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Pulp Jarvis Cocker Tribute Unbritpop Band Adults Kids T-Shirt

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T-shirts are the fun tokens that pay for everything we do. They come from the bottom, from the rave, and travel upwards. When I got my first studio on Seven Sisters Road, the previous tenants had just been shut down by SO15 counter-terrorist squad. I signed the contract flanked by portraits of Che Guevara and Tito. There was a brothel on the next floor, so it was quite awkward with people pressing the buzzer marked “BANGER”. The original battle lines over capitalism were a bit simpler. It was that the people who make these things are getting paid peanuts and then the things are sold for a lot more and it was exploitation. But there's no actual product now, is there? Capitalism has gone very abstract – so it's harder to say who the enemy is. We also have a long talk about the press, and the Leveson inquiry. "Tabloids invoke freedom of speech, but they're not interested in that, they're just interested in who's shagging whom, who's got drunk. And if you take that pretend, faux moral standpoint, you end up with people in public life being completely boring. Like they've had their genitals removed." Jarvis isn't interested in who celebrities are shagging: "People might be a bit iffy, but that's between them and their conscience. The unfortunate side effect is [the authorities]can then bring in all these draconian things, like when there was a student march the other week. They let slip: "Oh, yeah – we might have some rubber bullets" or "We might get the water cannon out." When there is something that actually has an agenda, not just "Oh, I want some trainers", that's going to get stamped on. I went on that march and I was amazed, because there were as many police as there were people marching. It was crazy.

Jeremy Deller: I think that’s what being an artist or a musician is: trying to make sense of things around you that you’re not happy about or that confuse you. You make art or music to deal with it, which is a very similar impulse. When we came to do the shows, a lot of people seemed to think it was very important that I got rid of the beard. There were forum discussions. I thought about it, but I did have a slight fear that I may have developed a double chin in the interim. There could be a jowl under there. So the answer to that question is that I don't think I'm hiding anything.

Re X Factor, Jarvis "took a position" after last year's series, where the contestants murdered David Bowie's "Heroes" on one show, the performance culminating with the stage opening up, "and all these soldiers walked on. Because it was for heroes. Like suddenly we're in a totalitarian state. I just thought, that's it, I'm out." Still, he does sneak a look now and then: "I do like Gary Barlow's 'It. Was. Absolutely. Fantastic. I am going to keep my head in this position because I have been told I look good on camera like this.'" I would have loved " Cunts Are Still Running the World" to have been an international No 1, but radio play was quite difficult for that one… Well, no – because often the names will get changed. But I have had issues with people. One girlfriend used to punch me. I could see her point, because I do tend to be a bit closed off emotionally. You know when you get into that thing where people want to discuss the relationship? I'd rather discuss what was on telly, avoid the issue, discuss anything other than the relationship. And so this girl, quite rightly, found it a bit much that when she came to concerts you would get all this emotion splurged out on the stage. Her phrase was, "The only time I find out what's on your mind is if I come to one of your concerts." All I can say in my defence is that I wasn't really doing it in a snidey way. How did he navigate it, the forcible switch from observer to observed? “I don’t know if I did navigate it. Fame in our times has taken the place of heaven in past belief systems. You think that your life’s a bit drab or it’s not really working, but if you’re famous you’d be at the front of the queue, you’d be at the best table, all this kind of paradise. So to experience this thing that’s got this weird belief system around it – and also this belief system you’ve constructed yourself – it’s never going to be what you thought. I didn’t end up in the telly.” He pauses to consider. “To turn your nose up at it doesn’t seem right because you do want people to engage with what you’re doing. But it’s the other bits. It’s the being observed part that wasn’t so good. I prefer to be furtive.”

That thing of people rolling over and going, "Oh, it looks like I'm making things a bit untidy. I'll get out of your way. Sorry"… It seems to have been accepted quite meekly that the art colleges, as they existed in this country, are just going to disappear. The lecturers aren't going to want to teach the people who are going to end up being the only ones who can afford to go there. So there’s bad pop and good pop, hunger of all kinds and art as a consistent source of nourishment and pleasure. Several times he mentions that he’s trying to get better at relationships, rather than zoning out in front of the TV and putting all his feelings in a song instead. Clearing out the attic is part of a concerted effort to get to grips with old stuff, on an emotional as well as physical level: to change bad habits, to communicate more instead of escaping into fantasy. “Me ringing you this morning about the dog situation, that was a slight breakthrough,” he announces, surprisingly, “because a few years ago I would have just worried about it. The journey would have been an absolute nightmare. So then ringing, even though I wasn’t pleased about being late, at least I knew I’d dealt with it.” Starting Pulp was a way too of alchemically transforming everyday existence into a more fantastic version. Several times in our conversation he touches on his persistent desire to live inside the TV, a zone of adventure populated by dinosaurs, Daleks and the Monkees. “I realise that image doesn’t work so much now because TVs are just flat screens. But when they were boxes you kind of thought – what’s in it? You could almost imagine fitting inside it.” Yes, I say, they talk about the right to sex. “No, that’s a horrible thing. But for me, that couldn’t happen because of being brought up in a very feminine environment. So when I started to feel … urges, because I’d been brought up in a very female-dominated environment, there was no way I was going to start thinking of women as objects.” The only interesting thing about my dad is that he just wasn’t there

"As soon as I entered the schoolyard, the hilarity began"

Does the phrase "national treasure" make you gag or feel proud? (Screwdriver Cat, online at theguardian.com) Is there a song of yours that you think should have received wider recognition? (Chris D Broughton, online) We sent up daily food deliveries to ICU staff at six local hospitals and also set up a food bank at a primary school using money from the T-shirt sales. Honestly, if you can throw a rave, you can throw a food bank. The devastating pot shot when it came, however, was directed not at Tony Blair but at poor Michael Hutchence of INXS. He was looking characteristically dapper as he strode out to present Oasis with yet another award, this time for Best Video. Then Noel Gallagher grabbed the mic and said “Has-beens shouldn’t be presenting awards to gonna-bes”. There are certain things, like the way he stands, and I saw him on stage and he did this funny thing with his mouth, which I think I do. I don't think he's as shy as I was, which I'm glad about. I was ridiculous in the shyness stakes. I set myself a goal as a parent to make him mix with other kids as much as possible so he wouldn't have that. It hampers you if every social situation you're in causes you to panic. He does like his music, so that's like me. But then he's into drumming, which I never was. He chose that.

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