Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense ★★★★★

7th viewing:

Back when I first watched Stop Making Sense in April of this year, I was battling hard against OCD, which I had unknowingly been fighting for a great number of years prior. It would be an understatement to say that I was struggling, with happy days being few and far between.

Now, half a year onwards and having completed a cognitive behavioural therapy course, my mental state has been completely reversed; I am happy and I feel a freedom that I didn't know was possible six months ago. It is superb, but, like everyone else, I still have bad days. I still have days in which I am plagued by intrusive thoughts, days that make peace feel like an impossible treasure. Today was one of those days. I had been for a walk, I had listened to music, I had done everything I could think of to try to dispel the discomfort, not one attempt was successful. The world felt like it was speeding past me, one big scramble, and I was having to run to keep up with it (which can often be a challenge for someone with asthma!), so, as a final resort, I collapsed and watched this masterpiece.

Sometimes, the world stops making sense; people, places, thoughts and faces, nothing seems right; it's bothersome. During my CBT, I was taught to expose myself to my triggers, slowly but surely building up a tolerance to intrusive thoughts, the same applies here: when the world stops making sense, let it. Sing it, shout it, dance to it and let it happen and suddenly, everything feels alright. Watching your musical hero singing words that only occasionally make sense on a stage that only occasionally makes sense with choreography and musical performances that are about as energetic as the thoughts I am trying to escape is electric. Hearing songs that you fell in love with the first time you heard them on Christmas day blasting out of the speakers is also electric. The combination fills you with a unique energy that suddenly makes you feel alright again, it's a reminder of the existence of some of the things you love most in this world.

Bearing in mind the theory of emotional contagion, I fully believe that this film does scientifically temporarily dissolve my struggle, if only for the fact that it brings me such joy to see Lynn, Edna, Bernie, Alex, Steve, Jerry, Chris, Tina and David feeling such explicit joy in making music. I've always noticed Byrne's slight smile in between songs and in instrumental gaps in songs, he looks out into his audience and there is a smile there that fills me with joy, it does that because I recognise that there is a man who loves what he does. He loves making music and he loves performing; music is his art. As someone who also relishes in making art and sharing it with other people, I know what Byrne is feeling when he subtly smiles, I know that pure ecstasy that rushes through him during every applause because that is the biggest reward of being an artist and seeing another person getting to experience that euphoria is in itself euphoric.

Thank goodness for art, thank goodness for this film, thank goodness for Talking Heads, thank goodness for David Byrne, but, most importantly, thank goodness for smiles and thank goodness for the eyes we have to see them with.

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