Listening to Strawberry Fields Forever on the radio just now, I felt my insides drop vertiginously, Proust-like; but I seemed to land in someone else’s experiences. I was able to briefly imagine what it must have been like to listen to this one track when it was still almost unknown: expecting “another Beatles album”; getting this unbelievable mixture of noises instead.
Back in 1996, I managed to convince my then girlfriend that I simply had to leave the house just before midnight to buy a copy of OK Computer. As she’d just come back from a conference at Amsterdam a few hours previously, it took some doing. But as I sat in my college room the next day – we compromised on my buying, but not playing, the album that night – I sat listening to Airbag in that utter astonishment that might once have accompanied a playing of the Beatles, as the sounds slowly turned someone’s world upside-down.