The Jarvis Cocker Christmas Number One campaign: “It would be good for people to know the UK isn’t beaten yet”

"We’re about inclusivity, representation, love, acceptance and kindness"

The people who started the campaign to get Jarvis Cocker‘s single ‘Running The World’ to the top of the charts in time for Christmas have urged fans to get on board to promote “inclusivity, representation, love, acceptance and kindness”.

Over the weekend, a Facebook campaign was launched urging fans to stream and download the Pulp frontman’s 2006 single to Christmas No.1 in protest against the recently re-elected Conservative government. The song has become an anthem for those unhappy with the result thanks to lyrics which criticise political leaders. “If you thought things had changed / Friend, you’d better think again / Bluntly put, in the fewest of words: / Cunts are still ruling the world.”

The campaign was started by fans Michael Hall and Darcie Molina, who are currently delighted that the song is ranking high at the top of download charts. The Official Charts Company reports that the song is currently at Number 87 in the midweeks and just 5,000 sales away from crashing into the Top 40. A Spotify spokesperson told NME that the song has seen a 19,182% increase in streams on their service the UK since last Monday, and a 1,100% increase in the US.

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“It would be good for people to know that we’re not beaten yet. I know the country is a joke in the eyes of the world now, but there are a lot of us who aren’t on board with that,” Hall, 41 and from London, told NME. “We’re about inclusivity, representation, love, acceptance and kindness. It’s not hippie bullshit, it’s punk rock – to crib from Joe from IDLES.”

As for the inspiration behind the campaign, Hall said that he was driven to it by “post election depression”.

“I could see the way things were going on election night after the polls, so I had to take myself off to bed,” Hall told NME. “I woke up in the morning and we saw the devastation. It was a very dark morning. My partner was off sick, I had the day off (supposedly for celebrating) and we spent the day being a bit fucking miserable. You know, ‘What’s next? Should we leave the country? Should we stay here and fight?’ I was just playing through a playlist and this came up so I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be magic if this was Christmas Number One?’

“Darcie said, ‘We’ll have 20 members and nothing will happen’ – so she owes me a tenner and a pot of tea.”

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Hall said that the song topping the charts would be “the right thing” and would “speak for a lot of people that didn’t necessarily vote the same way but all have the same good heart” – especially given the track’s disdain of politicians who put profit ahead of equality and society’s needs.

“The song is unnervingly accurate of the times we live in,” Hall continued. “It is kind of sad that he released it all those years ago and it’s still so pertinent, but that’s the work of a poet. You can’t go wrong with Jarvis. He’s an eternal presence.”

He went on: “[The song charting] seems plausible now. I’m not crazy confident, but top 40 would be nice. People in the Facebook group are taking a lot of hope and heart in taking this action together. I hope it charts for the people in the group to really feel like they’ve done something.”

Jarvis Cocker at All Points East 2019. Credit: Andy Hughes/NME

To support their efforts and further the goodwill, this week Jarvis Cocker confirmed that he would be donating all proceeds from the single to the homeless charity Shelter.

“What a nice boy! Our admin Julia bumped into him on Sunday and told him what was happening,” explained Hall. “He was very taken aback by what was happening but said that he understood why something like this might happen. Yesterday, he was good enough to say that he’d be donating all of his proceeds to Shelter. From there, that took down the barrier to really push unreservedly and not have to constantly explain that we’re not trying to stop people from donating and buying the LadBaby single. We definitely want people to donate to charity, to foodbanks and to Shelter as much as possible.”

LadBaby are hoping to repeat their success from last year when they scored a Christmas Number One with a sausage roll-themed song, with all money going to The Trussell Trust.

“We don’t see ourselves as competition to LadBaby in any way,” said Hall. “Now that we’re on board with a charity we can say, ‘If you’re getting this, it’s going to help people’ and send a message that we’re not all like that. The UK people are not all represented by this government.”

If the fan-driven campaign succeeds, it’ll follow in the footsteps of Rage Against The Machine‘s ‘Killing In The Name Of’ becoming the unlikely festive Number One in 2009 — keeping X Factor’s Joe McElderry from the top spot in the process. Rage later performed a free gig in London as a thank-you to their fans.

“If Jarvis fancies a cheeky Pulp reunion for some festivals next summer, I’m not going to be against that!” said Hall. “He’s just launched his amazing new band JARV IS and they’re absolutely amazing. I imagine he’ll just carry on creating new things and being brilliant, rather than revisiting the past like poor old sods like me.”

The 2019 Christmas Number One single will be announced on Friday December 20. You can download ‘Running The World’ from Apple Music here.

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