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My name is Thom. I like to dance. Watch me dance.
March 9, 2011 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Four weeks ago, the video for Radiohead's Lotus Flower went up on YouTube. It's a simple thing, black and white, starting off with a silhouetted dancer who turns out to be Thom Yorke. The formerly "very shy and uncertain" fellow has since turned into a back-up dancer for Beyonce, makes Window Licker a bit less creepy*, and is a dancing queen. There's a step-by-step graphic break-down of Thom's dance (descriptions in French, auto-translated by Babelfish and alternate descriotion in English), a detailed break-down of Yorke's influences, a tumblr of 150 dancing Thom video edits and mash-ups, and a Know Your Meme page.

Thanks to jokeefe for starting this with the Abba mashup.

* The very not safe for work and wonderfully disturbing original long edition of Windowlicker by Aphex Twin. More weird details on this video can be found on the related Wikipedia page.
posted by filthy light thief (27 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good lord, there's a lot of paperwork for memes nowadays. I miss the days when you could just post something weird and get a million hits. No muss, no fuss. Nowadays, you have to submit a form in triplicate to the net culture bureaucracy which, in a Kafkaesque twist, may or may not exist but you nevertheless have to sit in their waiting room for eternity.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:08 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The formerly "very shy and uncertain" fellow

Whenever the lead singer of a successful rock band claims to be very shy and uncertain, reach for the salt.
posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


reach for the salt.

I'm trying to watch my sodium intake. :(
posted by kmz at 1:13 PM on March 9, 2011


Celsius1414: Good lord, there's a lot of paperwork for memes nowadays.

Um, that's my fault. Well, not wholly my fault, but in this instance and presentation. I just can't help myself posting a lot of info (I'm a self-recognizing infoholic). But it seems that popular memes have a way of expanding. One funny video becomes a new cultural facet.

The World Famous: Whenever the lead singer of a successful rock band claims to be very shy and uncertain, reach for the salt.

As a minor Radiohead fanboy, I remember seeing Thom standing on stage, not moving a lot and not really interacting with the crowds at a few shows (circa 2006/8?). He's never had the bombast of a typical rock band front man - no strutting about stage, no kicking things over or flailing about. That, for me, makes this video (and the mash-ups) more amusing and interesting.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:16 PM on March 9, 2011


I think that probably Radiohead should cut down on their ketamine intake, based on the new album.
posted by empath at 1:18 PM on March 9, 2011


As a minor Radiohead fanboy, I remember seeing Thom standing on stage, not moving a lot and not really interacting with the crowds at a few shows (circa 2006/8?). He's never had the bombast of a typical rock band front man - no strutting about stage, no kicking things over or flailing about.

Sounds like an Oasis show.
posted by The World Famous at 1:21 PM on March 9, 2011


As a minor Radiohead fanboy, I remember seeing Thom standing on stage, not moving a lot and not really interacting with the crowds at a few shows (circa 2006/8?).

You're right that he doesn't typically interact with the crowd much beyond the occasional comment here or there between songs, at the end of a show, whatever. The movement thing kind of depends on what he's doing. Obviously he can hop around all he wants during the wordless break down for Idioteque, but if he's playing guitar and singing he kinda has to stay more still...

He's always moved around a bit when he can though. I mean even back in the old days before he started Seizure Dancing a lot, he'd move around some.

He was definitely getting down a lot at the couple of Atoms For Peace shows I went to (most recent rh-related thing I've gotten to see).
posted by sparkletone at 1:26 PM on March 9, 2011


That's not back in the old days.

This is back in the old days.
posted by empath at 1:27 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw Radiohead at Red Rocks in Colorado once. It was a twelve-hour drive for our little posse, and it was completely worth it. Thom at one point got super-duper splits-jumpy with his moves during maybe "Paranoid Android" and managed to walk backwards over an amp after some leaping. He did a backwards somersault on accident, keeping his guitar safe all the way on up. After the song (during which rain actually fell, and only during the "rain down" section), he just sheepishly muttered, "That's what I get for trying those stadium-rock moves."

In conclusion, Thom Yorke and I would be best friends and I have assumed so for going on fifteen years now. I dance like him and I am proud of it.
posted by lauranesson at 1:32 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, that's my fault.

Oh no snark intended - it's a great info pile you have there. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2011


empath: That's not back in the old days.

This is back in the old days.


Wow, I've seen pics of the bleached-blonde Yorke, but I've never seen him in action. That's kind of frightening, but seems totally fitting for 1993 Mtv.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM on March 9, 2011


empath: This is from Over There, yes?
posted by hijinx at 1:40 PM on March 9, 2011


I'm actually just listening to this album for the first time.

The drum programming makes this almost unlistenable for me. Terrible job mastering the high end on some of these songs, the percussion is clashing all over the place, and I don't think it's intentional..
posted by empath at 1:48 PM on March 9, 2011


Whenever the lead singer of a successful rock band claims to be very shy and uncertain, reach for the salt.

I don't know that he counts as the lead singer of a successful rock band, but when I saw Sufjan Stevens he was so awkward and uncertain that after each of the first couple songs he joined the audience in applauding.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on March 9, 2011


Have we had Thom Yorke kills Justin Bieber yet?

In case not.
posted by Decani at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Justin Beeper gif and the bees gif in particular have tickled my fancy of late.

lauranesson: I dance like him and I am proud of it.

Yeah, this. It was really gratifying to see Thom Yorke dance along to his music the way I've always danced along to his music.
posted by carsonb at 1:55 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not back in the old days. This is back in the old days.

Heh. I was this close to picking that one over the performance of Bones from 1994. Pity there's no meme for Pool Diving Thom.
posted by sparkletone at 2:01 PM on March 9, 2011


On a related note, I was shocked at how athletic Stuart Murdoch was at the last Belle & Sebastian concert I went to. Dude has aged about six hours since 1997.
posted by mykescipark at 2:18 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, but to get that real Dancing Thom experience you have to go to the Atoms For Peace live videos. Particularly this one, Paperbag Writer, from the very first show at the Echoplex in LA. Rumour has it that a number of fangirls spontaneously combusted after watching it, and were never seen again....
posted by jokeefe at 3:42 PM on March 9, 2011


To do proper justice to "Windowlicker," it should have started with ten minutes of guys saying "motherfucker." Nice, though.
posted by sonascope at 3:43 PM on March 9, 2011


Oh oh oh, have you seen this one? The whacking a fridge with a dead fish and playing tennis one? Though I agree with the YT poster who said remove that fart noises and this would be the best thing ever... but perhaps without that farting misstep, its glory would be too much for mortal eyes? The first time I saw it I laughed to actual tears.
posted by jokeefe at 3:50 PM on March 9, 2011


^^^ sorry, not fridge, a washer/dryer. My enthusiasm got the better of me.
posted by jokeefe at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2011


I am about the same age as Thom, so seeing him wearing skinny jeans left me a bit skeeved.
posted by dr.flakenstein at 6:18 PM on March 9, 2011


How does Thom get his shirt to stay tucked in? I like his style.
posted by awenner at 6:34 PM on March 9, 2011


So... he's doing an impression of Joe Cocker doing tai chi?
posted by aught at 7:32 AM on March 10, 2011


How does Thom get his shirt to stay tucked in?

Editing.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 AM on March 10, 2011


Shirt is totally untucked by the end.
posted by hermitosis at 2:32 PM on March 10, 2011


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