20 Years Strong: Celebrating Pulp’s ‘Different Class’

Mile End

The Trainspotting soundtrack has arguably become more acclaimed than the film itself due to its inclusion of some of the coolest artists from the ’80s and ’90s, from proto-punk rockers like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed to Britpop darlings like Blur and Pulp, the latter of whom’s track, ‘Mile End’, was a particular highlight.

‘Mile End’ is a perfect example of why Pulp are renowned members of the Britpop genre. Told from the point of view of some friends moving into a dilapidated flat in the titular district of London’s east end, the song makes a very tongue-in-cheek case against the deluded perception that there’s something almost glamorous about living a squatter’s life, with Jarvis Cocker’s miserable yet breezy tone describing the dire situation in a very matter-of-fact way (“The lift is always full of piss, / the fifth floor landing smells of fish”) against a surprisingly upbeat and jaunty melody. Indeed, the band’s working-class roots arguably haven’t been shown this blatantly since ‘Common People’, and for these reasons ‘Mile End’ stands as one of Pulp’s most underrated songs.

Words by Samantha King

Feature complied by Amie Bailey

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