Reasons to be cheerful: smiles in Cambridge and Copenhagen

Many of the stories told as my caravan treks around the world have an undercurrent of doom and gloom, especially when I try to make some sense of the increasingly insane inhabitants of our globe. I’m in need of some antidotes…

When my son went to hear David Byrne speaking in Copenhagen recently, I was amused to find out that the ex-lead singer-songwriter in the 1970-80s band Talking Heads has launched a project called ”reasons to be cheerful.”[1] Martin attended the session in January 2018, just after a trip to Cambridge where we celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday. I’m not sure that she was in a very celebratory state of mind as she is frail and fading, but there were some smiling moments, notably when I lined her up with my younger sister (aged 58) and her youngest daughter (aged 15).


I’m quite pleased with this photo, indeed I guess documenting three generations spanning 75 years is a reason to be cheerful! And of course I’m happy (cheerful) as I have a picture of Martin, a friend of his called Mads and Mr. Byrne himself, smiling on a dark street outside the main library in Copenhagen.


Checking through my notes I have found the following short description of a Talking Heads concert at the Roundhouse in North London in early 1978. It was probably the most exciting concert I ever went to, more or less reflected in the film called “Stop Making Sense” (which records the Heads performing their amazing and sometimes bizarre repertoire on stage in 1984). I don’t remember who I went to the concert with, apart from a strange girl called Cecilia who lived with my older sister in a flat in London in those days. She was a bit crazy. We got a bit drunk and the evening included a long taxi ride home after the concert. The band was electrifying, the crowd went wild and we sat high up above the stage looking down and got blown away. David Byrne was a bit like David Bowie in those days in that he projected an image of other worldliness, slightly alien, slightly out of place. The big suit and running on stage were effective gimmicks, but the key to the whole was the fantastic sound. I haven’t been to many concerts in London, but as I recall that evening was once in a lifetime (sic).


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