Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne

Yes, we are talking about the David Byrne. Talking Heads, all that. But this book nicely illustrates his polymath nature. It is funny, self deprecating, ironic and polemical, all at the same time. He writes about cycling and his experience of it in different places. He takes a folding bike when he goes travelling, unpacks it in his hotel room and then takes off. His observations are wry and amusing and he uses words like ‘funky’ and ‘groove’ with no trace of irony. For those who are familiar with his pallid yet intense persona as lead singer with Talking Heads, it may come as no surprise to learn that music was what allowed him to interact with people in ways he knows he could never have done without it.

He is very passionate about urban design and how people live, and can live, in cities. We could all do with a lot more of his creative and lively views on superficially dull matters like road furniture and air conditioning.

His style is very easy going and, well, like a diary. It has a particular rhythm and tone – a groove, actually, that I really got into. Nice.

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