Radiohead's newspaper, The Universal Sigh, comes to Minneapolis

Categories: Media
"Life had been almost ridiculously easy, and now things were going to get worse. Much, much worse."

"...without newspapers it was impossible not to write my own internal headlines during my sleepless nights. Worry became constant; worry and enforced exile from everything I was accustomed to."

If this was a real newspaper it would be the most depressing in the world - while trying to be the most hopeful.

At first glance it's obvious the direction Radiohead were trying to take their inspiring worldwide campaign -- a back-to-land, faeries-can-be-real-if-you-believe reconsideration of our place within the world and the media that gives it to us. If a newspaper cries "wake up!" in a lonely glen...

The paper features short story contributions from two British writers well-known for their soul-of-the-woods pontifications (Robert MacFarlane, author of The Wild Places and Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey) and art from "Stanley Donwood" aka Dan Rickwood. He's been responsible for the design of Radiohead since The Bends, and now the reams of art throughout The Universal Sigh. Donwood -- say it with a British accent and it sounds like "downward" -- also turned in a short story for the paper, "Sell Your House and Buy Gold," as well as likely being responsible for the fragmented, stained-glass mosaics of poetry scattered throughout the paper.

The pleasant lad and lass handing out papers on the corner of Hennepin Ave. and Lake St. told us that the American release had been organized and discharged by Filter Magazine, who were taking pictures of everyone grabbing their copy for use on Filter's and the newspaper's websites. They were being paid for their time.

People going nuts
Across town on the University of Minnesota campus, a significantly larger crowd gathered; murmurs of "What if they show up and play?" seemed to be the impetus for folks choosing the Varsity over the decidedly less concert-ready sidewalk in front of Calhoun Square. By 12:15 a handful of twentysomethings had gathered to form a line, and by 1 p.m. that line wrapped around the end of the block. 

The actual distribution of the newspapers was fairly anticlimactic; everyone who showed up received a copy, and by the time the line dwindled they were passing out handfuls of papers to each person.

"Who knows, maybe they'll be worth something on eBay someday," one fan said, eyes wide as he posed for his picture, while a giddy young man at the front of the line marveled, "This must be the longest line for a newspaper... ever!"

Additional reporting and Dinkytown photos by music editor Andrea Swensson.

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