Nobody's Empire

Album: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • Whilst at university at the end of the 1980s, Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch became ill with ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and was unable to work for seven years. A relapse led him to write this autobiographical song for Belle and Sebastian's Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance album. "There's a year of my life bottled into every line," Murdoch told The Guardian. "When I wrote it I was fighting the same demons. I wrote the song to cheer myself up."

    "I wanted to write my own 'glorious', in inverted commas, history," he added. "I want to walk out of this room and be a normal person. I want to go on tour with the band. All of this is a day-to-day battle so it was absolutely real for me, writing that song."
  • The song's music video features Tamzin Merchant lip-synching Murdoch's lyrics. You might recognise the British actress from he roles as Georgiana Darcy in the 2005 film Pride & Prejudice and as the doomed Katherine Howard in The Tudors.
  • Murdoch is a practicing Christian. He found a personal faith when at his lowest ebb two years after becoming ill with ME, he started playing the piano. The resulting discovery of a spiritual awareness is chronicled on this song. "Everything else material had dropped away – friends, work, university; there was nothing," he told The Independent. "And I just realized there was more to life than what we see around us, and that happened while sitting at the piano; I just felt this sense of eternity or something. Not to be too naff about it, but a sense of a life beyond this."

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