Category Archives: book signings

Careless Memories of a Mad World, LA style!

Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my Mad World book, picked up my own chauffeur from work (my husband!), some Daily Duranie wristbands (do you have yours yet?!?), my camera and made my way up to the Sunset Strip to one of my favorite bookstores: Book Soup!  My mission was to have my book signed by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, authors of Mad World.  I’d never been to a book signing that had a DJ along for the ride, spinning tunes as we stood in line.  My husband Walt commented as we stood in line hearing Echo and The Bunnymen that it felt like we’d been propelled back in time to the early 80s. Observant, that husband of mine…. I loved the music, and yes, I did stay long enough to catch the familiar chords of Girls on Film flowing in the air.  But back to that signing…

Book Soup is not a huge bookstore. It is this fabulous, homey feeling bookstore in the heart of the Strip. Situated just up the street from the likes of the Key Club, Viper Room and The Whisky among others, it’s in an unlikely spot, which is very much part of it’s charm. It reminds me of the independent bookstores I’d find on the main street of Glendora or Covina – my home town(s).  Not only can one find books in Book Soup, but there’s vinyl as well – bonus!!

As I arrived last night and stepped into the store, there was no way you couldn’t be immediately swept away back to the 80’s. Kajagoogoo was playing, and no – I can’t listen to “Too Shy” without thinking of Nick Rhodes. I’m forever cursed. Thanks Nick. I wound my way to the line snaking around the perimeter of one side of the store, and as I stood in line, I dared myself to think back to what it was like listening to these songs in the 80s.  I was pretty young back then, and if I only knew where it all might lead me… (and if I could figure that out now, well, maybe I’d actually be making a decent living!!) I just remember a time when I could turn on the radio and song after song would carry me away from my teenage problems to a world of daydreams.  Nowadays I struggle to find a regular radio station that I can actually stand to listen to more than a song or two. The joys of aging, I suppose.

I looked up as I stood in line and caught the wandering eye of Lori Majewski,  as she glanced to see how far back the line began. She  waved. I started to wave back but then thought to myself, wait a minute. She couldn’t possibly recognize you, Rhonda. She doesn’t even KNOW you. Now you’re waving like an idiot. Awesome. So I looked around, only to find that no one else was looking up.  She was waving my way after all.  Great job, self-confidence.  *begin slow clap here*  I swear it was it was my own personal Ducky moment from Pretty in Pink.  (watch the end of the movie if you don’t know what I mean…and why on earth do you not know what I mean?!?)

As I recovered from that moment (there are just times when I’m glad the band ISN’T there, you know??), I saw Patty Palazzo walk past me – and so I did what any normal person might do any Duranie might do, I got out of line to go say hi! I’d never met Patty before, but I have exchanged emails a few times….and actually, we’d agreed to talk that night about setting up an interview for the blog!! (I’m so excited about this news that I might burst! No really. I just ate carrot cake. I might honestly burst.) I don’t know where my courage came from because I am really not this brave ever, but I walked up and said hello, and even dared to hug her.  *gasp* I don’t know WHERE that came from, because my friends – Rhonda is not a hugger. I like personal space. I am not touchy-feely.  But I hugged Patty last night, and I’m pretty sure I violated her personal space.  Maybe this is why I’ve never really gotten anywhere near the band…I’m a closet hugger!!! *gasp* This is really why I should never be allowed to go to events like this unattended. (meaning without Amanda) I even got Patty and a few new friends to wear our Daily Duranie wristbands! Amanda should be so proud…because I had those darn wristbands in my bag, and I kept thinking to myself: do I dare hand them out? Really? Should I? Will I look as super cool as I do right now if I hand them out?

(The answer is no. No Rhonda…you never looked super cool to begin with, so…you’re safe. Go with it.) So I did! Never mind that it took my darling husband three or four tries to get a decent photo…

wristbands

Before I knew it, we were up to the front and Jonathan Bernstein was doing everything possible to make sure I knew it was time to hand over my book. I was too mesmerized by the process to see that he was practically grabbing my book out of my hands. (so sorry!) The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to Lori Majewski by Patty, and we’d set up a time to get together for something I’m not going to talk about just yet…you’ll have to just watch this space! (Again, I’m really thinking I might burst. Remind me that carrot cake is never an acceptable breakfast substitute…)

photo

It’s blurry (sorry Jonathan…I hope your photographer was better than mine!)…but it is a very cool memory.  Admittedly I am fangirling just a bit over meeting Lori. Back in the day, before writing Mad World, before Teen People, she was the editor of a Duran fanzine. How cool is that?? I don’t know where in the hell I was back then, but I intend to ask her all about that…when we meet up for that thing I’m not going to talk about just yet!

If that weren’t enough, and it’s really not EVER enough (I believe there’s a John Taylor quote to be had somewhere in there), after I had my books signed I had the chance to run into Duranie friends.  I know that I’ve lamented here about how much I miss the band, and I do. Maybe that’s overly sentimental, but I miss seeing them play and I especially miss that sense of “one-ness” that we all feel with them when the show is going right. We’re all in that same place together feeling the same thing. It’s a remarkably cool feeling that I hope all fans get to experience at one time or another. However, it’s in moments like some that I had last night that I remember how much I miss my friends from afar. Friends from the UK, Europe, the midwest, east, northwest…southeast…I’ve been very lucky to have made real friends in a multitude of places, and last night I had just the smallest taste of getting to see some of them again. We don’t gather very often, and it was really nice to catch up with a few of them. Friendships are the one collective “thing” about being a Duranie I treasure most. Well, there is the music too…I mean, duh… (can’t really forget to mention the band, can I??), but I love seeing friends from all over.

The night ended relatively early for us, as we had to get back home, but it was really a great night and I’m glad I went to the signing. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Mad World yet, do yourself a favor and look for it on Amazon. I have read the entire thing once and am going back through it a second time.  Jonathan and Lori did a fantastic job interviewing all of the bands, and there is just so much information in there – things we never would have ever known about the music we grew up with.  It is genuinely worth the read.  You should see my book, I was telling Jonathan last night as we left that my book is all marked up, highlighted, red-lined, complete with notes in the margin!  (Note to self: next time, bring a book that is not already marked up with your notes in it…)

-R

 

 

 

Do Crowds Just Make You Feel Lonely?

I have had a long day.  On top of all day of canvassing, I am clearly fighting some sort of bug as I have a sore throat and had a fever most of the afternoon.  I realize that this is because I’m run down and that I need to sleep for about a decade.  I had ideas about what to write about, but I have decided against all of them.  Some of the ones I decided against just weren’t all that interesting.  Others, I feared controversy and since I have no time or energy to react, I opted not to.  Yes, I’m chicken.  I can go talk to voters and volunteers for hours at a time but have to face angry or annoyed Duranies, no thank you.  Ha!

When I look back on the reading/signing event on Tuesday, one part that I don’t think I mentioned much in my long blog was meeting and talking with other Duranies.  I did admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd, initially.  I’m not sure why that is, but I have always been like that.  Crowds and people can be too much for me.  It isn’t that I don’t want to be social.  I’m just not that good at going up and introducing myself.  I won’t lie.  I’m much better after I have had a glass of wine or a vodka tonic.  How sad is that?  Of course, I would have been better with Rhonda there.  Yet, I didn’t have either of those cushions/crutches there.  Again, this is particularly amusing since I lead a team of volunteers and since I teach groups of children.  For some reason, I’m able to overcome my awkwardness in those settings.  I think it is because I have a job to do, a focus.  Duranie events are about being social.  Old childhood fears return as I wonder if people will like me!  LOL.  Then, of course, since doing the blog, I’m never sure how people are going to take me.  That said, when I was able to let my guard down and be social, I had a really good time, which was really the point of this blog. 

There is something to be said for being around Duranies.  We understand each other without having to say much.  After all, we share a common interest and this interest is such that it isn’t a little interest but a big one, one we, generally, feel intensely about.  For example, everyone I was in line with the signing was excited and slightly nervous.  We all talked about what we might say, how we looked, etc.  Dinner discussion was filled with stories of past Duran experiences, like past concerts or past meet and greets.  We didn’t really talk much about our lives beyond Duranland but we didn’t go to an event like that to have real life interfere.  It is quite the opposite, in fact. 

So, as I was sitting here together struggling to organize 184 turfs of voters and 40 plus volunteers at any given time, I thought back to Tuesday and how much fun I had.  Of course, it was fabulous because of John Taylor.  That goes without saying, but it was definitely the other fans that made it better than fabulous.  I, then, thought about how I won’t go three years for an album and/to tour to be with Duranies again.  I won’t.  That’s just silly and would make me unhappy.  While Rhonda and I discussed plans for some events, there is nothing that is stopping me from trying to get together with Duranies nearby, right?  Maybe, that is the just the thing that I’ll need to have to look forward to once I have my life back.  Heck, maybe, I’ll pressure Rhonda to come visit then, too!  😀  Thus, Midwest area Duranies, I want you to start thinking about when might be a good time! 

-A

‘Cause You’re Getting Me Out of It!

I have to apologize for the absolute lateness of this blog.  As many/most/all of you might know, today marks the beginning of the last weekend of the 2012 election season here in the States.  As the director of a temporary campaign office, I have spent a great deal of time yesterday and today just getting the “office” ready for the 150 plus volunteers who will be arriving here tomorrow!  But, I know that you didn’t come to the blog to read about my campaign insanity.  I think you came to read about some little event that took place this past Tuesday.  Yes, yes, I’m talking about the reading/signing in Chicago that I attended.  As many of you know, I really debated if I should go or not as I had to skip out on some other obligations.  Yet, as everything for the signing fell into place easily, I knew that I must go!  After all, it is John Taylor!!  How often do you get a chance to say something to him in person?! 

The plan for the signing was pretty simple.  I would leave my house around noon and head to Chicago to meet up with friends.  Then, at 5-5:30, we would head to the City Winery for a meetup consisting of dinner before the event there.  I had an uneventful drive down without any traffic or weather problems.  In fact, I was able to make a couple of campaign related phone calls so I felt pretty good by the time I arrived.  I found my friends, easily, and enjoyed some nice conversation.  Once we got into the City Winery itself, it was a bit overwhelming as the Duranies seem to come out of the woodwork!  Normally, for meetups, the group is rather small or the setting is such that I would know that everyone there was for the meetup.  This time, though, I doubted that everyone was there for the Daily Duranie’s meetup.  I wished that my partner-in-crime was with me as I figured that together we might be able to recognize everyone, or most everyone.  I did the best I could to mingle, but if I missed you and you were there, I’m sorry! 

Finally, it seemed like it was time that they let us into the room where we would eat dinner and where John would do the reading and question and answer session.  My friends and I were in the center, front section.  In each section, there were 8 to 10 tables and I was in the last one of our section.  This was fine for me as I had a great view of everything but wasn’t right on the stage.  As we all know, I don’t necessarily do well for in that circumstance!  We ordered glasses of wine and dinner but it seemed to take forever.  It took a long time for them to take our order and to bring the order.  Even then, they totally forgot to bring food to one person at our table.  It goes without saying that the service wasn’t that impressive, but we didn’t have much choice.

According to everything I read and heard, John was supposed to come on at 7:30.  He arrived early and he arrived before many of us were done eating.  I didn’t like that as I wanted to give him my undivided attention.  Luckily, I was just about done with my food so that I could focus solely on him.  John and the interviewer sat on chairs in the middle of the stage with a small, round table in between them.  There was a podium set up as well but John never used it.  Instead, he remained in his seat even while he was reading.  Then, on both sides of the stage were large screens that showed pictures that matched the readings.  The event went as follows:  The interviewer asked John questions, then he did a reading, then more questions from the interviewer followed by questions from the audience and a final reading.  After that, we all lined up for the signing, which was in a different location in the building.  The pre-signing part of the event lasted over an hour and a half but I would have sat there forever.  Forever.  I don’t think I moved at all.  I heard some people were talking during it or doing other things and I couldn’t begin to relate to that.  I couldn’t imagine missing a single second of it.  In fact, my phone was buzzing from constant campaign calls and emails.  None of which I took during that time.  Nope.  It was all about John Taylor. 

Of all three parts (reading, interview, question and answer session), I generally liked the reading the best, which surprised me.  I figured that I would like that the least since I have read the book and am in the middle of listening to it as well.  Yet, as wonderful as it is to listen to the book on audio, it is something magical to hear and SEE John read the book in person.  While the audio provides an insight, seeing the body language and facial expressions only enhanced that.  He read three sections:  Going to church, the legal age information on tour and the final chapter.  I understand that he read many of those same chapters at other signings, but I still find them fascinating.  First of all, we just recently had quite a discussion on here about John’s feelings about church.  Did his reading change how I look at it?  Not really.  I think it only confirmed the conclusion we came to during the discussion.  Second, that last chapter really got to me.  It got to me when I read it the first time and I know it did for Rhonda as well based on the flurry of emails that were exchanged at that time.  I won’t give it away other than to say that John gets it. He totally knows what fandom is really all about.  It is what we are all about here, on the blog, which is that fandom should be and is about bringing people together, making that connection.  I have to admit that hearing and seeing him read this part right in front of me almost brought tears to my eyes.  I don’t think I could become a bigger fan than I was at that very moment.

The question and answer session seemed short to me, but, it probably wasn’t.  Maybe, it is because John didn’t have a lot to say for all of the questions.  Most of the questions were ones that we might expect, such as which bassline would you have liked to have written or what song should have made it on the Thank You album.  Those questions are fine but I always prefer the ones that pertain to just John and his autobiography.  After all, the book is about him and not about Duran.  Now, I could have raised my hand to ask a question but I didn’t.  I am very shy in those types of settings.  What would I have asked him?  I had two questions in mind.  First, I wondered about the writing process.  Did he have an outline or a plan of what each chapter would be about or did he just write about his life?  Did he have a message that he wished to convey in each chapter?  Second, I wondered if he wanted to really show his identity in this book.  While the book is about his life and his events, does it, if he wanted, show WHO he is rather than WHAT he has done and felt.  Alas, my scared self sat quietly watching and hoping for questions that would catch my attention.  I did like the question about how he didn’t include much of  his solo days.  He talked about how, at that time, he could have been on that fan forums 24 hours a day/7 days a week when someone in the crowd yelled out, “Me, too!”  We all got a serious laugh out of that, including John! 

The interview didn’t do much for me as I have seen and heard about 50,000 interviews lately with John being asked questions regarding the book.  I did like when John talked about the other guys reading his book.  Specifically, he talked about Nick’s reaction when John gave him his copy.  John impersonated Nick well and explained that Nick was excited about the smell and that was it as he has no plans to read it.  That said, even though the interview didn’t excite me that much, I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time hoping it would go on forever!!!

Soon enough, it was over and we were all on our feet giving him a round of applause.  Then, we lined up for the signing part.  I was thrilled to be next to some fabulous Duranies as it made the seemingly forever wait tolerable.  Of course, I didn’t want to be rushed when it was my turn so that helped keep me from being too anxious about how long it was taking.  I had spent some time trying to think about what I wanted to say but found myself throwing it all out.  Thus, by the time I was getting close, I didn’t have much of an idea of what I was going to say.  They did have us put our name on a post-it so John wouldn’t have to guess at spelling, etc, which has to be a big help.  The only thing I really knew is that I wanted to get a book signed for me and a book for the other half.  I had a UK copy and an American copy.  When I got to John, he greeted me with a long “hello!”  I responded in kind back.  Before I could say anything else, he noticed that I had a British copy.  I confirmed his statement.  (I’m so awesome at being super articulate in front of idols, aren’t I?  First, I tell the President that I’m tired from non-stop campaigning.  Then, all I am able to say to John is “hi” and “yes”.)  In my book, he wrote my name, signed his and drew a little picture in the corner.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first.  By the time he was done with the doodle, I found my voice long enough to ask him if he would be willing to sign a book “for my friend, Rhonda, the other half of the Daily Duranie.”  He said, “Sure.”  Notice that I’m better asking for her as I’m not good at asking for myself!  Maybe, that’s why I don’t have any pictures, but that’s another story for another day.  Now, in Rhonda’s book, he also drew a picture.  By then, I understood that he drew a British flag in my UK copy and an American flag in Rhonda’s.  They complement each other, which is so fitting I can barely stand it!  It is almost like he understands our friendship as that it exactly what we do, here on the blog and in real life!!!  Craziness!  By this point, I was feeling a smidge braver so I stretched out my arm and offered him a Daily Duranie wristband.  When I handed it to him, I didn’t expect much other than for him to glance at it and put it to the side.  Funny enough, when I walked by later, he was wearing it!  I couldn’t have asked for more! 

The drive home went by quickly despite the late hour and the absolute exhaustion that I have been living with.  John Taylor was everything I had hoped for and more.  He brought his already fabulous book alive that night for me.  On top of that, I felt a connection in the sense that I think he gets a little part of me, a little part in all of us fans.  I will always adore the fact that Rhonda’s book and mine complement each other.  Then, he was so very generous to wear our wristband.  It was truly the icing on the cake.  Thus, for part of one day, I got away from not only the insane work but I was transported to my happy place, one of fandom, friends and life long connections.  Thank you, John Taylor.

-A

                                           Me looking very fan-like!! (from Duran’s facebook!)

                                Cropped pic of John wearing the wristband (from DD’s facebook)

                                          

                                                                      Our books!!!!