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Relaxed Muscle

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In 2003 former Pulp member Jarvis Cocker and Jason Buckle started a side project called “Relaxed Muscle”. Relaxed Muscle began as “a laugh” between Pulp rehearsals, but developed once Jarvis realised he could have more fun with this alter ego than he did as the public figure who could leap on stage to terrify Michael Jackson.

In early 2003 Relaxed Muscle began playing gigs. They maintained anonymity by assuming the alter-egos ‘Darren Spooner’ and ‘Wayne Marsden’ respectively. Billing themselves as “The sound of young Doncaster”, Darren claimed to have met Wayne “planting flowers” while doing community service for burglary. Their fictional criminality fitted the project well, with their songs about sex, gambling and domestic violence complimenting the depraved character of Relaxed Muscle.

Cocker’s transformation into a violent, wife-beating drunk is all the more impressive when you consider his trademark bookish, slightly effeminate image. When guesting on celebrity television quiz Shooting Stars, Bob Mortimer jokingly called Cocker “the weed in tweed” and insisted that when throwing mini Baby-Bel cheeses at a giant blow-up poster of Judy Finnigan for cash prizes, that he must do so “in the style of a girl”. Nevertheless, Cocker continued to avoid detection and while on-stage as Darren Spooner took to karate-chopping balsa wood and breaking sugar-glass bottles on other band members.

However, soon Cocker and Hawley’s cover was blown while playing a gig in London, despite wearing full eye make-up and skeleton suits. Even with their identities revealed, the band continued playing gigs, capitalising on their electronic sound to play the likes of Trash club on 20th October 2003.

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