I know all of us have read about them or heard them – those moments when a fan (and this could be a fan of any band, any celebrity, etc.) finally gets in front of their idol and completely loses it. “It” could be anything: their voice, their sanity, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’ll hear about those moments, or I’ll be online reading a message board or even an article where someone is telling an anecdote about when they met the band, and when they get to that crucial part of the story when they fell apart and did none of the things they thought and everything they had said they’d never do – I cringe, I get uncomfortable, and I desperately want to turn the page, turn the channel or do whatever I can to stop listening or reading to the rest of it. (Of course though, I’ll keep reading/listening/etc. It’s that train wreck philosophy when you want to turn away but just can’t.) I have to admit that I’ve never had that kind of thing happen – the one time I was in front of all five of them (at a signing in Los Angeles), I stood outside of the door to Virgin Megastores and absolutely willed myself to calm down before going in to see all of them. I remember telling myself that I’d waited 25 years to finally be in front of them, and that there was absolutely no way I was going to giggle, cry, or be hysterical. I can remember doing some very firm “self-talk” that day before Nick Rhodes called my daughter and I to the table, and yes – the fact that my oldest was with me that day had all kinds of bearing on my attitude as I walked in the store. It was the one time I’d ever be in front of all of them at the same time, and I’m happy to say that no, I didn’t accost any of them, there was no crying, and aside from a quick moment at the end when I caught myself about to giggle in front of none other than Roger Taylor – I made it, and to this day I feel very lucky. I can’t say I’m always so composed.
I find that the fan girl moments creep up on me, mostly unexpected, and thankfully, mostly in the privacy of my own home. There’s no danger of John Taylor sneaking up on ME with a camera while I’m wildly grinning at a photo or the recollection of a past memory, and for that, I’m thankful. It’s one of the last things anyone really needs to see. One of these such moments came upon me this morning, just as I was simply trying to read an article, of all things. I’ll dare to even show the photo that did it:
It’s a harmless photo. The fact is though, I couldn’t get past the photo to read the darn article! I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it is about this particular picture that did it, but I can share some thoughts. I will say that it hung in my room on the wall behind my bed – it was basically the center point of my “wallpaper” so to speak. I know it was one of the very first posters I ever bought of the band (I had tons of pinups from magazines, but this was a full sized poster), and I absolutely adored the poster. I would go into my room, flounce onto my bed after turning on my record player (yes, you read that correctly: record player!), and stare at my posters. You can call that whatever you’d like, but I choose to think of those times as my own personal zen moments. Life was incredibly stressful as an eleven or twelve year old, you see. School was tough. The popular girls at school hated me, and in return I wasn’t incredibly fond of most of them either. My room was my safe haven, and sometimes I just needed those times to center myself. Of course back then I never really thought of it that way. I would lay back and briefly consider each band member, trying to decide which one of them was to be my future husband. Who would wait for me? (none of them, dang it…) Which one of them appreciated brownish hair, green eyes and a light dusting of freckles? (Again, I’d have to go with “none”) Which one of them liked younger women? (Nick, of course!) I’d go down the line, starting with Roger. I’d inspect each aspect of their likenesses staring back at me, going through their attributes and trying to ascertain how it was that five guys could be so incredibly perfect looking. (I think I need to remind you all that I was 12, maybe 13 at most here. I really believed that whatever I saw in a magazine was real. Yes, you probably could have sold me many bridges too….) It never even crossed my mind that one or more of them could be doing drugs…or even drinking for that matter. Ah the naivety of youth! I think that to some extent, I’m still amazed when I read of the real life problems that take place with these guys – I was always so quick to believe that all must be perfect for them. They are rockstars, what could possibly not be perfect about that?!? A lot, of course. But, that’s the double-edged sword that comes with idols. We want to believe they’re perfect, and I think to a large extent – we very much need them to be perfect. It’s a long drop off from that pedestal that we carry them on, and the very first time they fall, it’s a shock. The trick is being able to still have that fangirl-like idolization and still know that they are human. I don’t think that many out there can do that, but we try. Some fans fall away, recognizing that the idolization for them is in the past. They may always have good memories for the music and their youth – but they’ve reached their point where the usefulness of the idolization is over. Then there’s the rest of us, which apparently is where I’m located!
This morning, I went over each one of the band members in detail. I searched their faces almost as though I was looking for signs of the times to come in each of them. I stopped at Roger’s soulful eyes – those always got me when I was younger, and when I looked at them today, I could see signs of the Roger I’ll see pictures of online today. Then I looked at Nick. Why is it even fair that he has those defined cheekbones and porcelain skin. My skin didn’t look like that when I was two, much less at 13 and yet for the most part – Nick looks exactly the same now! Then there’s Simon. Youthful Simon. For an Englishman, I think it’s a crime that he can tan the way he did and I don’t even care if it’s photoshopped – which I don’t even know if they had back then! (Don’t even get me started on Roger’s tanning ability. I’m pretty certain it’s illegal somewhere.) Andy. Andy always looked like a rock and roller to me. He seemed like the most reckless and dangerous one of the group – but was he really? Standing next to him was John. John was the baby face of the group, the one I believed was so innocent. John on drugs? Oh come now. That’s impossible! (hardly) It’s true that they’ve all aged. So have I. John doesn’t have the same boyish looks he did in his 20’s, but there are some photos I’ll see where I’ll get glimpses of his youthful grin, and the same can be said for all of them. As I looked at the picture this morning, smiling away, I came to the conclusion that the past thirty years feels as though it went by in a blink of an eye. Sometimes when I go to their shows, I forget that so much time has passed. It’s not until after the show, or the next morning, that the thought dawns on me that I’m in my 40’s now.
When I’m cheering at a show, it doesn’t cross my mind that at 40, I should probably be done screaming for a rock band. How long can I really get away with going to concerts, staying out late and following a band? (whether that’s literally or just on Twitter) I don’t have the answer to that question, other than to note that I’m not ready for it to end, but on the same token I’m well aware of what it must look like to others. I can remember being in my 20’s and seeing “older” people at concerts, shows and even clubs. My friends and I would chuckle and laugh if older men would come up to us and ask us to dance or try to buy us drinks. We would openly laugh at the older women, trying to dress as though they were as young as we were – and their bodies couldn’t quite keep up with their youthful minds. There are many moments when I think about that as I’m going out after a show, or when I’m at a concert. The difference of course is that when I’m at a Duran Duran concert, most if not all of the audience is my age. It’s easy to convince myself that we’re all still young enough to be there screaming in all our glory. It’s only when I tell other people who are not fans that are still my age that they remind me in no uncertain terms that I’m “stuck in the 80’s”. Just the other night we dropped my oldest off at her friends house when we were on our way to the Valley Center show. The girl’s parents asked us where we were headed, and I tried to be offhanded and calm when I told them we were driving into San Diego to see Duran Duran. The parents laughed and the father announced that he’d heard there were two people still stuck in the 80’s, and that apparently we were those two people! I laughed, because I wasn’t about to get into that conversation with another parent, but the comment stung a bit. As we left, he told us not to forget our lighters – and I had to clamp my hand over my mouth not to tell him to get up with the times, that these days we use our “mo-bile phones”. (as Simon calls them – here in the states we just call them our “cell phone”) It was a brief encounter, but one that took just a tiny bit of joy out of the show that night. I know what I look like to other people who aren’t in the fandom, or perhaps any fandom. I used to be rather defiant, but more often I’m trying to just enjoy the moment. Isn’t that the point?
Taking those few minutes to time travel back to my 12 or 13 year old bedroom made me smile just a bit. Sure, I’m still a fangirl at 40. I might be a little more well-read, a little less naive and perhaps a bit more wise, but a fangirl nonetheless.
Oh the article?? I did finally get through it. It described the use of the waterfall in The Reflex, and it was something I did not know, actually! You can read it for yourself here.