Read All About It – Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Delivers ‘The Universal Sigh’

Londoners! If, while riding the tube today, instead of seeing hundreds of copies of Metro held by depressed office workers you see hundreds of copies of a free newspaper entitled The Universal Sigh gripped firmly by people grinning so hard they look like they may be having a stroke or a funny turn, fear not. They’ve just come face to face with their idol, Thom Yorke.

And they are very, very pleased about it.



To celebrate the release of ‘The King Of Limbs’, Radiohead have distributed worldwide a ‘newspaper’ containing artwork, lyrics and short stories on every topic from the apocalypse to trees. There is a LOT of content about trees.


From as early as 9am fans had started to gather around Rough Trade in the Brick Lane area of London to pick up their copies and by the official kick off of midday the queue, which led round the side of the two streets, numbered well into the hundreds.


At this point only those in the know were aware that the frontman was making an appearance in his new role as delivery boy. Meaning that the crowd was simply there to pick up a paper. A newspaper. In this day and age. But if there’s one thing about Radiohead fans, it’s their insane level of devotion.

thom yorke with fan

A level of insanity that is often rewarded by such things as actually being able to touch their heroes. Touch them! Using actual human flesh!


Waiting in line were Radiohead fanatics Dan, 21 of Woking and David, 24 from Hertfordshire. Their reason for being here? “If Radiohead ask us to jump, we jump.”

Before rumours began to churn that something more special than a paper being handed out might occur, their only hope for the day was to pick up said memorabilia and meet fellow ‘Head fans. When the diminutive frontman passed them in the queue and stood behind his kiosk, their faces lit up like Christmas had been called early.

thom fans

Another fan positively beaming with joy after his encounter with Mr. Yorke was Kyle, 28. Before Thom turned up, Kyle was extolling the virtues of the Oxfordshire band’s attempts to mix it up: “They make the best of the way the music industry is. They ask ‘what can we do differently?'”


Olly Gibbs, 21 from London was equally enthused. “We turned up just expecting a paper, and then Thom Yorke appeared. He was a very nice chap, we did a silly photo. It’s a great atmosphere too. A bit of a shock for a Monday morning.”


As for the paper itself, well – if fans were hoping for any great insights into ‘The King Of Limbs’ lyrical themes, they’ll probably be a bit disappointed.

The ten-page pamphlet features some nice new artwork (and a rather depressing short story) by long-time collaborator Stanley Downwood, some scattered lyrics, and a couple of vaguely pastoral essays by Jay Grifiths and Robert Macfarlane, who have both published books on the subject of wildness.

There are no great revelations, beyond the fact that Radiohead really, really dig trees – but then we knew that anyway. Still, there’s plenty of material to keep the conspiracy theories coming for a while yet…

Radiohead, ‘The Universal Sigh’ – what does it all mean?

More on Radiohead

Radiohead – 50 incredibly geeky facts

Follow Owen Nicholls on Twitter