I eat breakfast while listening to a tape of Thom and Jonny on XFM sent by my Croydon pen pal (it was only broadcast in the Greater London area). She’s sent the whole session from the Gary Crowley show, it includes another new song, An Airbag Saved My Life, the title is inspired by, “A headline in an AA magazine,” says Thom.
I take the noon train to Leeds, at York as I change trains I walk past Rick Witter singer of Shed Seven. I’d been to see them with Val and she was quite friendly with them. I say hi and tell him I’m off to see Radiohead. I take great pleasure in telling him it’s going to be a sell out show.
I meet Nik, an old school friend who now lives near Leeds and go for a pint. Then to the venue for a quick recce. After a bite to eat, I go back to queue up at 6.30pm and find Izzy and Keiko waiting. I’m on the guestlist and have an aftershow pass. Nik has a bought ticket and is intent on leaving as soon as the show ends to catch her bus home, which means I can’t sleep at her house if I want to stay. I tell her not to wait for me, I’m so used to being able to get home from gigs in Glasgow at any time of night that I’d not really planned for this. Oh well. I leave her and move to the front during Sparklehorse’s set, close to Ed’s side tonight. The venue is big and packed. I’m trying to record the show on my crappy Dictaphone in case they play Man-O-War again, it’s tricky though as I don’t tend to stand very still and trying to hide the tape machine under my shirt makes the sound muffled.
Thom comes on wearing a pair of joke shop bottle bottom glasses that Pete the T Shirt guy had on earlier. He keeps them on for My Iron Lung but then hurls them off ,“I can’t see a fucking thing!”
It is a shorter set tonight, I notice because I’m not dying by the end of it. Thom puts down a heckler who shouts “Ginger!” with “It’s out of a bottle!”
Blow Out is still a monster track that gives me shivers, Planet Telex explodes into a funky bass monster and I need some space to dance to it. They do play Man-O-War but my tape doesn’t really work.
Nik rushes off but I’m in no fit state to find out if she enjoyed herself. Izzy and her friends find me and we put our stickers on. We get herded into the lobby by strict bouncers, one of the barmen is busking Wonderwall, which is becoming the topical tune of the tour. We’re kept out in the cold, but someone brings us cans of pop. Colin and Ed pass through and wonder why we’re still outside.
At midnight Caffy appears and takes everyone who’s still here upstairs to the dressing room area, she has with her a snapper from Raw magazine (short lived Britpop publication) and he’s taking photos of everyone. Thom surfaces wearing the T shirt that Keiko gave him last night and is again bombarded with novelty gifts from the Japanese contingent. A bottle of sake from Sekiko, which Thom says he’ll save for a special occasion, Izzy hands him a first aid kit and we look at it with bemusement. Someone has been to a joke shop and bought bubbles and magic smoke paper. We share a filmy bubble passed from Thom’s fingers to mine where it disintegrates. These little gift ceremonies stand in for conversation where there are too many nerves and not enough English spoken.
Thom goes to fetch his bag and on his way back past us someone comments on the amount of badges on it. I take my “Get Lucky” badge off and give it to him, “Add it to the collection,” I say.
“Are you sure?” says Thom.
“Sure!” I reply .
“Cool!” says Thom and he seems quite chuffed, I explain that it was from school book club.
“They gave out badges instead of books?!” We giggle and it’s a little moment that makes loads of numb-bummed hours of waiting around on cold pavementsworth it.
Phil passes me on my way out and he’s still teasing me about my singing along, “We didn’t do Vegetable today…”
“Oh give over!” I holler after him.
Outside Caffy and Terri Hall ( her partner in Crime at Hall or Nothing PR) are launching fireworks while they wait for a taxi. I go with Sekiko and Keiko to their B&B round the corner. We sit up talking, empathising and reading music papers until gone 3am. Sekiko snores a bit and I can’t sleep. In the end I go in the bathroom and get a couple of hours kip on the floor.