81. Blackpool, Empress Ballroom, 13 May 2006

The British seaside is not quite as exciting as going to new territories like Copenhagen or Lisbon for a gig, but the rituals are the same. Today I queue, there’s a line down the outside of the venue, a guy compliments my shoes “nice dabs!” I really don’t remember much beyond that. Gabi is still not enamoured with the place, people are breaking away into their own little groups, I want some space in my head so I can process the new songs, I like having friends but sometimes I find myself pulled in too many directions. Caffy is here and has discovered a B&B themed on The Beatles.

The show is consistent with last night’s. Afterwards I find Lisa, through from Manchester, and we have a quick catch up. She’s got a proper job now, a real life, but Radiohead still hit her where it hurts. The band are driving home tonight, something they still do if within striking distance of Oxford. I pinch a Lucozade from the rider. In lieu of an aftershow, Bar Red, the pub next door to the venue, is staying open until 2am. In need of a wind-down, I go to join the others, have a brandy for medicinal purposes, but can’t find the Japanese contingent. A quick look round the back to the stage door tells me where they are. I don’t want to, I’ve told myself I won’t, but I end up waiting with them, caught up in the buzz, needing to see Thom, needing to connect just a little bit more. It’s getting colder now and only the brave keep waiting, eventually rewarded with signatures, a few words. I think I got told off. I don’t need to do this any more.