Help! I'm The Only Girl In Pulp!
Words: Ben Knowles, Photographer: Adrian Green
Taken from Smash Hits, 14-27 August 1996

What's it like being the only girl in a top pop band? Who do you turn to for advice on girly matters? And is it a struggle working in the roughneck trade they call indie? Pulp's keyboard player Candida Doyle reveals all...

So what's it like being the only girl in Pulp?

It's usually all right, but sometimes it gets to me, especially when we're on tour. It annoys me that there are 40 men and me on tour and no-one for me to talk to. I miss female company. If I try to talk to someone on the road, the conversation goes nowhere because they're not interested. If I really need to talk, I won't bother with the band - I'll phone home instead.

Do you feel different because you are the only girl?

Yeah, sometimes. I get treated differently to the boys in the group and get things they don't. I get my bags carried for me, people treat me a bit more courteously and I get sent loads of bangles from fans.

Do you ever wish you were as famous as Jarvis?

No. Unlike Jarvis, I don't get recognised on the street and I've only been asked for my autograph twice. I'm glad I can walk around anonymously. I'd hate to be recognised while I was looking dead rough. I'm glad that so much of the attention is focused on Jarvis. But that leads people to say Pulp is Jarvis' band, that we wouldn't exist if it wasn't for him - and that's not true. It's not his band. We all have a say in what happens in Pulp. I sometimes wonder how Jarvis does it. As I've realised today, posing for photos and doing interviews on your own isn't easy. I would worry if I got as famous as him.

How did you meet and join the band?

I met Pulp through my brother Magnus, who was in an early Pulp line-up. Pulp have dozens of ex-group members, and when the old keyboardist left in 1984, my brother told Jarvis I could play the piano. I went along to see him and that was that.

What were your first impressions of the band?

I'd met Jarvis a couple of times before I joined, and I'd seen Pulp live a few times - but I must admit, I thought he was a bit wierd. I didn't get to know him very well until I'd been in the band a few years. It was the same with Russell. It was years before I liked him - I actually used to think he was horrible. Russell's improved in the last five years. He's changed a lot and really lightened up.

How did you become involved in music?

I've got two brothers who are both in bands, and my mother was an actress (she apperared in some films and Coronation Street), so we're quite an arty family. We're not totally showbiz, though - my Grandad has a fishing factory in the Shetland Islands. So I suppose we're half arty, half fishy! As kids, we lived wherever my mum and dad worked. I was born in Belfast, where I lived for 6 months. By the time I was four, I'd lived in 13 different places! In fact, I've lived everywhere, except Wales. We didn't move to Sheffield 'til I was ten. Then I lived in Manchester for two years, and now I've moved down to London.

Did moving around make school hard work?

No. I was well behaved at school. I only wagged once - and got caught! The only other time I got told off was for reading Smash Hits in class. But when I went to get it at the end of class, someone had nicked it! After the sixth form, in about 1980, I was on the dole for six years in Sheffield. Everyone was doing it. That was in the days when you could afford to live on the dole - you could get grants for bedding and stuff.

What were your early days in Pulp like?

The first few years were hard because I was working at the same time. We never got money for being in Pulp - in fact, I spent more money on the band than I made from it. I worked in two toy shops in Manchester, but I got sacked from the first because I didn't have enough dedication! It was around that time that Pulp started getting really busy, so I went back to Sheffield. It was terrible for a year, but then we signed a record deal and things started looking up. It's strange how easily I've forgotten the hard times. There were days when I wondered why we carried on. It felt like we were never going to make it.

What do you dislike most about being in Pulp?

Touring. It's hard, especially when you're in a relationship. It's not so bad in Europe, because you can phone home - but Australia's really tough, because of the time difference. You come back off tour a different person, because touring the world is such a strange experience. You get back, expecting it to be all normal, but it's not. Most of the time, people are fed up with you because you've been away so long. My boyfriend (Manners, the bloke who stormed the stage with Jarvis at The Brits) comes on tour with us sometimes, but he gets too much into the lifestyle and makes himself ill!

Do you ever want to leave Pulp?

Because things are going well, I've not really thought about leaving the band for a while. But sometimes, when you're on tour for ages, it is something you think about. It's because I hate being away from home for so long.

Are you really matey with the rest of the band?

We're all good friends, but it's not like we go out together. I see Jarvis sometimes, because I'm friends with a friend of his... but I don't see the others that much. It's funny, but I don't think of us as grown-ups, really. It's weird - it all feels a bit like a game. I'm kind of aware of the position we're in - that it's really good - but at the same time, it doesn't feel so big. It's still just like we're messing around in Sheffield. When we were on our big arena tour, I couldn't grasp the fact that we were so big. In a way, I'm glad I can't - it would do my head in!

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