Mr Nice Guy
[Interviewer] “...you guys are nice.”
[Colin] “Haah, ‘Nice.’ What a damning word in the wrong hands, though like a girl’s hands, you know the moment a she says a guy’s nice, you know you’re fucked you’re not fucked. Anyway, sorry.”
Read nearly any interview featuring Colin and you’ll come across descriptions of a gregarious, self-effacing character, knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects and commonly depicted as the most approachable member of Radiohead, if not one of the nicest guys in the industry. Fans, too, have often written on message boards and gig reviews about friendly chance encounters with their hero.
Whether cordially offering glasses of wine to an interviewer or chatting with fans, Colin is the picture of English hospitality. Put simply, he is just a really nice guy why, even his signature is friendly (“
...with the ‘L’ making a little nose and the whole thing looking like a lovely, smiley face”).
Colin happily signs a t-shirt for a fan
But don’t take it from me: here’s an apropos sampling of quotes of interviewers’ assessments of this charming man over the years:
Colin is open, friendly and chatty, the one most likely to go out on a bender…
It’s not like talking to the bassist of such a massive band might be there’s no air of pretension, no arrogance or superiority, just down-to-earth, plain-talking fun.
Throughout On A Friday’s and later Radiohead’s formative years Colin gained a well-deserved reputation as “the nicest bloke in Oxford music”. Ten years and several million record sales later it’s good to know some things haven’t changed.
He is typical of the group in that he looks nothing like a celebrity who has sold fifteen million records. He is thirty-two years old, with jet-black hair and large, kindly eyes. He is easily distracted and delighted by the world around him, favoring the words “mad,” “brilliant,” and “amazing” the last spoken with a long, liquid stress on the second syllable. He has a habit of suddenly burying his face in his hands, as if he were sinking into despair, or falling asleep; after a moment, his face lights up again. Lavishly well-read, he can talk at length about almost any topic under the sun Belgian fashion; the stories of John Cheever; the effect of different types of charcoal on barbecued meat but he gets embarrassed by his erudition and cuts himself off by saying, “I’m rambling.”
Colin is both the band’s friendliest and goofiest member and about the most enthusiastic person I have ever met. Sometimes he closes his eyes for 20 seconds at a time, almost as if the world were too brilliant to look at; there appears to be no subject he is not obsessed with.
The rock star your mother would approve of