January 14, 2007

The words mean something, "but not if you try to figure them out."

Says David Byrne in this 1983 Letterman appearance, that's talked about in this really long NYT article calling Byrne "Indie Rock's Patron Saint." ("Once the archetypal nerve-racked data-age persona (his famously uncomfortable 1983 Letterman interview is on YouTube, if you need a reminder), Mr. Byrne is today much more mellow.")



I rather think Byrne is doing a performance there, don't you? Nowadays, the Times tells us, he's "comfortable in his skin" (a phrase that has always bugged me for some reason):
He seems comfortable in his skin, chatty and quick to laugh; his conversation ranges energetically from computerized embroidery machines to a recent visit to a neuroscience lab in Canada with his pals from the Arcade Fire. (“We didn’t get a chance to get into the M.R.I. machines,” he said, “but we had a lot of fun.”) He has even become a blogger, and a self-disclosing one at that.

“I was a peculiar young man,” he wrote in a reflective entry last April. “Borderline Asperger’s, I would guess.”

Hmmm... well, then I guess he wasn't just acting. I forgot about his blog. Here it is.

ADDED: John, on watching the clip: "He acts like Billy in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" (Remember, we watched that recently.) He's right! Now, we're listing to "Talking Heads: 77." Me, looking through the old records: "It should be easy to find. I know it's orange."



I was saying that's my favorite.

Here's some politics:
I see the states, across this big nation
I see the laws made in washington, D.C.
I think of the ones I consider my favorites
I think of the people that are working for me

Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
They work so hard and they try to be strong
I'm a lucky guy to live in my building
They own the buildings to help them along

It's over there, its over there
My building has every convenience
It's gonna make life easy for me
It's gonna be easy to get things done
I will relax along with my loved ones
We played "Talking Heads: 77" so many times... in 1977! You have to try to imagine how that sounded then, when rock was arena rock and disco was everywhere.

My second favorite: "More Songs About Buildings and Food." But if you want to play that, you'll have to take it down from the picture frame hanging on the wall:

13 comments:

vbspurs said...

I rather think Byrne is doing a performance there, don't you?

I think so, too.

But I still prefer Crispin Glover on Letterman.

"comfortable in his skin" (a phrase that has always bugged me for some reason):

Heh, really? I have always rather liked that phrase. There is something about a butcher block about it, that seems very primordial.

Can you point to what irritates you about it?

Cheers,
Victoria

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh that's terrible. That's not a Christmas movie.

That isn't what your readers wanted, or needed, on Christmas.

Holiday Inn, Gone With The Wind etc..

Peace, Maxine

PWS said...

The clip echoes Peter Sellers in Being There.

It seems like Byrne might be answering in reference to his own little world.

vbspurs said...

Oh that's terrible. That's not a Christmas movie.

That isn't what your readers wanted, or needed, on Christmas.

Holiday Inn, Gone With The Wind etc..

Peace, Maxine


Seriously, Ann, you thought this was ME, or the me I had reconfigured into?

Holy crapple, the more I read this ninny I think, what an insult.

Perhaps the answer lies in your interest in David Byrne-like performance art, and some need to justify why your son, Christopher Althouse, lists Maxine Weiss on his blogroll.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: Can't you see that Maxine is a comic character?

Ann Althouse said...

Or... you can see... and it really is you!

MadisonMan said...

As opposed to comfortable outside your skin?

vbspurs said...

Victoria: Can't you see that Maxine is a comic character?

No.

I have a very sensitive troll-metre which I've been meaning to fix.

Or... you can see... and it really is you!

Sure, Ann.

Let's ask her about Brazilian standards of beauty and let's see what she says!

Cheers,
Victoria

Tim said...

Talking Heads Rule!

When showing off my home theater system to someone to whom I want to show off, I always pop in their "Stop Making Sense" DVD and turn up the volume.

The opening drum beat of "Psycho Killer" on the empty stage always gets me charged up... And "Take Me to the River" is just terrific.

Anonymous said...

Heh. The Island School of Rhode Design in the seventies.

Marvelous.

dreamingmonkey said...

they were pretty much the opposite of the Ramones. Funny that they are so closely associated and I'm sure used to share the stage at cbgbs.

Old Dad said...

I saw David Byrne in a small outdoor venue in the early 90's. He and his band were fantastic--lots of brass.

Byrne was relaxed, funny, eclectic, and charming--and dressed like a succesful yuppie on his way to the club for a drink.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Ramones, isn't it interesting how pop their music sounds today when you listen to it? At the time, it was SO punk, but now it sounds like Beach Boys without the harmonies.

One thing that I always loved about David Byrne is that he loved soul music and considered himself a soul singer at times.

But '77 and This Year's Model were two records that saved me from lots of poor music in the day.

Trey