Sunday, September 7, 2008

On a Sunday

The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air

I live in a town
Where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet
For cracks in the pavement

- Radiohead, Subterranean Homesick Alien, my favourite lines from my favourite song from my favourite band

Before they were Radiohead, they were called "On a Friday". Before superstardom, they were just a bunch of skinny schoolkids who wanted to play music. And every Friday night, they'd unload their gear in a pokey little room above a pub in Oxford, and play to a tiny little group of people.

I spent the best part of a Saturday night walking around Oxford looking for that pub. It was the strangest experience. I didn't even know the name of the place, so I just asked people on the street. It lead me from one side of Oxford (where I'm staying) to the other side (to The Zodiac). That place had been turned into a cinema, but a woman on Cowley Rd directed me back across town to a pub called The Jericho. She had no idea where the pub was, but a guy in the city centre directed me to Little Claredon Street. That was wrong, but a drugged-out barkeeper directed me down Walton Rd, where I finally found The Jericho Tavern.

I walked in halfway through a mixed night, and saw a couple of bands - Censored, from Nottingham, and The Brent Wood, from London. Not bad, but not Radiohead. But to be fair, back then, not even Radiohead were Radiohead.

As I walked back to the hostel, I reflected on the strangeness of it all. No one knew where I was going, apart from the last guy I asked. Each person had a different idea of where things were. But somehow, it worked. I drifted from person to person, and it was far more effective than if I was armed with a map and directions. If you're open about it, turns out that people really do want to help you. Kind of renews my faith in humankind somewhat.

I'm not sure how it happened, but Oxford's turned from a walk amongst medieval college squares into a circuit of all of Radiohead's former haunts. The lady in the tourism office thinks I'm some kind of cultural Philistine. Here I am in one of the great centres of learning in the world, and I'm chasing the ghosts of an indie rock band with way too much pretension for its own good.

What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.

2 comments:

Randy from Arsenal SPOT said...

Nice post bro!

You ALWAYS get me laughing.

Keep it up

Connolly's agent said...

Thanks Randy. Appreciate it.