Review of ‘Good Pop, Bad Pop’ by Jarvis Cocker

An amusing, eccentric autobiography / book of musings from musician and radio presenter Jarvis Cocker. He is best known for being the frontman of the band Pulp, for being from Sheffield and for mooning Michael Jackson at the Brit Awards. We can now add ‘being a hoarder’ to the list, as this book is basically him sifting through what he’s collected in his loft over the decades. He tries to decide whether he should keep or ‘cob’ each item. I’m not entirely sure what ‘cob’ means. I assume it’s slang for throwing something out.

The format of the book is broadly chronological as Jarvis examines various objects, from shirts to broken spectacles, plastic carrier bags to early lyrics on envelopes, and tells us how they relate to his life. There are occasional interludes. It is quite a visual book and this element is probably more enjoyable in the printed version, rather than the ebook that I read.

I liked the writing style, although Jarvis has a tendency to use ampersands, which gave the impression that he was jotting his thoughts down in a notebook but was kind of annoying. It was interesting to learn about his early influences such as Barry White and The Velvet Underground and to discover that he thinks 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest films. The book ends before Pulp became famous, so it seems like there should be a sequel. The title refers to a thread which runs through the narrative, with ‘good pop’ (not necessarily the same as ‘good taste’) meaning popular things that make people happy and ‘bad pop’ meaning things that don’t. I think.

In summary, ‘I spy’ a decent read in a ‘different class’ but which can be enjoyed by both ‘common people’ and ‘mis-shapes’ who have a ‘thirst for knowledge’ about Jarvis’s early days. You can read it ‘in the middle of the night’ or even on a ‘Monday morning’ if ‘there’s nothing else to do’.

Published in 2022.

2 thoughts on “Review of ‘Good Pop, Bad Pop’ by Jarvis Cocker”

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I am not a huge fan but I know some of the songs and he’s an interesting guy. I am assuming it’s a local term. All I know is that a cob means a bread roll to some people!

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