A few months ago, we saw Thom Yorke perform at the premiere of the global warming docudrama The Age Of Stupid. Well, “at the premiere” via Skype — compelled not by laziness, but by his growing obsession with carbon footprint curbing, the same fixation that has and undoubtedly will severely impact Radiohead’s touring plans. (At the very least, don’t expect them to lease The Claw anytime soon.) A close friend/green activist attended that same film premiere as part of a troupe bike-powering the red carpet arrivals (pedaling to create electricity), and said Yorke’s presence was riveting, if not galvanizing, even via Wi-Fi: the man’s not claiming sainthood by word or deed, but his dedication to transforming consciousness about what Thomas Friedman’s rebranded “global weirding” is at the very least humbly sincere, if not admirably inspiring.
Also admirable and inspiring: Crashing the Copehnagen climate summit by gaining access as a “journalist.” The gist: Yorke got tired of reading blogs to try and make sense of insensible developments, like NGOs being thrown out of discussions, treating carbon emission cuts as negotiables, the fear that a lack of meaningful change would be presented to the world as progress and endless et ceteras … so he just straight-up stole his way into the summit on a journalist’s pass (“you imagine they’d let me in here otherwise?”), wherefrom he’s blogged and showed up in some YouTubes. Enjoy the awesome:
Videos via Consequence Of Sound. And here’s what Thom’s blogged about his trip to Denmark:
12/18/09 11:13 AM
Hello. I arrived at the copenhagen summit yesterday afternoon.
I felt compelled to come to find some hope from these talks. for our kids and theirs. judge that as you will.
i camewith a friend of mine Tony Juniper ( He was previously head of Friends of the Earth when i was involved with them to get the climate bill passed in the UK. a Framed copy of which i have on my wall at home. ) So is there any? well yesterday there seemed to be.
the first person i met was the famous john vidal from the guardian who said things were moving again. then we talked to others who said the same. got technical for a bit most of which i can follow but i get lost on the forest stuff and still can’t piece together how you can have a kyoto style agreement and another for america et all running at the same time. but then i sat in on a uk press briefing with Ed Miliband. and he made things clear in some ways.
yesterday there is a lot of brinksmanship, the americans offering money seemed. but no-one was talking 40 percent cuts by 2020. and the negotiations had an obvious G8 vibe about them. the west dictating terms and bizarrely assuming that the science could be bartered.. !!! arguing about who cuts what??? that somehow the amount we have to cut our emissions is negotiable?? what a crock of shit. may i humbly suggest that we remove the professional negotiators who seem to relish the negotiations for their own sake. miliband talked about a hundred square brackets in the document waiting to be filled.
it feels like the developed countries are trying to wrestle some sort of business as usual out of this. despite huge domestic and global political pressure. and the imminent demise of life on earth.
these cuts are non negotiable, they are the facts. it is not surprising that the developing countries find this difficult to stomach and sign up too. that and the mysterious lack of transparency to the process.
what is frustrating so far is americas attitude. hilary clintons speech was apparently still trying to shift responsibilty for emissions around… which is just frankly nuts.
obama said nothing though i have not seen all the speech yet. i feel very sad for all americans i know who hold so much hope for this man. still.. i guess the day isnt over. its 3pm on friday ( though it should have finished by now). and our leaders are fully aware they are in disgrace. and fully aware that they cannot draw up an agreement and force it upon us all without us immediatley seeing the holes in it.
the atmosphere here is deepy distressing at the moment though, with many of the suits obviously puzzling how to make this look good how to spin something positive.
frankly they should have kept all the NGOs in here. throwing them out was an absolute disgrace.. ( though some are now back in )right now they should tearing this place apart with their bare hands, registering the utter disgust that the rest of the world will feel if today ends like this. and i say if. there is a prayer and meditation room here. i may have to go and sit it and dodge all these cameras.
tony just told me a bunch of latin american countries just walked out. at least someone is registering their anger here. people are being too reasonable.
Head to deadairspace for photos.
UPDATE: Thom’s basically liveblogging it now:
a display of rhetoric
12/18/09 11:13 AM
ok so now there are texts/ drafts flying around all over the place. just when things feel like they are falling apart rumours that europe will commit to bigger cuts? hysteria and confusion is in the air. there has been a request for leaders to stay an extra night? what ‘on earth’ is going on? i pray something. i pray that something comes of this process. that all these people for all these years, all these flights to copenhagen all this hot air has some meaning. and in the midst of it all i take to bbc radio 1 and am asked ‘yeah but is climate change really real’ etc etc. oh for gods sake.
what am i doing here??
12/18/09 1:57 PM
when is a good time to give up and go and eat something? leaders are still apparently still having heated discussions. where? no-one knows? there has been a debate going on how to vote on any decision.. but it is in a language of numbers and procedure. i have had a load of cameras and recorders stuck in my face now and tried to say what and outsider walking in to this madness might think. one who is perhaps concerned about the rise of global temperatures. one who has experienced this first hand maybe. one who may have even voted in their leader on the basis that they may do the right thing on this issue.. only to see them surrounded by this weird fog. i hope that the fog clears sometime tonight. but that they dont pretend to have an agreement that they do not. i hope this is not over. Thom
12/18/09 2:56 PM
i think i may have had enough of cynicism, brinkmanship, face saving and posturing. have had enough of sitting in a crowd of journalists watching for anything that might happen waves on nothing.. so crazy . . this is all far too late. far too late. Thom
12/18/09 3:38 PM
and as i wrote the previous entry my battery goes dead and obama walks past with a very grim expression, everyone thought he was stroming out but no he’d just been in talks with the chinese. just now a french delegate tells me that brazil has stormed out of the talks. this is all so sad. still peace and goodwill to all men. love and understanding. just no more business as usual ok?? this is all starting to really feel like some enormous vaguely pointless corporate expo. Thom
copenhagen climate summit
12/18/09 7:14 PM
well … i am truly disgusted about the way things have ended here. if you read in tommorrows headlines that a deal was reached?? remember it was nothing like what was needed and was filed by a bored complicit press who needed to show something for two weeks of crap.. and that it reflected the wests inability to lead decisively. that it will make alarm bells ring throughout the world. we have no international agreement. this is all too too late. i feel deeply traumatized by the whole experience. if you’d been there you would also have been. Thom
UPDATE 2: Ed’s got something to say too: Radiohead will be back in the studio next month…
A rant and some other stuff
12/19/09 5:54 PM
I haven’t spoken to Thom yet, but judging by his entries here and reading today’s papers the outcome of Copenhagen is a bloody disgrace … I wanted to put something up on DAS, as a kind of personal round-up to the year (also because I rather pathetically don’t contribute much to this), so excuse me if I kick off in a somewhat dejected manner, because in fact none of what I write seems at all relevant or important in the face of serious climate change …. This is the bottom line for all our lives whether we choose to face it or not, and believe me I choose not to most of the time in the name of my own personal happiness and subsequently of those around me … anyway here goes ..
I read an interesting book in the Summer by a man called Terence McKenna, entitled “Food of the Gods” .. his hypothesis is that certain natural plants have been integral in explaining mankind’s development in the spheres of language, intelligence and culture… it’s really fascinating, but a particular passage popped out at me, whilst reading, and it seems particularly relevant now:
“Looking down on Los Angeles from an airliner, I I never fail to notice that it is like looking at a printed circuit: all those curved driveways and cul de sacs with the same little modules installed along each one. As long as the ‘Reader’s Digest’ stays subscribed to and the TV stays on, these modules are all interchangeable parts within a very large machine. This is the nightmarish reality….. the creation of the public as a herd. The public has no history and no future, the public lives in a golden moment created by a credit system which binds them ineluctably to a web of illusions that is never critiqued. This is the ultimate consequence of having broken off the symbiotic relationship with the Gaian matrix of the planet. This is the consequence of lack of partnership; this is the legacy of imbalance between sexes; this is the terminal phase of a long descent into meaninglessness and toxic existential confusion.”
Now, I don’t walk around with this stuff in my head every hour of each day, in fact the opposite would be true. I’m happy feeling so grateful to the deck of cards that I’ve been dealt. Yet it’s always there, this knowing that we are all living in “The Age of Stupid’ … I’m sure most people feel the same way….. Yet our leaders seem incapable of leading … managing would seem a better word, or rather mismanaging…… Leadership implies wisdom; it implies vision and dynamism; the ability to foresee problems, create solutions and see them through … does that sound like our leaders? NO it doesn’t… And why is this not the case? What is preventing them from leading? Is it the power of big business/corporations/ the financial industries? It looks increasingly like it … vested fucking interests, no degree of what’s fair for all … plain and simple self-interest. I don’t know about you but most people I know don’t make decisions solely on what works best for them … it’s a balance between what is good for others too…
This is officially a rant now and I may not post it .. apologies to my brothers in the band if they are reading this and don’t like it .. tell me I’m being an arse and I’ll take it down..
10 mins. Later:
Apologies for an about turn in mood here, but I want to write something positive …. When we returned from touring Mexico, Brasil, Argentina and Chile for the first time this year I intended to post something about the amazing experience we had .. well I didn’t of course, so here goes. Thank you to everyone who came out and saw us, those shows were particularly special .. there was something unique and marked about every night .. and to play our music in that magical continent .. what an honour .. Thank you so much for having us. I’d also like to add in the dates we did in the Summer, our first visit to Austria and Prague and our first Polish show since ’94 …. And then of course there was Leeds and Reading … Amazing for us, particularly the last night at Reading.. it felt like a fitting finale to it all .. Thank you thank you thank you…..
The vibe in the camp is fantastic at present, and we head off into the studio in January to continue on from the work we started last Summer .. I am so genuinely excited about what we’re doing, but for obvious reasons I can’t divulge anything more.. anyway we all love surprises don’t we? 10 years ago we were all collectively (that’s the band) in the land of Kid A .. and although hugely proud of that record, it wasn’t a fun place to be .. What’s reassuring now, is that we are most definitely a different band, which should therefore mean that the music is different too and that is the aim of the game….keep it moving.
Inevitably, there’s all this best and worst of the decade list type stuff going on at present and I was going to do my office chart for films of the year, then it turned into of the decade, but then having watched ‘Harold and Maude’ again the other night it’s just 10 great films to watch over Xmas …..
1. Harold and Maude
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
4. Where Eagles Dare
5. Son of Rambow
6. This is England
7. Being There
8. The Year of Living Dangerously
9. Finding Nemo
There has to be a Bond film there and although definitely not the best I have a bit of a soft spot for Moonraker, … I always loved the Rio and South American scenes .. so much so that when it came out as a kid I went on my own and watched three consecutive matinee showings of it .. also those in the know will have noticed that Hal Ashby directed both ‘Harold and Maude’ and ‘Being there’ … he was an incredible director, well I only know those two films of his, but I intend to check out the others.
One last thing .. this year I got embroiled with the whole file-sharing issue… my whole angle has been is that it’s too easy to blame all the current ills of the music industry squarely at the feet of those who illegally file-share, which is what the major labels have been doing .. they don’t seem to want to take any responsibility for our current state of affairs .. well I think that’s bollocks and hypocritical, and of course the whole subject is not black and white, which they like to portray it as … there are no clear cut heroes and villains in this. But if you’re interested there is a fantastic podcast by one of our national treasures Stephen Fry .. he speaks so eloquently on the subject, with such good sense, reason and pragmatism .. here’s the link:
Here’s to you all having a peaceful and happy Christmas in spite of all the current madness … and good luck to us all in 2010…