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Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
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's review
Mar 28, 2010

Read in March, 2010

This is a mild-mannered manifesto for bike riding, in the form of reports about riding bikes in Buenos Aires, Berlin, San Francisco, New York, London, etc., with lots of descriptions of pleasant art world hanging out, and some philosophical nonsense, like the following:

"The past is not a prologue to the present; it is the present--morphed a bit, stretched, distorted, and with different emphasis. It's a structurally similar, though very much contorted, version of the present. Therefore, in a sense, time--history--can, at least in our heads, flow in either direction, because deeply, structurally nothing has really changed. We think we're going in a line through time, making progress, advancing, but we might be going in circles" (p.198).

I laughed when I read that passage. What does it say? "The past is the present. The past is similar to the present, but very different." Which is it? I don't know how those "because"s and "therefore"s are doing any work--what is the argument? Actually I don't care; this is pretty fun and Byrne is charming. I can't wait until the weather gets nice enough for me to take my bike out.

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