You don't necessarily associate Thom Yorke with fun. Radiohead's frontman and principal songwriter has tended to have different kinds of adjectives attached to him in his two decades in the music pages: "intense," "tortured" and "angst-ridden," or "impassioned," "essential" and "important."

Though Radiohead's music has always carried a complex cathartic charge, simple pleasure, for better or worse, has never quite seemed his thing. He may have sold 30 million albums, and from time to time been widely touted as the leader of "the world's biggest rock band," but along the way Yorke has generally given the appearance of a man who stands a better than average chance of being refused entry to a happy hour.

Still, sitting in a crowded cafe in east London, drinking morning tea, he has of late, he tells me a little anxiously, been trying on fun for size. It might be growing on him. Yorke is a slight, quick-witted presence; when he walks in there is not a flicker of recognition on the faces around us. You guess he likes it that way. He is wary of pretension, alive to all shades of irony.