SXSW Interview: Jarvis Cocker

Pulp frontman is ON

SXSW Interview: Jarvis Cocker
photo by Gary Miller

I’m still not quite sure why Jarvis Cocker was speaking to a Convention Center ballroom this afternoon. Obviously the new Pulp documentary has loomed large at SXSW Film, but the professorial Englishman was nevertheless quite comfortable being an icon, happy to espouse random knowledge in his usual profane way.

He spoke without any core thesis. A few moments on the importance of Scott Walker, who produced 2001’s We Love Life, then he was reading a few lines from “Wickerman,” one of his finest lyrical achievements, the words echoing gracefully in his grand Sheffield accent.

Afterward, he turned his skills to an editorial published a decade ago from the perspective of his alter-ego, Darren Spooner, essentially Jarvis’ horny id taken to its extremes. He goes from ironing Barry White’s shirt to a gunfight with Charles Bronson. All in a night’s work.

None of this was particularly consequential. It was simply story time with Jarvis Cocker, one of the most charismatic singers in pop history. You might be taken aback by its freewheeling nature, but then you’d be missing the point. Let Jarvis be Jarvis.

He’s rarely not funny, and always interesting. The simplest moment, like his impromptu commentary on his hatred for the Apple volume-up click, is plenty to savor. There will be deeper, more pressing SXSW Interviews, but I don’t think there’s anyone I’d rather listen to.

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