Category Archives: acting

A Little Ray of Comfort: John Taylor Actor

I have been staring at a blank blog post for awhile now.  I recognize that it is time to get a blog out there to the Duran world, especially since I didn’t get a blog done yesterday.  I apologize for that.  Needless to say this past week has been brutal as I recovered from a long road trip to Washington DC (about 15 hours one way) and having to grade all of my finals.  Today is the first day that I thought I could pause in about two weeks.  It was very needed.  So the question is how can I use this blog and Duran Duran to help me with this day of rest and recovery?  The plan, I think, is to watch some Duran related material to get a little escape from a world that is far too scary for my liking.

I think I’ll continue the theme that Rhonda has started this week with a little John Taylor as actor.  She blogged about probably my two favorites, Strange Frequency and Sugar Town.  Yet, there is far more that I could pop into the DVD player or check out on YouTube.  In fact, if you look at JT’s acting career on a website like IMDb, you will notice that his acting career started really in 1985 with his guest appearance on Miami Vice and as the hacker in the cable TV show, Timeslip.  While I couldn’t find a good clip of Miami Vice, I could find a clip of Timeslip.  Notice that John does not have any lines!

Of course, he didn’t really get into acting until the late 1990s with Sugar Town.  Here is a video with some of John’s scenes put to John’s song, “Fields of Eden”.  If you haven’t seen this one and are a John Taylor fan, you really must!

The year 2000 saw a few films with John, including The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas as Keith Rockhard and A Diva’s Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  That said, my favorite is Four Dogs Playing Poker where he plays Dick, a hit man, who works side-by-side with Steve Jones.  He isn’t a very nice guy here, that’s for sure!

Of course, John did a couple of sitcoms, too, in the 2000s.  First, he was a handyman in That 80s Show.  The full episode is below.  John appears around 5:30.

Then, he was on Samantha Who, which is a delightfully fun exploration of fandom.

Needless to say, I have many choices of what to watch to distract me from real life.  What do you think I should watch?  If you have seen John’s acting, which do you like best?  If you haven’t. which one would you like to see most?

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Representations of Fandom: Sugartown

I continue the series on media representation of fandom with the movie, Sugartown.  Have you seen it?  I should hope that some of you might have.  You know, it stars that guy…he seems kinda familiar…like someone we should know.  Oh yeah, it is John Taylor!  Now, we have discussed some of his acting roles before.  Most recently, we discussed the episode of Samantha Who in which he was the guest star.  This movie, on the other hand, was written with him in mind, from what I have read.  I also have to admit that it is one of my favorites of his, if not, the favorite.  The movie isn’t bad and he does a good job.  Plus, he doesn’t look so bad in it, either!  😉

The premise of the movie, for those who have not seen it, is the story of a group of people trying to make it in show business.  John’s character, Clive, is in a new band along with Michael DesBarres and Martin Kemp.  The three of them had been in really successful 80s bands.  Huh?  That sounds familiar.  Anyway, those three are shopping for a record deal.  John’s wife is an actress who is trying to deal with being offered mother roles.  John’s wife’s best friend is trying to find love while taking a break from being a production designer on movies and is convinced to hire Gwen as a housekeeper who has her own goals of superstardom.  In fact, Gwen is trying to buy songs from a drug addict songwriter who buys his drugs from Martin Kemp’s character.  There are other characters as well who connect to the characters I already mentioned that I won’t go into in order to stick with the storylines that relate most to fans and fandom.  Obviously, fans had to be included at some point because you can’t have stars without fans, right?

The first fans we see are three female fans on John’s doorstep when he goes out to get the paper in the morning.  Of course, these fans are all giddy and smiling as John greets them.  The first girl hands him a picture of some sort that she wants him to have.  The second one hands him a pair of panties, assuming they are hers, and tells him that he should wear them.  The last fan asks for an autograph.  As John goes back inside, the girls hold onto each other for support and start saying, “Oh my God,” a bunch of times.  *sigh*  Okay.  First of all, I seriously hope that there aren’t fans waiting on John’s doorstep.  Second of all, I know that there are fans who give John and the other band members things (heck, I was one of them when I gave him a wristband like the true dork that I am!) but do fans NOW give panties?!  I know that they did in the 1980s.  I admit that I still don’t really get it.  I am not naive.  I’m well aware that fans did that to imply that they would be available for some action but it just seems so…icky.  So much of a stereotype.  Thus, it feels too obvious to me to have the fan do that.  The picture and the autograph seem so much more realistic to me, especially since John’s character isn’t supposed to be at the top of the charts at the moment.

Then, John’s wife has a conversation with her best friend in which she tries to convince her friend to give this girl, Gwen, a shot as housekeeper.  Apparently, John’s wife met her when she used to sleep on their porch as she was a big fan of John’s character, Clive.  Now, before the movie goes any further, I have to wonder.  Do fans like that really get to know their idols?  I know that there are cases where fans do meet their idols and a rapport of some sort is established.  What I am asking is does that happen with fans who go to that extreme?!  The conversation continues and we find out that Gwen, the fan, stole John’s wife diaphragm because it was something that Clive had gotten close to, if you catch my drift.  Oh boy.  Now, this fan has crossed over from just sleeping on the porch to stealing VERY personal items.  Wow.  The friend thinks this is gross but John’s wife explains this as normal fan behavior and that she might have done that for David Bowie.  Okay.  On one hand, I appreciate that the fan is deemed normal by the wife but that behavior doesn’t seem very normal to me!?!  I have met and talked to a lot of fans and I can’t imagine anyone doing that!?!  Again, I realize that the behavior might be described as so extreme in order to make the story more exciting but still.  Wow.

Gwen later does become the friend’s housekeeper but we quickly learn that she is only worried about herself.  She gives bad dating advice to the friend and tries to woo her date away who happens to be the producer for John’s character’s new band.  She also steals things from her as well.  She also gets a drug addict to write her songs that will be hits and when he does, she leaves him, literally dying on the floor.  Clearly, this character fits a lot of the stereotypes of the groupie in that there isn’t any real love for the idol(s).  It is more about using the idol(s) to get further with either social status or in one’s own career.

Meanwhile, back at Clive’s house, a woman stops by with a boy and claims that the child is Clive’s.  She claims it was from an encounter years ago at a show.  Again, this woman represents a fan who went to one of his concerts.  She also claims that they got matching tattoos.  Clive doesn’t buy it and says that his tattoo was featured in a Japanese fanzine.  His wife, on the other hand, believes that this could be his son as he was “still drinking” at the time.  Still, Clive denies it and says that during that tour, he was only having oral sex so it wasn’t possible.  Is this a stereotype about fans or a stereotype about rock stars or both?  It seems to me that it could be a stereotype about both.  The assumption here is that rock stars have sex with fans and that fans welcome that.  Is that an assumption, a stereotype based on some truth?  I’m sure.  So, how do Clive’s fans react to the news of his son?  They worship the boy.  Hm…would fans care about the children of their idols?  Our fandom would say that they would.

Obviously, there is a lot more that happens in the movie than the parts that I discussed.  I focused solely on the parts that connected to fans or fandom.  So, how does the movie represent fans?  This is never any easy call.  I think some of the fan like behaviors are based in truth.  There are fans who would stay on the porch of their idol.  John mentioned something similar in his book, for example.  I’m sure that there were fans who were/are quite willing to engage in sexual activities with their idols.  I also have no doubt that there are fans who are just using the idol to get ahead.  That said, I just wish that there was a bit of a balance.  While those fans all probably exist, much to my dismay, I know that there are a ton of fans who would never do any of those things.  Why couldn’t some of those be mentioned or shown?  Of course, there were a couple of normal people shown in a scene with Michael DesBarres in that they approached him and asked for his autograph.  Of course, the woman was asking for an autograph for her mother.  She wasn’t really a fan, herself.  I just think a little bit of balance would and could go a long way for most of us fans.  Instead, the non-knowing, not-understanding public thinks that all fans are like the ones shown in the movie.

-A

John Taylor: Actor

This week in Duran Duran history saw anniversaries of premieres/debuts of two different acting projects for John Taylor.  These dates in history make me smile and seemed to make other people smile as well.  Yet, it also pointed out how some things have changed over the years.

I remember as a kid being so excited to watch videos like Nightboat or New Moon on Monday in order to hear a member of the band mumble a line or two.  Of course, I was beyond thrilled by the documentary, Sing Blue Silver.  I watched it over and over and over and over and over again.  I knew every line and knew exactly when I would hear my favorite member speak.  Heck, I’ll be honest.  I knew every moment on any video that showed a “cute” John look or moment as well as any sentences spoken.  My best friend, at the time, and I would watch this small amount of Duran footage almost every time we got together and we would *squee* over these favorite moments.  Then, of course, if we were really lucky, we would catch a new interview on Friday Night Videos or MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and, honestly, we didn’t have very much compared to what we do today.  Really, I couldn’t imagine a more looked for to moment than new Duran footage.  I will never forget the night that John and Andy were to be guest VJs on MTV for an hour, where they would talk and introduce videos they liked.  My family bought our very first VCR that night and I was so excited by the idea that I would be able to record this and watch it over and over again.  Unfortunately, the VCR didn’t work as it wasn’t cable ready (can you imagine!?) and we exchanged it the next night.  My point being that any and all moments when I would actually hear the band speak, especially John, were so exciting to me as a kid!!!  I can’t imagine what I would have done if John had done acting at the time.  I think my friend and I might have exploded from excitement and/or from screaming at the screen.

Now, I have John’s acting work as an adult.  As the type of fan that I am, I admit that I had to see everything he acted in.  In fact, I owe as much of it as possible.  I do wonder, though, how many fans have seen his acting work.  I bet that there are quite a few fans who have seen some of the more popular ones.  Then, I wonder what people think of his work.  Did they think John’s acting ability was quality or not?  I’ll be honest here about what I thought.  I truly do like many of the shows/movies that John was in.  This week we acknowledged the premiere of Sugartown in 1999.  This one is definitely one of my favorites.  In this movie, John plays an English rock star (what a stretch!) who has a fan come to his house in LA with a child that she claims is his.  During the movie, he has to not only deal with this but is also trying to get a record deal with this new “supergroup” made up of English rockers from the same musical era but different groups.  Obviously, this storyline has some similarities to John’s real life, including being in a group with members from other groups and being an English rock star in LA.  I think he did a good job in this and I have to admit that I enjoyed the little comments regarding fans and fandom.

Another movie  that we recognized this week was Strange Frequency.  This movie was one made for VH1 and had 4 parts to it.  John played in one of them.  In his part, he played a wild rocker who liked to trash hotel rooms for fun.  This hotel maid had to clean up his mess over and over again, which became more and more problematic as John’s character kept escalating the amount and ways of trashing the room.  While this character didn’t seem John like, I thought it was fun to see John play this kind of stereotypical rock star.  He seemed to enjoy it as well.  Besides, who doesn’t like John Taylor with heavy eyeliner and blonde bangs?!  (Well, maybe not everyone…but I do!)

There are many other works that John appeared in as an actor.  Other ones that I really liked were his guest appearance in the TV show, Samantha Who, and Four Dogs Playing Poker.  That Samantha Who episode really deserves a blog post all by itself since it really is all about fandom!  As for Four Dogs Playing Poker, John played a hit man, which was pretty crazy!  His partner-in-crime, literally, in that movie was Steve Jones from Sex Pistols and Neurotic Outsiders fame.  Then, there are productions that John was in that I’m horrified by.  For example, Vegas:  City of Vegas is pretty horrible, I think.  He plays a bad guy in that movie, too.  Unfortunately, the writing and acting were all pretty bad, in my opinion.  That said, a lot of John fans still appreciate shirtless John or John in the shower.  I, personally, think that the next time I watch that movie it should be done as a drinking game!  Then, I could stop cringing and have fun!!! 

I guess I have seen a lot of John as actor pieces.  I no longer get as excited about every line and look on film anymore.  The supply of John increased so much, I guess, that my demand was met.  I’m still glad that I have all of those John movies and shows, though.  I will still watch them but they aren’t like how Sing Blue Silver was in 1985 for me.  I’m a little sad that I don’t have that same level of excitement.  I’m sure, though, that I will be that excited when John’s book comes out!  This all reminds me of how talented and diverse John’s talents are from bass player, to songwriter to actor to artist to writer.  Perhaps, that fact is what I really should find exciting!!!

-A