69. London, Earls Court, 26 November, 2003

Yasuko has found a cheap B&B near Earls Court and we all load in.

There are more boardies here than in Newcastle, I catch up with a few people and try to avoid the one or two who give me weird vibes.

The guest tickets are for block 18, nearest the stage and tantalisingly close to the standing pit. There are sticky passes. I have called in Rebecca, now living in London, at short notice to use my spare.

Keiko and Yasuko have passes too but, as usual, have also bought standing tickets enabling them to get the best of both worlds. I am reminded, in the seats, that the thing I get from this isn’t just about being here, it’s about being able to immerse myself, to let go and be in the gig. So much of that is the struggle of being in the throng that the experience is diminished by being safely installed up here. I am self-conscious and ridiculous (and doubtless annoying as hell to those around me) trying to physically engage with the music while trapped in a tip up seat. Radiohead shows are not for watching, they’re for taking part in. So I shake the whole row, I stamp my feet, I sing along, I scream and holler.

There is an aftershow in one of the corporate suites. By the time I’ve found Keiko, Caffy and a beer, I missed Thom and we don’t see him or the rest until near the end. Keiko takes her chance for a hug and we realise that he’s talking to Polly Harvey. Because we’ve interrupted them (we hung back until Keiko could stand it no more) PJ gives me a hard stare. The fact of being “just a fan” slaps me hard in the face. We’re welcome until we’re not. We’re not all that important. I’m getting paranoid and these record company dos are not the place for it.

Broken sleep in the cheap hotel. There isn’t much to do in Earls Court. It feels like I should conserve my energy.