Category Archives: Duran Duran

Put on your Dancin’ Shoes….

It’s nearly November…which means the highly anticipated DDUK Convention is almost here!   On November 17th, Duranies from around the world will converge upon Birmingham – the “birthplace” of Duran Duran, for a night of friendship, fun, a celebration of fandom, and just the right bit of debauchery!

While it goes without saying that the mere idea of a convention for fans likely needs no promotion or hype, we thought it might add a bit more excitement to get to know each of the hard working convention organizers a bit better in the weeks leading up to the date!

Each week we’ll feature a short blog written with love by the three brave souls who have dared to put their personal lives aside to plan this fantastic convention.   This week, we will get to know Laura, otherwise known in the Twitter world as @Queenofthe80’s (follow her if you’re not already!)  Read on, Duranies!

-R

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By Laura B.

I am the music maestro for this fabulous Duranie event on the 17th November 2012, otherwise known as the DD UK Convention!  My two counterparts, Dave and Michelle, talked about the convention to begin with, and then I got involved as I am a DJ/presenter, a long-term Duranie…and FREE!  I agreed to take on the playlists and function as the presenter (emcee) that night.

I’m sure you’re all wondering – is this an easy job?  Well, no!  However, it is a lot of fun attempting to put together the perfect playlist for over 200 Duranies who have traveled worldwide to the “Holy Land”….Birmingham. (cue angels and harps)  Fans are coming for the ultimate Duranie party, and we plan to deliver!  So after months of pondering, picking the brains of other Duranies, following Daily Duranie’s exploits on Twitter, messaging other fans on Twitter, Facebook messages and hundreds of emails…the question becomes, will the hard work pay off?  Most definitely!  The lovely JT is fully aware of the event, and I have asked him to tell us what he believes is the ultimate Duranie song.  Of course, I’m still waiting for his answer on that…but when given a task that monumental, even JT needs time to deliberate!

What has been the most interesting to me thus far has been the sheer number of requests for material off of the most recent album (All You Need is Now), as well as gems that the diehard Duranies love but the band has yet to play on stage.  I’m not quite finished getting the playlist completed, and will probably be in my own bit of “Girl Panic” the day before the convention, but one thing is for sure: There will be something for everyone!  Do NOT leave your dancing shoes at home!!

Laura B. is by day Insurance Broker, but by night a hospital radio presenter of 11 years who loves the 80s and is a Duranie who in 2012 is stepping out with the ultimate playlist for DDUKconvention 2012.
 


Book Discussion-In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 7-11)

We continue our book club with Chapters 7-11 of John’s book.  This section of the book continues to focus on his childhood.  Like last week, I will not be summarizing the book but will be posing some discussion questions and responding to them.  I then welcome all of you to respond to the questions and/or post new questions to be discussed.  This book club is all of ours!  So, pour your favorite beverage and join in the discussion.

Chapter 7:  Junior Choice
Were you surprised that while John’s household was musical, no one played an instrument?
A – I wasn’t surprised by that since I knew that John didn’t pick up an instrument until he was older, but I was surprised by how much music was a central factor in their day-to-day lives.  Clearly, the fact that they played the radio all the time struck a chord (ha!) in John.  I would imagine that if I were to have children, they might experience something similar since I don’t play an instrument myself but would have their worlds filled with music!  I did like that music seemed to bring John’s family together.  I could relate to that.  It isn’t music in my family but White Sox baseball.  🙂

R – I think that to some degree, I was a little surprised.  I don’t know why, I guess I just would have thought that somewhere along the line someone would have played an instrument. It’s obvious though that his interest in music comes from his family though, and that’s really the more important thing – just having that interest cultivated. 

Chapter 8:  My Moon Landing
What was your reaction to John’s lack of interest in school and John’s parents’ being unaware of John’s performance in school?
A – As a teacher, I couldn’t help but to think of how John would be one of those kids in school who often gets lost.  He clearly wasn’t a behavior problem, other than his skipping class.  He also wasn’t a shining star, academically.  It saddens me that they “gave up” on him since he is obviously so intelligent.  As for John’s parents, I would have thought that they would have been really involved in his schooling since he is the only child.

R – Oh I so *got* this.  As many know, my son Gavin is homeschooled, and it’s because his school just gave up on him.  He’s not a bad kid, he’s actually extremely intelligent, but he doesn’t fit into the “box” that the teachers need him to be in (and with classes that are about 40-45 kids in junior high school – they really can’t take the time with him).  What I was surprised by most though is that his parents just didn’t notice.  I think that this is a sign of that time though.  My dad was horrible in school and his parents never really worried about it or cared much. (he more than made up for that with my sister and I though….) I just think that generation wasn’t quite as involved.

How important was Eddie’s influence on John, do you think?
A – In my opinion, he was pretty important as Eddie acted to not only expand the focus on music, but he introduced John to albums and artists, which led John to start thinking about the interplay that is found in bands.  This, of course, brings John to seeing himself within the band structure.

R – I think Eddie’s influence cannot be denied, and it’s clear that John looked up to Eddie as well. As much as John says that he is comfortable being alone – and I have no doubt about that – I also think he likes feeling as though he’s part of a group.  His friendship with Eddie is evidence of that, because he had someone that he could learn from, share music with, in a way no teenager really can with their parents.

Could you relate to John’s story of seeing Roxy Music on Top of the Pops?
A – I have heard John talk about this performance of Roxy Music before.  Every time I hear it, I instantly think of my own “moon landing”.  For me, it was the Reflex video.  I don’t remember the very first time I saw it but it changed everything for me, too.  While I didn’t grow up to join a band that focuses on both the sound and the look, I did become a fan for life and now causes me to write.

R – I think everyone, at least every Duran Duran fan, has that moment. It could be a video. For me, I really believe it was two things:  hearing Planet Earth on KROQ for the first time, and seeing the video for (I cannot believe I have to say this but I must…) Hungry Like the Wolf.  They were so different.  The music incorporated guitar WITH the synths in a way that knocked me off of my feet, and the video was unlike anything anybody else was doing at the time.  Oh sure, the band was sort of good-looking too.  For me, Duran Duran was just “it”. I keep telling my husband I’ve loved the band longer than I’ve loved anyone. (yeah he really loves it when I say that…and then he reminds me that none of them even know I exist, and then I remember what “pathetic” feels like.  :D) And now, I write a blog.  For the fans…and I blame it all on Hungry Like the Wolf.  Damn that song!!

Chapter 9:  Side Men
How do you interpret John’s description of Nick when he said that Nick is “settled at centre of his own universe”?
A – I found John’s description of Nick terribly interesting.  I took that quote to mean that Nick has always been comfortable with himself and his place in the world.  He didn’t struggle to get there, just always was.  His luck seemed to continue!

R – I really am not sure what John meant by this. I have to admit, I kind of think John does mean that Nick believes the world does revolve by his own insistence – and you know, that isn’t a completely BAD thing.  I also believe as you do, Amanda – that he’s completely comfortable with that.  It’s not something Nick strives for, it just IS.  Attitude is everything, I suppose. 

What was your reaction to the description of the Mick Ronson concert?
A – First, I couldn’t believe that they received the folder of photos, badges, etc. for just the cost of a ticket!  Then, I loved how John described how this concert going business would not be passive.  That is one thing I truly love about a Duran show–being an active participant.

R – When is Duran Duran going to start handing these folders out at their shows??  Different time…different time…I know.  I agree though, going to shows should never be passive.  When it starts getting that way, that’s when I know it’s time for me to hang it up, and that’s not going to happen!  

Do you think John described being a fan well?
A – This is one of my most favorite parts!!!  First of all, I knew that he really got being a fan when he talked about how Nick and he were fans of Mick Ronson  and that “served to bind” their friendship.  Exactly.  Fandom does work to bind people.  Then, he talks about visiting the venue for soundcheck or following another fan’s info about the hotel where the band or artist stayed.  Who couldn’t relate to that?!

R – I think any Duran Duran fan could have written something similar with regard to their own experiences.  (Well, at least up until the part of knowing where the band was staying and a quick way to get there.  If you gave me the choice of two hotels that the band would be staying at and I had to choose – I would almost ALWAYS choose the incorrect one.  This is why no one should ever expect that I *know* anything about the band.  I don’t…and it’s almost laughable at this point.)  I know that whole feeling though, it reminds me of being in the ocean and just going along with the tide.  I get caught up in the rush of it all like anyone else!  

Chapter 10:  The Birmingham Flaneur
Did John’s description of Birmingham surprise you?
A – As I read this chapter, I kept thinking about all of the negative things I have heard and read about Birmingham.  Obviously, I have been there so I know how great of a place it is.  Yet, before I read this, I always thought that John and the rest of Duran didn’t like it.  I guess I figured that since they moved away.  Nonetheless, I was glad to hear that John liked his home city as much as I do.

R – I loved this part of the book, and I agree with you Amanda – I had always had a negative impression of Birmingham from the things that John and the rest of the band had said, up until I went there.  I know plenty of fans that still think it’s not a very nice place, and to these people I have to say that they have clearly not been to many places here in the US.  I don’t know – I loved Birmingham.  Sure, it’s industrial in parts.  Yes, it has crime.  No, it isn’t the absolute cleanest place I’ve ever been.  It’s a lot like the US and the places I’ve lived, grown up in, and know.  I was comfortable there and I look forward to going back some day.  

Chapter 11:  Neurotic Boy Outsiders
Any reaction to the line about “clautrophobia of Dad’s wartime drama and Mum’s religious fanaticism”?
A – I had two thoughts run through my head when I read this.  First, clearly, this was/is a pretty negative way to view the parents.  Second, I thought this is probably exactly what John, the TEENAGER, thought.  It seems that most/all of us view our parents SO negatively at that age.

R – Written like a true teenager.  I have to wonder what my kids have said about me.  The thing is, there’s always that kernel of truth in the exaggerated and negative opinions kids have of their parents. It’s not that what John felt wasn’t true, it was just without the knowledge that comes with maturity – and I can’t blame him for that.  There are things I still don’t understand about either of my parents, so I can see his point.  


Did John describe the forming of that first band well?  Did the line “lighting the blue torch paper” describe it well enough?
A – I think the line fits well.  I think that, for John, hearing the Sex Pistols forced him to pick up that guitar again.  Then, once he had others to play with, it was done.  It was destiny.  It was his future.

R – I wish I could write like John.  It’s such an appropriate line.  


Final Thoughts?
A – I loved how smoothly John showed the transition here from early childhood to adolescence.  We could see how he moved away from his parents towards music and friends.  Music filled the hole left from not being great at school or at sports.  It definitely gave him a sense of belonging.

R – I really think you can see where the seeds were planted. John likes being part of a group.  You can see this from the very beginning of the book, and you can see that he prefers the success that comes along with working towards something as a group. Music was what worked best for John, and you can really see just how much he treasures his memories of  Birmingham.  I really think that his beginnings give me a good sense of who he really is – not just as the bass player in Duran Duran, but of who he is as a person.

I wish I were going to the Chicago signing – have a great time tomorrow Amanda!!!

We will discuss Chapter 12-Chapter 16 next week.

A & R


 

Fan Club of One

There are many things I have noticed over the years as a Duran fan about our fan community.  Many of those things we have talked about in this blog over the past couple of years.  Right now, in Duranland, the only topic people are really talking about is John Taylor’s book.  There was some discussion regarding Andy’s book leading up to the release of John’s book.  For some fans, John’s book release and readings/signings he has done and will do are pretty exciting deals.  For many others, these events aren’t all that interesting.  In fact, I might argue that most fans aren’t really all that into it.  Is that because people haven’t bought John’s book?  No.  Based on its appearance on best seller lists, clearly, many copies have been sold.  Yet, when I glance at our facebook or twitter (granted, I haven’t been looking ALL that much due to my crazy schedule), I don’t see a ton of talk about the book or the events surrounding the book except for fans who are or have attended such events or when people get or finish the book.  Heck, even the first part of our book club didn’t get a ton of comments.  This observation got me thinking.  Is this a new deal?  Are fans not interested in talking about books, maybe?  Are they uncomfortable discussing John’s life and what he described?  I don’t know but, in my experience, it seems to me that our fan community has never really embraced their solo acts. 

Duran Duran first ventured away into side projects in 1985 with Arcadia and Power Station.  Those side projects were pretty popular.  John Taylor’s first solo single, I Do What I Do, was popular as well.  Then, again, everything that the band touched in that era seemed to turn to gold.  This era seemed to be the end of the fan community’s major concern about side and solo projects.  (Please note that I’m not saying that no fan was interested.  I’m just saying that the overall fan base didn’t seem all that interested.)  Andy Taylor’s first solo material followed and didn’t do that well.  I just heard or read somewhere that his first solo album sold something like 300,000 copies.  In 2012, that would be great!  In 1986, that wouldn’t be that great, especially in comparison to Notorious, which sold a lot more than that.  As the years went by, there wasn’t much interest in other side projects like Neurotic Outsiders to the Devils.  There wasn’t a ton of discussion about the second Power Station album either, from what I have seen.  Of course, I wasn’t always as involved in the fan community as I am now so maybe I just missed some of this discussion.  That said, I have seen and heard from many people who don’t know much about those projects or those albums.  Some of you might be thinking that the reason these projects weren’t all that popular is because less popular band members were involved in them, but that isn’t necessarily true as John was in Neurotic Outsiders, for example.  He didn’t get all that much attention during his solo days outside of a very dedicated group of fans even when there would have been easy access to him.  I remember hearing one story about how he played a show once to like 20 people.  Wow.  Of course, during the height of those solo and side projects I referenced, the band wasn’t all that popular.  A lot of fans had lost interest in all things Duran.

Even today, though, I don’t see a ton of interest in the various side and solo projects outside of those very first ones of Power Station (the original) and Arcadia.  I don’t hear about people seeking out the Devils album or searching high and low for all of John’s solo albums.  Of course, I’m sure that there some some people interested or seeking out copies.  My point here is that it isn’t that widespread.  Some fans still are trying to complete their collection of Duran Duran material.  Now, I’m not criticizing any of this behavior.  I’m just acknowledging an observation.  Then, of course, I begin to wonder why it is that fans are not as interested in solo and side projects.  I know that it isn’t because we, as fans, don’t care about the individual band members.  We do, at least to some extent.  After all, I still see people discussing who their favorite band member is and why.  I know that there are tons of facebook groups dedicated to specific members.  Clearly, we don’t totally think that the individual members don’t matter so why don’t we care as much about solo and side projects?  One reason that I thought of is that these outside projects sound different.  They might even be different genres, almost, in comparison to Duran.  Another reason is simply because the whole does not equal the sum of the parts.  The band is much better together than they are apart.  Their chemistry together is a lot more than the chemistry of the parts, or so some people might believe.  Maybe there is another reason that I can’t think of.  Maybe my basic observation is wrong.  So, let me ask you.  Do you care as much about the side and solo projects as you do Duran?  Why or why not?

-A

Happy Birthday Simon!!!

*scratches head*  I keep thinking that today must be important for some reason but I can’t figure it out.  Hmm…I know that I’m distracted from working so much, getting such little sleep and being stressed but still, I usually remember something if it is important.  *scratches head more*  Oh yeah…I hear someone famous has a birthday today.  A famous singer, no less.  Stephen Duffy?  No, his birthday is in June.  Andy Wickett?  Robert Palmer?  Michael Des Barres?  *taps the keyboard impatiently*  I know!  It is Simon’s birthday!!!!  How could I forget that?!?

I think part of the reason it took me so long to remember that it was a band member’s birthday is because I never do the birthdays.  In the 2 years that we have been blogging, I think Rhonda has had every single one of them until now.  So, I’m not used to acknowledging a birthday much more beyond the Today in Duran history that I post.  Now, I could follow in my partner’s footsteps and write about said band member, but I won’t.  It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say.  Oh, I have plenty that I could say but…I want to acknowledge his day by showing what Simon does best, as far as the band goes.  It seems to me that Simon brings the following talents to Duran Duran:  First, his voice is unique and amazing.  Second, when he gets his lyrics right, they are nothing less than fabulous poetry.  Third, his ability to perform is second to none.  I have watched many people at different times go to their first Duran shows.  In almost all cases, when they go, they do not have a favorite but they do when they leave!  It is always Simon, too!  Of course, Simon is also good for creating some humor for himself, for the band and definitely for the fans!  Thus, after we watch some clips showcasing those talents, we will watch some clips of other memorable Simon birthdays as we wish him the most fabulous of birthdays.

When I think of Simon’s voice, I tend to think of those early albums when his voice is natural and so utterly unique.  I have heard/read many people say that Simon’s voice is such that as soon as the vocals start in a Duran song, everyone knows who the artist is because of Simon’s voice.  Here is a clip of early Simon singing Anyone Out There:

Of course, another factor beyond Simon’s voice that makes Duran’s music so special to so many of us is their lyrics.  Simon truly can be a poet and one that requires thinking and invites personal interpretation.  I enjoy that we can listen to a song and all think Simon is talking about different subjects.  His lyrics are such that we can all put our own spin on them, which makes such a strong connection between the listener and the performer.  Now, many people, when thinking of Simon’s lyrics might pick out songs like The Chauffeur, for its poetry factor, or a song like Union of the Snake, for our collective inability to really determine what it means, but I am not.  To me, one of the best songs Simon has ever written is Before the Rain.  It is complete poetry and really spoke to me when I was dealing with the loss of two loved ones at the same time.  On top of that, he sings it beautifully.

Then, there is Simon’s performances.  Simon has the ability to connect with an audience and to entertain them like no other.  Duran Duran, truly, would have been lost without a lead singer like Simon.  While I might focus my attention elsewhere, I know that Simon is able to get the audience’s attention and to keep their attention.  The shows wouldn’t work otherwise.  As a kid, I remember so many times watching the documentary, Sing Blue Silver, with my best friend at the time.  We saw how Simon got the crowd into participating during Girls on Film and knew, right then and there, that if we ever saw Duran live, we, too, would participate the WHOLE time.  LOL

Of course, there have been times when Simon has become particularly entertaining during a show.  That’s typically when he tries to dance.  I’m still amused by the strange dance we saw during Skin Trade in the summer of 2009 and the video of Friends of Mine from Hammersmith in 1982.

Based on all of the reasons I mentioned above and more, I hope that Simon has a memorable, fantastic birthday.  Maybe it will be just as wonderful as one of these:


Happy Birthday, Mr. LeBon!!!

-A

Kiss Goodbye

Each day, for those of you not following us on twitter or are not friends with us on facebook, we ask a question that we hope fans will answer.  Obviously, this question relates to the band in some way.  Currently, we are doing brackets on the songs.  We are going album-by-album and song-by-song until we get a winner from each album.  Right now, we are on Pop Trash.  Yesterday, I said to Rhonda, “I can’t wait until we get done with Pop Trash.”  Why?  The simple reason is that I don’t like it much.  Before I get hate mail about that, it isn’t that I don’t like some songs because I do, but it just doesn’t inspire me or cause a big reaction of excitement.  What is interesting to me is that lately I have seen many other fans saying the same thing about a particular song or album.  Then, they almost always follow it up with, “Does that make me a bad fan?”  I don’t think so.

What is a fan?  In my definition, a fan is not someone who likes everything the idol(s) does.  Yet, I have people who respond to the daily question about song preference by saying, “both”.  Yes, you can like both songs.  I often do but I am asking people to choose which one people like MORE.  I also have people who say, “neither.”  I can understand that.  I am a Duranie or a Duran Duran fan.  What that means to me that is I like the music and the band, generally.  Yes, they are my favorite band.  Thus, I think that when they get it right, musically or otherwise, they REALLY get it right.  Yes, it also means that I generally think they get it right more often than not.  That said, like the person who always answers with “neither” or the fan who wonders if they need to turn in their Duranie card because s/he does not like a particular song, I, too, have Duran songs that I don’t really like.  In fact, and I know this might be shocking but there are songs of theirs that I hope I never hear again.  We all know that Rhonda would be happy never hearing that song involving an animalistic need for food.  Can you guess which song it is for me?  Some of you might since I have mentioned it before, but I bet the rest of you will be shocked. 

Come Undone.  I cannot stand that song.  Now, I didn’t initially hate the song.  I didn’t.  Probably, at one time, I might have even said that I liked it.  There are other songs that I instantly didn’t like *coughZoomIncough* but this one grew to annoy me, then grew to go beyond annoyance.  Why does it bother me?  First, I have to hear it at practically every dang concert I go to.  Although, if the band would ever read this (yeah, right…), I SO appreciated that I didn’t have to put up with it at the Atlanta show this past August.  That almost made the show for me right there!  What is my problem with hearing it live?  It is BORING.  Now, remember that I focus much of my show on a certain bass player.  He doesn’t move much during that song.  Neither does anyone else.  There is no JoSi or DoJo.  The stage is typically set in a green light and everyone just plays or sings.  Boring.  No interaction with the crowd.  Nothing.  Then, of course, there is that horrible, cringe-worthy moment when Simon decides that it is a good idea to lick his fingers.  *shudders*  Yeah, not my thing.  Then, again, I’m not a Simon fan.  If I was, I might think it was cool or hot but I’m not.  Second, musically and lyrically, it just doesn’t do it for me.  I know that technically there is nothing wrong with the song, but I still don’t like it.  Lastly, it seems that it is overrated among the fans.  Everyone loves it or so it seems.  Everyone thinks it is so great.  Maybe, part of my problem is this album, in general for me.  I saw the band live for the first time during this era.  I went to the show with a few friends and had a good time.  Afterwards, though, I distinctly remember telling my friend that something was off with the band and that they should think about breaking up.  Seriously.  I couldn’t give any reason to that statement then other than it was a feeling to me.  Obviously, I’m glad that they didn’t retire then and yes, I’m glad that this album brought them success.  It just didn’t do it for me.  I don’t know why.  It isn’t bad but it didn’t wow me the way I wanted.  It still doesn’t.

What is my point in telling you all this?  I like to think that I’m a pretty dedicated Duranie.  I write a blog, do a daily question, write today in Duran history each day, etc.  Yet, I still have songs that aren’t my favorite.  I have songs that I hope I never hear again and I don’t think that makes me a bad fan or less of a dedicated fan.  It makes me human.  A fan does not have to love everything the band does.  I look at it this way.  I love my nieces, for example, but I don’t always love what they do.  They are human and make mistakes.  This is how I look at fandom.  I will always love Duran but I don’t love every song and every album.  In fact, some of them I would be happy to kiss goodbye forever!  What about you?  What songs do you want to kiss goodbye?

-A

That pesky “Groupie” label

A few weeks back I was in the middle of some research I was doing for my writing when I came across a subject I kept in the back of my mind for later mulling. The article I was reading was an essay printed from Bitch: The Women’s Rock Newsletter with Bite. This was a rock ‘zine printed back in the 80’s, and while at the time I probably wouldn’t have identified myself with much if any of the female rockers or people pictured in the magazine, (At the time I was in my teens, my hair was either blonde or brown depending upon how much Sun-In I’d used in my hair – I have pictures that won’t ever be printed here to prove it – and I wore mainly pastels as opposed to black leather and lace. I was truly the “good-girl” antithesis of a rocker, saccharine-sweet as possible.) secretly – as in “in my room, late at night, I would whisper to my stuffed animals before I went to sleep” that I wished I was brave enough to step outside the box a little. I didn’t really hit my hard-rock music edge until college – the early to mid-90’s (I graduated from college in 1993), although even then, I was in a sorority and was far more apt to follow along with wearing my ZTA letters – Zeta Tau Alpha – and just be one of the crowd than stand on my own. I kept my love for Duran Duran, AC/DC, most of the hair bands, Aerosmith, Led Zepplin and even Ozzy well hidden from friends and fellow sorority sisters – who tended to favor top 40’s sticky bubble-gum pop. Even so, as I accompanied my then drummer boyfriend to his gigs on the Sunset Strip, I secretly admired those girls who would stand in the front of the crowd, daring my boyfriend and the other guys in his band to lose their concentration just long enough to flirt. They could get away with the hard-edged image and not look completely ridiculous. I wanted to look and have the attitude of some of those women, but on my own terms I guess. I just didn’t fit in, and sadly – I think my rocker boyfriend recognized this as well. He soon ran off with one of his groupies, who was way more to his style than I ever was. We’d been high school sweethearts and had been dating for nearly five years. How utterly cliché. Maybe that is why I never became a groupie?

I digress.

The point, and yes – there really IS a point here, is that in this essay I’d come across, the author (Cheryl Cline) comments on adult fandom and groupie behavior – and yes, there is a difference. Even back in the 80’s writers contemplated the boundaries of fandom and groupie behavior. The idea of an adult confessing her crush on a rockstar “is to overstep the bounds of proper feminine behavior.” She continues, “It’s a sign of maturity to pack up all of the posters, photos, magazines, scrapbooks and unauthorized biographies you so lovingly collected and shove them in the back of the closet.” Ok, so mine are at least in the closet…hung up so I can see them, and displayed so I can find them….*coughs* for when I’m doing RESEARCH, of course.

Hardly.

“If you’re under thirteen, you’re supposed to have crushes on rock stars. It’s normal, so it might be a good idea to babble on about Duran Duran….” So is she saying that I should have already given this up by now?? Fear not, my friends. Read on..

(this is the part that ties into my original paragraph, I promise!)

“True groupiedom is a tough business and not everyone is cut out for it. For one thing, not everyone looks like Britt Eckland.” Keep in mind, this was written in the 80’s. If you don’t know who Britt Eckland is – Google awaits. Count me amongst the zillions who do not look like Britt Eckland, or even Sable Starr. (Again, Google her if you don’t know…) I just don’t think any guy, any rock star for that matter, would look my way even once as they passed me by. I just have that “any other girl” look, and I accept that. However, and this is a big however… I don’t know that I’d want it any other way. Would you?

“Even girls who indulge in the hardest core fantasies about a rock star and who occasionally (say, four, five times a day) fantasize about being his groupie do not, in real life, want to be groupies.” If that sentence somehow confuses, here’s something slightly more blunt to try on for size, “A desire for sex shouldn’t be confused with the desire to get fucked.” (Lori Twersky; ‘Devils or Angels? The Female Teenage Audience Examined’, Trouser Press, April 1981)  Of course, I can hear the men out there protesting with vigor, “Yeah, but that article was written about teenagers. You are grown women.” This is true, but the notes still carry with resounding power.

Even though as a young woman I looked at those women and admired them for not being afraid to step out of the female box and dress with quite a bit more edge and attitude than I had at the time, I don’t know that I really wanted to BE a groupie. “The idea that women rock fans want to be groupies of the most craven sort is a strictly masculine daydream – Them as the rock stars surrounded by Us, the groupies.” Cline continues to a place where I think we as fans tend to struggle with the whole concept – I’ve seen it discussed angrily here on the blog whenever we’ve dared to bring the subject up, and I have no doubt that it will continue from here. ‘Groupie’ is a slippery term. Strictly speaking, a groupie is a person (a woman, usually), who ‘chases after’ rock stars, as my mother would say. But ‘groupie’ is also used more or less synonymously with ‘girl Rock fan’, ‘female journalist’, and ‘woman Rock musician’; it used to mean anyone working in the music field who isn’t actually a Rock musician; its used as an all-purpose insult and a slur on one’s professionalism; it’s used as a cute term for ‘hero-worship’; and it’s used interchangeably with ‘fan’. To some, the phrase ‘fans and groupies’ is redundant.”

I don’t argue that the term ‘groupie’ is interchangeable with the term ‘fan’ for many out there, whether you’re female or male. I’ll even go a step farther – there are some fans out there that really are groupies whether they want to admit it or not. That’s how they choose to “get ahead” in the business. Whether or not they’re actually getting ahead isn’t for me to say, because let’s face it – I’m just a blogger, and I’m sure as hell not getting paid to heave up my opinion each day. I pay for my own gigs on my own steam, and that’s the way I want it until Duran Duran starts paying my way. (It’s a joke, people!)

The funny thing about these rock ‘n’ roll fantasies, at least for me, is no matter how much I fantasized about Duran Duran back in the day – never once did I think about it as a quickie night on a tour bus or even more bluntly – on my knees somewhere in a dark, or not-so-dark corner backstage. (I’m cringing just as you are, but sometimes you’ve got to go with the really raw, really blunt imagery. I’m sorry. I’ll go wash my brain with bleach now, and I expect you’ll do the same.) My little-girl fantasies were about the long term, or God-forbid, about actually meeting and just talking to them! I certainly never thought much about the scene that might have unfolded backstage at one time. And now? I guess I wonder how I’d even begin to respond if I really had the chance? I suppose that after I got finished picking myself up off of the floor from shock, I’d have to wonder why any of the band would be that desperate for company at this point in their lives, and why on earth they’d think I’d want to destroy a thirty-year relationship to accompany them back to their hotel room for a single night.

A thirty-year relationship you ask? Yes. Because for me – that’s what I’d be ruining. My own fandom. I mean, how does one go from being a fan who merely fantasizes about the idea of MEETING them to someone who has actually slept with one of them and come out of it feeling OK and not the least bit awkward? It isn’t as though it’s a relationship that would last.  How would you go to another show and not feel used or know they aren’t snickering behind your back? I don’t know. Becoming a friend, and I mean a genuine friend, has far more appeal. Not that I expect that to ever happen, but I think some of you will understand my point. I just don’t think you can ever come back from being labeled a groupie, and once that label has been smacked upon your forehead – what then? Do you move on to other musicians? Other bands? At what point does this stop working for you and begins locking you out of the world you want to desperately be in? I really don’t know, which is probably a sign that I was never cut out for that scene.

In hindsight as I think back to those days when I would sit in the back of The Roxy or The Whisky-a-gogo waiting for Brian to finish his set, I think back to how much I would admire the girls that had the nerve to dress like hell-on-wheels with an attitude to match. I think part of me still has admiration for those who can and will step outside the box of “mom”, or “wife” or any of the other feminine ideals that get thrust upon us once we’re grown. I’ll still go to concerts or other events and look at some of the more harder-edged women around me and sort of long for the audacity to wear leather, dye my hair unnatural colors beyond just the vivid red streaks I’ll have at times, and look like I’ve lived my life in a club on Sunset Strip, but the fact is – I just haven’t.  I’m the mom you might see wearing Doc Martens to a PTA event; the girl who once bopped around town in a Suzuki Samurai with chromed wheels and a custom turquoise paint job, “blonde” hair up in a high ponytail; and the person you might see smiling up at the band at a Duran Duran show. I’ve never been one to talk my way backstage, and chances are, I probably never will. I’ve been known to have great admiration for some who have the look and the attitude along the way, only to find they bend the rules at will. While the ends may seem to justify the means to many, it isn’t who I am, and it’s not something I can indulge.

-R

Playing with Uranium…and I almost lost!

Can I share a funny story?  Of course I can – it’s our blog!

When we first developed this blog, I knew that we should probably just get our own domain.  You know – the ___________.com. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I went and bought it for two years. To be honest, about six months ago I wondered when it was up for renewal, but I immediately pushed the thought aside to take care of whatever else I was doing at the time, and promptly forgot about it.

Then about a month ago, I received a notice saying that I needed to update some information  with the account, and as I normally do – I put it off. I am a BIG procrastinator, and I won’t even try to lie about that. My to-do list is lengthy, and while I do get everything done that needs to get done, my dad used to say that I was the biggest procrastinator he knew. He was telling the truth. Thankfully, Amanda is not. She is the big time planner out of the two of us, and here’s a hint: if you want something done right away – you probably should talk to her. It’s her special gift and I accept that there are times when she’s going to insist that I contact someone to find out when we’re going to be getting XXX in return. (Yes, that’s a thinly veiled HINT to someone special out there that will not be named) So, the note sat in our inbox and each day, I would see it and make a note that at some point in the near future, I needed to go and get ‘er done. That day came yesterday when I realized, with the tiniest bit of alarm, that our domain – dailyduranie.com, was about to expire. On Friday. That would be bad because while we don’t get millions of visitors here, there are a small handful of you out there that like to read the blog. (and we treasure each and every single one of you more than you could ever know!)  So I try to log on and update the payment information. Oddly, I can’t get into my account.  Everything I try doesn’t work, and so I contact customer service. It takes them 24 hours to write me back and basically tell me that they can’t help. This morning I spend time actually calling customer service, only to be told that since I don’t have the proper account information – regardless of the fact that I want to PAY THE DAMN BILL – they can’t really help me.

So at this point, I’m starting to grow worried because if I can’t renew the domain…there will be no blog on Friday morning. It’s very clear that somehow our account had been changed without our consent, so I finally admit that I have to tell Amanda. I email her and within a half hour, guess who is calling me during her lunch? Duh duh DUH….The boss!!! We go through the motions together, and then our account is locked.  Naturally.  As I’m on the phone with Amanda, my mind is spinning in a hundred different directions, trying to decide what to do next. If the domain goes down, the blog would go down, unless I fixed our proxy….and on and on and on. I’m not a technical person and the last person I wanted to have to call on this subject was my husband. So I try one last thing, and this time, they ask for a different set of information, and somehow, it works I get sent a magic email, and I’m able to dismantle the ticking time bomb. The uranium was neutralized and placated, as it may seem.

That’s when Amanda and I bought took a deep cleansing breath. We didn’t even threaten violence on anyone (much)!!!

I’m not really sure if telling this story is the right thing to do because it shows that we’re vulnerable and that whomever tried to get in almost ruined us, but I have to laugh about it now that it’s all said and done. We’re not perfect, and sometimes I make huge mistakes. I’m human, and life isn’t always easy. Daily Duranie was almost no more and I’m sorry to all of you for that. I know that my mind has not been on the band or even the blog much lately as my attention has been needed elsewhere, but the last thing I want is to let the blog lapse.

Thankfully, we’re fine and Daily Duranie will live to be written yet another day!

-R

Notorious!

On today’s date in 1986, Notorious was released.

I had difficulty coming up with a blog topic day (as a quick aside – happy birthday to my husband!!!), so I shot a note to Amanda for help.  She responded with a couple of ideas, and as I glanced at them I realized that I have almost no memory of Notorious. The only thing I can tell you is that I was sitting in the back of my parents car on the way up to Oak Glen, California to pick apples when I first heard the song, Notorious on the radio. Picking apples was one of my favorite “Autumn” activities as a child, and I looked forward to our yearly trip to the small town for apples, pies and a picnic under the many oak trees. I remember hearing the very first note and knowing it was Duran Duran, without a doubt. I didn’t know an album was in the process of being made, and I was very surprised to hear them. I don’t remember if I even knew that Andy and Roger had left the band, to be honest, but I think that by this time I must have known. And…that’s about all I’ve got for a memory of that time.

What is interesting in hindsight is how quickly I knew the song was indeed Duran Duran.  It was instantaneous, almost like Pavlov’s bell. As soon as I heard it, I knew who it was and I could feel the excitement build within, like a glass pitcher being filled with water to the very top. Back then, I relied heavily on the radio for all of my Duran news – while maybe many of you were involved in the fan club or had other ways of getting the latest intel from the group – I wasn’t quite that connected. In many ways, I was incredibly far removed from the world of Duran Duran. I probably didn’t hear information until it was nearly stale, and somehow – I miss that complete ignorance at times. You know what they say? Ignorance is bliss.  Sometimes, I still feel that way.

I don’t think I even recognized that there was somebody else on drums when I heard the music for the first time. I have a funny way of ignoring the obvious if my psyche needs – and for me the absence of a Mr. Roger Taylor would have been pretty traumatic, so I am almost sure I didn’t allow myself to even come to terms with that little notion until much, much later.  Of course, this was also the album that brought Warren Cuccurullo to the band. The funk that can be found on this album wasn’t something I really appreciated much until many years later (although I did love the song Notorious from day one), but it was an odd time.

I guess that for me, Notorious marked a brand new beginning. It put an exclamation point on the idea that Duran Duran would continue on. I had to get used to the idea of three. Three remaining original band members. I mourned the loss of Roger and Andy. I wondered why they left, I wondered if I would ever grow to appreciate the new guys, and mostly I wondered if the band would ever be the same.

-R

Book Discussion-In the Pleasure Groove (Introduction-Chapter 6)

Welcome to the first post of the Daily Duranie Book Club!  Like any good book club, I hope you are enjoying a good cup of coffee or latte, a fine glass of wine or whatever your beverage of choice.  Likewise, this book club should find you with a sweet treat or fine food.  The mood is one of relaxation with calm, thoughtful responses.  As this is a book club, of sorts, the format will be a little different than what we did with Andy’s book.  This will be much less summary (even though I really want to summarize!!) and more of a discussion (I hope!).  Thus, I will be presenting discussion questions.  I will respond to the questions and it is possible that Rhonda will, too.  Then, I hope that all of you will respond via comments.  Likewise, if you would like to add a discussion question(s) of your own, you are more than welcome to!  Goodness knows that there are a ton more questions that can be discussed!

Title, Introduction and Brighton 29 July 1981:
What was your reaction to the very first picture of John Taylor being mobbed by fans?  Was this the right picture to include right away? Do you think it is the most defining moment of his life?  Most important?  
I wasn’t surprised that a photo of John being surrounded by fans was included.  After all, it is an image that pops up into most people’s minds when they think of John Taylor.  That said, when I saw it, I hoped that the book dived deeper or beyond fame and fans as there is much more to John’s life.

Does John describe what a Duran Duran show is like?  Was that description only valid at the height of their popularity?  
I found his description to be fairly accurate, even now.  While we all might not be saying “take me”, I think there is “an overwhelming force” of energy, at least from the hardcore fans when the show goes well and the band does their part.

What is your reaction to the line, “They have come to hear themselves.  To be heard.”?
This line really stood out for me as someone who studies fandom.  In many ways, I absolutely agree with this line.  Fandom really is about the FANS and not about the idol(s).  When fans get together, they are the ones who make the noise and can make more noise than, in this case, the band–both literally and figuratively.  I also think that fans come together to be heard in the sense that they want to share the love of their idol(s) with each other.  They/we want to be a part of something and that is a story, in itself.

Part 1:  Analogue Youth
Chapter 1:  Hey Jude:
What did you make of the title?
When I first read the chapter, I kept expecting John to make a reference to the Beatles.  He didn’t.  Yes, obviously, it is the name of his church but he didn’t just say the title of his church.  He used the Beatles song.
Then, he explains how Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases.  I thought that was interesting and I wondered if he thought this fit with his life.

What influence do you think his physical environment had on him?
I took note that he lived in a basic house that shared a wall with another, what in America we would call a duplex.  Then, he attended church in a very basic building.  I wonder if this didn’t affect him by wanting some spice, something different, in terms of aesthetics, fashion, art, etc.  Did he feel it necessary to creative because creativity seemed to be lacking in his physical environment?  I think it is possible.

Chapter 2:  Jack, Jean and Nigel:
What affect did John’s dad’s experience as a Prisoner-of-War during World War II and his method of dealing with it affect John?
Obviously, there are some experiences that are so meaningful and profound that they remain forever with someone and most war experiences fit that description.  Being a POW is probably even more intense and even more profound.  History often does live on in people’s lives.  That said, as was the time, John’s dad didn’t talk about it, which definitely could have taught John that one does not/should not talk about upsetting situations.  I wonder if we will see John withhold how he is feeling as his story progresses.

Did John’s childhood home seem familiar to you or very different?
I could totally relate to his parents’ story of courtship, marriage and home.  My parents met and married a decade later than John’s in a different country.  Yet, my childhood home was a small one in a suburb and my parents, too, had the working class life.

Chapter 3:  Sounds for the Suburbs:
How did John’s mother’s focus on church and the radio affect John?
I took note that John’s mother did not make friends easily and that she sought her socializing at church.  She also sought entertainment or company with the radio, including the Beatles.  I think you can see how John could have learned that music done as a group could provide an escape from loneliness because it seemed to with his mother.

Chapter 4:  The Catholic Cavent:
What was your reaction to John’s story about when he first got glasses?
When I hear stories such as his, I always wonder if any child who had an experience like his comes out without that bothering him/her.  It reminded me about how important those early school experiences are and how much damage can be done even with the best of intentions.

What was your reaction to John description of the Catholic Church? 
Obviously, religion is an intensely personal subject and one that is difficult to talk about in a way that remains respectful but it makes up much of this chapter and John’s early life.  Clearly, John questioned what he was being taught and found the message of his church at that time to be scary.  When I read this chapter, I immediately thought about my father who also attended the Catholic Church frequently as a child and who attended a Catholic elementary school.  Like John, he also questioned the teachings.

Chapter 5:  A Hollywood Education:
What did John really learn from his dad?
It seems to me that John learned that a number of things from his dad.  In this chapter, we find out that John’s dad taught him not only about the world but also that there is a lot more to living than just the little bubble of Hollywood, church and school.  Obviously, the idea of travel is a seed that is planted here.  I loved how John’s dad used to quiz him on geography.  My dad used to quiz me and my siblings at the dinner table about a variety of topics, but mostly state and local geography and other social sciences.

Chapter 6:  In Between and Out of Sight:
John mentions how he wanted to avoid being first and avoid being last, how he wanted to hide in the middle.  Do you see that play out in his life and role in Duran?
I think many people saw John at the forefront in Duran since he got so much attention from fans, from the media, etc.  Yet, I don’t think that was his goal.  I never heard him say that he wanted to be the frontman.  That would have put him first.  He didn’t become the drummer either so he couldn’t hide behind the drum kit. It seems to me that he did attempt to put himself in the middle in the band, even if that isn’t how it worked out.

Were you surprised by John’s military model making, especially in light of John’s dad’s experience in war?
I have to admit that I was.  Yet, after hearing John describe this as a method to seek his father’s approval, I think I understand it more.  He knew his dad was in the war and saw him as a hero.  Thus, wouldn’t he approve of John idolizing other military men?  A kid would probably think so.  I think the interesting thing here is that it shows John’s intensity over whatever he did/does.

Any other final thoughts?
It seems to me that these first chapters provided pieces to the puzzle that is John Taylor.  Obviously, he experienced love and safety within his home and family life.  He learned that one can experience joy from traveling and knowing the world.  Yet, he also learned that one shouldn’t talk about trauma and that an escape to loneliness is through joining a group and through music.  Embarrassment and judgement seemed to be emotions that he truly wished to avoid so he began to seek out being lost in the middle.  Intensity also seems to be rewarded.  He saw his dad focus on cars and John, in turn, focused on military models.  The next section seems to talk about how this intensity switched to music as he entered adolescence.  Next week, we will read Chapters 7-11.

-A   

Way Better!

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

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

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

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

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

-A