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500 Words of January – Annie Atkins

The second in OTR’s 500 Words of January series comes from Annie Atkins on dancing in the cinema aisles to Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense”. Sam says you can’t choose a Best Of album as your favourite album – that’s …

Wed, Jan 2, 2013, 14:00

   

The second in OTR’s 500 Words of January series comes from Annie Atkins on dancing in the cinema aisles to Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense”.

Sam says you can’t choose a Best Of album as your favourite album – that’s not taking music seriously enough.

But what if it’s Talking Heads?

Oh, says Sam. Well, in that case… okay then.

Sometime last year, at the end of Dublin’s darkest winter, the Lighthouse Cinema started showing the Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense on Saturday nights. Once called “one of the greatest rock movies ever made”, the film starts with a tape recorder on an empty stage and ends with David Byrne and his band, their dancers, the entire audience and a classic Seventies’ free-standing lampshade going crazy to “Take Me to the River”.

It would be absolutely no problem at all, said the Lighthouse on Twitter, if people took their drinks in with them and started dancing in the cinema aisles. That’s what they did back in the day, apparently. But it was a different time back then – wasn’t it?

“Stop Making Sense” was one of my favourite records as a small child — despite it being a Best Of —and I was fascinated by its themes of madness, belonging and bad television. My mum and dad would dance around to it like art students, with the couch pushed back against the wall and the dog watching from the top of the stairs so nobody could jump on his tail. Sometimes their friends would call over, too, and we’d all do David Byrne impressions in the living room. It was a remote valley in rural North Wales and we had learnt how to make our own fun.

But we couldn’t do this at a cinema. Nobody would be drunk enough to dance by 10 o’clock – and if they were, they’d be shushed immediately by the couple sitting directly in front of them. But I was wrong, because by the time “Burning Down the House” began people started to get up, one by one, stomping their legs like Tina Weymouth was playing bass right there in front of them.

Eventually, there was nobody left seated. One man started running laps around the theatre, each circuit faster than the one before, and two people right up in front of the screen flapped their arms about, making startled wading-bird impressions – which I feel is what David Byrne would have wanted. The audience had come undone, and, even though the management had been encouraging, I still expected an usher to come in at any moment and say ‘hey! This is a cinema you crazy fools! What the hell do you think you’re all doing?’, but they didn’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJJ9u4yrjvY

The credits: Annie Atkins is a graphic artist and a recovering blogger. She is currently in Germany working on Wes Anderson’s new film.