Thursday, February 16, 2006
More on the Death of the Flaneur
In the second chapter of 57 Octaves Steven Schecker diatribes on how the bike, if not kept in check, means the death of the flaneur. The bike is the vice of the walker. The over anxious flaneur uses it expecting to get more city than walking makes, but the effect is similar to the vacancy produced by flipping through three hundred channels rather than settling on just one. On the bicycle, you lose the eye contact of the street and once that's gone the city is no longer a living history. He goes into how a well intentioned but ill French flaneur invented the bike and how an Irish flaneur improved it, but had I been more thorough in my research he would have also told Ms. Doyen that New Yorker John Jacob Astor then improved upon the Irish bike. Astor invented a pneumatic device and a brake (previously the flaneur had to rely on their already precious heel). Buy yourself a bike friends, but beware the monkey, it steals the light from your eyes.