Weekend DVD – Meeting People Is Easy

Meeting People Is EasyI don’t think there’s been a modern group that has divided people as much as Radiohead. Innovative and experimental rockers to some, miserable whiners to others. Grant Gee’s film Meeting People Is Easy is a chronicle of Radiohead’s 1997-1998 world tour, starting just when Ok Computer has been released. The band had already come on leaps and bounds between their debut album Pablo Honey and The Bends but Ok Computer was so different to what around at the time. Compared to the 60’s and 70’s nostalgia of Britpop, Ok Computer was the first album that really sounded like it could come from the 21st centuary. Never the media-friendly types, the wary band commenced a world tour supporting an album they were convinced the critics would pan. In an amazing opening shot, lavish reviews scroll down the screen whilst the band play “Lucky”. Whilst this is happening we can snippets of interviews of varying relevance (one journo is quickly corrected when he labels the band prog rock).

From then on in the band travel the world, but it’s made to look less glamorous as it would seem. The actual parts where they are playing music on stage are brilliant: shot from strange angles, focusing on one band member during the song or even trained on the audience for a show in Japan. But away from the concert venues, it’s not a pretty story. The constant photoshoots, travelling and interviews are all seen chipping away at band morale. In between this, the neon-lit, nighttime shots of deserted numerous cities only heighten the alienation. The band have gone on record saying it was this bad, and that things they did like go-karting and swimming were left off the film.

It is actually hard to recommend this for anyone other than Radiohead fans. I’m sure a non-fan would want to punch the lot of them in the face after watching this (and indeed, there’s a segment where Thom get’s sulky recording acceptance speeches for numerous awards, where even I feel like giving him a slap). But for fans, this was an is a treat: the access to the band is total, although there are no direct interviews to the camera. There’s also a treasure trove for unrealeased songs and tracks that went onto later albums. Songs like “How To Disappear Completely” and “Living In A Glass House” would go onto appear on Kid A and Amnesiac. Others, like the tentatively titled “Nude” and “Big Boots”, are still to be released.

Radiohead – Nude:

Radiohead – Palo Alto (released as a B-side on the Airbag mini album):

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