Quote, Unquote: Jarvis Cocker
Words: Jenny Tucker
Taken from FHM, January 1996

You seem obsessed with imperfections, people who are broken or disjointed...

What, like myself? I think people who are perfect are very boring. They don't have to make an effort and other people will always want to hang around with them just because they're really good looking. I know this is a fact because half way through me film course at St Martin's I started seeing this girl who was a model and she was very beautiful. There were always blokes sidling up to her, trying to get close. But I knew what she was really like, she had loads of problems. Totally neurotic about her weight... a bit boring really.

Judging from your songs, you like your sex to be a bit on the kinky side. Right?

I'm not kinky. I'm sexual, but that's not kinky, is it? I'm a straight missionary position man. I've never gone out of me way to be kinky, I don't dress up in rubber, I'm not into fetishism. I'm quite straight. Maybe I'll just have to meet someone who'll bring that kind of stuff out in me. Actual sex is overrated.


I prefer the foreplay part. Kissing's me favourite, I can do it for hours. I think it's really bad when your sex life is on a timetable, like it always takes place at the same venue at the same time, ie in the bed in the bedroom on Wednesday at 11pm.

Can porn seriously damage your health?

Nah it's not bad for your health. When I was younger I used to go to this shop up the road called Fred Hartley's. It was a bit like the forerunner to Poundstretcher, selling stuff really cheap. They used to sell out-of-date porn mags and they weren't bothered about how old we were, so I could go and buy a copy of Penthouse for about 20p. Breasts don't really go out of date, do they? It didn't matter that they were a few months old, they still served a purpose. I had a collection of about five porn mags, all Penthouse. I was quite faithful.

Do you consider yourself a wimp or is hatred lurking in your heart?

Physically, I'm not very strong but there have been times when I've snapped and attacked people. Years ago me and Russell (Pulp's guitarist) had a party at our house in Sheffield and these three towny boys came in. I caught them in Russell's room, going through his drawers and trying to nick his stuff. That really got me. I went mad and grabbed hold of one of them by the scruff of the neck and marched him out of the flat. All three of them were bigger than me, they easily could have beaten me up, but I still managed to kick them up the arse.

What are you like when you're drunk?

It depends what I'm drinking. If I drink brandy, I tend to get a bit frisky. It's bad news sometimes because it doesn't make you fall over. You tend to keep going, drinking more and more, and you can get into a lot of trouble. With other drinks you just pass out.

What's the worst thing you've ever done under the influence?

Nothing that terrible. It's not in me nature in to be raucous. I might do something silly, like once I got back to me house at six in the morning and I falsely believed myself to be locked out, so I climbed up the side of the house. With me reputation for falling out of windows, that wasn't a sensible move (in 1985 Jarvis plummeted from a window and spent two months in a wheelchair). There was no drainpipe or anything, I just scaled the wall. I looked at it the next day and realised it was a difficult thing to do.

You drive a Hillman Imp. Wouldn't you prefer something with a bit more under the bonnet?

I bought it three years ago for 250 quid. It does the job. There's something a bit sad about owning a flash car. Like, for instance, I saw Jamiroquai outside a party and he was sat there in this Ferrari, on his own, looking meek. Maybe he was enjoying himself, sat on his own, but I thought he looked sad. I'd feel a bit of a tit in a flash car. Me car is really mucky, it's full of dents, but it's good because people always let me out at junctions.

When you were younger, did you ever get picked on in the streets of Sheffield?

I used to get a lot of verbal abuse because I looked a bit different. One night I was waiting for the last bus and these townies came along. I was wearing a plastic mac and one of them said, "Looks like a bag of rubbish someone's left out." There were six of them, all taking the piss. I didn't say anything but then when the bus came along, I jumped on and shouted out "Fuck off!" The trouble was, I'd forgotten that the bus always waited there for a few minutes. I sat on the back seat watching them through the window. Then the ringleader got on the bus and said, "I've got something for you," and - dooosh - pushed this half-eaten kebab in me face. They don't smell very nice, do they? All that horrible meat fat and shredded cabbage in me lap.

Now that you're famous, are women queuing up to shag you?

They might be, I'm not sure. The security guards probably keep them back. But fame has brought female attention, that's for sure.

Don't you worry that it's all a bit superficial?

I think you should go with it while it's available. It won't be there forever. When I was younger, I didn't have a lot of female attention and so I'm enjoying it now. Any man likes to be admired, it's flattering. You don't have to do anything about it. It's like looking at a nice picture, in't it?

Were you a swot at school or did you smoke tabs behind the bike shed?

I wasn't too much of a swot but I didn't bunk off. Me mum wanted me to go to a posh school but I didn't want to be different from me mates. I had natural ability.

How many 'O' levels?

Ten 'O' levels and four 'A' levels. I never saw education as a way of getting me into university or getting me a job. I just enjoyed learning. At one time I did want to be a doctor but when it came to the dissection of the sheep's eyeball I passed out, so I thought that's not a right good idea.

There was a lot of drugs hysteria surrounding your single Sorted For E's and Wizz. Does that make you the Timothy Leary of the Nineties?

Oh, bloody hell, I wouldn't like that. I think Timothy Leary is a right prick. I really do. I don't think there's anything big and clever about taking drugs. Usually there's something quite sad about it. Drugs can fool you. A person can lose his soul and his spirit by doing drugs. No matter what a great time you have, you can't help feeling guilty. You've only had a great time because you've introduced a foreign chemical into your body. It's not true happiness. Even so, I have to admit that I have done it and probably will again, but I'm not proud of it.

What do you look like naked?

Probably quite horrendous. Better in subdued lighting. I haven't got a full-length mirror in me house so it's hard to tell. I'm not that keen on me legs, they're a bit bowed at the bottom. I've got a surprisingly hairy chest too, which I blame on the fact that when I was younger I used to use one of those brushes in the bath to clean myself. I think that stimulated hair growth.

Have you got hairs on your back?

Ooh, I hope not. You've got a real problem once you get hairs on your back.

What's the worst pop lyric ever?

There was a really good one on that Gary Kemp album recently. It goes something like, "Wasted my astrology on you, my something or other... that cappuccino too." Occasionally people send me lyrics through the post and I always find that intensely embarrassing.

Will you ever write your memoirs?

That's a bit tiring though, in't it? Books are so long. That's why I like songs, they're short but they can have as much impact as a novel.

How would you like to pop your clogs?

In a ridiculous manner. Quick and painless.

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