Pulp Countdown (13 Days): Wickerman

Toronto – At eight minutes and seventeen seconds, this Jarvis Cocker odyssey is arguably the anchor for their last album We Love Life. Unlike most Pulp tracks, Wickerman is not immediately catchy or one where you can pick up the lyrics easily. Instead, this track dives and dances around Jarvis’s narrative. Wicked bass lines, haunting strings and thunderous sound effects add to the uniqueness of this track, which is an ode to the city of Sheffield. Check it out

Just behind the station, before you reach the traffic island
a river runs though a concrete channel
I took you there once; I think it was after the Leadmill
The water was dirty and it smelt of industrialisation
Little mesters coughing their lungs up And globules the colour of tomato ketchup
But it flows
Yeah, it flows

Yeah, underneath the city through dirty brickwork conduits
connecting white witches on the moor with Pre-Raphaelites down in Broomhall
Beneath the old Trebor factory that burnt down in the early seventies
Leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell and caverns of nougat and caramel Nougat
Yeah, nougat and caramel

And the river flows on
Yeah, the river flows on beneath pudgy fifteen-year olds addicted to coffee whitener, courting couples naked on Northern upholstery and pensioners gathering dust like bowls of plastic tulips. And it finally comes above ground again at Forge Dam:

the place where we first met. I went there again for old time’s sake, hoping to find the child’s toy horse ride that played such a ridiculously tragic tune. It was still there – but none of the kids seemed interested in riding on it. And the cafe was still there too; the same press-in plastic letters on the price list and scuffed formica-top tables. I sat as close as possible to the seat where I’d met you that autumn afternoon. And then, after what seemed like hours of thinking about it, I finally took your face in my hands and I kissed you for the first time and a feeling like electricity flowed through my whole body. And I immediately knew I’d entered a completely different world. And all the time, in the background, the sound of that ridiculously heartbreaking child’s ride outside.

At the other end of town the river flows underneath an old railway viaduct; I went there with you once – except you were somebody else – and we gazed down at the sludgy brown surface of the water together. Then a passer-by told us that it used to be a local custom to jump off the viaduct into the river, when coming home from the pub on a Saturday night. But that this custom had died out when someone jumped and landed too near to the riverbank and had sunk in the mud there and drowned before anyone could reach them. Maybe he’d just made the whole story up. You’d never get me to jump off that bridge. No chance. Never in a million years.

Yeah, a river flows underneath this city I’d like to go there with you now my pretty
and follow it on for miles and miles below other people’s ordinary lives
Occasionally catching a glimpse of the moon through man-hole covers along the route

Yeah, it’s dark sometimes but if you hold my hand I think I know the way
Oh, this is as far as we got last time but if we go just another mile
we will surface surrounded by grass and trees
and the fly-over that takes the cars to cities
Buds that explode at the slightest touch Nettles that sting – but not too much
I’ve never been past this point

What lies ahead I really could not say And I used to live just by the river
in a disused factory just off the Wicker And the river flowed by day after day
And “one day” I thought “One day I will follow it”

That day never came; I moved away and lost track
but tonight I am thinking about making my way back
I may find you there and float on

wherever the river may take me
Wherever the river may take me
Wherever the river may take us
Wherever it wants us to go
Wherever it wants us to go

Posted on by Ricky in Primavera

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.