Music

This is hardcore: guest editor Jarvis Cocker takes over The Big Issue

Pulp founder and cultural icon Jarvis Cocker takes charge the latest edition of The Big Issue, introducing the thinkers and artistic voices he has been inspired by since the country and its creative industries went into lockdown…

“This special edition of The Big Issue gives me the chance to present to you some of the humans who have excited or inspired me during The Time of Covid.”

Jarvis Cocker guest edits The Big Issue this week. The Pulp founder and frontman, who has become a cultural icon in the years since he formed his band in 1978, guest edits our latest edition.

And at a time when we all need a little razzmatazz in our lives, he brings fresh thinking, big ideas, and some serious creativity to our pages.

Something changed this year. The world went quiet. So what has Jarvis been doing, apart from releasing the acclaimed new album, JARV IS… Beyond The Pale?

He has, he tells us, been listening to nature and finding interesting humans with bold ideas about how the world needs to change as it reshapes itself after a major rupture.

“This special edition of The Big Issue gives me the chance to present to you some of the humans who have excited or inspired me during The Time of Covid,” he writes, introducing the magazine. “I would call them War Heroes – (without all those unpleasant “military” connotations, of course). Or maybe Heroes of Our Times would be better.”

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Must we evolve? Must we develop? These are questions Jarvis ponders on his new album – and in this week’s Big Issue. Yes we must, is the verdict, especially as we rebuild in the wake of Covid-19. And Jarvis has recruited 12 influential changemakers and thinkers to produce short, sharp, exciting essays on “how to rewrite the Operator’s Manual for planet Earth.”

Architect Amanda Avante, poet Caleb Femi, anthropologist David Graeber and broadcaster Emma Dabiri are among those offering provocative, profound and important ideas who wrote essays for BBC Radio 4’s Rethink series and we feature their plans for a better future.

And Lias Saoudi, singer with Fat White Family, reveals how he responded to having his year’s plans of touring torn up by making some big changes.

Terrifyingly enough, The Big Issue brought me face-to-face with my adolescent self by making me read an old school exercise book

There are also big plans, as written by a 16-year-old schoolboy from Sheffield in his school notebook in 1979. For this special edition features a Letter To My Younger Self from Jarvis himself, in which he takes us back to his teenage years with a little help from a recently rediscovered school notebook.

“Terrifyingly enough, The Big Issue brought me face-to-face with my adolescent self by making me read an old school exercise book,” says Jarvis.

In the interview, Jarvis reveals that, under the heading ‘Pulp Masterplan’, his younger self had written: “The group shall work its way into the public eye by producing fairly conventional, yet slightly offbeat, pop songs. After gaining a well-known and commercially successful status, the group can then begin to subvert and restructure both the music business and music itself.”

Hasn’t he done well?

Jarvis also turns interviewer for another special piece – talking with his friend and collaborator, artist Jeremy Deller, who has produced an exclusive artwork for the magazine’s centrefold.

The Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “Jarvis remains one of Britain’s most creative and fascinating cultural voices, a man who, in a few lines, can effortlessly articulate state of the nation truths.

“It’s a joy to have him take over The Big Issue this week. It’s no surprise that his deep dive into what the lockdown meant for thinking and creativity spins off in arresting ways.

“We thank him for his time, his patience and his brilliant ideas. In a summer of flux and uncertainty, he has come up with something true to hold onto. This is hardcore.”

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