Masters of the Universe
Pulp on Fire 1985-86

Jarvis Cocker  -  vocals / guitar
Peter Mansell  -  bass (backing vocals on 
Dogs are Everywhere) Magnus Doyle - drums Candida Doyle - keyboards(backing vocals on
Little Girl & Dogs are Everywhere) Russell Senior - violin and guitar
©1985-86 Fire Records

Track Listing:
  1. Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)
  2. Simultaneous
  3. Blue Glow
  4. The Will To Power
  5. Dogs Are Everywhere
  6. The Mark Of The Devil
  7. 97 Lovers
  8. Aborigine
  9. Goodnight
  10. They Suffocate At Night
  11. Tunnel
  12. Master Of The Universe (Sanitised Version)
  13. Manon

All tracks written by Jarvis Cocker, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle, and Peter Mansell.

I was first introduced to Pulp one day back in 1984 when my good friend and founding father in Fire Records, journalist Johnny Waller, burst in to my flat / office, clasping a copy of their debut album, It. "Listen to this", he insisted - a collection of plaintive mainly acoustic ballads, the best of which exuded a songwriting craftmanship which would not have been out of place on a Jimmy Webb record. Fact freaks shoud note that "Wishful Thinking" was recently accorded cult status with a dance treatment by Golden on St. Etienne's Icerink label.

Pulp, along with Blue Aeroplanes and Television Personalities, soon became just about my favourite band in the unknown universe. They were simply awesome, ranging from Scott Walker balladeering to post-punk, avant-garde aggressiveness. And then they were undeniably strange - stories abounded, but I liked to tell the tale about their singer Jarvis having fallen out of a third storey while doing a Spiderman impression and continuing to use his wheelchair as a stage prop long after he'd regained use of his legs.

Pulp signed to Fire and the lovably awkward and controversial "Little Girl With Blue Eyes", which I've always thought plucked it's intro from James & Bobby Purify's pop soul classic "I'm Your Puppet", set an almost impossibly high standard to follow. But when they delivered their next, the delicately kitsch "Dogs Are Everywhere", it only confirmed my suspicions that this was indeed a deeply disturbed but unique Sheffield pop group and try as I could to recall the last pop song on the subject matter of dogs, I gave up at Lobo's "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo". "They Suffocate At Night", a blackly humourous, lush ballad is truly sublime and this collection is rounded off with the near Heavy Metal delusions of "Master Of The Universe".

In keeping with Fire's desire to promote value for money 12" singles, these four Pulp singes each featured four tracks ("Blue Glow" remains my personal favourite), all of which are gathered here, save for one, left off ath the band's request. Shortly after, with a second album "Freaks" under their belts, but still almost a decade away from universal acclaim and pop stardom, Pulp departed to seek fame and fortune elsewhere. The freaks were to return to Fire some three years later, but that as they say, is another story.

Clive Solomon
Various Notes:
  • This was a collection of 12" Fire tracks, except for "Silence".
  • "Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)" is about Jarvis' mother, and was inspired by seeing a picture of her getting out of her wedding car. She had gotten pregnant and had to give up art college and get married.
  • "Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)" was banned from the radio due to its chorus. A DJ on New Age Musak, a progressive pop radio show, stated "Well, I never expected anything like that from Pulp".
  • Little Girl (With Blue Eyes) E.P. sold well under 2000 copies.
  • Three Days before "Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)" was released, Jarvis fell 3 stories trying to impress a girl (I've heard different versions of the story, some claim he was doing a Jim Morrison impression, another says a Spiderman impression - as the above sleevenote states, and I've also heard he had seen another guy do it recently, and was just copying). His hospital time gave him time to rethink his life's decisions (He decided to "stop living for the future") and to read Tom Wolfe, who inspired him to write about everyday life.
  • Although Jarvis performed live in his wheelchair, Russell had attempted to get him to perform from a stretcher.
  • "The Will To Power" got its name from a 1934 Nazi propaganda film, Triumph Of The Will, which dealt with Nietzsche's philosophy of 'homo superior'. The song attracted bellicose skinheads so Pulp soon quit playing it live.
  • "Dogs Are Everywhere" was written by Jarvis in the hospital using a keyboard his mother bought him.
  • "Dogs Are Everywhere" was inspired by Magnus and Pete and a couple of their friends stealing bottles from a bar and getting them all (including Russell and Jarvis) in trouble. Jarvis considered this a "doggish attitude".
  • Dogs Are Everywhere E.P. sold just 300 copies.
  • The b-side, "The Mark Of The Devil", was originally intended to be the A-side and Pulp considered it their best song, but the recorded version was notably inferior.
  • The woman with the Roger Moore picture in "97 Lovers" was Jarvis' aunt.
  • "Aborigine" was named so because of the primitive beat and orchestration.
  • In 1994, Jarvis wrote the following for sleevenotes for this compilation:
    "These songs stem from probably the most depressing period of my life (bar nine months I spent living in a tower block in Mile End in 1989) and I guess this is reflected in the music and lyrics. I think we were all frustrated and angry in some way and you can hear that tension. They were recorded in Sheffield in crappy little studios for hardly any money - oh yes, you know the score, but despite all that I think there is still a spirit that comes through them. Listening to those tracks again after all this time was quite an experience - I felt by turns excitedm surprised, embarrassed, sad and proud. At least we were striving for something, reaching for something we couldn't attain, but trying all the same."

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