NICK BANKS – So It Started There: From Punk to Pulp
BAND URL: https://omnibuspress.com/collections/frontpage/products/and-it-started-there-from-punk-to-pulp-published-28-september-2023
The renowned purveyors of quirky pop and art rock known as Pulp surely need no introduction and to many of us, their Different Class LP from 1995 provided a lovely soundtrack to our youth and teenage years. Drummer Nick Banks recently published this warm-hearted, humorous, and engaging autobiography of his via the ever-reliable Omnibus Press, and it is a reflective account of what it was like to be such a vital part of the Pulp phenomenon. Eye-opening is one way of putting it, and in many ways, So It Started There also serves as the perfect introduction to all things Pulp and what made that hallowed constellation of musicians and their recorded outputs so special.
Told with vigor and in a suitably fast-paced manner, Banks is an energetic storyteller whose sincerity and down-to-earth personality shine through on every page. There is attention to detail without it taking anything away from the flow and feel of this most endearing and charming of tales. Sarcasm and irony constantly rear their heads throughout the narrative and the book is all the better for it. As is to be expected with respect to Pulp and perhaps in particular Jarvis Cocker, certain events and happenings were indeed stranger than fiction and some undoubtedly defied all sense of logic and rational thinking, which again makes for an incredibly fun read. Having said that, the chapters revolving around Banks’ upbringing and youth constitute the most memorable parts and aspects of the experience – especially those formative years when music occupied every waking hour of his and he gradually began to harbor thoughts and dreams of one day joining a great band that was bigger than the sum of its parts. The way in which he tells of his devotion to punk rock and its influence on him and subsequent desire to pick up an instrument is outright inspiring too and easily one of the standout moments here.
It is easy to forget that it took Pulp what seemed like ages before they actually had a proper hit album under their belts and that they worked their asses off for many years before they became a bona fide success, which obviously makes this a fabulous thing to immerse oneself in as Nick expertly guides us through all the highs and lows on the long and winding road to everlasting fame. The thing about the band’s music is that I have always felt that there was some vague yet tantalizing metaphor for the eternal mystery of art subtly lurking underneath the surface of their compositions – much of which undoubtedly ties in with Cocker’s eccentric and original lyrics – and So It Started There actually managed to emphasize that feeling for me, which is quite beautiful, really. A witty, fascinating, and oftentimes riotous account of life as a member of Pulp.