Category Archives: Duran Duran

So Unreal!

Yesterday was a busy day for me.  I worked, had a doctor’s appointment, went out to dinner with my parents and completed my weekly grocery shopping before I came home to finish our review of To the Shore.  When I arrived home, though, a full 12 1/2 hours after I had left, I found myself opening the mail.  Now, normally, that isn’t anything to blog about at all, but I found myself holding an envelope from the UK addressed to me with Rhonda’s name included.  I had no idea what this little envelope had in it or even who had sent it.  I wracked my brain.  Did I order something at some point?  The return address didn’t give anything away, either.  With me scratching my head, I put my purse down and opened it slowly.  This is what I saw.

Clearly, it was a beautiful, hand-made card!  I found myself getting excited even as I was so confused.  Who would send us a card and why?!  I quickly opened it and was instantly overwhelmed as it was filled with many, many signatures!  In fact, there were so many signatures that the back was used as well.  What were all of these signatures for?  Why it was a birthday card for the Daily Duranie!?! 

Neither, Rhonda nor myself would never expect something like this!  When we wrote about the blog’s birthday, we certainly weren’t hoping for something like this.  We weren’t even expecting birthday messages on twitter or facebook.  No, we wrote about the blog’s birthday for a simple reason.  We wanted and needed to acknowledge it.  Part of us, a BIG part of us, can’t believe that we are still doing this and can’t believe that people actually like it and read it!!  When Rhonda suggested that we do a daily blog, I thought it was a good idea and agreed, but…I never really thought we would go through with it and I NEVER would have thought we would still be doing it two years later.  Then again, she probably had the same reaction when I suggested we write a book.  Thus, we acknowledged the birthday to mark our commitment, insane, though it might be! 

After opening the card, I remember Rhonda saying something about how she had a conversation on twitter that day and that someone said something about how the fans at the JT signing that day were passing around a birthday card.  When she tried to explain it to me, clearly, we were both confused.  A real birthday card?  Why on earth would someone want to celebrate OUR birthday?  After all, we are just two fans who think too much and have too much to say about being Duranies.  Honestly, we are shocked on a daily basis when we don’t get messages or comments asking us to just shut up.  Even if people like what we have to say or think that we are thought-provoking, why would someone take the time to get a card, pass it around to other fans and then send it to us?!  Obviously, you can tell that I’m still floored by this! 

Rhonda and I cannot even begin to explain how much this means to us, though!  It is so nice to have one’s work validated and appreciated and this card did that and more.  This card not only rewards us but it encourages us to keep going, which will be essential during the Duran downtime that we will all experience.  We cannot thank enough not only everyone who signed the card but also the person/people who organized it and our friend, Bryony, who was the one to send it to us!  In fact, while we recognize most signatures, we would like to know exactly who signed the card and who organized it so that we can thank everyone personally!  Until then, we will continue to shake our heads in disbelief as we thank those of you who took the time to sign our card.  Your action means more to us than you will ever know!

-A 

To The Shore – The Daily Duranie Review

Today is a review day here on the blog – and this time we’re taking a good look at To The Shore from the band’s premiere album.

Rhonda’s take:

Instrumentation/Musicality: I’m a sucker for the synths on this one, and I won’t even try to lie.  It’s difficult for me to believe this song was off of the first album – purely because Nick is genius with the layering.  One thing I’d never noticed before until recently (thank goodness for decent earbuds) is that just beneath the “main” layer of sound that starts at about thirty seconds into song there is the faintest “whoosh” (no, not Simon…but a real WHOOSH sound!) that gives the allusion that you’re really near the shore. It just gives an atmosphere and I love it.  I really like that the song starts off with a muted quality, and the farther into the first verse we go, the clearer the music becomes until the entire band comes together in the first chorus.  It reminds me of walking on the beach on a foggy morning where you can’t really see things, but you just keep walking, and as you walk – the things in the closest of proximity become clear while everything in front of you as well as what you’ve left behind grow hazy and vague in the distance. John’s bass line gives the song an almost eery, haunting quality and while I am usually yelling “More guitar!!”, I really can’t on this one.  It would be out of place to have more than it has. Roger’s drums, while not taking on any kind of a featured role here, add just the right touch as necessary. This song is pure atmosphere. Musically, this song does everything that it was meant to accomplish.

Vocals:  I love Simon’s voice on this entire album, and this song is no exception.  He is incredibly gifted, and his voice is perfect on this one.  It has that beautiful timbre that is deep, whole, round and pure and there’s not a single sign of strain. His voice almost has a lazy quality to it here – and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense at all.  He just sounds like there’s no effort – he makes it sound so easy and relaxing – even *I* can catch my breath calm down like listening to this one.

Lyrics: I love the words Simon sings here.  They are poetry, and while I’m not sure I really want to know what they mean…my favorite line is “Open out your arms and breathe” ….and that’s just because sometimes I’m going so fast, I forget to just breathe.  It’s a good reminder.  The rest of the song? I think this might be one of the (very very few) songs where I actually believe him when Simon says it’s about sex. 😀  I know back when I was a kid I would have had NO idea what the hell he was going on about. I’d listen, trying to understand the words and the next thing I’d know I’d just be lulled into a daydream from the sound of his voice.  We’ll just go with that….and I’ll be on my way!

Production: One of the most curious things about modern-day production to me is how far out of whack we’ve gotten.  Whatever happened to letting the music speak for itself?  I’m all for technology, make no mistake.  I just have to believe that at some point, you’d better know your craft and know it well – and that is evident here, and I don’t just mean the musicians.  Too much really can be too much, although this song is in no way an example of that folly.  I love that every sound is given respect and has integrity along with room to grow on it’s own – as well as grow along side every other sound present in the song.  I can’t say that happens very often in music these days. (I sound like an old person when I say that, but it’s true.)  The music is lush without being thick with noise and effects that have no purpose.  It’s beautifully simple, yet wonderfully complex.

Overall: Here is the real deal: I live in the US, and this song was never on my radar.  I did hear it – my friend had it in her collection, but for me – the first album had Is There Something I Should Know, not To the Shore. I remember when I finally understood the story of how it all evolved and I felt so cheated – as if the labels had tried to pass one over on us (they had) here in the states. In retrospect now, it is so clear that THIS is the song that should have been on the album – Is There Something I Should Know, while still one of my very favorite DD songs of all time – sounds so out of place in comparison. All of that said, To The Shore had so much merit, and it’s really kind of sad that it was ignored and shelved here in the US.  It should not have been done so easily…but then again…I’m a fan.  What could I possibly know?  I think the song is stunning, even if it’s not the “go-to” song for me in every situation.

Cocktail Rating: 4 cocktails  (and after the week I’ve had – I need them!)

Amanda’s thoughts:

Instrumentation/Musicality:  It is all about Nick in the beginning of this song, isn’t it?  In fact, by the time the vocals kick in, the keyboards are all encompassing.  It wasn’t just about being on a shore but on an island with the water, or the keyboards, surrounding you.  Then, of course, the song really kicks into gear after Simon had been singing for almost a full 30 seconds.  The instrumentation then really grabs your attention and keeps you at full alert the rest of the way out.  Then, the other instruments are clear and present with strong guitar, bass and drums.  John’s bass, in particular, really solidifies the strong instrumentation.  If that wasn’t enough, there is clearly a lot of additional sounds included.  This layering definitely gives the song depth and creates a mood that so many songs on the first album were known for.  Then, the end is left really just with some of these additional sounds, which works to keep the song with you.  Personally, I’m a sucker for a song that starts out slowly, builds to a climax and ends quietly and this song is a perfect example of it.  This creates a drama that is hard for me to ignore.

Vocals:  It always amazes me when Simon’s vocals so perfectly match and enhance the musical quality of the instrumentation and it does so well for this one.  Simon’s vocals like in songs like Anyone Out There and this one almost become like another instrument working to create that mood.  On top of it, he does it so naturally.  Besides that, there are some additional, subtle moments when there are echos of Simon’s vocals, which provide the depth that is also found with those extra sounds.  They aren’t included too much and are included in just the right spots.

Lyrics:  This is one of those songs that we are reminded how gifted of a lyricist Simon can be.  It clearly shows his ability to write poetry.  If I were to just read those lyrics, I would never think about adding music to them and, yet, they were able to do that well or he was able to add poetry like this to music they created in such a fitting way.  Amazing.  Rhonda mentioned a good line and I’ll mention one that always jumps out at me:  “And diamond stars shining glitter bright”.  Talk about creating a vivid image.  As someone who works with students on their writing, I am generally happy when they can give one or two basic adjectives to describe a noun.  Simon clearly mastered that lesson and more.  Another line that I really love is, “Words are falling to the floor.”  Perhaps, this line catches my attention as a writer.  Sometimes, I feel like my words, my writing floats upwards and lands somewhere it wasn’t supposed to be and other times, I feel like my words “fall to the floor” in that they don’t explain or can’t explain exactly what I mean, think or feel.  Words are not enough to describe everything. 

Production:  In my opinion, a clear theme with this first album’s production is balance.  The instruments are all featured and there was a good sense about when to focus on which instrument and when to showcase the instruments working together.  This song is a good example of this.  On one hand, those keyboards are definitely in the spotlight.  Yet, later, the other instruments joined in.  Balance.  The other element related to production that this song shows well is the use of layering and other sounds, other vocal qualities.  This layering and other effects were subtle but profound.  Too many songs now want to make those additions really stand out.  Maybe, they think that is the only way that listeners will catch them.  Well, we caught these from 1981 and know what a difference they make in the final product.

Overall:  Like Rhonda, I can’t help but to acknowledge the lack of attention to this song due to having the first album feature, Is There Something I Should Know?.  I also have to admit that if this song would have been featured on the first album here in the States, I doubt that I would have paid much attention to it as a kid.  No, as a kid, I got into Girls on Film, Friends of Mine and Planet Earth.  This song would have been too out there for me, especially lyrically.  I wouldn’t have gotten it.  Then again, I doubt I got most of this album as a kid.  I didn’t realize the depth that was there.  I just recognized that some of the songs were catchy!  Anyway, even when I became more of a serious collector and got this song with high quality, it didn’t make me pay attention.  I ignored it for the most part.  Part of this must have been subconscious thinking in that I assumed that the band didn’t like it much either if it replaced it with a different song.  Ha!  What naive thinking!  What made me go back and really look at it?  Other fans did.  I saw that SO many people thought so highly of this track that I couldn’t ignore it.  What am I missing?  What don’t I get?  Now, sometimes, I give a song another try and I still dislike it or think it isn’t worthy of time but this one, it is worthy.  It is good.  In my opinion, it works to make that first album well-rounded in terms of instrumentation, lyrics, mood and more.

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!  (Rhonda should stop copying me!)

Live from The Bedford! Or not.

I know the blog is late today, and there are a few reasons for that – all of which have to do with the crazy morning I’ve had. Today is the day for Dom’s Blue to Brown gig at The Bedford (Which looks like a fantastic venue. Someday, I will get there. Someday.), and I had the nerve to actually plan my day so that I could actually WATCH the show (via webcast).  Well, that was my first mistake. I should know better than to plan.

This morning I woke up to find that our refrigerator – the lemon of ALL lemons – has once again decided to stop working. Again. Of course it did. In all fairness, I saw this coming, but it meant moving everything from there to ice chests. So I’m already late. Then my youngest had to have a lunch packed for school because I paid extra so that she could stay for an extended day today. Having her occupied means more time that I can watch the webcast uninterrupted. Yay!! Where were the things I needed for her lunch? In five different places, including the bottom of the damn ice chest I had just packed. *sigh* While making lunch, I get a text from the oldest. She’s not feeling well, plans to stay long enough to take her exam in her AP World History class, but then wants to come home. Guess who gets to drive 30 minutes in traffic to go get her? Oh yes, that’s right – ME. I get home and realize that I’ve got an hour to homeschool before getting online to see Dom’s show. An hour for two subjects.  Sure, that’ll work as long as we FLY through English….

So here I am, taking a deep breath and trying to relax. It’s only just after noon now and yet it feels like it should already be evening my time! I’m sitting at the computer, waiting for the show to start. Funny how no matter where I am, the same butterflies happen and I can’t sit still.  I’m in the chatroom on justin.tv for The Bedford Live, so I see a few people in there waiting.  It’s 12:29 by my computer, so we’ll see just how prompt Mr. Brown really is. (Ha! Bet he didn’t know I’d be reviewing the show for Daily Duranie! Surprise, surprise!) It’s now 12:42 and we’re more and more convinced that there will be no webcast of this show, even though by The Bedfords own website it states the show will be seen live on the web. That’s pretty much how this entire day has gone…so…*taps fingers on table*

As enterprising and devious as Duran fans can be, the few of us in the chat room talk, and one of them decides to call the venue. He’s already playing (of course he is because he’s on time!) so it’s naturally the webcast that is being affected. Of course it is. It’s explained to the venue that the feed isn’t coming through, and the bar staff person tells the Duran caller that they’ll have someone in the event room check on it. This is typical, and while I can understand that The Bedford staff have better things to do than make sure the webcast is running correctly for the sorry souls that don’t live in the UK, it’s disappointing to say that least. Not the end of the world by a long shot – but disappointing.

So Dom, if you’re reading (Ha, sure you are…I am REALLY good at delusions of grandeur here!) ….now I have to beg and plead for you to consider coming to my coast for some gigs.   As it turns out, I’m not especially talented at groveling in print, but I wish you’d consider coming over. That said, there’s always that convention weekend in November.  Birmingham? Over 200 Duran fans in one place… how can that not be tempting??

Oh well. That might just be me then.

I’ve decided to sit here, finish the blog and wait just in case the feed starts to work, but we’re being told by the moderator that Dom decided not to show the webcast otherwise we’d be seeing it. That isn’t the kind of thing you want to hear/read when you’re sitting an ocean away and have been a fan of the guy for years. YEARS…like since day one he got on stage with them and practically no other fan knew of him or wanted him there, but whatever. You know, it’s inconsequential, really.

So we’re just chatting as we’re sitting there waiting, because that’s what Duranies do. We chat. We wait. Sometimes we’re even patient! We get disappointed, but we’re still fans. It’s what we do. I don’t know how many of you out there have seen the commercials for the new Samsung phone that is very similar to the iPhone5. The commercial shows scenes of a line outside of the Apple store where the fans (and I do mean FANS) are talking about all the new features the phone might offer and how they’ve had to wait so long for whatever it is they’re looking for as far as features go. Then they see phones being used from another maker and they’re curious, but they’re trying to pretend they really AREN’T that interested and so forth. The best part is when someone walks up with one of the new phones who used to be one of the Apple fans. The Apple fans recognize this person, and then ask why they’ve got a new phone. They glance at the phone then look to the people in line and say they’ve moved on. This, my friends…is what being a fan is really like, and not just if you’re a Duran fan, apparently.

Always optimistic, always waiting for the next thing. A lot of times, we’re disappointed.  Sometimes we even get mad, and sometimes we move on.

The core group though? We’ve been around for a long time, and we’ll continue to stick around….webcasts, gigs, permanent members….or not.

-R

Friends of Mine (I DO think myself lucky, actually!)

Good morning everyone!  5:30am hurts after only a few precious hours of sleep…just in case you didn’t know, I just thought I’d share.  Ugh.  I really don’t have insomnia but a few times over the course of an entire year, but when I get it – I get it and I end up stuck there for a bit.  That’s what’s happening right now.  Too much going on, the brain doesn’t shut off and I end up having to read until I get tired.  I don’t do sleeping pills of any kind simply because they end up making me feel worse, and being the only parent here with three kids right now – I can’t afford to be groggy.  I can’t wait to see how I’m going to feel at 3pm today.  Eek!

On this date in 2004, a convention was underway in New Orleans.  The 78-03 Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention was held at the Hotel Monaco in New Orleans.  Unfortunately the hotel is no longer there, it experienced a large amount of damage during Hurricane Katrina and was not rebuilt. This convention was very special to me personally for a number of reasons – not the least of which being that it was where I met the other half of Daily Duranie! I met so many wonderful people there “in person” for the first time that weekend in 2004, people who I continue to stay in contact with to this day.

For me, the convention was nearly a rebirth, and most certainly cathartic. I’ve read so many articles, essays and books that claim that fandom is as much spiritual (in an obviously secular way) as it is anything else.  I have to say that when I look back on that weekend, I remember how it all felt for me – and yes, it really was very much like a spiritual awakening.  It was like getting reacquainted with myself, finding “my people”, and realizing that I did in fact belong somewhere.  In college, I took an entire course called The Sense of Place.  (I can feel your jealousy from here. I know, I know..you wish you had been me.  It’s OK.  Really.) In this course, we studied what the word “place” really meant in a very non-literal sense, and what lengths people will go to find where it is they belong.  For some it means going back home, for others it means wandering the planet, and for others it means never leaving the house they were born.  In hindsight I have to wonder why the professor never thought to include fandom in our course of study, but that weekend, I finally understood what the professor meant during our course. (Too bad I had taken the class nearly ten years prior…better late learning than never!)  I had found my place.

Too many people wander aimlessly in this world, wondering where exactly they are supposed to fit in.  I feel for those people, because for me – I spend a lot more time trying to adhere to the rules, towing the line, and doing what is expected than I do feeling like I actually belong somewhere. In this regard, writing the blog and being a fan has been quite the journey of exploration and discovery, and yes – it really has become a source of therapy. Amanda and I have had the opportunity to meet many other fans now, and without fail, nearly everywhere we’ve gone we’ve had a fellow fan come up to us, thank us for the blog (which blows me away every single time) and tell us that they feel like they finally belong somewhere.  I can’t honestly believe that’s because of our writing, but if planning events and making people feel welcome helps someone else to feel included, I am thrilled. That is the whole point.  The ONLY point.  I love seeing fans come together and watching forever friendships being made.

So I need to thank a group of people, because without their persistence, strength and wisdom, that convention would have never occurred, and as the story goes – the rest of my journey probably wouldn’t have began.  These women, and possibly a few men out there – and I’ll just collectively call them DDF’ers (before anyone gets wise-ideas, DDF was our message board – DuranDuranFans.com!) so that I don’t risk leaving any single person out, were responsible for pulling together a convention on a shoestring budget from nearly every corner of the United States.  We had a great time, and when I’m feeling really low – I’ll go back and look at the pictures I’ve got just to remind myself of how much fun I really had, and how far we’ve all come.

I still haven’t forgotten about that video of Rio – karaoke style, girls.  I trust it remains under lock and key. It’s for the greater good.

-R

Book Discussion – Wild Boy (Prologue, Ch 1-3)

As promised, we have started our discussion of Andy Taylor’s autobiography, Wild Boy, My Life in Duran Duran.

With the very first note, Andy makes it very clear what his intention will be with this book.  His life IN Duran Duran. That is very pertinent, particularly because while it is an autobiography, most people are not aware of Andy beyond is work as a musician in Duran Duran as well as his solo work thereafter. (or in between his “tours of duty” in the band.  To make things even more interesting, Rhonda’s notes will be in the standard black font and Amanda’s additions/comments are in blue.

Prologue

R: Andy begins the book discussing what is ultimately Duran Duran’s last appearance together as the “original five” at Live Aid, July 13, 1985.  Not in the UK of course, but in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA…a grace note that has always somewhat ruefully amused me. I don’t think many, if any of us who were fans back in the 80’s really knew the end of an era was taking place that day. I certainly didn’t, even if I remember being slightly deflated by the performance. I suppose the humor, if there really is any, to be recognized in that moment is simply that it could have been in any city, in any state, in any country.  As good of a statement as any that it happened in Pennsylvania than anywhere else, simply reinforcing the notion that you just never know when it will be the last time.

Andy chose to open his book with the what is the ending to the first act of his career in Duran Duran. The encore of course comes much later, but I found it rather telling that he chose to open with an account of performance that was not only the last, but also highlighting on a bum note. This recount is profoundly negative, if not for Andy, then at the very least for the fans who followed them along the way. I don’t personally know of any fan who looks back on that Live Aid performance with feelings of triumph and joy, if the performance itself didn’t bother us (and how could it not? It wasn’t only Simon’s note that fell flat – there was zero charisma and connection going on that stage that day.), hindsight tells us that the performance was DD’s last as the original five, and for many, it still remains a bittersweet memory. In many ways, the description of this performance sets the tone for the book – bittersweet.

One section of the prologue describes the ride they took to the venue, “We drove to the venue through streets packed with excited rock fans, but inside the bus the atmosphere was if were were on our way to a funeral.”  (page 5)  Immediately following the recount of that bus ride describes the scene of Live Aid as a giant party scene.  Not only is are the two “scenes” diametrically opposed, what I found poignant is that the only partying to be done – the festivities, so to speak – were found only when Andy is on his own, away from the band.  Although Andy admits that his heart just wasn’t in the mood to party as he tries to fall into bed that night.

A: When talking about this party lifestyle, Andy wrote, “But the lifestyle we had aspired to, and for which we had worked so hard, became the very cancer that was starting to destroy us.”  Clearly, Andy wanted to really show how problematic he found the life that he had created by describing it as “cancer”.  Word choice can be everything.  It also reminds me that so many people who become famous question if fame is really a good thing.

R: Andy closes the prologue with a question – “Was it all worth it?”  Keep that question in mind for later discussion.

Chapter One
R: Andy begins this chapter with one of the saddest things I’ve ever read – the day his mother leaves he, his brother and his father. It is quite obvious that this single event changed Andy forever, and I think the aftermath of this abandonment proves to be something Andy struggles with to this day.  I think that while perhaps not many of us have experienced something similar, we can all certainly feel empathetic. I think that after reading this section, I felt some sort of connection to Andy.  My mom never exactly left – but there was a time when I was very young (about five years old) that my mom was away for six months.  I know that for me, the worry of having my mom leave again played a huge part in the person I became.  I followed the rules and tried to be a “perfect” child, just to make sure she wouldn’t leave again, no matter the reason. Those feelings follow me to this day, and so I have no doubt the same holds true for Andy. Later in the chapter Andy comments that he has difficulty saying “good-bye” to this day, and I have no doubt this taps into the ways that he and the band have parted…twice. 

A: I also noted the importance this event must have had for him.  I took particular attention to the steps leading up to his mother’s departure.  At one point, he stated that he had no idea that there was trouble with his mother then he starts to discuss the horrible arguments his mother and father had.  Then, part of him was relieved when she left.  I wondered how much, if any of this, influenced his own behavior and his way of dealing with problems.  

R:The austere and rough beginnings from Andy’s childhood seem to be far more blue-collar than what the rest of the band experienced.  Not being from the UK myself, I can’t decide if this is in fact the case, or rather just the way Andy writes.  No matter, Andy still talks about where he is from with pride – and as someone who grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks” myself, I still speak of my neighborhood with pride.  I am well-aware of who I am and where I came from, and I think most of us can appreciate that, especially since we all know that he’s experienced far more luxury in life than most at this point.

When I think of Andy Taylor, I think of someone who just isn’t going to be forced to follow the rules.  He’s going to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.  Call it stubbornness, call it whatever you’d like.  I laughed when he described various “rules” in his house – not going into specific rooms, not touching certain things – and of course Andy still did what he liked.  Somehow I think we’re going to find that carrying over into his tenure in Duran Duran.  Call me crazy.

One extended note to carry for later discussion: Andy carries much of his feelings about his mom leaving with him, choosing not to discuss but rather keep it all bottled.  He is fairly silent about much of it until he is in his adult years.  Many fans have mentioned how fairly “silent” both the band as well as Andy have been regarding the events leading up to his departure(s) from Duran Duran. Granted, none of us are on the inside and know just how much talking was or wasn’t done, but it is certainly something that should be thought of for later on in the book.  Is that “silence”, the lack of finality, the lack of “good-bye” something that Andy continues?? 

A: On the topic of keeping his feelings to himself, I noted that Andy seemed to try to focus his energy or feelings towards other things.  In this chapter, he obviously turns to music, but he also mentions that he played sports, aggressively, and got into fights.  In his view, music was the best of these as they kept him out of trouble. 

Chapter Two
R:In this chapter, Andy talks about The Rum Runner.  The scene of the crime, so to speak!  Again, coming to this story as one who didn’t grow up in the UK – I always took what people said about Birmingham for granted.  I’d always heard it was a very industrial sort of town, not very nice, not some place to spend time. In fact, just two years ago when I was coming into the UK to see Duran Duran for the ill-fated shows that ended up being canceled, I was headed to Birmingham straight from Heathrow.  The customs official that stamped my passport wanted to know “Why on earth” I was going to Brum.  He told me it was not a nice city and that I should pass it by in my travels. I smiled (what else am I going to do with a customs official?  Argue??) and went on my way, not really knowing what I was getting myself into – but I figured it would be an adventure.  I have to say – I LOVE BIRMINGHAM.

A:Ditto, says Amanda! 

R: Sure, it has a certain industrial feel to it, not at all unlike where I grew up.  I think that’s why I fell for the city – it feels like home to me. (Sans the canals. The closest thing the “Charter Oak” area of Glendora/Covina had when I was growing up was “The wash”, a place I was strictly forbidden to go and play. I guess it was a “sort” of canal…it was a big concrete gutter lined with chain link fence that collected the runoff water and funneled towards treatment plants or the ocean!)  Anyway, in reading the book what struck me was how, compared to Cullercoats, Birmingham was the utmost in trendy.  I still don’t think anyone would actually say that about where I grew up, unless you want to talk about the downtown area that has been used for various movies over the years…but that’s OK.

A: Ditto again! My childhood was also spent in a place with an industrial feel (south side Chicago), adds Amanda.

R: Another sight that comes into plain view during this chapter is Andy’s feelings for Nick.  Even on a musical level, it’s pretty obvious that there is no love lost here.  Andy talks about how Nick only played the black keys on his keyboard – something that Kate Bush was known for doing at the time – and that it only amounted to playing one key.  “Nick’s interpretation of doing music was very obviously going to be different to mine.  Playing seemed to be the last thing on his mind, but he wanted to make keyboard sounds and textures and layers of sound – and in that sense he wanted to do something different that had never been done before.”  (page 40)  I’m not sure at the time that Andy recognized the significance of what Nick was trying to do – but I think it’s clear in the tone of his writing that he felt Nick was on a completely different musical planet.  Of course, it’s that difference between the two that helped to create the most iconic sounds of the 1980’s…. 

A: I, too, took note of Andy’s comments regarding Nick, especially when Andy said that he didn’t want to understand traditional structure of music.  Besides Nick, I thought it was interesting that he took time to describe first impressions of each band member in some detail.

R: I did as well, Amanda.  What I noticed though was that in nearly every description – Andy poked fun, and of course the now-infamous LeBon Leopard pants, in pink, were mentioned as well.  I suppose a reader could take his gentle ribbing about his first impressions of each band member as a sort of “dig”, but I really think Andy reflects back on that time with fond memories, thinking that when they all first met – they were really all just normal kids – the farthest away from being rock stars than we could imagine.  Things changed very, very fast!

The chapter ends with the band getting signed to EMI. “It felt strange and unreal to be at the headquarters of EMI negotiating a new beginning at the same time that John Lennon’s death brought to a close a huge chapter in the history of rock and roll. We didn’t know if it was fate or a bad omen.” (page 56)  In my opinion, this continues that bittersweet tone of the book. The passage reads so negatively, I can’t honestly believe Andy feels that way about his career in Duran Duran.  This edition of the book was published in 2008, and I have to think that not enough time had passed from his second tour of duty to allow the sharpness of the more angered or painful memories to dull…does the negative tone overshadow all the good??

A: It is fascinating to me that they agreed to split the royalties equally as John and Nick could have easily asked for more as the founders.  To me, that shows something about their characters. 

R: I didn’t even think about that, Amanda.  I think it’s because I’ve heard for so often that they always split things equally that I read right over that without noticing.  I’m not sure it really says that much about Nick or John’s character as much as it shows their naivete and youth at the time. They were probably so excited by the very prospect of being signed that they didn’t give any thought to whom had been around longest.  Ego probably didn’t crop up until a bit later.

Chapter Three
R:The chapter opens with Andy talking about the first time he tried cocaine. We all know by now that the band and cocaine were fairly synonymous back in the day. Apparently Andy felt (and perhaps this was widespread belief at the time) that cocaine was a “rich man’s drug” and that it was harmless. I have to be honest, as a kid – I never thought about their drug use and I’m not even sure I was aware.  I think that for me, it was the beauty of being far removed.  I didn’t *see* all of those things.  I heard the music, saw the (eventual) videos, read the articles and didn’t know about the rest.  I’ll go one step further and say that I’ve never tried cocaine. That’s right. I really am one of those good kids to this day! I just never saw the point.  I think I was fairly judgmental about people who did any kind of drug when I was young – alcohol aside – and so for me, I’m really kind of glad I never paid much attention to the murmurs of drug use by the band. For me it probably would have made a difference (keep in mind that we’re talking about me at the age of twelve or thirteen) because drug use scared me, apparently for really good reason!

One thing that I find fascinating is how Andy describes the recording of Planet Earth and his role that he shared with Nick in being the two that made most of the commercial decisions at the time.  Knowing the tension that seemed to exist between Andy and Nick makes it all the more…humorous, perhaps…that they were the most involved on the business-end.  Of course Andy explains their backgrounds and why this made sense, but I have to wonder if this didn’t just add to the friction. 

A: I noted the same thing and was surprised by that.  Why wouldn’t John have been involved more? 

R: In reading this chapter, I noticed that Andy takes the time to point out the tiny fissures already  forming.  In one part he talks about the lack of confidence in Simon’s vocal quality while recording Planet Earth, at another point he says though that as far as he was concerned, Simon was the vocalist.  Fair enough. Management always has different ideas than the band and record company, it seems.  Andy talks about how the label chose to promote John first (He was the most photogenic.  No, really?) in Japan and that he (Andy) thought this would upset Simon.  He talks about the competitive nature, notably between John and Simon, of meeting the most girls, this of course being the beginnings of the much-publicized hedonistic lifestyle of the band. Andy goes on to point out that this lifestyle goes completely against what was happening in the rest of the country at the time, with rioting in the UK, the height of the cold war, nuclear bomb fears, etc.  Yet the band known for excess everything grew beyond the limits, meeting Warhol, taking a bus filled with crazily dressed fans from The Rum Runner into Paris.  I think Andy continues to make his statement simply by juxtaposing the good times with the rougher moments that fans like me never really saw or experienced.  Bittersweet. 

A: Adding that this focus on fun, partying, and statements about being the band dancing when the bomb dropped did not help Duran get critical acclaim.  Instead, it led many people to look at them with scorn, according to research I have done.  

– A&R

I Must Have Flowers in my Brain

I have been a part of Duranland, of the Duran Duran fan community for a long time.  I have seen and heard a lot of discussions about a variety of topics.  Sometimes, topics come back over and over again.  For example, discussions surrounding setlists and single choices seem to pop up over and over again, especially during touring time and during new albums.  Despite my experiences and observations, I still find myself surprised, at times, by what comes up in discussion and what does not.  Rhonda and I comment to each other frequently about which blog posts result in a lot of discussion and which do not.  Sometimes, we know a topic might get a lot of attention.  Typically, posts surrounding things like DDM, the official fan club, or presales get a lot of comments and discussion.  Yet, some topics result in crickets chirping.  Those topics are easy to see if you look through the history of this blog.  Many of those posts have very few comments or no comments.  Of course, there are topics that we have yet to tackle and many of those haven’t been talked about by the fan community either.  One of the topics I am surprised hasn’t had any discussion in the documentary part of A Diamond in the Mind.  I can’t imagine that people haven’t watched it.  Yes, there must be some fans who haven’t but there has to be a lot of fans who have.  So, why isn’t there discussion about it?

The documentary part of the DVD is not very long, a mere eleven plus minutes.  Yet, it is jammed packed with discussion topics.  The documentary title is Duran Duran 2011.  It goes through the previous year, including highlights, Simon losing his voice, the live band, the Girl Panic video and a summary.  Of course, there are more specific topics that can be pulled out.  For example, when they discussed the live band, they talked about Dom and Dom spoke.  The only people who spoke in the documentary where Simon, Nick, Roger, John and Dom.  So, certainly, there could be a discussion surrounding Dom’s role, his place in the band, etc.  Another topic that could be discussed would be the highlights given.  The band talked about Coachella, Unstaged with David Lynch, and American festivals.  We could discuss if we agree with those highlights, why the band might think those were the highlights, etc.  Of course, there was a great bit of attention given to Simon’s vocal problems in the summer of 2011.  Again, I have to ask.  Are those not worthy topics?  Are we tired of talking about Simon’s vocal difficulties?  Do we not want to look back to 2011?  Is our fan community focused more on the present and the future?  That could be.  After all, the band, themselves, seem to focus on the present and the future much more.  Yet, as a historian, I see the value of looking at the past and analyzing it.  After all, hindsight can make a big difference in how we see something.  Then, of course, there is the discussion of Dom and his role in the band.  I know how passionate people are about Duran’s guitarist no matter which guitarist one is loyal to.  That said, isn’t it worth a discussion? 

As someone who likes dive into everything Duran, I propose that we tackle the topics that I presented, the topics that Duran included in the documentary.  I wish go through topic by topic in the coming weeks.  I am hoping that everyone has a chance to rewatch the documentary or watch it for the first time before I dive into these items of discussion.  It is also very likely that I have missed a topic.  Thus, I welcome suggestions for topics.  While this blog is mine and Rhonda’s, it is also a place for all fans.  Maybe, you not only have a topic from the documentary to discuss but you want to lead the discussion.  I would welcome that.  After all, a lot of people are probably sick to death of what Rhonda and I.  Next week, I will start the documentary discussion on 2011 highlights.  As part of this discussion, I plan on not only talking about the band’s highlights but my personal highlights related to Duran as there were many.  I will ask you to do the same. 

-A

Withdrawal Symptoms

I woke up this morning sick to my stomach.  The symptoms clearly said it was some sort of flu with nausea, stomach craps, alternating between chills and sweating and exhaustion.  Of course, I posted my illness on my personal facebook while I called the campaign I’m working for to tell them that I needed someone to cover me at today’s canvass.  The consensus on facebook was that I had been pushing myself too much and that a day off would do me good.  While it could be a virus or a virus that was able to hit due to working so much, I suspect that there might be something else going on.  I was able to put it together after receiving an email from Rhonda and seeing her facebook status.  She, too, has been battling illness this week and experienced insomnia last night.  My sleep has been awful lately as well.  Now, we don’t live near each other.  I’m in Wisconsin and she’s in California.  There is no way that we have the same virus or do we?!?

Today is September 22nd.  Where were we one month ago?  We were in Portsmouth, Virginia, going to our final show of the All You Need is Now tour.  This was the last show for probably years and we both were well aware of that on that day.  Strangely enough, I also had a weird dream last night in my very restless sleep.  The location of this weird dream:  Portsmouth, Virginia.  When I woke up this morning, I thought it was a strange location to dream about since we weren’t there very long and it wasn’t the most memorable location or show of the tour.  Yet, my subconscious was thinking about it.  Clearly.  In this dream, I had to get to a show.  I was in a rush to get there but I kept running into roadblocks, both literally and figuratively.  Traffic was a nightmare in my dream as was road construction.  I only had a few hours to get there, to the show.  Rhonda, too, was struggling to get there.  I assumed that she wasn’t going to make it.  I found myself slowly accepting the fact that we weren’t going to make it on time for the show.  In fact, I decided I wasn’t even going to see Rhonda.  I tried to accept it.  At the last minute, Rhonda showed up in what I assumed was a hotel room.  The last thing I remember saying to her was, “We might make it but it isn’t going to be easy.”  When I woke up, I thought I was talking about making that show and maybe I was.  Now, though, I think it is bigger than that. 

This dream connected with my symptoms, Rhonda’s symptoms and today’s date only means one thing.  We are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, this means that we are addicted.  We are Duranaholics.  I am standing up as I type this and admitting it.  My name is Amanda and I’m a Duranaholic.  Clearly, now I know that this addiction isn’t just mental but physical as well.  Now that I have taken the first step and am not longer trying to deny this addiction, what do I do?  Do I try and break the addiction?  If so, this means I have to continue through this detox and, frankly, I have no choice as there is no time with the band in my future.  Although, I keep hoping, despite all evidence that it won’t happen, for at least, a tiny fix with a John Taylor signing in…say…Chicago.  Okay.  *deep breath*  So, I must continue through detox.  Then what?  Meetings?  Do they have to be in person meetings or can twitter and facebook be enough?  I know that there are many Duranies in the Madison area or within driving distance.  Should I organize DA (Duranaholics Anonymous) meetings?  What if I’m the only addict?  Yes, many people may be able to enjoy Duran in small quantities and might be able to really control their usage.  Do you think that they would be able to encourage my change in lifestyle or will they be enablers by showing Duran clips or playing Duran music?  Then, there is the issue of Rhonda.  Will she walk this path with me or will she continue to use? 

Of course, I could just decide to keep using.  Maybe I can do enough Duran like to keep the mental and physical suffering away for the most part.  What should I do?  Which path should I choose?  How do I survive until the next fix?  How are the rest of you surviving without Duranlive?! 

-A

P.S.  I do truly understand that real addiction is a disease that should be taken seriously.  I was only comparing fandom to real addictions for fun.  No offense was meant.  I promise.  🙂

Chains

It is pretty funny when a quote affects both Rhonda and I so much that we both have to blog about it, but that is what John’s quote from the speech he gave at his former school did.  The quote was the following:

“For me, passion is the most important asset a person can have. To work with feeling for something. To care. That’s why I think it is most important that we connect with what it is we want to do- not someone else’s idea of what we should be doing with our time and our lives. Sometimes people are old and grey before they realize they have been following their parents dream, not theirs- and they wonder why they are so unhappy.

Find your passion and you will find happiness, because there is nothing more important in the adult world than enjoying your work. That has been my experience. And if you enjoy your work you will find work, because you will be appreciated wherever you go. ”  -John Taylor

Yesterday, Rhonda blogged about how this applied to her life and her discovery about her own passion.  This quote also caught my attention, especially after the questioning I have been doing with my own life lately.

I, too, feel like I have a passion.  For a long time, I have felt my passion was my work, my career.  I have been a teacher for a long time.  In many ways, I find it hard to believe that I have been in classrooms since 1997.  I thought experienced teaching would feel very differently than it does.  I went into teaching for a pretty unique reason.  I wanted to make a difference.  Yes, I think that a lot of people go into teaching for the exact same reason.  The difference between my reasoning and most is that I wanted to make a difference in a broad, whole society, big picture sort of way.  I had spent most of my college years reading, analyzing, writing and researching about social movements.  Thus, I thought teaching would be a perfect way for me to do my part to continue the necessary progress of many social movements that I studied, including the Women’s Movement, Civil Rights, etc.  In particular, I chose to focus on students with disabilities who also lived in poverty.  Many of my students are also students of color.  Such an idealist I was!  Then, as settled into my teaching career, I took on something else, something more.

In 2008, I decided to get involved with a political campaign.  (I’m sure you can guess which one!)  I found this work fulfilling.  I can organize well.  It truly is my strength.  I can also lead people and explain things well, especially since I have been doing that for years in the classroom.  On top of that, I loved the intensity of it.  Loved it.  I also loved the win.  I had only felt that kind of high at concerts of a certain band we all know.  After election day, I couldn’t let it go.  It seemed like such a logical addition to my work in the classroom.  Fast forward four years later, I’m still teaching.  I’m still politically organizing.  Teaching is more than a full time job.  That said, I’m in a new position this year, which definitely is less stressful and does not require as much time after work.  Campaigning, though, is taking up about 20 hours a week.  If you are doing the math, that equals at least about 60 hours per week.  I’m sure you are all wondering why I’m “sharing” so much here.  I’m getting to the point, I swear!

What I have left out in this story of my “career” is this.  Rhonda and I started thinking about the book, seriously, a few years ago.  Soon, we started writing, reading, researching.  It worked well for me, for Rhonda.  Then, we added this blog.  Still, all was good.  We added twitter and facebook.  This year, we started adding the today in Duran history and the daily/weekly questions.  I get up an extra 30-45 minutes to do that everyday.  We have more up our sleeve and just need the time to finish the book, get it published and do other related projects.

So what is the point?  How does this connect to John’s quote or to the title of the blog?  Here’s the deal.  I thought my passion was to help others, to help make the world a better place.  I am proud of the work that I have done both as a teacher and as an organizer.  If I died tomorrow, I would know that I have done my part.  Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure if that is my passion.  Was it ever really my passion?  Did I just want it to be?  Would it still be if I wasn’t just exhausted, both from working so much and from working so intensely for so many years?  I don’t know, for sure.  The only way to really be able to answer that is to step away for a long time.  After doing some soul searching, I think I know a little bit about where my passion really lies.

I love doing this blog.  I love writing the book and I’m damn proud of all that we have done so far.  I enjoy doing the daily tasks on twitter, facebook and here.  It has become a third job of sorts as it is also time consuming and believe that it could be a lot more.  Right now, 3 weeks into the school year and 46 days until the election, I find myself wishing I could just dedicate myself to this, this crazy thing that Rhonda and I created.  Is it because this is about Duran?  Sure.  Of course, the band is part of it but it isn’t just because of the band.  It is a lot more than that.  Is it that I  am uninterested in my other jobs?  No, it isn’t that.  I still love watching and talking politics.  I enjoy being with kids and teaching them.  Yet, I’m just not feeling the passion there.  Maybe, in many ways, the true passion here is for writing, researching, reading, organizing around something.  Something that matters.  In our case, it is reading, researching, writing, and organizing in order to make OUR world, OUR community better by bringing people, Duranies, together for fun, for discussion.  After all, part of what Rhonda and I wanted to do with this, with the book is explain our lives as fans and to show that being a fan is good, is worthwhile.  Now, if I could just figure out a way to pay my bills this way…maybe those chains of the other careers could be lifted.

-A

My Own Way

Passion is something I’ve looked for, without knowing what I was looking for, throughout adulthood. It wasn’t to be found in parenting, no matter how much I love my kids. It certainly hadn’t been in my previous job. I know I had passion when I was a budding musician back in junior high and high school, but that was many years ago and it was right for that time in my life. Now it’s become more of a hobby and I’m happy with it there. Still I searched for something… I took classes, I took up hobbies, still nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all of it, but there’s a huge difference between enjoying something and wanting to live to do something.

When Amanda and I began writing the book and later blogging, I wrote with vigor. I loved the writing, and I wanted to do it all the time. I would start writing and completely lose myself – then I’d look up and realize I was late to pick up the kids from school!  I’d have to tear myself away, go get them, and then try to rush back and pick up where I left off. (Not easy when you’re in the “zone”.) I felt that passion, and I loved it!! The trouble was, when I would explain to people what we were doing, I immediately felt the scorn. Friends would immediately ask “Are you a groupie then?” I’d try to explain that no, no we weren’t – we were fans like anyone else, but that we were curious about studying the fandom. Then they’d say “Oh well isn’t that the same thing?”, then they’d follow up with “What does Walt say about that?” In my head I’d think, “Who in the hell CARES?!? Since when do I have to ask him about writing a book?!?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked those same questions since I started writing.  The same happens even with family, and I’m pretty careful about with whom I share “book news”. Invariably my family – the very people who should be the most supportive – are simply not. I had a conversation this past summer with one family member who literally chuckled and scoffed about the book. “It’s just a little hobby that’s gotten out of hand, Rhonda. I mean, how are you even qualified to write something like that?” I had to remind this person that I actually did go to college, and that my degree was based in writing, very similar writing to what I’m doing for the book, and that makes me qualified! The immediate reaction is typically to downgrade what I’m working on to a hobby at best, and something slightly more icky at worst. For me it’s a personal game of tug-o-war between feeling as though people (and my family most specifically) should simply accept me for who I am and be supportive, and feeling like I’ve got to hide my interests because they just aren’t quite as acceptable as being President of the local MOM’S Club or working at the kids’ school. It’s constant and honestly, it is even degrading. I feel like I’ve got to keep the one thing I’m passionate about to myself, or face the scorn and disapproval from friends and family.

I try to keep my lives as separate as possible. I don’t talk too much about the blog or the book on my personal Facebook, primarily because it’s the way I keep in touch with a lot of my family. I still use my Facebook to comment on friends pages, and sometimes – I even comment on the pages of band members, never usually considering who might be reading because I don’t really say anything that I’m ashamed of saying. Yesterday though, that too came to a crashing halt because an extended family member inadvertently noticed a comment I’d made on a Facebook public page and commented in return. It was completely innocent and innocuous, but it forced me to explain some things that I’d previously kept quiet, and as a result it’s become the subject of a bit of uproar in my extended family. “A book about a rock band? Are you serious Rhonda?” (Well no, it’s not really about a ROCK BAND…it’s about being a fan) “Being a fan? Isn’t that something you should have given up by now? You’re not a young woman anymore? Who would buy such a silly book? Does Walt agree with this?” (A. Yes, I’m a fan. B. No, I won’t give that stuff up until I’m dead because I enjoy music. Why is that bad and why don’t you have your own life? Oh…and I’m not THAT old! C. I’m not even going to go into who would buy the book because obviously you’ve already made up your minds about my “silly book”. D.Why even ask?) I’ve found myself left with quite a bit of anger and frustration as a result. You’d think that I quit school and joined a rock band or something…!!! (Irony is a funny thing.)

Perhaps it was naive on my part to assume that my family wouldn’t notice. I’m always telling my own kids that you never know who is reading what is posted online, and I probably should have followed my own advice. I didn’t post anything that I’m ashamed of…it’s just where I’d posted that is apparently the problem…and apparently now my posting is under more scrutiny as certainly family members have gone back to see what else has been said/written, and they are reporting back to my husband. I guess that the boundaries and considerations I afford my family members are simply not extended to me.  I’m frustrated, mad and bewildered today. So I’m doing the only thing I know to do….I’m writing.  

 As our readers know, I’m a stay-at-home mom. (I still don’t know why they call it stay-at-home. I’m a glorified, volunteer chauffeur and houseslave. Home has nothing to do with it unless I’m cooking or cleaning.) Once upon a time, I did work outside of the house – I wouldn’t have called it a career, but I did earn money. (I was a staffing coordinator/account manager for a few different staffing companies after I graduated from college. Basically, I interviewed and placed applicants for temporary light industrial and clerical jobs.) I can’t really articulate just how much I hated that job, no matter what company I worked for at the time (there were a few). I felt horrible telling people “No, we don’t have work for you today.” thousands of times each week. I despised getting the phone calls at 5pm from clients saying that they needed 100 people on a job site the next day, knowing that our company policy was to stay until the “order” was filled – whether that meant we left at 5:30 or we left at 2am.(and there were plenty of those days – we’d leave at 2am and have to be back at work at 7:30am. I lived 40 minutes from work, so you can do the math as to how much sleep I would get.) I despised the companies that would call and ask for specific races/ages/skill levels of people (no joke), and I honestly didn’t like the applicants that would come in and assume I worked for THEM when in fact it was the other way around. It was a horrible place for me to work, and I had zero passion for the staffing industry. My job had an enormous amount of stress attached to it – it’s never good when people call you and start crying when you tell them there’s no work, or when they call you and shout at you over the phone because a job has ended. So, when I found out that I was expecting our first baby and my blood pressure got so high my doctor insisted I stay at home, I quit. Gladly. With great enthusiasm even! The only passion I had for that job consisted of dislike.

Let me be clear, I love being a mom. My children ALWAYS come first, except in those very few times when I attempt to do something for me – and in those times – I typically feel guilt. I feel like I have to say that out loud, often – because the people around me (whom I will choose not to name) tend to believe otherwise. I have made certain decisions to ensure that my kids remain happy, cared for, and whole. Many times, I’ve made those decisions at the expense of my own happiness. I don’t regret those choices and decisions, but make no mistake – I live with the consequences of those choices every single day. Sometimes I wish I could scream that at the top of my lungs. Not because I think I deserve an award or something, but because again – there are people that believe otherwise, and I guess to some degree I still feel as though I need to prove my self-worth. Other times I think I need to say those words because I need to remind myself of what I’m doing or what is the final goal. I’m not sure that any of that constitutes real passion. I just know what has to be done for the love of my three beautiful babies. (They hate it when I call them that!) Regardless, the one thing in my life that I am the most proud of is that I’m a very good parent, and that I love my children more than they’ll ever really know.

Even so, there’s been something missing in me, in my spirit, for years, and John Taylor hit the nail on the head in the speech he gave to his old school in Redditch this past week.  Here’s a short excerpt:

“For me, passion is the most important asset a person can have. To work with feeling for something. To care. That’s why I think it is most important that we connect with what it is we want to do- not someone else’s idea of what we should be doing with our time and our lives. Sometimes people are old and grey before they realize they have been following their parents dream, not theirs- and they wonder why they are so unhappy.

Find your passion and you will find happiness, because there is nothing more important in the adult world than enjoying your work. That has been my experience. And if you enjoy your work you will find work, because you will be appreciated wherever you go. ”  -John Taylor

I found my passion. My passion is writing. I’m lucky that I can take that passion and use it to fuel an interest, which of course is Duran Duran, but I also have the interest and passion of bringing people together…creating a community…fostering a community. I want people to feel the connection, the sense of belonging, and the sense of place that I have struggled to find for most of my life. For far too long I’ve allowed the scorn, disapproval and flat out judgment of others decide my fate. No more.  

To begin with, my family really needs to respect some boundaries. I don’t follow anyone, including my husband, to their places of business. I don’t read every email they send, listen to their phone calls, or even see if they are on Twitter. I allow them to do their jobs, scorn free. I also do not ask how much they get paid and then decide if their job is an appropriate career choice based on how much they make. That isn’t MY business, and it certainly isn’t anyone else’s either. My statement is simply this: I write, and yes – I write about a rock band and about fandom. I am thrilled with what I do. I can only hope that others feel the same about the work they’ve chosen.  

Finally, I need to respect myself and recognize that I really am fine. As Amanda knows – I talk a good game but the fact is, my self-esteem has taken a beating over the years. It isn’t an easy thing, but I recognize where I’m at. I have a favorite saying that I tell my oldest two children pretty often, “Nobody gets out of childhood unscathed”, and I’m no exception.  Of course, that’s not where all of this comes from, but it’s the beginning. It’s time to live my own dreams and my own passion and stop worrying about proving myself to the rest of the planet.  I’m happy, and really – isn’t that the point?  

-R 


Who Do WE Think We Are?

I’ve been thinking a lot about books lately. I can’t imagine why. So many people have talked about John’s book and comparing it to Andy’s book that I started trying to remember back to what Andy had written. We’ve never properly tackled Andy’s book here on the blog, so I decided to take it out, dust it off and give it another good look. Andy’s book Wild Boy was published in 2008. It’s been quite a highway I’ve been traveling on since that time. I’m curious how my eyes and brain will process his book now as opposed to four years back. So, if you are inclined and have some time, pull Andy’s book off of the shelf and read along with me.  My plan is simple: I’m going to read a few chapters at a time and discuss them here on the blog.  We have four weeks until John’s book is released here in the US, and we’ll finish Andy’s book during that time.  Chances are, I’ll discuss the chapters in Andy’s book on Mondays – just as we’ll do with John’s book. However, I want to stress: I am not comparing the two books. We can certainly do that on a blog if need be after we’ve finished both books, but for now, we’re reading each book on its own merit. (Which really, that’s the way it should be. The truth is not the same for everyone.) So for this week, I’m reading from the prologue through chapter three. 77 pages. We can do this!

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There has been a little chatter about some of the questions and comments that John has been fielding during his Q&A sessions. Most of the questions have been great, but there always seems to be one that makes me scratch my head and wince, and some even make me blush! (If you know me, you know this isn’t really that difficult to do…) I just have to wonder why it is that some people seem to have absolutely no filter for the things that should be asked verses the things that should honestly be kept in one’s brain.  I’m not talking about the slightly cheeky questions that get asked – I’m no prude, and I laugh as easily as anyone else. I’m talking about the really off-color comments that would make nearly anyone wince. I recognize that John is likely an expert at navigating slightly unnerving questions these days. I am pretty sure that things that make me want to squirm in my chair are probably topics he handles without batting a single eyelash. My question to all of you though is “Why does that make it OK to ask those questions or make those comments?” Yes, I realize that in some cases these comments will get a laugh out of the audience, or even out of John. (honestly – what is he going to really do otherwise? Throw the person out? Call them names? Get angry? Of course not. He’s going to be a gentleman because in all honestly – he HAS to be if he wants people to like him and buy his products.  It’s part of the deal.) I maintain – why does any of that make it OK?

This is the same topic we’ve discussed before, in different wrapping. These guys are still human, aren’t they? I know we joke about Nick being alien, but I think he has more than proved that yes – he’s really still human! In the same way that I would expect people to treat me with respect and kindness – I suppose I expect the same for the band. Why is that so unusual? Admittedly, I’m incredulous when people respond (and they always do when this topic comes up) that they’re celebrities and they should be “used to that” by now. Being used to it and knowing how to handle it doesn’t mean the band gives any of us the “permission” to be rude or make off-color statements at the onset, does it? I see it over and over again, and if I’m not right there to hear it – I get told about it much later. People will be at a bar or pub after a show, a band member will show up, and fans will think it’s perfectly acceptable to go up to that person and pet them as though they were an animal, or make comments as though they’ve been lovers for quite a while. It’s bizarre and uncomfortable to witness for me, and I can’t imagine how it must feel to the band themselves.

There is a fine line here that is incredibly difficult to walk even under the best of circumstances. We all want them to know we’re fans and we support them. We also want them to know that (most of the time), we’re pretty sane. I know that *I* would prefer them to walk away thinking that I’m respectful, and in return, I’m worthy of a little return respect. I wouldn’t want them talking to me as though I was to be their next nightly conquest. (I realize that not everyone agrees – some really do WANT to be the nightly conquest and to you I say “More power to ya”. I need to be able to look myself in the mirror and my children in the face in the morning, and for me – I couldn’t do that if I were just looking for a one-nighter.) I guess for me, it comes down to simple respect. I believe the same could be said for the majority of my fellow fans out there.

-R