thing after that was having a kid as well. But I think marriage was probably more of an obstacle. I think once you overcome that one, it isn't so hard to get your head around something else.

Ezra: To get back to this whole thing of memory, is memory a source of pleasure or pain?

Jarvis: I think that most of my work comes from memory. I very rarely write about something while it's actually happening. I don't know if that's a failing or not. A lot of times I tend to write about stuff when I really feel like I'm in danger of forgetting about it. Like when I moved to London from Sheffield, I wrote about Sheffield all the time because I was suddenly living in a new environment and I thought, I'll forget about everything. I suppose also I suddenly had a perspective on that place, because before I hadn't known any different.

Ezra: I read this interview with Brian Eno where he said, "I believe that some people can be original all the time while others regard it as unimportant. It is an idea in the high culture of the west to drop something as soon as you can no longer claim it only as yours." And he's referring to how in some cultures, like in raga music, you build from repeating patterns. And even Marcel Duchamp said everything's about repetition and reinterpretation.

Jarvis: Well, I do believe in that. You know, the things that people want to write about, to express artistically, won't change. It's going to be emotional things, falling in love, falling out of love, stuff like that. So it's always going to be variations on a theme. People try and do other stuff and write about the peasant's revolt in 1720 or something, and it's like, he's off. And again, that's one of the things that attracted me to music. Especially pop music, I suppose, because pop music deals in what people say are cheap emotions or whatever, but some of it's endured a long time, like Phil Spector's which I guess was just pumped out at the time. In a way with all these shows, what is it called in France? Fame Academy or something like that...?

Ezra: Star Academy, Pop Star...

Jarvis: Yeah. It's the same thing - an industrial approach to music. But occasionally, one of those songs that lyrically isn't very impressive, and probably musically isn't very original, they'll just kind of hit on a slight interesting variation in the formula and it will work and it's a very powerful thing. I've always been interested in that.

Ezra: I agree with you.

Jarvis: I've always been more interested in that than really making some kind of free jazz improvisation where you can say, yeah, nobody's ever done that before. There's something undeniable about pop music, where despite yourself, you're affected by it. And I guess that's why I like it, because there's that kind of mystery to it. But it can also make working in music quite frustrating, because it can be amorphous and hard to pin down. To write a good song, there are no formulas or set ways you can apply to do it, so it's very hit and miss, and when it's not working, it can be very frustrating. And the times that it kind of does work it can be kind of magical and make it worthwhile because you don't know where it came from.

Ezra: Or you feel you're being manipulated...

Jarvis: Channeled (laughs). But people have said that. You know, sometimes it's as if you're tuning into a radio or something and it doesn't actually come from you. Which is a slightly pretentious way to think about it, but it is like that sometimes, and that's what I find exciting about it. And again I think that when you become too self-conscious about it, and try to analyse it and see how it works, you end up spoiling it.

Ezra: You seem to be spending a lot of time going to museums and shows. In terms of art, even with the whole hierarchy and the gallery situation, there's still so much out there, like art brut, which you were talking about before. Do you still find that there are moments when you're really touched by what you see?

Jarvis: I think it becomes hard. The thing is that culture doesn't disappear now, and you've got this whole bulk of things from the past, and ways of disseminating things from the past. It becomes harder to be surprised by something or to come across something by accident or whatever. It becomes hard to just experience something first-hand. I think one of the problems is often when you see something, you've read a review of it or someone's told you about it or something like that. So you arrive at looking at things with kind of semi-formed picture of what you think it's going to be in your head.

Ezra: With a preconception.

Jarvis: And I think it's hard for really anybody to avoid that. We've just got to get over it.

Ezra: What are your best memories in terms of collaborations with other artists where you really felt creatively challenged?

Jarvis: Well, me, Mark and Steve from the band, we did this thing. Mark is very into minimalist composers, and Terry Reilly came over and did a concert in London, his work "In C", and we were asked to contribute to it. And I don't know if you've heard that work, but there are about something like 25 little riffs, which start very simply and end up very complicated, and the idea is it's got no set length, and you decide when you move on to the next one. And for a start, I can't read music, so that was a bit of a problem, so I had to learn them by ear. And we were playing with all these other musicians and apart from the technical part of trying to remember it, there was the thing of trying to listen for when someone has moved onto the next one, because you're supposed to stay within two or three of each other. So you can't cheat and just play the first one all the time. And we did that, and that was really good. We came off the stage and I thought, that probably lasted about 45 minutes, and it lasted about one and a half hours. God knows what the audience thought of that (laughs). But it seemed good. It seemed like, you know, I've never really been into free improvisation. It was quite a challenge, and when we got to the end of that I got the feeling that we'd done something quite good, and he seemed to quite enjoy it. I've met Terry Reilly, big long beard and stuff. Nice work.

Ezra: Do you fantasise about - not fantasise because that's a really big word - but do you imagine that Pulp could start again?

Jarvis: Uh, this question may be answered quite shortly because in September, Candida, our keyboard player, will come back from her world tour, and I guess we'll meet up and talk about stuff like that. I don't know. Sometimes it seems very unlikely to me, but I guess I would fantasize about it in a way, because if it seemed we had something worthwhile to do, it would be quite good. But as we were saying before, just to avoid doing it just for the sake of it. Which I hope we never end up doing.

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