13 February

The Deluxe Edition of Pulp's His 'n' Hers, a double disc with the relevant B-side tracks, and having improved sound quality over the original C D, ranks as "good enough" in my informal system of assessing reissues. The three tracks unique to an E P single entitled Sisters ('Your Sister's Clothes', 'Seconds', and 'His 'n' Hers') are included; 'Seconds' is one of the band's finest moments, distilling, via a simple play on words, one of Jarvis Cocker's major themes, that of the emotional desperation of young persons who feel their opportunities quickly fading, into a wrenching tale of a boy and girl letting a single night ruin their lives. The two B-side tracks of the single 'Do You Remember the First Time?' are included: 'Street Lites' and 'The Babysitter'. Confusion has arisen over 'You're a Nightmare', a B side of 'Lipgloss': a studio recording has never been released; the Peel-session version was used. The back cover of the Deluxe Edition, though, states that this version was "previously unavailable." These kinds of errors are not surprising given that the labels responsible for these releases often only have a nominal connection to the labels that originally released the material--few of the same personnel, changed corporate structure, and so on. Advertising for these reissues claim Cocker was involved; unfortunately those at Island Records, or Universal Music, might as well have been computers. The other 'Lipgloss' B side, 'Deep Fried in Kelvin', is included.

Four new tracks, in demo form, leave me wondering if demo versions of the songs that made the album's final cut are still awaiting release. More annoying, the inclusion of 'You're a Nightmare', though appropriate because it was a B side for a single from the album, is also redundant since the same year this deluxe edition was released, 2006, saw the release of a double disc of all of Pulp's Peel sessions. More annoying still, why didn't that compilation include other B B C sessions, like the Mark Goodier that gives us one track on the Deluxe Edition ('Live On') and the Hit the North that gives us a version of 'Space'? The inclusion of that track doesn't quite work either, because Space, originally released on the Gift label, was thus included on the Intro: The Gift Recordings album. Of course, the album track included on Sisters ('Babies'--the title Sisters refers to that song's lyric) was originally released on Gift--but was remixed to make the slightly-different version found on His 'n' Hers and Sisters; and generally speaking we're not talking about two distinct periods. Indeed, this alternate version of Space would work better on a rarities compilation covering the years 1992-1996. Also, it was recorded during a soundcheck for the Mark Radcliffe program Hit the North. So what about the program itself? Unfortunately information about music programs on the B B C not hosted by John Peel is hard to come by.