‘Think of London, a small city, it’s dark, dark in the daytime’ sang David Byrne on Talking Heads’ ‘Cities’ in 1979. But now the head Head is going to have to get used to spending time in our gloomy capital, as he’s just been announced as the director of this year’s Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre, which moves from June to August this year.
Clearly he made a good impression with his musical about disco dictatrix Imelda Marcos, ‘Here Lies Love’, a smash at the National Theatre last year. What the funkiest white man alive will bring to Meltdown is anyone’s guess: along with the Marcos musical, his most recent projects have included collaborations with arty New York guitar goddess St Vincent and a football-stadium-filling celebration of the uniquely North American phenomenon of the colour guard: high-school marching band dance troupes.
Given this, and his amazing back catalogue, we’re hoping for African highlife, arty post-punk, angular alien electronica and Morris dancers. So he’ll probably book Michael Bublé (and still make it seem like a good idea). One thing’s pretty much guaranteed, though: no Talking Heads reunion. Still, Mr Byrne’s Meltdown should properly light up London. By Chris Waywell