The song is split into distinct segments: a groupie (Trudy Young) performs a monologue ("Oh my God, what a fabulous room!") while a television plays, under which a synthesizer makes atonal noises, which eventually resolve into a quiet song in C major in 3/4 time ("Day after day / Love turns gray / Like the skin of a dying man."). Finally, the song abruptly leaps into a hard rock song in B-flat major. The song features some of Waters' most strenuous recorded vocal workouts, with him ending at a relatively high A above middle C.
The Wall is the story of Pink, an embittered and alienated rock star, whose sanity is failing as he isolates himself behind a psychological barrier. "One of My Turns" finds Pink inviting a groupie into his room after learning of his wife's affair. While the groupie tries to get his attention, he ignores her, and muses on his failed relationship with his wife. A TV can be heard in the background, the dialogue mixed in with the groupie's attempts at conversation.
While the hapless groupie continues trying to get his attention, Pink feels "Cold as a razor blade / Tight as a tourniquet / Dry as a funeral drum," before exploding into a fit of violence, destroying his room, and frightening the young woman away. When his hotel room is finally in complete shambles, and the groupie is gone, Pink feels something more: Self-pity, and a lack of empathy for others, as he screams "Why are you running away?"
The show that is on the television during the beginning of the song is from September 24–26, 1979, Another World episodes 3864–3866. Kirk Laverty brings Iris Bancroft and her maid, Vivan Gorrow, to his lodge in the Adirondacks. Dobbs was the caretaker of the lodge. Laverty is the man talking to Dobbs, not Mr. Bancroft. Laverty was played by Charles Cioffi.
Pink enters his hotel room with an American groupie, played by actress Jenny Wright. The groupie tries to be friendly to Pink (Wright performs nearly the same monologue as Trudy Young did on the album). Pink is oblivious to the groupie as he watches the film The Dam Busters on television. When the groupie tries to make contact with Pink saying "Are you feeling okay?", he explodes into a violent fit of rage and begins to destroy his hotel room. Pink then chases the groupie around the room throwing various objects at her, cutting his own hand after he throws a television set out his window onto the street below, shouting "Take that, fuckers!"
The scene where Pink hurts his hand on a broken part of a wooden closet door was not faked. Bob Geldof did indeed cut his hand and he can be seen looking at it for a brief second, but director Alan Parker decided not to stop filming until the scene was over, despite Geldof's injury. In the next scene, the viewer can see a towel or shirt wrapped around Geldof's injured hand. Also, according to Parker's DVD commentary, Wright was informed that Geldof (as Pink) would yell at her and chase her during the scene; however the director, in order to get an authentic reaction from the actress, did not tell her that Geldof would also throw a beer bottle at her (albeit an easily breakable, prop-made bottle) at the start of his enraged outburst.