Last August, Jarvis Cocker made a rare American appearance at a Brooklyn screening of Florian Habicht’s Pulp doc, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death, and Supermarkets. This wasn’t just a routine screening of the film, though. Along with a post-screening Q + A with the producer and singer in attendance, Jarvis Cocker presided over the first ever Pulp karaoke competition.
The eventual winner was a nine-year-old named Graham Johnson singing the risque title track from the band’s 1998 album, This Is Hardcore. ‘That was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed. It was a little disturbing…but I will not forget that, ever,’ said Cocker of the winning performance. Co-judge Florian Habicht asked Graham why he chose that song. His answer? ‘It’s not just one of my favorite songs, but one of my favorite songs of all time.’ While the youngster won over Cocker, as well as the crowd, the video below includes some audibly conflicted murmurings during some of the racier lyrics. Still, with his slinky stage moves and theatrical interpretation of Cocker’s distinctive singing style, it’s easy to see Graham’s star quality.
Other contestants in the competition included a woman dressed as an old lady who did a striptease to ‘Help The Aged’ and a man in a red velvet suit rocking out to ‘Babies.’ Cocker said of the event, ‘I can truly say that was a unique experience.’
Americans who couldn’t make it to the screening will be happy to know that Pulp: A Film About Life, Death, and Supermarkets will be showing at 43 theaters across the country from November 17 to the 29.
Pulp last released an album — 2001’s We Love Life, their seventh studio album — thirteen years ago. The band reunited in 2011 and 2012 for live shows, including a short American tour, culminating in their final Sheffield performance, which became the basis for Habicht’s documentary. Despite this flurry of activity, the band has said they haven’t discussed working on a new album. When asked about the possibility of a new record from the band, bassist Steve Mackey said, ‘I know you’re not going to believe this, but we honestly haven’t talked about it.’
Keyboardist Candida Doyle added, ‘We’re just not that kind of band. If you step back into that environment where you want to release records, then all these complications step up.’
Jarvis Cocker, ever the tease, wants to keep fans guessing about the future of the band. When asked whether Pulp would play live again, he said, ‘The thing is, the film company think if we say it’s the last concert, more people will come to see it, but we’re not so sure. We’re not sure ourselves. It could be, but it also couldn’t. Is that vague enough?’ I think we’ll take that as a yes!
Cocker has been working on some solo songs but admits it’s not as stimulating as recording with a band. ‘I am trying to write some [solo] songs, but it’s not very interesting playing music on your own. I haven’t got the technical ability to do it really.’