What does that guy say at the end of the Radiohead’s video for “Just”?

In case you’ve never seen the video–from Radiohead’s excellent second album, The Bends—it’s got two components. One is the band, looking misanthropic and unwashed, giving it their all as they pantomime rocking out in an apartment. The other is a narrative, filmed in a style reminiscent of director Douglas Sirk: a well-dressed man, an archetypal businessman, suddenly lies down in the middle of the sidewalk, curled up as if he wants his blanket. Someone else trips over him, and then discovers that the man doesn’t want to get up. He says he’s not drunk or crazy, but despite the entreaties of a gathering crowd, he won’t get up and won’t explain why he’s on the pavement, although he denies that it’s cheap nihilism or fear of death. (This dialogue is all communicated through subtitles; Radiohead provide the subtext with the song’s chorus of “you do it to yourself.”) Finally, he tells the crowd why he’s lying down, at which point the editing becomes choppy enough to prevent effective lip-reading. The band gaze down from a window as the crowd all lie down.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now: the whole point of the video is not what the man says, which is meant to be as much of a mystery as whatever it is Bill Murray whispers into Scarlett Johansson’s ear at the end of Lost in Translation. The band is resolutely silent on the issue; Jamie Thraves, director of the clip, has said, “To tell you would deaden the impact, and probably make you want to lie down in the road too.” You want a real mystery—why does the crowd on a British street include an American police officer?

(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)