Thom takes on the world

by Jonathan on May 26, 2005

The Guardian Unlimited is reporting more about Thom’s recent campaigning for The Big Ask:
Radiohead are texting the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs. Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s Chief Black Pencil, is campaigning for Friends of the Earth’s The Big Ask – a crusade for a new law to force the government to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3% each year – and, as tactics, he is frightening Margaret Beckett.
“Margaret doesn’t want to debate carbon emissions or climate change with Thom on Channel 4 News because she had a very bad experience with Boy George on Question Time,” says a press officer. “So he’s texting her.”


Yorke is wearing black leather and a badge that says, “DUMP NUCLEAR”. His text lobbying was a triumph; Beckett has collapsed. “Climate change is indisputable and we have to do something dramatic,” he sighs. “There is no way climate change will be dealt with unless it’s structural – as a law. We can’t address the issue of climate change on a voluntary basis.
“You have a certain amount of credit you can cash in with your celebrity, and I’m cashing the rest of my chips in with this. But I like to worry. I’m a neurotic. And instead of internalising it, I’m lucky I can externalise it in this way.”
I fear for Mr Yorke. What with all his brooding, introspective music, can he afford to worry about the destruction of the planet? Don’t Radiohead ever titter? Yorke looks hurt. “I have a perverse sense of humour. It’s a bit dark, that’s all.” He offers, as evidence, a list of things that make him laugh. “Dead Ringers.” Oh, the film about the people with deformed genitals? “No,” he says sternly. “Dead Ringers, the bloody comedy thing. And that thing Help, the psychiatric thing.”
The list grows. “Have I Got News For You. I also find my music very funny. Paranoid Android, to me, was hilarious. People took it very seriously, but never mind.” Is it true that Arthur, in which John Gielgud dressed up as Santa Claus, is his favourite film? “Dudley Moore’s very good. Manic. Whatever.” He stares into the void, remembering Arthur jokes. I think I see a spectre of a smirk. His head swivels. “How’s this related to climate change.



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