When I lived back in Nashville and first started listening to Radiohead, I really enjoyed Knives Out. I still do, but it's not a song I'll put on usually. For whatever reason, it doesn't come to mind when I think of listening to Radiohead.
I pulled it up on youtube today and watched it again for the first time in a couple of years. I found it a bit upsetting.
For you guys who've never heard the song or haven't seen the video, this is the link to the video I watched.
If the link it dead, you should be able to find it.
I'll walk you through what I see.
The video begins with a shot of a toy train, looping around a circle, half of the loop missing from the view into a wall. There are some landscape pictures in the shot as well, photographs on the wall. It pans down and the train is actually on top of a television set.
It begins with a shot of a couple on a train. The shot is through a television set and has a sort of, unrealistic look to it. It looks as though Thom and his girlfriend are actually within the Tv, just sitting there. The movement in the window of their train is this fake landscape. They look happy together, and Thom snaps a photo of her.
The camera pans to the right and you see the photograph Thom took; his girlfriend looks like a quiet sort of happy. Next to it is a drawing of two elephants tangling their trunks. It's a cute drawing, and it conveys to me that they like each other.
It then goes down to Thom, who is laying on a low gurney. He's holding onto the blankets and looking off camera to the right. The room looks like a hospital bed, and it has more cute drawings hung on the wall. Thom looks concerned. Real concerned. A type of a concerned I hope I never have to be. Thom's expression conveys so real to me how upset he really is.
The camera goes right and reveals that his girlfriend is on a sort of life size version of the kids game Operation. Her head sticks out of a hole where the patient's head usually is and she looks worried. A older man in a khaki jacket comes in and takls to them. Two doctors in scrubs walk in and they start operating on her. It's sort of strange, because they're taking objects out of the Operation board, and she expresses pain and a red light shines on her face. Thom places his hand over the hand of the board, and tries to console her.
More doctors start walking in and they bring in a big machine that does who knows what. The camera pans from the train and then the television again to Thom and the girlfriend, except Thom's head is actually a giant heart. He opens up the heart, and places a pick of his girlfriend inside.
She leans into him, and kisses the big heart, but he shoves her away. Gentle brushes her head to the side, almost in a mean way.
It pans right to Thom and his feet are in these two giant heaters, they look like food warmers. He's under the covers and he lifts them up to see. His body leads to a little area under his gurney, and three awful figures are manicuring his feet, except his feet are roasted chickens.
Their faces aren't right, they have masks on, and they look hideous. Thom pulls the cover down and looks shocked. He doesn't know what to think.
Kneeling behind him there is a little boy. It looks like he's reading a comic. There are more and more people around the Operation table now, doing things and giving her food. The room is absolutely crowded now. The red light shines and she groans with pain several times.
It pans up above to show just how full the room is now. It reminds me of hospitals, and how many people will be in and out of those rooms. So many things are happening that you can't keep up and you don't know what to do. It's anxious, because Thom can't do anything. But you have to trust that all these people can.
It makes me worried, because it's just too many people. The big machine pulls up an x-ray of her body. The camera pans to the toy train and it's pulling around carts full of human body parts. They look like plastic, but it's a disturbing image.
The camera pans down and shows Thom, who has his original head now, and his girlfriend beating each other up with these huge toy weapons. Thom hits her with a hammer and she stabs him with a knife. They do this kind of comically, but they are mad. They look really angry with each other.
They get tired of hitting each other and put down their weapons. Thom pulls up a giant jewelry box and gives her a giant diamond ring. She takes it into her hands and smiles.
It's as though they were just arguing with each other, and they were really mean to each other, but once they run out of hot air he apologizes by giving her a ring and she gladly accepts. It reminds me of couples who will do that, and it makes me sad. Like a make-up gift. It depresses me, seeing it, even if the imagery is bizarre.
She leans forward and looks like she's in pain. She clutches her lower back. A hand comes from out of shot and hits the rewind button on the Tv. The scene reverses, but Thom and his girlfriend are watching it from inside the Tv. They watch the scene as it started, all the way to the start, when he took the photo of her.
They sit there and look at each other and kind of gently smile at each other. It's as though they're thinking "What were we doing?"
The scene turns to the right and the jewel from the ring is on the gurney Thom was laying on. It goes further right and the Operation table is gone now. So are the doctors. The room looks empty, but a giant skeleton with a heart for a head is playing the guitar. There's a mircophone in front of him.
It dances lightly as it strums and it opens up and the picture of Thom's girlfriend flies out. The camera moves around so that you can look into the microphone. It's being held by a human hand, and the front of the microphone, where you speak, has Thom's face on it. Small and strange, you can barely make out him singing.
The song ends there.
There's much more to this video than I can parse right now, but the scene unfolding with his girlfriend is enough to upset me. The use of toys and bizarre things puzzles me, but it's definitely representative of something.
You're welcome to let me know what you see. I see something deeply unsettling.
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