JARVIS Cocker remembered the first time as he returned to his old Sheffield school.
The Pulp frontman recalled forming a band, his first songs and his first ever appearance on stage more than 30 years ago as he addressed pupils at City School in Stradbroke.
Jarvis, who grew up in Intake, was back at the secondary to help launch his collection of song lyrics, Mother, Brother, Lover – but he had another book with him.
“I’m bringing back a book I never returned to the school library all those years ago – Nine Modern Poets. I suppose I’ll get rare done,” he said.
In an hour-long presentation, the excitement of the performer’s teenage years was captured in home movies, photos and lyrics.
Long-forgotten efforts Shakespeare Rock and Life Is A Circle were unearthed, with a full acoustic version of Pulp’s breakthrough number, Babies.
“It was this school hall that saw the first performance of Pulp in March 1980,” he said. “The tickets costing 20p promised 30 minutes of live Pulp, which was pretty good value really.”
Jarvis added: “It was only when I moved away to London years later that I realised the normal things I’d experienced in Sheffield weren’t actually normal at all – they were interesting and I wanted to write about them because I was scared of forgetting where I’d come from.”
He said he had taken a slow route to suc-cess which took 15 years to bear fruit.
“I suppose you could call it the J Factor rather than the X Factor. The J Factor is rather slow, but it can be nice to take the scenic route then get there in the end.”
Head of English Martin Greenough said the visit had been arranged with the help of Michael Jarvis, who had taught Jarvis maths and was still at the school.
“Jarvis said he wanted to come back to school to retrace his steps and see where his book had come from.
“Apart from the assembly he also spent an hour working with some of our music students.
“Not everyone had heard of him, though I’m sure their parents have. But his message was that you can be quirky, you can go your own way and the kids loved that.”