It turns out that the girl who "came from Greece and had a thirst for knowledge" might well be the current Greek finance minister's wife!
Ever since it was released nearly twenty years ago, music fans have speculated as to the inspiration behind Pulp’s classic single ‘Common People’. Now, a Greek newspaper has come up with a theory that the girl who “studied sculpture at St. Martin’s College” is the wife of the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
The Athens Voice believes that it has worked out that the girl who told the group’s lead singer Jarvis Cocker that she wanted to “live like common people” is Varoufakis’s wife Danae Stratou, a Greek installation artist, and a new interview with the finance minister took the rumour a step closer to reality.
Jarvis Cocker performing live in 2011
Varoufakis, who won public office when anti-austerity party Syriza won the Greek election in January this year, told BBC World News that it may well have been his now-wife: “Well, I wouldn't have known her back then. But I do know that she was the only Greek student of sculpture at St. Martin’s College at that time. And, from personal experience, she is a very fascinating person.”
However, at least one other person has claimed that she is the subject of the song. In 2012, Cypriot artist Katerina Kana told a Greek magazine that she was Cocker’s muse, but no confirmation of this was ever given by Cocker himself.
Cocker has said that the song is based on a real person, but cannot remember her name. He told the NME back in 2013: “I'd met the girl from the song many years before, when I was at St Martin's College. I'd met her on a sculpture course, but at St Martin's you had a thing called Crossover Fortnight, where you had to do another discipline for a couple of weeks. I was studying film, and she might've been doing painting, but we both decided to do sculpture for two weeks. I don't know her name. It would've been around 1988, so it was already ancient history when I wrote about her.”
Released on May 22nd 1995 and hitting Number 2 in the UK Singles chart, ‘Common People’ was one of the defining anthems of the Britpop era, though it actually satirised the way in which middle-class pop stars were inauthentically slumming it as working class.