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Need a day brightener? David Byrne offers Reasons To Be Cheerful

The former Talking Heads front man has launched a free online magazine to counter negative news

The former Talking Heads front man has launched a new online magazine to counter negative news

If you only know David Byrne from his time with Talking Heads, you've been missing out. (ContemporaryColor.com)

Look at the news on any given day, and there are plenty of reasons why people might feel hopeless.

Legendary musician David Byrne often feels the same way — but instead of wallowing in misery, he purposefully began looking for reasons to be cheerful. "And believe it or not, I found some," he says in a new video. "I found a lot."

What he found has become Reasons To Be Cheerful, a new online magazine devoted to things around the world that are working, and that could potentially be replicated or scaled in size.

 

"We're documenting stories of solutions — not just good ideas but real positive change that's being made by people and communities all over the world," he says in a promotional video.

"This is a crazy time and you might be thinking that focusing on good stuff is just a distraction. But I disagree," he says. "I think it's crucial to keep us from giving up."

The first articles include several by Byrne himself, including "Doing the Right Thing is a Good Business" (about the profitability of green energy), "Can Lawsuits Save Planet Earth" (about the effectiveness of litigation against big polluters) and "India's Amazing Art Hub" (about a tiny Indian city with a thriving art scene).

Legendary producer and Byrne collaborator Brian Eno offers a piece in favour of nuclear power, while other articles touch on everything from a Portuguese experiment in drug decriminalization to the power of China's solar panels.

"This is a crazy time and you might be thinking that focusing on good stuff is just a distraction. But I disagree. I think it's crucial to keep us from giving up."​​​​​- David Byrne

The magazine also covers innovative approaches to the opioid crisis, the oil industry and water usage; along the way Canada gets several mentions. (Canadian writer Mitch Anderson is also among the contributors.)

"Yes it's a tonic but it's also energizing. It gets us engaged and brings us together. It might even be a more accurate picture of the world than what we're usually shown," says Byrne.

"These aren't stories about how we wish things were. These are stories about how they are — right now. I feel better already."

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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