Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No more Killer Cars

Thom Yorke cares about things. He cares about you and me, and the planet. And global warming.

In fact, he's quite worried how bad rock music, and touring in particular, is for the environment:

"The way that tours are structured now and the way it works is a ridiculous consumption of energy ... I would consider refusing to tour on environmental grounds, if nothing started happening to change the way the touring operates.

"I think it's a necessary part of what I do, to tour or play live, but I find it unacceptable, what the consequences of that are.

"Some of our best ever shows have been in the US, but there's 80,000 people there and they've all been sitting in traffic jams for five or six hours with their engines running to get there, which is bollocks.

"It's all completely la-la. It's daft. When you discuss it you feel like a prat because you're saying I'm not happy with that and I want to do it another way. I want to go to the US by ship. The Cure did that years ago because Robert Smith refused to fly, and then I get told that if you take the ship, that's as much carbon usage."

He added: "Long haul flights just feel wrong. I'm trying to figure out a way of getting to Japan by train. I quite fancy that Trans-Siberian whatsitsname but apparently it's a bit scary."

Of course, it's arguable that if Thom decided not to take his tour to Japan, then Japanese would come to British dates - would the carbon savings of not shifting Thom's stuff to Tokyo be wiped out by kids coming in the opposite direction?

And, presumably, some tours are worse than others - U2's Zoo TV tour, for example, was effectively shunting large numbers of TVs around the world and then having them blare away for a few hours at a time while, say, an acoustic tour puts a slightly lower strain on the planet.

Liam Gallagher, of course, could have argued he was trying to save the planet by abandoning US tours - were it not for already having done the damage of going from one side to the other.

It would be interesting to see how rock gigs rank compared with other pastimes, though: surely a Radiohead tour can't be as bad for the environment as a season of formula one motor racing?

And if Thom is taken to the logical end of his conclusion, not only would touring be outlawed, but so too would electronic music of all sorts: all those computers, and tapes, and CDs. It would be lovely to think that we might edge closer to keeping our side of the Kyoto agreement simply by decommissioning Robbie Williams, but I suspect our problems run deeper than that.


Anonymous said...

" I quite fancy that Trans-Siberian whatsitsname but apparently it's a bit scary."

Wuss! The amount of money Radiohead must have made, they could probably hire an entire train. I know of a Russian company that does Trans-Siberian railway tours for soft Westerners who are too chicken to take the ordinary train - maybe he should contact them?

simon h b said...

... and doesn't Pete Waterman still organise bespoke train journeys?

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