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RADIOHEAD
Sob! From growing up with wonky eyes, through to a traumatic deflowering, life's not been easy for Thom Yorke...
by Mark Sutherland


Where are you and what are the vibes like?
I'm in a dressing room in Leeds, and the vibes are 50 hertz, maan.

Five records that turn you on?
'Post' by Björk, because I'm infatuated with her, Talking Heads' 'The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads', Elvis Costello's 'This Year's Model', DJ Krush's 'Strictly Turntablized', and the Sparklehorse album, which has a completely unpronounceable name that I'm not even going to attempt to say.

And Five that turn you off?
I know I'm going to get into trouble for saying this if I answer this, cos it would just be five Oasis records. In fact I'll just say every Britpop record, which lets me off slagging anyone in particular.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?
A house. I christened it The House That 'Creep' Built , cos I wouldn't have been able to afford it without the royalties I didn't pay it in cash though, cos I decided it might be the only money I'll ever make. I've got a nice mortgage, 25 years, fixed rate, easy repayments. I didn't fancy the endowment mortgage, though. The guy took half an hour to explain it to me, and I didn't understand it at all.

Did you win any prizes at school?
Yeah. I went through a really bad period at school between 13 and 15, then, at 16 or 17, I decided I wanted to go to college, so I got my shit together and won two prizes in one year. I got an art prize and a music prize, which is funny cos I couldn't read music and I couldn't really paint! It was great though - it was the first time I'd ever had any encouragement. I was really, really chuffed, even though I'd only won a (20 book token. No cup or nothing! Though I'm still on a roll of honour somewhere, I suppose.

When did you lose your virginity?
Losing my virginity was a lot less spectacular than having my first French kiss. I was seven, she was my first girlfriend .We were in the playground and we promised to get married straight afterwards. But then I moved away from Scotland , where I lived, and never saw her again. I was hoping she'd come to our gig there the other night, but she didn't. She probably doesn't remember me at all, but I remember her. Her name was Kate Ganson, and her dad had a great Lotus car. But losing my virginity was very disappointing. There was lots of mess and horribleness.

What was your nickname at school?
Salamander, cos my eyes are wonky. I didn't like it. I got into a fight with the guy who originated the name, but that didn't stop it. It was a very malicious school and everyone had malicious nicknames, so Salamander was par for the course.

What's the most trouble you ever got into?
I went to a single sex school, and when I was about 15, me and my friends invited these girls round. We were in the bogs- smoking, drinking and generally having a good time- when this right cunt of a teacher caught us. He made us phone our parents and say exactly what we had done, and said we were going to be expelled. It wasn't a big deal, but it completely destroyed my parents. They thought I was going to turn into a drug taking lunatic from hell., and that was the end of me. We never even got suspended in the end the guy was just winding us up. Arsehole.

When did you last cry?
Yesterday, on stage, cos I put hair gel in my hair and it ran into my eyes. I went temporarily blind and had to cry it out. It was terrible, cos everyone thought I was getting really emotional about the song. I must have looked like I was suffering. Mind you, I was - it bloody hurt.

What's the most rock 'n' roll thing you have ever done?
Most people throw TV's out of windows, but we go into lobbies find the computerised piano and turn the speed controls right up. That's much more rock 'n' roll, especially as no one ever knows how to turn it back again, I just find it very funny.

If you could rub one person off the face of the earth without any consequences who would it be?
We are all part of one beautiful seamless oneness. why should I wish to disservice such harmony? That's quite good isn't it? Everyone else would say Courtney Love or someone, but I'm not into rubbing people off the face of the earth, even though I'm extremely intolerable by nature. Sorry to be boring.

Who is the most desirable person on the planet?
Other than some disgusting fantasises, it's the one who sleeps on the other side of my bed. It's a sweet answer but it's true. She's called Rachel and I've been going out with her since college. What makes her so desirable? It varies, at the moment it's the way she looks at people when she's talking to them. Anyway, I had to say that or she'd beat me up.

Who's your most famous friend?
Michael Stipe. I'm not saying we're best mates, but we did get on very well on tour. He's a lovely bloke, and he's coped with fame very well - which helps me, cos I find myself having to fight certain aspects of it at the moment. I don't like my old friends talking to me like I'm a po star, cos it make me feel like I'm becoming two dimensional.

If you were the prime minister what's the first thing you'd do?
Ban all cars. I do own a car, but only cos I have to. Public transport is the only answer. I'd also electronic hate mail for Jacques Chirac and that Milosevic bloke, and try to expel the USA from the UN, because the UN ceased to be any use since they decided it was all theirs. I'm sure they would be able to veto it, but its worth a try.

What's the proudest moment of your life?
[Groans] I can't even think... But there was a time when we did the Conan O'Brien talk show for the second time. We played 'Fake Plastic Trees', then we went for a meal, got hammered and went back to the hotel. I was in bed, turned on the TV and there we were. It was just really, really good; all the quiet bits were really quiet and all the loud bits were really loud. That's our first three and a half minutes of TV that I was really proud of.

What's the strangest thing your fans have ever done?
People have tried to convert me to God a couple of times, in the most disconcerting manner. It's always in Middle America, where everyone is either with the God squad or on drugs. Or both. One guy followed me for about 45 minutes and just wouldn't go away. I was threatening to punch him, call the police and everything, but he just carried on with all this sappy shit about the power I have within me and how I had to use it to spread the world. It was really upsetting, actually.

What do you most regret?
[Sighs heavily] The last time I lost my temper. I just drank too much and shouted at a group of people, then jumped in a taxi and left. I'm always losing my temper, and it's very rarely justified. I always feel myself doing it, but I can't stop it. Everyone else knows, too, and no one comes near me. My friends now have the ability to carry on a normal conversation while I blow my top. I should go into therapy, shouldn't I?

What's your worst habit?
Biting my nails. I've been doing it ever since I can remember, but I'm trying to stop, cos I'm now gnawing on the flesh around the nails. It makes playing the guitar exceptionally painful. There's blood everywhere, most nights.

Did you mind being described as 'cry baby music' in Clueless?
Cool! I mean, I suppose it does piss me off, but I am a moaning cry baby from Hell, really. Besides, the characters in that film aren't the kind of people I'd want to like Radiohead. They're just average, two dimensional Beverly Hills kids, and the person who is actually listening to them to us in the film is the only three dimensional character. So the answer is: 'Fuck you, we're for 3D people!'