Radiohead – Glass Eyes


Radiohead – Glass Eyes: Hey it’s me, I just got off the train…

It was a Thursday morning, just before lunch, when my sister called and told me: “Mum has had a stroke.” FUCK…

Hayley only had a few details for me, she was in a specialist ward in Winchester and couldn’t really tell me how bad things were. I rushed home, picked up the bag which my girlfriend* had packed for me and proceeded to catch a train to reduce the 248 miles between me and her bedside to nil – a journey that would take just under five hours (via train).

Now for anyone worried about the health of their mum, that’s an awfully long time to dwell on the myriad scenarios that may await, but for someone who has already lost his father (to a mixture or smoking, diabetes, depression and heart disease) and a sister (to meningitis), trying to remain positive isn’t really an option.

Is her life in danger? What if she can’t remember my name or can’t recognise my faceWhat does it mean for her quality of life? Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

I tried to calm myself in the best way I could and, automatically, put on my headphones and just froze. Whatever I played right now would be tainted. Tainted in the same way that listening to Climbing the Walls from OK Computer in ’98 made sense of my first proper experience of death when I was 18. Tainted like How to Disappear Completely from Kid A which, just two years later, was all I wanted to do after I’d watched Dad die.

And so I had my answer. Radiohead’s newest record, A Moon Shaped Pool, stared up at me from in the recently added section of iTunes. I hit play.

I spent the next few hours reading through cold hard facts about strokes on the net – trying to found the least shit version of the illness that I could hope mum might’ve had – as the album floated around me, helping manage my panic, one song, Glass Eyes, became the next in a linage of Radiohead tracks that really mean something to me.

Its simple, almost gaunt arrangement and specific references to trains (see full lyrics below) felt right, it seeped into my consciousness and will haunt me for the rest of my life.

*Seriously the title of girlfriend is so woefully inadequate for Jenessa. I would call her life partner or companion if it didn’t make us both of us want to vomit. I digress, but she’s wonderful and I can’t express in words (because I’m not as good at writing as her) just how important her support has been.

Radiohead – Glass Eyes Lyrics

Hey it’s me
I just got off the train
A frightening place
The faces are concrete grey
And I’m wondering, should I turn around?
Buy another ticket
Panic is coming on strong
So cold, from the inside out
No great drama, message coming in
In the oh-so-smug
Glassy eyed light of day
Glassy eyed light of day

Where the path trails off
And heads down the mountain
Through the dry bush, I don’t know where it leads
I don’t really care
And the path trails off
And heads down a mountain
Through the dry bush, I don’t know where it leads
I don’t really care

I feel this love to the core
I feel this love to the core