How To Get To Thom Yorke

You know what? I give it 100% in a musical group and we have a record on disc but nobody digs us cept me and I think we’re the best ever. It’s a tough gig out there for any band of holmeboys when you’re dreaming big and not knowing what the hell to do. Folk’s are bitin an ear off telling me its all about who you know. They call it Networking: Mailcoffeeboy at Parlophone Records is your sister’s BF and he’s holmies with some A&R Rep who’s rockin Pdiddy’s Toour Assistant semi-nightly basis and Pdiddy’s bigtime so what the fuck? It’s science. Thus I’m taking reigns into my own hands and getting our disc out by making topquality contacts and cutting right down to the chase no bs. Getting started was an incredible hassle due to me having upwards of 3 to 5 friends tops and none of em being hooked up, so I’s basically forced to stick my neck in the fireplace, put my coals in a basket and take my eggs out of the fridge etcetera.

In the past couple months I been checking names off my comprehensive list of possible hookup contacts. Mostly what I do is garner backstage access by any means necessary at any personal cost with incredible jaguwar prowess, then approach my personal heroes, hand them the disc and ask them to hook me up bigtime asap. Then once business is out of the way I set about grillin em in an unprecedented manner soas they won’t forget me immediately. Got to consider myself as a gelatinous fish across their face right swift, like:

Got any big dreams in Life? Any tips or personal projects or are you saving up for something? And what exactly were your top priorities at my age approximately? What’s the secret who’s the boss? Hey you dig on Deluxe All Natural Iced Creams cause I got revolutionary tips for you inside two words: Breyers Equally-Divided-Neapolitan. What are you thinking about? At times Hooner will be my wingman and bust in pipin big with chest out bout something and once he actually said this word for word: I’ve got a tooth that isn’t even alive, that if it gets a cavity, it doesn’t even matter. I figure they’ll probly remember that one. Then they’re always like: Yeah, I’m livin the dream son, just don’t give up. So I say: I will never give up and attempt emotional embrace.

So far I’ve disc’d, grilled and made handshakes with the following personal heroes: my girl SarahMcLachlan, my boy MaynardJK from Tool, WayneCoyne of FlamingLips, DrewTheBass (Dredg), ChrisMartin (Coldplay), Cobra (AppleseedCast) BenGibbard/ChrisWalla (DeathCab), plus my favourites Sherri&ChauntelleDupree plus dad Boyd (MossEisley) oh yeah and also KellyOsbourne but I heard her dissing me huge right after to her friends cause I tuck my Kirkland Jeans into my boots no questions no nonsense. I also totally hooked up MattGood&DaveGenn, BobRock producer of MetallicaBlackAlbum, DennisLyxzén (RefusedPartyProgram), NellyFurtado's Personal Assistant, ShawnClownCrahan#6 (Slipknot) and obviously of course the Legendary Narwuar. I almost got Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) during his infamous washed-up/best-ever Pinkerton days but he climbed out back alley window behind Showbox in Seattle and bolted for three blocks before disappearing into a Thai joint. Waited outside across the street but he was onto me. Buddy slithers out head down hunched amongst a group of Philipino gameplayers. Let him walk. Get him next time.

My mom wonders if these backstage proceedings are an efficient use of my faculty and tells me there’s maybe legal questionabilities and it could piss people off because they get 100+ discs a year and don’t have time to help a brother out and all this but I say she’s got the negative attitude from the get go. Cmon moms I’m a stand up type young man with broad shoulders confident features and if I look em in the eye they just know I’m the real deal like when I’s all over David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) and Photoshopped me and Hooner into his classic early days promo shot where he’s in the cab. We gave it to him on his last toour for respect and homage in exchange for his email address but he said the computer’s in the shop so just email his agent.

All this and I've only been arrested once. It was Thom Yorke had me arrested. And it was extenuating circumstances but he was my first ever and greatest personal network connection hookup of All Time and All Life. And it all started when I'm hearing I'll score 2 free REM concert tickets with the purchase of any REM disc on this particular Wednesday bright and early. 10 sets to be scored tops so I'm sprawled on pisssoaked A&Bsound sidewalk approximately 2:30am, and I’m munching down top quality MissVickeys SweetChile and SourCream chips. You know what? Best. Chips. Ever, man. And even better when comin out of one a those awesome matte-finish Miss Vickey’s bags. So me and fellow sprawling strangers toss em all down quick, and I’m getting grilled from six sides on REM dianetics but manage a pass cause my mouth's so full overflowing crumblies they can't decipher my bs answers. 9am and four of the fans get up, brush emselves off an disappear into miscellaneous alleys. My guess is they were bums just chilling for kicks and chips. So doors open and three of us scramble screaming bloody hell for where the fuck are the discs get the fuck outta my way noob I'm claiming line position #1 oh fuck you I been into theRemm since yer in yer dad's nuts and whatnot whathaveyou. Anyhow I grab OutOfTime for $9.99 and I'm packing two fresh tickets for Friday August 29th at Thunderbird Stadium.

Friday August 29th and me and Hoon are prowling Tbird perimeter to test fortitudal pressure points plus structural integrities and general layout logisticals. Storming fences is all about mounting position and timing plus incredible flexibility and DeNiro type mindset for when you feel the Heat. Anyways, behind the place there’s some construction zone with one of those five story sandpiles, so Hoon throws me over fence 1 and I’m scrambling up the thing on all fours. This brings my mind back to good old days age 4-12 No Shoes No worries. So I’m up way high with advantageous three-quarter top-down view of the entire backstage proceedings. I’m seeing toourbus hub-lots, slop trucks and chow tents, I’m seeing gear trailers and terrible security staff coordinations. Like I’m talking we got three layers of gate checks and the place is swarming with reconnaissance guards on rigorous fence-boundary patrols. Impenetrable fortress. Fence hop would be kamikaze but it may come down to that worse case. Hoon’s immediately crow-coo-cawing a red alert but I bust out theSigourneyWeaver and maintain position to complete my Mental-Etch-Map-Image. We get tossed from the construction zone with tails between legs and wander over to main entrance, tickets fresh, eyes up and antennaes out.

We shark a couple gate guards and take careful notes: They’re bustin blue golf tees with ILM printed in big white capitals top left breast. ILM runs security and tight ships for near every high profile concert event on the Northwest coast. Most of these boys wear earplugs and scowls during the shows, and they keep their shirts real tight round the biceps, and they always seem bristle-fixed to smash the teeth outta my faasnoofus. Well what-ever. We garner a legit ticket entrance which leads us uphill to top of stadium seating. You bust down stadium stairs to field ground level then burn it endzonewise and you’re front center stage. But we aint interested in front and center. Not tonight. Concert’s near done anyways. What we’re on about is this complicated island of wires mixing-slider-boards compressors and power conditioners that’s on four foot risers halfway out smack middle of the crowd. That’s the soundboard station for technical wizards and beautiful dames who’ve earned V.I.P. All Access Passes. Me and Hoon press up against the barricade and look close at them passes. I see an adhesive-backed purple and white hologram-embossed beercoaster-sized disaster tantamount to my Photoshop-induced death. Hoon tells me to Use The Force and keep my shit together as he’s pulling out the lowprofile topquality Carl-Zeiss-Lens Sony Digital. The idea is that I pose at the fence near VIPs and Hoon zooms in past my shoulder to snap pics of the All Access Passes stuck on their shirts. They don’t have a clue, and hopefully stay right still for maximum resolution.

On immediate LCD review I see his shots are basically 100% blurred out bs. Must be the digital zoom. You gotta know that it’s an unquestionable disaster when Hoon’s on the zoom. So I step up to the plate and ask a woman if we can just straight up take a picture of her pass. She’s sketched out and bolts. Shooooot. And now frickin show’s done night’s over and everyone’s trying to get the hell outta the village. We scramble approach ‘bout 4 other people but nobody’s willing to risk a quick pose on chance they might compromise incredible dual night access for a couple of dilinquent slobs and hell I don’t blame em. We mount the stairs and’re about out through stadium entrance when SpideySense compels a detour holdup for one last bird’s eye view. Survey the congestion and zoo-like mobbings. As usual the ILM guards forcefully block all them poor saps who rush each of the two Backstage Access Gates. About twenty riled people all bunched up and suddenly a First Aid Responder at the back of the group calls out to guards and everyone parts like red seas. First Aid Holmes just waltzes on through past guards who simply nod and set back to crowd control no questions no nonsense. Hooooooooly Shhhhhhniiiiiiiikeeys. The entire scene formulates into this MagicEyeComp and we secretly see all these Red Shirts slithering in and out of all areas unnoticed. Free-flowing phospholipid-facilitated channel-enzymes with selectively-permeable fluid-mosaic-membrane access. Wowzers.

We bolt and I’m at home terrorizing the sister’s closet for necessary ingredients. I’m in the toolshed upending bins of junk and I’m all through mom’s sewing room drawers for white iron-on patch scraps. Everything’s jammed into extra thick black garbage bag and we’re off to Hooner’s Garage HQ for inventory checks/assemblages and all night digital image manipulations. Cue-n-crank up PabloH then stack Bends, OK, KidA, Amnesiac through H2T2 for full album catalogue run through. It’s approximately only 12:30am and I already got the incredible underarm-n- innerthigh-sweats known only to enthused late-night aloners. As evening’s pics transfer I’m lifting the ILM logo off their website and onto adhesive-backed HewlettPackard Stickypage™. This I slap onto topleft corner of a Blue golf tee which gets tucked-in all round with belt and I’m a GeeDee ILM Guard. For extra credibility I probly gotta grab Hoon’s mom’s 5lb plastic dumbells for some steady bicep curls and full squats etcetera. All pics are uploaded so I open em in Photoshop then just near throw myself through the window. 20-25 pics and all of ‘em balony. Hoon must’ve missed meals or meds cause I’ve never know his hand to be so shakey. Looks like I took the shots. Some are in crystal focus but they’re totally skewed, and the ones that are straight-on are blurry as All Hell. Whatever. Hoon’s out snoozing like a child so I set about digital cut sew paste and pixelpatch. Three hours later and everything’s laid out on the floor.

We got six unfortunate lookin non-hologrammed adhesive-backed All Access Pass Prototypes. C-M-K-Y 300dpi. They’ll pass during a quick gatecheck flashlight examination, but only if stuck on your thigh or the bottom of an extra-long shirt. Additional precautionary insight has me sliding em in clear plastic cd sleeves holepunched for stringing round the neck, and all this because sleeves’ll reflect a bit of glare and confuse guards. OK as previously indicated we also got blue ILM Golf Shirt with ILM Logo topleft plus matching blue track jacket and black slacks with belt for professional tucked-in no-nonsense look. But crown jewels of entire inventory has to be my comprehensive First Aid Paramedical Responder’s outfit. To rig it up I cut 2 rectangular strips of white patch-scraps and grilled em in cross formation upper-left of an inside-out red t-shirt. Next I slap on a nondescript navyblue pro-fit bball cap then a quality BUGO fanny-pack waist-pouch full of socks, and then for iced cakes and emergency situations I even got a real Boyscout’s flourescent-orange white-crossed belt-mountable Mini-Medic’s Kit. Jeez-loois I put all this on and I’m liable to toss Hooner off an overpass sos I can rush down for chest-pumps, leg-splints and mouth-2-mouth resusitations no bs.

3:56am and everything’s jammed right proper into my knapsack as we waltz back on up to Tbird Stadium main gate entrance where we got two Radiohead Romantic Fanaticals leaning up against the chain link. I figure this must be some kindof cosmic mistake cause nobody gets top spots over me and Hoon.

Superlative Rare Trivia Standoff ensues: Original Manic Hedgehog Demo handed to whom by whom in what store with what results? Colin to Keith Wozencroft at the local Oxford snobshop. Rest’s history. Is this clown playing Go Fish? Cmmmooooonnn son, how bout: What town what year when Jonny’s original Sensorlace Tele got upped? Naw, this kid’s playing little league T-ball for life. OK fundamentals: Who’s the Paranoid Andriod? That must be some kinda trick question, otherwise its just Tantamount Disrespect. OK heros: Preliminary Sulk lyrics, all about some poor sap in local village who massacres like over 15 people. That's an Affirmative: Just shoot you gun. Roger that. Lyrics modified… why? Cause we just lost Kurt Kobain, that’s why.

Moment of silence and homage: ___________________________________

We all know its a stalemate and our hostility melts into handshakes and back pats and emotional embrace with my new brother Warren, who’s 41 years old and has been “On Tour with The Boys” for their last 67 consectutive shows. He flies standby and burns his inheritance at Ticketmaster Online no qualms no regrets. Thom Yorke himself’s allegedly hopped down to stagefront barracade in moments of lyrical confusion to hit up Warren’s memory banks for clarificational purposes. Happened twice, first at the Shepherds Bush Empire (London) May24th 03 and then again the next night same venue. I’m considerably jealous a this and want to give him the old Gradeschool-Legtrip, but then I’m thinking: Man, Warren may be a little bit Loopy-like, following along for 67+ consecutive shows like some sorta nutjob and whatnot. I cut the malice and notice this other guy who’s mostly been keeping a low profile. Guy seems pretty vicious when I ask him what’s the best book ever, snides off bout some Alberto Camoose being outside on clarified nights, something bout syphillus hills with unending rockslides and that kind of stuff. Sorta gives me the internal shakes and strange regrets. Warren tells me don’t worry about it.

The sun’s rising. We share this incredible vision of our personal saviours as they might be observed by secretly orbiting and benevolent ET-type creatures: Radiohead, our Angelic Fruitrattle-shaking Rafiki Confidants, and we’re all mobbed up, you can see our neck veins for the strain-reaching. Like in that painting where Adam reaches for God but their fingers cannot touch. Cept Adam doesn’t really care like we do. And everyone moans for the Nectar of Life itself, each one of us, each scrambly little subterrainean homesick alien is wailing, but then, at long last, their sonic fleece blankets envelope us all with soothing Motherly Support.

This realization sends a paralyzing jolt of raw fear throughout our bodies. This is no vision. This is the current situational status of Life on Earth.

Suddenly it’s 3 minutes to doors open and there’s 25,000 Posers squeezing me and Hoon and Warren and Camoose up against the main gates. Our faces pressed into the chainlink are mashed potatoes squished up through a fork, but we ain’t phased one bit. There’s yelps and swearing and poor saps getting curbstomped for cuttin line. And it serves em right.

Through the foam I see RJAT theRedDragon, but he pretends not to notice me. Firey little hellcat. Favourite movie is Rudy. He’s here with the Healy boys cause me and him are on the fritz. We broke up, again. Me and JAT’ve been best friends since age7 but he gets pissed and disowns our brother-from-another-mother-status every three weeks on the money clockwork. True symbiosis got launched in the cloakroom grade7:

Me and JAT in synch: Holy Shnikeys guess what last night my sister switched it to MuchMusic and this video “Just” came on by this band “Radiosoheads” and it was the greatest song and video I ever imagined or something like that. Ever since we been in geosynchronous ThomYorke and JonnyGreenwood orbit, but currently he’s pissed and avoiding my eyes with melancholy frowns and downcast demeanor. Me too. I want to administer him with an All Access Backstage Pass but he disappears in the foam.

Riot crowd is shaking gates, roars, spitting, there’s loinache animal yowls and it feels like the End of Days. Warren’s pleading to ILM Guards about a staggered entrance for theDiehards sos we don’t get tramped by thePosers and compromise our inherent front center stage positions. Guards don’t even acknowledge, they just open the gates. PlanB was we’d link arms to form a questionable riot shield and block back thePosers, and maybe even ride the crest of their apocalypse wave, but it’s just: ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! Bookit bookit bookit! Seee yoooo attt thhhe stageeeeeeee! and we’re engulfed in the cancermass. There’s a bag-check-table-pat-down-station bottlenecked in at stadium stairs entrance. Table’s upended and guards tossed aside like its no big deal. Terrible rat bastards’ve got barracade blocks and 10ft fences routing the bodies to back of the stadium and down onto far side of the field. It’s a 100yard football-field dash to the stage. Hilarious. Everyone’s screaming and leaping and near liable to tear their own clothes off for effect. There totally should’ve been a squabble of old ladies and delicate bird nests with little baby blue robin eggs at midfield for us to trample with extreme animal vengence and disregard. I close my eyes and lay to it like it’s the MinoruTrackMeet 400meter dash. Eyes open and I see Old Warren a good 40 meters up ahead of everyone else, givingher with great soaring gazelle-type bounds/leaps. Right on. I crash into the stage barracade beside him and we laugh at each other while bracing for the terrible chest bursting crash of the mob. It comes. We take it. No problems no questions. No qualms no bs.

In the fallout we collect wits and resurrect fallen comrades, fortify personal intergreties and scream-gather locational-affirmation of all key players. Warren, me, Hoon, Ash, B & JohnnyH, Shaner, JDUB, pMilly, even Chambo, Camoose, and ofcourse theRJAT. Hoon’s positioned as a buffer between me and JAT, but we’re all huddled front center and its magical synchronicitousness. Hour later we see this opening band guy sMalkmus mount the stage and he’s rolling around in slowmotion and people beside me are talking about associated paving roads and pavement lots or something and I got no clue cause I never understand anything first time I hear it, specially musical numbers. And then all of a sudden they’re off and its 25grand of held breath for first sign of our personal saviours. All of a sudden it’s cheers and Legendary Technical Wizard Plank in his extraordinary long gray ponytail + extralong blackdenim roadie jean cutoffs and he’s hauling out Jonny’s effects-pedal-boards and rigging up the oldschool Fender M80 plus Vox AC30, he’s cabling the Sensorlace Tele with modded Cutoff Switch, he’s pulling out the Starcaster and patching the AppleComputerSticker-TeleStandard and he’s dialing tone approximations etcetera. And then the topcasings come off Ed’s mysterious boards but frickin stage is too high for us to dig his pedal setup, as always. I figure it must be Forbidden-Type Knowledge.

RJAT’s straining tiptoes too, and we cross eyes a couple times, quick nods, quicker lookaways. I work up some nerves and bait him in: Yeah, Plank runs setlist-sensitive sidestage guitar transitions and retunings for Johnny, plus some off-board rackgear mutator effects during finalstage Paranoid Android solo, and also repatches various synths on occasion, right?

RJAT: Fuck you idiot of course Plank’s running mutator variable-sweeps 2ndstage Paranoid Andriod. Cmon mannnn, what we need confirmation on tonight is Jonny’s Starcaster Headstock Reissue and iBook laptop gear-line sequence position. Fucking 2nd stage mutator sweeps? Cmon sonnnn step up, that’s basics basics basics. Fuck.

Not bad. If RJAT’s lashing out at me then things are alright, or near enough.

Now there’s incredible rumblings within my guts and I realize it’s 25,000 roars and HOLY LARGE COMPREHENSIVE SLICE OFF GOD’S SMOKIN BODY IT’S MY BOYS waltzing onstage with sunset right behind for majestical silhouettes and emotional imagery, and Phil’s decked in class threads and he’s all over the kit with Colin locking and loading and holy crap Ed’s like over 9feet tall and Johnny, name of Christ it’s JonnyGreenwood and I’m bowing down and suddenly Thom! And he’s handsomer than ever before in his complete Life with elf-type in-ear monitors and he looks right at me and I don’t remember a thing after that except getting face-slapped by Hooner as they’re exiting the stage.

Hoon: First Encore holmes, its go time.

And I’m remembering my backpack full of extensive infiltration tools and their associated scheme. Last minute executive decision has me dropping my sidekick Hooner with commands to maintain position, and, youknow, be my ears and wide eyes during the encores. Back pats, baffled looks and somber handshakes all around to my frontcenter crew and I’m slogging out through the horde. Every single person I slink past snaps from their hypnosis then looks at me with sadness, like I’ve lost it completely. I wonder myself how loopt it is to leave when they’re bout to bust encores and maybe even prooffer Big Ideas and I’ll be outta zone and bamboozling with gear and missions and businesslike proceedings all through the Once in Life opportunity for Transcendental Reconciliation and possible UFO Incorporations.

Shove my way out of the floor and into some dark corner for suiting up. Paramedical gear no contest. Bust on red shirt, ballcap, waistpouch and belt mountable minimedic kit. Tuck all round and backpack on. Check myself out. You’re damn right I’m a responsible individual of upright character who just happens to be a topquality First Aid Responder. I’m thinking it’s my Bugo waist pouch that seals the deal. Yep. Waist pouch is definitely the UHU glue of this entire endeavour.

Deep breaths and a few personal face slaps to snap attentions and get serious: Cmon ma’am get your game on Lock Stock Two Smoking Twelves its been a slice let’s roll the dice. Then I realize they’re back onstage and Jonny’s manifesting introductional chords for Big Ideas. Rare rare rare Bside I’s just mentioning. But of course. They’re gonna squire me in with my very own favourite personal slowmotion soundtrack. So I assume the appropriate posture, the appropriate cowboy posture of a pissed-off secretary leaning into her keyboard. I got it, the gameface, the moves, the gear, and I pull it all together for my Legendary entrance. Pull it together through legshakes n bumsweats and I just march right straight on up to backstage gatecheck like I own the place, elbow of my gun arm at the hip, forearm out, wrist relaxed and swaying the muzzle of my theoretical 12 guage with the studied nonchalance of a Mickey & Mallory 711 Spree. It was a performance. It was like the culmination of a lifetime’s observation of martial arts tapes, cheap ones, and for a few seconds, I knew, I was every bad-ass hero, Sarah Conner in the old Jim Cameron vids, Neuromancer Molly, the whole lineage back to Leeloo, Leon’s Mathilda, Nikita to my girl Lieutenant Ellenor Ripley. I’s walking it the way I wish I could talk it. My reflexes were souped, jazzed by neurosurgeons for combat, and the effect was like a tape run at half speed, a slow deliberate dance choreographed to the killer instict and years of training. Then I remember I been keeping cards for heavy situations, sos I yank a Three a diamonds outta the shirtsleeves and it’s a huge aggressive-like nostril-flaring inhale, accentuated by raised brows, wide eyes and piping chest. ILM guard gives me the nod as he’s stepping aside. I glide on past and I’m in.

WHOOOOOHOOOOSSH it all comes outta me in an extraordinary full body release of incredible tensions, like we’re talking neck wobblies knees flops and faasnoofus droops. Like I’m a floorfloosh’d skinsack of warm water squeezing out a 3way bagpipe harmony of lungair, bumgas and slight whizz-leak from my Johannasburg. Ah slam oan the brakes, with a quickening of ma pulse, but the damage has been done, and it’s gaunnae git much worse if ah dinnae take immediate action. Jesus, even SamuelL’d be unprepared for such a loosening of all valves. Sort myself out in a JiffyJohn. Approach sidestage staircase post-haste only to realize that I’ve blown the gig completely: my mates Hoon’n’JAT were left unPassed. Brothers won’t stand a chance of slipping guards.

Quick crouch for situation survey and my directive becomes immediately clear. Crawl underneath the stage and shimmy to front center barracade. Clamber out into plain view of Thom, his boys, ILM and the entire stadium crowd, reach past barracade guards and deliver stack o passes to my brothers. Seems like everything goes quiet just long enough for me to bust out unsuitable Leon quote: This. Is. From. Mathilda. Crowd roars and I dive back under the stage.

That garnered a bit of heat. ILM’s got me on the clock now. Bookit up stagestairs to that secret VIP area just left of the band. Wowwwwzers. Chillin back we got Plank in extra long blackdenim roadie jean-cutoffs, we got Michael Stipe dancin like he’s Midnight Oil, we got theHead’s Monitor Wizard sliding all over the gorgeous board, we got sMalkmus sprawled out for maximum relaxations and we got me offering up bites of my Limited Edition Raspberry Nutrigrain all around. In lieu of no takers I just toss her down my throat no qualms. I’m glowing for the incredible personal networking opportunities, whatwith all these bigtime homey-Gs on all sides and whatnot, but just as quick I’m shifting in place all phased out due to incredible bumsweats and full shakes cause I been procrastinating on all my crucial questioning details and I’m scrambling through the brainracks during final moments. Can’t find no possible hooklines or ideal scenarios. But suddenly the crowd’s shooshing and Thom’s facing sidestage and he’s got my eyes locked fore I can realize I been staring blankly at the guy for like over 15 seconds, and mother of all men he’s waving me to join him like it’s some ferocious hurry. Holy shniikeeys this must be some kindof– Fuck it I’m going in: and since I’m going in I obviously just frickin front-flip onta the frickin stage and then immediately do my wobbly dance for the 25,000-quid-a-silent-fans. Thom drops his mic and joins right in no hesitations. Thunderous cheers. Then I don’t remember a thing until SNAP its final post-chorus outro-line of Karma police and Thommy’s tryina assign me to the climactical screams. This is too much.

Quick memory flashback to Grade10 B.O.B. Battle of the Bands. Me and RJAT in our first ever live band performance. Front of the whole school, grade eights to twelves, and I’m screaming off on this exact final post-chorus outro-line. Goes like:

Phew for a minute there I lost myself I LoO!@aaughawuo%^&*()oooo)st mYYYsealou0**ollfffff.

And that was basically the hugest 22 second voice crack ever, and in front of the whole school no less, and these’re the days when I gelled my hair and still got embarassed about stuff. No bs my mom caught it all on video, and she’s intuitively zoomed in on my face during the key moments. Chambo’s on drums and buddy starts laughing so hard he’s forced to drop the beat. Nicki Clyne looking goooood and holdin it down all over the bass but she’s wincing with empathized pains. Holten on guitar doesn’t notice a goddamn thing. But for JonnyGreenwood emulations we got RJAT theRedDragon on a photoflamed tele deluxe, and he damn well notices. Little bastard never misses a thing. And so he blindsides me with The Worst Scowl Any Poor Sap Ever Saw in the History of All Life in the Universe. Cut me real deep that scowl. Comin from such a close mate and all…

Snap back to reality whoops there goes gravity and LordoLooseleaf there goes me filling my lungs for this exact same scream. Give a sombre thumbs up to my boys RJAT and Hooner front center, cause this is like, a big redemption-type deal for me, and then I just squeeze out this dying cat crackwail fit for opening gates and like, wilting wee plants. Crowd and Radiohead cut their noise straight away, but I wring through like its all I got left to do in Life. I’m near caved into my own chest when suddenly Thom comes pipin in on vocal backups. Best thing anybody ever coulda done. And we’re united together on something at long last, like, me, myself, with me-myself, its fricking Thom Yorke and he’s got my back. I can’t help but slop down into a wet heap middle of the stage. Fastforward a smidge then Slowmo: It’s just me and them now. They’re standing above, blaze lights all behind, silhouettes. I bust out a couple super-slow-mo high fives from my floor-sprawled position. They got to low-five my highs. And nobody pulls their hand awa–

POOOF! the lot of them just disappear into crisp air. I’m busting dropped jaws and flabbergasted looks in all directions. WTF? That’s when I realize I been off into utopian concepts and ideological situations, and all this at an incredible irrevokable cost, cause I’m still standing in that secret VIP area just left of the band. Cept there’s no band. Alls I know is stage’s empty and those sick floodlights are blasting night to day. Anybody who goes to shows knows them floodlights signify the gig’s up and everyone oughtto gather their S together and get the F outta the village. Shhhoooot. I’m pacing all round secret stage left, craning my neck to strenuous lengths for an angle through the mess a gear and roadies. Me: Yo, which way’d they go? Dangling Light Rigger: Who go? Me: The Band! Rigger: They went off that way man points across open stage, 40 feet a exposed planks between me and the farside. How long they been gone? Rigger: Dunno, maybe one minute, two. I just giveher across. Don’t even look out at the sea.

And it’s no coincidence Thom’s held up just behind the mains. Back is to me but I can tell its my man, and he’s getting grilled care a some serious honch in a buttonup black shirt. Says ILM top left, and buddy’s got a belt walkie with one a them no bs white coily-wire earpiece rigs. I’m jogging toward em but they’ve started to walk off. Gotta pipe up, now or never: Thom! slow my pace and skip walk at him, and I’m no doubt looking the part of an enthusiastic gold-lab-retriever flop-wagging the whole rear end and not just his tail. There’d be the panting and blank goof-stare too. Thom turns to us. I’ve one hand fumblin to get a disc outta my pocket but thing’s yank-snagged and nooo complyin. Thom clocks me up and down, then gets an estranged look in his eyes, and suddenly he’s got Arm Up Palm Out Toward Me: NO!

He says it real sharp-like sos to hold me immobilized. He looks round, finds eyes of blackshirt honcho, makes quick loop above his head with his finger then points it at me. I go soft, cause I’m familiar with the gesture: GET THIS GUY is what it means. Couple guards are on me asap, and Thom, well, Thom is walking away from me, forever.

Blackshirt earpiece honcho is all up in my face: What are you doing up here? I’m silent, watchin my Thom disappear into some toourbus couple hundred feet away. Buddy takes me by the chin and orients my saggin grey face toward his. What are you doing up here? I got eyes... [upset] I got eyes wide open with no walls or defence mechanisms of any kind whatsoever and this guy knows the score immediately. Takes a close look at my threads, between his finger and thumb he pinches the inside-out sew-seams of my red t-shirt. Eyes my bs patchscrap cross: Who’s your supervisor, son? Still got my chin between his fingers. I’ve reverted to the blank and innocent young child of days gone by, my door’s wide open, and I shrink aside to just let him slide right on through me. Slithers all around. This guy then takes the express opportunity to scramble my eggs and knock some shit over on his way out. Sorta shoves my chin outta his hand. It flops to my chest, shoulders go slumpt and knapsack’s sliding off. Honcho: Get this guy out of here. Blueshirts: Whuh? Honcho: Throw him out!

Blueshirts grab me by the armpit and start hauling headlong cross toourbus hublot. All backstage proceedings halt abrupt and everyone’s eyes on me as I trip along. These blueshirt thugs, along with the will of everyone else in the stadium, toss me right through big bus gate, then stand watchin with arms crossed. Banished. I skuf my feet about for a couple minutes, all snuffs and tears and desecrated stares up into night skies, tears and snufflings and, this, sickness, this sick rising sense of universal betrayal and unending hate and my insignificant size in comparison to my dreams. So I sprawl myself on the pavement for unceremonious death by way of Thom’s toourbus. Blueshirt thugs are slagging me with laugh taunts, I’m all tears no bones and weak snuffleys, starside stares and I’m praying for the end, cause I don't give a fuck, I'm just gonna grab the rope and - suddenly Robert DeNiro comes to me outta the twinkling constellations. I blink a couple times. Guy just gives me a solid nod, that’s it.

Suddenly I got a backbone. Sorta seems to be working alright too. Having trouble getting back up to full height though. That’s when I feel a couple a my old cards flopping round inside the sleeve. Fish one of em them lemons out and its a huge aggressive nostril-flaring inhale, accentuated by raised brows, wide eyes and piping chest. That brings me right straight to six feet three inches. I’m customarily six foot two. And I’m not calling mom yet cause I got frickin 7 frickin discs in my frickin bag and 1 in each pocket of my frickin Costco shorts and that’s 100% BS no questions. And I been tossed outta the joint with nobody grilled nor emotionally embraced. I didnnae even hook up my boy Warren. Basically what I gotta do is I gotta step up and immediately reconcile maself with the DeNiro-type mindset for when I feel the Heat. You know how big dudes’ll pull shoulderblades back and thump their pipin chests together when sports teams get goals? Well I just fucking bust one a those into the fence. ‘Cept this wasn’ta friendly gesture. This was me resolvin maself to crashiner back into this mickeymouse operation no questions asked.

So I burn it to main entrance. Problem now is that I got 25grand a people flooding against me headin opposite direction with malicious intent. Upstream it is, and maself the burst-bubblin overripe red salmon full a clear gelatinous eggs and discs. Nae Problem. Quick tug-tighten of the ol’ back pack straps and I get my head down and I’m weavin, I’m dancing, headfaking saps all over the map. I’m channelling the undying spirit of Rudy and I’m taking down any chicks that try to step to me. Bolt it sidelong down the bleachers parallel to mobby stairs. Crash onto the field and I’m sharkin to my original backstage access point. Halfway there I got to emergency deckdrop behind some lassies and narrowly avoid the sweeping eyes of my original honcho captor and his two armpit heros. Close call. They know I’m comin. Pull my cap down across the eyes and shoegaze rewaltz right back in. Burnit to quicksteps and I’m VIP sidestage flanking my boy Plank. He’s stabilizing pedal setups for transit and I’m up on him with lightning handshakes backpats and stumble explanations: ILM’s narkin me so I gotta bust this out fore they triangulate my position. These’re the discs. Promise me you’ll force one on each a the boys. They’re my greatest personal mentors and we been communicating through the songs. Everything I need to know bout LifetheUniverseandEverything I learned while cranking their tracks and dreaming big. Just givem the discs alright Plank? And for sake of christ here’s one for you too cause you’re a personal Legend as well. He’s giving me a wise and sympathetic gaze, then nods. I go in for a quick firm thick shake and old Plank seems relieved. Then its peace out word up good luck in the Life until we meet again and I’m bookin off with mission accomplished and bustin carefree 3way bagpipe harmonies and it’s just a casual-strut-waltz out of the whole joint with my Worldfamous dumbass grin.

I pass some guard and he’s got a finger to his earpiece and eyes clocked right on me. I Better skip nimble through the gate. Bust lowpro shoulderchecks and they’re sharkin me both sides. Red alert we got three blueys at seven&elevenOhundredPM and closing attanaccellerated pace. I get my elbows out and back right rigid for a last ditch aerodynamic speed walk on through that gate and out into anonymous crowd. I got this gate no problem. Just hitting my stride. That’s when I get fractured by some sneaky Lynx in a predatory crouch just outside my exit. Basically knocks my yarblies clear outta the park, and that’s me right scoobied. We’re down. Dogpiled by like four men. I’m beggin my old heart to take the socks off and just call it a night. Leave me be. I’m done. Two blackshirt earpiece bogeys screamin for reinforcements – blueys swarming tight all sides. What’s the fucking score here? I’m clear down-done! Couple a fellow First Aid laddies peekin inta the jostlin football huddle: Nope, never seen him, not one a ours. I reach out to them. Reach out with my quivering ET index finger. They’ll help me. Bluey smacks my hand. Okay that does it, I’m gonna just get myself up and walk right out like there’s no dice. My movement instigates roars and armtwists and me getting headlong dragged into a more appropriate area for proper face down knee to the back interrogations.

Somewiz’s got my wrist on point of snapping double and I go to shakehim off. Huge uproar: DON’T RESIST DON’T RESIST I’LL SHATTER YOUR FUCKING ARM! I’m like: UNKLE! UNKLE! UNKLE! Fuck sakes man my wrist! UNKLE! They didna like that lip: FRANCO, PUT THIS FUCK IN A FUCKING SHARPSHOOTER. Hearty laugh roars all round. These bears couldn’t be gladder. Poor boys’ve been starin at smilin whiny face multicolored skinjobs all season and finally some action. I’m hauled up and rag dolled around, some of em demonstrating various arm bars and submission holds with instructional commentary, some of em just givin half hearted shoves and nervous laughs, I’m bent over a knee with my shoulders losing a hopeless locational battle, and then I’m up to the wall with one guy just grippin my throat. Tells me I’m FUCKING DEAD. I wrench on his arm. Next thing Brett the Hitman Hart’s got me down in a frickin ankle lock, backpack contents upended all over my face and stomped into the gravel. Passes, discs, coupla granola bars, blue rolled-up track jacket - Uh oh - Its unrolled and there’s my fake blue ILM golf shirt with bs ILM logo top left. Thing manages to instigate an ILM employee homage Royal Rumble ‘86 through ‘94. I lose my championship belt and eventually get dragged to the cops. They throw me in the slammer.

Got my one phonecall: Ash? gimme Hoon. (commotion on the line) RF? Sound of my boy’s voice and I’m bawing it all out: He knew he knew he knew I wasna ready for him, Thommy knew I wasna ready for him, not ready yet not ready yet, cause should’ve had secret thing to say ‘stead of being a dumbass wagging dog and I’m soakin the phone with my snot and Hoon says he heard Warren say there were, bomb threats, at their previous show, so security and anxieties were high, or something like that. I suspect he’s maybe fibbin me sos I don’t take things too heartwise. Makes me feel a bit better though, make-believe roundabout way or not.


Back in the four split slam, couple a violent drunks pounding fists inta concrete walls and some riple-thick-neck skinhead pacin a vengeance:

Whatchyou in for?

Bottled a cop. You?

Tried to get to Thom Yorke

Who's Thom Yorke?

I consider taking the poor sap down in kamikaze fashion, but I just decide to level straight:

He’s one of my contacts in the music business.