Where I End And You Begin

Artwork by Stanley Donwood for Amnesiac

“Are you such a dreamer to put the world to rights?” 2+2=5, Hail To The Thief

Tomorrow night, I’m going to see Radiohead live in concert. I have been waiting for this moment for almost a decade, ever since I fell in love with them when I was a teenager.

Unlike most Radiohead fans, the band was not the soundtrack to my angst-ridden youth. I had already wasted the best of that agony on far inferior music. When I found Radiohead I was actually doing pretty well mentally, because I had found a much more effective outlet for my misery: my novel.

“Rows of  houses are bearing down on me. I can feel their blue hands touching me.” – Street Spirit (Fade Out), The Bends

Radiohead was not the soundtrack to my life. It was the soundtrack to my imagination, to the twisted fictional interpretation of my psyche.  It played in the background of  my story’s most crucial scenes, and played as the credits rolled on my fantasy film adaptation.

“Either way you turn, I’ll be there. Open up your skull, I’ll be there, climbing up the walls” – Climbing Up The Walls, OK Computer

Tonight as I was going through my Radiohead collection, I remembered the myriad mental images created by all those songs. So many moments from my novel were birthed from fragments of Thom Yorke’s lyrics and inspired by Stanley Donwood’s album artwork. Radiohead and HTDC are both entwined with ideas of isolation, claustrophobia, paranoia, impending doom, oppressive melancholy, and the bittersweet beauty that overcomes it all.

“I’m not here. This isn’t happening.” – How To Disappear Completely, Kid A

Perhaps I will never relate to Radiohead quite the same way as other fans. I  never really let the songs speak directly to me. I’ve never tried to analyse what Thom was trying to say, or what the songs were trying to say to me. They were always filtered through Greenwood, Bassisha, Lycia, Aster and Meg. But in turn, HTDC was an exploration of my own mind. It was a dissection of my every facet, my every inner demon. Maybe I was more personally involved with the music than I thought. I just can’t tell where I end, and where HTDC begins anymore.

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