The book is about Pulp and what Hatherley considers the band’s main themes: class, sex, and urbanism. The following are all direct quotations.
- Jarvis Cocker, uniquely among male Pop lyricists, was and is a great writer of female characters, which mixes sometimes uncomfortably with songs of sex-as-class-revenge.
- Thankfully, both the indie ethos and the by-today’s-standards-generous state benefits gave groups a certain freedom not just to experiment, but also to be crap, to make their juvenilia, make mistakes and learn from them.
- ‘Sheffield’s full of half-arsed visions of cities of the future that turn into a pile of rubbish,’ Russell Senior reflects, standing on the biggest traffic roundabout in Europe. ‘We grew up reading the local paper and seeing Sheffield, City of the Future, with a map o how it’s going to be and pictures of everyone walking around in spacesuits, smiling. But we’re the only ones who took it seriously.’ ‘When I was younger I definitely thought I’d live in space,’ says Jarvis Cocker ruefully. ‘But when you realize you’re not going to, it colours your life; you can’t think, It’s alright if I’m signing on because I’ll be on Mars soon. You have to try and get it down here.’ . . .It’s this that lies behind all the obvious retro sounds and signifiers—the Farfisas, Stylophones and Moogs, the jumble sale clothes, the tower blocks, space hoppers and luridly bright artificial fabrics that pervade the videos—a sense of being cheated out of the future and responding by fetishizing the last time that a viable future appeared to exist.
- Noel Gallagher, an honest chancer whose intelligence is often underrated, was, along with Pulp’s members, perhaps the only ex-raver in that milieu [Britpop] (and Oasis were, along with Pulp, its only major working class band). Oasis’s endless, all-encompassing exhortations to “shine,” make a better day, take me higher and so forth, their champagne supernovas and let’s-all-hold-hands homilies, were quite transparently an application of rave’s vague, all-purpose, non-specific euphoria to the pub and the muddy music festival, removing them from the more questionable spaces of the club or the orbital rave.This meaningless positivity became the perfect soundtrack to the rise of New Labour; all the vacant optimism of a eurodance hit, with none of the unnervingly druggy ambience.
- In a telling statistic, in October 2010, 60 percent of British artists in the UK top 10 had been to public school, compared with 1 percent in October 1990.