Don't Call Me Jarvis! How Former Pulp Front Man Jarvis Cocker Turned into Bizarre Musician Darren Spooner

By Syson, Damon | The Evening Standard (London, England), August 14, 2003 | Go to article overview

Don't Call Me Jarvis! How Former Pulp Front Man Jarvis Cocker Turned into Bizarre Musician Darren Spooner


Syson, Damon, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: DAMON SYSON

IF you happened to walk down Oxford Street on Monday morning two weeks ago, you might have seen him - a lonely figure dressed head to toe in a skeleton outfit, pacing the pavement and waving a placard saying: "Brothers and sisters, you ain't heard nothing like this before."

Was the man behind the mask in fact a pop legend travelling incognito? I had been reliably informed that I would find Darren Spooner, front man of underground combo Relaxed Muscle, better known to fans as "the sound of young Doncaster".

He was, as arranged, underneath the Selfridges clock tower at 9am, but I knew I had been hoodwinked. This character was five inches too short and his accent hailed from the wrong side of the Pennines. You may be wondering why I bothered. The reason is that Darren Spooner is the bizarre alter ego of Jarvis Cocker, former front man of Pulp, now a semi-retired emigre engaged in a protracted joke at the expense of the British public.

Although Pulp split with their record company, Island, in 2001 after disappointing sales, and are officially "on hold", Cocker has been unable to resist a return from his two-year selfimposed pop exile.

Once an anti-Establishment figurehead, Cocker quickly withdrew once he realised how much part of the Establishment he and his band had become.

Jarvis became renowned for attending premieres, book launches and well-to-do parties. And yet here he is, back up on stage, albeit in the guise of a gothlike figure whose show involves karate-chopping balsa wood, breaking fake bottles over his head and shouting: "I'm dead, I'm dead," between songs.

Cocker now lives in Paris with his wife, fashion stylist Camille Bidault-Waddington, and their baby son Albert. His press officer was reluctant to confirm that Cocker and Spooner were one and the same. "He has played only two gigs," said the agent, "though he's hoping to appear in a battle of the bands competition in the South Yorks area later this summer - once his electronic tag has been removed. Any upcoming London dates will be advertised via cards in phone boxes.'' My request for an interview with Darren Spooner was refused, despite the recent release of his new triple Aside single, Billy Jack/Sexualised/ Year Of The Dog.

Spooner, it seems, is determined to remain a shadowy figure. Clearly all this art-school japery is terribly funny and deceptively clever in a multi-layered, ironic kind of way.

Yet maybe the 39-year-old singer's latest project isn't merely the "laugh" everyone says it is. For if we look beneath the surface of the Darren Spooner phenomenon, you can glean a lot about Cocker's emotional state, and the extraordinary journey that took him from obscurity to stardom and back to obscurity after a spectacular fall from grace.

Jarvis was born in 1963 in Sheffield. His mother, Christine, brought him and his sister, Saskia, up alone after his father left for Australia when Jarvis was seven. He enjoyed quite a bohemian upbringing: his mother had been to art school but, forced to bring up two children, spent her days emptying fruit machines in local pubs and clubs.

ALWAYS the outsider, Jarvis was marked out by his long hair and eccentric home-made clothes, including a favourite pair of lederhosen. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Don't Call Me Jarvis! How Former Pulp Front Man Jarvis Cocker Turned into Bizarre Musician Darren Spooner
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.