This is no Pulp fiction

Jarvis Cocker.
Jarvis Cocker.
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SHEFFIELD’S most famous pop exports, Pulp, play a one-off Sheffield show this week.

The special date will crown what has been an extraordinary 18 months in the band’s career.

It was only last year when Pulp reformed with its Different Class line-up, which features Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey and Mark Webber with Jarvis Cocker.

And while the Arena date marks Pulp’s resurrection, with tickets selling out just hours after going on sale, it also marks a momentous journey which started at City School.

It was here, in 1978, that a young Jarvis Cocker formed Pulp.

It was a vision that had legs – now, 34 years later, the band is preparing to play again, only this time to thousands of people.

The show follows a string of reunion dates.

Yet, its location - the vast Motorpoint Arena - marks a dramatic departure from the band’s origins as an underground art-school, synthetic-clad band which started its career at Rotherham Arts Centre.

But there have been other momentous changes alongside the band’s own transformation from obscure arty-pop act to stadium-filling phenomena.

Class - the theme that lay at the heart of many of Pulp’s songs - has been turned on its head in the UK since Pulp reigned the charts in the 1990s.

Since Pulp’s most popular anthem, Common People, was released in 1995, the make-up of the pop-writing culture from which Cocker and his bandmates emerged has gone from working class to upper middle class.

The days of dole-financed song-writing with musicians’ grants and council-flat residences have long gone. Today, according to one statistic, 60 per cent of artists in the UK have gone to public school compared with one per cent in 1990.

Pulp’s lyrics, which cite nylon underwear, grim-decrepid bus stops and roaches on the wall, now appear to be merely poetic in a music scene where many artists have enjoyed a privileged education and write songs on £1,000 Apple Macs.

Yet, whether or not Pulp’s lyrics resonate as lyrical flourishes or real, gritty observations doesn’t matter - their fans, both old and new, are not going away.

Such is the demand to see Pulp that only last year the band hit the cruise ships, though not the sort of cruise ship packed with post-hip replacement pensioners.

Pulp performed on the SS Coachella - the ‘music festival at sea’, organised by the team behind Coachella, an annual event in the USA where Pulp played earlier this year.

The band sailed the ocean waves on the Celebrity Silhouette, a 122,400-tonne liner boasting 12 restaurants and cafes, a casino, designer shops and health spas.

But the cruise ship appearance was just one event in the band’s reunion phase, and this one-off show in Sheffield is to celebrate this hectic chapter.

It also marks the potential for another life for Pulp, which Cocker has said, is open to suggestion.

In an interview recently he said: “The next thing is; would you make some new music?

“I’ve enjoyed the fact that we haven’t been doing any new stuff, because I feel that’s kept it quite simple.

“It’s a hard one. We haven’t been in the studio or anything.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Pulp play at the Motorpoint Arena this Saturday.