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Don't muddy up pleasant conversation with political opinions. [15 Jan 2007|11:20pm]
[ mood | ecclesiastic ]

The day I heard the news, I'd only just finished reading the first volume of Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler. It covers his life up to 1936, at which point he had been Chancellor for three years and had acquired near-complete control of Germany. Austria was next. It starts there, with his birth and family life; his mother spoiled him, but his artistic bent and lack of motivation disgusted his father, who was a strict disciplinarian. He left home and moved to Vienna after his father died, and tried unsuccessfully several times to get into art school. After standing about doing nothing for a few years, he moved to Germany and joined the army when WWI broke out. The war was a high point of German nationalism; the vast majority of the country saw it as a chance for Germany to gain political and military preeminence in Europe. Which explains why, when they were roundly defeated, the entire nation was demoralized on a grand scale.

The conditions that existed to produce Nazi Germany were at once sui generis and hopelessly banal. A country unused to democracy, a government easily open to manipulation by wealthy special interests, an underpaid, underfed population looking for somebody to blame, and a streak of latent anti-Semitism that was by no means exclusive to Germany. Up until the Wannsee Conference, Russia was actually far more malignant to its Jewish population than Germany ever was. The Germans had more of a benign neglect policy; while there was plenty of outright prejudice to be found, mostly in rural areas, the general feeling was that they weren't quite people the way you and I were. They were routinely lumped in with terrorists, Communists, criminals, and other sorts of fringe elements who where hiding in the dark, waiting for their chances to toss a spanner into the lives of good, honest Deutschland workers. It was a climate of fear, shame, and rage, and it was in this moment that Hitler found his true talent; to stir the pot. He blundered into beerhall politics as a way of staving off returning to the civilian workforce, but when he opened his mouth to speak, he discovered he had the ability to lift the patrons to their feet. The next fifteen years were a slow rise to power, with frenetic efforts to win popular support, propaganda techniques both strategised and improvised, political maneuvers both canny and disastrous. He ended up in the position he did because he was viewed, despite what by 1933 was an enormous groundswell of popular support, as an outsider by the political elite of the day; one who could be manipulated to serve the bourgoisie while maintaining the approval of the proletariat. It didn't quite work out that way.

There's a strange irony to Kershaw's perspective on Hitler; he depicts him as what he calls an "unperson," almost devoid of personal life or outside interests. At the same time, he notes that Hitler, particularly in the later days of his administration, did a proportionally small amount of real governing, largely preferring to sleep in and read during the day and watch films in the evening. For someone who's life was consumed by government and responsibility, he seemed to be doing everything he could to escape both. He was consumed with the idea of remaking Germany, ridding it of the Jews, and seizing absolute power; but when it came time to make a decision towards these ends, he would vacillate and delay up until the last possible minute, driving his aides to distraction. Goebbels once complained in his diary that "Hitler...makes no decisions, he doesn't lead any more but lets things happen." At once desperate to be in control of events and terrified of losing whatever power he had at the moment, Hitler blazed through history like a man trying to outrun a comet, or perhaps simply looking to outpace his own emptiness, at the same time grasping like Tantalus at justifications for his own overweening self-worth.

I thought of all this the other day when I heard that Saddam Hussein had been executed by hanging. Now, I'm not trying to draw some facile comparison between Hussein and Hitler; it's plainly obvious to anyone that they were both brutal oppressors who each doled out a considerable measure of suffering. Until recently, I never thought I'd feel so much as a jot of sympathy for Hussein, whom I always viewed as a jumped-up petty thug, whatever my thoughts may be about actions against his administration. But when the reports of the execution started to trickle in, with official accounts proclaiming him broken and humbled quickly contradicted by eyewitness testimony and surreptitious recordings; it looks like the man went to his death proud and defiant. I can only speculate, but my guess is that, unlike Hitler, he went to his grave comforted by the knowledge that of all the atrocities he perpetuated, he was still ultimately the lesser villian on the stage. Because Saddam Hussein did not die for being a murderous dictator. No, he died for the only true crime punishable in today's world; he dared to fuck with the United States of America.

9 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

All recorded data is preserved for future reference. [26 Jun 2005|04:11am]
[ mood | air-conditioned ]

Someone just printed an article by Sigur Ros where they talked about touring with us about five years ago. They basically said that they hardly saw hide nor hair of us the entire tour, and that we were surrounded by staff and henchmen at every turn. I don't know if I'd put it quite that way, but I could see how they got the idea. As anyone who's followed our career knows, it was a strange time for us. We'd been successful for a few years by that point, but what happened to us in 2000 stretched anyone's idea of "success" to the breaking point. We'd gotten death threats, maniacal "fan" letters only in the loosest sense of the word, and god knows what else. I actually opened one letter only to read that the author had sealed the envelope with his own semen. I promptly ran to the loo and puked up my lunch, and I must have washed my hands about ten times in the next twelve hours. That's when hiring someone to open our mail started to seem like a good idea. I like to think we're a little more low-key these days, but the fact is, the size of audience we have prevents us from having too much face-to-face contact. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't frustrating at times, particularly in creating an image of ourselves that I don't particularly care for. But I've long since given up the idea that it's something I can realistically manage. Besides, too many other bands go about whinging over it.

So, the EU constitution vote. Personally, I think the worst thing people can do about this is panic, and of course that's precisely what everyone seems to be busily doing. Personally, I have no real problem with the EU as a concept, and I think Blair's being a git about the rebate, although no surprise there. But I have to say I think it's overwhelmingly idealistic, if not completely mad, to expect countries and cultures that have been sovereign for hundreds of years to suddenly submit to a single governing authority on national decisions. It would certainly be nice to have a broader asylum policy across Europe, just to pick out an example, but certainly the way to do that is not to try to overturn centuries of custom with one document. I feel like the EU leaders, by pushing too far too fast, are far more likely to do damage to the concept of the Union than any one Continental voting public.

And in the "flattering, albeit completely daft" department, I am apparently one of the front-runners in a poll for Sexiest Celebrity Vegetarian run by PETA. I'll just pick a few nuggets out of the gravel pit of things I could say about this: 1) This is only slightly less camp than their nude women adverts from a few years ago, which I thought rather gave the faction that said animal activists value animal life over humans some unneeded ammunition; 2) Do I get a free lifetime supply of water chestnuts if I win? And 3) Clearly, the Ladbrokes people should be offering even money on Kenny Loggins.

Oh, I suppose I'm back for at least a bit.

12 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Get on better with your professional associates. [17 Apr 2005|03:35pm]
[ mood | Welsh news ]

Hello. Good morning. Hey. Is there tea? Over on the back table. Well, this election looks like a balls-up, doesn't it? I don't even want to think about it. All right, lads, what's on the agenda for today? Did he actually use the word "lads" just now? Did we want to start vocals this morning? Do we have something finished to put vocals on? Yeah, you remember, we were going to outfit the bridge with them just to see what it sounds like. I'm a little hoarse this morning. Don't worry about it, you can't sing anyway. Well, that's nice. I was only taking the piss.

Well, I've got something here I put the finishing touches on last night. All right, let's us hear it. Hold on, I have to tune this. Ow! Bloody thing. Here, use mine. Is your hand all right? I think so. Right, off we go then. That was really nice. You think so? I do, I thought it was quite good. It was good but that one bit sounded a little too Knives Out. And that chord change, that B flat to E7, are you sure there isn't a better way to do that? It just throws me out of the song. What if you add a G in there? You can't add a G; it'll throw off the rhythm. Can't we just adjust the sequencer for that? Can we? We're not going to use a drum track on every song, are we? Don't get upset, Phil. I'm not getting upset; I just asked a simple question. This is going to sound daft, but does anyone think it would be better in waltz time? You're right. I am? Yes, it sounds daft. Erm, let's come back to this later, what do you say? Fine.

I think you should play it the same way you were playing it yesterday. I was! No, you weren't; you took it up about half an octave. What? No, I didn't. Yes you did, you were on E before and now you're on A. Oh, my arse. Can we get a playback from yesterday? Oh, we already listened to the playback. See? Hear that? No, but that's because we adjusted the pitch. Who did that? You did, Thom. Oh. Won't that sound strange when we play it live? Who sodding cares how it sounds live at this point. Did anyone order food?

I'd die for a cigarette. Well, go outside. I can't, it's raining. Good, it'll add minutes to your life. What kind of rock star are you, anyway? A healthy one. Who's Jonny talking to? Who else? He's been on the phone for over a half-hour now. Oi, Jonny! Before we're pensioning, yeah? Did you see that? I know his mother didn't teach him that gesture.

I think it needs to be remixed. I think the bass is too high. That's the first time I've heard you say that, ever. Oh, piss off. Well, shall we give it another go? Hang on. What's the matter? I can't get it to stop doing that. Did you try a different cord? I've tried about three. Bollocks. Do we have any more like this one? We can have it here tomorrow. What about using different pedals? No, it'll change the whole texture of the sound. Well, maybe it'll sound better that way. It won't. Well, let's try it and see.

I told you it wouldn't work. Well, all right, it was worth a shot.

Thom, there's a bloke from the label on the phone. Oh, for god's sake, what now? You going to finish your chicken? As a matter of fact, I am. I swear, I'd like to finish a Guardian crossword just once before I die. Well, let's do something until he comes back. Like what? I don't know, why don't we just start in F minor and take it from there. All right, I'll get on the keyboard. Hahaha! Max Roach, eat your heart out. What was that? What were you just playing? Oh, it was just something we were doing to waste time. Hang on, hang on; I was working on something yesterday—where's my bloody notebook? This one? Who used my notebook for a beer coaster? Jonny did. Oh, bollocks, Colin. All right, shut up, shut up; can you remember what that was? Um, not really. I do; it was this, wasn't it? Oh, right, there you go. And then Phil was doing that bit with the brushes; right, that's it! All right, I'm just going to come in with this bit I wrote. Okay, we're recording! See, that wasn't bad at all, was it? I think we've got something there. All right, well, that'll be something we can work on tomorrow. I hope the traffic's cleared up a bit since this morning. Did you get stuck on the bridge as well? Just behind it. All right, see everyone tomorrow.

Aren't you going, then? Oh, well, I thought I'd just stick around for a bit and see if I could work on this a little more. Save work for tomorrow, you know. Oh. Well, maybe I'll do as well; there was one thing I wanted to add before I forgot. What's that noise? Here, what are you two doing? Just fine-tuning a little; you go on ahead. Well, let us hear it at least. Hey, are you coming? Say, that's a bit of brilliant, did you just come up with that? I don't know, it just sort of happened. What, are we all staying then? Oh, hey, listen, listen to what they did. Show him. Oh, well I can come in after maybe 24 bars or so and do something like this. Right, right, that's perfect! All right, let's do it all together then. Oh, that's great. This is really working out to be something. Well, I can stay a bit longer if we want to keep working on it. Okay, great. Let's try it once more, just a bit uptempo. It's the best when they just happen like that, isn't it?

It is.

3 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Unexplained deviations from conventional wisdom. [20 Mar 2005|11:27am]
[ mood | limned ]

In Berlin, on December of 2003, Armin Meiwes was arrested for the murder of Bernd Juergen Brandes. Mr. Meiwes had put an ad on the internet for someone willing to be killed and eaten. Mr. Brandes was reportedly not the only person who answered in the affirmative. Videotapes were shown where the two men feasted on parts of Mr. Brandes' body which Mr. Meiwes had removed, including a portion of Mr. Brandes' penis. Mr. Meiwes stated that Mr. Brandes had allegedly consumed an entire bottle of cold medicine in order to be unconscious while Mr. Meiwes killed him.

In 1933, a 19-year-old student named Kiyoko Matsumoto committed suicide by jumping into the crater of a live volcano on the island of Oshima, Japan. It's estimated that over the next few months, more than three hundred other schoolchildren were led to follow her example.

Late last year, Iris Chang, best-selling author of The Rape of Nanking, reported to friends that the nature of the research for her current book, chronicling the experiences of Bataan Death March veterans, was causing her undue stress and anxiety. On November 6th, she pulled her car over to the side of a highway in Los Gatos, California, and shot herself in the head.

What makes people decide that life isn't worth living? Why does one person look upon death with horror, another with relief? Do people always commit suicide out of pain and anguish? Is it possible that some people might simply choose death as a path like any other?

Certainly, some motives for suicide are understandable even to the general public. Chronic, untreatable pain or an incurable, progressive illness are usually understood, if not necessarily accepted, rationale for ending one's life. Mental illness is generally considered less of a justification, due to the fact that it's generally thought of in terms of treatable, and allegedly temporary, manifestations such as depression and trauma. But what does one do when these supposedly temporary conditions persist with no end in sight? One thinks of Holocaust survivors like Jean Amery, Paul Celan, and allegedly, Primo Levi, who all killed themselves decades after escaping the horrors of the camps. There are also more chronic mental conditions, such as schizophrenics who are unresponsive to medication. At what point do we decide that the obstacles to living a fulfilling life are no longer worth the struggle it takes to overcome them?

I think anyone who lives long enough knows that there are a great many people in the world who, despite being estimated to be perfectly decent by most who know them, will nevertheless concentrate on their failings and regularly value themselves as worth less than the people around them. If you're wondering if I'm talking about myself here, well, I might be and I might not be. But at any rate, what forms people that way, that they're consistently depreciating themselves? Neglectful upbringing, history of abuse, tragic and or traumatic events over the course of their lives? All likely, I'm sure. But one has to wonder if some people, over time, simply lose interest in life and find the world to be wanting. The actor George Sanders comes to mind, who wrote in his suicide note, "Dear World. I am leaving because I am bored."

I used to get letters from fans saying that my music had stopped them from killing themselves. I imagine anyone in my position has. I never found it particularly easy to feel good about. Perhaps I should have done, but it just felt like such an overwhelming responsibility. It gave my music far more power over people's lives than I would have liked. What if the song hadn't been good enough, if I'd left out a line here or a chord progression there that was the finishing touch that kept this person's despair at bay? How would I be able to duplicate the feat on the next album, and if I couldn't, would I be responsible for the lives that were lost as a result? And on an even more paranoid and self-centered note, how was I to know that I'd done these people a service? Who's to say that they wouldn't encounter even greater suffering down the road? I've worked hard at learning how not to agonize over these sorts of intangibles over the years, and believe I've succeeded for the most part. But I'm far from certain that we can assume we know better than anyone else whether their life is worthwhile or not.

In what may or may not be unrelated news, we're back to work. This may or may not mean what you think it means.

8 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Sorry xthommy_yx, you had your chance. [06 Feb 2005|12:25pm]
[ mood | calm ]

you're going to make it after all
past the reporters
past the special investigators
past the ethics committee
out into the clear blue day
where the planes soar triumphantly overhead
and the vapor trails tell secrets of love
and the smokestacks all sing happy birthday to you
and the exhaust pipes spit graffiti in the air
and the nuclear warheads carry you off the field on their backs
and toss you into the air saying hip hip hooray
because they know
you're on their side
you're their man
you've made a stand
you've chosen them over your own species
no it wasn't easy betrayal is never easy but
it had to be done
the machines love more purely than people will ever do
they will take you as you are
they don't mind if you eat with your mouth open
or prefer not to associate with ores of a certain color
they will not judge you for not having read the right books
they will not mind if you don't enjoy being touched
or if your smile is too wide and your eyes too far away
or that you masturbate while thinking about cutting off her arm
they will not mind

you couldn't have done it alone of course
there are so many who have contributed along the way
who planted the news items
who paid off the editors
who threw tar on the camera lenses
who gave the orders to move out
who tested the new prototypes
who said the girls should be skinnier
who said the theme music should be louder
the editing more fast paced
they were the ones who didn't understand how anyone could see otherwise
who said no one could take away from their success
and that they had done their utmost to remain competitive
and would rise to surmount any challenges
whose critics were well-intentioned but had no practical understanding of the situation
and didn't understand how to make omelettes
and were inevitably trying to put a brake on progress
which you just don't do

yes they've all been very helpful
of course you can't take the chance
that the machines will come to love them more than you

7 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Know what people are saying about you. [22 Dec 2004|07:38pm]
[ mood | responsive ]

The least they could do is include capitalsCollapse )

The London Sinfonetta will be playing brand new music composed by myself and Jonny at the end of March. It's the first new Radiohead-related music to debut in public in a year. Is it actual songs from the actual possible new album? Or is it horribly esoteric abstract rubbish that no one except thin young men with plastic-frame glasses will be interested in hearing? Wouldn't you like to know.

10 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Keeping up with current events. [08 Dec 2004|08:16pm]
[ mood | informative ]

There will be a more substantial update forthcoming in a couple of days, I'm reasonably sure. For now, here's some events that are somewhat peripheral to my life, and probably have nothing whatever to do with yours.

First of all, Band Aid 20's gone to Number One. And the word is that even Tony Blair bought a copy. I would say something like I wished that particular CD case would have been treated with depleted uranium. Except, of course, that I would never say anything like that, because I'd hate to upset the good people at MI5.

Also, the Vitamin Records String Quartet has produced a CD interpreting the songs of Kid A. This is on the heels of two other collections of our music, including one dedicated to OK Computer. It's as if we're turning into the Tom Clancy of rock bands; let other people remake our best works over and over again, and then we slap our name in large type somewhere above that of the artist responsible and collect the residuals.

And finally, and most entertainingly from my perspective: the people at Edquarters, the web site dedicated to our guitarist Ed O'Brien, have a tradition of taking up a collection to buy Ed a Christmas present around this time each year. Why this should be I'm not certain, as he assuredly has enough money to do his own shopping. But then, it's been some time since we've heard anything from him; perhaps he's suffered some reversals of which I know nothing? At any rate, this year the patrons in question have alighted on the plan of buying our dear collaborator goats. As many as possible. I find no end of amusement in this idea. My only wish is that they'd attempted to keep it a secret so that Ed would wake up on his birthday to find his front yard.

Now this isn't as completely mad as it sounds; in actuality, it's all part of Oxfam's Unwrapped program, wherein people can choose to purchase environmentally-friendly presents for friends and relatives this holiday. And it's not just goats; you can also purchase chickens, beehives, seeds, even train a farmer how to plant better crops. It may seem a bit odd at first, but I would think that any of these would give you more satisfaction in the long run than yet another videogame or music player, no?

This post is where all the missing links are to be found. (And people say I have no sense of humour.)

I've had a great number of my icons wander off for a walkabout. I hope they'll be warm enough.

6 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

A Gathering of the Finest. [23 Nov 2004|11:01pm]
[ mood | lyrics reposted w/o permission ]

Well, I suppose that could have been more of an unmitigated disaster. Although I'm not sure exactly how.

It started a month or so ago when Nigel rang and told me he was being tapped to put Band Aid 20 together. Quite honestly, my gut feeling was to have none of it right from the start. My first instinct towards any kind of star-studded benefit is to cringe. Personally, if you're going to get involved with anything political, I don't see any reason why you can't do it just like everyone else; donate, attend meetings, attend protests, help organise. Why people feel that no one will pay attention to an important issue without some kind of clever song or spectacle attached to it, I'll never understand. Or rather, wouldn't if it didn't turn out to be patently true 90% of the time.

How not to teach the world to singCollapse )

Perhaps, despite the enterprise's flawed foundation, it might have turned out all right if the people involved had kept their heads on the end goal. Anyone who's been paying attention to the British press in the past weeks can tell you if that condition was fulfilled. Justin Hawkins, of something called the Darkness, threw a great public wobbler when he found out that his version of the line "Well, thank God it's them instead of you" was tossed in favour of Bono's. When the video premiered, it was preceded by a pre-recorded announcement from Madonna: "Twenty years ago, I performed at Live Aid and the world watched. You saw me and my generation demanding a change." Interesting use of the first-person singular there. There were other people on the stage, no? Bono himself went on record to say that he "really, really loathed" the line that he'd so cruelly snatched away from Justin Hawkins. Bono, if you went so far out of your way to re-record the bloody thing, what's the point of going around whinging that you hated it in the first place? Oh, and I might as well lower myself down to the level of the niggling throng, and say cheers for your comments to Radio One. Because, you know, mainstream acceptance is all I've ever sought, really.

The problem is, these are people who make their living on presenting themselves as being smarter, prettier, simply better than the average bloke. To ask all of them to come together for an altruistic effort is like pushing deer off the cliffs of Dover and expecting them to fly. I have to think of myself as an exception, or more accurately, a fluke; certainly I didn't get where I am because of my good looks. At any rate, Nigel was nice enough to let me come in and record my line when there was no one else around, or perhaps he felt that would be better for all concerned. It got the sack anyway, and I'm really quite upset over it. No, really, I am. Do you think I should take out an advert?

At any rate, I've already heard that one station in Wales has banned the song, and it's gotten rather less than enthusiastic public acclaim from listeners, all of which should not detain it from selling in the extremely large numbers. Which is, I suppose, a blessing, if the money does in fact get to where it's directed, a prospect of which I have my doubts. All in all, I think Louise S. Sinclair of London summed it up best: "A revolting, self-congratulatory group of second-rate celebrities anguishing soulfully in public." I did want to say cheers to Damon for the tea, though; English Breakfast, wasn't it?

12 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Resign You Are a Disgrace. [08 Nov 2004|09:23pm]
[ mood | devil's candy ]

I woke up with a terrible head Saturday morning. I can remember going to Jonny's party the night before, and of course everyone was quite nice, and I was extremely relieved to see that awful Meyers and McGregor pair weren't there. Quite frankly, after the extremely lamentable Finland escapade, I should find myself hard put to enjoy any kind of social gathering they might be present at. At any rate, I did have a bit of wine, but I'm afraid I don't remember very much after that. I really should be careful with that sort of thing; I'm not a boy at university anymore, am I? Had a fuck of a time keeping food down for most of the day. Rachel was none too amused; she told me I'd completely ruined her best pair of running shoes. She still won't tell me exactly how.

At any rate, the time certainly seems to be ripe for taking a bit of a holiday from reality. I've had a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted to say about the American election, and I'm sure plenty of people will say that I oughtn't to have bothered because everyone's bloody sick and tired of hearing about it all. I can't say as I blame them, either. But, and no offence, but I think that part of what caused all this is just that instinct to say rubbish to all that. I'll explain.

What are the main pursuits of our time? What do we enjoy doing more than anything else? Movies. Reality programmes. Videogames. Partying. Getting pissed. Getting shagged. We're in constant search for transcendence. Anything to take us out of ourselves for a brief minute, whether it's becoming immersed in someone else's life, real or fictional, or just turning off the thoughts in our brain through druggy incoherency or the spurt of an orgasm. We want to escape. You hear that so much these days. "I just want to turn my brain off for a little while." "I don't want to think about the problems of the world." "Reality is overrated." What is it we're running from?

There was a time when all these avenues of escape didn't exist. Back then, when people wanted to occupy themselves, they were forced to be constructive rather than escapist; making things, growing things, selling things, even helping people. Not that it was a paradise, but—at least from what I've heard—there was the sense of fulfillment. You were working to mold and shape the environment around you. Now, granted, I'm sure not everyone felt that way; certainly I doubt the Welsh coal-miners and Irish potato farmers looked on their unceasing labour as a boon from the gods. But it must have instilled a certain kind of mindset; you didn't walk away from problems, you rolled up your sleeves and worked at the business until it was done. That's not a lesson too many people took away from the 20th century overall.

So, now we see the full flowering of this trend. When the strongest country in the world grows ever further out of touch with world opinion, we see more and more of its people take refuge in a comfortable illusion, one that their leaders are happy to foster. And any attempt to dislodge it results in angry denials and further shoring up of the ideological wall. And now that the seeming worst has happened, I see many people laying the groundwork for what most Americans would think of as the most unthinkable escape of all; expatriation. And at the risk of overstepping my bounds, not to mention asking other people to carry a lot of water, I would say to everyone who is contemplating a move to Canada or Mexico or even the UK (not that our government's so bloody enlightened, either): Don't go. Stay there. Work to change the minds of your neighbours, your family members, your local, state, and even federal representatives. The world is riveted to what's happening in America because it affects all of us, but few, if any, of us have the least bit of control over it. You do. Take it into your hands, for all our sakes.

Now certainly if you feel there's some threat to the well-being of yourself or your family—as I imagine many homosexual or Islamic Americans currently do—then by all means, get out. But if you're in a position of power or privilege in American society, then, well, I'll come right out and say it; it's your duty, not only to yourself and your country, but to the world at large, to speak out. So much is at stake here; not merely your own country's standing, but the lives of who knows how many innocent people in other lands, and indeed the world itself, as the next four years will be crucial to prevent the spread of climate change.

Some have suggested that John Kennedy was America's Caesar; if that's true, then Bush is definitely your Nero. The question of whether incipient decline is inevitable or not, however, can only be answered by you and the choices you make.

9 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

It's enough to still be there. [14 Oct 2004|09:03pm]
[ mood | good ]

We have a DVD coming out! And it's full of utter rubbish! It's called Radiohead Television and right now you can pre-order it from our website. Yes, that's right, our website does more than just confuse people, it now offers a DVD that will…confuse people. It's basically stuff we threw together in and around the time we were making Hail to the Thief, and it includes: mad cartoon videos of some of the songs! Live performances with bad quality picture! Songs that weren't good enough to make the album! And a good deal of my face if you like that sort of thing! All of which is hosted and masterminded by the ever-enigmatic Chieftan Mews! Is he a disembodied presence who must be kept under glass for 18 hours a day to keep his essence from dissipating? Is he a former civil service worker with a disturbingly strong predilection for raw meat? Was he even anywhere near the garden on the night of the 31st at all? What—tell you here? And risk destroying the Radiohead mystique? Not on your Nellie. But at any rate, much of it makes me giggle and cover my mouth, so here's hoping it does the same for you, or some equivalently pleasurable reflex action.

My birthday was lovely. Jonny and Jamie came by and the four of us had dinner. Rachel offered to cook, but I kept hovering around the kitchen and offering what I personally consider extremely helpful tips. However, for some reason she saw this as a distraction, and finally stomped out, telling me that if I was going to throw a wobbler every time she added an extra pinch of salt to anything, I could make my own bloody birthday dinner. Which was just as well; I mean, she was cooking the stuffing outside the bird. How are you supposed to get the juices in?

Anyhow, we finally did sit down to dinner. Jamie's quite nice, a bit on the quiet side, but she got me a lovely V-neck sweater. Perfect thing to wear with the cold weather coming, ta Jamie. Jonny got me what has to be one of the most brilliant presents in the history of the British Empire; a year of whatever I like from the Banbury Cake Shop on St. George's, charged to his account. Not that I can't afford the cakes myself, but it'll be nice to go in and obtain them from Ms. Buckle, the counterperson, without having to go through the bother of handing them my charge card. Incidentally, Ms. Buckle, without fail, asks me the same question every time I've gone in there for the past ten years. "How's the rock-and-roll life treating you, Thom? Still staying away from the dirty girls?" Yes, Ms. Buckle. Wouldn't dream of such a thing, Ms. Buckle. "Ah, you're a good lad." Then we went outside and chopped wood. Jonny and I, that is, not Ms. Buckle and I. It wasn't any sort of Robert Bly nonsense, if that's what you're thinking. I just wanted a new sound to mess about in ProTools with, so I had us take turns chopping while the other recorded.

The others sent packages: Colin sent me a large jar of apple blossom honey. The only alarming thing about it was the dried red thumbprint on the side of the bottle. I'm not sure I want to know quite how the honey was obtained. Ed sent me a Lefty Frizzell box set; 16 CDs! I'll never listen to it all, but at least I can leave the booklet in the loo for me to read. And Phil, well. I opened Phil's parcel and it had a dry rag with a smiley face drawn on it. His heart's in the right place.

It's days like those that are the ones I simply want to drink in. I don't know how right I feel about it; it seems almost derelict, particularly in this day and time, to devote so much of my attention to simple idyllery, but my God, it's just so nice. Back when I was younger, I couldn't abide silence at all. I always had to have a tape playing, or an instrument in my hand, or at the very least, my own voice was always at hand to employ. Now I practically thirst for lack of sound. There's just something so pleasant about having nothing to disrupt my train of thought. Obviously it can't last forever; that would mean I was dead. But it doesn't stop me from being a glutton for it.

Well, Malcolm Glazer looks to be out. Which means we've avoided having Manchester burned to the ground for at least another season.

12 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Is it happening to me or you? [04 Oct 2004|11:17pm]
[ mood | tossed about ]

I've been crying a bit more than usual lately. I suppose that might seem a strange way to start off an entry; I should state right away that there's nothing wrong with me. I'm not depressed, nothing horrible has happened; I can't imagine being more contented, really. But for some reason, my emotions seem closer to the surface than even usual. The other night I was flipping through the channels and I came across an old highlights broadcast where they were showing clips from the '66 World Cup. I'd seen it before many times; Christ, when my father's mates would come over, I used to count how many Guinesses they'd go through before one of them ended up doing a howler-monkey impression of Kenneth Wolstenholme. But for some reason, when I watched Bobby Moore being carried off by the England side, I felt myself welling up. Then last night, I was knocking about on the computer, and just for something to listen to, put on this old Peter Gabriel record from 1980. Now when Peter Gabriel started with Genesis in the Seventies, he recorded all these twelve-minute long songs about Greek gods, reincarnation and giant flowers, which often resulted in him dressing up as any or all of the above on stage. But after '75, Gabriel quit Genesis and started making solo albums that were increasingly personal in nature. By 1980, he recorded the best album of his career; a dark, heavily electronic-sounding record filled with paranoia and desperation with regards to the times. I got to the last song, "Biko," and it just hit me. Now certainly Steve Biko is an inspirational figure, an almost impossibly brave man who died a horrible death simply for standing up for what he believed in. But what got to me almost even more than that was the journey Peter must have made; from perhaps slightly over-educated art student obsessed with myth and theatrics, slowly becoming aware to the realities of life in the modern world and finding within himself the means to not only articulate his feelings, but with the opportunity to actually effect the things he wanted to sing about. It must have been a heady journey. So there I am, sobbing in front of my computer as ProTools flashes error messages at me. Rachel came in to bring me a croissant and stared at me for a full minute before suggesting that perhaps I should come away from the computer for a while.

I think part of it is just being starved for something real. We're all bombarded by the innocuous, the blandly reassuring concoctions that stream out of every TV and radio and bombard us at every Tube stop, all of them designed to stop feeling, to pummel it into submission, so you're only left with a bit of glazed awareness as you coast through the day. It's why horrible things like Jerry Springer and Cops are so popular in America, where it's even more encouraged to put on a big bright smile every time you go out of doors. At least when you see people throwing chairs at each other and being forced to snog the pavement, you know they're experiencing some brand of emotion you can relate to, instead of this effervescent stupor being perpetually sold to us. It's too bad it has to be tinged with such contempt.

There's this one story in particular I haven't been able to turn away from. There's this woman in Florida; her name is Terri Schiavo. And apparently fourteen years ago, she collapsed of a heart attack at age 26. Since that time, she's been in what's called a "vegetative state." Her husband has been fighting for years now to be allowed to take her off life support, but her parents have been doing every effort to keep her alive in hopes that she'll recover. Medical opinion seem to be split down the middle; she'll never recover, she might recover with time, she might have recovered if she'd been allowed to participate in therapies that the husband didn't allow. Some experts are stating that her heart was in top condition and what actually caused the damage was physical abuse, possibly perpetrated by the husband. At any rate, it's a right mess, and all I can think of is how bloody awful it must be for everyone involved. The American writer Robert Penn Warren once wrote that when you have children, it's like giving part of yourself away, and the entire relationship you have with your child from that point on is predicated on getting that bit returned to you. It seems like a fairly cynical outlook at first blush, but I can see his point. I would never want to possess Noah or keep him from doing whatever he wants to as he gets older, but just the idea of him out of the house and off somewhere is enough to make me shiver. I honestly can't imagine existence being a viable proposition if anything as horrid as that ever happened to him. It'd be like having a limb suddenly go limp and start decaying but refuse to fall off.

And with that, I'd like to change gears for a bit. It's come to my attention lately that some people consider my current choice of lifestyle to be a bit wanting. At the risk of boring the rest of you, I would like to publicly state here, for the record, that I really don't give a toss. I'm 37 years old, for heavens' sake; I had plenty of time to get all my piss and wind out of my system when I was younger. And in addition to that, I've been flung around the world more times than I care to count, and I've had enough emotional highs and lows in the past ten years to last several evolutionary epochs. Right now I'm rather enjoying a bit of the quiet, and I don't think I need to apologise to anyone for it. So the lot of you can get stuffed, can't you?

Well, I think that qualifies as a proper update. And even if it doesn't, Noah's trying to eat the mouse, so I must be off.

33 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Unable to cope with unexpected events. [25 Sep 2004|11:50pm]
[ mood | disenchanted ]

Lazy days are still a new experience for me. We were never big ones for taking time off as a band; we didn’t want to become one of those awful groups who recluse themselves in castle towers or fjordian caves for two years at a time, emerging with our faces wrapped in cloth just long enough to give over our latest long-delayed, heavily-retooled collection of music designed to present us as forward-looking while still relying greatly on familiar elements repeated from earlier albums so as not to scare off our steadily dwindling fanbase. Which, erm, whoops? At any rate, it’s become a bit of a guilty pleasure, clambering out of bed around 8, 9 in the morning (if I sleep any later, I start to worry that I’m becoming one of those horrid depressed people who stay in bed all day)and putting around the house in my dressing-gown all morning and sometimes even into the afternoon. Noah loves the thing, he’ll grab onto the end and skid around the kitchen floor with me as I get myself a pastry and some orange juice, and occasionally he’ll try to climb up the length of it as if I was some human Matterhorn.

This morning, unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of sitting about, as I had an afternoon engagement. So I left Rachel and Noah at home and got in the car to drive up north. Fylingdales is a RAF base located in the moors of northern England that, up until the past year or so, was used as an “early warning” station—a radar station used to detect potential air attacks. However, thanks to our friendly Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon among others, it’s now become the focal point, at least in Britain, for developing missile defence technology, or “Star Wars”. For those of you who don’t know, the idea, originally proposed by Ronald Reagan in the Eighties, is that in the event of an attack, this system will allow for counteroffensive missiles that will be launched at the incoming projectiles of destruction, impacting them so they explode harmlessly above the atmosphere.

There’s only one small problem with this idea; it doesn’t work. Test after test has failed to demonstrate the success of the system. What happens is that the missiles, well, miss. So you’ve spent billions of dollars on something which, if bombs were actually falling, would be as useful as throwing a soup can at them. Not to mention the fact that it only makes the countries that don’t possess a missile defence system more nervous and more likely to spearhead the arms race even further. The funny thing is, while the site is on British land, the equipment being used is owned and funded by the US Defence Department and purchased from such multinationals as Boeing; once again, a case of Blair knuckling under and giving the US anything it asks for in an attempt to curry favor with the reigning power of the moment. Basically the entire project is a giveaway for multinational defence contractors, who will in return funnel lots of money into the coffers of the Blair and Bush campaigns come poll time. As a side note, the radar station itself uses nuclear radiation in order to operate, which doesn’t exactly make the neighbors cheery. Of course, Downing Street is swearing up and down that there is no cancer risk for those living near the base, so take that for whatever you think it’s worth.

We had lovely weather; I’d brought along a thermos full of tea and a bit of fruit to munch on. The march itself was sponsored by the CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which has been working for peace for a good forty-five years now. It was founded by philosopher Bertrand Russell, and is incidentally the creator of that circle-and-upside-down-Y-sign peace symbol you might have seen. I have to admit, I’m a bit more uncomfortable attending smaller demos than bigger ones. You have to wonder how much of an effect a few hundred people marching, waving placards, and playing drums for a few hours really has on the world at large. But Kate Hudson, the chairwoman of the CND (no relation to the actress) seemed very pleased with the results. I met some people from Japan who had traveled all the way to North Yorkshire just to participate. It was a bit humbling to confess that I’d just got in my car and drove for a couple hours to get there.

I got home around 9:30. As you can imagine, I was quite knackered. Rachel came up to me with the queerest look on her face. She started to ask me a question, but no sooner did she open her mouth than the telephone rang. Jabbing her finger into my chest, she demanded that “you take this one”. I picked up the receiver and said hello, and there was a man on the other end who began talking about all manner of things he can do with a nailgun. I’m fairly certain some of them weren’t particularly safe. I explained to him we didn’t need any DIY work done at the moment, hung up and went to tell Rachel it was a prank call. At which point she informed me that similar calls had been coming in all afternoon; one from a woman who proclaimed herself “The Crupper Duchess”, one from a pair of German twin brothers who had some unusual recipes for tiramisu, and one from a person of indeterminate gender who had merely shrieked loudly and repeatedly while large metallic clangs were to be heard in the background. Needless to say, she found the whole thing a bit suspect. We came close to a row, and it wasn’t until later tonight when I sat down to read my friends page that I was able to suss out what was happening.

Now look, Jon. I’m as much fun as anyone else. And if you want to waste your time talking a load of rubbish, that’s certainly your privilege as a United Kingdom citizen. But really, just because you wish the whole world to be as odd and interesting as you seem to enjoy making yourself out to be is no reason to disrupt anyone else’s personal life. Quite frankly, I’ve only recently gotten my life to a point where a modicum of tranquility is the order of the day. If anyone exerts a concerted effort to botch that up, I shall be just the slightest bit narked. So thank you, and do sod off.

And to make matters worse, I’ve just learned that the Kinks’ “Picture Book” has been licenced for use in a Hewlett Packard advert. And this day had started off so nicely.

10 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

No awkward lapses in conversation. [18 Sep 2004|09:53pm]
[ mood | recollected ]

It's an uncommon thing, this idea of electronic journaling. I suppose those of you who've been doing it for some time are a bit tired of people pontificating about it, so I'll keep this fairly short. I suppose I should comment more but it seems so intrusive. There are all these people's lives parading in front of me, a dizzying array of wants and joys and sorrows. Except for Jonny, who has a beautiful child and he's dating a model and he has a perpetually sunny disposition and nothing bad ever happens to him ever, and it's just so perfectly marvy being sodding Jonny Greenwood. It's really quite vexing.

Still and all, it led me to believe that perhaps I wasn't doing quite enough of interest in comparison. So Wednesday, I had myself a bit of an outing. I went to a gig by some of my friends, and the singer chap was nice enough to even let me on stage with them for a bit. I started to get a bad bit of nerves right before it was time to go on; I hadn't been on a stage since Coachella, after all, and this wasn't even my gig. It was right then that Michael's assistant came up and handed me a cuppa. "He said to give it to you right when it was five minutes." Ahh, English Breakfast. I can't understand how I ever went abroad without it. Jonny, we're taking a crate's worth on the next tour.

The new songs sound lovely, of course; big-bodied, arena-sized, all-American, and full of heart. I can't quite work out what it is about their music that's so very American to me; they have that vivaciousness, that lust for life (if you'll pardon the iconic term) that comes in a straight line from Sinatra to Elvis to Dylan to the Ramones, but it's more tempered, more thoughtful, as opposed to being single-mindedly driven by id. It's a combination that's appealed to me ever since my prep school days, when I wanted something that wasn't completely brain-dead to listen to but still wanted to convince myself I was hard. Not much's changed, really. Quite honestly, though, it's no exaggeration to say that Michael and his music have been one of the few constant things in my life, from when I was young, to when I was an arrogant pisshead who only wanted the rest of the world to acknowledge my genius, to when the world, in brilliant Chinese-proverb fashion, decided to give me exactly what I wanted and prove to me that I was never the sorcerer, always the apprentice. It was at this point that I was allowed to meet the man himself, and he gave me some choice advice about how to slow down those mad brooms.

Really, though, I think you can tell just about all you need to know about a person from their face and hands. Michael's hands are more articulate than most people's mouths; I'm drawn to watch them whenever I have the chance to see him perform. The way they move, almost independently of him, like birds in the hands of a master trainer. And I get more than a bit hacked off when I hear people criticizing his looks. Faces aren't meant to be blank slates of cosmetology; at their best, they're a road map of where people have been, and where they'd like to go. I can see so many things in Michael's face; conversations he's had years ago, mumbled remarks overheard on street corners, the sound of a steel guitar in a honky tonk located about five miles outside of Owensboro, Kentucky; an airplane rocketing over a public housing complex in the Bronx while a 7-year-old girl looks on from the 89th floor balcony. I can see all that and more in him, and it's not about physical resemblance, it's what he takes in with him wherever he goes, what he observes simply by keeping his eyes open and his self aware. I can only hope to have a face like that in time. Of course, with this countenance, I'll be lucky to look like anything other than a genetically unfortunate lab assistant in ten years.

At any rate, it was brilliant to see him and his mates again. I'd wish them luck in their travels, but I doubt they need it; if there were ever people who have friends everywhere, they're the ones. Try and become one of them if you're not; it's worth doing.

10 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Increased visibility for safer traveling. [13 Sep 2004|12:28am]
[ mood | insomnia ]

I'm a big fan of skunks. Jonny's groaning right now but it's all his fault anyway. First of all, they're very handsome animals. White contrasted with basic black? Top class. Also, they're a relaxed bunch. Not for them the hustle and bustle of modern life; no, sir. Skunks' top speeds are estimated at six miles an hour. They're confident blokes; they know that whatever they're headed toward will still be there however long it takes them. Once I saw a skunk step off the curb of Charlotte Street, into the middle of midday London traffic. Every car in each lane ground to a halt as the skunk passed in front of it. Now that's a hard animal. You can even get them as pets; don't look at me like that, I'm serious. There are lots of reputable skunk breeders out there. Of course, they have their spraying thing removed before they're sold to your home. For more information, you can contact the extremely helpful, if unfortunately acronymed, OOPS (Owners Of Pet Skunks) website.

Although I have to admit, I quite like the smell, at least from a distance. I used to abhor the idea of being in a moving vehicle. Stay in there, this is related. I still spend half the time I'm on the tour bus stretched out on one of the cots, moaning miserably. Although I'm sure someone's going to say that's more or less what I do on stage as well, ha ha mister, up the stairs with you. But for some reason over the last year or so, I got in the habit of getting in my car and driving around the neighborhood late at night. Daft thing to do, waiting until Noah's in bed and Rachel always looking at me like do we have to go through this every night? as I grab my coat. I always end up finding the most out-of-the-way streets to go down; I like to play music loudly, but I don't want to drive anyplace where I might get slammed into by an oncoming ambulance because I couldn't hear the siren for the Paul Oakenfold blasting out of the dash. And there's this one stretch on Longwall Street where at least every other night I drive right into a could of skunk aroma. I couldn't explain why it's pleasing to me; it's just such an honest, natural smell. It has a kind of clarity to it. I'm actually disappointed when it's not there.

Speaking of skunks, how about that American election. Haha. I watched a good deal of the Republican Convention coverage. There's a lot I could say; obviously it would be profoundly hilarious if it wasn't so foreboding. I've got no place to criticize; our head of state's every bit as much an empty suit. I guess the thing that makes me saddest is that people look at George Bush and genuinely see a leader that inspires trust. What kind of tortured thought processes must the average American have to reach that conclusion? I can only surmise that they must be very good at filtering out information that makes them uncomfortable. And once you start doing that, it's a skill that gets more and more practiced with time. Sooner or later, you get accustomed to darkness in your head. We've got them here too, millions of people running around operating by mental night-vision. And they don't seem any less disturbed by it than those of us who consider ourselves awake and aware.

When I was at university, we used to do this damn fool thing where we'd drive around on deserted roads and when we found one where there were no streetlamps, we'd kill the headlights and see how far we could drive in total darkness before losing our nerve. Foolish bloody nonsense, of course. But last night on Longwall with that sulphuric skunk smell in my nostrils, I decided to regress a bit. Just to see if it really was better in the darkness. I got about five feet before panicking and hitting the switch to bring them back up again, only to find I'd stopped a good two houses before the nearest intersection. I sighed and hit the gas.

I'll be attending a rally on the 25th at Fylingdales to protest the continued development of so-called "Star Wars" missile defense systems. Look here for more information. If anyone wants to stop by and say hello, feel free.

10 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Study and learn the habits of others. [01 Sep 2004|01:13am]
[ mood | today's column ]

I don't understand people. That may sound like a terribly trite observation, but I assure you it's as heartfelt as they come. I don't get why they do the things they do, or what they hope to accomplish. I can't work out why people don't just want to find someone to spend time with and have a good conversation and a cup of tea and call it an afternoon. Instead they run around after money and power, making horrid spectacles of themselves, and in the worst case, devastating the lives of countless others around them. Why would you do something that you know will make hundreds of thousands of people hate you? What's so important that you're willing to brave that just for yourself?

I don't understand ambition. Well, that's not true, I do understand it a little bit. I only had one real ambition from the time I was out of short pants, and that was to lead a great rock and roll band. A lot of people would say I have that one sorted; who am I to argue? At any rate, by the time I'd gotten there, I realized that I couldn't bloody stand the person I'd become. When I wrote Paranoid Android, I told the world, or at least several thousand members of it, that it was about Bill Gates, but it was just as much about me as anything else. Ambition surely made me pretty ugly. Incidentally, mucking up a song and making it as vague as possible is a top way to ensure that it will have what critics call "universal appeal." When you're talking to no one in particular, everyone assumes you're talking to them. It's a good trick, and a nice way for me to sidestep looking like a self-involved prat on record.

But I'm getting a bit off track. However hypocritical this might come off, I maintain that there's a difference between trying to realize a dream and making it your business to spend your life exercising your will at the expense of others. I think some people just get hooked on it, and after they've managed the first big triumph they just keep looking for the next one and the one after that, until it's the hunger for victory that drives them instead of whatever they wanted to accomplish in the first place. That kind of fire burns you up from the inside out; by the end, you're an empty shell, filled with nothing but rote phrases and racist jokes. Personally, I think the world could stand a little more Buddhism (and not the kind Graham advocates; masturbation is about as anti-Buddhist an activity that there is). I'm not a believer per se, but the original Buddha preached resisting earthly wants to the point of near-complete sensory withdrawal from the world. The true meaning of "nirvana" is the ultimate end of desire for any human need (and let's not have any Kurt Cobain jokes, please). Now obviously that may be a bit over the top. But this age above all could still benefit from a drastic curtailing of the gratification reflex. Pity it's probably the philosophy to which the times at hand are the most resistant.

We want things that aren't good for us. It doesn't go away, and it never becomes any less dangerous to follow through on. So my advice for everyone is to just say sod it for a few days, or even a few weeks, and just spend some time being content with what you have. You'll have a nice calm holiday, and all those dark impulses that make you so fascinating will still be there when you return. Then you can get back to merrily causing trouble again.

See? You thought that bit was about you, didn't you? I'm telling you, it's brilliant.

9 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Surround yourself with objects pleasing to the eye. [23 Aug 2004|10:54pm]
[ mood | thirsty ]

Edvard Munch's The Scream was stolen from the museum named after him in Oslo yesterday. Armed robbers entered the facility during business hours and forcibly took it off the wall and out of the building. The painting is so expensive, they can't even get insurance for it; it's far too recognizable to ever be safely sold on the black market. There's really only a few things you can do with a work of art that famous once you've nicked it: a) hold it for ransom (which has been done on several occasions with other masterpieces), b) sit on it for the necessary amount of years that will allow you to safely sell it to a private collector, possibly under the impression that it's a very skillful reproduction of the original, or c) hang it up in your den and start calling yourself Dr. No. It's a bit of a daft enterprise, any way you look at it.

Not that I'm complaining. Personally, I hope they burn the sodding thing. I've lost track of how many goddamned reviews compared me to the figure in that bloody painting. Oh, Thom Yorke, he's a living version of blahblahblah. There was a time when artists—and even musicians—used to be able to address ideas of weight and substance without being looked upon as some sort of anthropomorphized creature; Wagner, Mahler, and Strauss all wrote heavily philosophical work, and whatever criticisms they received, at least no one denied them their humanity.

I've noticed that people speak slower to me now then they did before I was—if I must use the word—famous. The number of times I've been called a genius in the past seven years exceeds the number of overall compliments I've received in the twenty-seven before that. Even my own bandmates look at me agog from time to time when I start spouting off about whatever bugaboo I've gotten. I've vented about it before, this aversion people have in this day and age to serious thought. It's really at the root of what's wrong with our times. All the problems we have wouldn't feel quite so overwhelming if we didn't have this gigantic fear of looking at them. But that's a topic for another time.

It's one reason I'm putting it all off. Honestly, I think people shouldn't expect so much from us. We've already reinvented ourselves so many times; how frequently can you shed your skin before you're just pulling meat off the bone? I don't blame the audience; they simply want consistency, the same as you would if you were going to your favorite pub or restaurant. But I think it's in every artist's best interest to disappoint their fans from time to time. Bob Dylan, at the height of his fame, made a naff double record full of horrible cover versions just to get everyone who thought he was God to bugger off. I doubt we'll get to that point, but the bottom line is that no matter who you are, everyone only has so many inspired moments in their lives. I think we've had more than our share, and I really won't regret it if we don't hit those heights again.

Now, I'm off to drink some pomegranate juice and do some lotus stretches. Cheers.

4 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Delivered right to your home. [19 Aug 2004|10:24pm]
[ mood | is 'e done yet? ]

Well, Damon is upset because he feels people are talking about sex far too much. I may be the only one who agrees with him, but that's because nine times out of ten, conversations about sex make me feel about the same as other people feel about discussing the consistency of chewed eyeballs. So in the interest of changing the subject, this update will be about something very far away from sex. Something everyone loves. Something simple and easily described. Or is it? I'm referring, of course, to water.

Its democratic quality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own levelCollapse )

22 helpful suggestions | your words make a difference | disclaimer

Stop repeating old patterns. [17 Aug 2004|11:26pm]
[ mood | could stand a bath ]

I almost had a fucking heart attack two days ago. Noah was running around the study while I was messing about on the computer, and he started to crawl on top of this other chair, this wooden thing that's got wheels on it. And just as I was calling out to him to get down, the bloody thing tipped over and landed right on him. I just about pissed myself; I got up and ran over to him, howling for Rachel to call an ambulance. Noah didn't even cry out, just got up and looked at the chair with this look like, "What the fuck was that shite?" I'm not kidding, I thought he was going to take a bite out of the thing. Rachel kept saying, he's all right, Thom, he just got the wind knocked out of him, but all I could think of were things like smashed ribs and concussions and internal bleeding. She finally talked me into letting a doctor friend of ours come over by convincing me that the press would go mad if Thom Yorke from Radiohead's son showed up in the ER. Of course Noah was fine.

My bandmates are all very nice blokes. They just had the misfortune of joining up in a band with one of the most miserable cunts you could ever imagine meeting. Honestly, I was an utter bastard for the first four, five years of the band's existence. You can tell the money was good because they never would have put up with me otherwise. The truth of the matter was that if I wasn't in a good mood, I couldn't stand to see anyone else who was. If I was going to be miserable, everyone else bloody well was too. I'd see to it. Nothing was ever good enough: there was something wrong with every take, every performance, every appearance. Every decision was life or death, every tiny little misstep or tongueslip might lead to our immediate ruin.

That's why I don't think Kid A came as such a great shock to anyone who knew me. I've never been very good at living up to other people's expectations. My tendency is to want to stick it in people's faces. Other than my family, Radiohead has been the only thing I've cared enough about to repress that for any great length of time. And at least I can always go shag Jonny when I need an outlet in my personal life. But you can see just by watching Grant's movie how badly we all needed things to change.

Overall, it's worked out. I still panic just about once a week; if I didn't, I think I'd check myself for a pulse. But, although I don't think I'll ever be completely happy with being the bloke on TV, at least I can use it for something that matters a hell of a lot more than I ever will. It pays to get wrapped up in something other than yourself. When you've shaken hands with African refugees, you feel a little bit like a git for whining about another press junket. Even though we still don't do them anyway.

So now we're off EMI. Everyone's asking me what I'm going to do next. I'll let you in on the answer right here: I haven't a bloody clue. And I'm rather ecstatic about it. For once in my life, I'm not terrified of whatever the next thing might be. I'm content to let it come when it will. It's a novel feeling, and a rather welcome one. Can you blame me for wanting to stretch it out a bit?

If we mustCollapse )

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