Thom in Toronto?

by Jonathan on May 8, 2002

From Chart Attack:

It’s not that unusual to see minor celebrities on Toronto’s 501 Queen streetcar. When you’re a touring rock star or an environmentally friendly hipster living downtown, you usually a) can’t afford your own car and b) have to get around somehow.
That said, it’s an entirely different scenario when you seemingly spot rock royalty casually riding around on the Red Rocket. And that’s where, at around 10 a.m. this morning, ChartAttack spotted what looked to be Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke.
Sure, initially the idea of Yorke scooting around on the TTC screams out unlikely, but when you throw in the fact that the fellow in question was sitting with Sook-Yin Lee, the lovably quirky artiste, former MuchMusic VJ and Yorke’s pal, the odds go up appreciably.
The pair were spotted going eastward on a 501 car which was being redirected off of Queen and up Church Street, owing to what was reportedly panes of glass being blown off a new skyscraper being constructed at the corner of Yonge and Queen. While Sook-Yin was looking demure in her knitted cap, Yorke (or the Yorke doppelganger, as it were) looked positively dapper in a crackling black almost-patent leather jacket and a stylishly fuzzy black fedora. This suave look would directly contrast the rather carefree slacker sensibilities Yorke displayed during his appearance at the 2002 Grammy Awards at the end of February. Yorke, who was then sporting a rangy beard and disheveled mop of hair, was there to pick up an award for Best Recording Package for the elegantly designed limited special edition of Amnesiac.

Lee and Yorke have a long and checkered history together. The sometimes actress and sometimes member of The Wood Choppers Association met and befriended the Radiohead boys back in the early days when “Creep” was still stigmatizing them as sub-Nirvana imitators. Over the years, Lee’s been one of the few people in Canada to interview Yorke, doing so for a bizarre series of conversations on behalf of MuchMusic as well as for the June 2001 Chart Magazine cover story.

Yorke has always been known to mix the aloof with the everyman, so a trip through Toronto on the least subsidized transit system in all of North America isn’t entirely out of question. (Yorke also once spent the better part of a day lounging around reading magazines on a couch at a Calgary campus radio station where our news editor worked. He was apparently bored of being on the tour bus.)
And it’s not like Radiohead’s itinerary is full right now. Beyond drummer Phil Selway running in the London Marathon and the announcement of some continental European tour dates in late July and early August there’s been remarkably little news about the Radiohead clan.

Perhaps Yorke is just in Toronto to soak up some of the city’s rich entertainment and culture. He could have been in town for the recently concluded Hot Docs festival, featuring among other things, a fascinating Wesley Willis expose. Or perhaps Yorke’s got intentions of checking Yoko Ono’s exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario before it concludes on May 20. He could also be here for the glut of arty shows coming up this week: Antipop Consortium, Belle And Sebastian, David Sylvian, 1 Giant Leap, Rainer Maria? Or maybe he’s just got Leaf fever and needs to cheer the injury-depleted Buds in their holy playoff war against the least charismatic team in professional hockey, the Ottawa Senators.

Or maybe it was actually Remy Shand on the streetcar with Lee. In which case we’ll feel horribly embarrassed.
Aaron Brophy

(thanks to DeAnn)



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