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Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp by Owen Hatherley
Published by Zero Books, 2011 (134 pages; paperback)
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If we remember them at all, the Sheffield pop group Pulp are remembered for jolly class warfare ditty 'Common People', for the celebrity of their interestingly-named frontman, for the latter waving his arse at Michael Jackson at the Brit awards, for being part of a non-movement called 'Britpop', and for disappearing almost without trace shortly after. They made a few good tunes, they did some funny videos, and while they might be National Treasures, they're nothing serious. Are they? In this book, The Wire contributor Owen Hatherley argues that they should be taken seriously. Attempting to wrest Pulp away from the grim jingoistic spectacle of Britpop and the revivals-of-a-revival circuit, Uncommon charts the very strange things that occur in their records, taking us deep into a strange exotic land; a land of acrylics, adultery, architecture, analogue synthesisers and burning class anger. This is book about pop music, but it is mainly a book about sex, the city and class via the 1990s finest British pop group.