Happy “Unofficial” beginning of Summer

Today is Memorial Day in the US, a holiday to remember those who served and fought for our freedom. Additionally, it marks the “unofficial” beginning of Summer (although as I understand, the weather is not cooperating well for many in the US today).  So many people on social media like to admonish everyone else into remembering the true reason for this day off from work and school.  Personally, I think it’s good to do both – remember why we have the holiday, and enjoy the fact that we DO have this day off work.  Balance is good. Since this blog reaches out to many more people besides those in the US, I am focusing on the beginnings of summer, today.

My husband is home from work today, and rather than relaxing or lounging by a pool or on the beach, we’ve got a project going in the backyard that I need to finish. So, I’ve decided that the best way to remember this day is with a video or two.  Enjoy!

When I think of summer, I think of Rio. I can’t help it. The sun, the beautiful water, the boat… it’s obvious!

I don’t know why, but I also think of Save a Prayer. Maybe it’s because I know it was filmed in an exotic locale. I don’t know, but I’m going with it today….

I have a specific memory about Violence of Summer that requires I post this, and it involves singing along with it at 2am as I’m driving home from the Key Club in LA. And yes, it WAS summer (or at least the weather felt that way!).  Oh yeah, and the name…. Obvious!

One last one, although there are many more I could choose…and that is Sunrise. The sun, the sun, the sun.  I love it.

Enjoy your day, I know I will!

-R

Ultimate Box Set: Live Tracks Analysis

Last week, Duran Duran fans selected the seven songs they think would best represent Duran’s live performances.  This selection was part of a series of polls to create the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far the box set includes the following:

Singles:

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Save a Prayer
  3. Ordinary World
  4. Girls on Film
  5. Pressure Off
  6. Rio
  7. New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  1. New Religion
  2. The Chauffeur
  3. Hold Back the Rain
  4. Friends of Mine
  5. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  6. The Seventh Stranger
  7. Paper Gods

B-Sides/Demos:

  1. Secret Oktober
  2. Late Bar
  3. Beautiful Colours
  4. I Believe/All I Need to Know
  5. Salt in the Rainbow
  6. Planet Roaring
  7. Faster Than Light
  8. (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Now, we can add the following set of songs.

Live Tracks:

  1. New Religion
  2. Careless Memories
  3. The Chauffeur
  4. Rio
  5. Wild Boys
  6. White Lines
  7. Planet Earth

So, what do I think about these songs?  Was anything surprising?  I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly surprised by any of the songs chosen.  As I stated in yesterday’s blog, it is interesting to note that many of these songs are played at every or almost every show (Rio, Wild Boys, White Lines and Planet Earth).  I would say that the band is more likely to bust out Careless Memories and the Chauffeur over New Religion.  In fact, I don’t think they have played New Religion live since 2008.  Interesting to note that Roger Taylor recently stated that he thinks they should put both New Religion and the Chauffeur into the setlist.  I, for one, would love that.

In looking at this list, I cannot help but notice two other aspects.  First, none of these songs would be considered ballads.  While the Chauffeur is a slower tempo, it does not fit the description of a ballad.  Most of the songs chosen have a lot of energy, in fact.  Perhaps, fans believe that the songs that are the most exciting are also the best live.  The other aspect that I noticed when I examined the list is that for the most part they are all from the early part of Duran’s career.  The only exception is White Lines.

When I personally think of these songs live, my thoughts gravitate to the fact that many of these songs feature JoSi, including Wild Boys, Planet Earth, and Careless Memories.  Some of these songs also featured some audience participation, including White Lines, Planet Earth, and Rio.  What about the rest of you?  What do the rest of you notice about this list?

From here, we will work on side/solo project songs that should be included.  One person has recommended including 12 inch remixes.  What do the rest of you think about that?  Is that a good addition to a box set?  While you are thinking about that question, make sure you have voted here for the Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders songs that should be considered.

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, May 28, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Wild Boys

Which video do you like better:  Do You Believe in Shame or Ordinary World?

Question of the Day: Saturday, May 27, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Save a Prayer

Which video do you like better:  Wild Boys or I Don’t Want Your Love?

Electric Barbarella over Sunrise??

I enjoy setting up the question of the day on this blog because I like doing the polls myself and I learn from them.  This week, I noticed an interesting result.  As probably most of you know we have been asking about video preferences.  While we had asked this question before, we haven’t done so since the most recent videos from Paper Gods came out.  Generally, I feel like I have a sense of which videos Duranies prefer.  For example, I expect New Moon on Monday to be popular based on previous surveys, word of mouth, etc.  Earlier this week, I asked which video people preferred between Sunrise and Electric Barbarella,  Interestingly enough, Electric Barbarella won by a LOT.  In fact, more people voted in that poll than the rest of the week’s combined.  What’s up with that and which video do I prefer and why?

Do Duranies really prefer the video for Electric Barbarella over the video for Sunrise?  I’m not really sure despite the result of the poll.  Obviously, the verdict was decided by the people who voted and not all Duranies vote on this site.  If I asked again, I wonder if I would get the same result.  What if I asked in a different way or with different fans?  What if I went to Facebook groups and asked or busted out the question on message boards?  Anyway, I have to wonder why we had so many more votes that day and why for Electric Barbarella.

Let’s take a moment to watch that video before I add my thoughts about this video:

All right, I’m just going to say it.  I don’t like this video.  I might even go so far as to say that I really dislike it.  It is definitely one of my least favorite Duran Duran videos.  (Don’t send hate mail.  I can be a fan and not like one video.)  I won’t lie.  It isn’t even a favorite song of mine.  While I appreciated the connection to Barbarella and to the band’s history, it isn’t enough for me.  Some of you might say that my dislike for both the song and video probably has something to do with the lack of John Taylor.  I’m sure that you might be somewhat right.  That said, I like Out of my Mind (the song mostly) and that doesn’t have John.

While the song doesn’t cut it for me, the video is WAY worse.  If this was the only video that I saw from Duran, I would not be a fan.  First of all, the video is too predictable.  It feels to me that it is follows the song too precisely.  The viewer isn’t forced to think or ponder anything as it is all spelled out.  I’m also not a fan of the premise.  Here’s a “woman” that can be bought and then directed to do whatever via a remote control.  Of course, I realize that it is a “robot”.  Still, the message is too close to objectification of women and that makes me uncomfortable.  Some of you might be pointing out that Duran often uses women in their videos.  That’s true.  I don’t find most of those women to be seen as objects.  The woman of Rio, for example, holds the power over the guys.  Even the women of the Chauffeur aren’t objects. One might even argue that they don’t need men at all.  Some might say that the models of Girls on Film show how awful models in real life can be treated.  I think the use of women and how they are shown can be explained, for the most part, in their videos except for Electric Barbarella.

Sunrise is very different.  Let’s watch that video to compare:

As you might imagine, I really like this one.  I don’t know that I would say that it is one of my ultimate favorites but I enjoy the heck out of it.  I love that the focus is the band.  It tells the story of each member traveling to come back together.  The storyline is not obvious but fits not only the song but what was happening with the band at the time.      Yes, I also appreciate that it featured the Fab Five, too.  It wasn’t just Simon, Nick and Warren like Electric Barbarella.  It also captures a part of the band’s history with the reunion.

I have a few questions remaining.  First, am I the only one who likes the Sunrise video over Electric Barbarella?  Am I the only one who finds the video for Electric Barbarella a little distasteful?  Then, if I am not the only one who prefers Sunrise, what do you make of the vote showing a vast majority favoring the other?  I guess one thing is true.  The Duran Duran fan community never ceases to amaze me or make me think.

-A

Question of the Day: Friday, May 26, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Night Boat

Which video do you like better:  Save a Prayer or New Moon on Monday?

Diamond Dust and Dom

Would you believe it if I told you that on this date in 2014, the Diamond Dust vinyl edition of Diamond in the Mind was released??

When this came up in my daily DD history, I was a little surprised. I can’t decide if I’m surprised it’s been three years, or that it’s ONLY been three years! I think it’s because since 2015, we’ve had Paper Gods on our minds, and in some ways (for me) it feels like All You Need is Now was a long time ago. That thought also makes me a little sad.

I need to plan another trip to the UK.

Moving on…

Hey, is anyone going to see my favorite person on Sunday in London?? Dom Brown is playing with his new band, DB3 at The Boaters Inn and the show is FREE.

A. I wish I could be there.

B. If you’re going, take pictures and video and send them my way!

Last Thursday of kids in the building for me….

Cheers!

-R

 

Question of the Day: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Girl Panic

Which video do you like better:  Planet Earth or Night Boat?

Manchester Reflection: Fear and shame becomes the violent breath

I want to first apologize for NOT making comments on the Manchester bombing when I wrote yesterday’s blog.  There were several reasons for this, most of which had nothing to do with emotion and everything to do with logistics.

However, 40-hours post bombing (give or take) now, I suppose I do have something to say.

First of all, as you all know – I’m American. I’ve been to the UK twice in my entire life, so it’s not as though I can count it as my home. But somehow, I do feel that way. No, I’ve never lived there, but I think part of my heart remains there regardless. It comes with loving this band, adoring the people I call my UK friends, and some of my favorite people on the planet being British. I love the UK. I love how different it is, yet so similar to “home”. I embrace the cultural differences, and the fact that even while being given a thorough tongue-lashing by a Brit – it STILL  somehow sounds far more polite and refined than when I call someone a jackwagon. Or worse. (probably worse, let’s be honest)  I wasn’t there in the Manchester Arena the night of the incident, I wasn’t in the UK at all. I was here at home, but when I read some of the tweets from friends who live in Manchester, my heart was with you. No, it didn’t happen to me. But somehow, it feels like it did. I witnessed it all unfold with friends online, just as I’m sure many of you reading experienced as well.

Secondly, I’m a concert-goer, just like many (if not all) of you who are reading. I think as Duran-fans, we know the significance of Manchester Arena. As concert-goers, as long time fans, we all know what it is like to be one of those little girls, or little boys, in an arena. As a parent, I know what it is like to send a child to their first concert, or to go along with that child and see their eyes light up as the show begins. As an adult, I know what a concert means to me. It is my safe place. I love music. I adore it. Music is what makes me come alive. The energy flows through my veins like blood, and when I’m at a show – yes, particularly Duran Duran – but any show is like this, it is when I feel like I’m the most ME. To have that space violated rocks me to the core. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.  It doesn’t make me sad, it makes me angry. Very angry.

In 2015, when the mass shooting at The Bataclan in Paris happened, I was also here at home, working on a poster with my youngest for school. When the news broke, I can remember stopping whatever I was doing and slowly sitting in a chair because I knew the band was in Paris. When they mentioned who had been playing at the Bataclan that night, I felt a shiver go down my spine. It was far, far too close to home for my taste. I can remember frantically tweeting the band and Dom, hoping any one of them would respond. It seemed like hours before someone finally answered, assuring us that they were fine. I think when Dom finally tweeted that he and Martha were fine, I wrote back saying that if I could hug them both right then, I would. And that’s 100% accurate. All I could think about was that they had kids, and that they were both there that night. You’d have thought I knew them personally. I didn’t – and still don’t. I’m just some weird woman from the US to them. But I was relieved, regardless.

I just don’t know if I ever felt really angry about the Bataclan, though. At the time, I was just so relieved. I mean, in some ways it’s silly – the band doesn’t know me. They aren’t my personal friends, but even so, I felt relief knowing they were safe. I wouldn’t have wanted anything horrible to happen to them, in other words. That feeling of relief was far stronger than anger for me at that point. Sure, I was shocked and horrified by the incident – I still am when I think about it, which is exactly why I try not to dwell on it – but I wasn’t angry.

This time though, I’m furious.

This isn’t about being a mama bear, protecting my (or anyone else’s) young. It’s the idea that some asshole decided that his beliefs were more important, more “right”, than the lives of every other soul in that building and surrounding area that night. It is the fact that a concert is the one place where many can go and completely be themselves. It is the belief that music is healing. It is a place to go when the world is closing in, and escape can be found, if only for a few hours. A concert is a place of celebration, of hope, joy, and love. And that night, some idiot tried to ruin that for not only the people who were there in Manchester, but for everyone in the world.  Now, I’m angry.

Yes, I’m also sad for the lives lost and forever changed that night. I have a difficult time thinking about the kids, particularly because I’m a mom, I’m sure. But it’s also because at one time, I was one of them. Part of the reason I still go to concerts is because when I’m there dancing to music, I still feel like one.  My heart hurts when I think about how so many souls went to a concert in Manchester that night and didn’t ever go home. No one should have to die just because they went to a concert.

I’m also angry because no matter how much we say we won’t change the way we live – we are. It’s not about the damn metal detectors or about a simple bag check at the door, either. I see friends openly arguing on social media about whether or not they should continue to allow burkas to be worn on the streets of the UK, or about armed police presence.

I see racism in places that (quite frankly) know better. I’ve been called names purely because I didn’t agree with something someone else said, or because I wanted to stop being angry about an election for one single day so that I could enjoy a freaking holiday with my family. That doesn’t make me a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer, people. It makes me FUCKING HUMAN. I can see how our world is changing, and honestly – THAT is what scares me. It’s not the terrorists themselves. I have a better chance of being flattened by a bus than I do being killed by a terrorist. I’m far more afraid of what is to come from an argument between friends about building a wall or allowing refugees into a country than I am about some lunatic shooting up a nightclub.

I’m not about pushing my personal beliefs on others. I’m not going to tell you how I feel about walls, refugees, burkas, or praying to cabbages, for that matter. All I know is that fear is a strong motivator. It coaxes and lures us to act in ways we never thought we might otherwise, and I’m angry that fear is changing our world.

I will leave you with one last thought for today.  I find it hauntingly poetic that the one thing that has the ability to bridge all cultures, languages and beliefs – music – was targeted to display such violence and hate in Manchester.

I don’t have a lot of answers, I just know that fear isn’t going to solve this.

-R

Question of the Day: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Electric Barbarella

Which video do you like better:  All You Need Is Now or Girl Panic?

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!