Pulp “Common People”
I love this track, it has everything going for it. A great tune, funny and at the same time interesting lyrics and no one can mug a video better than Jarvis Cocker. Jarvis was born in Sheffield in 1963, he and his sister were abandoned by their father when he emigrated to Australia, leaving his Mother to bring them up alone. The realism of working class life in the song doesn’t come from a book but from hard experience. Jarvis now works as a DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music.
The song tells the story of a posh girl who wants to experience what it is like to be working class.
Laugh along with the common people,
Laugh along even though they’re laughing at you,
And the stupid things that you do.
Because you think that poor is cool.
Have a read of the full lyrics here.
I think this is a brilliant song and also a story of our times. Working class people seen as a curiosity by those who have privileged lives. What became Poverty Tourism or Poverty Porn in those dreadful reality shows like “Benefit Street”.
Jarvis said himself about the song “I’d met the girl from the song many years before, when I was at St Martin’s College. I’d met her on a sculpture course… I was studying film, and she might’ve been doing painting, but we both decided to do sculpture for two weeks… It would’ve been around 1988, so it was already ancient history when I wrote about her.”
Although never confirmed by Jarvis it is widely believed that the woman who inspired the song is Danae Stratou, wife of Yanis Varoufakis, a former Greek Finance minister. Stratou studied at St. Martins between 1983 and 1988 and is the eldest daughter of a wealthy Greek businessman.
Having read this week’s poem several times, I am struggling to find a connection between the song and the poem I wrote but that’s how it works sometimes. I listen to the song, I make notes, I write and sometimes the muse mocks me.
Driving me Crazy
I want to cook like a poet
Seeking out the unusual ingredient
Combinations no one else has thought of before
letting each one compliment the other
The flame for just the right amount of time
Seasoned so that every note sings to perfection
I want to drive like a poet
Cocooned inside the cab alone with road
Thoughts wandering further than the car can ever go
Following different routes to the same place
Sometimes stopping to admire the view
The journey just as important as the destination
I want to write like a poet
Sure of each verse, every dot and comma
Picking the perfect word and placing it in the perfect place
Using a metaphor that young people will write on walls
With a rhythm that vibrates across continents
And a last line that makes the reader
Want to make the world a better place
© Jeff Price June 2018