Page 34

Building stuff out of Lego, taking care of my

the close family connections, Thom was again

bike — I was obsessed with my bike — designing

teased relentlessly by his classmates due to his

and drawing cars... I never got bored as a kid.”

ocular irregularity. The constant schoolyard

He may not have been bored, but he was never

jibing, instead of thickening his skin, made him

perfectly contented either: “There’s a pervading

even more sensitive. He began getting into fights

sense of loneliness I’ve had since the day I was

regularly, most of which he lost. (“I was into the

born. Maybe a lot of other people feel the same

_idea_ of fighting,” he once said.)’” No longer

way, but I’m not about to run up and down the

merely wary of others, he now expected people

street asking everybody if they’re as lonely as

to give him trouble — sometimes to the point

I am. I’d probably get locked up.” Though it’s

where he could be accused of actively looking

arguable that the emotional effects of Thom’s

for an argument — and he became unwilling to

childhood have had a deep influence on the tenor

back down, the first signs of a stubbornness and

of Radiohead’s songs, it’s also worth noting that

suspicion of outsiders that would be increasingly

he has never dealt explicitly with the events of

apparent as the years went on.

his early life in his music. “I wish I was actually

“I’m like my dad,” is how he explains it. “I

able to write more about how I felt when I grew

have the sort of face that people want to punch

up,” he once said. “I don’t find I can that well.

me. That means I get into fights easily.” Indeed,

That would probably be a really good way of

Thom’s father, a prizewinning boxer when he

dealing with it.”

was in college, took it upon himself to teach his

By 1978, the Yorke family had finally settled

son the pugilistic art — for purposes of self-de-

down for good in Oxfordshire. From September

fence, of course. His attempts were not incred-

of that year to July 1980, Thom attended the

ibly successful. “One of the first things he ever

Standlake Church of England Primary School in

bought me was a pair of boxing gloves,” Thom

Witney, a few miles west of Oxford. His equally

remembered in Rolling Stone. “He used to try

artistic younger brother Andy would also even-

to teach me to box, but whenever he hit me, I’d

tually become a Standlake student; perhaps not

fall flat on my ass.”

coincidentally, their mother Barbara taught at

Offsetting all this everyday unpleasantness,

the school (as she does to this day). Despite

though, was a new interest, in which the young

32

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

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