Look, I know you all want a new Pulp album – it has been 15 years, after all – but Jarvis Cocker just isn’t having it.
So what has Pulp’s frontman been doing since 2001 – aside from releasing two solo albums and actively reforming the six-piece for the live arena between 2011 and 2013, that is? Well, a surprising amount, actually. Take a look.
An aural “voyage to the bottom of the sea”
When: September 2015
Best bit: Unfortunately, this wasn’t The Life Aquatic With Jarvis Cocker– instead, this was the 52-year-old curating a performance for BBC’s Late Night Proms that “descended into an underwater dream”. Musical contributions to the piece included excerpts from songs by The Beatles, Echo & The Bunnymen, and – obviously – the theme from Jaws. Oh, and, as part of the performance, Jarvis awoke in a brass bed in the centre of the Albert Hall, where he announced to the audience: “this must be one of those anxiety dreams.” Just your average rock show, then.
Commissioning and writing lyric books
Best bit: Aside from the casual Saturday job he held down as Faber & Faber’s Editor-at-Large, Jarvis has been known to be fond of jotting down an idea or two in his Moleskine. He had a book, Mother, Brother, Lover, published in 2012 that contained some choice lyrical creations for Jarvis’ 35 years or so in the game.
Providing hangover therapy on the radio
When: This Sunday, and most Sundays prior to and after that
Best bit: Jarvis returned to his weekly Sunday afternoon show on BBC 6 Music back in March after a year-long sabbatical which occurred because… well, let’s let the man himself explain why: “Crop Rotation has long been recognised as a way of preserving the fertility of the soil. Every now and again a field has to be left fallow for a year in order to make sure it has time to recover. In 2014, I will be that field. ‘Tis done with the firm conviction that it will lead to a stronger and more vigorous Sunday Service when I return to 6 Music’s pastures.” That’s that all cleared up.
Having a cameo in the odd film
When: Three times, to be exact
Best bit: Jarvis voiced Petey in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion caper The Fantastic Mr Fox, appeared as himself in the largely-forgotten rom-com The Good Night in 2007, and, of course, fronted the wizard band Weird Sisters in The Goblet of Fire, the fourth Harry Potter film. Jonny and Phil from Radiohead played guitar and drums respectively in the band, which made for a pretty spellbinding supergroup.
Learning to play the saw
When: 2014, the unofficial year of the musical saw
Best bit: What do you mean, best bit? It’s Jarvis Cocker, playing a saw – what more do you need? A quote from the man himself? Oh, go on then. “Saws – like string quartets – can play all the gaps between the conventional notes of the scale because there’s no keyboard or frets,” he told The Guardian. “I wanted to see how many different versions of a tone you could generate before it ceases to be the same note and starts to become another.”
Sign up for the newsletter
Offering pole-dance and jivamukti yoga classes at a London exhibition
When: November 2009
Best bit: Yes, this genuinely happened. During a three-day residency at super-trendy London venue The Village Underground in 2009, Jarvis offered punters the chance to join in with a range of activities that included pole dancing classes, burlesque workshops and spoken word sessions. So just like any other Pulp gig, then?
Verbally jousting with Ian Duncan Smith, Harriet Harman and David Dimbleby on Question Time
When: July 2009
Best bit: Pre-pole dance-gate, Jarvis appeared on the BBC’s iconic politicans-and-famous-people-yell-at-each-other-for-45-minutes programme to discuss a range of issues, including ID cards, schools, and, er, the great train robber Ronnie Biggs.
Advocating that we all go offline and live underground
When: March 2015
Best bit: Jarvis not-so-subtly encouraged readers of men’s fashion magazine Another Man to call up Virgin Media and cancel their broadband subscriptions, writing: “Where can you find peace?” he asked in his pro-cave ‘Nu-Troglodyte Manifesto’. “Where can you find total silence? Complete darkness? Here. No phone reception. No wi-fi. No TV. No radio. This is the real sound of the Underground (cos it is, y’know actually underground).” At least underground no-one can ask him about new Pulp material, right?