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Invert That Frown

An open letter to Thom Yorke.

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Dear Thom:

You're probably staggering under weighty preoccupations -- Iraq-botch fallout, Israel-Hezbollah imbroglio, Big Brother -- but lay off the cryptic sourball imagery, and cheer up already.

Even in chaos, diversions and pleasures abound. We hoped you'd relax a bit after Hail to the Thief, but The Eraser's grim-faced tightropes confirmed our worst fears. Here are some suggestions on how to lighten up.

1. Join a paintball league. Then wear the spattered suit everywhere for a few weeks. No one -- least of all you -- will take you so damned seriously.

2. Post a photo of Zach de la Rocha on your wall. If you ever fret that Radiohead isn't releasing new material often enough to further "the cause," remember that the self-styled revolutionary has released only one measly song in six years.

3. Trash all those goth and IDM LPs, and pick up Art Brut's debut, which is so bonkers it should be on Prozac. Bonus for your audience: Bring Art Brut on tour.

4. Visit conflict-ridden countries and streak. This will (a) earn Radiohead a certain roguish notoriety, (b) help you tap more adrenaline and dispel more stress than riding roller coasters, while (c) perhaps bewildering the warring parties into a cease-fire as they stare at the insane British rock star leaping, stark naked, from bomb crater to bomb crater.

5. It's hard to believe that the playful curiosity of your two children hasn't rubbed off on you. Joining their games and fantasies would do wonders for your mood; it sure beats skulking about the manor, mumbling, "I will eat you alive" and generally scaring the bejeezus out of everybody.

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