This afternoon whilst on Button Moon (or home as it’s more usually referred to), I read a review of a book I never knew existed.
Fuelled by excitement and tossing the magazines onto the floor, the coffee table suddenly had a vacancy for what I am led to believe is a thin book. So this here is a slightly novel book review, in that I don’t yet own said book as it’s still sitting in the Amazon warehouse. But perhaps unlike the reviewer that has inadvertently made my day, I remember the first time.
What could have possibly caused such a stir?
In two words, Jarvis Cocker.
Released in paperback this month is Mother, Brother, Lover – a selection of lyrics complete with commentary. It’s as if Jarvis Cocker has popped round for a cup of tea to tell you personally the story behind his songs.
I’ve often pondered upon whether Mr Cocker could fairly be described as a Samuel Pepys for the jilted generation.
When you listen to the lyrics of a Pulp song, and really listen- I don’t mean shouting “I want to live with common people” whilst falling out of feeling gloomy – you are being invited into the world of a secret subculture. It feels seedy to be an uninvited guest, snooping around in the underskirts of the underclass, but this is exactly the mood Cocker captures with glimpses of affection and vitriol present in equal measure.
Sociologists study for years to define the phenomenon of the class struggle, when really all the answers they could ever need were in their record collections just waiting to be discovered, or now, handily packaged together in this little book.
Mr Cocker captures the malaise of a nation perfectly, as so many that were brought up on the space race are now expected to clean toilets. Whilst the wonderwall has long since fallen down around us, Jarvis’ words resonate and are just as relevant now as the day they were penned.
From a personal perspective, Jarvis Cocker is entwined in the fabric of my formative years- he’s been there through it all, from the cassette version of Different Class that was lost when my parents had their car stolen in the Britpop years to the warning about Mile End that I did not heed when moving into my first London flat, which was, ironically enough, off Burdett Road. It’s because of this, I can’t wait for this book to arrive and become a well loved, dog eared coffee table classic.