Monday, November 06, 2006

Dylan Sunday - Theme Time Radio Hour #20-21

Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour #20 (Maps)

Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour #21 (School)

My Sunday was spent on the road, making for a nice lead-in to these recent episodes of Bob Dylan's XM radio show. Err, a good lead-in to the first episode on Maps, not so much on the second one. You get the idea. It's been a long, draining weekend, so it was nice to spend yesterday with Mr. Dylan. I've been listening to his more recent work a lot lately,

I'm really into the first topic, as maps have always fascinated. When I was little Pound for Pound, I used to have wall maps all over the room, totally into looking at all of these faraway cities, states and countries. I never lost it, as I still love to look at maps of cities, especially, whether old ones that let you go experience how much a city and its names can change over time, or a new one which gives you a false sense of knowledge. Philly or Manhattan or Paris or Buenos Aires laid out before you, all the streets and neighborhoods labelled for you.

It's funny, as I think my interests and love of cities is in many ways in direct opposition to the world that maps try to present. To me, the city is all about those points and places that don't make it onto the map. The chaos of a street scene, the graffiti on a wall, the neighborhoods that don't get tourists, the restaurant or cafe that doesn't appear in a guide book. I take my cues from Michel de Certeau in his look at the differences between looking at a city from the top floor of a skyscraper and being in the street, albeit adapted to my own interests.

map of Philadelphia

Here's a great example of why maps are both worthless and exclusionary. This is the typical result for a map of Philadelphia on Google. Notice anything missing? Like North Philly. Northeast Philly. Most of West Philly. Most of South Philly. Southwest Philly. What this map really says is, here is the Philly that is okay for tourists. So sad, but this is the country that our parents created.

The music deals with none of this, but since Bob doesn't play any songs related to Philadelphia, fuck him.

1 comment:

Meinhard Jensen said...

Thank you. That was an original and funny comment about a map. Made me laugh.