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This video was directed by the Swedish animator Magnus Carlsson, creator of the animated series "Robin".
'PARANOID ANDROID'
Thom: "What liberates Paranoid Android is a sense of humour - Marvin the paranoid android. The blackest things can be said with jokes - re, 'The Fast Show': it's funny."
Thom: "When we did 'Paranoid Android' [the video], I couldn't find anything that… anybody's work that I thought in anyway came close to the mood of the song. Except for this… while we were finishing off the album, I had like a collection of Magnus Carlson's Robin cartoons, right? And we just watched them all the time and it was just totally where our heads were at. In the end I jut sort of asked him to do a Robin cartoon, because that was it. And the weird thing was the way he interpreted it was… it was so uncanny, because he didn't want the words to the song, right? He doesn't understand these things very well. And he listened to it all day on repeat on his CD player. And then writing down images that he was seeing in his head and putting them together and faxed it back to us. And it was just… weird. It was like the whole story of the actual song anyway."
Thom: When it came time to make the video for that song, we had lots of people saying, 'Yeah, great, we can have another video like "Street Spirit", all moody and black and dark. Well, no. We had really good fun doing this song, so the video should make you laugh. I mean, it should be sick, too.

In typical Radiohead fashion, the video - which should be added to MuchMusic's regular rotation this week - doesn't feature the band at all. Instead, it is the work of demented Swedish director Magnus Carlsson, who came up with a fully animated cartoon based around Robin and Benji, a pair of comic-strip characters popular in the U.K. The enigmatic plot has something to do with a sweaty diplomat, an alien, several topless mermaids, and a lot of drinking.

"When we did it, we deliberately didn't send Magnus the lyrics," says Yorke, "because we didn't want it to be too literal. So what he did was he sat in his garden one Sunday with the song playing very loud, continuously, all day long, and he just wrote down the pictures that came into his head."

The character of Robin, observes Jonny Greenwood, is "quite an affectionate one, quite vulnerable."

Yorke agrees. "Robin is quite the vulnerable character, but he's also violently cynical and quite tough and would always get up again. And the rest of the video is really about the violence around him, which is exactly like the song. Not the same specific violence as in the lyrics, but everything going on around him is deeply troubling and violent, but he's just drinking himself into oblivion. He's there, but he's not there. That's why it works. And that's why it does my head in every time I see it."

Given the video's topless mermaids - not to mention one scene in which a character accidentally slices off his arms and legs - has the band run into any trouble with censorship?

"Well, MTV Europe ran it for two weeks uncensored because their censor was off ill," says Yorke, laughing. "This one woman was ill and she didn't know about the video, so they just put it on anyway, which was great. Funny, most people object to the nipples but not the guy chopping his limbs off."

Yorke says that MTV is airing "Paranoid Android," but blurring the image every time you see a nipple. "THEY can use sex to sell everything else, but they can't put it in pop videos," he smirks.

"Yeah," says Greenwood, "they'd rather have 13 bikini-clad babes grinding away on a beach."