<< thom on ok computer >>

{from Select magazine july '97}


"Has an airbag saved my life? Nah... but I tell you something, every time you have a near accident, instead of just sighing and carrying on, you should pull over, get out of the car and run down the street screaming 'I'm BACK! I'm ALIVE! My life has started again today!' In fact, you should do that every time you get out of a car. We're just riding on those things - we're not really in control of them."

Paranoid Android:

"Basically an excuse to weld loads of half-finished songs together, 'Abbey Road' style. It's Radiohead pissed and having a party. I wasn't there when it was all stuck together - I'd been sent to bed to sleep it off. What's it about? The fall of the Roman Empire."

Subterranean Homesick Alien:

"Ah, this is us desperate to be Miles David on 'Bitches Brew'. It's got a groove. And it used to be called 'Uptight'. That's it, really."

Exit Music [For a Film]:

"We wrote this for Romeo and Juliet. I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13 and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn't understand why, the morning after they shagged, they didn't just run away. It's a song written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song."

Let Down:

"I was pissed in a club, and I suddenly had the funniest thought I'd had for ages - what if all the people who were drinking were hanging from the bottles... if the bottles were bung from the ceiling with string, and the floor caved in, and the only thing that kept everyone up was the bottles? It's also about an enormous fear of being trapped."

Karma Police:

"This is really schizophrenic, isn't it? There’s that huge personality change halfway through. Wait until you see the video! We're making the whole LP into a film, commissioning it song by song."

Fitter Happier:

"The others were downstairs, 'rockin'', and I crept upstairs and did this in ten minutes. I was feeling incredible hysteria and panic, and it was so liberation to give the lyrics to this neutral- sounding computer."


"I was thinking of the Poll Tax riots when I wrote this - the moment when the horses broke through the barriers and everyone started smashing windows. It's also from watching too many MPs on telly - you just get that feeling of , Whoah, I've seen this once too many times."

Climbing up the Walls:

"This is about the unspeakable. Literally skull-crushing. I used to work in a mental hospital around the time that Care In The Community started, and we all just knew what was going to happen. And it's one of the scariest things to happen in this country, because a lot of them weren't just harmless... It was hailing violently when we recorded this. It seem to add to the mood."

No Surprises:

"The first song we recorded - that, erm, haunting, child-like guitar sound set the mood for the whole album. We were going for that 'Pet Sounds' vibe."


"Everyone knows about this one. Recorded for War Child, unplayed by Radio 1. Who's `Sarah'? No one I know. It's just my favourite name."

The Tourist:

"Ah, one of Jonny's songs. The lyrics come from being in a beautiful square in France on a sunny day, and watching all these American tourists being wheeled around, frantically trying to see everything in ten minutes. You know: We've got to be in Paris tomorrow morning! And then I saw this old bloke on telly, saying that he couldn't work out why the world had got so fast and in a hurry. I just had an image of him standing on a street corner, watching the traffic hurl by."