I Wonder if Thom Yorke is a Nice Person…


In this new series on hMsM, entitled “I Wonder if ________ Is a Nice Person”, we’ll be speculating on the niceness of various famous musicians. These conversations are entirely fictitious; my speculation on the niceness of these individuals is completely arbitrary and based only on their music, interviews I may have seen or read along the way, and their reputation within the industry.

I Wonder If Thom Yorke is a Nice Person…

I’ve just walked out onto a rooftop deck of a Soho flat during an industry party to get some air when I notice Thom Yorke standing alone at the far end of the deck. I recognize him immediately: short, long unkempt hair, an oddly selected sweater vest. Having been a Radiohead fan for over half my life — and having always wondered if Thom was a nice person — I decide to go and talk to him.

Me: Excuse me, Mr. Yorke, er, Thom?

He turns and regards me warmly with his right eye and suspiciously with his left…

Thom: Hello, yes, I’m Thom… Yorke.

He seems to think it’s funny I led with “Mr. Yorke”

Me: I’m really sorry to bother you, I’m just a big fan of your music and wanted to let you know what an inspiration it’s been in my life.

Thom: Inspiration to do what, exactly?

Sensing I’m already out of my depth, I say the first thing that comes to mind

Me: Inspiration to… be less trite?

Having noticed my self-deprecating response to his previous question, he knows I’m not a complete idiot

Thom: I’ll take that as a complement, what’s your name mate?

Me: I’m Kevin…

I extend my hand for a hand shake, which Thom returns with exacting firmness of grip. He has very small hands, which I find fascinating…

Thom: Nice to meet you Kevin, so what do you do?

Me: Well I’m in the Parks and Recreation field, and I do a bit of music writing on the side.

Thom: Parks and Recreation field eh? Sounds like a fun gig. And what kind of music do you write about?

Me: It’s mostly indie stuff, electronic, pop, hip hop, kinda all over the place, but I did write a review of The King of Limbs last year.

I probably shouldn’t have said that

Thom: And did you like it?

Me: I…. I LOVE “Separator”! One of my favorite Radiohead songs, it’s amazing how completely it evokes warmth and blue water and sunshine, really amazing song.

He knows I know what’s coming

Thom: And what about he rest of the record, did you enjoy it?

I gulp, I’m not going to lie to Thom Yorke…

Me: I thought it was not as strong as your other records, it was very “of a sound” and unified vibe-wise, but I just didn’t think the songs stood up as well as the older albums.

Thom: So you liked Pablo Honey more than King of Limbs?

Me: Ohhhhh…… oh, noo… no. I mean, a lot of people don’t even consider Pablo Honey a real Radiohead album.

Immediately upon finishing this sentence, I regret saying it, but Thom nods his head gently and smiles, or maybe scowls; the lazy eye is really throwing me off…

Thom: I understand that sentiment, it’s hard for us to really consider it our first album, since we all kind of think it’s shit. Most of the songs are about trivial things with no real heft, it’s like we found a label and just decided to wank out 40 minutes of music…

Me: So you weren’t satisfied with how it sounded even at the time?

Thom: I mean, when Pablo came out, we didn’t know if we even wanted to make records, we were starry-eyed and jaded simultaneously, as much as one can be. But listen mate, gonna have to cut this short, I’m off to see a friend for a drink, but it was nice meeting you.

He extends his tiny hand and I give it another shake, once again taking note of how perfectly not-too-loose-not-too-tight his grip.

Me: Really great meeting you man, have a good night.

He winds his way back inside and through the party to the door, the party guests backing away in awed reverence as he walks by. I just met Thom Yorke, and he was a pretty nice guy…

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