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Did Jarvis Cocker Invent The Doom Claw?
The Quietus , May 16th, 2009 16:31

Photographic evidence emerges

In recent months, The Quietus has a host of celebrities throwing a Doom Claw in support of Sunn O)))'s superlative new album, Monoliths And Dimensions.

His Holiness the Pope used Easter to lend his support, while embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown put cares aside to raise an impressive double claw. And who could forget Abu Hamza's tribute to "two devout and young Muslim women like SunnO))) making devotional music"?

But where does this gesture originate? A pagan ritual, lost in the midst of time? A lone fan, raising his hand at an early Goatsnake performance? An attempt to channel the power of Electric Wizard into the body's very core?

The Quietus believes we have discovered the answer. This week, during an interview with urbane former Pulp man Jarvis Cocker, Sunn O))) came up in conversation. Cocker had the cloaked troupe play at his curation of the Meltdown festival a few years ago, and is fulsome in his praise. "That’s what I really liked when I saw them, it’s thinking about music in a completely different way," he said. "Steve Mackay told me about them, and said they sometimes play the same chord for an hour. And I thought that’s going to be fucking torture. But it’s not really about that. It’s a spiritual experience, but that comes about because it’s such a physical experience, that you can actually feel it vibrating you and your surroundings, it takes you somewhere else." Sunn O))) founder Stephen O'Malley was apparently to collaborate with Cocker at the latter's recent gallery project, but sadly arrived half an hour too late to supply some perfidious chords.

However, our research indicates that Cocker invented the Doom Claw as early as the mid-1990s, at the height of his Britpop fame. At the 1996 Brit Awards, shortly before he invaded the stage to waft his derriere at Michael Jackson, Cocker was photographed with his fingers curled into the shape that we know so well:

Was he anticipating the arrival of the Grimm Robe record some three years later? Jarvis' claw, like his musical career, lay dormant until he began to release solo material a few years ago. As this image, and this one here demonstrate, Cocker's claw, though dripping with a certain languid poise, has made a return as the gangly singer looks forward to Monoliths And Dimensions.

But has Jarvis heard the opus, the Quietus asked? Sadly not. "We’re doing a record swap," he told us. "I’m sending Stephen mine and he’s sending theirs, but it’s not arrived yet." One can only imagine what strange shapes those fingers will make when the postman arrives and Monoliths... is unleashed onto the Cocker home stereo.