For many people, especially outside the UK, Pulp = Common People. No real shock there; “Common People” is a truly magnificent song, with absolute forensic clarity in stripping down its rich-kid-playing-with-the-poor target to a few pithy lines. But Pulp had a long history before this song; even their breakthrough LP His’N’Hers came after about 15 years of pootling about on the sidelines of the UK Indie scene. When they finally did hit the big time, it was with a sense of “Bloody hell, they’ve finally made a bloody good record”; and Jarvis Cocker was old enough and ugly enough to deal with the whole fame thing with a certain panache lacking in his younger peers.
Still, didn’t come as much of a shock when they decided to call it a day in 2002, and in fairness, hasn’t come as much of a shock that they’ve decided to reunite for some gigs next year. Unlike some of their contemporaries, this is a far more welcome reunion, partly due to the fact that they were smarter than the average band, and partly because there was always a sense of unfinished business about them.
A few dates have been announced already, with the promise of a bunch more. I foresee one night at the Brixton Academy swelling to three or four by popular demand. It will, you know.
So anyway, the music before “Common People”. Oh, just buy “His ‘N’ Hers” and be enthralled by Jarvis’s peerless tales of the British Northern Working Class.