His own fans chanted "Justice for Jarvis" from one side. Michael Jackson's followers hurled abuse from the other. One 16-year-old girl was arrested for threatening behaviour. In the middle, emerging from Kensington police station, west London, in his trademark black-rimmed glasses, the object of their praise and opprobrium, Jarvis Cocker.
The teen idol and lead singer of Pulp, who was answering police bail, was cleared of assaulting three children yesterday following his one-man riot against Michael Jackson's appearance at the Brit awards last month.
He was told by police there would be no charges brought against him following his impulsive entrance on to the stage at Earl's Court Arena.
Jackson was performing the "Earth Song", apparently modelling himself on Christ, surrounded by a chorus of children.
Following his 30-minute interview with the police Cocker, 32, said: "I'm just happy. It's not very nice to have allegations against you that you'd go and assault children, and punch children."
He added: "I was very upset. I think anyone would be. One of the worst things you can be accused of is not something you'd want on your CV."
The incident has already secured him a place in rock's annals of flamboyant behaviour. Cocker made V-signs at Jackson and allegedly knocked three children over before being removed by guards. Cocker provided the police with video evidence to prove that he had not hurt the youngsters. One young boy claims he cut his ear during the incident, and a number of others said they had been upset and shocked.
Despite the furore Cocker's followers viewed his interruption as heroic. The singer claims he felt "ill" in the face of the self-deification of Jackson, who has had charges of child abuse against him dropped.
Cocker, described as a designer nerd, said: "I thought it was in bad taste given allegations that were brought against him in the past. But the main thing really was this messiah thing, and the idea that people touching the hem of his gown would cure them. I'm not particularly religious but I think anyone setting themself up as a messiah figure is a bit dodgy."
However Cocker, who is seen as a champion of the masses for his hit single "Common People" and the album, Different Class, was reluctant to be labelled a hero.
"I'm not a hero. It really was something done on the spur of the moment ... it's not a particularly great thing to be famous for. I'd rather be known for music."
Jackson, the reclusive singer, was said to have been deeply upset by the incident. His record company allegedly said that he was "sickened, saddened, shocked, upset, cheated, angry and disgusted", by the affront. Mr Cocker is currently considering whether he will pursue any legal action against Jackson over the allegations that were made against him.
"That's something we're considering, because I was accused of assaulting children. I'm considering whether I should take that any further. I don't like the fact that has been reported," he said.
However, Cocker added that he did not wish Jackson any ill. "I've always said throughout this thing I haven't got a personal vendetta against Michael Jackson. He can dance. Anyone who came up with moon dance is all right by me."Reuse content