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What is When there's nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire from?


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2011-06-30 02:03:31
2011-06-30 02:03:31

"When there is nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire" is the first line of the song, 'Your Ex-Lover is Dead' by the 'Stars' on their album, 'Set Yourself on Fire.' The audio at the begining of the song is a voice recording of lead vocalist, Torquil Campbell's father.

While I cannot be sure of the quote's origin, and certainly cannot pretend to know of the band's intended meaning in using the quote, it is reminiscent of the self-immolating suicide of Jan Palach, a 20-year-old university student from the former Czechoslovakia.

In protest of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square in the city of Prague on January 16, 1969. His funeral turned into a major protest against the Soviet occupation and, contrary to his express wish that no one else die the same death as he, Palach nevertheless inspired two other men, Jan Zajic and Evzen Plocek, to die in protest in the same manner as Palach.

Update: According to the CBC's authoritative arts program, Q, the line was in fact written by Torquil Campbell.

Update: According to a few sources, the quote seems to be accredited to Jack Kevorkian.

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