Pulp, to borrow a line , weren't supposed to be . They were working class (which is rather a bigger deal in England); they were

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Sheffield Sex City: New Pulp Documentary The Beat is the Law - Fanfare for the Common People at Northwest Film Forum

Pulp, to borrow a line, weren't supposed to be. They were working class (which is rather a bigger deal in England); they were from Sheffield, in the North Country (which, again, apparently a big deal); they were brainy and effete, louche and viciously witty; they made rock records when rave was rising and flirted with disco while the rest of the country was going from shoegaze to big, retro Brit rock. They were formed by Jarvis Cocker in 1978 and released their first record before the Smiths, but they didn't have a hit until 1995, when, with an assist from an improbable last-minute headlining spot at Glastonbury, they stormed all the way to number 2 (of course) with the brilliant, oft misunderstood anthem "Common People." (Basically: it's neither a proletarian rallying cry nor a flat condemnation of the slumming 1%, so much as a sharp observation of what it's like to be stuck straddling cultural class lines while still having no real material mobility.)

If you're much of a Pulp fan, The Beat is the Law - Fanfare for the Common People (which, btw, good Copland pun fellas) will likely be the third documentary you've seen about the band--after the ace, though generalist, Brit Pop doc Live Forever and the BBC documentary about the making of "Common People"--but it's an excellent addition to the canon, made with the full cooperation of the band and delving deeper into their, as well as Sheffield's, story than did those other films.

The Beat is the Law - Fanfare for the Common People premieres this weekend at Northwest Film Forum, Friday 1/6 - Sunday 1/8, 7pm and 9pm. More info and tickets here.

 
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