RUSSELL Senior has written a book about Britpop. He wasn't sure he wanted to or even knew how to for a long time. But then the former Pulp guitarist and violinist watched all the 20th anniversary Britpop documentaries on the TV and they contrived to make Britpop look as dull as a Menswear B side.

"They all looked very flat and stilted and not very exciting," he recalls. "And you see punk documentaries and there's fantastic footage of the Pistols and the 100 Club. " But that doesn't seem to be the case with Britpop. "There isn't great footage for some reason. It all seems mannered. And yet it was a very exciting time. So I thought, 'well, you've been an explorer in that jungle and you should catalogue what you've seen."

And so welcome Freak Out the Squares, a guide to Britpop wildlife. Think of it as a northern, working class alternative to Alex James's Bit of a Blur. So there's no exact equivalent of James's five naked girls and a jereboam of champagne birthday celebrations but there is a bit of sex, drugs and rock and roll. With a spot of gratuitous tree burning thrown in for good measure. It's not a revenge on his former band mates by the way. He's actually quite circumspect. "I was in Pulp for 13 years the first time and most of that was either boredom or hatred. The fun bits are what make a book. 'He said to me in 1993' and 'I hated this trousers' is not worth writing down, is it?"

This morning I've interrupted Senior's computer game playing (Counter-Strike, if you must know) to ask him about the book, life in Sheffield at the start of the eighties, Pulp's years (and years) of struggle and his short experience of success before he left the band in the late nineties to start a career in antiques. I'm disappointed he doesn't go into that latter part of his life in the book, I tell him. "Of all the things people have said you ought to have more of, you're the first person to ever say you need anecdotes about antiques. It was more like 'can we have more about what Liam said.'"

Senior was Pulp's most gratuitous sunglass-wearer and, it would seem, from reading Freak Out the Squares, the grown-up of the band. Or maybe wrangler might be a better description. "Oh definitely the herder of cats. And they weren't easy to herd either. Artists, they're buggers really. They don't take kindly to organisation. Or getting up."

"So yeah, they called me the headmaster. It was supposed to be an insult but I was quite complimented by it."

Pulp emerged in the early eighties just as Sheffield began to slip off the cultural radar. At the start of that decade Senior says it was the most exciting place to be on Earth, home to a thrilling, innovative electronic scene that gave the world Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, the Human League and Vice Versa (later to reposition themselves as new popsters ABC).

Even though the nascent Pulp were hardly musical fellow travellers it did give the band the belief that Sheffield was a place to make music. "It was exciting that there was this secret underbelly to the city and then I watched it collapse as well. You see your punk rock heroes begging in the streets, literally; people you were clapping on stage now trying to ponce 10 pence off you for a bottle of cheap cider. There were fantastically successful figures and there were casualties. I knew both, so it was like death or glory, being in a band."

The reality proved to be more of a long, dreary slog. Senior, singer Jarvis Cocker and the rest of them spent the best part of a decade getting nowhere fast. And then at the start of the nineties they finally became an overnight success. Jarvis became an unlikely sex symbol and the band got to appear on Top of the Pops which was, Senior suggests, pure validation. That and later hearing Disco 2000 on the Waltzer in Cleethorpes.

Still, he left in 1997. "Personally I'd run out of juice and judging by the album sales the rest had too after I left. I thought I'd said what I wanted to say in music. Move on."

And yet he was thrilled to come back in 2011 and tour with the band again. Was there a sense of closure? "Yeah definitely. It felt kind of unfinished in a way. It kind of had to be done." His diary of the tour also gave him the basis for the book.

These days Russell Senior likes foraging (but worries that it makes him sound like a hipster: "I've been doing it all my life," he points out) and thinks that Britpop was more fun than people give it credit for ("if it's reduced to Blur v Oasis then it's certainly done down.")

He is proud of his past but he's always kept it in perspective. When John Peel announced on radio that Pulp at Glastonbury was the best gig ever Senior was cleaning the toilet at the time. "It can't go to your head. It doesn't give me a discount at Asda or anything."

Freak Out the Squares by Russell Senior is published by Aurum Press, priced £18.99.