Jarvis Cocker, ever the gangly, dapper showman, grew a beard last year. Very exciting development in the world anglophile sex-nerd appeal, we know. And so Jarvis Cocker’s Beard has become a thing in and of itself–a la Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head–and treated as an eccentric novelty, like a third nipple or a baby armadillo.
So along with the press kit of Jarvis Cocker’s second solo record Further Complications–produced by Steve Albini, out on May 19 via Rough Trade, and far better than lead-off single “Angela” would lead one to believe–there’s a list of album notes written by Jarvis, meant to provide background info for music scribblers and prospective interviewers. This crib sheet includes an explanation for the song title “I Never Said I Was Deep” (“the phrase that I would like carved on my tombstone”), the inspiration for “Caucasian Blues” (“an attempt to understand the pain of a man whose Honda Goldwing has run out of petrol”) and answers to such questions as “Has Jarvis gone rock?” A: “No, but. . . he discovered that, with this band, he COULD rock & so he’d be a fool not to.”
Lastly, Jarvis concludes, “What’s with the beard?” His response? “I grew it to keep my face warm in the Arctic & then I kind of got attached to it. (The amount of grey in it horrified me at first but now I think it acts as a handy reminder of my own mortality.)” There you have it–and please don’t ask again. It’s just a freakin’ beard.