"A Self Called Nowhere" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
I'm sitting on the curb
By the empty parking lot
Of the store where they let me play the organ
I'm waiting for my ride
But I want to wait inside
Of the store where they let me play the organ

But I'm thinking of a wooden chair
In a room at the top of a stair
And I'm looking down the stairwell
At the vanishing dot
On the map of the spot
Let me take you there
The dotted line
Surrounding the mind
Of a self called nowhere
It's a thing named "it"
In a bottomless pit
You can't see it there
The sunken head
That lies in the bed
Of a self called nowhere

Standing in my yard
Where they tore down the garage
To make room for the torn down garage
I'm looking for my car
But I must have sold my car
When I needed to buy an electric organ

But I'm thinking of a wooden chair
In a room at the top of a stair
And I'm looking down the stairwell
At the vanishing dot
On the map of the spot
Let me take you there
The dotted line
Surrounding the mind
Of a self called nowhere
It's a thing named "it"
In a bottomless pit
You can't see it there
The sunken head
That lies in the bed
Of a self called nowhere

Nowhere

The vanishing dot
On the map of the spot
Let me take you there
The dotted line
Surrounding the mind
Of a self called nowhere
It's a thing named "it"
In a bottomless pit
You can't see it there
The sunken head
That lies in the bed
Of a self called


Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

"A Self Called Nowhere" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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A Self Called Nowhere song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentUm, it's definitely "a thing named id" not "it" and by "id" (one syllable, say it like "it" but with a "D") they are obviously referring to what we would think of as the subconscious mind. If you didn't already know what id is, I question the legitimacy of your TMBG fan status...most of us are pretty informed on things like that. ;)

    Also, there should be another line after "where they tore down the garage". It should be "to make room for the torn down garage".

    No idea what this song's about, but I get the feeling like a lot of other TMBG songs, it's about the innner workings of the mind.
    Aliceloveon March 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe line is "it's a thing named ID" not "it", jesus. :)
    Otomodachion January 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI will also vote that it's definitely ID. As in Freud's theory of "Id", "Ego", and "Super Ego".

    Id - "The id contains "primitive desires" (hunger, rage and sex)"
    Echolalia0on November 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlso the bit about the shrunken head that lies in the bed seems to be a reference to lying in the couch at a psycharists or "shrinks" office.
    carseron April 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCarser you're jumping to conclusions. There are different versions of Mink Car, one that was released in the US, and the other was a UK release, so yes they did have different songs, bands do that sometimes. And otherwise I really don't know what you're talking about with the old songs. They only do that on collection albums... they'll release a collection but then put in some bonus material. So you should definitely reconsider your stance on buying their material, especially since their new album the else is so amazing. (pretty much all new songs)
    Roukageon August 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My Opiniontmbw.net/wiki/…

    A link to the lyrics according to TMBG wiki. Notice, it's definitely "a thing named ID" as agreed by the enormous network of fans who keep that wiki accurate.

    Also, I have to say for somebody calling others "pseudo-intellectual posers" amoebius sure does sound like a pretentious ass. I mean, "It is one of those unnerving things against which a slide-rule avails naught." Really? REALLY? Just sayin'.
    Aliceloveon May 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the narator of the song is lonely and down on his luck. He feels like an outsider, I think,

    "but I want to wait inside
    of the store where they let me play the organ"

    For me at least, I always hate waiting for rides inside buildings, because it feels like everyone there is watching you and wondering what the hell your still doing their. He wants to go in, because its warmer there, or cooler, or just a nicer place to wait than out on the curb alone; but he doesn't want to feel like he doesnt belong.

    The reference to the wooden chair is a little harder to understand... But I think it might be reffering to that same feeling of bein down on your luck and left out of the world. A wooden chair is probably the most uncomfortable kind of chair there is, and to be sitting alone in a room in a wooden chair, stairing down the stairs is a pretty lonely place to be.

    I think he bought the organ because he thought it would make him feel cool and happy, after all, whats cooler than a professional musician? But it didnt work out because he ended up out on the curb, waiting alone for his ride because now he doesn't have a car to take himself home. Thus, he ended up making himself feel like an outsider after all. A viscous circle, as it were.
    thatcheshiregrinon July 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut as for the song... I came up with the idea that they might have been implying a place that's a "self-called" nowhere.(Just a place the protagonist thinks of as being nowhere) But it's also possible that the self is a metaphor for a place.
    Roukageon August 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFair enough if it's just standard practise, but I didn't really jump to this conclusion very quickly. My first reaction was to go to one of their web sites and e-mail them about it; They're response was basically "really? how about that?, give us more money". Maybe it's not intentional, but it's still a pretty bad business attitude.
    carseron February 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionI'm not sure why the argument about ID vs IT, or how that might effect the potential interpretation of the song. But people, why not just check the actual ALBUM? Lyrics are printed in the John Henry CD. Clearly printed "a thing named it."
    kickstart71on January 12, 2011   Link

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