Memories of Spy Bar, 2013

A few years ago, I took a short trip to one of my favorite cities: Chicago. Duran Duran wasn’t even playing, but I did spend time with my best friend Amanda, who happens to live a couple of hours to the north. Amanda’s birthday is the 29th of April, same as my daughter’s (which is the strangest twist of fate!), so we celebrated her special day a bit early, AND…..we did happen to go see Roger Taylor do his DJ thing at SpyBar. Oh yeah, there was that, too.

Hard to believe that happened five years ago today!  Not only did we dance to Roger Taylor (I can truly say my inner thirteen year old was grinning from ear-to-ear that night!) but we also celebrated his birthday, once the clock announced it was past midnight, making it the 26th of April.

The night was crazy and fun. We had gone in with several others and gotten a VIP table with bottle service.

I think Amanda and I danced most of the night, and I’m not even going to lie when I say I don’t think either of us really knew what we were dancing to most of the time. It didn’t matter. We had a blast anyway.  Then we went out for much-needed pancakes afterward, because who doesn’t need carbs at 2 or 3am??

I miss times like that, particularly when life seems to continue to throw a series of blows – one right after the next. But, memories like SpyBar make me smile, and no – it isn’t because we “met” Roger. In fact, we didn’t!  There was a velvet rope surrounding the DJ platform that we didn’t dare cross, and even when Amanda attempted to toss him one of our Daily Duranie wristbands – he basically threw it aside.  Chances are, he didn’t even know what it was or who threw it. We stayed on our side of the rope and had fun anyway.

I’m not complaining that the band thinks they’re going to go into the studio this year but they don’t know when. Who really knows how long it might be before they tour again? I’m not mad that they’re taking time and doing their own thing this year, or doing corporate shows when they need. My life is so screwed up at the moment that I couldn’t necessarily get myself to a show even if it were in my own backyard. (Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point!)  That doesn’t mean I don’t miss all of the fun that comes along with the gigs and road trips and live music.  Sure, I could (and will) go see other bands this summer, but there’s something special about seeing Duran Duran with my friends.

Life is simpler on tour. Or at a DJ gig, as the case may be!

-R

 

 

From Wembley to Website – my family

Get out your Live from London DVD’s, everyone.

On this date in 2004, Duran Duran played at Wembley Arena in London. During their Reunion tour, they played Wembley five times in the month of April and first of May.

April 13, 14, 24, 30, May 1.

The shows were sold out (of course!) and, lucky for all of us whether we were there or weren’t smart enough to board a plane and get ourselves, there – we have the Live from London DVD to enjoy.

I wasn’t even there, and I still believe the shows were electric. The band was on fire, and these were moments to never forget. It is difficult to believe it has already been fourteen years since those Wembley Arena shows. Sometimes I feel like I just blinked and ended up in 2018. Other times, I think about all that has happened.

In 2004, I was a fan but I barely knew a soul. I hadn’t even really been  to more shows than I could count on one hand. I didn’t have fellow Duran fans as friends, and trust me – blogging wasn’t even on the radar. I knew nothing about fandom other than I felt really silly about admitting that at one point, I’d spend entire afternoons scouring magazines for pictures and information about Duran Duran, or that I mapped out my entire bedroom so that I could plan how I was going to rearrange my posters. In 2004, I regained my sanity by joining a message board, and making friends with people that had NO problem admitting that they too, loved Duran Duran.

I write about it all the time – and every single time I do, someone responds, thanking me for writing the words they couldn’t. Before I joined Duranduranfans.com – I was isolated. My world consisted of taking my two kids (who are now nearly 19 and 21…and have a younger sibling who is about to turn 10!) to and from school. My socializing consisted of the ten minutes before and after school where I would stand and chat with other parents outside of the classroom.  I didn’t have friends, I didn’t “do lunch” (I still really don’t do any of that OC “ladies who lunch” crap. My real friends don’t live here and I’m pretty proud of that, actually.) Even so, I can honestly say my life was pretty damn dismal at the time. I should have been very happy – I had two beautiful kids, I was going to school, which I enjoy – but I wasn’t. I didn’t feel satisfied.

(I still have work to do)

I was looking for something. Anything. I needed a hobby, an interest…(and probably a job but we’re not going to talk about that) I felt SO unsatisfied with my life. For crying out loud, I was the president of my local MOMS Club, and then became an Area Coordinator for them purely out of boredom. I needed something. It was by luck that I found DDF, and that I was even brave enough to begin posting there.

The first women who were there (and yes, it was all women for quite some time) – Robin, RovOstrov & JTDuran, they’re the first people I really “met” online. They made it OK for me to be a Duranie again. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough because what they really did was teach me that it was perfectly OK for me to be ME. In a lot of ways, they saved me, or at least they helped me to save myself.

The only way I can even sort of describe how I felt that year was to ask you to imagine being thirsty and finding a natural spring somewhere. At first, you ask yourself whether or not you should even drink the water. I mean, you might get sick, right? But then, you convince yourself that since it’s a spring – chances are minimal and it’s probably healthier than the tap water you’re drinking at home. So you take a tentative sip. You sit back and let the coolness wash over you. I mean, you can feel that water hit your belly as you swallow and it feels great. So you drink more. Before you know it, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and filling up your water jug. You’re contemplating how you might be able to take more of it home with you because that water is so good you’re never going to be able to go back to just having tap water ever again.

Finding this community was just like that. No, it’s not perfect and yes, the people have changed a lot. Even so, it’s home for me. It isn’t purely about the band, or about the message boards, and it isn’t even about this blog so much as it is that this is my family.

Not that long ago, I tweeted to Dom that he had been around so long that he was a part of this crazy family whether he liked it or not.  It is true. We don’t all get along, and we haven’t all been fans for 40 years – but we’re a family. It takes all of us, from the band, the touring band, roadies, and management to fans, bloggers, website owners and everyone else in between – to make this fan community a family. Through good times, and really bad ones, it’s home.

-R

Is it Congratulations, Happy Birthday, or both?

Over the weekend, the A-list of who’s who amongst friends and family of Nefer Suvio (Nick’s significant other) gathered in Venice to celebrate her birthday, complete with what can only be characterized as the reuniting of Arcadia. (I’m not posting other people’s photos here because I don’t have permission to do so, but there is a photo of Simon, Nick & Roger floating around in full gothic glamour that is rather stunning.)

A very happy birthday to Nefer, by the way! She is someone I’ve never met but did stand next to in Berkeley as she took photos of the band on her iPad. I didn’t say a word to her, but offered a shy grin and went right back to my business of cheering and dancing.

The celebration was a dramatic, gothic-glamour-themed night, complete with a stunning black layer cake topped with a skull, cascading with blood-red roses down the side, and a giant white tapered candle (because dammit, goth-themed or not, it’s a birthday and you gotta have candles).

Like many fans, I’ve seen a good many photos of Nick and Nefer over the years. She’s a part of the Duran Duran family, and as such she’s no stranger to the cameras that typically follow. There seemed to be quite a bit of paparazzi surrounding her party this weekend, including some posed photos through Getty Images, and those photos have ended up on various news media (Evening Standard included as well as a few instagram accounts of their friends who were there) In most cases, Nick is referred to as her husband, and Nefer as his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t really even respond. The rumor mill is quick, creative, and typically way off base. We haven’t had any sort of statement from the band, or from Nick & Nefer themselves for that matter.  It is just that this time, I’m seeing the words “husband and wife” in nearly every blurb about the party. Is it possible?  Sure, I suppose it is.  Why not?

Does it matter? Well, it matters in that I’m happy for them. I would expect as much from most, if not all fans. She and Nick have been together for quite a while. I never really thought about whether or not they’d marry – that’s their business, which is probably why if it IS true, they haven’t put out a statement, and I get it. But, I’m happy to see good things happen to good people. Will it change how I feel about Nick?  Absolutely not. He is still that crazy alien who never breaks a sweat, complete with that knowing grin, peering down from the top of his keyboard riser.  My friends and I have called him “The Controller” for as long as I can remember, and that will continue just as it always has, married or not!

I know that a certain percentage of fans tend to lose it when we hear rumors and aren’t told things. We all love to pretend we’re on the inside track when it comes to information, don’t we?  Like it or not, fans are on a need-to-know basis, and we may never “need-to-know”.

Lately I’ve noticed cameras getting more and more of those natural, toothy-grins from Nefer. I must say, for someone who seems to love that deep, dark, gothic glamour, nothing brightens her whole look more than those big smiles. She is lovely and it is nice to see warmth and joy on her face.  Married or not – and for our purposes as fans I’m not really sure it matters – Nick and Nefer seem very happy, and it is wonderfully nice to be a very-extended witness to that.

Happy birthday, Nefer, much health and happiness to you!

-R

 

April 2018 Katy Kafe with Roger

I have been so busy that I missed the news that a brand new Katy Kafe had been posted this week.  It makes sense since Roger’s birthday is coming up this week.  (Happy Early Birthday, Roger!)  As always, I’ll give it a listen (I suffer greatly for this gig.  Not.) and provide some of my thoughts about what I heard here.  As always, I will not be sharing word-for-word what was said.  Nope.  If you want to hear it all, head to DuranDuranMusic and log in with your membership.

Trip to Peru

Katy opened up the Kafe with a discussion about Roger’s recent trip to Peru to see his wife’s family who lives there.  Apparently, he enjoys traveling there in April because the weather is beautiful and people spend time on the beaches.  (I wouldn’t know anything about this as I just had two winter storms this past week.)  One thing I did learn was that Roger studied French in school but struggles with languages.  (This I can relate to.)  His son, Julian, is trying to learn the language, too, with the idea that he will be bilingual.  Very cool!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

As soon as Katy mentioned that the recent induction to this year’s crop of Rock ‘n’ Roll members, I took note as this is a topic that seems to come up every year in Duranland.  She then asked if this was a goal of the band.  Roger’s reaction is what I expected with the idea of if it happens, great, but if not, it won’t change anything.  I can understand that sentiment.  Plus, it is probably the best way to approach awards.  Katy thinks it will happen as more New Wave artists are getting in.  Interesting to note that Roger definitely thinks that Depeche Mode should be in.

Elliot’s project:

Roger’s son, Elliot, has a new project, working with Denis O’Regan who was the photographer on David Bowie’s ’83 or ’84 Tour.  Recently, Denis found a lot of backstage photos and Roger’s son is helping to put these photos together in a book.

Return to the Studio:

When will Duran be back in the studio?  Roger’s response, “Definitely this year.”  That said, there is no specific date planned yet.  Apparently, the band is enjoying the down time, which I cannot blame them.  Roger is starting to look forward to returning to the studio now that he has had a break.

Record Store Day:

Roger expressed some excitement about the release of Duran Duran Live at the Budokan, but seemed to be more thrilled with the live DVD that will be coming out about that show/venue.  This did not surprise me as the whole show was shown on Japanese TV.

Birthday Plans:

Roger plans on spending his birthday at home with his family.  Interestingly enough, Roger claims that people who have the Taurus astrological sign do not make a big deal of their birthdays.  I’m not sure about that as a fellow Taurus.

This Kafe was not necessarily filled with a ton of news or insight but it was still enjoyable.  Again, I wish Roger a happy early birthday!!!

-A

Happy Record Store Day 2018!

How many of you out there are holding the Duran Duran Budokan vinyl in your hands from this year’s Record Store Day?  I am!  Have you all taken a look at it?  Listened to it?  I’m listening to it as I type this blog!  I will do my best to offer my thoughts about this lovely little release.

Before I ponder the merits of this piece of vinyl, I have to share a little about my Record Store Day experience.  First off, I was not sure if I was going to make this year’s event.  It has been one of those weeks in which some other aspect of my life sucks up the vast majority of my attention and time.  In this case, my week was all about a day of action on Friday on gun reform with some political action surrounding sexual assault earlier in the week.  By the time, I arrived home on Friday night I was so tired that I almost could not stand up.  Therefore, the idea of getting up early to head to the record store made me cringe.  I needed sleep, but I also knew that I would kick myself later if I wasn’t able to get my copy.  So I set the alarm and hoped that the seven hours of sleep would be enough to function.

At 8:15, I left the house to head to the record store which had opened at 7.  Needless to say, there was quite a line by the time I arrived.  A kid around at the age of 9 or so counted the people at one point and declared that there were 70 people in line.  So I took a deep breath and thanked the lucky stars that I brought coffee with me.  Soon enough, though, I discovered that I would have been okay as a local coffee shop was supplying free cups of coffee and chocolate covered bacon (which I declined as a vegetarian).  By 9:30, the freebies also included free beer.  Well then.  My tired self drank my coffee and tried not to think about the fact that my feet were absolutely freezing and that my feet, legs and back were screaming at me for standing outside three days in a row for hours on end.  Finally, I was allowed in and found what I had come for in a matter of minutes.  Success!

After that, I grabbed breakfast out with my parents, took a nap, and made my enormous list of things to do, anxious to get back to the music.  Finally, I had the chance to open my prized possession and really look at it.  The cover is a fascinating piece of art by Japanese artist, Tadanori Yokoo.  The SFMOMA describes his work in the following way, “Electrified by Pop art and American graphic design, Tadanori Yokoo has always delighted in the violation of visual taboos. Mixing traditional Japanese pictorial methods with Western representational motifs, Yokoo — an illustrator, graphic designer, printmaker, and painter — forges visual relationships among images originally rooted in seemingly disparate worlds.” (https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Tadanori_Yokoo)  

This description makes perfect sense to me as the cover features not only a picture of the band but also plenty of other images that do not seem to go together at all, but keeps you looking and thinking about why those images as well as their placement within the work.  The back cover features the same images but instead of a red focus it is more of a blue with the sense of overexposure of photos.  Fascinating.

Of course, John Warwicker also added to the overall feel of the release by adding his graphic design on the sleeve.  My reaction to it?  The use of colors along with the combination of geometric images really catches my attention.  What really interests me is the way Duran Duran and Budokan are written.  In the case of Duran, both the R and the A are only written once but big.  Why?  It certainly draws my eyes to that part of the name.  (For the record, I’m personally a fan of the letters “R” and “A”!) Budokan also features those enlarged letters but then also has tiny u, d and o.  I so wish I could get inside of the head of an artist to figure out how they come up with elements like this.  It certainly makes a unique and clever logo.

So what about the album itself?  My initial reaction is a simple one.  It brought me right back to the Paper Gods Tour and how I felt at the shows I was lucky enough to attend.  Some songs, in particular, transported me back, including Paper Gods, Pressure Off, Hold Back the Rain and Sunrise/New Moon on Monday.  I swear that as I was listening, I could picture the trees shown in the background of Paper Gods or the confetti pouring over the crowd in Pressure Off.  The song that really made me stop, though, due to the goose bumps that popped up on my skin was the New Moon on Monday part of Sunrise.  While obviously not a new song, it captures a feeling I had a lot during this tour, which was acceptance.  During Astronaut, everything expressed newness of the reunion whereas as Red Carpet Massacre felt so divisive that it was all about holding on.  All You Need Is Now, on the other hand, seemed to be about proving oneself, at least for me because the blog was much newer.  Now, with Paper Gods, I have accepted where the band is and where I am in terms of my fandom.  I waved my torch for Duran a long time ago and won’t ever stop.

My only question is why include the old songs that they did.  I get Save a Prayer since it was connected to the Universe Alone.  Hold Back the Rain returned after not having been played for a long time.  But why A View to a Kill?  Why I Don’t Want Your Love?  I’m not sure what I would have put in their places, but I did wonder why.

So, what did the rest of you think?

-A