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Radiohead: Just a band (allegedly) - The Ex-Communicator

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September 1st, 2009

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11:47 am - Radiohead: Just a band (allegedly)
I am very sorry I have missed a lot of interesting posts and events in people's lives. It's been a busy week. My daughter went to Reading festival, her first. She had a great time, and saw Radiohead. I was watching the TV coverage at the same time. I know I am not an unbiased judge, but I thought they played a jolly good set, well balanced between the more and less accessible, and in a context in which the less accessible made sense, didn't seem to be an abandonment of what had gone before, but a continuation. However, I was struck by how the overall feeling is one of grief, just a great sad feeling that builds up as you are listening to them. Remember that Father Ted episode where the guy hears Radiohead on the bus?

I sometimes go for a walk and listen to In Rainbows, and it continues to make me feel sort of giddy and wacked-out. Perhaps I don't really listen to the music or enjoy it the way a lot of Radiohead fans do, but instead there's a noise that I am hardly able to follow or understand properly, and then a massive emotional reaction which I assume is associated with the incomprehensible noise. I'm exaggerating my hopelessness a bit for effect.

My daughter camped four nights, and got on fine. However, she said on the fourth night (after Radiohead) a big group of festival goers went on the rampage, burning other people's tents and belongings in big bonfires. I am glad she was with a group of friends, including several big lads. She took her tent down, and slept outdoors, in fact stayed awake most of Sunday night, guarding her property. I am very angry that this is accepted as normal behaviour at a festival. I hate to say 'it wasn't like this in my day' but it bloody wasn't.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
As far as I can remember Reading has always been like that, traditionally its a combination of cheap drink and teenagers struggling with the weight of their trust funds and poor A-level results who cause the trouble. And it's always a small minority of wankers who are responsible. Quite why some feel the need to fuck up everyone else's weekend is beyond me, but I never did get the mentality of the mob. It's a shame really, to be fair most other festivals tend to be far more civilised - a lot depends on how these things are stewarded and Reading is notorious for being crap at it. Unbelievably, it sounds like it's got worse since Vince Power stopped running it, an achievement of sorts albeit a dubious one.
As for Radiohead they just leave me speechless. I listen to each new record with ever increasing awe, no one else on the planet is making music like this, and no one is even coming close to how far ahead of everyone else they are. It's as if they're channeling something from a higher plane of existence and giving it musical form in this humble realm of flesh and blood. Genuinely extraordinary stuff. If you ever get the chance to see them play and haven't yet, do anything you have to to do so, above and beyond selling your children and your entire family. You won't regret it.
[User Picture]
Date:September 2nd, 2009 08:12 am (UTC)
I've never been to Reading, so perhaps it has always been bad. My daughter says the firefighters were relatively quick to put the fires out, after the first one which filled the camp with the acrid smoke of burning nylon, but that there was no attempt to prevent the mob from lighting more. I can barely believe people can behave in that way to their fellow fans.

I have seen Radiohead play live, twice, and they were incredible experiences. The second time was that Marquee tour they did, and I was very close to the band. Extraordinary.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:September 2nd, 2009 08:13 am (UTC)
I noticed the effect on Sunday because I wasn't feeling particularly anything, I only put the TV on because I knew my daughter was there, when suddenly it overwhemled me.
[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
I've never been to the festival but it does have a bad reputation, I'm afraid. Getting out of a festival with your tent intact is unusual but you shouldn't fear for your safety... I'm glad your daughter got through it in one piece.

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