Category Archives: Duran Duran

Interpretations of New Moon on Monday

Today is my last blog of the weekend as I’m going out of town for the Inauguration.  Do not fret, dear readers, there will be a blog tomorrow.  It is a gem of a guest blog so make sure to check it out.  Likewise, there will still be updates to Today in Duran’s History and the question of the day.  Yet, I hope to be leaving you with a blog that both bring a smile to your face and make you think a bit.  This blog will continue the new series of interpretations of various Duran songs.  This week, I tackle another song off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which is New Moon on Monday.  This song is one that many fans seem to like and one that I often hear requested to be paid live, despite the difficult notes that Simon would have to sing.  Personally, I like the song and, like many of you, I adore this video.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is my all-time favorite video.  The video has become so connected to the song for me that I can’t separate the two, really.  In fact, if asked what the song means, I would probably pop out with an underground movement pushing for a revolution against a tyrannical government.  Do the lyrics support that idea?  Let’s take a look and see but before we do that, let’s watch that fun video first!

So, what about those lyrics?

Shake up the picture the lizard mixture
With your dance on the eventide
You got me coming up with answers
All of which I deny
I said it again
Could I please rephrase it
Maybe I can catch a ride
I couldn’t really put it much plainer
But I’ll wait till you decide
Send me your warning siren
As if I could ever hide
Last time La Luna

[CHORUS]

I light my torch and wave it for the
New moon on Monday
And a firedance through the night
I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite

Breaking away with the best of both worlds
A smile that you can’t disguise
Every minute I keep finding
Clues that you leave behind
Save me from these reminders
As if I’d forget tonight
This time La Luna

[CHORUS]

Now, what are the online theories about what this song means?  There are a few main theories about what the song could mean.  These theories are as follows:

*About an ex-girlfiriend who the guy is interested in getting back together

*Trying to date a shy or indecisive girl

*Revolutions or attempted revolutions

*Guy Fawkes conspiracy

It seems to me that these theories fall into two main categories:  relationships or revolutions.  Could the song be about trying to get back together with an ex-girlfriend or trying to get together with a shy or indecisive girl?  Well, the line about waiting for you to decide in the first verse could indicate these theories.  Heck, the line about coming up with answers that are denied could imply that the guy could have gotten an answer and is ignoring it or denying it.  The second verse could be about how the guy is looking for clues that says that the female really is interested.  Perhaps, he is remembering time spent together when they were together, which the line about “save me from these reminders” could be about.  What about the chorus?  Could the chorus be about the decision being told on Monday, which starts a whole “new” life?  After all, the guy has survived being “cold” or alone and “lonely”.  This theory seems possible.

What about the other major theory that the song really is about a revolution?  After all, the video showed that.  Did they come to that storyline because that actually matched the meaning?  Let’s see if the lyrics fit.  Shaking up the picture definitely could be a reference to changing something.  I’m not sure about the lizard part as the lizard symbolizes really different things in different cultures.  In Western cultures, it has been used like a snake to indicate evil.  The next couple of lines could be about how the government gives answers or statements to the people in order to get the people to think something.  Yet, this person denies the truth to these statements.  Perhaps, this person sheds light on to the propaganda or the lies.  Of course, there are warning sirens as a result.  The chorus definitely could indicate a change, which is what a new moon implies.  This change could be celebrated with a dance.  Then, what about the second verse?  It begins with the idea of “breaking away”.  Again, this could indicate a change.  This breaking away is also keeping the best of both worlds–maybe some elements of the old government would stay when combined with the new government.  I’m not sure about the clues part.

Then, there is the possibility that it has to do with Guy Fawkes.  Who was that, many of you might be wondering.  Well, from what I understand, Guy Fawkes was one of 13 men who plotted to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605 because they felt the King was mistreating Catholics.  The plan was simple.  They would store gunpowder in the cellar.  Yet, some of these men had second thoughts and sent out warnings.  This resulted in their arrest and execution.  That night, bonfires were set to celebrate the safety of the king.  Typically, these bonfires were accompanied with a fireworks display.  This story is fascinating to me since there seems to be a lot in common with the video.  Hmm…

Which theory do I like best?  I don’t know.  As a historian who has focused on social movements and political revolutions, I love the idea that it is indeed about a revolution or an underground movement.  Plus, I admit that I have a hard time separating the video from the song.  Thus, I immediately go there.  That said, I could definitely see it being about the attempt to getting with or back with a girl.  Could it be about something else?  Of course.  What do you the rest of you think?

-A   

P.S.  Suggestions for the next song?

The Flu For Me, Video Day for You!

Happy Thursday!

If there were ever a day to call in sick for me…this would be it.  It is my turn to catch the flu that has been circling my house (and I’m the last one to get it this time). I’m having difficulty forming sentences from incoherent thoughts, so this blog is probably going to be a bust unless I take drastic measures. So, while I make my way back up to my room and sleep my way back to good health, I am going to post some videos here for you to enjoy.

MTV Unplugged – I haven’t watched this in years. Fascinating to see this after all this time. I’m ignoring that they opened with HLTW. 
Working for the Skin Trade – another one I haven’t watched in many years. What I find interesting in watching these videos is just how many elements of their live show they’ve continued for all of these years.
ITV One Night Only – I love this performance, and I think the band just keeps getting better and better. I’ll even go all-out and say that when I watch this after watching the others, it is as though the band has come full circle back to what I knew them to be in the 80’s, and it’s not just 4/5 of the lineup – it’s the energy and vibe.
Alright, that’s nearly 3 hours of video watching for you today.  Better get started! On the other hand, I am headed back to bed.  Flu be damned!  
-R

Wallpaper in my Room

I am a fan.

Duran Duran have been a relative constant in my life since I was about eleven. For me personally, the music came first. It was only later in the same year of my discovery (of the band) that I actually saw what they looked like. Up until then, I had my imagination doing the work. (I was so wrong. I can’t remember what my mind had decided they looked like now, but I do remember how completely wrong I’d been.) I remember being shocked that they weren’t American. I have no idea why that surprised me, although once again, I was only eleven. Prior to Duran Duran, a single Shaun Cassidy poster was on the backside of my bedroom door and I had one Rick Springfield poster on the sliding door to my closet. I still listened to kid albums with my younger sister (Chipmunks, anyone??), and I think I had difficulty straddling those years between youth and tween. (as opposed to youth and teen…*sigh*)  Those were my awkward years, no doubt. I think that I’ve remained a pretty loyal fan since then, though. Recently, Amanda and I had a discussion regarding some research that her brother had forwarded to her. This research concerned the various “categories” of fans, and I find myself thinking back to the conversation every time I begin to blog…so here goes:

I have never really been the type of fan to collect every single thing every printed on the band. I had my fair share of posters and pin-ups until we moved just after I’d graduated from high school and went off to my college, but I don’t think I came close to owning every single article written on them or interview they’d completed. I tried to stay up with the news, bought their albums on vinyl and/or later CD (and probably even a few cassette tapes in there although I hated the quality), but I was no collector. I just loved their music. Sure, I liked the bands looks – but for me it was their music. It was really only later on, when I was grown and had my own money, that I began to collect special things (to me). I own most of their music on vinyl at this point, although there are still things to add to the collection. I still don’t collect their interviews in magazines, although there have been a few special interviews and things that I’ve kept. For example, I have an article that was written on them in the OC Register (My local newspaper) when they came to the Pacific Amphitheater in 2003 for the reunion show.  I bought a few really old posters of them that I now have up in my walk-in closet, but again, I bought the posters that were special to me as a kid. (Found those on eBay!) Ask me about all of the remixes though, or bootlegs to shows… chances are, I don’t have them. Merchandise or t-shirts? I have some of the things I really want, but I have never felt OCD about needing everything. That said, I *do* own two Duran Duran hoodies now thanks to Amanda and my sister, and I adore them. Let’s just say I wear them a lot!  Other things like photos and those precious picks and drumsticks? Well…I still don’t have photos with the band, although sure, I have plenty of pictures from being at shows. You know, I remember in 2003 when the band first came back to California for the reunion shows. I saw them at the Pacific Amphitheater, but then I saw them at the 4th and B Theatre in San Diego. 4th and B is this tiny little theatre that reminded me a little of the House of Blues. It was a GA show, so I had my chance to get up close. As we walked into the theatre that night, my husband handed me a disposable camera. He was afraid to bring our nice camera for fear of it being confiscated by security, but he wanted me to have the chance to take pictures. I was thrilled. THRILLED. I couldn’t believe I was going to have pictures of the band. Finally! I still have those pictures, and they are by far the most blurriest, horrible photos I’ve ever taken. I’ve never shared them with anyone, but man am I proud that I have them! Funny. I know other fans who have had plenty of opportunities to have pictures of themselves with the band. They ask for a photo every single time they see them. I know a lot of people wonder why they feel like they need to do that. I think that for them, it’s simply what they like in the same way I like collecting vinyl. Would I ask for a photo every time I saw them if I had the chance? I have no idea. Someday I’d like the opportunity for just one…and then I’ll let you know. I know other people who go to shows and collect drumsticks and picks as though they are trophies, and for those people – they really ARE trophies. I have a couple picks myself. Yes, they are from Dom. Yes, I am glad I have them and that he gave one to me himself! For me personally though, that’s enough. So am I a “collector fan”? I suppose in some ways, but not extremely so.

I don’t think that I was really much of a casual fan, either.  A casual fan is someone who likes hearing them on the radio.  They might even buy an album if they like what they hear, and if they have the time and are able, they’ll go to a show if it’s convenient. I didn’t just sit passively when they came on the radio, and I certainly didn’t just say “Oh, they’re pretty good.” when asked about them. I loved Duran Duran, and I had no difficulty in owning up to that when I was younger. I very much wanted to go to their concerts, but at the time my parents just didn’t have extra money for such things, and they were extremely protective. “No daughter of mine is going to go and hang out at rock concerts at the age of twelve, Rhonda Lynn.” That was my dad’s favorite line when the subject would come up. I could practically recite it for him… just change out the age with each passing year/tour. At the time, I don’t really think I gave a lot of thought to what type of fan I really was, only that I was very much a big fan! There was a time though when I only listened with one ear as to what they were doing, and that was during the mid to late nineties when I was busy learning how to be married and be a parent. This was also when I bought Medazzaland, heard the album through one time, and proclaimed that the band had moved on without me. That was a pretty sad day for me.  I felt dejected and almost angry that yes, I’d finally grown up. That was it? My childhood love over?  Wow.  So that is what it meant to grow up. I wanted no part, thanks. Of course, that whole “growing-up” thing was completely shattered the night that I went to see the band back at the House of Blues in Anaheim in 2001. I’ve told the story here countless times. I didn’t want to go, but Walt insisted (foolish man). We went, and at first I really just wanted to stand in the back. So we stood by the bar, but something crazy happened when they got on stage. I felt this overwhelming need to get as close as possible, and the floor wasn’t even completely filled – so I just hurried down the steps to the floor and got about twenty feet away from Simon. The rush I felt was incredible! We all know it went downhill from there, right? I kid you not – it was like giving an addict crack again, and I apologize for that analogy but I swear it was like feeding the addiction again. And now? Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m no casual fan. This blog, if nothing else, is probably evident of that.

Research says that there are very, very few hardcore fans out there…and that is fans across the board, in any and all types of fandom. There are plenty of casual fans, those who will go to shows but maybe not drop everything to be involved. There are less “collector fans” out there, but there are still many of them. Hardcore fans, the ones who take their fandom and do something productive; the fans who clearly live and breathe and attach part of their own personality to whatever it is that they are a fan of and vice-versa – are hard to come by. In my own well-educated-but-certainly-not substantiated-by-any-amount-of-research opinion, I think that there’s something within the personality that creates a hardcore fan, and a small part of me wonders if it’s not really the same thing that creates addiction. I’m no psychologist, but I think there might just be something to that whole “addictive personality” thing. Just so YOU, dear reader, are clear: being a hardcore fan does not mean the “best” kind of fan. There is no “best”. These categories are simply that: categories of fans, and I still say that the line between fan and fanatic is blurred at best. What does interest me though, is why fans are the way they are. What makes someone into that “hardcore” fan? Why do some fans really feel that need to collect whatever it is that they collect? Why will some fans stop at nothing to do everything possible and still others are good with a show or two? Is it really because one fan is more “hardcore” than the other – and more importantly (to me) – how do those fans see one another? Fascinating. That’s why I keep studying.

What kind of fan are you – and how do you see some of the other types of fans I describe?

-R

I’m over the hiatus!

Just a general welfare check on the blog today…who is dying for some shows?!? News?!?  Excitement of ANY kind?!?

I hear you…and I’m raising my hands right along with all of you. Let me just say that the last couple of days have been…well…challenging…in my household. Illness is afoot. Or underfoot.  Or just sitting here with me.  My entire house has taken turns being sick, and it seems my own immune system is toying with me.  My throat will start to get that slight scratchiness and my head will start to ache, and then it goes away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled it goes away, I just need it to stay away permanently. Last night, I was up for most of the night, unable to sleep.  At some point, as I lay there trying to relax, I longed for the sweet days of being couped up in a tiny vehicle, driving hundreds of miles in a single day to follow Duran Duran on tour, only to get up the following day and repeat the entire process.  (and darn it I would do it again. Gladly!)  Oh, let’s just pull out a few pictures for amusement, shall we??

Amanda, at the wheel….I taunted her plenty on this trip, just for the sport of it.  Good times!

My lap looked like this whenever I wasn’t driving.  Something would make a noise and I would struggle to figure out which devise it was…which was probably amusing for everyone else in the car!  Don’t even get me started on Abigail, our ever-trusty GPS…I think I just started cursing at her whenever she’d speak up towards the end of the trip!
And this is Amanda’s lap.  We had GPS, we had road maps… we had the Tour Binder (our version of the Bible)…we were set!

And this is me in line in Biloxi. Keep in mind…this was the FIRST SHOW and I was already down for the count.  Wow.  Gotta love those GA lines, right?

The Stolen Leopard…I could use one of those about now. No really, I could!

And this is us screwing with the band. Again. We decided to make our own setlist, and I kid you not, had I figured out how to slip it under the door backstage…I would have!  

Yes, it’s time for therapy. Again. So we must find something to amuse ourselves in the interim.  Thankfully, someone in Duran Duran knows us well….

I’m sure you’ve all heard of TVMania by now.  I have to admit, even *I* am intrigued by the project at this point.  Naturally, anything named “Bored with Prozac and the Internet”, A Soundtrack to the Digital Age grabs my attention by default.  Did you catch the new piccie that was shared this morning? (well, it’s morning here where I am…)  Oh, please allow me to share…

please keep in mind this is not my photo and I am giving full credit to whomever took this over in the Duran Duran official camp headquarters.  🙂

Honestly.  If you’re not curious just from the press release that you can read right here , aren’t you just a teensy bit curious from the get-up they’ve got going on in this picture??

A. What is that on Nick’s face… and…

B.  What is on Warren’s head???

I can’t imagine this album will be at all boring.  Rest assured, we’ll be reviewing it here, although I have to admit that I personally will likely be settling for the simple “gatefold” edition vinyl.  Those of you with a bit more disposable income will have to share the splendors of the deluxe package with the rest of us.  We promise not to drool.

That’s it from me today – I’m off to find a nap while I can!

-R

Book Discussion–In The Pleasure Groove (Chapters 65-69)

Is it Monday already?  Where did the week go?  While I’m way less than thrilled that my weekend is over, I’m always happy to have a book discussion, especially when it is on John Taylor’s autobiography!  This week, we move on to Chapters 65-69.  These chapters cover right after the Wedding Album to John’s solo days (1994-1998/9).  Both Duran Duran and John Taylor faced a ton of changes during the time period.  Duran recorded an album of covers, Thank You, which was released in 1995.  John formed another side project, Neurotic Outsiders.  While this project was not long lasting, John’s time with Duran ended until the reunion in 1997.  The band moved on without him and he worked on a solo career.  Personally, he had a successful experience at rehab.  He also divorced his wife, Amanda, and met and married Gela, which resulted in a blended family.  Much to discuss!!!

Chapter 65:  A Million Tiny Seductions
Why do you think the chapter was called “A Million Tiny Seductions” when it really describing John hitting rock bottom?
A – I don’t have a good answer to my question, but one that I’m left wondering about.  Is it a reference to the drugs?  They seduced him a million times.  Could that be it?  Could it be that all of the seductions John had been involved with were not enough?  He still ended up unhappy and addicted until he sought out the help that he needed.
R – I really don’t think it’s was JUST the drugs. I think it was the fact that there were seductions around every single corner and yet none of them were ever enough.  I mean really – wasn’t that truly it?  The man had everything most of us every really even think of – and yet none of it was ever enough, and some of it was just way too much.  

Did you find any thing surprising about John’s decision to enter rehab?
A – In some ways, his story seemed common.  His last night of partying that he described in this chapter was bad, but not life altering.  Yet, it seems to me that it isn’t always some dramatic moment that leads to the decision to admitting that one needs help.  It also didn’t surprise me that John heard about the rehab facility and thought it wasn’t for him, at first.  I think that is common.  What did surprise me is that those around him didn’t seem to really get that John was suffering as much as he was.  Now, I’m not saying that to be critical.  It could have been that John was such a functional addict that people didn’t see it as a problem or that John doesn’t remember them being concerned.  It is just unusual.
R – I’ve been thinking a lot about that whole “English-way” thing.  I know from my own family they just don’t talk to one another! It seems to me, as the hopeless American, that they hide quite a bit and just keep going (but they don’t call it hiding).  My point being that I don’t think he would have gotten any of his bandmates to ever tell him that it was too much until it was too late.  Maybe John hid it well, maybe the band members had their own worries, and maybe it was just expected behavior.  I don’t know.  I did like the little tale about his assistant at the time who just kept driving and dared to say “You never know John, you might make some friends.”  Good on her for not giving in to his fear – because that’s exactly what all that was – fear. You know, if John Taylor ever said “F you” to me – well, he’d think twice before doing it again. Just saying. I’d have calmly stopped the car and told him to get out and walk the rest of the way to rehab, and those of you who really know me understand that I’m not kidding. Good times.  No, I wouldn’t have made a good assistant.  

Chapter 66:  Tucson
John mentioned that he blamed his parents for some of his problems while at rehab.  Does that fit with the rest of the book?
A – I think John did a marvelous job presenting himself and others as the complex people that they are.  While his love for his parents is obvious, he never said that they were perfect.  It seems to me that John had to walk through the process of acknowledging and forgiving his parents for being human in order to heal.
R – I’m not surprised he blamed his parents for some of his problems.  I am rather fond of the saying “No one gets through childhood unscathed.”…and that’s true.  I think it’s normal because our parents very much mold us into who we become to some extent…and parents are still human.  We make mistakes every single day (as I am told).  I think it is all part of the healing process, and I still believe this book is very much a love letter to his mom and dad as a way to honor their memory.  It’s not really about Duran Duran, although I think many out there see it that way. 

Chapter 67:  Day 31
Why do you think that John believed that it would be difficult to continue his career sober before he saw the interview with Michael Douglas?
A – John didn’t explain this very thoroughly but he did comment that magazines like NME taught him that he needed to be wasted.  Why would he need to be wasted?  As we know, NME was not kind to Duran ever.  They did not think that Duran deserved the success that they had.  So did he feel like he needed to be wasted to be able to blow off the negative feedback?  Was only able to be a rock star when he was wasted or so he thought?
R – You know, some part of me thinks that John Taylor, along with many many other young celebrities out there, really just didn’t get it – it being his life, his career, etc.  I came away from the entire book thinking that it must have been very difficult to reconcile your sense of self as an individual entity away from the celebrity self.  They seem to be two very different things, and I think it takes a certain amount of self-awareness and even maturity to be able to really handle celebrity.  It’s only natural to attach yourself to whomever that “onstage” persona might be, and navigating the span between the two must be incredibly difficult.  I really don’t think being a drug addict had anything to do with dealing with the negativity as much as it did for him to deal with real life – the time when he wasn’t onstage working and was trying to function as John Taylor.  Or Nigel for that matter.  Who was he supposed to be?  I think that was just as much of the issue as anything else.

Chapter 68:  A Fine Bromance
Why do you think John included Neurotic Outsiders versus something like his acting?
A – Clearly, he learned an important lesson from playing with this band, which was that he could have fun playing music again.  It didn’t always have to be career focused.  I also think it was important for him to be around other rock stars who were in a similar situation in celebrating their sober lives.  They probably acted as a support group of sorts for each other.  On a completely different and unrelated note, I love the song, Better Way, and was happy that John included something about it.
R – I think the lesson was important for him.  He needed to see if it was still fun.  I really don’t know what acting really was for John other than maybe an aside – could he do something else entertainment related?  I’m not really sure.  It’s all self-exploration when it comes down to it, but I can understand why he left acting out of the book.  

Chapter 69:  Gela
Did you feel like you understood why John left the band?
A – John didn’t go into too much depth for why he left Duran.  He mentioned how he had to travel less in order to really focus on his family and blending it successfullyWhat I find interesting is that I had forgotten he was still in the band in the last couple of chapters.  It seemed like Duran was the last thing on his mind.  While I’m sure that part of that happens after being in a career for awhile, but he didn’t talk about making Thank You or starting to work on Medazzaland.  It seems to me that John explains it more as he talks about his solo days.  He needed to see who he was or if he even existed outside of Duran Duran.
R – Admittedly, I am so fuzzy on details when it comes to this point in the history of Duran Duran. I don’t have the timeline straight in my head until I re-read what he says.  I was busy trying to define who *I* was during this period for very different reasons, so Duran Duran wasn’t really on my mind much either, I guess.  In my opinion, his quitting the band was as much of a statement as to the fact that John had finally figured out how to BE John as it was anything else. He was able to distinguish his own self from the band.  I have to applaud him for being able to walk away from that and just exist.  

What lessons do you think that John got from being solo?
A – Clearly, he learned two very important lessons.  First, he learned that he really could connect with people through music.  The machine of Duran had/has gotten so big that it must be hard for the band to think of making connections with individuals.  I’m sure it is far easier to think of us as “The Fans”, collectively, rather than a group of individual people who have something in common.  Second, he learned to really love playing live and that each gig should be approached with the idea that this gig must be the best one.
R – I think you pointed out all of the same points I was thinking!  In some ways, it is a shame that the Duran Duran “machine”, as you put it – got so out of control in the 80’s.  I don’t think it was just John that didn’t have any idea how to deal with us, “The Fans” on any sort of individual level.  I mean, let’s face it – it’s been many many years and I think it’s only just recently that they are even SORT of beginning to feel comfortable with us as people.  Sort of.  I can’t really blame them in some respects.  We’re very overwhelming as a whole.  As individuals – which might be easier to see with Twitter and Facebook, we might not be so bad, but it takes a long time to reprogram yourself to think that way after the days of the 80’s where we were a huge mob just after anything and everything we could get.  Anyway, it’s clear that he needed to see what it was like to connect with fans again.  Like he said, standing up in front of thousands was easy, but 8?  Maybe not quite as simple in a completely different way. 

Final Thoughts:
This section could be called the lessons learned part of the book.  It seems to me that John learned about himself, about the disease of addiction, about how to forgive and stop blaming, about how to stand on one’s own two feet, about how to really be in a family, about how fun music can be especially when making connections with others.  It seems to me that we could all benefit from remembering some of the more universal lessons ourselves.

Next week, we will be discussing Chapters 70-72.  This is a short section that covers his mother’s death and the reunion.  It should be interesting.  Until then, grab a beverage and chime in!

-A

Media Representations of Fandom–Duran Songs!

What does Duran Duran say about fans?  More specifically, what do they say in their songs about fans?  I ask as part of my continuing series of blog posts regarding media representations of fans.  In previous weeks, I have looked at movies, TV shows and books.  Now, I ask about music.  I ask about what the subject of our fandom has to say about fans.  Do they show fans to be normal but passionate people?  Do they show one or more of the common stereotypes like being obsessive or demonstrating behaviors common with “stalking” or being a “groupie”?  Do they show fans as unthinking or immature?  Do the fans in Duran’s music have lives or they just focused on fandom? 

What songs discuss fans or fandom?  It seems to me that there are a couple of songs in which fans or fandom is the obvious subject matter.  Still there are other songs which could be metaphors for fans or fandom.  Likewise, Duran has quite a few songs that deal with being famous, which I will not discuss at this time.  Thus, I’ll focus on the obvious songs and leave those songs for another blog.  To me, the obvious songs are Be My Icon and All You Need is Now.  Let’s discuss in chronological order.

Be My Icon:
This is a song featured on Duran’s Medazzaland album.  As many of you might know, this song’s lyrics started out dramatically different.  John Taylor was on vocals and the title was “Butt Naked”.  The focus of those lyrics, from what I have heard and believe, is John’s ex-wife.  Obviously, after he left the band, the lyrics and title changed to what we have now.  Here are the lyrics:

I follow you, I wait for you
You know there’s no escape from me
You’re more than wallpaper in my room

I write you letters and bring you gifts
I’m going through all your trash
I love you so much,
I keep your cigarette butts

Now is the time to come out
Come out of the shadows

No need to be scared
You’re gonna be so happy
I built you a shrine
Now you can Be My Icon

I’m out on the edge
There’s no way back inside
All my friends are gone
They didn’t understand me

It makes so much sense
It’s no coincidence
Just you and I alone here
And I need you
Oh

How many hours have I stared at my face in the mirror
I get worried sometimes that the image will shatter

No need to be scared
You’re gonna be so happy
I built you a shrine
Now you can be my icon
No need to be
Scared
Now you can
Be My Icon

I know this is real
Believe it
We belong together
What ever happens
You’re gonna be with me
Forever

Be my icon
You will be my icon
Be my icon
You will be my icon

How does this Duran song represent fans and fandom?  Not good.  Not good at all.  Let’s assume that this is about one fan.  Clearly, this person has become obsessed and stalker like.  The very first line after all is about following the celebrity and that the celebrity cannot get away from this fan.  Then, of course, this person searches through the celebrity’s trash and keeps some of it, including cigarette butts.  In fact, this person is so obsessed that s/he has lost all of her/his friends because they don’t understand the obsession and the behavior that goes with.  What is the ultimate goal?  The goal is to have a relationship with the celebrity with lines like, “We belong together.”  The celebrity, in turn, is freaked out.  What will this fan do?  What will this obsession lead to?  Of course, not everything that this fan does is unusual or out of the norm of fan behavior, including having posters, buying gifts or writing letters.  The key is moderation and it is clear from the rest of the song that there was no moderation.  At all.  Now, are their fans like this?  Certainly.  Are there fans like this in Duranland?  Definitely. 

All You Need Is Now:
Duran has been introducing this one by saying it is a message to the fans.  Let’s look at the lyrics and see what that message is and how they show fans and fandom.

It’s all up to you now
Find yourself in the moment
Go directly to the voodoo
Now the channel is open
Lose your head
Lose control
You come on delicate and fine
Like a diamond in the mind
Oh whoa oooo, yeaaaa

When you move into the light
You’re the greatest thing alive
Oh whoa oooo

And you sway in the moon
The way you did when you were younger
When we told everybody
All you need is now

Stay with the music let it
Play a little longer
You don’t need anybody
All you need is now

Everybody’s gunning
For the VIP section
But you’re better up and running
In another direction
With your bones in the flow
Cold shadow on the vine
But your lashes let it shine
Oh whoa oooo, yeaaaa

Every moment that arrives
You’re the greatest thing alive
Oh whoa oooo

And you sway in the moon
The way you did when you were younger
And we told everybody
All you need is now

Stay with the music let it
Play a little longer
We don’t need anybody
All you need is now

All you need all you need is now
All you need all you need is now
All you need all you need is now

And we will sway in the moon
The way we did when we were younger
(When we were younger)
When we told everybody
All you need is now

Stay with the music let it
Play a little longer
(A little longer)
We don’t need anybody
All you need is now

Oh whoa oooo
All you need all you need is now
Oh whoa oooo
All you need all you need is now
Oh whoa oooo
All you need all you need is now
Oh whoa oooo
All you need all you need is now

The very first line that catches my attention in relationship to fans is, “you come on delicate and fine
like a diamond in the mind”.  This time the fan isn’t coming on strong.  The person is like a gem, something to be treasured.  A few lines later, the fan is the “greatest thing alive”.  From there, of course, Duran encourages the fan to “stay with the music”.  Obviously, they want the fan to continue to be a fan and to embrace the now.  In fact, the fan could “lose your head, lose control”.  This is the exact opposite of Be My Icon.  In this song, the fans are absolutely welcomed.  Interestingly enough, the fan is also encouraged to not try to be in the VIP section.  Could this mean that while the fan should stay with the music, the fan shouldn’t worry about being the biggest and best fan?  Maybe.

In the two songs that Duran really focused on the fans, they really show two very different pictures.  On one hand, the fan seemed obsessed and demonstrated stalking behavior, for sure.  It painted a picture of the extreme fan.  It also feels like they are just talking about one fan, an individual.  All You Need Is Now, on the other hand, feels like they are talking to a group, more than one fan.  In this case, the fans are welcomed. They are more than welcomed.  They are treasured and admired.  What is the take away then?  How does Duran show fans and fandom?  It seems that their depiction of fans is balanced, from the celebrity’s point of view.  Some fans can be nightmares but most fans are dreams.  That makes perfect sense to me.

-A

Interpretations of Palomino

This week, for my weekly analysis of Duran song lyrics, I decided to tackle the song, Palomino off of the Big Thing album.  Why choose this song of all their songs?  Simple.  It has been suggested a few times.  Now, I have to admit that when this song was requested, I wasn’t that excited.  I don’t feel like I have a connection at all to this song.  It is one of those Duran songs that I would have to go through album lists to come up with.  It is one, for me, that faded into the background.  It isn’t that I don’t like the song.  It just isn’t one that I love or hate.  No strong emotional reactions pop up when it comes on.  Perhaps, though, this is the best reason to analyze it.  Maybe, I will get more of a connection by doing so.

As always, I begin my analysis by posting a video of the song and the lyrics.  Now, this track did not have an official video but I was able to find this live gem from the Milan show in 1988:

Lyrics:
She lays on the wall watching the strangers drift away. Mid-day’s o’er thick with the sun of Arabia. She surrenders her voices; they gather on the wind – talking, chanting, breathing into her body. Yesterdays. Mmm mmm mmm mmm. Awaken beside the scent of burnt sugar on her skin. Painting eyes -thick- with the colour she brings in. Oh, it’s sure and strong as the lightning tumbles down. Don’t you frown. Everything will be in time for this evening.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll wonder…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll know just…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

Hey! Hey!

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

What kind of theories are out there about what this song means?  Well, interestingly enough, this song was the topic of 2 Ask Katy questions.  In those answers, Simon mentioned that the chorus came from a quote from the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.  The quote was a response to a question that asked Picasso what he did when he ran out of blue paint to which he responded, “Why, I use red instead!”  The connection to this quote of Picasso’s is obvious.  The other Ask Katy response by Simon mentioned that the song is about a beautiful girl he has known.  Would that make sense?  Well, the pronoun used is a she.

The internet theories about this one aren’t numerous but do include the following:

*A Horse

*Drugs

As always, let’s take them one at a time.  Palomino is a coat color in horses in which the horse has a gold coat and a white mane.  These types of horses are often featured in movies and in parades.  Their origin is most likely European/Asian with a rich history in Spain and is a Spanish word.  Do the lyrics fit this type of  horse?  The first verse could be talking about a horse spending her day outside with the wind.  Color is emphasized as well with the line “Painting eyes -thick – with the colour she brings in”.  The only line that throws me slightly is the line about Arabia.  The image then that pops into my mind is that of a desert and bright sunshine.  Were Palomino horses found in Arabia?  Maybe, they were in the Crusades??  A horse could definitely take in secrets in that she would be around to hear all the people talking and she could, as any animal like this could, get into someone’s heart and be loved by that person.  The chorus could also fit this with the image of letting someone run.  Does this mesh with Simon’s statement that it is about a beautiful girl.  Sure could.  That beautiful girl could be a horse.

What about the other commonly suggested theory that it was about drugs?  According to the theory, the burning of sugar is related to drug use.  To me, this is quite a stretch.  Yes, I realize that the use of some drugs require burning them in a spoon to liquify them.  Yet, it isn’t sugar that this is done with.  Could sugar stand for the drug?  I suppose but there doesn’t seem to be much else in the song to indicate drug use.  On the other hand, that sugar could be referring to the white mane of a palomino horse or even sugar cubes that the horse could have.

To summarize, I think in all likelihood the song is about a horse.  Could it be about a woman who is outside, is told secrets, is able to be loved, and is able to let someone run or be free?  Absolutely, it could.  We find this pattern throughout Duran’s history, haven’t we?  Take Leopard for example.  Is it about a leopard or a woman?  Either way, those theories make a lot more sense than the drug use one!  Now, what should I analyze next?!

-A  

It’s Too Much Information for Me

Sometimes, I struggle with what to blog abut about other times, I have about 50 things I want to talk about.  When it rains it pours, I guess.  Don’t worry I have written them down and hope to get to each one of them!  This week, I returned to work after a 2 and a half weeks break.  The vacation was wonderful and productive.  I felt good going into the week.  I was prepared and knew exactly what I needed to get done when.  Well…I did well the first couple of days.  Then, as you know from Rhonda’s blog yesterday, we have been busy and on the phone with each other a lot.  I have been so overwhelmed by life , from our plans and from work that I keep missing any and all news on the Duran front. This post going to help me out by summarizing the past week in Duranland!

Studio Visit Auction:
Apparently, there is a new auction to observe the band in the studio, get a picture with the band and a tour of the studio.  The money raised will be used to support the National Literacy Trust.  The auction itself takes place on January 22nd but bidding can be done via absentee bidding that goes until January 21.  The information can be found here.  Now, this is a pretty cool prize, in my opinion.  I would love, love, love to be a fly on the wall in the studio and get to watch the band work.  As for the photo, I would be up for that, too, since I don’t have one.  I also love that this is to support literacy.  As a reading teacher, this couldn’t please me more.  That said, I suspect that this one will be too rich for my blood with a plane ticket and the auction cost.  I hope that the band helps the organization bag a lot of cash and good luck to all people who enter!

TV Mania:
There is now a website for TV Mania at:  http://tvmaniamusic.com/  For those of you unaware (and I know there were many of you–I saw that on twitter), this was a project of Nick and Warren that was started years ago when Warren was still in the band.  The project has never seen the light of day, officially, but I know that there was a demo floating around sometime.  It seems to me that the project will be a lot like Medazzaland in that it was experiential, to say the least.  Now, when this project finally surfaces, Rhonda and I will give it a shot and review it as we do many/most Duran related projects.  I know that there are many fans who are really excited by this and I’m happy for them!  I can’t say I’m as excited as I wasn’t a big fan of the Medazzaland era but I hope that I’m pleasantly surprised!

Roger Taylor is Alive!
Apparently, Roger has been on vacation in Peru and enjoying the beautiful weather!  It is nice to know that he is alive and well.  I think many of us are a bit jealous of the vacation as I stare out the window of my still covered by snow environment despite warmer than normal January temperatures.  I also noticed that Roger was encouraged to write a postcard for all of us to read.  I second that idea!!

John Taylor’s Guest Vocals:
Koishii and Hush, a trance duo, just released a new single, C’est Tout Est Noir, which features some vocals by Mr. John Taylor.  According to Duran’s facebook, John approached it like he did the recording of the song, I Do What I Do, which, to me, meant that it would be almost like a spoken vocal.  Now, that I have heard the track, I think my assessment with that was right on.  Unfortunately, because I have been so busy I haven’t seen/heard much in Duranland about who got the single, what people thought, etc.  Perhaps, a lot of people didn’t download the track.  I did.  I feel like I should give everything a chance even though trance is not my favorite thing.  I have to admit that I thought it was a really good dance track.  I would definitely dig it in the right club setting.  Plus, I really like John’s vocals!  

Duran Duran Update:
Monday saw an official update from the band.  The update, which can be found on dd.com, basically stated on the guys are still on vacation but plan to return to the studio with Mark Ronson in March to begin working on the next album.  The update indicated that the band was pleased with the result of working with Mark on All You Need Is Now and can’t wait to see what they would come up with next.  The reaction to this news, from what I saw, was exactly as I had expected it.  Most people were excited!  There were, as always, a few Duranies that were fine with it but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were excited.  Many others pointed out that this isn’t really news as this information has been out there for awhile.  My thoughts about it?  I am THRILLED with this.  I couldn’t be happier.  To me, AYNIN felt like essential Duran.  It didn’t feel dated but it did FEEL like them.  It is easily one of their best albums, in my opinion.  Thus, I can’t wait to see/hear what they come up with next!!!

You know what surprises me about this week in Duranland?  I am surprised that for Duran downtime there was so much going on!  It also says to me that this works well for fans.  Duran is always there, always present even when they are not officially working.  It is like a check-in, of sorts.  It doesn’t have to be much, I don’t think.  It just needs to be something to say this is what they are working on or what they are doing.  I have no doubt that it was keep the fans from doing something drastic!  

-A

 

One of Those Days

More on that whole friendship and family thing…

Funny how the best laid plans never seem to quite work out. I had big plans for yesterday afternoon, including giving my son a Pre-Algebra test. (In case you’re unaware, I homeschool my 13 year-old son.) Well, it didn’t happen. We had “kind of a lot” go on, and I found myself on the phone not once, but twice with Amanda in one day. We weren’t even planning for Duran Duran shows!!

No, we’re working with a great team of people to get a convention planned, and while I can’t give you details right now, we’re trying to figure out the “big budget” for the entire event. I’m really not trying to tease you all about the convention details, either. We’re working on a few things, and once contracts have been signed and everyone feels ready, I promise I will shout everything from every rooftop I can find, as well as on this blog. Rather than give you eye-droppers full of information every few weeks, we’d really just like to give you everything at one time. Call us crazy. (We really are.)

In any case, a few things became glaringly apparent to me last night. One, I am not good with money. I mean, I’m good with budgets, but they stress me out all at the same time. I had SUCH a stomach-ache last night. You see, we’re not cavalier about the idea of how much a weekend should cost or the value that should be found within. We know what we would expect of a convention, and we want to deliver. We also know far too much about what kinds of things like this cost. We insist that we do right by our fellow fans, and we insist a lot more out of ourselves than we ever would of other people. So yes, it’s stressful.

While I sat on the floor talking to Amanda, with my computer in front of me and little slips of paper with lists, calculations, and my calculator scattered on the floor around me…I attempted to fold myself basically in half trying to make my stomach ache go away. (it didn’t work, by the way) My nerves were working overtime at this point.  I was desperately trying not to bite my nails off, and all the while – Miss Amanda sounded as cool as a cucumber on the other end. She said she wasn’t at all nervous, and she certainly didn’t sound it.  I think I began every single sentence with “I worry that….” and she had answers for nearly all of it.  If she didn’t have answers, she was certainly trying to be far more creative, where all I continued to do was throw more worry around as though it were confetti at New Years Eve.

What I realized was that it isn’t just our friendship that continues to keep us working together, it is the way we compliment one another so well. Where I completely fail, Amanda is strong. Where Amanda might falter, I tend to navigate well. We are lucky our paths crossed, and believe me, when one of us isn’t around or our attention is suddenly diverted…the other feels the absence. I am not sure I would want to continue the blog or develop our plans for the next year without Amanda’s input. Not only would it never be the same, I don’t think I could completely handle everything without her. That’s friendship.

So I say to the rest of you, sure – this fandom is competitive in a way that drives me crazy. I can’t stand the politics of it all at times. I love the band, I love the music and I love going to shows. I don’t love the vibe that comes over any and all of us whenever the band is around and even semi-accessible. We become a shark feeding-frenzy.  I really hate that, and I try not to get involved.  Sometimes I fail miserably, but I try. All of that aside though, the friendships I’ve made along the way are more than worth it. I don’t have photos with the band, I don’t own drumsticks that Roger has given me at a show. I don’t collect their signatures as though they’re trophies. I have friends. Those prizes are worth their weight in gold and then some.

-R

Flashback to High School

Can we talk a little about high school?

Oh sure, I could make this all about my daughter since she’s 16, in the depths of her sophomore year and about to start drivers education…but it’s really about me. And I matter, damn it.

Recently I did a guest blog for my lovely friend Karen Booth, who is not only a Duranie…but an author.  She has a book coming out in a couple of weeks that I strongly recommend fans take the time to read. (Female fans would probably like it best… but hey, if you’re male and romance novels float your boat, then this is for you too!)  It’s named Bring Me Back and it’s out January 20th. I won’t say much right now other than I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and finished it in one sitting.That is one sitting with three kids running around and a husband attempting to vie for my attention. He lost. This is not fanfic by any means, but astute Duranies out there may notice some interesting details peppered in just the right places throughout the story. Enough said…I send you forth to go buy it on the 20th, and you’ll thank me when you do!

Back to that guest blog of mine that you can find here: Rock & Roll High School. On the blog, I mention my very least favorite (i.e. hated) band in high school. One might think I had to really ponder over the idea of what my least favorite band might have been, even if for just a second. Nope. This was one of the easiest questions I have had to answer all week, coming in just ahead of “What do you want for breakfast?”

My answer? U2.  I realize this probably offends 2/3 of you out there.  Before you hit “send” on that hate mail…the point really isn’t about the band, because I think most of us had a band that we couldn’t stand while everyone around us loved them.  So while you’re fantasizing about roasting me over an open fire, consider who may have been your own “U2″…and then send me a comment letting me know who it was!

U2. Wow did I despise them. The best part of this tale is the reason I hated them so much. Everyone else around me thought they were fantastic. That drove me NUTS. They had the nerve to fill up stadiums when they toured. They sold many albums. They were on the radio every freaking second. I hated them and that sanctimonious attitude that I felt Bono exuded through each tiny pore on his body.

Let’s just set the stage a bit. I’d say the year had to have been 1987. That would put me in my junior year of high school. I was in the marching band. Unbeknownst to the uninitiated, the members of the marching band at my school had reasonably good taste in music. The overwhelming majority listened religiously to KROQ (Richard Blade was still a DJ at this station at the time), and obviously, music played a huge role in our lives. (Understatement of the century, right?)  In March of that year, U2 released Joshua Tree. I don’t think I can really properly explain just how many times I heard “With or Without You” or “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. In a relatively short amount of time, I was ready and willing to sacrifice small children (I would have offered up my younger sister) or even animals to make the music stop. Every single day I would walk into that band room and every single day I was greeted by the drawl of Bono’s voice booming from the supersized club speakers that were in the room. (I never did understand why we needed those speakers. WE were the noisemakers, weren’t we??) If that weren’t enough, I had to hear my fellow band members go on and on about how “AMAZING” this band was and how I needed to get a clue, that Duran Duran was washed-up.

Wait, what?? Did they just use that name in VAIN?

I don’t think it should come as any real surprise that I was a big Duran Duran fan. If this fact shocks you, I’m thinking you might be on the wrong blog…but hey, welcome!! Where was I? Sure, I knew Roger and Andy had already left. Don’t remind me. I knew that the days of Rio and Is There Something I Should Know were behind. I also knew that Notorious hadn’t done quite as well as the first three albums. I was a believer and I had faith. Blind loyal teenage faith! I hadn’t even seen the band live yet, but I was not going away, and I was not giving in to whatever it was that Bono and company were trying to sell. No way. I blatantly continued flying my Duran Duran flag and continued taking hits from the rest of my marching band.  They lovingly (I hope it was lovingly) referred to me as a nerd…which is amusing when you consider that this, my friends, was the marching band. Weren’t we ALL nerds just by default?!? So I was the nerd of nerds. Outstanding. I was ever the over-achiever, even back then. I didn’t care. U2 could go to hell in a hand basket, I was never giving in.

After high school, which ended rather uneventfully unless you count a severe case of chicken pox three weeks before graduation, I moved into my college dorm with my closest friend from high school. (yes that’s right – three weeks. I caught them on the night of my PROM. Isn’t that fantastic timing??  I missed most of my finals and literally showed back up at school just in time to walk for graduation.)  Did I mention that this closest friend was a huge U2 fan?

She was determined to make me see the light. I was determined to resist.  Every Sunday night, she would call it “Music Appreciation” Hour, and she’d put on U2.  Vinyl of course, because even then I was convinced that CD’s sucked.  She would put the music on and sit in front of the speakers, trying to hear even the tiniest of sounds, and talk to me about what the music really meant and how Bono was trying to change the world. I self-talked my way into not openly gagging.  The next school year, I joined a sorority and moved out of my dorm room. Peace and U2 free at last!

To this day, I am still not a U2 fan in the same way I am not a fan of country music. I appreciate their contribution, and I have long since given up changing the station whenever one of their songs is played, particularly if it’s from one of their earlier albums – such as Unforgettable Fire – but I just can’t get on board completely. Call it stubborn…but I call it determined. I determined they weren’t worth my time a LONG time ago…and yeah, I’m slightly stubborn too.

-R