Jarvis Cocker is an unlikely sports fan. The lead singer of Pulp has the look of what horrible children at school would once have called a specky four-eyed git. He freely admits he has the sporting prowess of a snotty handkerchief. On the morning of Super Saturday at the Olympic Stadium he was the guest on the stadium’s in-house television show.
Cocker became an expert in sport, wrote Kevin Mitchell in The Observer yesterday, because he “was in awe of” Jessica Ennis. Both are from Sheffield. Both are national treasures. Both made Saturday the most magnificent day of sport seen in London for many years.
The Pulp song, “Do you remember the first time” romped out before the morning session started, setting the tone for Oscar Pistorius, who was making his Olympic debut. It would also have resonated with Ennis and Mo Farah, and any other number of athletes who will look back on Saturday night as the moment that dreams came true.
It was, as Cocker also sings, as thought they were all “sorted for Es and wizz”, which might interest the World Anti-Doping Body. The Olympic Stadium was certainly all loved up on Saturday.
Pistorius said he didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he was in his starting blocks on Saturday because he felt the love.
“The track is fast, but it’s the crowd,” he said. “You can feel them all around, the noise is incredible. We work hard to get what we have and we’re sometimes so serious that we forget that the crowd are here to enjoy the sport. It shouldn’t be a burden doing what we do.”
Cocker liked the cut of Pistorius’ jib, and his legs. He called him “incredible”. Asked about Usain Bolt, Cocker said he believed he was “keeping a lot in reserve” for last night's final. “I mean, you don’t want to show off everything at the one time, do you?” Asked about his beloved Ennis, he’s a little more coy, “I don’t want to jinx her, but she’s looking good”.
Indeed she was. There cannot have been any greater way to end a meet and win a competition than her final sprint to take her heat of the 800 metres. It was magnificent.
Cocker said he rode a bike. How far? “Down the shops, which isn’t too far.” He wasn’t sure he could do the pole vault: “Carry a big pole? Probably. Put it in a small hole in the ground while running? Maybe. Bounce around on a big soft mattress? Definitely. Put all of them together and do the pole vault? Not a chance.”
Michael Jackson got to see Cocker’s abrasive side when the Sheffield man stormed the stage and made a “mooning” gesture at Jackson during the 1996 Brit Awards. Jackson, he said, was trying to portray himself as a “Christ-like figure”.
He was arrested and taken off stage, something David Cameron, the Prime Minister, remembered. Last year Cocker asked him a question, via The Guardian, that ran thus: “Re: abstract finance ideas such as derivatives and futures, do you actually understand how all that stuff works? And if so, can you explain what a derivative and future are?” Cameron answered it well, but then added, as smart-arse politicians are wont to do: “There we are. Not as punchy as Jarvis Cocker on Michael Jackson, but it’s the best I can do. I was there that night, at the Brit awards. I saw him led away. I saw his bum.”
“I’d just like to point out,” Jarvis told The Guardian, “that if anybody cares to look at the video evidence, at no point was my bare backside revealed.
So therefore the fact he says he’s seen it totally negates the credence of what he said in the previous part of the answer about derivatives and futures.
I’m glad I’ve got that off my chest – it’s been bothering me, that. Pistorius, Ennis, Farah and Bolt – all pulled together by Jarvis Cocker. It was a Super Saturday like no other.