True Stories

"I'm 6'3", and maintain a very consistent panda bear shape." - Louis Fyne

True Stories, apart from being a splendid album, is also an even better film. Directed by David Byrne and released in 1986, it profiles a small Texas town called Virgil and the collection of oddballs who live there. It doesn't have a story as such, it just drifts along towards the town's Celebration of Special-ness, a pageant where the towns folk perform various acts of varying quality.

Byrne appears as the nameless narrator, introducing us to the characters, but never really intruding on their lives, apart from when he goes to dinner with the happily married couple who haven't spoken for 15 years. The closest we get to a narrative is through Louis Fyne (played by the always excellent John Goodman), and his quest for marriage. We also meet 'the cute woman', the preacher, the woman who doesn't leave her bed, the voodoo practicioner, and 'the lying woman'. These characters were inspired by stories that Byrne read in the National Enquirer, and other tabloids.

But despite, a fairly shallow level of characterisation, they don't feel like characatures or freaks, but rather they are likable misfits, with a story that needs telling. They are people too, godammit...

And of course, there are the songs, which are tremendous, and are, with the exception of Wild Wild Life, performed by the cast. Not all of the cast versions are available yet, but below you can find two of them.

Talking Heads - Papa Legba (Pops Staples Vocal Version)

Talking Heads - Radio Head (Tito Larriva Vocal Version)

Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life (Extended Mix)

And according to Roger Ebert's review here, there are 50 sets of twins in this movie. If that's not a reason to watch the film, then I don't know what is.

Buy them the cd and dvd here.

July 18th is the the day of the troubadour.

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