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  • Writer's pictureTashroom Ahsan

How to Disappear Completely

This speech is a proof of the following fact: that the greatest musical work ever created is How To Disappear Completely by Radiohead. You might be wondering how I can prove that. I am too. It is hard to prove things about music since, as Kierkegaard’s character Victor Heremita’s character A once said, music is the most sensuous form of art. Thus, I will not truly prove, but rather demonstrate this fact through the song itself. I am very grateful for A. I’m grateful for A because he proved music is the most sensuous form of art and cannot truly be explained, but he was wrong. A was wrong because he said Don Giovanni is the highest form of art ever created. I wonder how that’s true since Don Giovanni isn’t even the highest form of music. It isn’t the highest form of music because that’s Radiohead’s How to Disappear Completely.

I will now demonstrate this fact. I was once young; I am still young, but I was once younger. I was sitting on my bed, and I was looking. I was looking in pain; I was looking because I was pained; I was in pain, and I was looking. My girlfriend at the time, we were fourteen, but she still counts as my girlfriend, her name was Luci. It still is Luci, but it was Luci then too. Luci was sitting beside me, we were on my bed. I was looking in pain because there’s a little man in my head, a man who tells me he wants to be dead, he tells me he wants me dead too. I know this man very well, I’ve known him everyday, I still am best friends with him, with Luci too, but the man and Luci were yelling at me as we sat together in silence while How to Disappear Completely was playing in the background, and she was crying and I was looking and he was yelling and in that moment, in that very moment, I thought I knew what it meant to look. He wanted me dead, he told me he wanted me to die, and Luci was telling me something else, that she wanted to live, she wanted me to live, and I told her, “how can you want me to live when he wants me to die?” and I told her that and Thom Yorke, the singer of the song, said “I’m not here, this isn’t happening,” and I realized that I was there and it was happening. Thom Yorke walked into the room, he grabbed me by my shoulders, he leaned me forward, and he kissed me on my forehead, he told me I could live and die at the same time, that I just had to not be there, and so I kept looking. That’s the baseline for what I was living, but that was also the bass line of what I was hearing.

When I was less young, but still young, I kept looking. I had been looking for a very long time. I was looking on one particular day. I was walking through the halls of my high school and I kept looking. I was looking because I was pained, I was looking because Thom Yorke told me to, and I was looking for something. I was looking because I was in the first stage. I knew what I was looking for. I was looking to feel away. My voice was starting to have something, something a little musical to it. I was looking and now I was singing, but in the back of my mind I was just looking. But I wasn’t just looking anymore; I was longing. I was longing, and I started to sing, but I started singing in words. I was walking through the hallways, and Thom Yorke was singing to me that he wasn’t here, and I was singing the words with him, telling him I wasn’t here either. The little man in my head was telling me I was here, and Luci was in my head telling me to be here, but Thom Yorke and I were singing that I’m not here, and I really thought I wasn’t there. But I was still singing, and I was singing in words, and words are the reason why Don Giovanni is not the greatest work of music ever created; because it has words until its ending, so it’s never truly immediate, it never leaves the ground. I was singing, and I thought singing was all it meant to not be here, but it was because I was singing those words that I was there, and because I was singing those words as I walked through the halls, I was a part of the halls, I was in the halls, I was one with the halls and I was what both the little man and Luci wanted. Thom Yorke and I were both wrong, because we were both singing, so there was no way we were absolutely musical. There was no way we transcended being.

I grew less young, and I kept looking but I stopped singing. I stopped singing because Thom Yorke stopped singing. The man in my head and Luci kept yelling, but Thom Yorke finally shut up and I could hear a little bit again. I was sitting at my dinner table, sitting with a slice of beautiful glowing tiramisu cake, home alone, and How to Disappear Completely was blasting on the surround sound, 4 minutes and 39 seconds in, but Thom Yorke wasn’t singing anymore because he came in, and he ate half the tiramisu, and now he was in the bathroom and his bowels were fighting the cake. Thom couldn’t sing because the tiramisu was singing, it was singing through him and it echoed through the house, but obviously tiramisu cakes can’t sing words. Thom kept trying to sing despite the cake but the cake would shut him up, and they were fighting in the bathroom and I was still looking, and I was looking when I found Thom Yorke in the bathroom, fighting the cake, fighting to sing, and I was looking at him when suddenly, for the first time in my life, Thom Yorke looked at me, and I realized, I realized that all along, he was what I wanted to find, I was looking for him all along, even though I thought I knew, I was searching for him, but not when he was singing, but only when he was fighting the cake that was fighting his singing, and I found that I wanted him, that I loved him, but only when he looked at me and defeated the cake. His voice overcame, his voice won, but he was forever changed, his voice was damned to never form words again, and he was tainted with the sound of the cake and it was that Thom Yorke, the Thom Yorke that has no words, that saved me. It was when I found this man, he found me, that I finally managed to shut the man up and shut Luci up and I finally stepped into the bathroom with him, and I sang beyond words with him. I was suddenly not there, not in the bathroom, not with Luci or the man, and not even with Thom Yorke, the man I desired so deeply. It was in the music that I became purely sensuous, purely nothing.

I became and disappeared completely through the song, through the lost Thom, and that is why How To Disappear Completely is the greatest work of music ever created.

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