Coming a cropper with Jarvis Cocker


Apologies, it’s been a while. Let’s recap.

So, last month I found myself in the posh part of London with a banana in my hand and a nearly nude Syd Barret lookalike crouched in front of me, calling himself an anal virgin (how does one tell these things?). And yes dear reader, I penetrated him. In the mouth.

I felt dirty after this banana face-fuck, and so I should. After all, I only went along to see sex undressed as art.

Dazed & Confused has some good pics– everyone else had their cameras confiscated. You can read my full account at FLUX.

Phallic Fun

Phallic Fun

More recently, Goldie died. She was my first and my only dog, my doggy, the best in the world. I’ve never been so sad and inconsolable in my adult life. Esther was even worse, having got Goldie so she would have to leave the house at least once a day.

“I’ve lost my best friend, my job, and my child all at the same time,” she told me heartbreakingly.

And yes, I’m afraid God briefly lowered his ugly mug over the Velux of my mind.

“Promise you’ll never take her for granted again, and I’ll bring her back,” he cajoled, his beard scraping the glass like screaming trees.

And yes, I did consider it. Him.

But then I realised:

Taking life for granted is its chiefest pleasure.

What special hell life would be if every moment was spent appreciating what you’d got, doing the 719th Times Table in order to count your multifarious blessings, wracked with guilt for not enjoying that last crisp or for not thanking your poo before flushing for its splendid job of removing toxins.

I reached up and finger-wrote ‘No’ into my breath condensation, and God jogged on, assuaged at least for now (he never strays too far). That was a close call.

But the maths of man’s best friend is shocking. Dogs age 7 years for every human one, which means that she was 49 when we got her from the pound, much older & wiser than the new fools charged with looking after her.

But it also means that for every day we were with her, she was cantering off a week into the future, and we could never ever catch up.

That’s just plain unfair.

Shortly after, we moved house. In the space of a month, two of the great wire structures that suspend my papier-mache personality were plucked away: loved pets and lived places. I realised then just how much identity is tied to memory and memory is tied to place.

“But the next people who move in after us will get Goldie,” I sobbed to Esther, imagining that because she died in our old house, she was trapped there forever. The house where she remains is of course our minds, a home you’re only evicted from when you die (even insanity is just moving to a hotel while the flood damage is fixed). And she isn’t trapped there, unless I am trapped there too.

Night night my lovely doggy

Night night my lovely doggy

In less mordant moments, I also interviewed two of my heroes: Arthur Brown (see next month’s Artrocker) and Jarvis Cocker (see next month’s Now Then).

I was having a funny day when I met Arthur, and forgot how steep & long the hill was on the way to the pub where he was playing. By the time I got to speak to him, I had a puffy, strangulated voice that I just had to work with. I was led into a back room where he was there in a robe, touching his toes.

“Just two more,” Arthur says without stopping.

This was like one of those diva moments I’d heard of, when a star proves they’re a star by doing something socially inappropriate in front of you.

“Living in a van is hard!” Arthur says when he’s finished. “Want a cup of tea?”

I really wanted to be served tea by the God of Hellfire, but I already had a lemonade from the bar downstairs.

Arthur was a fascinating man, each answer to my questions coming after a period of silence where his great memory machine rumbled through the findings of 7 decades of life. His show afterwards was even better, silly and OTT and life affirming. My top 3 moments were:

  1. Shoving his mic down his pants and thrusting his fake erection at the crowd like a 7 year old boy.
  2. Stealing the keyboard and the keyboard player having to chase him across the stage, still managing to flawlessly play his arpeggios.
  3. Wearing the baggiest grandad trousers I’ve ever seen, like sagging psychedelic longjohns, and not caring.

I think Jarvis might be to blame for me coming to Sheffield. I can’t remember why I chose Sheffield Hallam University, but at the time I was obsessed with This is Hardcore, and Different Class before it. Blur and Oasis were ok, but Pulp and Suede’s lyrics were the ones I recited as I crept along the walls of the haunted house of teenagehood.

I spent all weekend re-listening to their songs and watching a sneak preview of the documentary that the interview is there to promote. By the day of the interview, I had 50 questions.

So imagine my confusion when I rang the number his PR had sent and heard this.

Jarvis: “Pablo? Pablo? Pablo?”

Me: “Hello Jarvis? Is that Jarvis?”

Jarvis: “Pablo? Pablo? Pablo?”

Me: “Jarvis? Jarvis?” etc

After a minute of this nonsense, I realised it wasn’t an initiation test for inexperienced interviewers and put the phone down.

“Erm, I think you may have sent me the wrong number for Jarvis,” I emailed the PR frantically.

5 minutes later, and 10 minutes into the interview time, she replied with a different number and I was through.

“Hello, I’ve just made some toast,” Jarvis told me.

“Oh, ok.” What am I sposed to do with that info? Oh, wait. “Shall I ring back in 5 minutes?”

“Make it 10.”

So I made myself a cuppa with slightly shaky hands, and rang back in precisely 14 minutes so that I didn’t seem too eager.

“You timed that just right,” he congratulated me in his impeccable and unflappable Northern voice.

…An hour later, we’d covered everything.

“I had a lot of questions.” I thought out loud, “but we seem to have covered them all.”

“Well, that’s good int it,” he said in a voice that always seemed to be skinny dipping in the adjacent pools of mockery and cameraderie.

“Maybe I’ll get to meet you at the film premiere,” I say coolly.

“Yeah, we’re trying to organise an afterparty somewhere…” Jarvis responds, sounding suspiciously like an invitation.

“Sounds amazing!” I say, and then, implausibly, “If they let me out!”

So that’s how I ended my interview: with something so forehead-scrunchingly weird, that having gone over it several hundred times, I still don’t know what I meant.

I think my logic went:

Quick, say something funny.

Say something funny that blokes laugh at.

Blokes laugh at things about wives.

What’s that thing about how wives are sposed to stop you having fun? Oh yeah, ‘my wife won’t let me out.’ Or something.

No time. Go with it.

Please don’t. But I did.

I don’t think I want to go to the afterparty anymore.

"Good one."

“Good one.”

Genesis. And the Boomtown Rats.


"Down with Mondays"

Allegedly, on Monday God created light. What a crock. Mondays are days for getting by, not starting the task of all tasks. Today is after all the sick man of weekdays, the rude oik nephew at a family gathering.

Luckily, there are some people who grab a pad and paper instead of curling into the foetal position when pain come a calling.

Hence “I don’t like Mondays” and “Manic Monday” and “Blue Monday” to name but a few.

I think God actually created pain today. And the police.

Me and Govinda were sat outside Spar on Saturday night, watching two bored policemen frisk a homeless man. We started questioning their motives (excuses to touch skinny men), and they came and loomed over us threateningly.

“Are you laughing at someone trying to do their job” said bad cop

“Yes” I replied.

He stomped away to think of a comeback. After the cogs turn for a while, he comes back over.

“That man is a burglar and a junkie. He belongs in prison”

“Oh yes” I say like a flash, “That will sort him out. He’ll be much better off after that!” I can feel a rant coming on. And then some cell time.

But luckily his one working synapse is taken over by hunger for red meat and he heads into Spar for some cat food. 2 for a pound at the moment.

I used to like the police. I used to believe that they had to be intelligent and sensitive and calm. Some of them are, but they end up at tribunals after being called names by the rest of them.

I suffered a similar disappointment when I found out that Waitrose and Marks and Spencers cashiers weren’t posh. I really thought they would be like the packaging: stylish, articulate and well put together. But oh no. I want to go somewhere where upper middle class types man the customer service desk, and go “hawhee hawhee haw” into the tannoy.

The best part of the day was eaten up ravenously by an afternoon nap from 4-7pm. Lovely.

"On the First Day God created naked napping. And it was goood"

 

 

BORING ET UGLY IX


Dec 15th


I work as a Mentor for University students. Some of my students have Aspergers or Autism. Sometimes during a session I have to go to the toilet because I feel like I am going to laugh, scream or fart. It has that effect on me.
One of my students said a couple of gems today:
“Amy Winehouse complained about the Rocky Horror Picture show and got it banned”. It took me a while to work out that she was talking about Mary Whitehouse, who is about as far away from Winehouse as poss.

Mary Whitehouse

A short while later, she started talking about how gay people a treated by religious faiths. “It says in the Kerrang that gay people should be stoned to death”. I had to bite my lip. I know Kerrang is quite hetero but…She meant of course The Koran. I fled to the toilet to cackle into a toilet roll.

This reminds me of the old lady who misheard the news and thought that Pavarotti was responsible for killing Princess Di. She was outraged when he arrived at her funeral, flanked by beautiful women and openly flaunting his freedom. “It’s disgusting!” she shouted at the TV as he flounced into Westminster Abbey. “He shouldn’t be allowed”. It was only after it was explained that it was not one fat opera singer, but a multitude of photographers (Paparazzi) that had killed her did she calm down.

My mother rang. “Do you like the blog?” I ask. She has subscribed to it, and gets updates whenver I post something new.
“It breaks my heart” she says. “Everytime I read it, it breaks my heart”.
“And dad, does he like it too?” I ask.
“It breaks his heart too” she says.

Esther and Lisa’s mum keeps saying she wants to go back in time and try again because she failed with her daughters. Oh, the curse of being a Disappointing Daughter. “They fuck you up, then you break their heart” says Esther.

I had a dream last night that I found a sausage in my pocket. I was confused and a little disgusted. I woke up to find my hand down my pants.

Artist's impression of the Australian disaster

Dec 16th: What’s so great about the First World anyway?

A boatload of Iraqi and Iranian people have drowned off the coast of Australia. “I can’t believe that in this day and age, people can drown in shipwrecks while people watch”, says Esther. I can’t believe that people still watch Bruce Forsyth.

 

It seems that everyone is on the move, trying to find a solution for how shit they feel.

  1. The students have been rioting about the cost of education.
  2. The nationalists have been flocking to their party conference.
  3. The Tories are going to pull the rug out from everyone on benefits.
  4. It costs 70p for a Snickers from the vending machine at work.

It’s all going to pot.

“What would it be like if we averaged out the wealth and life quality of everyone in the country? What would we be living like?” muses Esther.

“Horrible” says Lisa, “Most people live like shit”.

“And there will be posh people saying ‘Thank god I don’t live in a one-bedroom house in Hunters Bar’”

There’s always someone worse off than you. The wheel of fortune swings round; for there to be shiny happy people at the top, there must be cursed suckers at the bottom. Usually immigrants and Jack Fulton shoppers. As Josie used to say on Big Brother 10 “Whenever I feel down, I just think about that woman who had her faced ripped off by a chimpanzee, and I feel better”. I wonder who the faceless woman thinks of?

"What part of a tree do naturists come from?" "The nudibranch"

I woke up with the word ‘Nudibranch’ in my head. Probably because it sounds rude. I’m going to slip it into conversation with Esther today.

confused.com

Lisa bought ID magazine yesterday. She saves up every so often for this tome of alt.culture.  “There’s a boy in there who looks like a really beautiful woman. He’s very confusing” says Esther. Wow, he does. He can go on my ‘would do’ list. Bastard.

As I flick through the mag, Esther asks “Has it made you feel shit enough yet?”

“Not yet” I lie, and continue to the end.

Popular culture is designed to make you feel shit about yourself, and to think that the only way to feel better is to copy what the beautiful people are wearing in the futile hope that you too will be transformed. So you buy make-up to smile like Eva Longoria, and shampoo to swish your hair like Penelope Cruz, and perfume to smell like Beyonce, and crack to feel like Lindsey Lohan. Or is that just me?

May as well be called 'krack'

“They’ve found a new type of slug now called the Ghost Slug, and it’s tiny and it’s white, and it sucks earthworms dry” says Esther with relish. I shall exoect to se a documentary on Channle 5 next year.

I’d like to discover a new species. But I guess it’s just another attempt to become immortal.

Imaginary scene in the future: “What’s that weird bug over there?” “Oh that’s a Fame Beetle (Viennae Celebratus). Weird little fucker isn’t it”.

The start of a new horror franchise...