There are two distinct emotions that occur when you’re a fan (along with a multitude more) – elation and heartbreak. As Amanda is fond of saying, “The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.” If you haven’t had the lows, I am envious. If you haven’t felt the elation – stick around a bit. The band will tour, and those will be had. After all, that’s why we stay, isn’t it? We keep chasing that stick that is dangled ever so enticingly in front of us with a beautiful orange carrot on the end. Round the track we go, never shall we stop, and once in a while – we might even get a tidbit. We devour. Elation.
Heartbreak is a bit more complicated.There are so many reasons, so many twisted emotions that have the potential to become heartbreak. When I was a child, a mere teenager, just hearing that one of my idols had a girlfriend might have sent me into heartbreak. Maybe later on it was hearing that my favorite band member left the band. Still later, it could have been finding out another had taken his place. Perhaps it was a off-album. Maybe it was a set of shows that had been postponed or canceled. Maybe it was traveling to another country only to find out that the shows you’d traveled for were…you guessed it…canceled. Or, in a final act of ripping ones heart from ones chest in what feels completely and utterly permanent, the band simply decides to stop.
I can’t imagine that there’s a single fan of something out there that hasn’t had that happen. Whether it’s that your sports guy left the sport for retirement, or the celebrity to end all celebrities for you has unfortunately passed on, it happens. I know that as a Duran fan, I’ve wondered when that moment would come – and in some sort of morbid curiosity that only I would be silly enough to admit, I’ve thought long and hard about what my response might include. Would I cry? Would I play their music for hours on end? What about the blog? Would I be openly angry, or reticent? Would I be in denial…and finally…would I still be a fan?
That final question is the most thought provoking for me. It’s not just simply whether or not I’d still listen to their music – I think at this point in my life, it’s pretty obvious (to me) that of course I would. It might take many months before I was able to listen without some feeling of pain or angst, but I have to believe that just as though I eventually came to tell stories about my dad without tears, I would also learn to remember the good feelings that came along with the music. I have so many good memories from Duran Duran, surely smiles would replace the pain – or at least accompany so that the pain was lessened. I guess the real question is whether or not listening to the music is enough. When you’re used to a very three dimensional fandom – listening to the music, hearing the news, going to gigs, maybe even meeting the band and having some laughs – what happens when it becomes solely about the music? In some ways, it’s like cutting the crap and getting back to basics, isn’t it? In other ways, when you know that is all it will ever be again – well, then I’m just not sure.
I think to John Lennon and Beatles fans. I count myself among them, although to be fair, it is a completely different type of fandom than the one I experience with Duran Duran. While I recognize that I’m “old” (so my kids say), I was actually born after The Beatles broke up. I never experienced the insanity of going to see The Beatles live, so it isn’t as though I know what I’m missing. (although if there were ever a band I wished I’d seen – they would be it!) I think about John Lennon, and I clearly remember the day he was murdered. I still have all of John’s solo work on vinyl – it is something I’m proud of taking the time to collect over the years – and I am very reverent of his work. I am a fan, although I never once saw him perform in person or met him. Again, the fandom is entirely different, but it does still exist.
So, I believe I will still be a fan, although the fandom will likely be far different. I don’t want to even consider what the blog would be – could we even continue? Probably not in the same respect to which we’re accustomed. Our books would be written past tense. Our stories would begin with “Remember when?” instead of “I can’t wait to do it again!” It all seems so depressing.
It came with great shock to me on Sunday night when I read that INXS had announced they would no longer tour. I continue to ask, “Who said they could quit?!? Who signed off on that?!?” Their last shows were in Australia just this past weekend – about as far from the US as one can imagine, and yet it was the right place for INXS to finish a successful thirty-five year career. The shows came without much fanfare, in fact I don’t believe anyone really saw it coming, unless of course you are one of the scores of “one time” INXS fans that took the time to tweet to me that you liked the band until Michael died, and then they died for you as well. That said, in hindsight – precious, precious hindsight, I think the signs were there had I chose to actually pay attention. News almost never came from the band these days. Rumors were never addressed or put to rest (and what is important about that is not the rumor – but the fact that no news came from the band AT ALL), old merchandise touted as being “anniversary” was marketed and sold, and old touring equipment turned up on eBay and announced as such by the band. Not one of these things would have or did make me turn my head – but in hindsight? It starts to make sense.
For me, INXS was a second or third “favorite” after Duran Duran. I really got into them during the 1990’s. I won’t exaggerate – I am not such a big fan that I dropped everything to see them (there simply isn’t enough time and money for me to do that for everyone!!), although I have seen them a few times over the years. When Michael passed away, I was truly surprised that they continued on, but the fact is – the music lived on and it thrived. INXS did not die in that hotel room, and I will continue to scream that as loudly as possible for the rest of my life. Yes – it was extremely difficult for me initially when they agreed to find a new singer on Rockstar:INXS, thanks to my friends Jessica and Machelle – I hesitantly watched, and fell in love almost immediately. I was and am very proud that the band had the tenacity to keep going. I am well-aware of just how difficult it really was, and that perhaps they never quite found the magic combination of what they needed. As he hit his first notes on the first night I watched the show, I was a JD fan. I went to two INXS shows to see him, and I have to say – if anyone could have fronted that band, it was him. I know this isn’t a popular position for many other INXS fans out there, but I stand by my assessment. I was sorry to see him go, although I certainly understand the choices the band made. I do regret never having the chance to attend a show with Jessica and Mac, purely because it would have been nice to expand our friendship beyond the reigns of Duran Duran. I am friends with the two of them because they are good people, not because they were ever Duran fans, although this band is what brought us together initially. No, my INXS fandom was something I tended to enjoy with my husband, it was one band we both loved to listen to here at home, and I don’t imagine that will stop.
I’ve spent some time reflecting on how it all might happen with Duran Duran. It’s impossible for me not to think that way – this year alone I’ve had two bands simply “quit”. It’s the age, I presume, and I hate it. I’m not like John, who seems to be able to spin the good out of the bad – this really does suck. I love going to shows, concerts, gigs – whatever you want to call them. I love music. I love being a fan. It is incredibly difficult and even a bit maddening when the choices start to dwindle because your bands start thinking about retirement. I guess I feel as though every band out there should be like The Rolling Stones – and yet I full-well know that’s impossible. I’m a fan. We think in impossible terms. 🙂
It really isn’t very easy seeing something I enjoyed; and even more importantly, seeing something that my close friends enjoy, end. Good things sometimes really do just end. It really doesn’t matter what the reasons might be, how it all could have been handled differently, or how angry and hurt we all might feel. All we can do is sit back, absorb the moment, reflect on the memory, and keep listening. Music never dies, and it doesn’t just quit.
Thanks for some of the most incredible music I have ever known, INXS.
Chapter 17: Legs for Days
What was the significance of the first girl John slept with?
A -I was surprised to read that the significance of the first girl John slept with wasn’t a boost to his self-esteem or feeling loved. Nope. It was clear that her real purpose in his life and in his story is that she was an ex-girlfriend of the Hawks’ guitarist. The Hawks were a band that were in a feud of sorts with Duran. The fact that this girl and Jane, another ex-girlfriend of the Hawks, began dating Duran members ended the feud, which I find fascinating. While the feud seemed to be partly about the musical styles, girls ended it. Was it really about the music at all?
R- They were teenage boys. I think that pretty much settles that.
Chapter 18: Enter the Eighties
What did you think of how John explained the cultural shift that was taking place at the end of the 1970s?
A- I loved this chapter. As a historian who has often looked at how music and culture follows larger societal patterns, including political changes, I was fascinated to see how music, art, fashion and politics all seemed to shift from the punk movement of just a couple of years previous to something new, something that embraced ambition. He also did a great job showing how quickly things were changing and how significant some of the influences were.
R- I agree that John did a great job describing the scene at hand. I also feel that the band was one of those things that came together at just the right time, as though it was all meant to happen exactly as it did. I loved taking a look back at the time, both because when you’re living it – you don’t necessarily see all the same nuances – and also because living here in the US in the 80’s, we had different things going on. I like reading a broader view.
Chapter 19: Music Never Sounded Better
It seems to me that they gave a lot of control to the managers. Do you think that was a good move?
A- On one hand, it bothers me a little that they would decide a manager over a singer. What if they thought that Jeff Thomas was the best singer ever? Would they have sold their vision for the financial backing of the managers? On the other hand, I understand the need for someone to help them. They probably couldn’t have done what they did without managers like the Berrows who were willing to fork over cash for equipment, touring slots and more. I guess in the long run it is about how John and the rest of the band felt about it. If they are okay with it, I can be, too.
R- I think that at the time, the band must have felt more confident with their managers. They were bonded, and they believed that the management could get them what and where they needed. I will also say that this is not the first band that ditched a lead singer due to a conflict with management. My high school boyfriend was in a pretty serious hard rock band, and just prior to getting signed to a label, their manager took them aside and told them that if they wanted to make it – they had to find another lead singer because the guy they had (who was WILDLY popular with their fans) tended to be very “pitchy” and had a real attitude with the manager. (which he did) The band said “good bye” to the guy and ended up with another lead singer that while was far more reliable, was not nearly the “personality”. So, it happens I guess.
Chapter 20: The Poetry Arrives
How did you respond to John’s description of Simon as he acknowledged him as the “star”?
A- I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by how super over-the-top positive John was by Simon. I don’t know why. I think we can all admit that Simon’s entrance into the band was significant. Of course. Yes, he was the poetry. Yes, he was the front man but this just seemed SO positive. John seemed SUPER impressed by him. Maybe, he was. Would we all sound so positive about a very good friend of ours when we first met him/her? Perhaps.
R- I’m typically pretty cynical and hard on Simon, but the fact is – there are some people who just have that star quality. Simon was older than the rest of the band by a couple of years, and I have no doubt that played into John’s outlook too. I’m sure he looked up to Simon in some regard. I also feel very confident that Simon really did fit the frontman part – and they needed that. The fact is, John is writing the book in hindsight, and so while he might have truly felt that Simon was the perfect fit (which I believe was his point), I also think that there’s something to be said for John acknowledging from the full perspective he now has to say that yes – Simon was indeed the star they needed. Simon IS a star on stage. He brings the show to life even when the rest of them have had less-than-fabulous shows. I’ve seen it.
Chapter 21: The Final Debut
Thoughts about how John describes how the band functioned with everyone equal and Nick and John as the master planners vs. dictators?
A- I have mixed feelings about this description. As someone who likes to think of herself as a planner and organizer vs. a dictator, or boss, I like it. Then, I do wonder if the rest of the band thought in the same way. Did they look at Nick and John in this way or did they think of them more as dictators? Then, if they really were equals going in the same direction, how did that happen? Honestly? Rhonda and I are pretty much on the same page at the same time but I can’t imagine that would be easy to achieve if there were 3 more of us! If it really was this way, then, I’m even more impressed by this!
R- I think there is always someone who takes more of a directive role, and others that tend to fall back. We all know from John’s book that Roger was easy going, that Simon didn’t like to cause conflict…and those types of personalities probably helped the cause. I am not surprised that Nick and John were the planners because they were with the band from day one, and I think that this band just fit together well – the personalities (at least at first) blended well.
What were your thoughts about that final debut?
A- I was surprised to hear that they started the show with Nightboat. I wonder what that song would be like as an opener. I did like how he talked about the addition of Simon and Andy made the band more interesting and that they appeared on stage different than the previous time. John describes it as the “‘X’ factor”. I completely agree that there was something special by that band.
R- Having seen the band with others in the lineup, I would agree that there is something very special about that particular lineup. (no offense to current guitar-playing members of course) I can’t put my finger on what it is, but when it was working – it really did work. I don’t think they ever found that same energy with other members until they found Dom and he began to feel more comfortable within his position in the band. They are lucky. I know other bands who lost members along the way that have never seemed to find what gels for them since.
I really loved that John took the time to describe each little step of forming the band that we know and love. He didn’t just describe the different singers and guitarists but also the cultural scene and the influences that affected them directly and indirectly. This added to a story that I was already pretty familiar with and I loved that he got it how they truly did have something special.
Next week, we will discuss Chapters 22-27!
I’m sure by now you are wondering if sleep deprivation has finally warped my brain but stick with me! I think there are two big commonalities between Duran Duran’s career and campaigning. (There are commonalities with teaching, too, but I’ll keep it simple.) First, I think there is an emphasis, fair or not, on numbers. Numbers are often used to determine success. Second, there seems to be a level of intensity that goes and goes and goes and then stops. Now, obviously, other careers, I’m sure, also could fit these commonalities but I’m sticking to what I know.
Campaigns are obviously about winning an election. This, of course, is done by having the most number of votes. This isn’t new. Yet, of course, there are countless types of numbers given by the media, by the results and more. As a staging location director, I had to report numbers every 4 hours to the campaign. What I reported might have changed but reporting did not. These numbers I reported were used to determine if things are looking good or not in any given area and if there needed to be a shift in resources. Success isn’t necessarily determined by just numbers, though. For example, President Obama won his re-election and we can determine how many votes he received but we can’t know how excited those voters were. The same is true for Duran Duran and their history. For years, for decades, their success was determined by how far up the chart the single or album reached and for how long. Success could be determined by how many copies of a particular album was sold. Many Duranies still focus on this. Do the numbers really tell us if they are successful or not? For example, Duran sold a lot of copies of Seven and the Ragged Tiger but do we think it was as successful as AYNIN? It is easy on paper to determine 7&TRT to be more successful than AYNIN. Yet, some fans, I’m sure, would argue that AYNIN is way more successful. Numbers are easy. They seem objective and clear. Yet, I don’t think they tell the whole story.
I guess I’m wondering this because I have been thinking about how I have experienced both the highest of highs with victories on election night and the lowest of lows on election night. Were the numbers really all that was to it? I don’t think they are. For example, I lost the recall election in June, according to the numbers and according to who is still governor. Yet, could I or should I think of it as just a loss? I don’t think I can. Yes, I didn’t get those numbers, those results I wanted then but I gained other things. For example, our voter lists were seriously cleaned up, which helped this Tuesday’s election. I also got to know some new people, including people who were essential for Tuesday’s election. Would that have happened without the earlier election? I doubt it. Plus, did I learn anything from the previous election? I like to think that I did. I know that the campaigns here did. Am I more proud of the wins? Not really, actually. I am proud of the elections that I worked the hardest on. I’m the proudest when my team really came together with a strong community spirit. Likewise, I wonder if the members of the Duran feel the proudest of the albums that did the best, commercially, or do they feel the proudest of other albums based on other criteria besides the numbers?
The other thing I noticed just a few days after Election Day is the very strange feeling of…going 90 miles per hour for weeks and then, suddenly, coming to an abrupt stop. I swear I have whiplash. Is this how some or all of the members of Duran feel after a tour?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on vacation or anything. I have a ton of work to do since I have a ton of grading to do for my actual paying job as grades are due and conferences are coming up. Yet, it still feels like I’m shaken to the core by the sudden stop. As much as I wanted, needed, pleaded for the end, it still feels SO weird to me. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit empty, a bit lost. I shouldn’t. Heck, I’m excited to get caught up at work and I’m VERY excited to get back on track with our projects here at the Daily Duranie. I’m sure that with time and some very much needed sleep, I’ll feel like myself again. I wonder how the band does it.
Maybe this blog just proves that I think too much. Maybe it proves that no matter how crazy the real world is to me, I can and always do relate things back to Duran Duran. Maybe that is what I should do—combine my two loves, politics and Duran. Could one of the members run for office? I heard John was going for his US citizenship. While he might not be qualified to run for president, there are plenty of offices he could run for. I would be happy to be his campaign manager!!
In preparing to write this blog, I sent out a general request on Twitter – if anyone had watched the event and wanted to chime in with their thoughts, they could either DM me on Twitter or send Daily Duranie an email. Everyone who responded thought the idea in general was a great way to communicate with the band, although it is the type of event that would naturally need to be very limited. For example, it would not be wise to have 50 fans attempt to video chat with John Taylor at the same time. I am sure he’d agree. Wholeheartedly. This is the sort of event that would probably need to either be used on a very limited basis with only a select few fans at a time, or something that is done more often but with few people. I’m guessing the band would go for the former (if at all) and not the latter. We fans are an overwhelming lot.
There were fans though who were disappointed by the selection process, as always. I have to admit that while the idea of having a chat with any band member is appealing, the idea of sending in a question for “judgment” by the powers that be turned me off slightly. I think the idea was to make sure people didn’t ask silly questions, and for that I’m thankful, but on the other hand, I like the organic nature of a real conversation, and I’m delighted to say that for the most part – that DID happen yesterday. The one thing I didn’t care for at all though, was the use of a moderator. I recognized her role and I can’t really fault her for doing her job. I realize that to some degree it was necessary because no fan would have wanted the conversation to end, but it made it feel a little sterile and synthetic. Less like a conversation. There has to be a better way.
I also made note that there were fans who felt a sense of unease. I will admit, I squirmed a bit in my chair during some of the questions – they just felt a little personal, as though they were questions you’d ask a close friend. I think that is something I struggle with, both personally as well as someone who writes about fandom. While you and I know the band – we’ve had them on our bedroom walls, on our stereos, lining our bookshelves and in the magazines we read and TV’s; the band still doesn’t really know us as individual fans for the most part. (some of you are luckier than Amanda and I in that regard, but for the overwhelming majority – they don’t know us much beyond our face in the crowd.) The relationship is not quite reciprocated on the same level. Those boundaries are blurred and muddled. I am not faulting the questions, mainly just noting the discomfort that I along with a few others (including Amanda) felt while watching. I could see some of those questions being asked during an more intimate conversation and setting, but as a viewer – it felt very strange. Amanda and I traded emails regarding the hangout, and something she noted was that we don’t just ask the band about the music. Granted, this particular scenario was to talk about his book, and as such it covers far more than just his career within Duran Duran, but I do think we feel that after this much time – we are ready to talk about far more than just how they felt about the last album. While I might squirm with discomfort at times, I see the point. Many of us have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one by now, and that is something that maybe makes us feel a kinship beyond a mutual love of the music with John. Still others of us grew up Catholic, or in ANY organized religion for that matter, and are struggling with our own definition of God and spirituality. Some of the best conversations may very well be the ones that make us the most uncomfortable (at least at first), so I leave this subject hanging in the air for further thought.
One of the most interesting questions for me, particularly due to the writing Amanda and I have been working on – was about social media. There is an ongoing discussion that comes up each time the band disappears from Twitter for any length of time – and it’s about whether the band is on Twitter because they genuinely enjoy communicating with the fans or whether it’s purely about business. I think that by now, most fans recognize that for the band – Social Media IS a part of the job. That doesn’t mean that they would never communicate with anyone if it wasn’t required, but it also doesn’t mean that they want to spend an inordinate amount of time on there. Again – we fans are an overwhelming lot. Even I sometimes need to take a step back. It all gets to be a bit much, and I’m not a celebrity. It’s easy to forget that communicating in person can really be much nicer than just online! So when John spoke about this topic, he talked about how much more meaningful he thinks fandom has become for the fans as a result of Twitter. He asked about making friends online through the social networking, and whether that has heightened the excitement we have for shows and things of that nature. I ask you John Taylor, have you not read our blog?? We are ALL ABOUT the social networking. Many of us would have never met without it, and when you finally got on board and embraced it – seeing the band on there, willing to even read what we’re saying about you – well, that cinched it just when I think the band was on it’s way out with many of us. None of us (well, most of us) are kids anymore. We’re grown. We have kids of our own that are now the age we were when we first found Duran Duran! It’s made being a fan much more fun again, much more three dimensional. We hear the music with our ears, we see what you are all up to by reading the news – and whether it’s overhyped in our own minds and hearts or not – we feel the love by the communication with you. (Simon, Roger and Dom…and even Nick for those who are involved on SecondLife) It’s a good thing we all embraced social networking when we did – because I really am not sure where the band, or any of us, would be without.
All in all, I found the hangout to be successful, if not short (and the cut-off was ridiculously abrupt). I hope John is brave enough to try it again at some point, if not some of the others as well.
I noted in my attempts to set up a Google+ account for Daily Duranie (by the way Amanda, we have one now – only after I had to make an appeal to Google because they weren’t letting me use our name – Daily Duranie – and I’m not even joking.) that ANYONE can set up a Google Hangout. This is something that I would love to look into more for the use of Daily Duranie! Sure, we have to wait for shows or other meet ups in order to get together, but in the meantime – maybe we can set up some hangouts for fans. Drinks, video chatting…seems like a fun thing!
Happy weekend, everyone!!
Michelle Coldwell-Simons, ancient Duran fan, writer of the Duran Diaries, co-organiser of the Duran Fan convention 2012, wife, mother, photographer, medical receptionist, taxi driver to her daughters and drinker of cheap white wine.
Yeah I wish! The bags under my eyes don’t lie. 🙂 On this date in 1970 the world was changed forever when I was born. At least, this is what I try to tell my children. My oldest just rolls her eyes, my son doesn’t even blink, and my youngest sits and listens intently to what Mommy is saying. I am positive she is committing all of it to memory, which may or may not be used against me later.
So, with that in mind, I have decided to put together a little collection of my favorites for your enjoyment.
Is There Something I Should Know – my all time favorite DD song. I still love this, and while the video makes my head hurt because I have no idea what any of it means, I still laugh at parts of it.
New Moon on Monday. I love this video even if the band does not.
This is a day where Daily Duranie cannot even post a simple “Sunrise or What Happens Tomorrow” question without someone (or many) making a political statement. It is that kind of day, which would be fine if we all felt the same way – but of course, that isn’t the case.
I originally had another blog written, extolling the virtues of being able to speak ones mind, whether artist, celebrity, musician or plain ole regular person. When I sat back and re-read it, I found myself uncomfortable. Simply put, I feel very strongly that Daily Duranie isn’t a place to be making political statements of any kind. It isn’t our purpose. We unite the fans – regardless of political conviction. I insist on positivity, and invite our readers do do the same.
Instead, I offer a video as a gesture of celebration. We here in the United States are extremely lucky that we have the right to vote. I hope each of you took the time to do so – other citizens around our world are not necessarily in the same boat.
It’s the 9 minute version of Election Day. Can’t really have too much of Arcadia, can you??
Chapter 12: Shock Treatment
Thoughts about John’s description of that very first show as Shock Treatment?
A – A few things jumped out at me from his description of that very first show at the school dance. First, the line, “Before tonight I was nobody, but now I was in charge,” caught my attention. The second lines I really took note of were, “I wielded enough power and electricity..to shake up everyone’s perception of who they thought I was…some substantial, chemical, hierarchical shift was taking place.” Up until this point, I really thought John’s motivation to forming a band had to do with being in a group and performing music. Now, this added another dimension. John seemed to like the idea that this was going to change what people thought of him. Did he have some burning desire to be thought of as cool? I think back to that story about John in school with the glasses. Was this a way to destroy that embarrassment of being uncool?
R – I don’t know John Taylor, but I think there is something to be said for destroying the perceptions that others have of you when you’re a teenager. I think most kids try to at least blur those boundaries if not knock them completely apart. They might do this in the way that John did with his band; or maybe they will reinvent themselves when they go on to college and so forth. In my opinion, it’s about finding out who you really are, and I think it’s an essential part of growing up.
John talked about residencies for bands. Do they still have those? If so, do they still fulfill their purpose as John mentioned?
A -You know what I have always thought was interesting. I have always enjoyed music and like live music. Yet, I have never been one to go see local bands. The only time I can think of is when I was friends with the band members. I wonder how many people do go to see local bands. I have heard of some local bands getting a decent crowd but enough to say that they are going places? Not really. Yet, what John mentions here makes sense. Bands must learn in order to have a residency and to have it serve a purpose.
R – The most “local” band I ever took time to go see on a regular basis was Clear Static, unless you count my going and seeing my high school boyfriend’s band play – and they didn’t really DO a residency. I’m not sure how many bands actually do this here in the states. I really have no idea. I would imagine that some bands have regular places that they play – like Clear Static and the Key Club on Ruby Tuesdays, for instance, but now I’m curious how many bands actually have “home” clubs that they play. We didn’t really have clubs that bands would play at near me, so this whole concept of “residencies” was/is pretty foreign to me. What John says does make sense in some ways, because having that “home court” also allows for a group to cultivate the beginnings of real support, i.e. fans. That said, I also am a firm believer in not resting on one’s laurels. It’s one thing to work a crowd that is already behind you – they are fans – it’s another to learn how to work a crowd that has never seen you before. In my opinion, that is easily as important if not more so, and it’s where a band earns their chops. They have that solid fan base at home, but can they earn fan support elsewhere? Is this band going to be one that can appeal beyond their friends from high school? It’s where I’ve seen many a band completely lose it. They thought they were hot stuff because their high school buddies would come see them play, but yet they couldn’t draw a crowd to save their lives on tour. Gotta keep playing live, no matter where or to whom.
Chapter 13: Barbarella’s
Does this scene at Barbarella’s seem familiar and does it serve a purpose to John’s story?
A – When I first read this chapter, I could absolutely relate as I used to spend quite a bit of time in a local club. Like the scene John described, it was very red from the light bulbs to the furniture at one time. I, too, used to go on “school night” except in my case, it was the night before I had to teach! The second time I read this chapter, though, I wondered if it really fit. John spent a great deal of time describing the scene but did it further his story along. I don’t know. Yes, I know basically how they got there, what they did there but…I suppose it serves as a transition to the next chapter.
R – the only “regular” club I attended was Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier when I was in college. It was a dance club though, and it was where I met my husband. (and it too had lots of red furniture, red carpet…red paint on the walls, along with black trim and a black/white checked floor.) I think John used the chapter just as you say Amanda – it was transitional for him, and to be fair, I think that at the time he considered it as a sort of second home.
Chapter 14: Ballroom Blitz with Synthesizers
Reactions to the influences of the Heartbreakers and Human League?
A – It seems to me that Duran is constantly asked about their influences. Typically, they seem to respond with David Bowie, Roxy Music, the Sex Pistols, Chic and a couple more. Yet, I don’t think I ever heard the Heartbreakers mentioned or Human League. Of course, after reading this chapter, I totally get it. Were these bands just an influence to John? Is this a case when the band gives a party answer? Makes me wonder.
R – I didn’t really notice this – it didn’t jump out at me, probably because we have heard about their influences SO many times, even I can give their “party line” answer. I have to say though that this book really is John’s story, so it makes sense that his influences might differ a bit from those that the band gives as a whole. It’s what I really enjoyed most about his book – it’s HIS story. Not that I don’t need to read about Duran Duran, but I really liked reading about John Taylor, as I know you did!
Obviously, as Duran fans, we must be happy that John’s parents allowed him to take a year to focus on music. Would you do the same in that situation?
A -This part really hit me because I constantly feel like I’m battling between wanting to do something I love and being able to pay my bills. For example, if I wanted to write about fandom full-time, I couldn’t live on that. The same could be true if I actually went for a paid job in a campaign. It would be a job, but not enough of one to live the life I’m used to. Besides, I think most people would think like John’s parents did, that both of these other “jobs” of mine are a hobby, at best. Nothing more. While I am really jealous of John’s ability to follow his dreams like that, I know that I can’t. I don’t live with my parents. I have to pay my own way (no pun intended!). Perhaps, I should have done it when I was John’s age, but I didn’t. I was quick to prove myself to be a responsible adult. Of course, I could have had it worse. I was, at least, allowed to pick my own college and study what I wanted to study without too much of a concern about what my chosen career would be. I was allowed to just be a student. A lot of my friends were pressured to go to college to be trained for a specific career.
R – I am going to be completely honest here. There is absolutely no way on this planet that I would have EVER gone to my parents and asked them for such a thing. Had I done that, my dad would have lost it, and I wouldn’t be here today anyway. I knew exactly where the boundaries laid – and taking a year off to “find myself” or try to get a music career started were well outside of what was expected for me. As a parent, I am going to do my best to try and remember this sort of thing. I have a daughter who is at the age where we’re beginning to look at colleges. She is brilliant, and I’m not just saying that – she is one of those kids who is both gifted at the arts as well as in math and science (she is lucky the genes went that way), and she finds herself divided between doing what she wants in her heart (going into musical theater/acting/directing/etc.) and getting a degree that might not be what her heart wants, but she will easily be able to make a good living. I keep telling her the same thing: if she wants to be on Broadway so badly that she is willing to sleep in her car to make it happen – then that is what she really ought to do. Of course I say that, and then I remind her that she doesn’t need a college degree in acting in order to become an actress, and that even though she really wants something – she does still need to be able to take care of herself. I don’t think my husband and I are in the position to have the kids living at home with us into their thirties so they can follow their dream, nor do I think that every child who “wants” to be a rock star will make it. Hardly. So, it’s a very tough balancing act. I just try to be supportive but realistic. Sometimes I succeed, and a lot of times I fall far short. *sigh*
Chapter 15: Everybody Dance
Was Duran Duran Version 2.0 important in Duran’s history?
A -What seems to amaze me in reading John’s account of early Duran is how things shifted until the band finally becomes the band we know and love. It seems like every step was a necessary one to get to where they needed to be. First, John had to form Shock Treatment and have that initial taste of being a performer. Then, he had to meet Stephen Duffy, which lead him to Andy Wickett and to Roger Taylor. Roger, along side of John’s first exposure to Chic, seriously seem pretty significant to me thirty plus years later. This is when, of course, John switches to bass and him and Roger start to form the rhythm section. I did find myself wondering how Nick and Roger would tell the story of this time in the band’s history. Did they get how each step got them closer to where they wanted to be?
R – I think this is one of those things that you probably don’t really *see* until many years later – hindsight is 20/20 and all…
Chapter 16: Plans for Nigel
Did John need to change his name?
A – I found his thought process fascinating here. On one hand, he wanted to reinvent himself, which I could totally understand. I remember that I was Mandy for years. Years. In fact, my family still calls me Mandy as opposed to Amanda. In school, I went by Mandy for years, too. It was when I moved that I switched. I didn’t get why I did that then, but I have an idea now. It was my way of saying to my new town (a small town away from Chicago that I wanted nothing to do with) that they wouldn’t have or get to know the real me. It was a way of hiding, I suppose. Yet, I had a friend in college change her name to reinvent herself and she has stuck with it ever since. I suppose that part of what struck me about John was how he wasn’t that confident to be a Nigel in the music business crowd.
R – I have a friend that completely changed her name from what I knew it to be in high school. First, last, middle…all of it. She moved to the UK, and if she hadn’t found me on Facebook I would have never known what happened to her. I don’t know why she chose to make the changes she did, but apparently she felt strongly enough to make it all happen. As for John, I know plenty of people who changed their names to be in the “business”. In some cases, they changed their names to somehow substantiate a difference between their private and public lives. In others, perhaps they felt like John. It’s interesting to me as a fan though because I only know John as well, John. The book gave me a little taste of Nigel though – and I sort of think the real catharsis here is that John has come to terms with Nigel and vice-versa.
A -I really liked to see how all the steps lead John to form Duran and how each of those steps lead to the Duran we know and love. Of course, in any story, those steps seem obvious and logical. I’m willing to bet that there were many times when John and Nick couldn’t tell if they were on the right path or not.
Next week, we will be ready to discuss Chapters 17-21. 🙂
Of course, I have a list of what I plan to start with, but I’m sure that there are many more examples of fandom in books, movies and TV shows. My list of movies is as follows: Sugartown (wonder which famous bass guitarist is in that one?!), Trekkies, and Almost Famous. I did see a movie by the name of Groupies once that I hope to track down. From what I remember about the cover, it was some super cheesy horror film, which I’m sure presents groupies in the best of light. Not. The only TV show that I can think right now is Samantha Who, which again features a bass player that we might know. For books, I have the following list: Juliet Naked, How Soon is Forever, and I Love the 80s. What I need for you, my dear readers, is other suggestions. What am I missing? What should I check out?
The other question, besides what representations should I check out, is what kinds of things should I be watching for. The biggest thing that I will be watching for is how they represent fans. Do they show them to be normal? If not, what do they show them doing? Do they show them in stereotypical ways? If so, which stereotypes are they showing? Are they showing just female fans? Is there a difference between male fans and female ones? Are they showing them to be obsessed and out of touch with reality? Are they showing fans as unintelligent or unthinking people? What questions am I missing? I am obviously not expecting the representations of fans to be generally positive or well-thought out as most of these mediums are used to entertain and I realize that stereotypes are more amusing than not stereotypes.
So, readers, we will start with something fun next weekend, Samantha Who. I hope that this episode is available somehow, someway if people haven’t seen it or want to watch it again. 🙂