Monday, May 16, 2011

It's a Gift: Your Mudflaps, Your Message

Generally speaking, I'm not what you'd call a "goal-oriented" person, but that doesn't mean I don't have dreams. Like any human I have my aspirations that serve as beacons and influence my life decisions. Sure, I don't aspire to much, and while some might call that lazy I prefer to think of myself as an "ambition minimalist." Here are my primary dreams:

1) To one day own a Scattante;

2) To never, ever participate in a triathlon for as long as I live;

3) To one day visit a city with umlauts in the name.

I'm proud to report that I accomplished Dream #1 quite some time ago, and as far as #2 goes hopefully it will be many more years before I can declare overall victory, but at least I've been successful to date. #3, however, has eluded me--until now, for I am pleased to report I'll be visiting (and speaking at) the Göteborg Cycel Festival in Göteborg, Sweden on June 11th:

Not only am I tremendously excited about this opportunity, but I'm also relieved, for the organizers are allowing me to speak in American which means I won't have to fudge my way through the presentation by reading off Ikea furniture names in an authoritative manner. If you're in or around Göteborg on or around that date I sincerely hope you'll attend, and if you can show me where Göteborg is that's even better, since like most Americans I can't even find my own country on a map, much less somebody else's.


And don't tell me to just use the Internet, either. Like most Americans, the only thing I can find with that is dirty videos.

Speaking of goings-on overseas, in the country shaped like a boot that's always hanging in pizza places, there's a big bicycle race happening. The current leader of that race is Alberto Contador, and in the Bicycling.com blog I am "curating" I described a painting I would have liked to have made of yesterday's stage, if only I were able. Well, obviously I'm not able, but a certain Erik K is, and I very nearly "snarfed" in my Froot Loops when I checked my emailings this morning and saw this:

I don't think it's a stretch to call this both transcendent and achingly beautiful, and in terms of immortalizing triumph it makes Washington Crossing the Delaware look like a bunch of yutzes piddling away in a paddle boat.

Speaking of both dreams and being immortalized, bicycle cycling advocate and giant suit enthusiast David Byrne undoubtedly realized one of his own dreams when he was recently immortalized on the cover of Momentum Magazine:

Not only that, but it was also recently his birthday, and here are just a few gifts he did not receive:


A New Car





A Used Car




A Futuristic Space Car



A Novelty Car Air Freshener To Hang from the Rear-View Mirror He Does Not Have





A Set of Custom Mudflaps That Say, "I Don't Have A Car:"


Actually, I suppose that last one could have been an ironic gift from Brian Eno.

Anyway, I wanted to show David Byrne my appreciation for all he's done for the "bike culture." However, I couldn't just send him a $40 gift certificate to AutoZone, so instead I decided to honor him by using his birthday as a Day of Reflection. And what did I reflect on? Well, David Byrne, naturally. I started by asking myself the following question:

"What do I know about David Byrne?" Without resorting to the Internet (where I'd only be able to find dirty videos anyway) I realized I knew three things:

1) David Byrne likes to ride his bike;

2) David Byrne does not have a car;

3) David Byrne was in the Talking Heads, who got their start in storied New York City rocking and rolling club CBGB--which, in a neat bit of irony, is now a John Varvatos clothing boutique:

It is a rule of physics that all things tend towards douchery, and CBGB is a good example of this. Simply put, things no not stay cheap and interesting forever. You can call it selling out, or gentrification, or Disneyfication, but if enough people like something eventually someone's going to be willing to pay a premium for it, and it will finally reach a point at which the people who made it interesting in the first place will no longer be able to afford it and only the shell will remain. It's not right or wrong, it's just the Physics of Douchery. Hence CBGB being unable to afford its rent, and instead of playing host to a bunch of actual dirtbags paying small amounts of money to be entertained, its shell is now home to douchebags paying large amounts of money to look like dirtbags. Consider that John Varvatos's chief contribution to the popular culture is the overpriced grungily-bedazzled Chuck Taylor:

Though you can also buy a $645 "Bowery Boot" that looks the way a cheap pair of boots used to after its owner shuffled in and out of CBGB for a couple years:

Continuing along this line of thought on my Day of Reflection, I stumbled upon another neatly ironic little tidbit. While David Byrne makes music and in his spare time talks about how he likes to ride bikes, John Varvatos makes clothes for douchebags who want to look like they play music, and in his spare time does Chrysler ads:



Generally speaking, I have absolutely nothing against cars, or commercials, or even car commercials. However, in terms of sheer douchiness I found this particular car commercial tremendously offensive. Basically, here's what it's saying:

1) John Varvatos is from Detroit and designs overpriced, douchey clothes while listening to the Stooges;

2) Chrysler is a Detroit company (though from what I can tell the particular model in the ad is made in Canada);

3) Somehow, this Canadian-built car that John Varvatos had absolutely nothing to do with is cool like the Stooges.

Sure, I suppose the ad is honest in that it's saying if you're the kind of idiot who would pay $675 for a pair of "Bowery Boots" you'd also feel at home in a 300, but it's still pretty depressing. I suppose whether it's putting studs on Converse or making a commercial that's essentially just a half-assed game of "Six Degrees of Iggy Pop," the goal is just to reduce everything to easy references and render them compatible with our modularly idiotic plug-and-play bullshit culture.

I guess what I mean with all of this is that I'll take David Byrne bragging about not having a car over a bunch of douchebags trying to convince me to buy one.

Given the current state of douchefication, it's no surprise that some stoner who's drawing a map with a Sharpie is considered a creative genius:

The Mission Map Project from Agency Charlie on Vimeo.

"You'll really get to know us by going to the places we go to... It can become a glimpse of our lifestyle," says Mike Giant, and I'm glad finally someone has taken it upon himself to create the definitive Aging Hipster's Guide to San Francisco's Mission District. Sure, you can turn off your phone and wander with a paper map--just as long as you've watched an Internet documentary about the map and have a full understanding of its compelling backstory first.

Speaking of art, as I mentioned on my Emergency Blog, I had extended the deadline for the "There Will Be Action Wipes" contest, but this extension officially ends NOW. In the coming days I will share some more entries and eventually choose a winner, but given the sheer volume of greatness this is going to be a formidable task. For example, I've received not one but two Warholian submissions. There's this one:

And this one:



There was also this entry, which the submitter appropriately titled "Masterpiece:"



More in keeping with the "international symbol" theme was this submission, entitled "All You Haters Action Wipe My Elephant Trunk:"

While it's easy to imagine this sign gracing the side of a desert highway:



Hopefully John Varvatos takes note when he blasts by in his Chrysler 300 while blasting the Stooges.

93 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

one

Anonymous said...

Hi

Anonymous said...

Hi

Jasper said...

Thought you were having a rest day for a moment

mikeweb said...

Back on the Gargle.

rct, FTW!!

Anonymous said...

Huggy is back up there

Astroluc said...

top 10 baby... now to actually read this thing...

Charles said...

Top ten, been a while.....

T. Hosni Pawlenty said...

top ten motha fudda!!!!

Twistyface said...

:: "fingerbangs" ::

Twistyface said...

:: "fingerbangs" in an ironic way, wearing ladies sandals on a recumbent ::

Anonymous said...

Is that David Byrne not wearing a helmet lying in the grass on the side of the road? Dude, get a helmet. Not owning a car doesn't mean you might get hit by one.

hillbilly said...

find myself a city to live in

ken e. said...

good morning bright future!

Anonymous said...

Top 20, ladies!!!

Bad Lawyer said...

Welcome back from Blogger exile...hopefully you didn't lose too much work-product.

Anonymous said...

There is no "r" in the second syllable of "Göteborg."

Btw, hi Goldberg, how is Seattle treating you?

Kiki

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

When they cleaned out the CBGB didn't they leave all the old stickers on the walls of the stairway leading down to the pisser? That would be the only thing I'd go in that place to check out.

Lars said...

it's actually Göteborg no extra R

ant1 said...

ant1st!

mikeweb said...

Erik K.'s 'Berto as Vulcan-pistolero work of art is amazing. My desktop has found a new background.

I thank you.

samh said...

Happy Bike Week, Freds.

Twistyface said...

Is 'blasting the stooges' what happens if 'coney island driftwood' is taken too far?

Anonymous said...

It's not "the Talking Heads."

It's just TALKING HEADS, DAMMIT!

David Byrne was in TALKING HEADS!

You don't say that Jon Bon Jovi plays in the Bon Jovi, do you? And you don't say that Eddie Van Halen plays in the Van Halen, do you? And you don't say that Geddy Lee plays in the Rush, do you?

ringcycles said...

I loved Iggy Pop, so when "Lust for Life" was used in a Disney Cruises commercial, I died a little. The auto companys have only needed a decade to catch up to Disney's douchieness. Guess those bail-outs were worth it after all.

mikeweb said...

My soggy ride in this a.m. was almost totally idiot free. I guess they all took the bus.

Fingerbang Assistant said...

Um Snobby, you misspelled gayathlon.

shu-sin said...

mikeweb, good thing you didn't run into me then this soggy a.m.

Marcel Da Chump said...

CBGB 1988: Sonic Youth. I sat at a table near the stage smoking weed near Kim Gordon. After their set I walked up to Kim while she was packing up her bass guitar and said, "I like the way you play". To which she replied, "thanks".
Two decades later I walked past her on Lafayette St and I yelled back, "I love your music!". She turned back to look at me and said, "thanks".
John Varvatos is a douche and that's from personal experience, too.
I'm glad you mentioned Brian Eno.
And Iggy and the Stooges. Got tonight's playlist.

Anonymous said...

@ Lars and Fingerbang -
Maybe the bike festival will be in the rain channel along the edge of the road. Then it WOULD be Gorterborg.

Anonymous said...

Thanks snob-

Some years ago I almost tore my head off when "Lust for Life" was used in a commercial for a cruise line or a car or something. It was family themed and just used the intro, no lyrics about beating one's brains and sleeping on the sidewalk.

I know it's kind of a Byrne-esque thing to say,but this is one of the reasons I stopped watching T.V.

xyxax said...

@mikeweb

Hey, this idiot was out there but my dainty headtube-mounted parasol was not getting the job done.
I looked like David Byrne exiting a car-wash.

Anonymous said...

Anglicised form is Gothenburg. Things to do - go and see the Wasa (look it up on t'internet).

I last visited about 10 years ago (en route to Finland), I don't imagine it's changed much.

It's roughly east-northeast of here, I think.

hey nonny mouse

Chazu said...

Out of the hunker bunker and into familiar, comfy digs.

Try not to alienate some obscure subset of your mainstream counter-culture audience this week, mkay?

Avoid the North American vernacular at all costs, lest ye raise the ire of Bosnian foot-fetishists who also happen to ride recumbent bikes.

Twistyface said...

"The wonderful dexterity of Hannu Mikkola / Makes me want to shake hands with the whole of Finland"

Paul Bowen said...

The Iggy Pop advertises car insurance here in the UK so it feels somehow completing that the Stooges are selling cars back home.

xyxax said...

@Marcel

That show was backing Daydream Nation?
I am gangrenous with envy.

Anonymous said...

Iggy was from Michigan. Stooges are boring mid-west guitar rock. The ad makes sense to me.

THE Talking Heads suck, too. But I guess all bands named in these comments blow. What's new?

grog said...

"Caution: Fred ahead" should be on the back of my jersey. Missing CBGB.
FRUT LOOP

mikeweb said...

@xyxax and shu-sin,

I guess it was almost idiot free because I was out there with no rain gear on at all. Despite my 'wheel brows', my shins still accumulated an interesting crust of road grime and dead vegetation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this Day of Reflection is a good time to start refering to David Byrne as "the David Byrne". After all, he is bigger than life, I'm told that he is the center of the universe (or maybe everything revolves around him, I can never remember which), and it just might piss off a few more fans of the group known as the Talking Heads. BTW, he doesn't own a bike.

Anonymous said...

All you haters suck my Fred.


Balls.

jarvinho said...

While I'm delighted to hear that you're coming over to Sweden, I'm somewhat disappointed to hear that you'll be appearing at a festival organised by a club that ride "mainly for aesthetic reasons"

Give GBG the heave ho and come down to Malmö instead. It's pan flat down here which makes riding pleasant and, as copenhagen's just across the bridge you can even see the huge ego of the Copenhagen cycle chic guy on a clear day.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Marcel Da Chump said...

@XYXAX, It was winter, Jan or Feb, I don't know if the album was out, but if memory serves me right they played 'til closing time and must have covered most of their material.
I also have a funny Joey Ramone story, but I'll save it for later.

Udder said...

Snobby,

You now have enough entries to open a museum called MOBCA (Museum of Bad Computer Art).

I am not an old engine said...

Didn't Iggy lend (get paid a lot of money for) his song to Cadillac a couple of years ago. Old punkers (65)don't die, they just sell out.

ce said...

Sure, if it rains Contador will catch the bus... CATCH THE BUS ON FIRE!

ant1 said...

well done mr. K. that's one hell of a bert pic.

David Burn said...

Wow - two videos of guys for whom this clearly "ain't no hipster shit"!

bikesgonewild said...

...david byrne (who doesn't own a car, i'm led to believe) should start a new band called 'the stalking freds'...

...'byorgen, byorgen'...just working on my swedish...

...mister k comes through with an awesome winner...

Daniel said...

Thought you might like this new take on artisanship:
http://www.yliving.com/fontanaarte-tour-table.html

Dan.

Dave said...

Wait, David Byrne doesn't own a car?

Do you need help judging the contest? It looks like fun.

yogisurf said...

OMG, the naked recumbent lady with a face transplant…and she’s now the Time Traveling Tri Dork. Complete with Wipes! Winner! Winner! Winner…of the art category. Caution, Fred Ahead, is classic. Many good entries to win the Liz wipes.

John Peel's Ghost said...

To settle THE question:
David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth recorded a live album at Chris and Tina's loft in Long Island City and called it THE NAME OF THIS BAND IS TALIKNG HEADS.

ANON 2:06,
I WANNA BE YOUR DOG
and bite your ears off. You don't need 'em.

Twistyface said...

TALIKNG HEADS? Nice!

Jasper said...

Man, we are brimming over with old musical references today - pick of the crop has to be Twistyface with Half Man Half Biscuit's almost finest three minutes.
Yes yes to the Recumbabe Fred splice, which was certainly more artfully edited than that Mike Giant video - looks like someone spliced that with rusty shears.Meh.

Rol said...

That Chrysler ad took me on a mental journey of deconstructionalist doucherie!

1) Does Chrysler even make cars in Detroit anymore, or do they just ship 'em over from the Far East? They've got plenty of "blue collar attitude" over in China. And thanks to the ruthless cheapskate corporate overlords at companies like Christler, all of the actual blue collar JOBS as well. Go try to find a job in Detroit nowadays. It's a ghost town.

2) Varvatos didn't even have that album yet? He had to go buy it, in 2011? Loser!

3) "Rock & roll" as shallow marketing catch-phrase, deployed by well-fed middle-aged men from toney suburbs, who haven't had sex in a long time. Note that the song is "No Fun."

4) Yeah I'm pretty sure rock & roll was all about Chryslers all along, good call.

5) Actually, maybe it was. Cars and rock & roll: both arguably obsolete now. So I guess this is appropriate.

6) Don't forget, Iggy sold them that song.

Mini driver from Berlin said...

From the (transgoogled) Gøtebørg program: "18:30 Bikesnob NYC blogger talks about her book and how he became one of the world's most influential bike blogger".

Anonymous said...

If Snob was a dame, even Quicksquirt McHurt wouldnt hit her... just saying

Göteborg said...

Resistance is futile. Yöu will be assimilated.

murphstahoe said...

David Byrne probably did not receive this now useless car

Anonymous said...

http://clovis.craigslist.org/bik/2325822714.html

Have at it, sknobby!

Anonymous said...

"Caution - Fred ahead" is a classic. Ftw indeed

Anonymous said...

Is that an aerobar in the second to last entry of the epic trunkskid? Or is Time Travel Fred happy to see me?

eurodude said...

Am now watching the ToC live, and to my great surprise, there are LOTS of people on the streets cheering!
Is cycling actually becoming something popular in the US ??

yofilly said...

This post-sponsored by Summer's Eve.

Twistyface said...

@Murphstahoe - Thanks for sharing that video. The driver was a prolific tosser, just glad nobody else was hurt.

Trailer Park Cyclist said...

Being one of the World's Most Influential Bike Boogers is finally payin' off, eh Snobby? Sweden!

Congratulations, man. This means you are an internationally renowned author, like, say, Norman Mailer.

By the way, have you ever actually met Rip Torn?

DUBL NGTV said...

"Simply put, things no not stay cheap and interesting forever."

DO?

Anonymous said...

creep

Anonymous said...

that was awesome

botch casually said...

Talk about mudflaps..my girl's got em'

Anonymous said...

TLKG HEDS

Grammar Nazi said...

74 comments and nobody called you out on "things no not stay cheap...?"

wishiwasmerckx said...

I have been to Gothenburg as well. I will always remember the breakfast buffett at the hotel...herring in cream sauce...herring in tomato sauce...herring in dill sauce...herring in garlic sauce...herring in about ten other sauces...

RB1 said...

how many years does it take to never do a triathlon ? and how do they figure out the winner?

btw, best thing about going to sweden in June is the long, long daylight. how nice.

Anonymous said...

Panties!

wle said...

"cycel"?

really?

wle

Stranded said...

I want a Homer Simpson air freshener to hang on my helmet mirror. It won't make my helmet (or me) smell any better, but it will surely make me look hip (but not hip like a hipster. The good kind of hip).

Cynical, Foul Mouthed Goofball said...

I just love the Talking Heads.

mander said...

I was completely floored by "Masterpiece".

Anonymous said...

". . . things no not stay cheap and interesting forever."

I mean, I get it. But it's like talking to my goofy 4-year-old kid who butchers the language. Step up your editing.

Jonah Gibson said...

How long, do you think, before someone digitizes the Mission District map and turns it into an app for iSmug devices?

Mark said...

Dunno if you've seen this Brooks ad, but here it is:
http://blog.brooksengland.com/wps/brooks-unquestionable-british-tradition/
They take their saddles pretty seriously...

Vernon Malcolm said...

Those Queens lard buttums who hate bikes need to be motored to the turd hole. This is why Obamacare was needed, to force them to bike for their own good and then to psychiatrically regulate the preachers and teachers that produced such creatures. Those birds in Bayside need to be psychiatrically tested for their driver license so they will lose their cars and so move out of town and stop voting for teabaggers.

CD said...

Doping.
Who cares?
Ok, the only problem is with lies, and if you state you didn't take them and you did, and then that you never tested positive (implies you were clever and employed clever people)then ok epose. But for ever cyclists, footballers, endurance athletes have used performance enhancement, sometimes they just havent been able not to. So let draw a line somewhere, 2000, and say that what happened happened. I suspect in some of the tours we would need to disqualify the first 168 riders.
I terminally bonked several times and would have sold or eaten my mother if it would have hepled.

Anonymous said...

This thing is really worth to read

musicbid@ Nepali Guitar Chords said...

This is nice thing and must be read

ekle paylas said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi

Hank Hendricks said...

I wish your primary dreams comes true but, what about your secondary dreams?
Send Gift Pakistan

Fixie Bikes said...

woah, that future car looks sooo future

Aqsa said...

space car looks so amazing.
pak gift markaz
is one of most reliable shop to send gifts.