“Are you such a dreamer to put the world to rights?” 2+2=5, Hail To The Thief
Tomorrow night, I’m going to see Radiohead live in concert. I have been waiting for this moment for almost a decade, ever since I fell in love with them when I was a teenager.
Unlike most Radiohead fans, the band was not the soundtrack to my angst-ridden youth. I had already wasted the best of that agony on far inferior music. When I found Radiohead I was actually doing pretty well mentally, because I had found a much more effective outlet for my misery: my novel.
“Rows of houses are bearing down on me. I can feel their blue hands touching me.” – Street Spirit (Fade Out), The Bends
Radiohead was not the soundtrack to my life. It was the soundtrack to my imagination, to the twisted fictional interpretation of my psyche. It played in the background of my story’s most crucial scenes, and played as the credits rolled on my fantasy film adaptation.
“Either way you turn, I’ll be there. Open up your skull, I’ll be there, climbing up the walls” – Climbing Up The Walls, OK Computer
Tonight as I was going through my Radiohead collection, I remembered the myriad mental images created by all those songs. So many moments from my novel were birthed from fragments of Thom Yorke’s lyrics and inspired by Stanley Donwood’s album artwork. Radiohead and HTDC are both entwined with ideas of isolation, claustrophobia, paranoia, impending doom, oppressive melancholy, and the bittersweet beauty that overcomes it all.
“I’m not here. This isn’t happening.” – How To Disappear Completely, Kid A
Perhaps I will never relate to Radiohead quite the same way as other fans. I never really let the songs speak directly to me. I’ve never tried to analyse what Thom was trying to say, or what the songs were trying to say to me. They were always filtered through Greenwood, Bassisha, Lycia, Aster and Meg. But in turn, HTDC was an exploration of my own mind. It was a dissection of my every facet, my every inner demon. Maybe I was more personally involved with the music than I thought. I just can’t tell where I end, and where HTDC begins anymore.
In Greenwood, fitting in is a matter of life and death.
Cynical seventeen-year-old Lycia wakes up in the dark, twisted town of Greenwood, unable to remember how she got there. Aside from her mother, who is trapped in a coma-like sleep, Greenwood’s only other inhabitants are the hostile and eerily identical students who attend the school.
Lycia befriends the school outcasts; the eccentric Aster and his shy companion, Meg. Together they discover a trapdoor into a bizarre, dream-like underworld called Bassisha. When the violence in Greenwood escalates to deadly new heights, Bassisha seems like their only hope of freedom. But Bassisha has dangers of its own.
As madness sets in and reality crumbles, Lycia, Aster and Meg must find a way to escape from a nightmare of their own creation.
Her slim stature lacked the feminine curves of other girls her age. Her face was plain and expressionless. Her eyes were small and gray, her lips thin and pale. It was the kind of face that would have gone unnoticed in a crowd had it not been for her vibrant shock of red hair. She dressed herself in chunky leather boots and a wide belt dripping with chains, augmenting the permanent air of hostility that she had cultivated to keep people at a distance. She had always formed barriers between herself and others, and she had no intention of changing in this new town.
Greenwood stretched out around her in all its decaying glory. Rows of identical box-like houses lined its streets. Beyond the houses, Lycia could see the jagged roofs of warehouses forming a barrier around the town. Dark clouds hung low and dense in the sky, like a ceiling threatening to collapse and crush everything below. Lycia’s chest tightened. She felt as if the town was closing in around her, trapping her. She shrugged off the sensation and continued up the street, scanning the houses ahead for some sign of life. There was nothing. There were no lights on inside, no cars in the carports, no dogs in the yards. The houses were empty, silent and dark.