Monday, January 18, 2010

Bicycle Diaries; David Byrne

David Byrne is one of my very favorite musicians, so I was ecstatic when my friend, Cristina, gifted me his new book, Bicycle Diaries, which I didn't even know was forthcoming. Most people probably know David Bryne as the frontman of The Talking Heads, but as much as I like The Talking Heads, I think David Byrne's solo work is even better and I can't stress enough how everyone should go out of their way to see him perform live if you should ever get the chance, as he put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen (and to my surprise he even does Talking Heads songs which are especially cool with string orchestra arrangements).

David Byrne really is quite the renaissance man, as he's worked in music (and he's produced and plays many diverse musical styles from around the world), film, theater, and opera, so it should be a surprise to no one that he's also written books. Bicycle Diaries is his latest novel, which is a collection of journals he's written with his musings on bicycling around the world in addition to his musings about cities he's been to around the world (and not all of these musings are bicycle centric).

As Bryne writes in Bicycle Diaries (he travels with a folding bicycle, bicycling as a mode of transportation allows one to navigate within a city on a more personal level than driving in a car does. Certainly some cities are better suited for bicycling than others, but even here in the U.S., more and more cities are becoming bicycle-friendly. Years ago I used to ride a bike as my main source of transportation to and from work and elsewhere, mostly out of economic necessity (this was before I bought my store), but sadly don't ride a bicycle today, other than the stationary one I use in my house for an hour a day five days a week (upon which I read most of Bicycle Diaries on). I only live about seven and a half miles from my store (the same distance I used to commute back and forth to work on a bike pre-owning my store), but a big part of that route is on the freeway (no bicycles allowed) and if I were to use surface routes, the distance each way would be over ten miles. Additionally, while there are areas of the greater Las Vegas such as Green Valley and Summerlin, that are more bike-friendly, most of the city, as it has gotten larger, has I believe, gotten less bike-friendly and thus more dangerous for bicyclists. Besides the good workout riding a bike around town provided, I miss the connectedness with my commute and the environment that Byrne talks about that bicycling provided (however I don't miss how a lot of drivers don't give much space to bicyclists or people that yell at bicyclists when they pass them to scare them as a source of entertainment).

So even though Bicycle Diaries isn't a comic book or graphic novel (grin), I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever rode a bike and or to people who like the eccentric musings of David Byrne, who's one of those individuals who's able to look at simple everyday life environments and people in a way that prompts others to see them in different lights.

1 comment:

Red She Said said...

I remember your biking days. :)

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