Listening to David Byrne’s “The Bicycle Diaries”

They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. – Andy Warhol

Happy New Year!

The artist and musician David Byrne is important to me because his work in the Talking Heads was part of the sound track of my life as an art student at the Corcoran School of Art in the early 80’s. Looking back, it was clear many of the students were personally influenced by him in attitude as well as dress. I’ve enjoyed following his post Talking Heads work as a musician and an artist. I’ve seen him a number of times on television and enjoyed the albums that my husband (who is also a Corcoran Alumnus and passionate music aficionado) shares with me.

(I’ve also watched his recent Ted talk online about music and architecture. David Byrne’s Ted Talk : How Architecture Helped Music Evolve)

My husband recently made a new purchase for our annual 12 hour road trip to visit  relatives for the holidays.  During our road trip which begins in Northern Virginia and goes through the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, we listened to the David Byrne audio book, The Bicycle Diaries.

Well – We started it on the way and finished it on the way back to our home in Northern Virginia.  (We got caught in a Washington beltway style backup while going through Knoxville Tenn. The chapter on his biking experience  in Berlin helped us get through the hour long delay.)

I’m a big reader and don’t own any audio books but I would like to recommend this audio book. There was something special about hearing his voice tell the story of his  global travels and how the use of a bicycle to get around many locations connected him with cities in a way that would not have happened if he had traveled by car.  He also layered in ambient audio and music as soundtrack to the city that he was describing in a particular chapter.

The entire audio book runs eight hours and 39 minutes.  Perfect for a long road trip through the country side – or perhaps a DC metro area commute. The audio book is a tapestry where he has woven together his views on art, architecture, music, multiculturalism, ecology, politics and his accidental growth as an advocate for urban cycling as  a new means of day to day transportation. He also manages to successfully weave in technology with a dash of entrepreneurship.  Bravo!

In closing, I would like to share links to articles about the PowerPoint art he has been working on for a number of years. One of the stories that he shared in the book was what it was like to have opportunity to present a lecture on his PowerPoint art with the creators of the software in attendance. (He didn’t crash and burn. They liked the lecture.)

Oh –  By the end of the book, if you don’t have a bike you will want to go out and buy one. Happy Cycling!

Thank you for your attention.  May you have a creative, healthy and successful 2011!


Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information

Turning Heads with PowerPoint

David Byrne hearts PowerPoint


Bicycle Diaries: AudioBook – download from Byrne’s website

Bicycle Diaries: Book