Colin doesn’t travel lightly
“...It is a carefree existence. It is fantastic. You get to travel around and see other cities and enjoy the food from various cultures and play in interesting places. It is great. I love it. It is fantastic. I feel that we are incredibly lucky, obviously. There’s no sense of us thinking it is hard.”
A rock star, by necessity, travels the world with a certain degree of frequency. The 1998 Grant Gee film, Meeting People Is Easy, documented the mind-numbing monotony and pressure a tour can generate, but the benefits are obvious.
We also played at paradisiacal sites during that tour, we swum in the sea and frolicked around, but he was never around then.
The glamorous world of the rock star...
Colin, who Spin magazine once dubbed the “international man of mystery” due to his habit of traveling under the pseudonym “Mr Bloke” (in order to avoid phone calls from fans to his hotel room:
It’s even more necessary when we’re in Japan fans are always calling up), makes the most of his time away from home, taking time to visit museums and landmarks and to sample the local culinary delights wherever he goes.
I was having drinks yesterday in Sydney at the top of the ANA Hotel, on the 36th floor, looking down on this neon cityscape of bridges and rivers. In ten days, I’ll be in Tokyo.
He speaks French well enough to conduct interviews in the language, and is over-brimming with trivia and recommendations on which museums and libraries to visit to find exhibits of stuffed dodo birds or maps.
On the day after the Bilbao show, they [Radiohead] took a ramble around the city, and the city was caught off guard. One stop was the Guggenheim, where they had an unsuspecting tour guide named Maria. While Maria was still trying to muster everyone in one place, Colin began reciting facts about the structure: “The limestone had to be cut by a computer. Each curve has its own algorithm. I read an article somewhere. The A/C is fucking brilliant, man. Air pumps out of that vent way up there and goes all the way down here.” When Colin arrived in front of Richard Serra’s massive steel sculptures, he declared that one of the pieces had gone missing from its usual place. “This is wrong,” he said. “There should be a second plate bisecting the first.” Selway and O’Brien started making fun of him “Can’t have gone far”; “Call lost and found” but Maria confirmed that, in fact, the sculptures had been rearranged. As Radiohead fanned out through the museum, clumps of fans in “Kid A” T-shirts followed at a respectful distance. The group slowly disintegrated, and Maria gave up. At the exit, she said sternly, “Not once this entire time have you all been together.” Yorke smiled sympathetically and replied, “Not the first time, won’t be the last.”
The excitement of being on tour coupled with nerves over the release of a new album apparently has quite an impact on the Greenwood metabolism: Colin has been known to pack away four full meals in a day. Indeed, food is a favorite topic of discussion when chatting with interviewers, who get treated to a foodie’s happy ramblings of the contents of his last meal.
And all the while we chat, waiters run to and fro servicing his blast-furnace metabolism: in an hour he eats two main courses and a pudding. It comes as no surprise to learn that in the 2002 lay-off he applied himself to baking (specialty: “Rather a lovely plum pie. A Jane Grigson recipe from 1965”) and gardening.
Someone forgot to bring a compass.