Losing Control: Where is it leading to?

If it hadn’t been for Amanda, I don’t think I would have remembered that Duran Duran,along with a fair amount of fans I recognize, are in Dubai this week.

Life has been a bit up in the air here lately. My husband has been interviewing by phone for a lot of companies all over the country, and for a while, every single day I’d get a text or two when I was at work suggesting the possibility of a new city to think about. “How do you feel about Philadelphia?”  Or “What about Chicago? Would you move back?” Today he has two more phone interviews. I have no idea how to plan, or what to plan for.  None of this is within my control right now. Should I start fixing up the house and thinking about packing away things I don’t need, or just start selling off personal items in order to keep paying bills. He’s been out of work since November, which in one sense has been a long time, but when you’re job hunting in his particular field with his particular job title, that’s not really so bad. My attention has been elsewhere, to say the least. Selfishly, I’m almost thankful we’re not talking tours right now.

Even with all that going on, and yes, it’s very stressful, I can’t help but notice a few photos from people I recognize and band members who don’t mind sharing their travels with us. Other than that, it’s hard to believe there’s #Duranlive happening anywhere right now. Dubai feels about as far away from California as the moon. (which I am well aware it is not!)

My own selfish needs aside, it is difficult to imagine that this may well be the only date for a live show this year. At one point, I was being told rumors of dates happening in spring. Obviously, that information was either wrong, or has been changed over the past several months. Either way, on one hand I’m relieved because I hate missing out (and I absolutely would have), and on the other – of course I always hope for something to happen. In some strange way, it helps to take my mind off of waiting for whatever is going to happen here at home. Those of you who have been in my situation know how difficult it is.

The one thing I’ve come to accept since November is that in this case, I have very little control over what might happen. I’ve told my husband over and over that I’ll move where ever we need to move. I’ve been very open and willing to consider every single place he’s suggested, and now we’re at a point where interviews are happening, although they’re just phone interviews right now – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m anxious. This isn’t the first time he’s had to look for work, and he’s at a point now where it’s not just menial “worker bee” type of positions – the interview process is LONG. Our bills, however, keep rolling in. It isn’t fun. It isn’t as though because Walt has had time off we’ve traveled or gone on vacation. I’d say it’s the opposite.

As I am sitting here writing, Walt comes downstairs to tell me that one of the interviews he had set for this morning ends up needing to be rescheduled. I just take a deep breath and try not to show my disappointment. This has happened more times than I can count this time around, and it doesn’t help. It will easily be another week before that company sets something up (because it always is), and I keep reminding myself that there’s nothing that can be done. I’m merely the sounding block, I have no control. I have to just sit back, try to remain calm and positive, and let it take its course. Chances are, it all happened for a reason.

I suppose in some weird way, I’ve learned that this is the way it is for the band, too. I don’t have any idea if they’ve even started with studio time, or if they’ve even got any plans for anything in the future. Right now, aside from this Dubai show, I don’t know their plans. What I do know, and 100% accept, is that they’re going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do. Or not do. And that’s fine. It is totally out of my control. I have zero expectations this time around, and I don’t even have time or energy to think about it past blogging each day. Every so often I’ll see a comment from a fellow fan about whether or not they’re working on plans for #DD40. Most fans who comment about it seem to post like it’s an absolute “MUST” for the band to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.

Is it really?

I mean, what if they didn’t? Would the world end? Would their career go up in smoke? What if they waited until year 45 to even tour again? What if they didn’t do a single thing other than put out a Facebook post? You know what would happen then?

Nothing. There would still be a sunrise. And a sunset. “Rio” would still get radio play, as would “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  The world would still know Duran Duran as that “MTV” band. We’d all still be fans. Or not. None of us have any control over what the band does. We don’t OWN them. They make the music. We buy it. For 99.9% of us, that’s as far as the relationship goes, whether we’ve been fans for 40 years or became a fan yesterday. Yes, it is hard to admit we’ve got no bearing, no skin in the game other than our loyalty – but that’s really all it is. We are not in control.

(You know who IS in control right now…along with the rest of his buddies? That’s right. You know the answer. Say it! The Controller. Aptly named, right??? And people wonder why we started calling him that. Gee I don’t know…)

So, I’m going to just sit back, wait, and be positive, because I really can’t do much else.

-R

A Little Time Could Change Your Mind: 70-80s Nostalgia!

I was scanning Facebook, trying to decide what to write about this morning when I stumbled upon a post from a friend that had pictures of various items I should remember from growing up in the 70s/80s. I clicked on it, figuring I’d see a few things that would make me smile and I’d be on my way.

Well, there were over 300 photos of things I actually do remember!  Everything from jelly shoes to Pert shampoo.  There were photos of the Steam and Curl that I burnt my neck and forehead on, repeatedly (Yes, I’m that coordinated and I have actual scars to prove it.), to the pair of roller skates that I had to have one Christmas. Does anyone remember Loves Baby Soft?  I can still remember how it smelled, probably because the scent nearly bowled me over each time I’d walk into the girls’ bathroom at school during the fifth grade.  I hadn’t even gotten all the way through the photos before I decided what my blog would be about today.

You see, I can remember my mom talking about the stuff she grew up with. From time to time, I can still get her started on a decent walk down memory lane. I am always fascinated to hear her tales of the soda shops and getting caught smoking in a car outside of McDonald’s. As a kid, I would normally feign annoyance when she’d start in with her music, but at the same time, I secretly liked it.  It wasn’t just because of the music itself – which admittedly I enjoy – but because those memories were so incredibly powerful for her.  I liked seeing that response! But almost as quickly, my mom tends to remind me of how difficult her childhood was. She always says she didn’t have a happy childhood, describing how she was alone and didn’t have friends. Yet the stories she shares when we talk about music or places she went and things she did during that time don’t sound that bad.

When I think about it, sixth through eighth grade (ages 10-13 for me) were not necessarily the easiest years, at least not socially. I had a rough time with girls at school. When I see pictures of myself from that time, my awkwardness is front and center. I can remember having other girls tease me as I walked to my locker each morning, and it got to the point that I’d purposefully be late to class or arrange to get the things I needed for my first class before I left school the afternoon before, and not even bother going to my locker before first period in order to avoid the situation. Even in my own circle of friends, we bounced between being the target of ridicule or being the one ridiculing one of the others, in some sort of sick “beat, or be beaten” ritual. It was awful. Yet, a lot of these products and images are from that same period of time, and the memories I think of aren’t at all bad. I discovered Duran Duran for the first time at some point during sixth grade, for crying out loud. It is those memories I think about most, not the bad stuff.

Sure, I could spend all of my time thinking about the horrible things that happened during my childhood. The memory of a certain Lisa standing at her locker, and offhandedly telling me how ugly and useless I was, and that I should go kill myself is still remarkably strong, thirty-some years later. There are enough of those instances still in my memory that yes, I could spend a lot of my time thinking about them. I suspect I’m not alone. That said, I’d much rather focus on the happy things. I’m not interested in being angry, or even sad, all of the time.  After all, I found Duran Duran during that same period of time. As all of you probably know from your own experience, the memories of that band are pretty damn powerful on their own.

If I added a picture of Duran Duran,  or an iconic design or something representing them to that Facebook post – which is here, go enjoy a walk down memory lane as you click-through the images – what would I choose?  What is the most iconic image of them that would immediately cause those of us who grew up in the 70s & 80s to smile? I’m nearly stumped. There are so many, and it’s difficult for me to stop the knee jerk reaction of over thinking it! Like all of you, I am a die-hard, incredibly long time fan.

This one, posted on billboard.com as they discussed the 10 Essential Cuts from the band, is the same poster that almost always comes to mind from my room when I think back on it.  Of course, so does this one, and this one too. But there’s always the cover of Rio, and even the slanted D design.  Each of them stir memories, and every single one is as powerful as the next.

Strangely, I have wondered from time to time if my insistence in following a band that stirs memories from one of the most difficult periods in my life isn’t some sort of bizarre, self-torture practice! The truth is, the band is probably what saved those years for me. The music was the one thing I could count on.

Over the years since, I still find some social situations to be just as annoying as they were back “in the day”. I still struggle with the way women behave when they are in groups. I’d rather stab myself in the eye than go up to a group of women and try to join in. This is why our meet-ups are similar to shock therapy for me, and it’s a direct result from my days in the halls at Sunflower Intermediate. Even so, I still love Lip Smackers, and I can still taste the grape flavor of Bubble Yum bubble gum – it was the ONLY gum I’d chew and the ONLY flavor of grape I like. And of course, hearing “Is There Something I Should Know” still makes my heart sing.

-R

Teasing Like…

This has to be the latest that I have blogged in a long time.  I have a good excuse.  About a month ago, I ate some almonds at a work related function.  Those stupid almonds broke a piece of my tooth off.  A week later, on the day of my dentist appointment, a larger piece broke off.  Unfortunately, this piece was right above my nerve.  My dentist gave me a temporary filling, hoping that my tooth could handle that.  The answer, unfortunately, was no.  By last weekend, it started to hurt and I knew that a more substantial procedure would be needed.  By Friday, I experienced a great deal of pain along with swelling and a fever.  An emergency root canal followed along with now a week’s worth of antibiotics.  This weekend has meant a lot of sleeping as I wait for the recovery, which is why this blog is so late.

My attention span has not been great enough to get much grading done or household chores, but I have had a chance to take brief looks at social media.  I noticed a couple of fun tweets from that band.  You know the one.  Here is the one that really caught my attention:

I cannot tell you how much I needed a tweet like this!  First of all, I love knowing that the band (or the majority of the band) is together.  That always makes me smile.  Then, of course, John’s quote resulted in a good giggle despite my soreness.  I have to say the idea that John was “unsettled” by Simon driving and Nick putting on the tunes is one I can relate to.  I think I might equally unsettled by that.  Now, before Duranies come after me, I have no idea if Simon is a scary driver.  I doubt that Nick would pick music that I wouldn’t appreciate.  No, I love the idea that John is teasing his friends.  After all, isn’t that what friends do?!  I know that I do that with my friends.  Rhonda and I give each other grief whenever we can.  Why?  Simple.  It is fun.

We have also been known to the give the members of Duran a hard time as well.  (Some band members receive our attention in this way more than others.  coughSimoncough Cheers!)  Now, I know that this bothers some out there who reads our blogs.  After all, it is one thing for Rhonda and I to give each other a hard time but a totally different deal to do the same to Duran Duran.  The assumption here is that we are no way, shape or form on their level so how do we dare.  I don’t really get that feeling.  Yes, obviously, they have fame and a hell of a lot more musical talent than I do.  That’s true.  They are still human beings, right?  On top of that, don’t tweets like this seem to be saying that they welcome this sort of thing?  I tend to think so.

There are teachers at school that are always serious with the kids and expect the kids to always be super serious and respectful back.  I’m not like that.  I like to give my students are a hard time and I welcome them giving me a hard time back.  It makes the day-to-day grind of the school year much more fun and bearable.  Some teachers disagree, though, because they feel that kids should not treat teachers that way.  Kids should just treat teachers as respectable elders.  I think my students respect me.  That respect does not get ruined if they give me a hard time, in a fun-loving way, at least I don’t think.

The same is true with the members of Duran.  Just because I tease them on here does not mean that I don’t respect them.  It is the opposite, in fact.  I adore the fact that they tease each other like this. To me, it shows that they are comfortable in their own skins and comfortable with each other.  It makes me love and respect them more.

-A

Validation Matters

On this date in 2004, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) honored Duran Duran the at their February Awards show, The Brits, with the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award.  If you haven’t seen the video for this, it is a must.

I admit to loving this clip.  First of all, I’m a total sucker for the montage of Duran’s career.  It shows how much awesomeness Duran has been responsible for.  Then, I appreciated how each band member had something to say to acknowledge those people who helped them be as successful as possible.  I remember seeing this video in 2004 and just feeling proud.  The pride was for being a fan of this band for so long at the same time I was so excited about what was about to come with this reunion.  More than that, I loved seeing the band get the kudos that they had been deserving but never got.

Many fans who have been around a long time are aware that Duran Duran has always had a lot of criticism.  Much of that criticism seemed to center around the fact that they had keyboards, cared about their fashion and wore make-up and/or had a lot of teenage fans.  I rarely saw Duran get awards as a kid in the 1980s.  I know that they received a couple of Grammy’s for their videos but that is about it.  More often, I found myself trying to defend them or ignoring public criticism.

Sometimes, I wonder how they survived hearing/reading all of those negatives.  I know how hard it is to ignore criticism directed towards you.  In my experience, it often seeps in and hurts even when you know that the criticism is unfair or wrong.  As a blogger, I have definitely experienced my fair share of negative comments.  As a teacher, I deal with it a lot and more this year than previous years.  For example, I have had a lot of criticism that my students are not performing as well as they should.  I know that I have done a lot to help my students learn and achieve the best they can.  Thus, this is a concern that I shouldn’t take to heart but I, too, often do.  Typically, I respond with defensiveness and frustration.  This is why any sort of validation means a lot to me.  Last week, one of the assistant principals came to observe me.  Her review was glowing.  I needed that.  It doesn’t erase all the negative assumptions but it helps.

I have to think awards like this help overcome the rough treatment Duran had experienced throughout the band’s career.  Perhaps, the fact that it was such a significant award really helped.  I know that awards shouldn’t be needed and they don’t, but that validation can really help.  And why shouldn’t they or me receive that type of acknowledgement?  Doesn’t everyone deserve recognition of a job well-done?  I sure think so.

-A

Happy Birthday Andy Taylor!

Ever since I can remember, February has always been marked by two birthdays:  my brother’s and Andy Taylor’s.  About a week ago, my older brother celebrated a significant birthday as he turned 50!  (For the record, that makes me feel old and I’m the youngest!)  As a kid, I always remember celebrating my brother’s birthday with his favorite chocolate pie and some science fiction movie.  A week later would always mean Andy Taylor’s birthday.

As soon as I became a Duranie, the band members’ birthdays were a big deal.  When I was lucky, a Duran birthday meant spending the night at my friend’s house where we would watch MTV for as long as we could stay awake.  It also meant begging and pleading for some sort of cake  from one of the mothers.  I remember actually putting in candles and singing “Happy Birthday” to no one in particular.  Tell me that I was not the only one to do this.  Am I right?

Now, as an adult, I don’t necessarily make a cake or sing, but I still like to acknowledge the big day in some way.  On this day, I have to acknowledge Andy’s birthday as he turns 57.  While he may not be in the band anymore, I still like to celebrate him and what he gave to the band.  After all, when I think of early Duran Duran, I think of the musical tug-of-war between the rock guitar sound and the experimental keyboard sounds.  To me and to a lot of Duran fans, this musical fight brought out some of the best Duran music ever recorded.  A song and performance like this one comes to mind:

Speaking of performances, who could forget how Andy rocked a song like Wild Boys!

Beyond Duran Duran, I appreciated what he also brought to the table when it came to Power Station!

Of course, Andy created some music on his own, too!

One thing is certain.  Andy Taylor has made his mark, musically, on the world.  While I am uncertain to what he is doing today, I hope that he is continuing to be creative and that he is as happy as he can be.  On this day, we celebrate him and all of the musical gifts that he has given to us over the years, whether as a member of Duran Duran, Power Station or as a solo artist.  Happy Birthday Andy!

-A