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Message 70: I don’t belong here

In an early scene of the documentary Meeting People is Easy, we see Thom Yorke frontally from an audience member’s perspectiveóthe band is onstage also, but out of camera range. Pointing his microphone to the audience, he forgoes singing the final lyrics to “Creep,” letting the audience do so instead. The mournful closing line, “I don’t belong here,” takes on special meaning given that the speaker, with the audience singing in his place, does not need to be present. “I don’t belong here,” is an observation on the surface, but also a statement of desire, a desire to not be wherever “here” designates.

Later in the movie, we see Thom Yorke from behind, singing alone with an acoustic guitar to an empty auditorium. The song he performs here would later become “How to Disappear Completely.” This scene and the one described above form negative images of one another. I’m not here, this isn’t happening. The lyrics we hear Yorke singing, unlike “Creep”, assert that the speaker is not hereóthe speaker is a spectral entity, rising above the moment, escaping it. Whereas in “Creep” the speaker can only pine for an escape that, by song’s end, never comes.

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