Michael Jackson played God on stage at the Brit Awards - until Jarvis Cocker, with Britpop bravado, decided to throw his weight around... Jarvis tells history.
While Jarvis Cocker was locked in rehearsals for last month's Brit Awards, he was one of the few allowed to watch Michael Jackson's run-through of his first television performance in Britain for 20 years. "I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. I found it extremely distasteful and crap," says Jarvis. But it wasn't until he watched Jacko doing his stuff on the night that he felt an urge to demonstrate his distaste and storm the stage - which resulted in his much-publicised arrest and charges of assaulting three children.
"Something in me just snapped. It really irked me that there were all these people with rags on, and him healing them all. He was obviously trying to exonerate himself from the child abuse allegations," says Jarvis. "Candida, our keyboard player, egged me on. I said 'Look, we could do something here, we're really near!' And she said, 'Oh, you'd never do it.'"
But he did. Grabbing Candida's boyfriend, 'Manners' Jarvis jumped on stage and wiggled his bum to the crowd before being hoiked off by one of Jacko's cleverly disguised bodyguards who was dressed as an extra. "The guy who chased me offstage seemed to be there for security reasons, as sort of a bouncer-cum-bodyguard. He lunged at me and I side-stepped him and legged it over the back of the stage. Then I walked off and went back to my table, and people started saying: 'Well done - somebody should have done that ages ago.'"
It was only later on - when he was asked to escort a policeman backstage - that Jarvis heard he was being accused of assaulting children. "I don't know who knocked over the kids - it certainly wasn't me," he says sadly. "I don't remember making any physical contact with anyone, and I wasn't happy that people thought I'd got onstage and hit some kids." It was as Jarvis tried to leave the event that he was approached by the police and the Brits' organisers and asked to "talk about it."
"What 'talk about it' actually meant was going to a room and being arrested," frowns Jarvis. After two hours of questioning, Jarvis was taken to Kensington police station, escorted by comedian Bob Mortimer - a one-time lawyer - who offered to act as his solicitor until three of Jacko's heavyweight LA lawyers turned up! "The police weren't bad, actually, and Bob ended up signing a load of autographs for them. It was nice of him to help me out," laughs Jarvis.
Having been read his rights, he was put in a cell before being released on bail at 3am and told to turn up in court on March 11 to hear the charges which may be brought against him. "It was my first night in the cells, and it weren't a bad cell," he says. "It had a flushing toilet and a bit of padding on the bench."
Looking back, Jarvis doesn't entirely regret his actions, although he does have reservations about the way in which he demonstrated his feelings towards Jacko. "I can't believe I did it now. It really was just a spur-of-the-moment thing - and once I was up there, I didn't know what to do. Sometimes you make a snap decision and afterwards you think it wasn't the greatest idea. But it gets on my nerves that people think it was a publicity stunt. There was no forward planning or anything - I'm not that desperate."
Is Jarvis Cocker a nutter, a kiddie-basher or just a bloke who did something most of us thought about doing when we watched Jacko at the Brits? The tabloids have accused Jarvo of being a yobbo, but he's only 9st and he didn't actually touch anyone, be they toddler or OAP, when he gate-crashed Jacko's 'Christ-like' shenanigans. We sat down with the man behind the headlines and fired off 20 questions designed to discover whether he is truly bonkers or just genius dressed in everyday clothes.
Where's Never Never Land?
Er... that's in Jacko's back garden isn't it? Ha, ha, ha!
Where do things go when they disappear in the Bermuda Triangle?
Er... David Copperfield's back garden.
What are sheep really saying when they say 'Baa'?
'Humbug.' It's 'Baa humbug', which is the full sentence they're trying to say. They've just cut it down to 'Baa' over the years.
What colour would the sky be if it wasn't blue?
Well, that's to do with air density, so quite possibly within the next 50 years we might have a different-coloured sky because we're already having global warming. So from blue I think it'll go more towards purple. That'd be quite nice. And Prince would be happy - he could have as much purple rain as he could possibly want...
Why are goldfish so thick?
Because they hang round at fairgrounds with the bad lads on the Waltzers. They're the slags of the fish world.
What do aliens look like?
I dunno. I've never seen one. I think a real alien wouldn't look like anything a human could imagine because they may exist in a different dimension to us. I think to imagine that they've got two legs and two arms and a big domy head is a bit daft. It's just that we can't really imagine anything too different to ourselves.
Describe someone who lives in Cheshire?
What's Princess Di doing at the moment?
Probably shagging someone she shouldn't be.
Why do grapes grow downwards?
Er... gravity. It is, though, isn't it?
Is it really you that you see reflected in the mirror?
No, it's me as I would appear in a parallel universe because everything's the other way around. And I like to imagine that when you walk away from the mirror, your reflection goes off and has adventures in a world where everything is slightly different to the one we're in.
Where did Gail Tilsley get the jumper she was wearing on Coronation Street the other day?
Well, I don't know about that - but the only thing about Gail Tilsley is: where did she lose her chin? I've never really taken much notice of her knitwear, but she really should invest in a chin. She must have got a bit of money now.
How much does a large pack of sausage rolls cost in M&S?
I don't like sausage rolls, so I wouldn't go near that part. Pork pies would be near that part as well, and I have a morbid fear of the jelly in between the meat and the pastry. I think it's called brine - and why that was invented, I don't know. I think it's like apartheid - it's like saying meat and pastry must never meet, therefore we will have this NATO peace-keeping force of brine to keep them apart, which I find weird.
Does money make the world go round?
No, but it can make it spin a little faster if you spend it wisely.
Are diamonds forever?
They are, yeah. In a nuclear blast, many common materials would turn into diamonds because it's only a compressed form of carbon. So with the extreme heat, we might all turn into diamonds ourselves. Diamonds and cockroaches would survive a nuclear blast, so you'd have very wealthy and well-dressed cockroaches walking around.
What would you do if your hair stopped growing at its present length?
I don't really like it like this, so I would just cut it all off and get a wig.
Why is it that cows lie down when it's gonna rain?
Because they're stupid, aren't they? They're just dumb animals, they've all got mad cow disease. I guess they wanna lie on something dry when they reckon it's gonna rain.
Why are people called 'Barbara'?
Because they've got stupid parents. I don't mind the name Barbara, but I do prefer Babs because that reminds me of a dancer in Pans People I used to fancy.
Is today a rehearsal for tomorrow?
No, but today is the first day of the rest of your life. I never believe in those kinds of things anyway. You see those on Christian coffee shop walls. You know that you're in a pickle when you start seeing things like that on walls. They make me think about the people who came up with the slogans. I imagine them to have beards, be slightly hunched and a bit spotty.
Why don't cats fancy dogs?
Because they've got sense! I'd be a cat out of the two, because then you're more independent.
Where did that giraffe go?
Hopefully to my house, because I really like giraffes. Although it is quite a small flat, so it wouldn't fit in very well. I could always have a word with the woman upstairs to see if we could put a hole in the ceiling.
IS JARVIS MAD?
No. He's just Jarvis.