Arabicus lasted just a few practices before fizzling out towards the end of the year, taking Ian Dalton and his coal scuttle skills with it. Jarvis and Dolly were by no means finished, though; as 1979 began they roped in two of their friends to make a proper four-piece band. David Lockwood (”Fungus”) was on bass, though he apparently failed to become a proficient player in his time with the group. On coal scuttle (there were still no drums around) was Mark Swift, known as Dixie. Another friend, Glen Marshall, wanted to be involved with the project, but lacking musical talent elected himself the group’s manager. This entailed tape-recording practice sessions and filming super-8 films, including a music video for ‘Shakespeare Rock’.
“Arabicus Pulp,” as this incarnation was known, never played a gig or recorded a session, so the only record of their existence is the various tapes and film clips presumably owned by Glen Marshall. This is therefore one of a few periods of (especially early) Pulp history where songs are unavailable as anything other than brief descriptions.
#3 – Queen Poser
Written by Peter Dalton. Apparently the title was just picked up from the NME, rather than being a critique of a popular girl at school. It seems to have been a staple of their early sets, before being dropped from the setlist when the band realised they had accidentally plagiarised Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.
#4 – What You Gonna Do About It?
A Jarvis / Dolly collaboration, this seems to have been their first attempt at writing a Punk song. Not Whatcha Gonna Do About It by The Small Faces, though it does sound like it may have been suspiciously similar.
#5 – I’ve Been Looking at the World Today
Had a rhyming couplet about “toilet rolls and dead sea scrolls” – further information is unavailable.
#6 – You Should’ve Known
We’re back in the realms of “trying to explain the whole world in a song” territory here, with an excoriation of person or persons unknown for failing to pay attention to current events. It’s hardly surprising that a high school student would be annoyed at the pig-ignorance of some of their more boorish classmates, but such feelings tend to be fleeting and limited to school days:
Someone died last night
As you polished up your shoes
But you were unaware
‘Cos you never watched the news
Too involved in your own existence
To see the world outside
It’s all too challenging
You just prefer to hide
It’s not quite as embarrassing as ‘Life Is A Circle’ but it’s close enough.
#7 – Message To The Martians
A novelty semi-instrumental which originally featured Fungus making alien noises while the others jammed over a bass-line nicked from Joy Division. It survived Fungus’s departure and featured in sets for the next year or so, eventually morphing into an infectious, repetitive drum-led piece which could continue for up to fifteen minutes. Of all the tracks in this short list, this is the one I’d most like to hear.
#8 – The Condom Song
When I was 16 years old some of my friends found the word ‘spoon’ hysterically funny. I may well have joined in with them. Other friends thought the word ‘cheese’ a touchstone of hilarity. Fortunately we were all worldly enough not to choose the word ‘condom’.
Back in late 70s Sheffield certain teenage boys thought it would be amusing to sing a song about these items, presumably as they’d never had the opportunity to see one, let alone use one. Personally I’m not really bothered if this song remains lost forever.
This entry owes a lot to Mark Sturdy’s book, as there seems to be no information out there about this time apart from what he uncovered in his interviews.