I don’t remember where my love for David Byrne began. It was a subconscious affair.
It was February and I was 13, just. My passion was playing Crash Bandicoot. It was an unhealthy obsession, so much so that I pretended to be ill so I could stay off school. I was a good kid really and my Mum believed me. I even got her the school telephone number so she could ring up and leave my form tutor a message of absence before she left for work. I know it was February because it was the week of Valentines. My best friend always got a card, every year. And it was just my luck that I missed it this year. It was unintentional, not because I wanted to stay away out of jealousy. It was the complete opposite. I always made fun of her. I guess she wouldn’t have minded a card if she had liked the young chap, it turns out she didn’t.
Even so, staying home to play Crash Bandicoot all day was bliss. Being in my bedroom, everyone being at school or work and loving life. Until I got to this level. Road to Nowhere. It just so happened that as I reached this level in the evening, my friend rang me to ask me how I was feeling. It was unusual for me to be off school. I gave the best fake illness voice ever, excused myself from hearing the story of the day from school and continued to press XOSQUARETRIANGLE.
From out of some deep memory I began singing Road to Nowhere. Exactly like Byrne does with Talking Heads. I was awful at the level on the game and my singing intensified as I struggled on. I don’t understand to this day how I know the words or the tune. I don’t remember ever hearing it, thinking about it or seeing the video. When I did eventually see the video, I honestly thought it was going to be a rendition of Crash Bandicoot because at least it would answer my subconscious feelings. Alas, I have no answers but the song is my karaoke masterpiece because I know I can never forget the lyrics.
I did complete the level, and the game. But not on my day off. It took another fortnight.
Jump ahead a few years and being sat round the pub aged 18; everyone is discussing mis-doings. I let slip about having a day off school to finish Crash Bandicoot whilst we were in Year 8. My friend looked at me, a dart of ‘how could you, we loved school’ and then realisation as she asked whether it was the Valentines Day one. She knew exactly what I had done by the pit of the stomach laughter that over come me.
I put Road to Nowhere on the jukebox, sat back down and enjoyed my own joke.
‘Maybe you wonder where you are,
I don’t care.
Here is where time is on our side.’