Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Belle & Sebastian's new record is about ME/CFS

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Antares in NYC, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Although I have been a big fan of the Scottish indie band Belle & Sebastian (similar in style to The Smiths, Morrissey, Joy Division etc), I did not know that singer Stuart Murdoch struggled with ME/CFS during various points in his life. In his 20s he was bed-ridden for two years, and last time he spent five years recovering from a CFS crash. For those who don't know, Belle & Sebastian is a prominent and influential band in the British indie scene since the 1990s. They have not produced a new record in a while, and their upcoming new album, "Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance", includes "Nobody's Empire", which deals with Stewart's experience with this awful disease.

    The song is emotionally heavy and incisive, narrating how his ME/CFS issues started in childhood, how things got worse, and how the world kept moving and evolving around him while he remained ill, alone, forgotten:



    The chorus just says what we all feel:

    We are out of practise we're out of sight
    On the edge of nobody’s empire
    If we live by books and we live by hope
    Does that make us targets for gunfire?

    It's refreshing to see references in popular culture starting to reflect the reality of ME/CFS, spreading the word, and contributing to the awareness of this condition. I hope more celebrities have the courage to come out and speak about their experiences with the syndrome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
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  2. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    Interview with Belle & Sebastian in The Guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/music/20...ch-interview-girls-in-peacetime-want-to-dance

     
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  3. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Another long term B+S fan here. I found out about this around about this time last year from this interview:
    http://www.cfs-info.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=92&Itemid=79
    Sadly, I think the new song's a bit shit, though I've liked the other songs from the new album. The last one was a bit patchy, so I'm hoping for a return to 'Life Pursuit' form!
     
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  4. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    This song is actually growing in me; the more I listen to it, the more I dig it. And the lyrics do resonate with some of my CFS experience.
     
  5. eafw

    eafw Senior Member

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    ME is not a "physical manifestation of long-term mental stress"
     
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  6. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    True. There's so much disinformation that even many patients that have it don't know the causes and attribute it to stress or overexertion (which in some people can act as triggers). Heck, ME/CFS is still considered and mislabeled as a "psychosomatic condition" by many doctors, including knighted ones.
     
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  7. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Hey, @Antares in NYC, what do you think of the album? I've been really enjoying it, a real return to form in my opinion!

    I'm coming round to 'Nobody's Empire' a bit and, as someone who's recovering, I can take a little hope from the lyrics; it really does feel quite uplifting at the end, which is I suppose what he intended. But didn't you find the whole 'Oh, God sorted it out' business a bit patronising? I wish he'd taken the time to tell me what to do, otherwise I wouldn't still be stuck here after fifteen/sixteen years.

    Anyway, if this is of further interest to anyone, they're playing on BBC Radio 6 Music today on the four o'clock programme. It'll be up here at some point.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xwzhh
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  8. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    I think the "Oh, God sorted it out" has to do with his finding religion during his time of recovery. People use different ways of coping with adversity, and he's been very open about his religious beliefs.
    The thing that sort of worried me a bit about his recent interviews regarding ME/CFS was his belief that it was "caused by physical and emotional stress". He's one of the lucky ones to have recovered from this dreadful illness, and it happened before the Internet was a thing. I'm sure he missed on all the research and sharing the type of info we do in forums like PR, so he always assumed that was what made him ill.

    Regardless, I'm glad celebrities are coming out and talking about their ME/CFS experiences, and even telling their stories in artistic form. Wish more came forward. I'm really digging this album, and I'm still quite emotionally taken by "Nobody's Empire"; some verses do relate to my own experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
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  9. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I just listened to the song/video on You Tube and really liked it. I admit I had never heard of this band but now I want to get the song on i-tunes. Thank you to @Antares in NYC for posting it!

    ETA: I bought it on i-tunes and am listening to it now and great song. For some reason today I am able to listen to music and read and type at the same time. I hope that means something is improving in my brain (but it could be a fluke.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
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  10. Wolfiness

    Wolfiness Activity Level 0

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    I like B&S too, but mate, nothing I've ever heard by them sounds anything like Joy Division :D
     
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  11. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    I suppose if you said Camera Obscura no-one would know what you were on about.;)

    I want a 'jangly guitar pop for ME' thread, but I can't seem to kid myself that anyone else would post on it.
     
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  12. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    That's totally fair. I was making a very broad comparison, in lieu of saying "dark indie pop" or some other similar explanation. ;) In a forum like PR there are people from different age ranges and cultures, so I used very broad and generic examples.

    That said, here in the US, people who listen to The Smiths, Morrissey, Joy Division, etc tend to listen to bands like Belle & Sebastian (I can speak for me and all my "clad in black from head to toe" friends). I know well that in the UK pop and rock music have a much more sophisticated system of styles, categories and sub-categories.

    PS: I'll go even further and say that without Joy Division first, there would be no Belle & Sebastian now. Makes sense?
     
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  13. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    You'd be getting me into nerdy territory there, but I don't know about that. I don't really find them that depressing, whereas, as a previous student devotee of Joy Division, the one thing everyone would agree on is that they are grim. There's much more of a humorous, romantic element about B+S. I suppose you could say both bands deal in the poetry of misery, but it's from a very different perspective.

    They couldn't have existed without The Smiths, definitely, and things like Felt and Orange Juice as well. I see them much more as a 'floppy fringe' band than a 'clad in black' sort of thing! Though I suppose you could say that without post-punk as a whole and the whole DiY music ethos, the framework for such a band to emerge wouldn't have existed.

    I don't get to talk about this stuff very often. Can you tell?

    I've got a feeling I'm going to get told off in a minute for not talking about ME.
     
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  14. Antares in NYC

    Antares in NYC Senior Member

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    I could nerd out about music any day! :D We could take it on email or chat one of these days if you want to. I was deeply entrenched in post-punk/4AD/indie territory in my teens, and all these bands are very dear to me.
     
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  15. cfsStevew

    cfsStevew

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    sheesh its quite upbeat in tone considering...
     
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  16. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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    Very different bands and sounds, but I have to agree with you, between the two, I also prefer Joy Division.
    For the record Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy.
     
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  17. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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  18. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    It's funny (well, not hilarious, but...) that during the time when I was getting ill, the two things I listened to the most were 'Closer' by Joy Division and the early records of Belle and Sebastian. I hadn't thought about them both being the work of men suffering from illness before, but now I think of it, Joy Division really expresses the kind of desolation and animal rage of the whole experience whilst Belle and Sebastian is more of an attempt to turn it into something romantic, almost a positive experience.

    I've read Stuart Murdoch say before that his early records were a kind of message to his younger self that it would all be okay in the end and I think some of those lines made sense to me in that way at that point ('What do they know anyway, you'll read it in a book', etc) - it felt comforting that someone could make it sound like it wasn't such a bad thing to be stuck in and not doing the things that you'd liked to do. I can't say it felt like that once I was severely affected, but there it is.

    I still admire Joy Division, but I can't really get along with them any more - I think I had to let go of that anger at some point because I just couldn't be like that and carry on living in the severely restricted way that I've had to go on. Whereas Belle and Sebastian mean more to me as the years pass. I found out that Stuart had ME on a hunch, I looked it up rather than discovered in by chance; it felt a bit like I could particularly identify with those records for a reason and I was right. It's just a shame I don't have any of his talent.

    I never really heard much of This Mortal Coil, I think I (perhaps unfairly) tagged them as Ivo's vanity project, but I reserve the right to burst into tears whenever I hear Kim Deal sing 'You and Your Sister'



    As indeed they are to me (Cocteau Twins, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, etc). But joking apart, I think the worst that they can do is consign us to the Community Lounge dungeon, I don't think we're bothering anyone here. And I almost got the thread back on topic; anything to avoid the prospect of actually learning how to use the site. Perish the thought...
     
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  19. Wolfiness

    Wolfiness Activity Level 0

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    I don't think he did, all his EEGs came back normal. I think they were psychogenic. But that's a whole other thread, probably.
     
  20. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    I've been really enjoying "How I Learned To Write Backwards" by The Aislers Set recently and, when reading an interview with head Aisler Amy Linton, it reminded me of this thread:
    Before anyone asks; No, I don't think she had ME.

    When I was listening to the record, it gives this feeling of being a reflection on a bad period that's over with but sort of lingers on, it's really eerie and quiet in a lot of places and it kind of fits in with the idea of 'illness records' that I was talking about before, things where you feel an affinity with the mood of it, that it fits the way that you have to live your life. I've felt a little bit better over that last few years and so I feel more reflective about some of the bad stuff that's passed and feel a bit ambiguous about new stuff that I have to face. There's a bit of that in here, I think. Oh, and it's got Belle and Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson on it a bit as well, which ties it up to the thread a bit more.

    Anyway, I thought I'd flag it up in case anyone who looked at this thread was interested. I don't know you've heard of them, @Antares in NYC, but it sounds like your sort of thing and, given that you've been having a hard time, I thought it might be something that would cheer you just a little.



    https://theaislersset.bandcamp.com/album/how-i-learned-to-write-backwards
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
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