Doherty's friend, the poet Peter "Wolfman" Wolfe, is the guitarist and co-writer on this song. Doherty had previously made a guest appearance on Wolfe's U.K #7 single and Ivor Novello Award-nominated song "For Lovers."
An earlier version was recorded with producer Jake Fior, who also helmed "For Lovers." However Doherty binned those recordings in favor of Stephen Street who had previously produced Babyshambles' Shotters Nation.
Doherty told the NME March 21, 2009, that this song is about his time in Wormwood Scrubs prison for breaching a probation order. He explained: "People writing, saying they'd like to see me swinging (hanging himself.) Hard when you can't see the light fittings."
Some of the lyrical ideas for this song were inspired by Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The Irish playwright wrote the poem in 1897 after his release from Reading jail, where he'd been incarcerated for homosexual offences.