Pulp - Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Pulp - Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets

by Rich Morris Rating:10 Release Date:2012-04-23

Pulp: the band who just keep coming back. Having told us that their 2012 homecoming show would be the last we’d hear of them, they released the fantastic ‘After You’ single and played some more gigs on a cruise ship (and really, isn’t Jarvis the cruise ship entertainer just a wonderful thought?). And now we get the film of the gig, only it’s not quite that. In fact, it’s so much more.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets is a documentary of the gig, but it’s also a love letter to the city which spawned Pulp and their sleazy, sad and silly songs. Sheffield is depicted by New Zealand film-maker Florian Habicht as something like a big run-down playground in a dream-state. The film switches from one talking head to another, most of them only tangentially connected to the band, while the camera drifts over brutal urban landscapes, graffiti-covered walls and shabby market streets.

There are so many wonderful moments, such as the glam guitarist who recounts escaping from psychiatric care so that he can listen to Jarvis’ 6 Music show, and how he got over a painful experience in London by sitting in a Sheffield pub all day listening to Pulp. There’s the women’s singing group Sheffield Harmony blasting out ‘Common People’ and teen dance troupe U-nique busting moves to ‘Disco 2000’. There’s a tween called Liberty sharing her thoughts on Pulp’s music and parenting.

Best of all, there’s an almost Pythonesque sequence in which a group of elderly people in a café sing ‘Help the Aged’ with such wit, warmth and pathos that you can’t fail to be moved. In amongst these shifting set-pieces, we see Jarvis and the band getting ready for the gig, talking about their lives and experiences, and generally looking as ordinary and eccentric as the people getting on with their lives around them.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets is a sweet, funny film which puts the band in the context of where they came from and on the same level as the kind of people who formed the backbone of many of Jarvis’ best lyrics. It may be missing the spite, sleaze and darkness which are also vital components in any classic Pulp song, but it delivers something arguably more important right now. In an era when austerity measures are hitting the north of England the hardest, this film is an elegant demonstration of how beauty and creativity can flourish in a place starved of money and attention.

Pulp can justly be proud of where they come from and of this film (and of the gig itself, excerpts of which brilliantly shot and presented here). I find it hard to believe this is the end. Perhaps it’s only the end of the beginning of the end?

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I've managed to avoid Cocker since he did his best to desecrate Scott Walker's legacy in 30 Century Man. Sounds good though. It sometimes takes a filmmaker.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Can't wait to see this! Might watch my VHS of the 'Do You Remember the First Time' docu before I go

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I really wanna see that!

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