“This point of view–faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person–became my panoramic window on much of the world over the last thirty years–and it still is.” -David Byrne, Bicycle Diares
——–Thanks for your patience. Finally, here is my meligrosanized view of the fun read:
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne.
I received an email from Penguin group book publishers.
This would be the first book I receive from a publisher before the piece is officially released.
And it is a book by David Byrne.
This book makes you think and relate. Makes you consider your surroundings with the bicycle as the machine to become the viewer, a citizen, an involved resident of your city. Mr. Byrne observes things that we can universally relate to. As wanderlusters, as tourists, as people on bicycles, as pedestrians and as people that want to see a city belong to people with limbs rather than cement maze monsters.
Reading the book puts you in a position that we can relate to one another as cyclists. Past the cities infrastructures (or lack thereof) bike lane views, dead end streets leading to highways only, Byrne explores the local flavor of each city included in this diary. My favorite parts, are all about the food. I would be a rockstar just to be fed around the world, local food in its authentic environment. And global coffee. Oh goodness.
Of course we are not international stars, but he presents us with more than a few instances that made me feel as if was sitting with a good music-loving bicycle-fanatic friend of mine, chatting into the smoggy sunset from the corner of a tiny café in Mexico City. Juana Molina, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Mercedes Sosa (RIP). His analysis of streets, music, women and tight jeans in Argentina had me rolling. Perhaps one of my favorite chapters is Argentina. I have not been just yet, my fellow boludos.
There is this relationship that is formed between the book and yourself. If you are into artsy things -I am- it was pretty nice to read his description of the dinners and collaborations he has had throughout his career with his fellow comrade, Sagmeister.
His vivid stories between Karaoke nation, eating a good meal before or after a show, going for a little bike stroll around any given city to stretch out the mind and body before a presentation, will keep you reading til the end.
Of course there is a small SF chapter, but will let you read on that yourself. Though I must say he also talks about a presentation given by Johnny Ives when he visited Silicon Valley. We all visit Silicon Valley every so often, it’s ‘only’ 45 minutes away. A mini-van tiny new suburbia city (from the bike lane perspective IMO at any rate). I was cracking up when he said something in the likes of “…People in Silicon Valley live near work, so they can go home, and continue to work, and wake up and go to work.” Sounds very sad, but it is quite the culture down there, and therefore true.
Overall his humor just layers this delicious cake of a book and it also includes pictures from the bike lane he has taken. He dedicated the book to his daughter (“–who doesn’t ride a bike…yet” -DB)
*I have seen a few reviews around the blogesphere, but not sure if people noticed as much as I did, one of my favorite paper parts of the book. Yes I smell books when I first get them, I try to guess the main body font(s) and I look if the total number of pages means anything. Mmmmmhh.
Paper inspector detects a playful little monster at the bottom area of the pages in the book.
Enjoy the little video:
[flickr video=4091650855 secret=161e35ea4c w=400 h=300]
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Now get off this computer gadget, grab a copy and enjoy it.