Across The Margin : The Podcast — This is Hardcore with Jane Savidge

Across The Margin: The Podcast celebrates Pulp’s iconic album This is Hardocre through an interview with author and founder of legendary PR company Savage & Best, Jane Savidge…

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This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with the author of the 33 ⅓ book dedicated to the legendary Britpop band Pulp’s renowned album This is Hardcore, Jane Savidge. As co-founder and co-head of legendary PR company Savage & Best, Jane Savidge is widely credited as being one of the main instigators of the Britpop movement that swept the UK in the mid 1990s. During this time, Savage & Best represented Suede, Pulp, The Verve, Elastica and Longpigs, whilst representing many other artists of the era including the Cranberries, The Fall, and Jesus and Mary Chain. She is the author of Lunch With The Wild Frontiers (2019) and Here They Come With Their Make Up On: Suede, Coming Up and More Adventures Beyond The Wild Frontiers (2022). 

This Is Hardcore is Pulp’s cry for help. A giant, sprawling, flawed masterpiece of a record, the 1998 album manages to tackle some of the most inappropriate grown-up issues of the day – fame, aging, mortality, drugs, and pornography – and still come out crying and laughing on the other side. The subject of pornography dominates the record, from its controversial artwork to the images conjured up by songs like “Seductive Barry” as well as the title track. Pulp’s lead singer and guitarist, Jarvis Cocker, spent most of his teenage and adult life chasing celebrity, only to be cruelly disappointed when it finally arrived and thus set forth on This is Hardcore to use pornography as a metaphor for fame. The album’s commercial failure as a follow-up to the band’s Britpop-defining, Different Class, also symbolizes a death knell for Britpop itself.

Dark, right? Except just like Pulp themselves, Jane Savidge’s book is playful and often very funny. Kicking off with an imaginary conversation between Jarvis Cocker and the people who run the Total Fame Solutions helpline, Savidge expertly guides us through the trials and tribulations of an album that all begins with the so-called Michael Jackson Incident. Pulp’s This Is Hardcore may be a sleazy run through porn and mental demise, and an album that chronicles Cocker’s continuing disillusionment with his newfound lot in life, but Savidge’s book assesses the cultural and historical context of the album with insider knowledge and a sharp modern lens, making a case for it as one of the most important albums of the 1990s.

In this episode host Michael Shields and Jane Savidge dig into the weighty themes present in This is Hardcore revolving around fame, aging, success, and pornography. They expound upon the “Michael Jackson Incident” which propelled lead singer Jarvis Cocker to unfathomable fame, how Jarvis used music and the crafting of This is Hardocre as catharsis for his real life struggles, what the final legacy of Pulp might be, and ultimately they celebrate a 33 ⅓ book that serves as a love letter to a remarkable album.

Grab a copy of Jane Savidge’s This is Hardcore here!

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