barbara

2017:

Barbara Ana Gomez

Radiohead Calendar

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words by Barbara Ana Gomez

inspired by the works of OK Computer

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A few months ago, I was browsing the music in my phone and I found OK Computer. It was really a surprise, since I didn’t even know that it was in there. I hadn’t listened to it for years.

This is an album that was given to me in my high-school days and which I listened to constantly, even when studying my degree in Madrid years later. I couldn’t understand some of the lyrics fully at the time, since my English level wasn’t good enough to get the whole meaning of these words. Even so, the amazing sounds that I was hearing for the first time, and the themes that it dealt with, hooked me immediately. It accompanied me in my morning travels to uni. I remember that I found it especially perfect when ‘Let Down’ would coincide with my train interchange, and I would join the fast-paced rhythm of morning commuters through platforms and escalators.

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In the next world war

In a jack knifed juggernaut

I am born again

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Then I listened to it again, a few months ago, in a crowded Piccadilly Line train. At the beginning I was touched by a moment of teenage melancholy. The first chords of ‘Airbag’ took me back to a different time where everything was easier and more confusing at the same time. After that flash of nostalgia, I realised that I could understand the lyrics better than before, and relate them to new experiences that I had lived in the past years. And then it struck me how the themes in the songs are as current as they can be: new technologies, social alienation, state oppression, political rallies, mental health, lost love‚Ķ ( I finished the Electioneering illustration in the very same day that Trump was elected, which I found terribly appropriate).

It was such an intense experience listening to it again, and discovering new meanings to the songs, that I decided to make an homage to it. It shocked me when I noticed that next year will be its 20th anniversary. And when I remembered that there were exactly 12 tracks in it, I decided that the best tribute that I could do would be a 2017 calendar, where each month would have an illustration inspired by one of the songs in the album.

So here is my attempt to capture the anguish and emotion in OK Computer. I hope you like it.

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