Category Archives: birthdays

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!

On this date in 1960, Stephen Duffy was born. Now, some of you might be wondering why on earth I am bothering to mention this today, and that’s OK. Not every Duran Duran fan is aware of it’s very beginnings…so I’m going to use this as a Duran Duran 101 teaching moment.

Let’s all step into the time machine and head back to Duran Duran’s beginnings. Back before Andy came back, way before Warren stepped in, and even before Simon showed up to sign in pink leopard print pants. Stephen Duffy was in fact one of the first members of Duran Duran. He started out as vocalist, also penning lyrics and playing bass (yes, BASS), while John was on guitar (that’s right, at first John played guitar).  It wasn’t long before Simon Colley joined the band and took over on bass, and then Stephen moved over to drums.

Stephen was only in Duran Duran for about a year before he left, well before Duran Duran was signed to EMI.  Stephen went on to form Tin Tin (amongst a few other variations), and in the 80’s released the song “Kiss Me”. It is this song that most people recognize from him, although I am sure there are others.  See the original video for the song below,

 

Much later, Stephen and Nick came together as The Devils to work on a CD that is essentially the music that led up to Duran Duran as we know it. For the historical value alone, it is worth including in your collection if you don’t already have it. (and it is good music, too)

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!!

-R

Happy Belated Birthday Amanda!

I’m sorry for the tardiness of the blog today. I was taking care of “real life” this morning, which seeped into this afternoon, and here I am, sitting down at nearly 4pm my time to actually write. I’m thankful I’ve any time at all, really.

I’m also late in wishing my partner in crime a very happy birthday. It’s funny because on the fateful day in 2008, I called her to say happy birthday, and to let her be among the first to know (actually, she might have been my second phone call) that my youngest was going to be arriving later that evening – three weeks ahead of schedule. I remember thinking as I listened to the phone ring before she picked up that it would be an easy day to remember since my little one would share her birthday (not that I’d forget either of them!). The trouble is, because it’s also my daughter’s birthday, unless I carefully plan in advance, I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off to make sure I’ve got both Amanda and my youngest accounted for in the birthday wish department. I’ll be honest: I’m not much of a planner, and even less so these days with work. The last week hasn’t been great, and my life seems a bit more in shambles than normal. Whether that’s me being real or me making a mountain out of a molehill probably depends on your point of view.

So, I am happy to take a few minutes to express my gratitude for the birthday girl I never really have a chance to see in person for her birthday. Yes, it’s late this year (as is her gift – should have made it to her today though!), but the sentiments are felt year-round.

I often revel in the notion that Amanda and I are like opposing sides of the same coin. At heart we’re very similar, but we’re also very different. I think we might actually be our own set of checks and balances, which makes me smile when I think about it. It’s pretty clear-cut, across the board, and I can tell one story that really brings this to light.

Most know that in 2011 (I get the years screwed up so badly…but I’m pretty sure 2011 was the year), Amanda and I came up with the crazy idea to fly to the UK to see Duran Duran play some dates on their All You Need is Now tour. I think we were figuring we’d be there for nine days, if I remember right. It was a major deal for each of us, never mind the money spent. I had to break it to my husband that I was going to be gone for over a week, Amanda had to beg, borrow and practically steal to get the time off, and then as we all know, the shows were canceled. So, we found ourselves with some time off in the UK!

One of the things we did, thanks to some help from people who are actually ” in the know” about some things, was to stand out in front of the band’s rehearsal space. The point of the story isn’t so much that we were there, but how differently Amanda and I reacted to such a situation.

To begin with, I was totally against going, which makes no sense. There we were, in the UK to see Duran Duran, except there were no shows happening. There was no chance we would have seen them at all unless we took the information that was being given to us and went to the studio. Even so, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought. The idea of standing out front, the possibility of waiting all day, the idea of having the band possible be annoyed by our presence…I wanted no part of it. I always considered myself to be the more outspoken and confrontational one of the two of us…except I’m not.

On the other hand, Amanda was like, “We’re here, we know where they rehearse, this person is willing to go with us, we’re going.”  I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling as ill as I was. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t nervous, but she wasn’t. She was brave, take charge, and ready to deal with me – the bundle of nerves.  I just let her take the lead. We met up with our friend, and took a walk from the bus stop to their rehearsal space.  I didn’t feel any better the closer we came to their studio, and I can remember suggesting I wait at a restaurant, and then I think I lost my bus ticket and finally just gave up and forced my feet to move. Amanda seemed to have no problem whatsoever. She didn’t seem nervous, and she certainly wasn’t intimidated by the idea of running into them, which to this day I admire about her.  I never can tell if she’s nervous on the inside, because on the outside, often times she has to talk me down from a ledge.

“Rhonda, we aren’t going on the property. We’ll be right outside the gate, and if someone decides to stop and talk to us, fine. If not, that’s OK too. We’re giving them a choice.” Amanda sounded so positive, and sure of herself. On that day (and a few others I can think of), I needed her to push me.  I nodded and kept walking, figuring that if I couldn’t get out of it, I’d have to just steel myself to whatever possibilities lie ahead and just push through.  let her lead us back up the street, and saw that there was a small crowd standing along the wooden gate.

The events of the day aren’t really the reason I’m telling you this story – suffice to say we saw some of the band that day. It was eye-opening for me in a lot of ways that go beyond the scope of this post. So far they haven’t told security to be on the lookout and get rid of us at shows, so I guess they’re not sick of us…yet. She was absolutely right to insist we go that day.  I know my perception of Duran Duran changed after that experience, and I was able to meet a few new friends that day, besides. I’m glad I went, and I’m really glad she pushed me. I needed it.  I talk a good game online, but when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of being rejected just like anyone else…especially when it comes to the four people in that band. I’ve looked up to them, for good, bad, or worse, for most of my life. The last thing I want to do is disappoint, and I think that’s why I am almost afraid to run into them. Amanda, on the other hand – not afraid at all. Not even in the slightest. I admire that.

If there’s one thing I can tell you about Amanda, it is that she is patient. And kind. Overall, she’s a better human than I am. She doesn’t worry about herself. She thinks of others, and puts their situations and feelings first, and it seems to come naturally. I marvel at that about her, and try to think about her when I’m in challenging situations. Those who say otherwise about Amanda don’t really know her. She’s kind to an absolute fault, and I really don’t know anyone else who is as giving as she is. I’m certainly not! She’s always willing to take time out of her day to hear about my latest worries (Lately there has been a lot), she will rearrange her own busy schedule to Skype so that we stay connected, and she is incredibly thoughtful when it comes to gifts. I don’t know that I quite measure up to all of that. Late last year, Amanda really needed me, and I wasn’t there for her as I should have been. It’s much more involved than I’m letting on here, but in short: I don’t necessarily deserve her friendship. That’ s why I’m eager to announce to anyone who asks that of the two of us, she’s the better person, the better friend, and I’m very lucky she puts up with me.

I really wish I lived closer to her. Sometimes, I just need to go over to her house, watch some videos and just have a conversation with someone other than a family member. Unfortunately, that can’t happen very often. The distance sucks sometimes, but by the same token, when we do get together – it’s ridiculous. We could easily be marked a health hazard, and we burn the candle at both ends as though we were still teenagers, which we’re probably not. We bring out both the best and worst (although “worst” depends upon your perception, I think). and I treasure her friendship – which is why I need to be a better steward with it.

So my friend, I hope you had a fantastic birthday. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and I’m glad you had friends over to share your birthday.  I will see you in July!

-R

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Roger!

Another day where I love writing the blog, because I’m able to wish my favorite drummer a very happy birthday!

I met Roger one time at a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. It was for the release of the Astronaut album, and I was so nervous! I’d been standing in line for hours with my daughter Heather and a friend. As we finally made our way up to the door, I could see in. Mostly all I saw were the backs of a lot of people, but if I stood on tiptoe and leaned just the right way I could see the top of Nick’s head. My stomach began doing flip-flops, and I could feel my heart begin to race. I had that slightly woozy feeling that I tend to get just before I pass out – this is a problem I have with my heart rate, and at that time – I didn’t even know it was a problem! As I stood there waiting, I was silently giving myself a pep talk.

“You will NOT act like an idiot or say anything you will regret. You will go in there calmly and not ruin the one shot you’ll ever have to be in front of them. There will be no fainting, no crying, and you will NOT get yourself dragged away by security!” 

By the time we were called over by Nick and made our way down the line as each band member signed my album and Heather’s CD – I was strangely calm. It’s very hard to soak in every single microsecond when you’re only in front of them for about a minute total, but I tried. I got to Roger, and sort of stood off to the side of the table (he was on the end). While he signed my album, I asked him how he was doing – he said he was tired, and I smiled and then thanked him for doing the signing. I told him I didn’t think I would ever have gotten a chance to meet him otherwise, and that he was my favorite band member. Those words sort of came flying out of my mouth before I’d had a chance to think it through. Roger smiled and said that was really sweet of me to say. I took my album from him, thanked him again, and floated out of the store.

Heather was waiting for me on the other side of the security rope thing they had up, and she was practically in hysterics because I had spoken to Roger. She knew he was my favorite. I can still remember her smile – she had one tooth missing because she was only about eight at the time (same age as my youngest is now, which is hard to believe) – and boy did she ever give me grief about what I said to him.

“Oh Roger, you’re my favorite!” She said in a sing-song voice, collapsing into a fit of giggles.

I love eight-year old girls, I really do.

You know, it’s really hard to be a mom when you’re busy being a fan.  Even so, I’m glad I shared that with her, and I’m not sorry I said what I did to Roger, despite the somewhat ridiculous amount of teasing I’ve gotten from her in the years since. I’m just glad I had the chance to meet him. Little did he know that I’d be one of the women who would eventually try to throw him a Daily Duranie wristband several years later – that he then turned and tossed aside like trash. Ha!! 😀

I have a feeling a lot of things have changed for Roger in the years since I saw him DJ. I suspect his outlook on life is a little different now, he certainly sounds much more centered, happy and content. I wouldn’t wish anything less for him.

Happy Birthday Roger!!!

-R

Happy 58th Birthday Simon!

So as I write this on Wednesday, Simon’s birthday is tomorrow. He will be 58, which is mind-boggling.  I would swear we miscounted. He doesn’t seem 58. He doesn’t look 58. Must be all that good clean living, right?  <big toothy grin here>

I don’t know how many more of these stories I’ll have for members of Duran Duran. It isn’t as though I run into them every day, but I do have one this year with Simon that I don’t think I’ve written about on the blog before.

This past summer, I saw Duran Duran in Toronto with Amanda and our friend Heather, whom I’ve mentioned on the blog before. Many times, actually. (Hi Heather!!) The three of us went to the show and then went to a nearby hotel for after show libations. As we sat in the lounge, we saw Dave come through and look around. I kind of figured that a band member would come in after that, and sure enough it wasn’t long before Simon stepped in.

Here’s the thing. Simon makes me nervous. Granted, I am shy (in person) to begin with, but he genuinely freaks me out. I never know how he’s going to react, and as such, I try to steer clear. I stay in my seat, I order drinks, and in a lot of ways I just hope the sofa opens up and swallows me whole.

Not that long after Simon came into the lounge, he does the unthinkable and starts walking over towards us. Got to tell ya, my brain couldn’t quite compute what was happening. I mean, walking out way? I’d have thought there was someone on the other side of the room – but we were close to the corner. Nope, he was headed towards us. I didn’t know what to do, so I got up. Drinks had arrived, and feeling like I needed something in my hand, I grabbed mine as he started to address us.

Except that he wasn’t addressing us. He was talking to Heather. This made me smile. Heather hasn’t been to many shows. She went with Amanda and I to the Hollywood Bowl, UC Berkeley and Agua Caliente last fall, and then to a show in Canada (Montreal I believe), and then to Toronto with us again. Yet, Simon knew her by name and was quite insistent he’d met her before.

He had no idea, however, who Amanda and I were. Not that I think he should – in fact, I was kind of relieved he didn’t, even though Amanda and I had met him in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel after the David Lynch show and he knew who we were then. I even looked him in the eye and told him my name, and said “You really don’t know me, right?” To which he solemnly replied, “No”.  I had to repress my grin as he then toasted each of us on a lovely evening and went about his way. He was nothing but nice and respectful.  He left Heather over-the-moon by recognizing her, and Amanda and I giggled for many hours over the entire scene.

Never mind that not two weeks later, Simon saunters up to the front of the stage with a full mouth of water during White Lines, begins swirling it around in his mouth like he would during a wine tasting, looks right out at us….and swallows the water…because it is a verse too early, and I think he knew that. So during the right verse (or was it chorus?) he goes back, gets the water, comes to the front of the stage….and douses us.

I will miss moments like that. I’m glad the memory is vivid enough to last me a while.  😀

Happy Birthday Simon. You still freak me out a bit, and I’m honestly not sure if you like Amanda and I, hate us, or just really enjoy teasing the hell out of us…but I enjoyed seeing you on stage this summer and you made the shows fun for me. Thank you!

-R

Happy Birthday John!

June is a very busy birthday month!  Today I get to wish The Bass God (that’s John Taylor, in case you lost track) a very happy birthday!!

I have only met John once, during an album signing for Astronaut. (I own the disjointed voice he may or may not have heard from somewhere in the crowd say, “It’s a beautiful album, John!)  My partner-in-crime has been in vicinity to him a few more times than I  Once even close enough for him to sign our In the Pleasure Groove books (mine has a lovely doodle of an American flag in it, too. :D).   She even has a picture with him, which still thrills me!  However, today is my day to blog, so there’s not really any exciting stories to tell.  Maybe next year! 😉

So, we’ll celebrate with some special John Taylor videos instead.

Let’s see…

Gotta go with the JT cameo to begin with, because his grin cracks me up.

In fair play, I must also choose a Power Station video…which led me to Get it On.

 

That got me thinking about John’s solo career, and one of my very favorites is Hey Day.  I wonder why?  🙂

And while I was thinking about Hey Day, I remembered riding the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh so that I could go to the Glasgow show.  A little known fact is that one of my very favorite songs to watch John play is Careless Memories.   That bass line just doesn’t stop.  He’s brilliant.

Naturally, as one does….while I was thinking about watching John, I remembered how much, er…enthusiasm….he brings to Danceophobia.  Because really, if you’re gonna play that song, you’d better sell it, right?  And John does.  So this is from the Berkeley show I went to in the fall of 2015. I am not sure if this shows John (YouTube was misbehaving for me today so I couldn’t preview it first), but if you ever have the chance to see the band and they play Danceophobia….he dances with more enthusiasm in his pinky finger than I do in my entire body. 🙂

Lastly, I couldn’t help but give my John-girls what they really want.

He’s strapped to a car.   You’re welcome.

The happiest of birthdays to you, Mr. Taylor…with many years of health, happiness and music to come, I hope. Cheers!!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Dom!

Sometimes my timing is impeccable!  Take this week, for instance.  Amanda and I are putting the final finishing touches on our massive writing project, and I come out of my writing cave just in time to wish   Dom a very happy birthday!!

It is easy to come up with nice things to say about Dom on any day.  It’s special to be able to say nice things on his birthday, though.  For one, the guy exudes constant energy and gives 100% during every single show I’ve ever seen. (and I’ve seen more shows with Dom than with Andy and Warren combined)  He never just “phones it in”.  Not only that—he makes it look like he’s having fun and that it’s all easy.

JoNiDo at Berkeley

I love it when he’s touring with Duran Duran.  Sometimes Dom tweets pictures from the places he’s visited, or will even mention the shows and things he’s taken in along the way.  In fact, he’s the guy who convinced me to go see Love in Las Vegas!  He was right!  He’s not the greatest at social media,  but I’m really happy we’re not just seeing #RIP tweets from him these days.  He tries.  He gets a “B” from me for effort. 😉  And sometimes, like last night as he retweeted birthday greetings from fans, he even gets an A.  (hope that retweeting finger heals soon…ha ha ha!)

I can’t say whether or not he’s patient all the time.  However, when I saw him last April and asked him for a picture, we had trouble getting our camera phone to work. Unfortunately, we ended up needing the flash. For someone who was jet-lagged and blinded by the light (get it?), he was happy to stand there with me.  Now I have have evidence of a memory that doesn’t have one or both of us with our eyes closed in the shot. 😀

Yes, I still think the band is lucky to have such a good-natured, hard-working guy playing guitar for them.  He’s a great addition to their live band—it is strange using the word “addition” after what has been 11 years or so now—but I think the fans are lucky he’s out there too.  He helps to make the shows fun, and I’m glad he’s there.

I hope he has a fantastic birthday with family at home, and my best wishes for many more.  See you in a few weeks, Dom!!

Happy Birthday!!

-R

 

 

Happy Birthday to Nick Rhodes

It is that time again, isn’t it?

Today is June 8th, which means it is a very special date on the calendar,  and we allow ourselves to take a moment to celebrate National Best Friends Day!!!

Ok, I’m kidding. It’s Nick’s birthday!! Happy birthday Nicholas.  I suspect you’re spending it well in Verona Italy, where I hear it is very hot today. (Actually, I read that from a friend who visiting there from Finland, and I suspect that her idea of “hot” and mine may be quite different. But just in case, I hope you’re enjoying the lovely weather.)

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems as though with each passing year, we are celebrating these dates at a far more accelerated pace.  I would swear I just wrote one of these blogs – and I think I completely missed Roger’s birthday altogether!!  (thanks to our writing schedule)

So, since we are celebrating, I decided I would share a few of my favorite Nick videos today, so here we go!

Pressure Off

Arcadia – The Flame

Serious

[Reach Up for the] Sunrise

 

A very happy birthday to you, Nick with many wonderful and healthy years ahead!  See you in July!

-R

Happy Birthday to you…So Red the Rose turns 30!

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of So Red The Rose, the lone album from Duran splinter group Arcadia. Several years ago, in one of my first guest blogs for Daily Duranie, I wrote about my love for this album (you can read that blog here). I don’t want to replicate that blog today, but offer some quick thoughts on Arcadia and this 30th birthday.

They’re still getting back together, right?

Do you remember what it was like to try to get news about the band in 1985?  I was 13 years old. There was no internet, no social media, no Ask Katy…there were magazines, newspapers, and MTV News. I do remember hearing on MTV News about Roger and Andy’s departure from the band and being devastated. I do not remember the exact timing–I want to say that would have been in 1986.  Regardless…put yourself back to 1985, when the Taylor “brothers” were jamming with Power Station and getting all sorts of airplay, and Arcadia dropped this album. I remember not being sure exactly what was going on, but hearing Simon’s voice, deciding I would just go with it, and buying the cassette on the strength of “Election Day.”  (I was so in the dark that I didn’t even fully realize what the project was about. I didn’t buy the “Tiger Beat” magazines or whatever they were called and while I watched MTV, I clearly missed something).   So it was in that context that I first encountered So Red The Rose, devoured the liner notes, realized what it was, and immediately fell in love with it. Can you imagine that scenario today? I would be absolutely going out of my mind trying to figure out what the heck was going on with Paper Gods…!

Don’t be scared of what they say:  

I love when Duran Duran doesn’t try to write hits, and just puts out material that they want (the song “Paper Gods” is a great example of this).   That’s why I love So Red the Rose.  Here is are three-fifths of the biggest band in the world recording “the most pretentious record of the decade” (Simon would later be quoted), and yet, they apparently didn’t care.  They wrote the music they wanted to, got the guest artists (what a lineup!), and created a masterpiece (in my opinion).

The John Problem:

I have only met the band once, and that was just Simon and Nick for about 30 seconds outside of a venue in New York city in 2001. But if I ever got the chance to sit down with them and actually talk, my first question to John would be about a comment he made in 1986 that Power Station “worked” and Arcadia didn’t, and that’s why the band went in a  funkier direction on the Notorious album. I know he’s the Bass God and all that, but…how dare he! I really like The Power Station album and some of those songs are great to blast if you’re working out or doing yard work. And I love Living in Fear, their obscure second album. That being said…come on, John! Everyone knows Arcadia is better than Power Station!!! (You can flame me in the comments below if you disagree.)

So..it’s been 30 freaking years?!?!?:

This anniversary really hits me. Obviously, since 2011, we’ve been cycling through the 30th birthdays of each Duran album.  But now I’m really processing how much time has passed. I think that’s because I was younger for the original albums; my experience with them was largely via radio listening. I didn’t own a cassette player until…1985! (I literally realized this as I was typing). So, this is really not just the 30th anniversary of So Red the Rose, but the 30th of my Duran fandom expanding beyond the singles! In the summer of ’85, I bought all the cassettes of the first four albums (including Arena). So Red the Rose marked the beginning of buying Duran albums as they were released. It marked the beginning of waiting for the new album, wondering what the single would be, what direction they would go. In essence…my concept of Durantime started 30 years ago this fall!

A final thought:

If you had told me in 1985 that, 30 years later, we’d still be talking about and analyzing So Red the Rose in the larger context of Duran’s catalogue and legacy, I would not have been surprised. But consider this: We can’t have the 30th birthday party for Paper Gods until 2045!

Regardless…happy 30th , So Red the Rose!

-C.K.

 

Happy Birthday Rhonda!!

Today is a special day in Daily Duranie-land!  It is Rhonda’s birthday!!  I start looking forward to writing this blog about the same time as when I start pondering what to buy/make for her birthday!  (Fun Amanda fact–I love giving gifts!!!)  I want every birthday blog to be unique and special, including this one.  After 11 years of friendship and 5 years of doing this blog, I have learned a lot about Rhonda and about myself.  Most importantly, though, I have learned a lot about friendship!

Vodka is hobby

By now, all of you have heard about how/where Rhonda and I met.  Virtually, we met on the no longer in existence message board, duranduranfans.com.  In person, we met at the Duran Duran Fans Convention called Friends of Mine in September 2004.  Besides our mutual love in Duran Duran, we quickly discovered that we enjoyed having fun on a night out and laughing!!

d8c34-57-maybealittledrunk

From there, we discovered that we both LOVE, LOVE, LOVE talking about anything and everything Duran Duran.  In fact, when others seekindred fansm to tire of the conversation or got other interests, there we were–still talking, still thinking, still analyzing.  We understood that we truly loved the band in the same way and for the same reasons.  Kindred fans.

Then, we discovered that our similar fandom philosophies carried over into toBiloxi lineuring!  Once we toured together, we knew that we had found our touring partners for life!  It seems to me that a lot of people can be friends and be good friends, but it takes something special to be able to travel together.  The two of us have been to many places around the country and to the UK twice.  We have been on planes, trains and automobiles together.  There have been many, many, many hotel rooms throughout our friendship history.  concert ticketsTraditions have been established and we fall quickly into routines when on tour together.  It is like we were born to tour!!!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that touring is really where we are most happy.  Of course, a big part of that is seeing those litle Duran Duran concerts but it is also where our friendship comes alive and gets renewed!

Of course, we didn’t stop there with just conversations about Duran Duranbest friend or going to see the band on tour.  No…we had to do more!  So, I said, “Let’s write a book about fandom!”  Rhonda said, “Cool!  Let’s do a daily blog, too!” And this little entity was born!  This monster, this beast, this larger-than-life thing is more than just a book or a blog or a website or many social media handles or meet-ups or conventions or a message board.  It is something much much larger than the sum of its parts.  No matter how we describe it or define it, it is truly our baby.  We gave birth and have nurtured it all along the way.  It has grown and developed and we couldn’t be prouder.

crazy friendLife, though, is not always smooth or perfect.  There are bumps along the way, especially when turns are taken.  At those times, when bruises are fresh, our friendship, our bond and our fortitude has gotten stronger.  Why?  Simple.  We have each other’s back, no matter what.  I have often thought about the friendships between the guys in Duran.  They have experienced the ups and the downs of life.  Throughout it all, they have managed to be able to work together, to create together, and to be friends together.  It seems to me that this gift is really rare.  How many people can say that they can work with their best friends?  How many people can travel with their beloyal st friends?  How many people have stuck with their best friends through all that life throws at them?  I suspect the number is really pretty low.  This is why I know how special my friendship is with Rhonda and I assume that she feels the same about me.

Amanda & Rhonda Ace RooftopOn this day, the anniversary of the birth of my best friend, I find myself feeling like the person who has received a gift.  I got the best friend I could ever ask for.  She is someone who makes me laugh and laughs at my wacko sense of humor.  She is someone who shares my passion for Duran Duran and is willing to work her ass off right along side mine to show that love and devotion through everything we have created together.  I couldn’t ask for a better touring partner-in-crime as we certainly know how to have fun together and always will and, most importantly, I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend.  She will always have my back and I will always have hers.  We will always, always be there for each other.  Truly, we share in this gift of friendship.  Durham drunk

Happy Birthday, my dear friend!  I absolutely wish that this is the best year of your life (until the next one!) and that you experience nothing but joy, laughter and fun as well as a little/lot of Duran Duran!!!  Love ya lots!!

-A

 

Happy Birthday Simon!

I am running late, and I apologize. No wi-fi here at the house much earlier this morning, and I drove like a madwoman back from dropping kids off at school (this is not a “drop off down the street” sort of deal – my kids go to school about 30 mins from our house) to get back in time to blog for my dear UK friends and readers!

I don’t need to tell everyone what day it is – clearly it is being celebrated all over my FB news feed and Twitter timelines this morning, and now it is my turn to join the well-wishers. It feels like it has been quite a while since I’ve written a birthday blog, actually.

It seems fair to surmise that had Simon Le Bon never been born, our lives – those of all who read this blog – would have been very, very different. In fact, I can’t imagine what that world might have been like. Thankfully, we don’t have to even give that a single thought!

It is also fair to say that I don’t really know Simon. Up until fairly recently, I’d never really even spoken to him! Even my oldest daughter, Heather, had chatted with him more than I ever had. The only interaction I had was when he would be onstage – which means none, basically.  I had heard all sorts of things about him from other fans, read about him a lot in articles over the years, and knew that you never really knew what you were gonna get when you met him. I’d heard he could be incredibly moody, downright mean at times to some; and on the other hand, I’ve heard he was very nice, very kind…..and knew exactly what was going on in the fan community at any given time. Interesting to someone like me, for sure.

Over the years, I’d decided on my own that Simon was pretty quick-witted, and that his blanket reply about lyrics being about sex was just that – an answer, or a portion of his “schtick.” Simon likely acts and respond the way people, or fans, expect. Part of a much larger “fact” cache, so to speak. (I love it when the lyrics work for me) I was, and still am for the most part, pretty convinced that a lot of the things that drove me crazy about him were all part of a survival plan for him, or rather, his “on-stage” or “off-stage” persona that people expect.

I remember reading something a few years back from Katy Krassner about how it made her sad to see some of the things that had been written about Simon over the years  because he is a very kind and smart man.  I have no doubt that Simon exists somewhere in there. I see glimpses  from time to time, actually more now than ever before, and I really like it. I’ve gradually gone from doing a lot of good-natured teasing and making fun here on the blog to actually having a huge amount of respect for Simon. (Although that dancing of his? Forget it – I will always tease about that!)

I don’t know when it really changed, but I think back to seeing him outside the studio in the UK. He was still in his element, and I was completely OUT of mine (Never once had I ever gone to wait outside of a studio to see a band before that day).  He took the time to come over to the group of fans waiting there to explain his situation. He genuinely seemed worried, a bit contrite, and definitely sorry.  Truthfully, he didn’t need to comment on how far some of us had traveled or how badly he felt – but he did. He could have gone all “rock star” and basically waved us off, but he didn’t. I won’t forget that.

I don’t forget the moments during interviews when he talks about the fans and how much we mean to them; or when he mentions how Duran Duran is a thinking band. Those are the moments I love most, and not surprisingly it is because those are topics Amanda and I have written about here on the blog. I don’t know if Simon has ever read a single one of our posts, but sometimes – it feels like it. Not gonna lie, it feels good to know that we’re not all that far apart in the way Amanda and I feel versus the way at least one member of the band sees it.  I like hearing what he really thinks during a Katy Kafe session, regardless of whether we’re talking music or just life in general.  When he balances that seriousness with his own silliness and fun – for example when he mentioned that he dreamed about “naked ladies” the night prior to the MTV EMA’s – it works.

Simon is also inspiring. I could go for the obvious: the guy has come back from obvious vocal problems more than once (1993 and then again in 2011). This time, I’m going to pick something slightly more personal. In April, Amanda and I met Simon very briefly after the Lynch Foundation show – we just said “hi”, and took a quick photo. Simon had lost quite a bit of weight (he has said he lost 30 pounds, but it sure looked like more!) and I noticed. I didn’t say anything to him directly because that seemed a little, well…forward? I mean, I hadn’t ever met him before, really.  Anyway, I noticed and I thought about it a lot.  He looked great, and in my honest opinion he looks even better now and seems like he’s got a lot more energy. By the time I’d gotten home, I had decided that it was time that I lose weight too. I told myself that if Simon could do it, so could I. And I did. I changed some bad habits, found some better ones, and now I’m nearly at my goal weight. It has taken me a long time, and I fight the food game every single day.  I’m getting there, though…and yeah, I thank Simon for that. Out of any band member, I just never thought it would be Simon who would inspire me this way.

Our relationship is bizarre, and I don’t mean just with Simon. There are these four guys that we’ve all read about, and have “known” for an incredibly long time. For me personally, it’s been almost 35 years now. Yet I don’t really know them, and I am nearly 100% sure they don’t know me. They might recognize me, sort of, as the girl who ducks when Simon spits during White Lines at shows (Yeah, I’ve been baptized and have lived to tell about it. Still hate it, and I’m just gonna keep ducking.), but aside from that – the “relationship” is all one-sided. Even so, it exists for each and every one of us. None of us can imagine our life without Simon being in it. He still makes me smile, challenges my thinking every now and then, causes me to roll my eyes in exasperation in some moments, and other times – I even laugh. Not bad for a long-term, one-sided relationship of thirty-five years.

Yep, that last sentence looks as crazy in print as it did when I thought it in my head before typing. Fandom is still alive and well. 

He’s a pretty good guy, even when he’s heading up to the front of the stage with a mouthful of water and I’m looking at him coming right at me, all the while cringing and saying “No. Please no. Please not this way.  Oh gosh…” DUCK!!!

One of these times, I’m bringing an umbrella.

Happy birthday Simon!! I’m awfully glad you were born, and that you’re still our frontman! Much love, best wishes, and good health to you AND your dad today and always!!

-R