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Bicycle Diariesby David Byrne
Talking Heads fans will flock to this book. Bicycle enthusiasts will shove each other out of the way to get the first copy. But it's the cyclists who are also Talking Heads fans that you really have to watch out for, because they're going to be unstoppable in their quest to acquire Bicycle Diaries. And once they've devoured it, they're going to stampede back for 10 copies to give away to friends and loved ones. Yes, it's that good!
"Byrne, best known as the leader of the iconic new wave band Talking Heads, is an avid urban cyclist. Bicycling — meandering, exploring, just getting from place to place — has become his 'panoramic window' on life around the globe. He explains: 'Through this window I catch glimpses of the mind of my fellow man, as expressed in the cities he lives in.'" Damian Kilby, The Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
A renowned musician and visual artist presents an idiosyncratic behind-the-handlebars view of the world's cities.
Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them on tour. Byrne's choice was made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation it provided. Convinced that urban biking opens one's eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city's geography and population, Byrne began keeping a journal of his observations and insights.
An account of what he sees and whom he meets as he pedals through metropoles from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Istanbul to San Francisco, Manila to New York, Bicycle Diaries also records Byrne's thoughts on world music, urban planning, fashion, architecture, cultural dislocation, and much more, all conveyed with a highly personal mixture of humor, curiosity, and humility. Part travelogue, part journal, part photo album, Bicycle Diaries is an eye-opening celebration of seeing the world from the seat of a bike.
"Byrne is fascinated by cities, especially as visited on a trusty fold-up bicycle, and in these random musings over many years while cycling through such places as Sydney, Australia; Manila, Philippines; San Francisco; or his home of New York, the former Talking Head, artist and author (True Stories) offers his frank views on urban planning, art and postmodern civilization in general. For each city, he focuses on its germane issues, such as the still troublingly clear-cut class system in London, notions of justice and human migration that spring to mind while visiting the Stasi Museum in Berlin, religious iconography in Istanbul, gentrification in Buenos Aires and Imelda Marcos's legacy in Manila. In low-key prose, he describes his meetings with other artists and musicians where he played and set up installations, such as an ironic PowerPoint presentation to an IT audience in Berkeley, Calif. He notes that the condition of the roads reveals much about a city, like the impossibly civilized, pleasant pathways designed just for bikes in Berlin versus the fractured car-mad system of highways in some American cities, giving way to an eerie 'post apocalyptic landscape' (e.g., Detroit). While 'stupid planning decisions' have destroyed much that is good about cities, he is confident there is hope, in terms of mixed-use, diverse neighborhoods; riding a bike can aid in the survival of cities by easing congestion. Candid and self-deprecating, Byrne offers a work that is as engaging as it is cerebral and informative. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Byrne fans will enjoy this peek into the star's daily life." Kirkus Reviews
"The man who emerges from these pages is the type of person we'd all like to meet, just more observant than most. Enthusiastically recommended." Library Journal
"[S]ure to please fans of his music and personal photographs from his journeys, this is a loving tribute to the bicycle and world travel." Booklist
"The book, then, is partly about cycling but also about whatever Byrne happens to have on his mind at the time, and fortunately a lot of it is quite interesting." New York Times
"Even if you don't own a bike and have no plans to mount one, you'll pedal through the pages...full of musings by a compelling eccentric." Washington Post
A witty, candid, sharply written memoir by the cofounder of Steely Dan
In his entertaining debut as an author, Donald Fagen—musician, songwriter, and cofounder of Steely Dan—reveals the cultural figures and currents that shaped his artistic sensibility, as well as offering a look at his college days and a hilarious account of life on the road. Fagen presents the eminent hipsters” who spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s; his colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, where he first met his musical partner Walter Becker; and the agonies and ecstasies of a recent cross-country tour with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Acclaimed for his literate lyrics and complex arrangements as a musician, Fagen here proves himself a sophisticated writer with his own distinctive voice.
A witty, revealing, sharply written work of memoir and criticism by the cofounder of Steely Dan
Musician and songwriter Donald Fagen presents a group of vivid set pieces in his entertaining debut as an author, from portraits of the cultural figures and currents that shaped him as a youth to an account of his college days and of life on the road.
Fagen begins by introducing the eminent hipsters” that spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s, among them Jean Shepherd, whose manic nightly broadcasts out of WOR-Radio enthralled a generation of alienated young people”; Henry Mancini, whose swank, noirish soundtracks left their mark on him; and Mort Fega, the laid-back, knowledgeable all-night jazz man at WEVD who was like the cool uncle you always wished you had.” He writes of how, coming of age during the paranoid Cold War era, one of his primary doors of escape became reading science fiction, and of his invigorating trips into New York City to hear jazz. Class of 69” recounts Fagens colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, the progressive school north of New York City, where he first met his future musical partner Walter Becker. With the Dukes of September” offers a cranky, hilarious account of the ups and downs of a recent cross-country tour Fagen made with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, performing a program of old R&B and soul tunes as well as some of their own hits.
Acclaimed for the elaborate arrangements and jazz harmonies of his songs, Fagen proves himself a sophisticated writer with a very distinctive voice in this engaging book.
100 b&w photos throughout.
About the Author
David Byrne was born in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1952 and lives in New York. Although he is known primarily as a member of the New Wave band Talking Heads, he has been exhibiting visual art in galleries and museums around the world since the 1990s. Much of his work is done anonymously and publicly, including a series of street posters in New York and light boxes in Sydney, Australia.
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