Category Archives: Careless Memories

Careless Memories – Is It Worth the Price?

Over the weekend, I found myself in a healthy discussion regarding the Denis O’Regan photo book – Careless Memories. I haven’t personally ordered a copy of the book, but I know a few other fans that ordered a copy of Careless Memories and seem very pleased. The discussion centered around whether or not we’d buy the book even if money were not an option. All who participated in the conversation felt the book to be incredibly expensive and certainly out of reach of many fans. There are always those that will buy whatever is being offered at whatever price point; but for many, price dictates.

Last week, someone sent a question in to Ask Katy about Careless Memories, inquiring whether it was truly worth the price (we’re talking anywhere from £250 on up to £2500). Katy’s reply gave details about the special nature of the book and it’s construction. She closed stating that while it is certainly an investment, isn’t all art (an investment)?

Not only do I appreciate art, I am a certified Decorative Arts Appraiser. That means I’ve been trained to learn how to use market data to assign value to decorative art (paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, pop culture memorabilia or yes…gems and jewelry). I know what art is, and to be completely fair, the very question of what is considered “art” is pretty subjective, although there is a vague framework to help define.  Art must be unique if not also rare, it must have beauty, and by some definitions it must be a human expression or application of emotion. The door is left VERY wide open as to what may or may not be considered art, and of course what might be art to one person might not be to someone else. Does Careless Memories fit that bill?

We traded ideas over whether or not the very fact that the book (or photos within) is mass-marketed should make a difference. After all, many works of art have millions of prints made – but are those prints still considered art, or mass-media representations?There’s definitely room for discussion over whether Careless Memories in it’s mass-marketed form (not the original photos themselves, but the book as a whole) really is a good example of art. Are they priced as such and do they hold that value well? In that case, are prints of artwork still an investment? The fact is, being willing to spend £1000 or more on a larger format photo book doesn’t necessarily make that book an investment…although I’d probably argue that to a willing fan, it absolutely is, regardless of whether it is a good investment, or otherwise. However, that is an emotional definition, not wholly factual.

While I hold no resentment about Careless Memories or my decision not purchase a copy, it is clearly being marketed AT fans with the pricing being out of the reach of most. Then again, isn’t most art that way? Warhol isn’t necessarily “cheap” pop art. Even Thomas Kincaid, one of the most mass-marketed kitsch artists ever – isn’t “cheap” by any means if you’re talking about Artist-handled prints. Let’s face it, the band knows exactly what they are doing here, and we really cannot fault them – because ultimately it is in the hands of each of us to decide whether or not to play the game and make these purchases. It puts fans in the position of having to decide how much the band means to them personally,  and it ends up being an emotionally charged purchase, one the band “banks” on, so to speak.

As is typical, there are always fans willing to pay. I checked the website for Careless Memories late last week, and the most expensive editions of the book (“Unique” and “Special” editions), ones that include things such as (not each book contains all things mentioned – these are simply examples) “golden tickets”, meet and greets with the band, special prints direct from 1984 negatives, and personally signed copies of photos and books, were sold out or “unavailable”.  These ranged in price from £1000-£2500.  Even the least expensive edition – “Collector”, has a very hefty price tag of £250 – not a price most fans can even consider, especially at this time of year. Yet when I look at how many books are available in that edition – very few are sold, perhaps an indication that the price is just out of reach.  Fandom continues, in many respects, to be an excellent real-life example of the “haves” and “have-nots”.

While I’ve had the good fortune to do many things consistent with the “haves” column, in the case of Careless Memories I am definitely in the “have-not” column. Not spiteful, not resentful (there’s no point), but I do find myself questioning the tag of  “investment”.  I suppose though, that makes the difference between a buyer and a bystander.

-R

Sing Blue Silver revisited

Have you listened to the BBC podcast with Denis O’Regan about the recently released photography book Careless Memories? In case you missed it…

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/5live/williams/williams_20131211-0015b.mp3

One of the best stories in the podcast is about the lyric “sing blue silver”.  Simon got it from book he read as a child – Children Move Through Time. I guess you just never know where some of the most iconic ideas will originate!

During much of the podcast, Denis’ approach and career is discussed as opposed to just Duran Duran (which makes sense, it’s Denis’ who is being interviewed!). Duran Duran mentioned in a recent interview that Denis became a sixth member of the band – touring with them and becoming part of the group – which gave him the space to really become a part of the “inner sanctum” without being too close. (so that he could still maintain an unbiased point of view in order to photograph them)  I thought that was interesting, and they do expand upon that a bit more in the podcast.

What really struck me, and the reason I suggest giving it a listen – is to soak in the sheer amount of music history that Denis has experienced through his photography. While it is absolutely true that I feel the book Denis has done is incredibly priced – it is also true that Denis O’Regan is not your average band photographer. Having photographed everyone from our beloved Duran Duran to the Rolling Stones, Bowie, The Damned, Deep Purple and so on, one cannot help but have plenty of respect for his experience, even if his latest collection of photographs is priced to the point where most Duranies cannot even begin to hope to own a copy of even the cheapest edition of the book. For me, this is not really much different than learning about an artist and respecting their work, whether Picasso or maybe even Dalí, even though I know there’s absolutely no way I can buy anything more than perhaps a mass-market printed coffee cup to enjoy at home.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Salvo (Duranasty) for finding this podcast and sharing it on Facebook. I would have never found this piece on my own, that is for sure. This is one thing I really appreciate – those of us who write blogs or do webzines, etc tend to share information freely with everyone. This isn’t about who posts something first, or which one of the websites, fanzines, blogs or podcasts comes up with the best material. I feel as though we’re all in this together out of a love for this band. We work together, create a special brand of Duranie synergy, and make sure the word gets out.  We work to make sure that Duran Duran keeps getting talked about, even when there’s no new music or a tour happening. In doing all of this, we extend one another a sort of professional courtesy by taking that second to say thank you, or to say “Hey – I didn’t find this first, another fan did, and I just want to say thanks for finding it.” I realize it’s not always popular to admit that we weren’t first to find something – and maybe it’s even embarrassing for some to see that a mere fan came up with a news byte or a fantastic picture first – but let me just say this: giving credit where credit is due is important. It creates a tight knit, trusting environment – which is key for a loyal fan community – where information is openly shared, as opposed to a competitive, unfriendly environment where fans are clamoring for even the smallest mention because acknowledgment and credit is rarely given, not to mention that it is the professional and right thing to do.

Food for thought.

-R

Way Better!

Today, I finish discussing the documentary featured on a Diamond in the Mind.  On previous Sundays, I talked about the highlights of 2011, Simon’s loss of voice, and the current band, including Dom’s place in it.  After those topics, the band talks about the Girl Panic video and summarize the year. 

In talking about the Girl Panic video, John mentions about how having the idea of the video was one thing but implementing it was another.  After all, they had to coordinate schedules among the band, the models, the director, the crew, etc.  I know how hard it is just to coordinate a few schedules for a weekend get together with friends.  I cannot imagine how tough this must have been.  Then, of course, Nick mentions how they edited the video to use in the show.  I will say this much.  As soon as the very first clip of the video appears on screen, a lot of people in the audience knows Girl Panic will be played.  I wonder what percentage of the audience has never seen it.  Are those people simply wowed?  Are they confused while watching the video?  Do they get it?  I am not criticizing anyone’s intelligence.  I just think it would be hard to really absorb all that is in that video by simply seeing it live in concert.  Plus, I can’t imagine that those people would just be watching the video and not Duran.  I know that whenever I’m at a show, I don’t completely see everything that is happening on stage and when there is a video to watch, I see even less as I’m torn between watching the video clip or the action on stage.  This, of course, leads to ask an important question here.  Why didn’t they include the video on this DVD?  Are they planning to release it in a separate DVD?  I suppose they could since there is a long version, a shorter version and, now, a version for the live show.  Perhaps, then, there could be extras like the making of the Girl Panic video.  I would be all for that!  Otherwise, if they aren’t planning on sharing it ever, I think they are short-changing the fans as many of us are collectors and would like to have a good copy to air on one’s TV set.  They are also short-changing themselves as that it is another possible source of income.

While on the topic of short-changing themselves and the fans, I don’t understand why they didn’t include the new anime version of Careless Memories that aired in many shows in the UK.  Rhonda and I saw this new clip for the first time in Birmingham.  They didn’t show it in the previous shows and I remember thinking how torn I was between watching the new anime or watching the band.  The one thing that we found particularly strange was that no one talked about this.  The band didn’t say anything.  I never heard anything from other fans either.  Was I dreaming this new anime clip?  Did Rhonda dream it?  Was it jet lag?  Here is a copy of the old one featured during 2004-2005.

This new one had a similar theme but there were some differences, from what I remember.  For example, some of the characters had afros and platform shoes with good 70s fashions.  Also, I distinctly remember that Nick had to call the “International Fan Club”.  So, again, I question if the band decided to update this very cool clip, why keep it a secret?  Why not share it?  This DVD would have been the perfect place since it was shown in the UK during that tour.

The tour was summarized by Simon at the end of the documentary by saying that the shows were better than ever and that audience responded with “gusto”.  I couldn’t agree more.  While I enjoyed the shows this summer, many of them did not compare with the shows we saw in Brighton and Glasgow, in particular.  Then, John summarized the year by saying that while the year didn’t go as planned, it went WAY better.  I can understand this idea.  I felt that way at the end of the year, too.  In the middle of the year, I was very worried when Simon couldn’t sing and when Duran’s future was very much in question.  I was still trying to recover from massive disappointment from traveling all the way to the UK for shows that didn’t happen.  Yet, just like John said, the year ended up well.  In fact, I would go so far to say that our second trip to the UK was not like how the first one was planned but it went WAY better.  In fact, overall, I thought that 2011 was a great year for Duran and their fans.  What do you think?

-A