BOOK: BICYCLE DIARIES, David Byrne
Faber £14.99 Hardback
An utterly unique and personal travelogue from a cult figure in contemporary music.
‘A bike is the world's most used form of transportation... the physical sensation of self-powered transport coupled with the feeling of self-control endemic to this two wheeled situation is nicely empowering and reassuring, even if temporary, and it is enough to center me for the rest of the day. It sounds like some form of meditation, and in a way it is...'
Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bicycle as his principal means of transportation in New York City. A few years later he discovered folding bikes, and starting taking them with him on music tour overseas, and experienced a sense of liberation as he pedalled around many of the world's principal cities. The point of view from his bike seat has given Byrne a panoramic window on urban life over the last thirty years as he has cycled round cities such as London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Manila, New York, and San Francisco. From music and the visual arts, to globalisation, politics, the nature of creative work, fashion and art, this book gives the reader an incredible insight into what Byrne is seeing and thinking as he pedals around these cities.
Filled with intimate photographs, incredible musical stories and a powerful ecological message, this is a enchanting celebration of bike riding - of the rewards of seeing the world at bike level.
‘I ride my bike along the bike lanes here in Berlin and it all seems very civilized, pleasant, and enlightened. No cars park or drive in the bike lanes, and the cyclists don't ride on the streets or on the sidewalks either. There are little stoplights just for the bikers, even turn signals! (Cyclists often get to turn a few seconds before the rest of the traffic, to allow them to get out of the way.) Needless to say, most cyclists here do stop for these lights. Pedestrians don't wander into the bike lanes either! I'm kind of in shock-it all works so well. Why can't it be like this where I live?'
David Byrne was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1952, and attended Rhode Island School of Design and Maryland Institute College of Art. He is primarily known as the musician who co-founded the group Talking Heads (1976-88), and has also been involved in an array of music, theatre, art and film projects, including work with Brian Eno, Thwyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, Jonathan Demme and Bernardo Bertolucci. He currently lives in New York.