Jarvis vs the common people

Share
Related Topics
Who cares about Oasis? Jarvis Cocker is the best thing to have happened to popular music since I was 17, which is at least 21 years ago. Different Class was not only the best album of last year, it is one of the best ever. Anyone who thinks otherwise either hasn't listened to it, or utterly lacks taste. And anyone who thinks assertions like that are idiotically adolescent - well, that's their problem.

At least it's not the Mercury Music Prize judges' problem. Few events this summer have been more heartening than their decision to pass right by Oasis and place Jarvis on the pedestal that he would absolutely refuse to stand on. Indeed, he absolutely did refuse to stand on it - he got off, and put War Child on it instead. And that's another reason why he's wonderful: he publicly gave away the winnings without piety, or self-congratulation, because that's just what he does.

Jarvis Cocker is witty, self-deprecating, human. Anyone who provokes the News of the World headline "JARVIS LOOKS LIKE A TRAINSPOTTER BUT HIS LOVING DROVE ME LOCO" deserves a thousand awards. A man who writes a song fantasising about how a blue plaque might mark the place he first touched a girl's breast is not only ironic, he is absurdly and humanly true about the daftnesses that spin around inside the heads of arrogant, foolish boys. He remembers exactly what a prat you were at 19 - lonely, horny, embarrassed, irritating, soppy, selfish - all those things that young people actually are, but couldn't possibly admit to at the time. "Mother," he sings, "I think I left a part of my brain/Somewhere in a field in Hampshire." He's stoned, and talking to his Mum?!

Deflation is the English art, and Cocker is its musically poised master. That's why he bumbled on to Michael Jackson's Britpop set and straight into my hero list. As he put it, "anyone setting themselves up as a messiah figure is a bit dodgy". Being touching and wry at the same moment is the quintessential Jarvis expression - with an artfully timed pause. ("Want to sleep with Common People?/I (pause) I'll see what I can do.")

But instead of adulating this modern hero, our colleagues and competitors have devoted miles of newsprint to boring Oasis. Let's get it straight. Oasis are second-rate. They are (or were) briefly amusing, catchy, derivative, noisy, poppy, and not very good. They should not be long missed. Noel Gallagher can't write a sustained lyric. Liam Gallagher is tiresome, and we've seen him all before. Most of the young people I know who really like Oasis are aged 11 and under. They'll get over it - and then they'll be free to listen to Pulp.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Time travel: Thomas Cook has been trading since 1841  

A horror show from Thomas Cook that tells you all you need to know about ethical consumerism

Janet Street-Porter
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?