Category Archives: Duran Duran

Pop Trash

Fandom in the days of the internet never fails to fascinate.  There were just certain things taken for granted, even if they weren’t necessarily discussed in detail amongst my friends back in the early 80’s.  It was easy to sit amongst a group of friends and know with reasonable certainty what was “agreed upon”.  It never occurred to me to question basic things…like which songs were the favorites of my group of friends and therefore obviously “the best” (Who really needs music critics when you are amongst a group of twelve and thirteen year old girls?), or which band members were the most fashionable (again, don’t preteens really know fashion?!?), or which band member was indeed the most popular.

My world was very small back when I was eleven, twelve and even thirteen. I read magazines like Tiger Beat, Bop or Teen Beat.  I watched Video One, MV3, Friday Night Videos and later, MTV.  I had a group of no less than four and no more than about eight friends with me at school…and although the cast of characters changed depending upon whom was angry with whom at any given time…these were the people I counted on outside of my family.  It was these girls I trusted to know just as much about the band as I, and it was with these girls that I first learned to share and coexist.

You see, as John Taylor touched upon in his book, it was not enough to say you liked the band – at least not in my experience at Sunflower Junior High in Glendora, California.  Oh no, because the very next question after “Who is your favorite band?” and one answered “Duran Duran” was “Who is your favorite?” The funny thing is that even today – this is EASILY one of the first questions I hear being asked when people meet for the first time.  It’s even become a way of introducing oneself on a message board.  “Hi, my name is Rhonda, I live in Southern California, I’ve been a fan for over 30 years now (who is counting???) and my favorite band member is Roger.”  (Or Dom, as the case might be.)  Back when I was in my formative years, this question of naming a favorite band member signified plenty.  As John mentioned, it was simply not done to have more one person in a group of friends like the same band member.  It had the potential to get very messy when we’d be sitting in a circle at lunchtime out on the quad, discussing the merits of the latest Tiger Beat article.  (Yes, even then we would complain about the interview questions!)  I mean, if someone just openly announced that they were expecting John Taylor to swoop in on his white horse and proclaim his love for them…what would be done if yet another John Taylor girl was sitting in the group?  No no, this just would not do.  So oddly, we found ways to work it out.  We simply chose another band member as our favorite.

In my case, it always seemed that the trouble was with John.  As in, there was only one of him, and at any given time in my circle of friends – there were at least two girls, and very likely three or even four, who were insistent that he was indeed, taken.  As in, “He’s mine. You’ll need to choose another favorite to follow.”  Never did I see this happen with other band members.  There always seemed to be just one Simon girl, one Nick girl, and one Roger girl (that’d be me).  I never had to fight off other girls for Roger – they would say “Oh, he’s just far too quiet, Rhonda.”  I’d smile shyly and say “That’s fine.  I am too.”  And I was. Back then.  Never really had a lot of friends that were Andy girls, but I do remember my friend Terri from junior high being exceptionally fond of Andy – saying he was the only “real man” in the group.  She was twelve.

I came to believe that John Taylor was the prime real estate of the group. It was easy to figure why – those cheekbones should have been illegal and don’t even get me started on his bleached bangs (in the US we call them bangs – I think elsewhere they refer to them as “fringe”, which sounds so much better…).  Alas, I was not a fighter – I was very much a peacekeeper at the time, so I simply found the guy that no one really knew much about because he was so quiet.  Other friends found their favorite, and for the most part we coexisted as our own band of five.  Or eight…which was sticky at times, but we made it work. From what I could tell, even the teen mags sided with John here on the US soil. Naturally much of this might have been my teenage perception at work, but the way I saw it was that John was the “face”, Simon (while certainly no slouch in the looks department) was the outgoing one, Nick was well – king of eyeliner and fashion – the artsy one, Roger was the dark and quiet one, and Andy was the rocker.  Made perfect sense to me and I never once questioned whether or not it was the case everywhere else in the world.  “Everywhere” for me consisted of my relatively small junior high school (I think there might have been 300 kids at the school in total over 3 grades (sixth through eighth grade) and maybe it branched out to my city of Glendora/Covina.  Then again, maybe not.  Like I said, my world was very, very small in the years of 1981-1984.

Oddly, it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I ever started questioning whether or not what I believed to be case law when it came to Duran Duran was really and truly the case worldwide…and it was because of a simple comment that was made on our blog.  The commenter simply mentioned that she had always thought Simon was the most popular.  When I first read the comment, I sat back bewildered and pondered the situation. No, I was certain that it was always John. Although, what she mentioned about Simon’s twitter is in fact true – he does have more followers.  Then in a flash I realized that wait, I’m 42 years old now!!  Do we really care who is the most popular these days??  Should we??

I can’t answer that question.  For me personally as someone who is claiming that their “favorite” band member these days is someone who wasn’t even in the original group – I think I have to let a lot of that just go.  I mean, here I am at 42 and I’m still even claiming I have a favorite!  Obviously some part of me never quite grew up, and I’m just going to own and embrace that.  But, I do wonder if things were the same for every other fan across the continents.  As I traded replies yesterday, the subject of where each of us lived came up.  She is from the UK, and I am from the US.  Maybe that really made the difference. Who was the band member that girls seemed to “fight over” the most where you lived?

The internet has both exponentially expanded my world, and made it infinitely smaller at the same time.  When I was twelve, I would have never dreamed of making friends with people on the other side of the world. I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have the ability to debate serious issues such as the popularity of band members, much less blog about such things to a worldwide audience and getting responses that make me think and even challenge my preconceived notions.  I love that and I hope it makes all of you reconsider some things you once thought to be “law” as well!

-R

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 56-60)

Happy New Year everyone!  We figured that there is no better way to start the new year than to continue on with our weekly discussion of John Taylor’s autobiography.  This week, we focus on chapters 56-60, which basically covers the Notorious and Big Thing eras.  It is interesting how these 5 chapters cover a few years whereas there were 4 or 5 chapters that covered just one year in the early 80s earlier in the book.  Before we dive into the discussion, let’s recap what we know about Duran Duran during those eras.  The Notorious era saw the band continue on as a trio of John, Nick and Simon.  They released a pretty funky album that did well but not nearly as well as previous releases.  Big Thing continued as a threesome and saw even less commercial success.

Chapter 56:  Dead Day Ahead
Do you think that John needed to include a whole chapter devoted to one night of “madness”?
A – When I first read the book, I couldn’t really understand why he went into such depth to one night in 1985, especially since it seemed like he skimmed over the late 80s.  Why include this?  What purpose did it serve?  Clearly, it was a night that really stood out for John.  The storm, the using, and even the phone call to his priest showed the internal battle that was being fought.  John was looking for something, some answer and didn’t find it, not that night, at least.  Nonetheless, I think the chapter really showed this battle and needed to be included for that reason.
R – I really kind of think that for John, this might have signified the beginning of his rock bottom – which in his case took a long while to settle in –  and that was the point of including the evening in such detail. There was definitely some sort of inner battle going on in John, no question there.  I like the detail he included regarding the storm – it was just the right imagery.  

Chapter 57:  In the Dark
After meeting with Roger to see if he planned to return to the band, John stated that he didn’t have time to react emotionally as he was just in survival mode.  Do you think that was an accurate way to describe him and the band in 1986?
A – It seems to me that this chapter really connects to the previous chapter.  In the previous one, John was focused on finding some answer to his life.  In this chapter, John focused on getting the band back as the answer.  I, selfishly, am grateful that he did zero in on that goal.  Nonetheless, I think the “survival mode” statement is an accurate one.  The band and John seemed to be fighting to stay alive.  It was interesting to me that John was the one to go see both Roger and Andy to get them back in the fold.  I have to wonder if Nick or Simon would have been better.  Although, both Roger and Andy seemed determined to walk away so it probably didn’t matter who went to talk to them.
R – Tough part of the book for me to read, to be honest.  In some ways, I think that John believed that if he could just keep the band together, he’d be OK.  By this point, it seemed as though John’s entire identity was caught up in Duran Duran, and to be fair – I can certainly understand why.  John became an adult while he was in the band, he became John Taylor while being in the band.  Separating the two personas was probably impossible.  So for John, saving the band was likely very similar to saving himself.  The trouble of course was that he was missing 3/4 of the problem.

What was your reaction to Warren’s introduction by calling and saying, “Tell them it’s their new guitar player?”
A – I know that this question opens a can of worms, but I had to acknowledge his entrance.  When I read this, I had two thoughts pop into my mind.  First, I’m sure that this level of “confidence” probably does work to get you where you want to be.  Second, it always feels very arrogant to me, which is why I would never use a line like that.  Yes, it means that I don’t tend to get very far in life.  Anyway, it just feels pushy to me, especially since Duran wasn’t really sure what was happening with Andy.  It seems to me that having band members leave is tough, emotionally, and there is some grieving that needs to take place.  When someone takes that place so quickly, I wonder how much of it is a genuine fit or how much of it is an emotional need to have that void filled.
R – *sigh*  Arrogant much?  Yes.  Big shock right?  The one thing that I *will* say shocked me was that Andy had also broken up Warren’s band.  I didn’t realize that.  As for the rest – I’m not even going there.  Everything I ever needed to know about Warren is right there in that one sentence.

Chapter 58:  Notorious
Did you feel like music changed from the early 80s to the late 80s, the way that John described?
A – I do.  As a kid, I noticed that there was a shift in music and culture, but I never really knew if that was due to my personal circumstance or because that was really how it was.  I moved from the Chicago suburbs in 1985 to a small town.  The world felt very different to me on a number of levels.  Yet, it did seem to me that the bands and artists who were super popular in the early 80s weren’t in the late 80s.  John talked about how pop became political and that sobriety became more common.  That would make a difference.
R – There was a HUGE change in music from the early to late 80’s.  At the time I don’t think I recognized it – but looking back, I can see it with extreme clarity.  Even my tastes changed, as I went from being a middle-schooler to graduating from high school in this period of time.  By the time I graduated high school, I was much more into rock, much less so pop.  

Chapter 59:  Surfing Apoplectic:
What was your take on John’s meeting of the Italian actress, Sandra Milo?
A – To me, stories like this showed John’s ability to pick out important moments of his life but also his ability to convey them to his readers.  Clearly, this was a very brief meeting that could have meant nothing to him.  Yet, he got the message she gave him, intentionally or otherwise, which was that he can’t get stuck in his past career highlights.  I think John probably really needed to get that message in 1987 when the band started to decline from the insane early 80s hysteria.  He needed to learn, to remember to keep moving forward.  It may not be like what it was but it can still be good, be valuable.
R – I agree Amanda, John is very good at being able to wade through all of the experiences he had and picking out the small moments that meant everything, and then conveying that to the readers.  I have no idea who Sandra Milo even is, but it’s obvious that the message she gave to John was significant and has stuck with him all this time.  

Chapter 60:  Chasing the Wave
Did you realize what the chapter referred to as soon as you read it?
A – I found this chapter fascinating considering what he had learned from the previous chapter about not living in the past with career success.  Yes, the chapter title did seem to be a clear one with fame and commercial success being the wave and the fact that the band was trying to get that wave throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
R – Chasing the wave…chasing the concert high…it’s what we all do.  I think the mistake is getting caught up in that chase to the point where you don’t enjoy what’s really going on around you.  We all make THAT mistake, too.  

John discussed a couple of theories he had that would make Duran the success again that they once were.  Did any of these theories surprise you?
A – It seemed to me that John really thought that they needed to go back and replicate what they had in the past.  Thus, two things needed to happen.  One, they needed to become a five piece again so that their live performance wouldn’t need the help of others and so that their writing process could return to what it once was.  Two, John needed to be single and available.  I wasn’t really surprised by the first theory of returning to a 5 piece band.  I think we all sort of feel like that it Duran as it should be, even now (*coughDomBrowncough*).  I understand that one, especially when it comes to writing and jamming.  It seems to me that the best Duran is when all instruments are present and accounted for.  That’s very difficult to do if there aren’t players in the studio to push for that.  The second theory about John needing to be single is one that I don’t understand.  Yes, of course, Duran had a lot of teenage followers and a lot of those followers thought the various members were cute.  There were a lot of fantasies about becoming Mrs. Rhodes, Mrs. LeBon or Mrs. Taylor.  Yet, did the fans drop off when Andy got married?  Nick?  Roger?  Simon?  I don’t think so.  So why would John be any different?  Yes, I realize that he was the “most popular” but still…it wasn’t like he had that many more fans.  I am sure that John thought and felt this way and I’m glad that he was brave enough to include it.
R – I think it’s slightly bizarre that John really spent time trying to figure out what the formula for success really was back then…in the same respect that I am amused when FANS do it today.  We just can’t replicate the past, can we?  

I do understand what John meant by needing to stay single though.  I very clearly remember my group of Duranie friends getting more and more turned off by Duran with each member getting married.  Sure, they were a pop band, but they had a very teenage audience – and girls are funny at that age.  They are fickle (Still kind of are, but that’s another observation for another blog post.) and as the boys got married, girls lost interest.  Of course, one could argue that these girls were never really fans in the way the fans are today, and I would probably agree, but the fact is that all of those girls still equaled something in sales and interest, and for the band, sure – that was golden, and so John probably did feel some pressure to stay single.  I don’t know if it really made a difference, but I know what bands like One Direction and even Jonas Brothers…amongst many others… are/were told by their PR people even today. Stay single.  The younger female fans won’t tolerate anything else.  

Final Thoughts:
It seems to me that John is just feeling lost during the late 80s.  He seems to be looking for something and isn’t able to find it anywhere.  He focuses on the band as a means to have a focus but that isn’t met with the success he wants.  At the same time, he pushes away commitment with Renee.  He even ends Chapter 60 with talking about how depressed he was and how he thought that there was too much “wrong” with him.

Next week, we will cover chapters 61-64, which is right before John enters rehab.  Before we get there, though, please join in with your thoughts about these questions or with discussion questions of your own!

-A & R

Our “Best” of 2012…Happy New Year everyone!!

Happy last day of 2012, everyone.  We decided to continue the tradition of chronicling our year with a “Best of” list, and we encourage all of you do review your year with your own list.  Unfortunately, this interrupted the book discussion day, which will just be pushed back until tomorrow!

May your new year bring you nothing but the best of luck, happiness, health and good times…and we hope to see many of you either “on the road”…or at a Duran Duran Fan convention in the Fall in the US.  Place, date & times to be announced soon…we promise!

Rhonda’s List:

Duran Duran Moment:  Wow.  Just one??  I’m really in between two…so I’ll post both:

1. Durham, North Carolina. Not only was the show fantastic, but there was a brief moment after the show when the band got into their vans that I won’t ever forget.  I’m just glad I found my way to the back door to say good-bye to the band.

2. Biloxi, Mississippi. Also in the front row, for the very first time ever, and Simon just HAD to do his super-special White Lines trick. I don’t know why I forgot the moment was coming until I looked over at Dom and saw his eyes widen at just the right moment, only to look up and see LeBon towering over Amanda and I…but just far back enough to where when he sprayed the water up in the air most of it landed on himself and the stage. Of course, we were still baptized, and I looked up to see Nick Rhodes laughing (probably at the face I was making!). Even though I made a mad face and wanted to strangle Simon, I did have to laugh and I still chuckle when I think of the scene unfolding.

Personal Moment(s):  In this category there are bests and worsts. I can’t let the year go by without remembering my best friend from college – Laurie Peralta, who died in a horrific car accident back in August. She is never forgotten and I miss her all the time. Picking up the pieces and moving on is proving to be quite a challenge for all who loved her. Thanks to all of you for your notes of condolence and kindness, they were much appreciated.

I am a proud mom. I have seen my son go from D’s and F’s in school to a 3.5 GPA (homeschooling works for us!), I have watched my little one dance on stage this year, and my oldest performed as Flora in the musical No No, Nanette.  She was a very convincing blonde bimbo – and I say that with all the parental pride in the world.

Finally, I am proud of how much this blog has grown. I thoroughly adore bringing fans together, uniting people, providing a vehicle for making friendships and allowing fans to really have a voice. I hope we do all of you proud.

World Events: The reality is that for me, there is only one event that really shook me to the very core, and that was the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. There just isn’t anything that I can really say about that, except that I constantly think of those children and their families…and I take time to hug my kids a little tighter each day. I also think back to Superstorm Sandy and how people I know of lost their homes, cars, etc. It’s been a tough year for so many people in the world, and I just have to believe that 2013 will be better. I hope.

Album: 

Blue to Brown: Ok. I know what you all are thinking here. Yes, it’s Dom Brown and this being a favorite of mine is probably a given. You’ve got me on that one. However, I am not a blues fan. Or should I say, I wasn’t a blues fan. But since getting that album, I’ve been listening to other blues. Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker…and a few others. Check out Dom’s blues list on Spotify – I’ve been listening to many of those artists on there too, as well as Jimi Hendrix (who clearly has blues roots) and one of Dom’s favorites – Jeff Buckley (although he’s not really blues). Blue to Brown opened the door for me to check out some “new” music that I probably would have continued to ignore otherwise. I still wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of the blues, but…I’m a more educated listener now.

Single: Can someone tell me exactly what a single IS these days? I don’t know that the “chosen” song that is promoted for radio airplay is really of any specific function now. I still listen to radio once in a while, but I find myself turning it off more and more often. I did like M83’s Midnight City before it became an overplayed cliché, and after that Imagine Dragons It’s Time….but that was ruined within weeks for me as well. So I end up turning to Spotify and just playing whatever I come across on there. Much of it…not a “single”, and definitely not on the radio. One song I ADORE that I found via Spotify?? Amor Fati by Washed Out. I love Spotify because I can listen to anything and decide if I love it before I buy it.

I’m adding a category here because I can’t get through the year without mentioning it again….

Book: We’ve all said some lovely things about John Taylor lately. His book In the Pleasure Groove was my best read of the year. It changed the way I look at the band, at John, and even myself and my own dreams. The book is smart, well-written, and even funny at the appropriate times. Reading the book was cathartic (for me).  As an aside, if I haven’t said it before (I have), the smartest thing John Taylor has done in recent years was join Twitter. That connection he talks about with fans in the book? It’s there. I see it nearly every day.

Movie: I always have a difficult time with this one because we really don’t go to the movies that often.  Just last night we went to see The Hobbit, and I also saw Breaking Dawn II, Wreck It Ralph, The Hunger Games and Mission Impossible in IMAX (never ever again).  Truthfully, none of them were “the best” for me.

Gig: Isn’t this a given? So with that, I will say my favorite gig of the year HAS to be Duran Duran in Durham, North Carolina. I can’t even really say if it was because the band was on fire that night, the company – meaning all of the Duranies who came out to pre-party with us at the wine bar that night, or going out Pinhook (a truly terrific dive bar in Durham) afterwards, but it was a fantastic night. The band was on their game, our seats were greatly improved after the first few songs, and I had the time of my life. What more could I want?!?

Another gig like that one. Soon. Please.

Most looking forward to in 2013: There are so many things…I am really excited to go live with our new website, I’m anxious to get started planning the convention, hearing if there are to be summer shows for the band, I can’t wait to watch my son graduate from middle school and see my youngest start kindergarten.  Most of all though, I think I am really looking forward to finishing our book and finding an agent and publisher. Fingers crossed that it will go well.  We’ve worked very hard and will continue!

Amanda’s List:

Duran Duran Moment:  I have a few.  First, I immediately thought of the fact that Rhonda and I finally can say that we had front row.  I think the part of that which makes it a favorite of mine isn’t that it was the best experience ever (I sucked at being in the front but promise to be MUCH better if I have the opportunity again!) but because we had a plan and followed through with it.  We got what we wanted because we were focused and committed.  I think that is a lesson we learned and need to remember.  Second, the John Taylor book talk and signing was so very special.  I debated about going a million times for a variety of reasons but I’m glad that I went.  It was amazing to hear him read from the book right in front of  me and made it all the more emotional.  Then, I was lucky enough to share that experience with so many great Duranies!  It reminded me of the best of fandom.  Lastly, while this isn’t a moment, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that the band is still going.  I am thankful of that everyday.

Personal Moment(s):  I have two personal moments that I’m sure that none of you will be surprised at.  First is meeting the President on October 4th.  To me, meeting any president would be super cool, but this went way beyond that!  To have him hug me and thank me was huge.  It was so nice to have my work valued and appreciated.  Then, it felt so wonderful to see that he truly is as warm and genuine as I had always believed.  The second personal moment surrounded the John Taylor signing in Chicago.  It wasn’t the interaction, which was very nice, of course, and it wasn’t hearing him read from his book or having him sign my copy.  It was seeing him wear the Daily Duranie wristband that I had given him.  I honestly believed that he would just glance at it and put it to the side with everything else that he had been given.  I wouldn’t have blamed him either as I can’t imagine giving so many things from so many people all the time.  Anyway, seeing it on his wrist also felt a bit like validation to me and that what we do here isn’t stupid and means something.

World Events:  My world event is tied to one of my personal moments and that is the re-election of President Obama.  I promise I won’t get political here but to get the result I wanted after working for over 4 years and working a tremendous amount of hours, all for free, was an unbelievable feeling.  It was a feeling of such intense excitement when it was announced that he won my state and won re-election that I can’t imagine getting that feeling anywhere else or for any other reason.  For me, personally, it was also a moment of pride as we turned 13,000 more votes for him in my county than in 2008, which is beyond awesome.
  
Album:  While Rhonda hates the movie category, I hate this one.  I so rarely bought music this year.  I was so swamped by campaigning and politics that the news tends to be my background, my soundtrack.  Even now, as I type this, I have the news on.  That said, it isn’t like I don’t like to hear new music or get excited by new music.  It just hasn’t happened.  I was hoping for the new album from the Killers for Christmas but it didn’t happen.  I’ll probably download that one over break.  🙂
  
Single:  Again, this is just like the album category.  I have songs that really hit me this year but they might not have been “singles” and frankly they might not have been from this year.  I tend to also listen to music to motivate me or to explain how I’m feeling at any given time.  Thus, I found myself listening to songs like Finest Worksong by REM to motivate me during campaign season. 

Book:  I would do better in this category.  In this situation, I’ll echo Rhonda’s choice with John Taylor’s autobiography.  While I can’t say that it changed the way I look at the band or John like it did Rhonda, it felt to me like meeting the President did.  I had all of these thoughts and beliefs about John Taylor that I had believed to be true, had hoped to be true.  Reading the book confirmed those beliefs.  In that sense, it made my John Taylor fan status all the stronger. 

Movie:  I don’t take the time to go to the movies much or even watch a lot of movies at home.  This usually makes this category a very tough one for me.  Yet, this year, I have an answer!  I’m sure you might all guess it, too, and that is the movie, Lincoln.  First of all, it sang to my have a history degree background.  I can’t say that Civil War history or even Presidential history is my thing (I focused on contemporary history, specifically history of social movements of the 1960s and 1970s) but this movie reminded me why history is so fascinating and how much can be learned from history.  Second of all, the focus was on the end of slavery, which is a social justice topic of epic proportions, which is right up my alley!  Third, the political junkie in me loved watching all the political moves taking place.  If all those weren’t reasons enough, the performances, writing and direction were all fabulous.

Gig:  I haven’t seen any gigs beyond the Duran ones I saw this summer.  I thought about going to see the Killers when they were in Chicago but it didn’t work out, which was for the best as I was sick at the time.  So, what was my favorite out of the ones we saw?  Clearly, the answer had to be Durham.  I thought it was the best out of the four in terms of energy, band interactions with each other and the crowd, and the audience enthusiasm.  Of course, I’m hoping that there might be some Duran shows in 2013!!! 

Most looking forward to in 2013:  A lot of my list would match Rhonda’s including getting the book published, having a successful convention, updating and upgrading our website and more.  For Duran, I can’t wait to see and hear what they come up with in the studio with Mark Ronson!  On a personal level, I hope that 2013 brings about some more connections and/or deeper connections. Maybe, just maybe, these connections will help answer some deep questions I have, too!

 




  

Media Representations of Fandom–How Soon Is Never?

It’s Sunday!  Well, it will be when you read this.  I’m actually writing this on Saturday from a local coffee shop.  I have to write it earlier because I’ll be traveling to the Chicago area tomorrow for a family function.  I am continuing in my series on media representations of fans and fandom.  This week, I’m going to discuss the first half of the book, “How Soon Is Never?” by Marc Spitz.  This book tells the story of Joe Green, a rock journalist who grew up in Long Island, New York in 1980s where he experienced life as a misfit until he discovered a band that changed his world, the Smiths.  He fell in love with the band who went on to break his heart when they broke up.  Now, his adult life is a complete mess but thinks that maybe, just maybe, things will be all right again if he can just get the Smiths back together.  Obviously, this book is something that I think most Duranies will be able to relate to.  Many of us fell in love with Duran Duran when we were kids and were devastated when the Fab Five ceased to exist.  Likewise, we experienced extreme joy when they reunited in the early 2000s.  On a personal level, I can’t imagine writing a daily blog or a book on fandom if they had not gotten back together.  While I was still a fan, my fandom wasn’t nearly the same in the 90s.  Thus, this book could be one that I could relate to, at least on paper.  Will that actually be true?  How will the author present the main character’s fandom?  Will it be true to life or filled with horrible stereotypes?

This book begins with a quote by Oscar Wilde that I immediately connected with, “To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”  Truly.  Writing about fandom doesn’t equal exercise, doesn’t require an early start to my day and definitely doesn’t/hasn’t brought any respect.  😀  Right away in the book, we meet the main character, Joe Green, who is a rock journalist who struggles with alcohol and drug addiction.  In the first half of the book, we learn about how he fell in love with rock music, more specifically, the band that changed his life, The Smiths.  He described his love for the band in this way on page 19, “Just picture your mother or father or your husband or your wife or your child.  Think about how you love them.  My love for this band is as strong.  It’s the only real love I’ve ever know.”  That’s how we feel for Duran Duran.  I’m sure that many of you feel this way as well.  From there, the book takes us back in time to Joe’s youth to show when/why/how he became a fan.

Joe grew up with divorced parents in Long Island.  His dad moved out of the house and Joe would go visit him in the summer where his dad shared an apartment with his friend, Nick, who played Joe his first rock albums, including a legendary album from the Clash.  From there, Joe discovered a local record shop and developed a crush on the clerk, Jane.  The two of them began to hang out, use drugs and drink.  During this process, Joe began to change his look to a straight up punk look with spiked hair, holes in clothes and more.  His mother and stepfather were less than thrilled when he returned back home for the school year.  In fact, they then enrolled Joe into a private school where Joe meets other misfits like himself who introduces him to local alternative radio and other new bands like R.E.M.  Joe and his new best friend, John, would go to record stores together.  During one shopping trip, they spot a t-shirt for the Smiths and decide that they must have it even though they hadn’t actually heard the band.  From there, he and his friends were glued to the radio in the hopes of being the first to actually hear the Smiths.  The idea here is that the first to hear it and record it would be the hero of the group of friends.  The same thing happens in our fandom today.  The first person to hear and post a new snippet, song, video, whatever definitely gains some status within the fandom.

Joe meets a new girl, Jennifer, who told him that she had heard the Smiths and would record it for him.  It was love at first sight for him.  Of course, it was also love of first sight for the band as well as the girl.  Joe decided then that he must look like Morrissey and be like him, too.  In fact, on page 129, the character said, “Morrissey just seemed perfect.  I wasn’t attracted to him physically.  I wanted to be him.”  How many male Duranies did the same thing?  Heck, I love that story that Mark Ronson tells about how he brought a picture of John Taylor with him to the hairdresser as a kid.  Unfortunately, for Mark, he ended up looking more like Nick Rhodes than John Taylor!  LOL!   Of course, Joe loved the music as well as the look.  To him, it felt like that first album had been “timeless” and that it fit the soundtrack of his life.  Again, I have to say that I could completely relate to this.  To me, that is what musical fandom feels like!  Joe, the main character, summed it up well on page 137, “I had been forever changed.”  Yep, fandom does that.  Once you discover the object of the fandom, you aren’t the same.

From there, Joe decided that he was going to investigate everything that Morrissey liked.  He started reading Oscar Wilde and became a vegetarian just like Morrissey.  I had to laugh at this.  I think I saw James Bond movies for the first time because I knew that John Taylor liked James Bond.  Joe also started writing letters to Morrissey that he never sent and joined the unofficial fan club.  Any and all information on the band was welcomed and every fact possible was memorized, including how the band formed, their birthdays, etc.  All of this seems very, very, very familiar to me!!  Finally, the little group of friends had the chance to see the band live.  On the way to the show, they spot other fans who told them that they had already seen the band the previous night and on previous tours.  Joe’s friend, John, reacted with anger as he thought this other fans wanted to seem cool.  Again, this makes sense to me as status, attempts at status or concern with status is alive and well in fandom.  Yet, this annoyance was forgotten as the group had the “wired anticipation” of seeing the band in person.  As the show began, they found themselves “overwhelmed with emotion”.  Joe described seeing them like this on page 154, “The Smiths were the most perfect idea I’d ever heard.  Or seen.”  He continued to say, “…like everyone else in the audience, I allowed myself to indulge guiltlessly in that delusion that Morrissey was singing to me alone.”  I could have written all of this myself.  I, too, feel that “wired anticipation” before a show.  I think we all feel during a show that the band is performing just for us.

Of course, Joe’s life continued and he experienced some normal teen angst, including with the girl he had fallen for.  For Joe, it forced him to conclude that the Smiths were the only thing that he could count on and that he could relate to the songs.  In fact, he stated on page 180, “These songs understood me.  I understood them.”  *sigh*  I get this.  I bet we all do.  For the next tour, he got tickets again.  This time, though, the shows got canceled as the band broke up.  Joe was devastated.  Absolutely devastated.  The fact that he was so upset also added to his upset as he said on page 188 that he was “…ashamed that a band had this much power over my emotions, how, like a drug, they could make me happy or sad on a whim.  They had more influence than a best friend.” Oh boy.  Reading this, I was instantly transported back to London in May of 2011 when I had traveled over to the UK for shows that didn’t happen.  I can admit now that I felt certain that they would never play again.  Thankfully, and obviously, I was wrong but I could certainly remember how horrible that was.  I felt just like this character did.  For Joe, this led to him to never listen to them again until adulthood, which is where I will pick up the book next week.

So, how do I take this book so far, in terms of how they represent fans?  I think it is completely realistic.  Joe could be me and the Smiths could be Duran Duran.  I found myself nodding to so much of it.  It probably helped that I, too, grew up in the 80s and felt as alienated as this character did.  Am I the only one who could relate to this?  Will the realism continue as Joe moves into adulthood?  Will this portrayal continue to be accurate?  Will fandom be presented just as a teen thing or an acceptable teen thing but a ridiculous thing as an adult?  I will discuss all of this and more next week!

-A

Spitz, Marc.  How Soon Is Never?  New York:  Three Rivers Press, 2003. 

Am I the Only One?!?

This is a blog that I have been thinking about writing for awhile now and keep pushing it away.  I have been doing that for a number of reasons, including that other things keep coming up AND because I’m not sure if I will be able to explain myself well enough.  Today, I’m going to try.  I am feeling brave.

Since the election ended, I have had more time on my hands.  Yes, that is the understatement of the year.  How does someone like me fill up about 20-40 extra hours a week?  I pay more attention to Duranland, including the Twitter-verse.  In many ways, I have enjoyed this because I like to talk to people or to see what others are thinking and talking about.  As part of my more frequent observations of twitter, I have noticed a bit of a pattern.  This pattern, which probably won’t shock any of you, is that people tweet to John and Simon.  I realize that isn’t new.  Of course, it isn’t.  What I noticed this time, though, that I somehow missed before is that people tweet to them ALL the time, even when they aren’t on and haven’t been on.  Sometimes, the tweets will be repeats from previous tweets that was sent.  Other times, they will be tweets that people think would be interesting to one or both of them.  None of that would be that terribly noticeable to me but I couldn’t help but to notice the sheer volume or number of tweets.  In many cases, these tweets would be from the same people, too.  My timeline would be filled with them so I cannot imagine what it must be like to go on to Twitter if you are John or Simon.  As I noticed this, I obviously realized that I didn’t do this and wondered what they said about me.

I don’t tweet very much to John, Simon, Dom or even Duran’s twitter.  Now, I won’t say that I never have because I have.  I do it in two certain circumstances, generally.  I either do it when they are on and I have a burning desire to respond to something one of them (usually John says) or when some event is happening.  For example, I’m sure that I tweeted to John when his book came out and I finished reading it.  I also tweeted before the signing/book talk in Chicago.  Basically, I tweet when and only when I really have something to say.  I don’t try to find a reason to say something.  If I have something to say, I say it and I say it only once.  Now, I’m not criticizing the people who do tweet to them all the time or say the same thing more than once.  I understand why they do it.  I even wonder if I should follow in their footsteps.  I don’t know.  That is what I’m trying to figure out by this blog post.

It seems to me that the people (fans) who tweet to the band members do it to get a connection with the band member or to get the band member’s attention.  (If I’m wrong, please, let me know.  I’m just guessing here.)  I can’t fault them for that.  After all, don’t we all want a connection or be noticed by a band member, especially a band member of choice?  I’m sure the idea here is that the more you tweet, the more likely the band member would see the tweet(s) and feel compelled to respond.  I get that.  Maybe they are on to something with this idea, too.  As I have already stated, I don’t tweet to them very much at all.  I also don’t ever get responses from them.  Heck, the couple of times that John responded to a tweet from the Daily Duranie, he responded to tweets that Rhonda had typed.  Would I love, love, love to get a tweet from John?  Are you kidding?  Of course, I would.  Who wouldn’t?  I do notice that many of these people who tweet to John or Simon do get responses.  I have no doubt that some of those fans are the ones John even referred to in his book.  So, why don’t I follow in their footsteps?

First of all, I won’t lie.  I’m not great with social interactions to begin with.  I can observe until the cows come home but actually going and being social isn’t very natural with me.  Could that be part of it?  I’m sure but I don’t think it is the only thing.  Second, sometimes, I think I’m not a very good fan.  Why?  I don’t feel very comfortable doing many fan like things.  For example, I wouldn’t approach any of them if/when I see them in public unless I totally knew it was okay.  Why?  Simple.  If I was them, I wouldn’t want to be approached by fans all the time.  I would want to be allowed to go into public without feeling like I was “working”.  For me, it is a respect thing.  I’m sure that many of you are saying that twitter isn’t the same.  That’s true.  It isn’t.  Yet, I do have to wonder what it is like to get so many tweets at you.  Is it flattering?  Annoying?  A bit of both?  I guess there is a part of me that would be worried that it would be annoying to them, which is part of the reason I don’t do it much.  I would hate for them to see my “name” and think “annoying”.  Of course, if I’m really being honest, maybe I don’t think my tweets would be interesting to them.  Maybe, they would think they are stupid.  Again, I wouldn’t want them to think badly of me.  I’m sure that some of you are thinking to yourself that this seems particularly stupid since I blog about what I think.  Yes, that’s true, but the band doesn’t know about it and wouldn’t read a FAN blog.  Lastly, and perhaps, most significant for me is that I’m not friends with John or Simon.  I don’t have a connection with them (as much as I would like to).  I’m a fan of theirs.  They have no idea who I am.  Heck, even if we were friends (yeah…dreams are free) or had some sort of association, I wouldn’t tweet to them all the time.  I don’t do that with my friends or associates now.  It feels unnatural for me to attempt to do that with them.  *shrugs*

So where does this leave me?  It leaves me tweetless, that’s where.  It leaves me continuing to have a battle with myself.  Am I approaching this the right way or should I try to be more like others?  What do I gain if I do?  What do I lose?  How do you approach twitter with the band members and why?  Do you think I’m approaching it the wrong way?

-A  

Interpretations of the Reflex

I knew that as soon as I mentioned diving into the various songs and their meanings one song in particular would come up.  Of course, that song is the Reflex, Duran’s first number one in the US way back in 1984.  This song means a lot to me and not because of what it means or how I interpret it but because of where it fits into my Duranie history.  In the spring of 1984, I was pretty young.  I was very young.  My best friend and I were spending a lot of time watching MTV and singing Duran Duran songs.  Yet, I wasn’t a Duranie, officially, until the Reflex came out and began its non-stop playing on the radio and on every video show imaginable.  My best friend and I were pathetic about it.  Why?  We would actually call each other up whenever we saw the video even if that was during dinner time or if it was the 15th call of the day.  To say that we were addicted would be an understatement.  Perhaps, more importantly to my Duranie history, it was this video that made me a John Taylor fan.  One look into the camera and I was a goner.  A complete goner.  Before that, I might have even said that I liked Simon best (*gasp*).  After that, though, I was a John girl all the way and still am, twenty-eight, almost twenty-nine years, later.  Thus, this song is an important one to me and one that I have thought quite a bit about, both musically and lyrically.  Today’s blog, of course, focuses more on the lyrics.  Before we get into it, let’s take a look at the video and check out the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics:

You’ve gone too far this time
But I’m dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody’s fooling around
With my chances on the dangerline
I’ll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand

CHORUS
So why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is an only child he’s waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

I’m on a ride and I want to get off
But they won’t slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and the TV set
Don’t want to be around when this gets out

CHORUS

Oh the reflex what a game he’s hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

Now, of course, because I’m a researcher, I was curious as to the interpretations that can found on the internet.  There are many.  I will list the ones I found that were either plausible and/or interesting.

*About an erection/sex/masturbation

*Gaining confidence

*Drugs-use and/or selling

*About Nick

*Following instincts

The majority of interpretations online seem to either be about the erection idea or the drug idea.  What, of course, is interesting, in and of itself, is that no one really knows and yet the discussion, even after this blog, will remain.  Let’s comb through the lyrics and see which of these theories make the most sense.

Do the lyrics support the idea of something sexual, maybe an erection, maybe masturbation?  Could “dancing on the valentine” refer to something sexual?  Valentine could refer to affairs of the heart and dancing could lead to sexual activity or could be a metaphor for sex.  “Make my stand” definitely could be a reference to an erection.   “High time” could also be a reference to an erection and “helping hand” could refer to masturbation, specifically.  What about the other verses?  Do those match with this idea?  “I’m on a ride and I want to get off” definitely could be a reference to sexual activity.  I’m not sure what the Renoir or the TV set would have to do with sex other than, maybe, people get sexually aroused by what they see in art or on TV.  Now, what about the chorus?  An erection is definitely something that is used and, certainly, stretching time during sexual activity is something appreciated.  The only child part could be more of a reference to masturbation again.  The treasure in the dark seems like it could be sexual.  I’m not sure why it would be left with a question mark but, in general, the song really could be about sexual activity, specifically masturbation.

The next theory as to the song’s meaning is about gaining confidence.  Making a stand could be about standing up with pride, with confidence.  Would help be something wanted to get confidence or when one has confidence?  Not sure.  That first verse doesn’t hold up as well.  The second verse doesn’t help much either.  Why wouldn’t you want to be around when “it” gets out if the “it” is confidence?  That doesn’t make much sense to me.  What about the chorus?  Would confidence leave you with questions?  I get that you would want to use it and wouldn’t want to bruise it but that still feels like a stretch. Likewise, the idea that it is about following instincts seem like a stretch, too.  I get how the word “reflex” means just reacting, which could be an instinct but I struggle with the rest of the lyrics beyond the chorus of using it and trying not to bruise it.  What about dancing on the valentine or high time?  That doesn’t seem to follow easily, either.

I’m not sure what to say about the idea that it is Nick.  There are some lines that fit.  He is an only child, for example.  We all know that Nick likes art and was collecting art in the 80s.  Likewise, he took many photographs for his book, Interference, from TV sets.  Is Nick in charge of finding treasure in the dark?  Musically, that might be the case.  Does Nick’s behavior leave us or the band with questions?  Maybe so.  What is the “it” in the chorus, though?  Nick’s talent?  Maybe.  I’m not sure how to evaluate the first verse.  Who has gone too far?  Nick?  Who is fooling around?  Was the band fooling around when Nick wanted to work?  Maybe.  From what I have read, the song was written on John’s birthday after enjoying some wine or champagne.  Thus, it is possible that some members weren’t very focused when they should have been.  Maybe they were a bit drunk and/or high and that wouldn’t be a good time to battle Nick.

Speaking of the partying, a lot of people on the internet seemed to think that it really could be about drugs.  Is that possible?  “Gone too far this time” could mean that someone enjoyed a little too much.  “Dancing on the valentine” could translate to being high.  Using alcohol or drugs could be dangerous, for sure.  Yes, decisions probably shouldn’t be made during “high time”.  The next verse could imply that the “high” went wrong and that the person isn’t enjoying the high anymore with the line, “I’m on a ride and I want to get off”.  Also, one could sell art and TVs in order to pay for the drugs.  What about the chorus?  The “it” could be drugs and using it is obvious then.  Why would time need to be bought?  What about the bruising part?  Is that a reference to using needles?  As for the reflex “waiting in the park” that could be the drug deal and the treasure could be the drug.  The use would leave many with questions.

So, what’s the conclusion?  Honestly, it could be about drugs, masturbation or Nick.  There are lines that could translate well to those theories.  Of course, the reality is that the song could be about none of those or it could be about all of those.  We won’t ever really know.  Yet, if pushed, I can’t imagine that they would make a song about drugs despite their use of drugs.  It just doesn’t feel like Simon’s style.  Could it be about sex or about masturbation?  That seems like a likely topic of Simon’s, especially in 1983.  I could also see Simon writing a song about Nick, especially one done in a cheeky fashion.  Which theory do you think makes the most sense or do you have a different idea?

-A

P.S. Which song should I tackle next week?

Khanada – The Daily Duranie Review

Wow!  It is our second review in less than a month!  I’m sure you are all just sitting there in complete shock!  We are continuing with the b-sides related to Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album.  This time we review the song, Khanada.

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to commend the band for starting this song (and continuing) on such a heavy bass line.  I really believe that Duran Duran were one of the only bands during the 80’s to allow the bass to shine through and groove.  All instruments are present and accounted for, but bass is allowed to be the highlight – and John does a tremendous job, especially considering that at this point, John was still a fairly new player.  Another consideration here is the tempo.  Rather than doing as most songs do – beginning slow and leading in, Khanada does the opposite.  It starts out with a quick tempo and during the verses, it slows down.  I don’t even know that it’s quite that obvious, but it’s just different, a bit more innovative for the time.  My only real issue with the song are during the last moments, probably the last thirty to forty-five seconds. The drums change rhythm and feeling along with some space-age type synthesizer with a sort of middle-eastern influence that comes straight from Bowie, and make the song sound as though it were two different pieces of music stitched together. I never felt the song flowed as well as it might have as a result.

Vocals: I truly tend to forget Simon’s fantastic vocal range these days.  A lot of it is because the music today is written so much higher – once again I find myself wishing they’d write some lower-end music for him just to show it off once in a while.  Khanada does this beautifully.  The only time I feel that Simon has trouble is in the very-uppermost notes he hits in a sort of falsetto at times during the song.  He does get whiny, but I think that at least in this case, it’s intended.  It adds to the mood.

Lyrics: This is one of those songs that I have listened to over the years and never quite understood what the words really meant. To be truthful, I’m not sure I’ve ever really listened that intently.  I do know that when I listen, I don’t really feel that sense of emotion that I normally get.  I can put this on and it fades to the background rather easily for me. I don’t even know what “Khanada” really is – and that is probably part of the problem.  In some ways I think the song might be about a person, but then when I read the words, it’s pretty clear I have no idea what the song really means.  I can appreciate that it’s not all clear, but for me personally – when I listen to a song, I want it to mean something to me personally, and in this case I feel like I come up with nothing.

Production:  Production on this song is as it is on the whole first album – very well-balanced. I appreciate the lack of “wall of sound”, and I love that I can pick out each instrument and hear their entire line of music.  There is something to be said for letting each musician tell their story – and what’s more – being able to step back and admire the group as a whole.  No egos, no fighting over who is going to be heard more than someone else.  It was a simpler time for the band.  Nothing flashy, just letting the music be heard.  There’s no fault in that!

Overall:  I can appreciate why this song was chosen as a B-side and not included on the album – it’s a great song in it’s own right and when I listen, it reminds me so much of the early 80’s era for Duran Duran.  I think that the one area where this song could be a let-down is the very end, purely because it is rather obscure in style – but as a B-side, that does make sense. I like so many things about the song, including the slight middle-eastern feel.  The slight falsetto on Simon’s voice can be a bit much at times, and I do think the end could have been worked out a bit better, although when I think back on other music to this time period, there are other pieces that end on atmospheric instrumentals similar to this.  Blondie did quite a bit of that, as did Bowie.  I just don’t know that it works that well on this particular song for them.

Cocktail Rating:  3 cocktails!

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I love how this song starts.  It has everything I love about this era of Duran’s.  All instruments are present and accounted for.  I even love how it starts out with a faster tempo to grab one’s attention then slows down as the verses begin.  It is a nice touch.  Of course, it speeds up again when the chorus begins.  I actually prefer the slower, deeper verses over the faster paced chorus, which is the opposite of how I normally am.  In general, though, I like the ebb and flow of the majority of the song, musically.  Of course, the last 45 seconds of the track goes in a completely different direction.  Roger’s drums transition us to this weird ending with what sounds like a constant rocking sound with layers of addition sounds on top of that.  In some ways, those sounds don’t sound planned and don’t seem so coordinated.  For me, this takes away from the feeling of the rest of the song. 

Vocals:  Honestly, this is the one song of this era that Simon’s vocals don’t work as well as the rest of the songs.  I dislike like his attempts at reaching higher keys, at times.  The rest of the main vocals work well and sound a lot like the rest of this era.  I do like that there are obvious layers to the vocals.  I like the la-la-las that can be heard throughout the song.  I also like the echo of Simon’s vocals during the chorus.  In that sense, this song reminds me of a connection between the haunting echos of a song like Tel Aviv and what will be the classic, New Religion.  Without the higher notes, the vocals would be a definite plus for me on this song.

Lyrics:  I am honestly not sure what to think about these lyrics.  On one hand, I appreciate the meaning isn’t so clear.  On the other hand, they don’t seem too terribly clever.  Now, of course, there are Duran songs with even less clever lyrics.  I think what really frustrates me by these lyrics is that I don’t get a strong feeling from them.  They don’t stick.  They don’t affect me.  I feel no emotion and I should.  The music makes me believe that I should but I don’t.  I get that Simon wants us to sense his what…anger?  Defiance?  I don’t know.  I don’t sense anything, emotionally.

Production:  The majority of this song really fits into the rest of the first album with high quality production in which all instrumentation is featured and balanced.  I have to wonder about the ending of the song since it doesn’t seem to fit.  I wonder what it was like in the studio when this song was written and recorded.  What was the discussion like that day? It just feels like care wasn’t taken to this track as much as the rest or that it was unfinished or something.

Overall:  This song feels like classic B-side material to me.  There is definite potential there, especially in the musicality of the verses.  I love the layering of vocals.  Yet, I feel like something didn’t go right at the end of the song or it wasn’t finished or something.  Then, Simon’s lyrics aren’t inspiring to me.  They don’t make me feel anything, which is very different than the rest of the songs from this era.  Every other song made me feel something.  Heck, Tel Aviv made me feel.  The potential, to me, wasn’t followed through.

Cocktail Rating: 3 cocktails!

A top Duranie moment of the year

Happy “Day After” Christmas everyone!

After a full two days of excitement in my house, it is nice to wake up to relative calm. We have no presents to return or exchange and nothing to really do today except relax, which is nice. I can’t speak for everyone in my household, but I’m exhausted! I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful holiday, and for those who did not,  I hope you had a fantastic Tuesday.

I must confess that due to the fact my entire family, including my sister, is here – my blogs will be rather short until January 2nd. I had hoped that I’d have a few willing souls to write a guest blog. Alas, you have me instead!

So today I will give you one of my favorite “moments” in fandom for the year. This year, I have had many – and I count myself lucky. As I’m sure you know by now, last week we posted our interview with Dom Brown. We had a lot of people ask us how the interview came about, and how it was conducted. The simple truth is that we had an opportunity to ask, and so after some initial butterflies, we just asked.

I fully expected that he’d have no idea who I was or why we would want an interview, but we agreed to at least try. We talk about this idea of the band “knowing” us – not “us” as in Daily Duranie, but us as in “the fans”. It’s very difficult at times to pull ourselves out of our relative fantasyland of believing we’re really talking WITH band members on Twitter and Facebook. Amanda and I are not any different from anyone else in that regard. Of course we hope they see our tweets or posts. We are also well-aware that in sheer numbers, there are thousands of us and only five members of the band. The odds don’t really work in our favor. We also desperately want, and maybe even need to believe that when we’re at a show and they come over to the edge of the stage to jam that maybe, just maybe it was us that they were grinning at. “Did he really look at me???” I know that you all know what I’m talking about here. There’s always that moment where you want to believe that yep – out of the five thousand people in the audience, that it was definitely YOU that he winked at. I know this.  You know this. We like delusional daydreams on occasion, am I right? For me personally, it’s as though while I’m on a road trip or touring with Amanda – I can pretend anything I want.  Sure, I traded smiles with Nick. Yes, I shook Roger’s hand. Oh, I know that Dom recognized me and made sure to come over and coerce me into singing along. But once I get home, I forcibly snap myself back into reality. There is no way that band could possibly have any clue of who I am. I’m a mom and housewife and look like just about anybody else out there…meaning, I certainly do not stand out in a crowd. Yes, we write Daily Duranie. It’s a fan-blog. Why on earth would the band know or even care?? That’s pretty much how Amanda and I operate, and we are thankful that we can slap one another back down to Planet Earth if required.

So, when I asked Dom about the interview, I expected to either hear nothing or get a tersely worded email in exchange. I prepared for the worst, so to speak. It did not take long to get an answer, I must say. He very kindly wrote back, and said something that I was not at all prepared to read:  “I know exactly who you are!”

Huh??

So the moral of the story? While I still feel pretty sound in my theory that it is just impossible for them to know all of us, and we should never expect friendship out of fandom (unless it’s with other fans), sometimes, it’s OK to be pleasantly surprised.

And I still say that Dom is a really nice guy.  Not that I want to gush…. 😀

-R

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I cannot believe that it is Christmas again!  Wasn’t it just Christmas like yesterday or a week ago or something?!  Time seems to be flying and we are here to wish you a Merry Christmas once again!  This year, I have the fortunate duty of doing this blog and providing some Duran and Christmas related gifts!  I hope that this blog post along with all of your family and friend functions provides you with joy!

At times, Duran Duran performed around the holidays.  Here are a couple of clips that I enjoy!

Top of the Pops in the UK from Christmas 1982:

 Top of the Pops in the UK from Christmas 1984:

 

The National Lottery Show in the UK from December 24, 2010:

It seems to me that Duran always does a fabulous job in wishing their fans a Merry Christmas.  Let’s take a look at some previous years.  Here’s a clip from what appears to be 1984 and in Spanish!

About about this Christmas greeting from Smash Hits in 1982?  Duran’s part is until 0:45 seconds!

Here are last year’s holiday greetings from the band:

This year’s holidays greetings are on audio and can be found here!  

Of course, no Christmas celebration would be complete without Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas:

While we didn’t create this card, I couldn’t help but to share it!

On that note, we truly do wish each and everyone of you the very happiest of holidays!!!

-A

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 52-55)

This week’s book club focuses on chapters 52-55 in John Taylor’s autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove.  These chapters basically focus on the year 1985.  To refresh everyone’s memory about what we know was going on with Duran and with John, in particular, in that year, I will provide the following list.  Duran wrote the James Bond theme song, A View to a Kill, and saw it reach number one in the States.  They also played at one of the biggest concerts of all time with the charity focused, Live Aid, in July of 1985.  As we now know, this was the last show that the Fab Five played together until the reunion of 2003.  Besides that, the band had split into two side projects:  Power Station and Arcadia.  John’s project, Power Station, saw an album and a tour.  On that note, let’s dive in to John’s telling of that year with a bit of discussion.

Chapter 52:  The Wheel World
Were you surprised by the reasons that John said that they chose not to involve the Berrows for the Power Station project?
I really wasn’t.  I definitely wasn’t surprised by John and Andy’s annoyance at the Berrows’ support and encouragement for Simon’s participation in the yacht race.  Clearly, that was a source of annoyance to everyone except Simon and the Berrows from what I have heard.  I also wasn’t shocked that there was some dissatisfaction about the Wild Boys and how much that entire project cost.  I’m sure that they spent a fortune on what really was one song and one video.

Chapter 53:  The Model
What was your reaction to the meeting and first date between John and Renee?
I always sensed that this relationship of John’s was way more serious than any of the other ones I heard about as a kid and this chapter seems to confirm that.  I love the fact that John was in his words “rude” when Renee first approached him before he realized his mistake.  Then, he had to make up for it in a date that most of us would love to have that included a limo, roses, dinner and dancing.  *sigh*

Chapter 54:  Burnout
Did you agree with Andy’s quote in Smash Hits about how Power Station would help make better Duran albums?
I wondered about this a lot after I read this.  Initially, I thought that it must be true but we don’t really know, do we?  The next time the classic line-up worked together was in 2001-2004 with Astronaut.  By that point, everyone had worked with different artists.  Then, I thought about how a couple of chapters before John talked about how different it was to play with Tony over Roger and that he needed Bernard to keep it together.  I think about how our fan community, at least, much prefer anything Duran over any of the side and solo projects that were done.  Arcadia might be the only exception.  Still, logic would tell us that the more experiences, the better players each of them would become, which could lead to better music.  Again, though, I think about how I like the first album over Notorious or Astronaut.  I think instincts matter just as much as experience, sometimes.

How did you feel about how John described the filming of  A View to a Kill?
I felt extremely sad to read things like “enemy territory” and “painful”.  I am not surprised by this since we know that things were never the same again after that summer but still.  I don’t know that I’ll be able to watch that video in the same way again.  I also never really thought about the fact that there is no group shots at all during that video.  They are all shot as individuals.  How fitting since it does seem like that is how it was.


Chapter 55:  Is This the End, My Friend?
What did you think of John’s take on Live Aid?
I couldn’t help but to think of Andy’s take on Live Aid when reading about John’s.  Andy talked about Simon’s bad note.  What did John talk about?  He talked about how he remembered how fun it was to play with Duran, especially in comparison to Power Station.  I had no idea that John wasn’t all that excited by the Power Station tour.  It sounds like John realized that he needed the band to come back together.  Others weren’t there, though, unfortunately.  Roger, obviously, didn’t remember the fun and wasn’t ready to continue.  Andy clearly didn’t.  Thinking about all of this makes me want to watch the Live Aid performance again to see what the performance showed, in terms of who was feeling the band and who wasn’t.

Were you as amazed by how and when John found out about Drum capsizing?
John said it best when he said that it was messed up that he found out about Drum capsizing and Simon almost dying really by reading People magazine.  I can’t believe that no one called him or Andy to tell them about the accident.  I can’t believe that John and Simon weren’t really talking at this time.  I can’t really wrap my head around this.  How can you work so closely with other people and not be told if someone is in an accident?  I would like to believe that if I was in an accident that someone would tell Rhonda and vice versa.  This to me says more than the divide during the A View to a Kill video shoot.

Final Thoughts:
Last week’s book club covering 1984 showed more about how John was struggling with overwhelming fame.  This section, it seems to me, truly shows in many ways and in many examples about how the band was divided, how the gap was wide.  It even feels to me that within the camps of Power Station and Arcadia, there were some separation as well.  For example, John mentioned how Andy was really done with the Berrows after Drum.  This indicated to me that while John might have been upset, he wasn’t in the same spot, emotionally, as Andy.  He also mentioned that Nick was angry about Drum as well, which showed that all wasn’t perfect in the Arcadia camp either.  Based on this, I’m truly shocked that three of them were able to continue on in any fashion after this.  I’m grateful that they were, too.

Next week, we move on to the Notorious and Big Thing eras with Chapters 56-60.  Until then, we hope that everyone celebrating a holiday this week has a fabulous one!

-A