Posts from 8th May 2001

8
May 01

PETE BARAN AND SARAH CLARKE – “Paranoid Android”

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PETE BARAN AND SARAH CLARKE – “Paranoid Android”

Live performance, the King Of Corsica pub, 4th May 2001.

Karaoke is the final destination of pop, the point where the gap between song and listener rubs thinnest. In the space karaoke creates you can live out all your histrionic walkman fantasies. Or, of course, you can have a good drunken laugh. And, of course of course, you can do both. And karaoke does other magical things too: with the song-grinding turnover the industry requires, seemingly unsingable songs slip in more than occasionally and tempt the unwary and inebriated.

So Sarah comes up to me and says, look, they’ve got Paranoid Android here. And I say OK, sing it then. And she says, do a duet. And I say yes because I’m drunk and I think it would be funny. And we put it down. Then she says I dont think I’ve ever heard Paranoid Android and I say it’s OK, you do the slow bits. The evening keeps going and I find I’ve left my mobile in the other pub so I go to get it and when I come back the song’s halfway through and Pete and Sarah are up there.

They’re not singing because it’s the long, slow, instrumental bit. The woman who runs the karaoke machine keeps gesturing to them, trying to get them to agree to stop. Everyone is looking at them, apalled or transfixed or irritated or stupefied or something or just drunk. I can’t stop laughing. “That’s it Sir, you’re leaving” – it occurs to me that this is the first time anyone has done Paranoid Android on this machine. It occurs to me also that the poor woman running it doesnt know how it goes. Pete sounds much better (campier, louder, more feral) than Thom Yorke. “The panic….the vomit…the panic….the vomit…” – each line showing up on the pub big screen and the woman is desperate now to stop them, her jaw working helplessly and a look of absolute disgust on her face. When Pete hits Yorke’s final “YEAH!” it’s my second great live moment of the year. The next day I go and buy the album.