I have actually written about OK Computer before, and the moment of listening to it for the first time. My mum was there, which is a weird thing in that I don't know if that's something you should be doing with your mum. I made her listen to the whole damned album because I'd bought it in Tamworth and we were driving the hour home to Kentucky. It rained. It was ridiculous how great that whole first listen was - from start to finish with the rain coming down (from a great height).
I bought the album because of a boy I loved called Grant who loved Radiohead. Grant was and still is an amazing artist. I wanted to be as clever as him, as mysterious and artistic and poetic. Armidale's female Thom Yorke was my aspirational goal. I drew the Kid A bear on all my school books and my folder. I filled notebooks with lyrics interspersed with my own poetry, solidly referencing their lyrics. Nothing I produced for a good 6 months after finding this band was really mine.
I loved Radiohead when I was 15 (and onwards) because they blew my mind. They were unlike anything else I'd listened to so far: they made my brain want to grow in new and unexpected ways. They made me feel ok about what I'd probably now identify as anxiety and depression. They made me understand that all the best people were weird and didn't have the right things to say in public. My love for them grew way beyond Grant in a matter of months, which was a relief as he and I were never meant to be.
In the determinedly stalkerish way that only a 16 year old can manage (and, I like to think, get away with) I found out that my Year 12 crush was into the Pumpkins. I proceeded to purchase their back catalogue with my hard-earned Saturday morning job monies. I loved Siamese Dream the most, because Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was almost too much to take. Double albums are not for beginners, particularly the raw feels of Billy Corgan (totally grew into it though). I loved the lush strings and the bleak lyrics. I felt hope, held in the arms of "and we don't even care to shake these zipper blues/and we don't know just where our bones will rest/to dust I guess".
I scrawled the lyrics into the spaces on my Radiohead-covered folder and, I can't believe I'm admitting it, sat myself next to his group of friends at weekly Friday assemblies, taking care to leave the folder somewhere he could notice it, read the lyrics, recognise his soul mate. It worked, too. I dated that guy for 3 months and pretended to be impressed by his attention to detail in referencing my love of the band made clear from my folder. I never told him I'd pressured his friend to tell me his favourite band and gone stalker-levels of crazy.
I listen to these albums now with the fond smile of someone who will hopefully never be that unhealthily obsessed again. Plus, turns out modern-day Billy Corgan is kind of a dick. I'm sticking with the old stuff and the memories.
Stay tuned for more like this, the Friends edition: mainly, bands my littlest brother has introduced me to.