It’s a dangerous old world, the music biz - just ask Jarvis Cocker and
Bjork who, between them and in the name of artiste integrity, are
turning awards nights and airport arrival lounges into war zones. In
comparison, the jungle of media buying looks boringly safe, to the
relief of BMP DDB-Needham TV buying director Mark Swift.
It is now more than a decade since Swift hung up his drumsticks and
waved goodbye to the chance of rockstar fame and fortune as one of the
five original members of a band called Arabicus Pulp.
Since then, Arabicus got pulped, everybody left except Jarvis Cocker and
the rest is, as Michael Jackson would say, History. But only very
distant history for Swift.
He, Jarvis et al were together at City Comprehensive School in
Sheffield, spending their evenings gigging in venues such as the
Rotherham Arts Centre and Sheffield’s The Limit. Swift admits he was not
the world’s greatest drummer: ‘I remember having glasses thrown at me
and people shouting things like ‘Can you play solo? So low we can’t hear
you.’ Such high-octane excitement was too much and Swift eventually took
up a place at Nottingham University to read economics.
From there, he went straight into BMP and has been there ever since.
Initially, as Jarvis struggled to keep Pulp on the road, Swift bought
him the occasional lunch. Now, with albums going double platinum all
over the place, Jarvis usually pays his share of the bill.
Surely Swift must nurture a few pangs of regret? ‘Not at all. I didn’t
want all the early squats and squalor - and, to be honest, I was crap.’
And, presumably, after a longish stint in the luxury of Bishop’s Bridge
Road, the man simply hasn’t got the stomach for the sort of fight
demanded of our rock stars these days.