Long Days are Coming Up

I am nearing that point in the summer where inevitably, I start realizing that school time is on the horizon. Yes, it’s only the 6th of July, but for my youngest, that gives her just a month before we go through registration, thus beginning the school year. It’ll be another week or so before I start the suggestions that maybe she and I should go shopping. I’ll hear groans and the deep sighs of “woe is me” for several days until she finally agrees to accompany me to some stores. At that point, as we enter store #1, she will inevitably argue that she really doesn’t need anything, and will eventually settle on buying a couple of shirts just to satisfy me before begging to return home. No, my youngest, at the age of 12, is still not a shopper. She tends to surprise me though, so we’ll see.

Along with school time approaching, I recognize that this summer has clearly not lived up to any sort of standard whatsoever. We’ve not gone anywhere other than the beach (and yes, it was easy to remain socially distanced, even on the Fourth of July). The only time we’ve taken off was, sadly, when my husband was in the hospital. The man was back at work, not quite full time but still pretty close, the very next Monday. It’s difficult to make vacation plans because our governor and county officials change the rules and ordinances at the very last second, and quite frankly, I’ve given up trying.

Just a note – I don’t know about the rest of you, but I will not look back on 2020 with much fondness, and we’re only halfway through the year! I realize that some say “Make the best of it, be happy, and thankful for what you have”. I am. My husband is alive and I had my entire family living under the same roof for three months. Grateful doesn’t even begin to cut it, but the losses have been equally strenuous to manage. Under any measure, this year has been rough, and is likely to get rougher for many.

Along with all of that, I recognize that this coming September – just a couple of months from now – mark a milestone for Daily Duranie. We’ve been at this for nearly ten years now. That isn’t something we set out to accomplish. In fact, I think Amanda and I have been the most successful with the blog when we’ve had no expectations whatsoever, which is where I sit today. I don’t anticipate rapid growth for our traffic on the site, nor do I worry about how many visitors we have. Daily Duranie continues to exist for the benefit of fans, otherwise interested parties, and those who wish to participate in some way, by reading, posting, or looking around. Everyone is always welcome and appreciated.

The trouble with having no expectations is that sometimes, things grow stale. In many ways, my comfort level with Daily Duranie is that it’s perhaps a bit too comfortable. Too easy. Too predictable. It’s difficult to address that while in between album projects – but maybe its best for me to take this time to overhaul the site and freshen the place up a bit. A remodel, perhaps?

I’m off to get started!

-R

July 2020 Katy Kafe with Nick

Last night I could not help but to notice when DDHQ tweeted out that there was a new kafe, one promised to have some album news. This was exactly what I needed after finding out that a former student had been shot and killed earlier in the week. I need a break from the horrible reality we live in. So, on that note, let me dive into what Nick and Katy discussed. As usual, this is not a transcript. It is just me talking about what caught my attention. To hear the whole thing, please go to duranduranmusic.com and get yourself a membership.

Swimming

Nick and Katy started the kafe with a brief discussion about swimming and whether or not they could survive if they fell off a boat. I won’t give their answers away but I related when Nick said that he did not like to swim in places where he cannot reach the bottom. I’m the exact same way.

Album News

Of course, this is what we all want to know about, right? I love that there wasn’t a lot of time wasted before they got to the good stuff! Nick mentioned that they have been able to move things along now that restrictions have let up in the UK. Several tracks have gone to get mixed. In fact, according to Nick, they have had 6 or 7 mixes back. For me, the best part of what he said is how they have started to watch the album come together. That sounds super positive to me. I wonder if the perspective on that might be unique this time around because of the forced break. Nick is hopeful that they will be able to finish the rest in the next coming months. While I love the sound of that, I would also encourage them to break from the idea that the entire album has to be done. Fans would love just a track or two. It would keep people interested and give us something to listen to/distract us. It would keep people going and it may even help them to get love and energy from the fans back to them, which could be helpful. Katy seemed to be channeling as me as she did ask about a single and Nick dismissed it, saying that he likes having the plan for whole thing. He would like to see how the fall goes. Ugh. Couldn’t the plan be for individual songs to be released? I’m certain that they could do this well and in a way that felt coherent.

Next Year

It sounds like most of the concerts and other plans for this year will be just pushed back to 2021. That would be great! I wonder what all they had planned.

The Process

Katy asked Nick what his favorite part of the album making process is his favorite. Not surprisingly, he loves going into the studio at the beginning of the day (afternoon–in Nick’s case) with nothing and having something created by the end. He also likes “fixing” or tweaking once something has been made. None of that surprises me at all. I bet he takes a ton of time with that fixing part!

Music Industry Assistance

It sounds to me that most industries in Britain have received some assistance from the government to survive during the pandemic. The music industry has not. Thus, the members of the band have signed on to a petition to get that changed. I think Nick explains it well that there are a lot of people in the industry that have not been able to work and that is a problem. I agree. Think about how many people are needed to put on a show (beyond the artists themselves!) and shows are not happening. A lot of people are struggling as a result of that. He is hopeful that people will be more grateful once shows are able to come back. I know that I will, for sure.

Book

Nick put together a book after the photography exhibit he did four or five years ago. He had started the book years ago but had to take breaks due to touring and more. Now, he had a chance to make any changes to complete it and he fully expects that it will be released this year. He is hopeful that it will be out in the next few months. If he had his way, it would be on Halloween. It will be a limited edition art book with a 7 inch vinyl single included with a vocal by his significant other, Nefer. It will be very limited but probably extremely beautiful. (My guess is that it will also be very expensive!) Still, I like something to look forward to!

So, what do the rest of you think? How do you feel about the album news?

-A

I Heard You Talking Softly

Last week, Rhonda and I had a brief conversation about lyrics. In the midst of the discussion, I mentioned that I viewed Simon’s lyrics very differently than John’s lyrics in his solo work. In thinking about this, I started to wonder about the reason behind these differences and if their purposes for writing was the cause.

Let’s start at the beginning. How would you describe Simon’s lyrics? I know as a kid in listening to songs like Union of the Snake, I might have said that they were nonsense. If they had a meaning, I had no idea. Of course, some songs seemed obvious in their meanings like Rio, which I would assumed was about a woman, or Girls on Film, which must be about models. Later, of course, I started to realize that all of these songs might be deeper than I originally thought. Union of the Snake, for instance, could be interpreted in a thousand different ways. I learned that Rio was more about the United States rather than just a woman. Even Girls on Film was deeper than just about models but about the exploitation of them.

So what does this mean when it comes to thinking about Simon’s lyrics? Obviously, it showed me that there was more to his lyrics than what appeared on the surface. There is a poetic element to many of them and others could be thought of as more of a metaphor or analogy. Then, I wondered if there were any songs that were more of a personal nature. A few came to mind. Come Undone is about his wife, Yasmin, and She’s Too Much is about his daughter. We know that Hold Back the Rain was written about John Taylor. Yet, the songs that directly relate to his life seem to be few and far between. Interesting.

Let’s compare to John Taylor. Now, I’m willing to bet that some of you out there aren’t as familiar with John’s solo work as you are Duran Duran’s work. So, I’ll share a couple examples/verses.

Spirit of the Times

and now that I’m in Hollywood
I feel that here I’m understood
there’s fifty minutes to the hour
and twelve steps to every ivory tower

spirit of the times
spirit of the times
spirit of the times
prefects from birmingham
chamberlain’s birmingham
christ wasn’t perfect
he could have been from birmingham
rotunda
new street
jasper carrot’s birmingham
tis-was

rum runner
swordfish up the alleyway
steel pulse
bob lamb’s
moseley inna birmingham
underworld in our world
minutes up the motorway

Anon

I’m good at relaxing, I like to kick back
When I go to the steamroom, I get my hampton out
I get plenty of love from all the kids I meet
I get a sense of fun from them, Just can’t be beatI know a man with problems, So self-absorbed
He couldn’t see nothing past the end of his world
His life was grey then, It was hard to see
But I got the number, I got the recipe

Okay, so it seems to me that John’s lyrics are way more about his life and what he was thinking and feeling at that given time. If you listen to his complete solo work, you can tell a lot about how he was trying to really get his life together in his new world of sobriety, post Duran Duran, after a divorce/new relationship, etc. John’s lyrics are almost always incredibly personal, like the exact opposite of Simon’s.

Does that mean one’s lyrics are better than the others? I don’t think so. I love them both for different reasons. With Simon’s, I get to make guesses about what they could be about. I can interpret them in various ways, some that might fit only to my life. In that sense, they can more universal. Yet, I admire the heck out of John’s. It takes a lot to be that open, that vulnerable, that raw, especially in front of other people. This, of course, takes me back to the original premise. What is the purpose for their lyrics?

I suppose that you can argue that the reason for writing songs is for people to listen, to enjoy, to love, etc. I’m pretty certain that all of these songs were written with the hopes of selling copies of albums and singles, to make money. Beyond that, though, John’s lyrics seem to represent a personal process that he was going through. I might conclude that he was writing, not just for all of the usual reasons for writing lyrics to songs but also to deal with his thoughts and emotions, to help him figure things out. Part of me definitely can relate to that. I feel like I have been using the blog for more and more of that as time as gone on. Writing does help me tremendously when processing what I think. It helps me to organize all of the random ideas floating around in my brain. It provides a coherence.

As I continue to process a lot of potential changes in my own personal life, I suspect that I will be doing a lot more writing in the coming weeks and months.

-A

Fandom Status: It’s Complicated

Jason’s blog yesterday, which you can read here, has kept me thinking. In it, he brings up the lyrics to “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and wonders about their context in today’s world.

I too, have thought about some of the lyrical content over the years, and not just of this band, but many others. I’ve admitted to listening to my fair share of hair bands over the years, and just one look at their lyrics or videos will tell you that women were often objectified across that particular genre. Yet, I managed to somehow ignore all of that in order to enjoy the music.

I think that brings up a subject worthy of discussion. So many people I know these days take stands and speak out on many issues. Politics, social (in)justices, and even religion. Often, I wonder how they are able to put that aside, or even if they put their feelings aside for music.

For example, what if you’re atheist and a band you’ve heard on the radio and have casually taken an interest in turns out to be Christian? Is that enough to drive you away? How about vice-versa – you’re Christian and the band has atheist members – as I know that to be the case with Duran Duran. What then?

What about if that band has political stances that do not align with yours, and they are comfortable speaking out? Would that make you uncomfortable, as I know has happened with some Duran Duran fans in the past. Is it really enough to force someone to turn away?

Then there are the gender issues. Duran Duran has their Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella, and yes – Hungry Like the Wolf – among others. How do fans reconcile those songs, lyrics, and videos, without compromising their own ideals? Obviously it must be able to be done, but how?

I’ve always felt that for the most part, music isn’t an area where *I* am willing to apply purity tests. My life and my belief system just isn’t quite that black and white. For example, I’m Christian, although I am pretty darn open-minded about it, and very respectful that my beliefs aren’t the answer for everyone. My best friend happens to be atheist, yet that’s never, ever been an issue for me. I respect her thinking. Very much so, in fact. We all find our own way, and in my case, I admit that I make it up as I go along! Don’t we all? I am similar about most social issues in that respect, and as I type, I’m not exactly sure where my own “do-not-cross-this-line” boundaries sit, with regard to music, that is.

Even so, other people do complain about the band’s past lyrics, or even their offstage behavior. I’ve seen many folks comment on past antics, getting so angry, and so offended, yet they’re still fans and show up religiously at every show. You can only scream and yell so loudly about your mistreatment when you turn right around and show up again, and again, and again, you know? It starts to seem strange after that. There is so much out there that could potentially affront, if not totally offend. Yet this band, and many others, have millions of fans, plenty of whom apparently see past the glaring, wild, and flagrant offenses, to still love Duran Duran.

Maybe we all should just mark the “Are you in a fandom” box with “It’s complicated”. We’re all human, and we all say and do things. Shit happens…Sex, drugs and rock and roll…Love is Love… and my favorite that I’ve only made up in this very moment, “I don’t know where my boundaries are until I run into them.” Fandom isn’t only complicated, it is downright messy.

This, by the way, is not a direct reflection on Jason’s blog post from yesterday. I am not finding fault with him in pointing out that lyrical context has somehow changed between 1980-something and today. He is absolutely right. Different things were seen as “okay” then. I appreciate his effort in pointing it out. (I also appreciate Lyrica Hall’s response that the lyrics directly say “Woman you want me, give me a sign”. Good point!! With that thinking, I have to ask, whom is really hunting whom?)

Not all lyrics stand up to the test of time, nor do all videos. Does that mean we should go back and not-quite-literally “burn” everything that doesn’t meet the social standards of today? How do you feel?

-R

Do You Know What It’s Like To Be Hunted?

Woman, you want me, give me a sign

And catch my breathing even closer behind

“Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make peace with the narrator of “Save A Prayer” and what his intents were (you can read it here). In the discussion of that, someone on Twitter (@_editionsofme) made a good point about “Hungry Like the Wolf” being more troubling for a lot of listeners from a lyrical perspective. It is true and something that stayed in my head. It was still percolating in my brain when I realized that another band I follow had already written the perfect response to the song.

Cowboy Junkies first released “Hunted” in 1992 and it has since grown into a high-point of their live shows with one of the most blistering mandolin solos ever heard (I’m serious!). Inspired by true events, the lyrics outline the many different ways women are forced to navigate a world where men are hungry like the wolf. The lyrics and video are below if you care to dive in. The way vocalist Margo sings it today is nothing short of fierce. She sings the line “to go visit their father” with such disgust that it tells us that many of her female friends probably married the wrong misguided angel (“Misguided Angel” being one of their biggest hits if you don’t dabble in the alt-country scene).

Where does that leave “Hungry Like the Wolf”? Fair question. It’s an undeniably memorable song with some troubling overtones – not an uncommon artifact in the pantheon of rock-n-roll. The band certainly didn’t write it with poor intent but it does reflect how they, and most of us, were taught gender. Perhaps, it’s important that we keep the song alive within popular culture as an example of how an innocent hit song can offer a deeper, more important insight into the issues of our society. More importantly, we need to amplify the songs that aren’t hits as they are often the ones that can teach us the most. As a male, finding songs like “Hunted” and “Me & a Gun” by Tori Amos in the early 1990s helped shape my worldview far more than “Hungry Like the Wolf” and I am grateful for that. So, do you know what it’s like to be hunted?

Emma's in a part of town
where she doesn't recognize the streets
named for famous native sons
and out of every crevice comes creeping
a threat in her direction
Lucy's outside her home
heading towards her corner store
she stays on well-travelled paths
and is always making sure
that she doesn't develop patterns

There are trap lines
running up and down Main Street
wire snares thirsting for your neck and feet

Susan doesn't like the way her curtains
are blowing in the wind
She swears she locked that window
before she went out dancing
she stands frozen in her doorway
Judy hears a sound coming from the other room
she knows she should be alone
'cause the kids left at noon
to go visit their father

Quick to your phone dial 911
invite a strange man into your home
who'll be carrying a gun

Leslie's working late
she's got a deadline to meet
In walks her boss,
upon her desk he puts his feet
and says alone at last
Reanne's got a new boyfriend
and they're getting along
until he locks the door and says don't struggle,
I'm stronger than you are.

Just one question I'm dying to ask, you said,
do you know what it's like to be hunted?
Cowboy Junkies – “Hunted”

There’s a Camera Rolling

Did you hear? DDHQ is gearing up to switch out the LOOKBOOK on their official merchandise site and wants to include fans!

Yesterday, this was posted on their official instagram:

COMPETITION TIME ! This Summer we are updating the DD Store Lookbook and we want YOU to be a part of it. If you want the chance of not only featuring in it, but receiving a £50 gift voucher to be spent in our store, follow the steps below: 
1) Take a picture of you and/or friend(s) or family member(s) wearing, using or displaying one of your favourite pieces of Duran Duran merchandise.
Upload the picture to Instagram (Note: please save the original full sized image, as we will require these from the winners) 
2) Tag @duranduran and use the hashtag #DDlookbook2020…include a brief background to the shot if applicable

There were some questions that I’ll try to answer here in case you missed the posting.

  • Some asked if it had to be official merchandise, and the answer was no – do what you do!
  • The same goes for homemade items!
  • The merchandise does not have to be brand new (as in it doesn’t have to be from the newest line)
  • The pictures can be old or new

The thing is, there were a few people that became immediately annoyed by the idea of wearing merchandise because it insinuates that one has the $40+ to buy said merchandise. I’d just like to point out that DDHQ made sure to say you could wear whatever, it should just be Duran Duran. This opens the door for anyone who desires to participate.

This seems like a very cool contest to be a part of, and I might even scan through my pictures to see if I’ve got anything worthy of sending in. I’d love to see fans participate and become part of this year’s Lookbook.

The last time they put one together, the pictures used were mainly of young people – children and friends of people on the DD team. While the pictures were good, many felt that they weren’t fairly representative of the people who support the band – the fans. I was actually one of those people who spoke out. My thoughts were simply that merchandise is usually bought by fans, so why wouldn’t fans be the ones in the photos – or at the very least – people who are in our broad age range?? Granted, I didn’t mind the kids in the pictures. They were cute, and I get it. I just thought that maybe it would be a great way to engage fans if they included us. And here we are.

(so yes, I’ll be digging through my pictures to send something in, even though I am pretty certain my photo will end up as the lining to a birdcage or similar!)

Here’s our chance to represent the band, and I hope that many will take the time to follow through. Can’t complain if we’re not willing to participate when asked, right??

Have fun!!

-R

Everything I Know About Fan Communities, I Learned From Watching My Chickens!

Raising babies!

Last year, I became a chicken mama with my first flock of hens along with one, very flamboyant, very-serious-about-his-business, rooster. My first flock is very tight-knit with a real pecking order that becomes very apparent if one spends any time watching them, which I do. Our goal was to expand our chicken population to twenty-four laying hens so that I could begin to sell eggs at a farm stand up at the top of our property. I know that sounds so…rural. It is. It’s nearly the opposite of what Duran Duran is, I suppose. Welcome to my life!

So, this past spring, I’ve gotten two sets of chicks in between the lockdowns, mask-wearing and store closures. I had one first set of eight chicks in the brooder that you can see below; and then later, another five were raised from teeny tiny babies to become hooligans that needed more room.

I swear there’s a point to this talk of chickens, so stick with me!

Tom rules the roost

As I mentioned before, there is a true pecking order in a flock. We call it a “pecking” order because that is exactly how the social hierarchy of a flock is determined. There’s some pecking, and hopefully not a lot of bloodshed, before it is determined which hen is at the top, and bottom. (did I mention that chickens are cannibalistic??) When new chickens are introduced – including when our rooster, Tom came to live with us (pic below) – it throws the pecking order out of balance and it shakes things up a bit.

This is Tom, our Silkie rooster. He might look pretty, but he rules the roost with a firm beak!!

Tom (I call him Tom-Tom) is at the top of the pecking order now. For a long time, he was not – but he’s made it very clear to a few of the hens that he’s not putting up with their BS. His relationship to the flock is different though because he’s the only male. The girls may not listen to him much, but they don’t challenge his position either. They accept that he’s there, and in some ways, he is their King.

Integration

Meanwhile, back to those chicks. The first set of eight chicks quickly grew out of the brooder and were moved to the halfway house at around eight weeks. Then the second set were moved out, and the first was integrated into the flock. Yesterday, we allowed the same of the second set of chicks.

None of this has gone smoothly. Many of the older hens were not, and are still not, enamored by the younger chicks. In fact, the youngsters were told, in no uncertain terms, that they were not welcome to drink from the larger waterer. They were not allowed to eat at the same time the big girls ate, and they were absolutely not allowed anywhere near their roosting area (where they sleep at night). For the most part, the older hens want nothing to do with the new inhabitants of the coop.

Lately, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time watching the flock figure it all out – the fact is, we’ve got one coop, and they are going to have to learn how to get along. We’ve added more roosting areas, expanded the egg-laying boxes, put out more waterers and feeders, but the rest is up to the girls. The process has been fascinating.

The pecking order

First of all, it isn’t ever the hens at the top of the pecking order that fight for position. In fact, it appears to me as though they couldn’t care less about who joins the flock. They know where they belong, they know they’re among Tom’s favorites, and so they have no reason to be mean to the chicks. I wouldn’t say they’re overly friendly and hanging out with the younger girls, but they’re not pulling tail feathers out of them, either. The newer chickens seem to understand that these girls are way above them on the pecking order, and they never go after them to assert themselves, either. It is as though they’re just too powerful to be challenged.

The hens in the middle of the pecking order are actually friendly with the new ones. They’ve stayed on the run (the fenced-in, secure yard set up for the chickens so that they’re safe from predators) with the younger ones, they eat with them, and seem fairly happy to have new friends around. However, when it comes down to it, they won’t defend the newbies, either, though. That might upset their own position in the hierarchy. So while they’re nice to the new chickens, if some other hen wants to rip their tail feathers out or peck them, they’re not going to stick their own neck out to defend them.

Tom-Tom is an interesting wrench thrown in the mix. He’s our only male, the only rooster in the flock. At night, he used to plop himself right in front of the door leading from the coop to the run so that way if someone dared to break into the run, he’d be the first line of defense for his hens. Tom-Tom would lay down his own life to save the girls. Chivalry is not dead in the poultry world. However, after the first set of chicks were introduced to the flock, Tom moved from sitting in front of the door at night to being up on the roost with his favorites. Literally, he sits in between Nugget – a Buff Orpington, and Lucy – a Barred Rock, which are his girls (or sex slaves, as I like to call them, for obvious reasons). Clearly, either Tom has decided on his own that the new girls (who aren’t of the age where they’re laying yet, meaning they’re not mature enough to mate, either) aren’t his problem, or the existing flock has told Tom that the new girls aren’t his problem. Either way, it’s a noticeable change.

That bottom rung

However, the real problem lies at the bottom of the pecking order. These hens are fighting to keep their position. They see the newcomers as a threat, or a potential opportunity to prove they ‘re not at the bottom of the heap, so to speak. So, they beat the crap out of the younger ones. Oddly, at this point, it is the middle set of chickens – the Gang of Eight, as I call them – at the bottom of the pile. They get beat up on more often than the youngest chicks, and as a result they stay in the coop and keep to themselves. The younger ones have been pecked and had feathers pulled, but they’re standing their ground quite nicely. They hang out with the rest of the flock, even though they are only about eleven weeks old and much smaller than the rest (The Gang of Eight are about fifteen weeks old now, in contrast).

Check out those weapons, sister

What has been so interesting to me about this “social experiment” amongst the poultry-sect, is how completely similar they are to humans …and this fan community in particular. While there might not be bloodshed, there have certainly been plenty of squabbles between fans over the years. The scenarios I’ve shared between hens aren’t much different from what I’ve seen take place at shows! Amanda and I have spent several years watching the way the social hierarchy of this fan community is developed, maintained, and sometimes challenged. Who knew that everything I needed to know about fan communities I could have learned from watching my hens?!?

-R

Pop Trash at 20

Last week saw a Duran Duran anniversary. No, I don’t mean John Taylor’s 60th (although that happened, too!). I am referring to the Pop Trash album turning 20! 20! How is that even possible?! Did you also know that there was a write-up about the anniversary on the band’s official website? You can read it here! I thought I would take a few minutes to read it and drop down some thoughts.

Before I get started, I have to acknowledge that I don’t feel a particular closeness with this album. I admit that part of that is because a certain bass player was missing and it came out in a time when my fandom was pretty dang low. I’m not like some fans who do not own the album at all. I own it and know the songs. There are many that I like. That said, I cannot say that I love any of the songs. Perhaps, by reading about its history, I’ll appreciate it more, especially since the write-up features Nick, Warren, the engineer and the art director. I am sure that multiple perspectives will help. Of course, I find it interesting that Simon did not contribute. I wonder why.

Art Director

The cover for POP TRASH did feature the Excalibur car which Liberace used once for a show at Radio City Music Hall in New York. We jumped through numerous legal hoops for the PT artwork, including permission to use Elvis Presley’s eyes for the ‘Hallucinating Elvis’ page. The decision to use Liberace’s car came from sitting around the kitchen table at Nick’s house with Simon and Warren. There were other cover ideas on the table, one of which was much liked, but was too close to Beck’s ‘Midnight Vultures’. In the end, the shot of Liberace’s Rhinestone-encrusted roadster seemed to be the perfect vehicle to encapsulate the concept of the album.

One aspect of Duran that I have always appreciated is the connection to art and how much art adds to the packaging. I love that they worry about the details of the album cover, font, merchandise, etc. I remember seeing an interview with Nick saying that they view themselves more as a multi-media company. I can see that. Anyway, I appreciated that they included the art director in this walk down memory lane. As I read the description above, I found myself taking a look at the album cover again. I wondered and still do if the title fits the flavor of the album. Yes, there is the song, Hallucinating Elvis, but so many others don’t feel like that song does to me. Nonetheless, the imagery fits the title in my opinion, even if all of the songs do not.

Engineer

The most interesting part was this, “I had worked with Warren when he was in Missing Persons, and through that relationship I was brought in to help on the THANK YOU album. As that was progressing, I would bring rough mixes of our work home, and when playing these to friends they were astounded to hear that it was DD. We were getting a much edgier more rock side of the band, it was wonderful, but then the management and label heard it, got scared that it wasn’t old school Duran, and persuaded the band to try and make it sound more like the band everyone knew.”

I would be very curious to hear those original mixes, if they were, indeed, edgier and more rock. Likewise, I would love to be a fly on the wall when the management and label convinced the band to make it sound “more like them”. What was that conversation like? Why did the band go along with it, if this is true? This seems to be a theme that runs throughout Duran history–this tug of war between sounding “like them” and being more experimental. Thinking of the late 1990s, I’m not sure that the advice worked all that well as the band did not experience roaring commercial success.

Warren

I could not pick out just one paragraph or idea from Warren’s recollections but there were a few ideas that had a general theme, which was that recording Pop Trash was a different experience than the rest of the albums.

  • Nick having to do a lot of the lyrics, and me doing the same with the melodies, made POP TRASH different from earlier albums.”
  • “As far as the approach to the POP TRASH recording, that was slightly different. We’d been listening to some old Bowie records and loved the organic sound.”
  • “I played on bass for POP TRASH and the recollections for me was all about de clicking, sitting on the couch with Nick waiting for Mr. Tin to get rid of the clicks in the take. Yikes! The album would’ve benefitted greatly having JT in charge of the bottom end.”

In thinking about all those differences, I wonder if I cannot sense them and feel uncomfortable in response. Did the lyrics not grab me because Nick wrote a lot of them as opposed to Simon? Did the music miss John like Warren acknowledged?

Nick

Nick touches on the very same subjects here, “Admittedly, it was an awkward time for us, and the first and only album without John Taylor at all, which felt really uncomfortable, particularly for Simon and I to have lost all three of our Taylors. To lose one may have been regarded as misfortune, to lose three looked like carelessness… We were trying to carve out a direction, but all feeling a little unsure. Simon was going through a difficult time in his life and so for POP TRASH, I ended up writing more lyrics than usual, and that in itself created a different dynamic.”

As soon as I read this, I immediately had a different feeling about the whole thing. I can understand having a difficult time and trying to push through. I’m sure that they probably knew that it was going to be unlike any previously recorded Duran album but, perhaps, the victory wasn’t making the best album ever but just getting it done. Maybe I am been judging too harshly. I know that I would hate for people to judge my work when I’m struggling. This weekend, for example, is a big time campaign weekend of action. Unfortunately, there is a lot going on with my paid career that has me distracted. Am I doing the best job I can on the campaign front? Probably not but my effort is still there.

My sympathy for the band during that time has grown. I’m glad that I took the time to read and think about it. It will definitely make the next listen to Pop Trash a different one.

-A

Question of the Week: Which Song Represents the Sing Blue Silver tour of 1984?

Last week’s question focused on the Strange Behavior Tour of 1987, supporting the album, Notorious. Unlike so many other polls in this theme, last week’s had a clear winner: Skin Trade. While there were a few other songs chosen, the vast majority picked Skin Trade. Therefore, we are ready to move on to the tour before that one, the Sing Blue Silver Tour of 1984, supporting Seven and the Ragged Tiger. In case you do not know what I am talking about, this set of questions is relatively simple. We are picking out a song that represents each of Duran’s major tours throughout the band’s history. We started with the most recent tour and have moved back in time. The results so far are:

  • Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour – Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour – Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour – Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour – Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour – White Lines
  • No Ordinary Tour – Too Much Information
  • Big Live Thing – I Don’t Want Your Love
  • Strange Behavior Tour – Skin Trade

Today’s poll, then, features all the songs that Duran Duran played live during the Sing Blue Silver Tour. They are listed by the frequency with which they were played. Songs played more often are at the top while songs played rarely are at the bottom. On that note, which song best represents the Sing Blue Silver Tour?

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the Sing Blue Silver Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Sing Blue Silver Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Sing Blue Silver Tour?

Merch Matters??

I had great plans for today. To put it simply, I looked forward to not doing anything after spending a lot of my week getting ready for a campaign weekend of action taking place tomorrow and Sunday. The goal was to have each and every step done so that I could just sit back and do nothing. Unfortunately, within minutes of waking up, my phone started to send frequent alerts as there is a lot going on with my place of work. Almost immediately, I found my anxiety increasing and my do-nothing all day plan being pushed to the side. Eventually, things calmed down enough that I could take a few deep breaths. Sadly, by that point, my head was pounding and I could barely remember that I needed to blog. I needed a restart. So, after taking a nap to regroup and eating lunch, I’m finally getting back to the day I hoped to have.

One of the many ideas I had for the day was to clean out my personal email inbox that tends to get just as overwhelmed as I do. I will often delete emails I don’t need right away, without thought. Other emails compel me to respond immediately. Then, there are those that I keep with the idea that I would go back and read more carefully. One of this week’s email was from the Duran Duran store. Anyone else get this one? Basically, this email was to advertise new items in the band’s official merchandise store.

ragged-tiger-world-tour-shirts

What did I decide to do now that I have had a chance to really look at this email? I went to the online store, of course! As soon as the page loaded, I remembered that there were other relatively new designs, including these:

Now, my mind is really moving at a mile a minute. How do I feel about merchandise right now? Normally, I am all for it. I admit that I have appreciated all of my various t-shirts lately. Since I have not gone into work for months, I found myself living in more comfortable clothes like t-shirts. But now, things are different. Many people have lost their jobs. Many are struggling to put food on the table. Some are fighting for health or even their lives. Is it wrong or selfish look at the merchandise or to buy?? This leaves me just wanting to scream.

Here’s the deal. Am I lucky that I’m able to buy something(s) if I want to? Yes, absolutely, I am very fortunate. I wish that everyone could. Does it make me a terrible person to want to have something like a fun package to look forward to? I don’t think so. Heck, even if people don’t want to buy any of this new merchandise, I still like that it is there. I like to see that band is doing something and staying active, in some way, shape or form. I especially like these designs. On one hand, Seven and the Ragged Tiger imagery and design is one of my absolute favorites. I appreciate the more modern group photo and latest font. They are all awesome, I think.

All that said, you know what I would really want as far as merchandise goes these days? I like that DDHQ has been releasing word searches, which are fun and distracting. What about a big jigsaw puzzle? I have been doing puzzles since the pandemic started and really enjoying them. I suspect that I might like one even more, if it featured something Duran related. Just a thought.

So what about the rest of you? Do you like this new merchandise? Are you planning on buying? Do you have suggestions for other items? If so, what?

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!