Twenty-five years ago, Pulp released their magnificent, debauched and indulgent Britpop hangover album This Is Hardcore. Arguably the endpoint of the Britpop fever that had gripped the world – thanks to Pulp, and contemporaries including Oasis, Suede, and Blur – Paul Burgess was there during this period, documenting everything from video shoots to promotional events and capturing the band in all their technicolour glory.
This resultant book is split into seven chapters, focusing on the shoots for the videos for the mournful Help The Aged, the pleading storytelling of A Little Soul, the seedy Party Hard and the six-minute title track, with some extras bookending. Burgess’ photos are gorgeous, living behind the scenes of the album cycle and delving deep into the ideas behind those videos. For example, there’s what appears to be a press release telling the story behind This Is Hardcore’s video, a film pieced together from found footage of a forgotten movie star, played here by Pulp vocalist Jarvis Cocker.
Interviews with Jarvis, keyboardist Candida Doyle, and director Florian Habicht (who directed 2014’s Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets also add to a semi-intimate portrait of an album dear to many people. Even with the hefty price tag, Hardcore is a worthwhile exploration into the undergrowth behind the image of Pulp’s vibes.
Hardcore: The Cinematic World Of Pulp, Paul Burgess & Louise Colbourne (Thames & Hudson)
Price: £40. Info: here
words JOSHUA WILLIAMS