PULP front man Jarvis Cocker acknowledged the college that inspired the band’s greatest hit – when he received an honorary fellowship.
The 47-year-old accepted the honour from the University of the Arts London, which now includes Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where he went to study fine art and film in 1988.
Jarvis mentioned the college in the opening lines of Pulp’s number two hit Common People, released in 1995: “She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge, she studied sculpture at St Martins College.”
Jarvis received the fellowship at the Royal Festival Hall and said arts education should be protected.
He said: “I came to St Martins to study film and art and yet I ended up singing, and I think that shows one of the very important things about arts education, which is that it can’t really be quantified so easily in terms of what it gives you, it’s more about teaching you how to use your mind.
“We’re living in a time when you could be forgiven for thinking that arts education isn’t valued that much. But in terms of the influence it has on the cultural life and well-being of the country at large, it makes a very big contribution.
“Things are going to get tougher now. If I had been told in 1988 when I was thinking about going to college ‘you’re going to have to spend 30 grand on it’ I wouldn’t have gone, because I wouldn’t have had the resources to do that.
“I wouldn’t have achieved whatever it is that I’ve done without the British art school system,” Jarvis added.