Brit lists his complaints about his long-standing enemy Thom Yorke, composer of the greatest album by any British rock group…
Objectively speaking, Radiohead are the second best rock group that Britain has produced, after the Beatles. This doesn’t mean that the Beatles and Radiohead ought to be your favourite bands. God knows Radiohead aren’t my favourite band, and I speak as someone who owns more or less every piece of music they’ve ever released including B-sides and C-sides and has paid to see them perform live on three separate occasions.
Radiohead have an unusual contempt for their fans. The first time I watched them in concert in the mid-1990s they bailed out of their big hit Creep mid-song because they were bored of the paying customers who liked it. This, I felt, was really a bit early in their career for such Dylan-esque disdain. The second time I saw them they made me go to a stupid big blue tent in a cold field in Wales. It rained. And on the third occasion they forced me to endure the worst support act in the world: something called Asian Dub Foundation which shouted political slogans of mind-numbing inanity over a tuneless, seemingly unending dirge.
This does not complete my litany of grievances against Radiohead. In 2001, knowing full well that I would buy any CD they put out, they inflicted upon me a collection of boring electronica called Amnesiac, just when I needed it least. Then in 2007 they made a sublimely brilliant record called In Rainbows but decided to release it not on a CD available from the ring road Asda for a tenner, but as a download via an online ‘honesty box’ which ‘allowed’ to you pay whatever you thought was the ‘right’ amount. This irritating conceit was presumably meant to be some sort of moral experiment, but, thankfully and consolingly, the majority of downloaders paid the millionaire musicians the princely sum of zero pounds and zero pence, which was the correct answer.
They’ve been plaguing me for years, then. By ‘they’, of course, I really mean the band’s frontman and songwriter Thom Yorke. Yorke is one of those anti-everything Greens who is quite open about his misanthropic loathings. When the Occupy movement finally takes over and enacts the Population Matters manifesto, with Julian Assange as President, Billy Bragg as Minister for Truth and Stephen Fry as Queen, they’ll definitely put Yorke in charge of the torture chambers to which all we small ‘c’ conservatives, climate change sceptics and ring road Asda-shoppers will be hastened. You can see him cackling over his levers and knobs, can’t you? On Paranoid Android Yorke sneers “When I am King you will be first against the wall,” and by God he sneers it like he means it.
I first encountered him when we were both horrible teenagers. I was a greasy Trot sixth-former, Yorke an unloveable Oxford moptop with a song that Continue reading