Three years ago, maybe four. We were in Munich on the final leg of the work-in-progress for Bloody Mess. The last weeks of rehearsals are always a kind of delirium – no sleep, a general sense of chaos and panic. Mentally you’ve long been painted-into-a-corner that’s largely of your own making – caught in a set of constructed logics, dilemmas, associations and energies which seem tangible, real, absolute but which are of course pretty much arbitrary; product of the meeting between you, the material, the place you’re all in and the time you’ve spent on the project. It’s in this corner – part trap, part creative scaffolding – that you make your last few moves, discoveries, breakthroughs.
Thrilling and weird to think that those decisions – made in discussions, in improvisations – will be things that you probably live with for years as a piece continues to tour. The fact that there, trying to make Bloody Mess, on that particular day, in that strange rehearsal room in Munich, she moved there and he did that and she said that providing a score that you’ll see re-enacted hundreds of times.
Starting work in Sheffield in 1984-6, our semi-derelict factory rehearsal space was the floor below the flat that Jarvis lived in and for the longest time people used to say that Pulp and Forced Entertainment were the best kept artistic-secrets working in Sheffield. That’s changed a bit now, but the Meltdown gig does seem to close some kind of circle.
And, in any case, as one friend wrote to me:
> appearing on a line-up with Iggy Pop and Motorhead –
> I guess you can cross that ambition off the list now.
Bloody Mess is at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London at 7.45 on Tuesday 19th June as part of Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown.