Thom Yorke takes on government in Harrowdown Hill

Thom Yorke, lead singer and song writer with Radiohead, has worked with director Chel White and team at Bent Lab to produce ‘Harrowdown Hill’, an angry protest at the British government’s involvement in the Iraq war. The title refers to the place in which was found the body of David Kelly, government employee implicated in the leaking of information on the ‘sexing up’ of the British government report on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Harrowdown Hill is one of the tracks on Thom Yorke’s 2006 album, The Eraser.

Eagle in Harrowdown Hill music video


The music video opens with an animated eagle flying over mountains, rivers, farmland. A flock of birds flies across the eagle’s vision. The perspective moves to the owner of a pair of hands that attempts to interact with the eagle’s silhouette. We return to the aerial view, flying over petrochemical tanks, a motorway, factories, a high rise building with air conditioning towers and a prone body. Down on the street, placard carrying marchers appear as miniature models.

Protesters in Harrowdown Hill music video

Once again the hands attempt to manipulate the animated eagle. The video descends into darkness in which riot police subdue crowds, firefighters attempt to quench flames, and a number of objects float down into watery depths. The animated eagle flies through the crowds, now almost at ground level. A fully clothed man sinks through deep water, bubbles rising and tie floating. The music video finishes with time lapse landscape photography.

Harrowdown Hill Credits

Harrowdown Hill was directed by Chel White, executive producer at Bent Image Lab, with assistant Laura McGie, and executive producers David Cress and Ray DiCarlo.

The aerial views were developed using what Bent Image Lab came to call “Small-Gantics”, an effect based on the work of Italian photographic artist Olivo Barbieri. Jim Clark, Small Gantics developer, aimed to provide the impression that live footage was based on miniature models, using tilt shift techniques. See Jim’s blog, Is This Thing On?. The Small Gantics process was developed by Jalal Jemison and team members Carlos Stevens, Loren Judah, Jonny Hamilton, Brian Kinkley, Steve Blazer and Alan Winston.

Editor was Kelly McClean with assistant Ryan Jeffery. Digital colorists were Jim Barrett, Jake Buff and Orland Nutt. Producers were Tsui Ling Toomer and Isham Martin. Eagle animation was done by David Russo. The computer generated flock of birds was developed by Fred Ruff.

Underwater director of photography was Christopher Pearson. Time-lapse photography was taken by Mark Eifert. Stock footage research was done by Zach Lewis.

Harrowdown Hill – Thom Yorke Music Video on iTunes

Lyrics for Thom Yorke Harrowdown Hill

Don’t walk the plank like I did
You will be dispensed with
When you’ve become inconvenient
In the harrowdown hill
Where you went to school
That’s where I am
That’s where I’m lying down

Did I fall or was I pushed?
Did I fall or was I pushed?
And where’s the blood?
And where’s the blood?

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
To make it all right
So dry your eyes

We think the same things at the same time
We just cant do anything about it

So don’t ask me
Ask the ministry
Don’t ask me
Ask the ministry

We think the same things at the same time
There are so many of us
So you can’t count

We think the same things at the same time
There are too many of us
So you can’t count

Can you see me when I’m running?
Can you see me when I’m running?
Away from them

I can’t take their pressure
No one cares if you live or die
They just want me gone
They want me gone

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
To make it all right
So dry your eyes

We think the same things at the same time
We just cant do anything about it

We think the same things at the same time
There are too many of us
So you can’t count

It was a slippery slippery slippery slope
It was a slippery slippery slippery slope
I feel me slipping in and out of consciousness
I feel me slipping in and out of consciousness

Drowning man in Harrowdown Hill music video

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