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Thom Yorke says we can watch ‘Boris Johnson lie through his teeth’ because we’re not connected with reality

‘We don’t have to connect with it directly because it’s a little avatar. It’s this little guy with a stupid haircut waving a flag… “That’s alright, that’s funny”’

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Wednesday 26 June 2019 10:15
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Thom Yorke's new album ANIMA is out this week
Thom Yorke's new album ANIMA is out this week

The title of Thom Yorke’s new album ANIMA is derived from his belief that spending time online causes us to disconnect from real life, the musician has revealed.

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 in a new interview, the Radiohead frontman, composer and solo artist explained the he feels society has “started to emulate what our devices say about us and emulate the way we behave from that”.

“The reason we can watch Boris Johnson lie through his teeth, promise something that we know will never happen is: we don’t have to connect with it directly because it’s a little avatar. It’s this little guy with a stupid haircut waving a flag… ‘That’s alright, that’s funny’.

"And the consequences are not real. The consequences of everything we do are not real. We can remain anonymous. We send our avatar out to hurl abuse and poison and then trot back anonymous.”

Yorke was more positive about the future, however, suggesting that people have “come to terms with the idea that the only way things change is fundamental structural change. And the only way that can happen when you have a bunch of clowns, is to be angry”.

“But right now we have this performance going on: we have a Punch and Judy show in America, another one in Britain that apparently is what goes for politics these days,” he added. “And when it breaks, the likes of Ocasio-Cortez will walk in and go, ‘Right. Shall we get started?’ That's what I think.”

ANIMA, which will be accompanied by a Netflix “one-reeler” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, will be released online on 27 June and in stores on 17 July.

It was written by Yorke, and produced by Nigel Godrich, who worked on the majority of Radiohead’s albums.

The Netflix film is reportedly set to three songs from the album. Yorke has described it as “a motion picture, especially a cartoon or comedy”, which is “contained on one reel of film; popular especially in the era of silent films”.

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