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It's the Washington! HurrahThe Launch Party

The Washington, Sheffield, Monday July 14, 2003


John Nicholls (left) and Tim AllcardThroughout all the years I spent working on the book, I was determined that once it was done, a very big party would take place. There were a few reasons for this. As well as the obvious desire to celebrate the completion of the book and becoming a published author and all that, I'd spent a lot of time interviewing various people from Pulp's past - many of whom also happened to be people from each other's past. The result of this was that quite often, people I'd interviewed would be quizzing me on the current whereabouts of acquaintances from 20 years ago and more, and I'd sort of end up being (willingly) cast in the role of a one-man Friends Reunited. The idea of getting as many people as possible together for a dual purpose book launch / 1980s Sheffield reunion inevitably reared its head.

Nick Robinson (left) and Martin LillekerThe obvious venue for the event was The Washington. The place is inseperable from Sheffield's musical history and, as such, had long been a haunt for most of the people I'd spoken to - indeed, Jarvis allegedly became a regular there before he was old enough to get legally served at the bar. Oh, and there's also the fact that Nick Banks co-owned the place for a good few years till 2002. It's also a lovely place - bedecked with antique radios and music memorabilia (there's a shrine to the Human League in one corner), resolutely unmodernised and about as far from the townie hell that is the modern-day West Street as you can get. Mick The Landlord was contacted, a late licence was applied for, and arrangements were made.

The day came. Fortunately, loads of people turned up - I'd been terrified that the place would either be empty or overrun with the wrong people, but there was just the right mix of Pulp-related people, friends, fans and book trade types for it to work perfectly.Nick Banks and Steven Havenhand (blinking. Sorry Steven.) Nick Banks was unsurpsingly there, as were a full range of ex-members, amongst them Magnus Doyle, Tim Allcard, Peter Boam, David Hinkler, Wayne Furniss, Jim Sellars and, astonishingly, Steven Havenhand - the latter of whom had travelled all the way up from Cornwall for the occasion. There was also Richard Hawley, Alex from Pulp People, Martin Lilleker from the Sheffield Telegraph, John Quinn from the Sheffield Star, Jon Short of cello-on-It fame, John Nicholls and Nick Robinson formerly of Dig Vis Drill, Nick and Ash formerly of Venini, David Kurley formerly of New Model Soldier (he wrote the words to Anorexic Beauty, you know), and possibly even some others who didn't introduce themselves (I was spreading myself a bit thin). The place had been decorated with various Pulp memorabilia, and I'd put together a soundtrack that mixed all the obvious Pulp stuff with some contemporaneous early '80s Sheffield bands and a sprinkling of rarities that I'd managed to beg and borrow for the purpose (the latter much to the amusement of various ex-members who'd played on some of this stuff and hadn't heard it since).

David HinklerThe only downside to the whole thing was finally getting to chat to a few people (Havenhand, Hawley, Allcard, Doyle - which sounds like a firm of accountants, but would be the most unlikely firm of accountants ever) I'd wanted to interview for the book but didn't get chance for various reasons. Hearing things from their perspective for the first time suggested that, despite the seven years of research and 500 pages, I'd still only done half a job. There's always something you don't know. Hey, it's all grist for the second edition.

Jon Short (left) and Jim SellarsBut still. It was a fantastic night, and I can only thank, in the cheesiest possible way, everyone who came and made it as ace it was. My next project will be to find a plausible excuse to do it all again. Next year, same place, same time?

The soundtrack

(or party tape, if you must)

PART 1 - Relatives, friends and acquaintances, 1979-99
THE HUMAN LEAGUE - The Path Of Least Resistance / ARTERY - The Slide / THE COMSAT ANGELS - Ju Ju Money / VENDINO PACT - Secret Thinking / SCARBOROUGH ANTELOPES - Here We Go in Indigo / I'M SO HOLLOW - Touch / THEY MUST BE RUSSIANS - Where Have I Seen You? / ARTERY - One Afternoon in a Hot Air Baloon / HULA - Get the Habit / DIG VIS DRILL - Fix the Kitchen / CHAKK - Brain / TREEBOUND STORY - Take It / CHEVETTE - We Can Dance Again / ELECTRIC SOUND OF JOY - Our Flag / VENINI - Postcard

PART 2 - everything else
Death Comes to Town / Minnie Timperley / Maureen / Party Hard / Joking Aside / Refuse to Be Blind / Separations / Fairground / The Professional / I Scrubbed the Crabs that Killed Sheffield / Lipgloss / Going Back to Find Her (live 1987) / Styloroc (Nites of Suburbia) / Nights Of Suburbia (live 1985) / She's A Lady (Evening Session 1992) / P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association) / Pink Glove (Peel Session 1993) / Monday Morning / How Could You Leave Me? / The Heat Of The Day / Weeds / Rattlesnake / Didn't Feel a Thing (live 1986) / I Want You / Cocaine Socialism / Stacks / You've Got a Face (live 1982) / Something Changed / We Are The Boyz / Ansaphone / Cuckoo / Being Followed Home / Common People / Help the Aged / Back in L.A. / Live On / Everybody's Problem / Countdown / Babies / Have You Seen Her Lately? / Sunrise / In Many Ways / What Do You Say? / The Truth (Jayenkai's unofficial remix of The Will To Power, 2001) / The Boss / O.U. / Do You Remember The First Time? / Sorted for E's and Wizz / Paula / My Legendary Girlfriend / Last Day Of The Miners' Strike / Silence

There's only one Magnus Doyle