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Talking Head on a Bike

(Nonfiction, Best of 2009) Permanent link

Bicycle Diaries is a travelogue bound with a genuine curiosity to explain the dynamics of human relations by mapping both the metaphysics and the concrete environments of some of the world’s most famous cities from the perch of a bicycle seat. Most of Byrne's reflections, compiled over years of touring the world with his band (Byrne famously fronted the band The Talking Heads), are quirky meditations on why and how cities are organized the way they are. Byrne’s interests are eclectic and show a breadth of both historical knowledge and depth of analysis not often found from inside the inner thoughts of a punk rock troubadour. Don’t be surprised at how easy it is to travel along with Byrne as he translates the language of the city into a fresh and smart examination of what makes us human. Byrne suggests the ways in which cities evolve are often concrete reflections about what and who we value as a society. His attentive gaze focuses on the subtleties and nuances of how cities are transformed by various forces including market economics, gentrification and the transformative influence of artists.

Lastly, he discusses what particular cities do well and what others miserably fail at in providing for a useful public transportation infrastructure or bike-friendly accommodations. It should come as no surprise that he advocates for the establishment of more bicycle lanes and city routes friendly to bike commuters. Having lived in New York City for over thirty years, some of Bryne's most interesting musings center around the ways that New York City has changed over the years. Overall, there's enough in Bicycle Diaries for the bicycle enthusiast, the urban theorist, the Talking Heads fan, and the generally curious.


Bicycle Diaries


Posted by Ryan Gage at 12/14/2009 04:35:44 PM