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20 years of Ok Computer

It was the summer of 1997 when I had my first period of chronic anxiety and, just after, a good chance to slip off to the Greek islands. While I was packing, a Chrysler was going on a road at night, on Mtv. On the back seat, a tired man mumbling his lyrics on the oxblood upholstery. That was the time I was lost myself and I didn’t know whether I was a runner or a lethargic pursuer. Maybe both, as it seemed in the last months of 2000, like realizing that whatever I did to reach some target out of town, the feeling of being chased by rats and children wouldn’t quit.

But I found a place, where once there was swamp. I spent my days planning theories on how to disappear completely. Sometimes I kept the flow of some little stream that ended at the foot of a new construction site, so I came back to seek refuge in my “realities of pure… min-balm”. It was a period of comfortable electronic amnesia, studying art and smoking weed, while everything seemed to be in its right place. All my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures, and there was nothing to fear, nothing to doubt. “I’m not coming back,” on the phone, “at least for now”.

But it would not last. I could not stay hidden in the trees forever, sailing to the moon, without being under specific instructions. The world was still there, and we were accident waiting to happen. So, when even the last tree was cut down, I went back to town, just like a children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. I heard the voices of my little friends from the thousand streets all around. I was nude again, still looking for all I needed.

Then, finally, I found it. Slowly I unfurled as a lotus flower, filling the empty space inside my heart where the weeds took root. People suddenly started to take me seriously and give me advice again, telling me how I was ingenue in thinking someone might not be yours and that’s okay. “Please don’t judge me,” at another boring party. No one around, just dragonflies. But more sure, this time, that I’ve done nothing wrong. I could still slide my hand and jump off the end. The water was clear and innocent.

Now I know I’m just a dreamer living in a world of witch hunters, still recalling high and dry farewells or some hard moments when I was a weirdo and I didn’t belong there anymore, being moved while the city lights go by from a bus. I’ll never learn, beyond the point of no return. But I won’t run away no more, even when I get bored. Even when you lock me out. I say my prayers every night, I promise.

I will always grateful to all the sensitive souls like Thom Yorke and his Radiohead who brought and inspired me for many years, especially when I felt like the loneliest person on earth. So today we are very glad to celebrate with them the 20th anniversary of OK Computer, with a remastered edition including b-sides and three never before released tracks of I Promise, Lift and Man of War — also known among fans and Big Boots.

The album will be released on 23 June — the same day as their Glastonbury headline performance. The boxed edition of the album will be shipped in July, and all formats can be pre-ordered here.

www.radiohead.com
www.oknotok.co.uk

Art by Stanley Donwood

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