“You want fame? Right here’s where you start paying for it in corporate cheques” * – June 1993

On June 2, 1993, I get another letter from Thom.

I’d replied after the first one, and then again in a volley of excitement after the second gig. This one is addressed from the “Radiohead Helpline”.

He apologises for taking so long to reply, but they are starting to get a lot of letters now. He asks if I liked the Pop Is Dead EP – they were happy with it because they did it themselves with their live sound engineer –“being as we are complete control freaks!”

He mentions that they had spoken to Chris Thomas about producing the second album, something that had come up in his first letter. In my reply I’d pointed out that as well as working with the Sex Pistols, Chris Thomas had also worked with some pretty mainstream acts like INXS. Thom follows up with the fact that the producer had also worked with Elton John… “You don’t get much more corporate-pig-dog than that.”

He explains that they were impressed but uncertain. A big name producer would be expensive and wouldn’t necessarily understand them in the studio. It was hard to know what to do. Did I have any ideas?!

He tells me they’re off on a European tour in the next week and then onto the USA where Creep is “doing very well.” It looks like they’re going to be over there a lot for the rest of the year.

He wishes me luck with my A Levels and signs off to do some packing.

Later in the week, I celebrate school finally being out by buying a blue Pop Is Dead T-shirt in HMV. On the back are the May tour dates and the legend, “I saw pop die here.”

At the end of the week, having corralled my thoughts, I write a reply. I ask about the lyric of Pop Is Dead that I can’t seem to figure out, wish him luck with the tours and suggest that they need to find a producer who can help them get their own sound right.

Through the summer, I send for more fanzines and keep an eye out for the band in the music press. The next W.A.S.T.E. newsletter arrives, with more details of the band’s American tour and an address to write to for a new fanzine.

In August, volume one of the Pop Is Dead fanzine, the first publication devoted to Radiohead, arrives. It is made up of press clippings, a gigography, their first ever interview (as given to Oxford’s Curfew magazine), a detailed biography of the band, exclusive song lyrics and a questionnaire featuring all five members talking about their musical taste, their relationships to each other and bits of as yet unrevealed information about themselves.

Some friends of mine return from a trip to the USA with a load of music magazines for me. There are plenty of mentions of Radiohead and Creep, a couple of interviews and even some over the top adverts issued by Capitol Records. I photocopy the best bits and send them to Val in Manchester who puts together the Pop Is Dead Fanzine. I write her a letter telling her how much I love her zine.

By the end of the month Creep is at last getting some UK radio play. The rerelease is imminent. It starts to feel like something is going to happen and then another gig is announced. This time in Glasgow.

*a quote from W.A.S.T.E. newsletter #4.

3. Glasgow, Barrowlands, 3 September 1993

29th August 1993. Radiohead cancel their appearance at the Reading Festival at the last minute, in the week before Creep is re-released as a single; it’s still a relatively rare thing for a record company to do so soon after the original release, which was only just under a year ago. The ever-suspicious British music press are dubious, but have to give in and praise the quality of the song.

Creep is starting to get a bit more airplay on BBC Radio 1. On 3rd September, the band play a gig in Glasgow, organized by Radio 1’s Evening Session as part of their Music Quest talent search.

Blur, who have just released For Tomorrow (the first single from what will be their breakthrough album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, which followed in November 1993), will be the headline act at the Barrowlands. Radiohead and a band called The Candy Ranch are the supports. The show is only announced a few days before it takes place and barring a few mentions by Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley on their show, one small advert in the back of the NME is the only fanfare.

I have by this time, tentatively accepted a place at Glasgow University. Having persuaded my parents that I have to get used to doing things on my own, I get on a train to Scotland, with the thinly veiled excuse of going on a recce for student accommodation and visiting my cousin who already studies in the city.

I set out early to find the Barrowlands. For the first time I walk through Glasgow city centre and into the East End. There are a couple of girls already waiting by the doors and a contingent of blokes having an out of tune sing-along. There is a large Radio 1 recording van (the gig is going to be taped for The Evening Session) and a frosty windowed tour bus. I stay put in the queue for a while but it doesn’t get very busy. I look up and realise that Ed and Phil have just walked straight past me.

Inside, the Barras is a large wooden floored ballroom, it must hold at least 1000 but tonight there is plenty of room, the opening band, who are not local, perform a lacklustre set. A few more people turn up afterwards and move a bit closer to the stage, where I have already stationed myself on the barrier, slightly to the right of the centre of the stage. There is a guy next to me in a Pablo Honey T-shirt. Before the band appear, he turns to his mate and says, “Watch the guitarist, he’s fucking amazing.”

Thom and Jonny look striking in stripy blue and white tops, and I have a decent view of both of them. They open with “Benz” and Prove Yourself then to the crowd’s delight play “the one with the expletive”. They also perform two new songs, Nice Dream and Yes I Am. During Anyone Can Play Guitar, Thom lets himself be dragged into the crowd. He keeps on singing and somehow makes it back on stage with his shirt hanging off his shoulder staring into the crowd while Jonny batters his guitar.

 

After Radiohead have finished their set, Blur play songs from their forthcoming album, they’re good but they have a completely different sort of energy to Radiohead. They seem like a more straightforward band. I move back in the crowd as people start to mosh and jump about.

The next day, I am stiff all over from fighting to stay upright in the crush and once again my ears are ringing from the volume. I spend the next couple of days in Glasgow exploring the record shops.

On the Monday (September 6th) Creep is re-released. I get the gatefold 12” and the cassette single in the city centre HMV. The tape goes into my Walkman for the train journey home. I like the new B-side Yes I Am and I can hear Thom snatching his breath in the live version of Inside My Head.

I tune in my FM radio and try to listen to the Evening Session broadcasting the gig, but there are too many tunnels on the East Coast line and I can’t get a decent reception. I’ll get to hear it later on.

The only remaining working record player (the cheap beige one didn’t last long) is now at my Granny’s house. I wait until she is out and take the 12 inch and my headphones to listen to the new songs. Just when I thought that if I heard the daytime DJ Jackie Brambles play it one more time in its edited version the magic would leave me, I hear this acoustic version of Creep and it sounds like Thom’s soul and an acoustic guitar. It becomes a beautiful, wrenching thing all over again. The other live tracks are just what I want them to be and Killer Cars makes me cry.

On the Wednesday I get some post, the second issue of Pop Is Dead fanzine (hereafter referred to as PID) and I recognise the handwriting on the other envelope.

Thom has pre-empted me and written again. I open it up and find a single sheet of spiral bound notepaper. At the top, a doodle with the lyric of Pop Is Dead that I’d not been able to make out. “One final line of coke… sustains many flagging rockers at one time or another. Not me though – nasty stuff, much too eighties!”

Thom explains that they’ve been “doing alright in the US of A as you may have heard,” he even has a gold disc for half a million sales waiting for him to pick up next time he is there. “Pretty strange stuff. And not to be taken seriously”.

He wonders if MTV will be as keen to play the video for a re-recorded version of Stop Whispering they’ve made especially for the American market. He explained what happened at Reading Festival. He lost his voice. It was like a bad dream.

They’re going back to the USA to tour with Belly and then back for more shows in Europe, though he’s not sure of the dates yet. “Then at last we get to disappear and start work on the new stuff. I’ve got a working title for the second album: Ex Pat Glitterati. What do you think? hmmm”.

He signs off with another doodle and a “write soonish”.

Joy.

Over the weekend Creep makes it into the charts. I’d been expecting them to make it into the Top 20 if they were lucky , so I’m shocked to hear it at number 7, stuck between Dutch techno novelty act 2Unlimited and Billy Joel’s River of Dreams.

 

From The Bedroom To The Universe. October 1993

In October 1993, I finally make it to University. I move into shared accommodation in Glasgow. I’m right next to the library and within 20 minutes walk of about five record shops and within staggering distance of the student union.

I start my courses. I soon realise that I feel completely out of my depth. I’ve spent the last four years or so dreaming about all the like-minded people I will meet here, all the chances I’ll get to show off my knowledge and intellectual prowess and I realise how naïve I’ve been. I’m lonely, a bit homesick and overwhelmed by all the books I’m supposed to read.

At least my pen pal Rebecca, now only lives a couple of doors away and we get to hang out between classes and go to venues like King Tuts Wah Wah Hut for gigs.

I start to buy CDs despite the fact that I don’t yet own a CD player. My roommate has a portable one so I make tapes that I can play on my Walkman. I am able to catch up on back catalogue stuff like Nick Drake that hasn’t been available on tape. I spend a lot of time listening to Joy Division, which is indicative of my doomy mood.

On 20th October, on my way to a morning History lecture, I spot a copy of the Melody Maker under someones arm. Thom stares wistfully from the cover and RADIOHEAD is in big letters across the front.

I can’t concentrate in the lecture and go straight to the newsagent afterwards to buy two copies. There’s three full pages and the centre spread, their first lead story in a weekly paper. There are loads of pictures and an in depth report from their American tour. The Yanks have gone mad for them.

They’re getting savvy at this interview lark by now and the rest of the band all have a turn. The Greenwoods seem to enjoy teasing the reporter with a few hints of sexual ambiguity, perhaps inspired by the press obsession with Suede and their blatant Bowie-isms.

This piece raises more questions than it answers. I write to Val, editor of PID, and compare notes.

A couple of weeks later, my daily vigil for post is rewarded with a blue airmail envelope, postmarked St Louis, addressed in now familiar handwriting. It feels like a flash of light in the dark tunnel of disappointment that I’ve found myself in. The return address at the top of the letter proclaims: “Radiohead lost at sea.” All, it seems, is not entirely well.

Thom’s glad I liked Killer Cars, glad he hasn’t “lost it yet”.

I’d told him about being at the Glasgow gig in September, and he responds that it was “such a joke that so few people turned up, typical Radio 1.”

I’d asked about the song The Benz and he says “there’s a god-awful early version on a French release of Creep somewhere,” but he says the best thing is to wait for it to be released, he might even send me a demo one day, “if I can find it.”

“Reading was awful,” he writes,  telling me more about the day, and pulling out of the Festival. He lost his voice; he couldn’t even answer the phone.

I’d asked about America, but he tells me that it’s weird; he’s not really seen that much of it, “its all hotels and faces in crowds…”

He’s started reading a lot of Chomsky on the tour bus.

All the people at Capitol who’d got behind them have been fired and all anyone is interested in is Creep. The release of the special version of Stop Whispering has “gone down the tubes.” They have no illusions and are glad to have finally had a hit at home.

He says he’s been listening to the new Breeders record (Last Splash) and likes it despite it being “total Pixies abandonment”.

They are coming back to play more dates in Europe with James but he’s not keen. They’ve only taken on the tour to play bigger venues in Europe. He and Jonny will get a demo studio to keep them happy. It will mean they’ve done over 200 shows this year and “that does something to your head believe me.”

He signs off by thanking me for another nice letter.

It was great to get this letter, that it is me he’s telling this stuff to, but now I’m worried…

4. Glasgow, Barrowlands, 1 December 1993

The James tour, which Thom has so been dreading, reaches the UK on December 1st. The first gig is at Glasgow Barrowlands. I make my way there at 3pm taking the underground into town and then walking the rest of the way, my stomach in knots. I’m not sure why I’m going so early, but I just feel like I have to be where the action is.

There are tour buses outside the venue, the way the Barras is laid out means that they have to park at the front of the venue, all the entrances and exits face onto the street. Anyone going in or out has to pass the main door.

I have a look around and plant myself in the spot by the door. A curtain is drawn on the bus; I spot Thom and make to wave. He gives me a “Who? Me?” look and then waves back and goes back to reading a book. I wander off and come back to crouch on the pavement by the door. I stay there, getting cold, letting my nerves build up, until about 5.30pm.

 

When Thom emerges from the bus, I step forward and force myself to speak, “Did you get my letter?” The brief conversation goes something like this:

Thom: “Would it have been recent?”

Me: “Didn’t you get home?”

Thom: “Yeah but not long enough to get mail forwarded”

Me: “I got the airmail one from Illinois. It was the fourth. Thank you.” I want to say more but I’ve just realised who I’m talking to and can’t. I drop my glove and fumble with a Creep badge that I can’t decide whether or not to wear.

Thom: a smile of recognition as he heads for the door. “Well, enjoy it.”

A little later Phil gets out of the bus and Ed arrives by taxi. I attempt to shout hello, but they aren’t looking. My friend Rebecca ( former penpal, now a student here too) arrives and joins me at the head of the queue.

When the doors open we rush up the stairs and straight for the front, we get to the barrier, slightly to the left of the centre. There were about a dozen other people similarly keen to get a good spot. Roadies test lots of guitars. LOTS of James fans, recognisable in their T-Shirts with the band’s name in large letters front and back, start to fill the room. There are lots of lads coming and going from the bar but we stay put, resolutely holding our positions.

Radiohead come on and open with “Benz”. Somehow all is not right with Thom, his playing seems slack, the sound balance isn’t very good and the crowd aren’t getting into it like they have at their previous gigs. It doesn’t feel right and Thom can tell. So can I.

They play Prove Yourself, I can feel the weight of the crowd pushing behind me but they are not getting behind the band on the stage. Surely the wonderful first notes of You, that I’ve been waiting to hear again for months, has to move them, but a chant of “James, James” goes up and it seems like they’re not prepared to give the support band a fair crack of the whip. Thom looks at his band mates and mouths, “I knew this would be a nightmare.” He tells one particularly noisy heckler to “fuck off” and gives another an exasperated one finger salute, “Well, you won’t be buying our album.”

They start Creep and some of the crowd appear to be joining in. During the long note at the end, a lighted cigarette sails over our heads and hits Thom’s leg. He moves away, leaving it to smoulder in the middle of the stage. He keeps singing, “At least I’m fucking trying…” He takes a bit more yelling but leaves the stage before the end of the song, letting the band finish without him. He returns to the stage with a guitar for Ripcord.

He starts Banana Co acoustically and is interrupted by another heckler; he stops and tries to locate the person doing the shouting. He’s still angry about being interrupted. Pop Is Dead sees some of Thom’s usual energy returning. I’m moving about on the front row as much as I can, whoever is behind me seems to think that elbowing and kneeing me in the back is fun. I’m pinned to the rail, it feels like the world is closing in and can’t do anything about it.

A new song called Nice Dream, which I heard last time they played here, sounds beautiful and now I can make out the words. “Nice dream if you think you are strong enough”, I feel a bit choked up.

Someone calls out for Anyone Can Play Guitar and it is indeed the next song on the list. Thom’s guitar strings are breaking all over the place. By the end he has it down on the floor and is kicking sound out of it. He’s still not happy. They end on an altered version of Stop Whispering. It peters out and Thom spits out a big “Fuck you” and gestures to the back of the hall. They batter hell out of the end of the song, feeding back for all they’re worth.

I reach up and someone puts a torn setlist into my hand. The crush has eased as the James fans start going to the bar. Rebecca and I fight our way out, through the packed room to the stall at the back selling drinks. I’m shaking like I’ve been in a fight. We go downstairs to the lower level where the merchandise stall is selling Radiohead T-Shirts detailing a list of dates from their seemingly endless tour.

We come back from the toilets and survey the foyer. Colin is at one side talking to a student journalist. I’m thirsty so I go back upstairs and get a warm can of lager from the stall at the back of the room. The place has filled up now the headliners are due on. I’m angry and frustrated and quickly down the beer. Back downstairs I realise that the skinny chap over there in a small group is Jonny. Someone says, “Let’s go and see James” and they go up. About five minutes later Jonny comes back alone.

Rebecca and I sit down on the bench that runs along the wall between the door to the gents and the door to the support’s dressing room. Colin is still milling around looking lost, he finishes his can of Coke and goes into the loo. Rebecca decides we should talk to him, so when he comes back out she jumps into his path and launches in with “Great gig!” I stand next to her and try to make my brain work. She talks when she’s nervous so I just listen. Colin says, “Thom’s a bit tense.”

Colin is polite and we chat to him about all the places they have been in Europe. I manage to ask a question about what it’s been like to tour with James, he says they are all nice but they weren’t keen to play with them in the UK. He leans forward so James’ people on the T Shirt stand don’t hear, “We only wanted to do Europe with them for the big venues, but it was all the tour or nothing!”

We tell Colin about the other gigs we’ve been to and he asks us what we are studying, when Rebecca mentions that she’s doing Spanish he asks her if she’s been to Spain, as they’ve just been to Barcelona and it was lovely! I say, “See you in Manchester”, and tell him I’m going down there to meet Val. He remembers her and the fanzine from last time he met her. Then he’s off to be interviewed. Gosh! A proper conversation – wasn’t that difficult.

We go back to sitting down. I see Thom leave. Ed comes back in with what looks like chips wrapped in brown paper. Thom will have to come back this way, so I brace myself for ten minutes. When he appears again, I look over, smile and when I have his attention, I lean forward and call out “How did it go?” Suddenly he’s standing next to me explaining.

He wasn’t with it; they’ve been doing too much touring. Playing with “that lot”. I interrupt and say that it didn’t feel the same as when I’d seen them before, it was a weird crowd. But Thom says that it was more him than them and leaves it at that. I tell him I’m going to the Manchester show to meet Val. He nods and I wish him good luck and as I make sympathetic noises, he says, “I just want to be a normal human being again.” With that he departs into the dressing room.

He looked tired and sorry and real and about as good at eye contact as I am, i.e. not very. I’m a bit stunned. We go back upstairs to see if we can stand to watch James for a couple of songs. Phil is wandering around at the back, unrecognised in his red jacket. There are some obvious James fans dancing around in front of us. The whole building sweats, condensation runs down the walls. I feel like the only person in the room who isn’t enjoying the band on the stage. We go back downstairs again avoiding the rush when everyone leaves.

I’m on a high. We have chips on the way home and I’m back in my flat by 11.30pm but I can’t sleep.

 

5. Manchester, GMEX, 4 December 1993

I don’t get much sleep over the next few days. I’ve phoned Val for the first time to arrange meeting her in Manchester. Radiohead’s PR has tipped her off that the band will be doing a signing in a record shop on the afternoon before the gig and that James, whose hometown is Manchester, will be having a party afterwards. I hear on the radio that the next show of the tour in York is cancelled because the lead singer from James has lost his voice. I phone Val again; concerned that this will effect the GMEX show. She misunderstands me and thinks it’s Thom who’s lost his voice and perhaps he’s having a strop. We straighten out our mistake and she says that James have too much riding on their hometown gig to cancel it.

On the 4th, I get the train to Manchester in the morning and meet Val. She’s older than me, has dyed dark pink hair, glasses and a coat with a fake leopard fur collar. We walk from Piccadilly station to the main square to meet Sid and Lisa from Abuse fanzine in the nearest café, which happens to be a Spud-u-Like. We have cups of tea and then head across to find Piccadilly Records where the signing will take place at 4pm.

When we get there Thom and Ed are outside smoking. Val greets them and asks how they’re doing. “We’re cacking ourselves.” It will be the largest audience they’ve played to in the UK so far. “We’re shit scared,” says Thom.

In the window of the shop is a poster featuring EMI’s none too subtle “Do You Own Pablo Honey?” slogan.

 

The band disappear inside and we hang about so Val can smoke one of her menthol cigarettes. A small queue of people is forming inside the shop and the staff have set up a table for the band to sit around. The fanzine kids, who have all met the band before, hang back and remain cool. For the first time I feel like I have the right friends who have the knack of turning up just at the right time.

Someone has put Pablo Honey on the shop’s decks. “Turn this rubbish off” shouts Thom and there is general cheering and clapping when the music is replaced.

Thom signs his name, going over the O so it spirals off the page. They are surprised by how much vinyl people have brought along. They sign on the inside of a jacket, on a t-shirt, Thom draws a version of the Pop Is Dead cover with a spacemen and ‘Pop is Kaput’; on a girl’s note book he engraves ‘Literature rots the brain’.

I’m milling around, more interested in watching the band than in joining the queue myself until someone puts a poster in my hand and I find that I’m at the end of the line of people. I let a few in front of me, not wanting to have to leave. I put my poster on the table in front of the band, all five are sitting around the table and they sign it all at once, when I lift the poster most of the signatures are upside down.

Thom examines my CD copy of Stop Whispering, which I’ve bought mail order from the back pages of NME. “It’s an import!” he cries like he hasn’t seen one before, then eagerly grabs a felt tip pen and writes “thom e. yorke xxxxxx” on the plastic inlay, the others fit their names in around the sides and when Phil picks it up he uses the whole blank back cover for his name. I don’t manage to say anything and just about manage a thank you. I’m terrified of saying something stupid; I don’t want to show myself up or let the cool kids down.

When there are no more people left and its time for the shop to close we all head outside. The band are not far behind. Val comments that it wasn’t a bad turn out, considering she’d only seen two posters advertising it. “So,” says Thom, “Word of mouth then?”

“Yeah” says Val.

And he’s visibly happy at this, “Word of mouth’s always best!”

We’re all standing outside the shop waiting for someone, looking at the display of Radiohead stuff in the window. There is a T-Shirt with gold print and Val says that on hers the print has come off in the wash. Thom is disappointed; he says they’re going to take control of things like that. They want to sit down with the next album and decide all that sort of thing so no one gets away with shoddy quality. Like the promo sleeve for Stop Whispering, the artwork isn’t satisfactory. Colin chimes in that bands never get a say about promos. Val asks about America and Thom mentions the new T-shirt with all the dates on the back. I say that I’ve seen it and literally every month has some dates in it.

Has he been home at all? He says he called in to see his parents briefly and they told him he looked ill. “I’ve got touring wasting disease.”

He has a bag with the Capitol Records logo, only it’s been redesigned so it says, “Creep”, and he also carries an old leather satchel. It’s full of letters from fans.

They decide to walk to the venue; Lisa is friendly with Tim the Tour Manager and Val offers to show everyone the way across town. Manchester graduate Ed and Jonny plough on ahead, Phil is carrying his drumming stool. I think Colin is talking to Sid from Abuse fanzine. Val and I hang back and walk with Thom.

“Is it all limos and swimming pools now then?” she asks. They went all over America but they didn’t really see any of it.

The long and winding walk has a dream like quality for me. I feel clumsy as I tread on the back of Thom’s rubber soled shoe as I walked behind him and Val. I feel unworthy to be here. I am almost afraid to speak in case I say something stupid. We pass the big library and Val tells me it used to be really nice but it doesn’t open as much as it used to. Thom says something about “cut backs – nice building but no books”. We pass the poshest hotel in Manchester and Thom says they actually ended up staying there once and eating incredibly expensive food.

All too soon we arrive outside GMEX. Jonny is ahead of us at the top of some steps. Phil drops half of his drumming stool and it just misses my foot; I rescue it before it rolls away. He tries to put it back together so he can sit down. The others are discussing what they should do next. Tim the Tour Manager appears and says they’d better go inside. Thom turns back to ask us where we’re going next, Val motions vaguely to the nearest pub. We wish them good luck and Thom emphatically says “See you later.”

We all go to the pub across the square and try to digest the last couple of hours. We’re joined by some more people and wait for it to be time for the gig to start. I find someone with a standing ticket and swap it for my seated one.

 

Inside the cavernous GMEX I head straight for the front. Val has a seated ticket, I think it’s from the guest list. In front of me the stage is high up. I go to the right hand side so I’ll be between Thom and Jonny. There are two fans in band T-shirts with long hair next to me. They head bang and keep shouting for Jonny. This is such a different atmosphere to the Glasgow gig of the other night.

There is a confidence in the band that wasn’t there in Glasgow. Thom breathes heavily between songs, teasing the crowd. They play Benz, Prove Yourself, You, Yes I Am, Vegetable, Creep, Ripcord, Banana Co, Pop Is Dead, Inside My Head and for Anyone Can Play Guitar a battle breaks out as Ed rocks out and Thom drops his instrument to the floor and kicks it.

Inside My Head is a last minute addition after a word with Phil. Thom writhes around like a snake being charmed by Jonny’s guitar. Ed ends up doing his Pete Townsend jumping. From this angle I can even see Colin smiling and moving about.

Jonny has taken to making a big show of the opening chords of Benz; he’s all flailing arms and hair. For the ‘Kerchunk’ on Creep, he has a white light shinning on him and it looks great. Thom pushes the long notes as far as they’ll go and even if they’re tired of playing it for the umpteenth time, it still sounds impressive.

They end on Stop Whispering, it goes down to silence creating an impressive tension in such a big venue and then “Fuck you” but this time it is a call of defiance.

I hang onto the barrier to keep my feet on the floor.

When they’re done and the crowd breaks up a little, a woman taps me on the shoulder and asks if I know Val. I’m a little taken aback. She introduces herself as Caffy, the elusive PR who works for the band. “How did you know it was me?” I ask.

“Easy,” she says, “You were the only one who knew all the words.”

Eventually I find everyone back at the T-shirt stall. I buy the one with all the dates on the back, we get drinks of water and I realise how thirsty I am. Everyone else in the venue is hurrying to take their place to watch the local heroes James play their set but we are all waiting around in the foyer. We spot Colin and then Chris the Manager and his kids. Val speaks to someone she knows and I wonder what we’re supposed to do next. Val comes back with aftershow passes.

When we eventually find the party, it’s a big schmooze for James and all the various members of their families who are at the show. There’s no sign of Radiohead or any of their crew. We wait and see if anyone turns up but after a good while it’s clear that they’ve already left. We seem to have lost the Abuse fanzine kids. We go out into the corridor and see Ed leaving with several girls in his wake. We cut our losses and leave. We spend another hour at a club, but it doesn’t feel right. We get a mini cab back to Val’s flat. We watch videos and eat pizza until the early hours with too much adrenaline to even think of sleep.