Category Archives: In The Pleasure Groove

Grooving with John Taylor and Curt Smith

After a momentary freak-out this morning, I think my blood pressure has settled enough for me to sit down and think about a blog. Oh, of course I’m going to share my little story…I was getting my youngest ready for school this morning and ran upstairs to grab something. I heard her announce that she’d unlocked the front door, thinking we’d leave from there, and I corrected her, saying that mommy’s car was in the garage, and we’d leave from our laundry room door. (which leads to our garage). As I was getting what I needed, I faintly heard her talking, but I didn’t know what she’d said, and then I came downstairs and read an article or two in the paper before realizing that it was time to leave. I stood up, grabbed my keys and told her it was time, only to hear nothing. So then I called her again, and still nothing. I’m starting to wonder where she was hiding at this point, so I yelled her name this time, and then realized that she might have gone out the front door. I run out the front door, but I don’t see her anywhere. In my head I’m calculating how long it had been since I was upstairs and realize it’s been at least five, maybe even ten minutes. Long enough for her to wander down the block or be grabbed by the kidnapper I am SURE was waiting for her to come outside.  So I begin to silently panic. I yell her name again, and this time my son comes out of his bedroom (….and yes, during this scene I actually DO take a second to process that: wow, so THAT is how loud I need to yell to get his attention and get him out of his room. Yes, I multitask.) and he starts worrying about where she is. He’s very protective of his little sister, so he starts calling her too. Mind you, our house is not that big. Finally, after determining that she’s really not in this house, hiding under her bed and giggling, I walk out into the garage, and there she is…sitting in the car, completely buckled into her car seat, grinning with pride because she did it all herself, and is ready to go to school.

That’s when my heart started palpitating and I needed to sit down. My kids are really going to kill me one of these days. How is YOUR Wednesday going??

These days, it is pretty rare when I read an article that I think is really worthy of comment on my part, but yesterday afternoon I came across an article that I really want to share if you haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. I also want to caution that this blog may in fact have some BOOK SPOILERS contained within simply because the article talks about the book, so this is a warning: if you haven’t read the book yet and you don’t want to know a single thing – you should stop reading this blog right now and go read your book!  Don’t send me mail about how I spoiled something for you, because this is my disclaimer. If you’re still reading, then you are at your own risk.  Aside from Duran Duran, one of the bands I love most is Tears for Fears. I haven’t seen them live nearly as much as I have seen Duran Duran, but I love The Hurting almost as much as I love Duran Duran’s first album, and I hold many of their songs near and dear to my heart.  So, I was very excited to read that Curt Smith had sat down down with John Taylor to talk with him about his autobiography. You can read the interview here. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I had great hopes to get past some of the more obvious things in the book – that is something that very, very few journalists are ever able to do, and I think most of that is due to a lack of familiarity or connection with the subject. Curt and John are at least friendly if not good friends, and that only helped the pace of their conversation. I was so thankful that Curt opens right up by saying that he was worried the piece would be some sort of “grandiose tome” about how big Duran Duran were – and I knew right away this article would be anything but.

They talk for a bit about middle-class. John wonders when America started obsessing over middle-class. I find this fascinating, only because I grew up here, and by all intents and purposes, I grew up lower-middle class. It was all I ever knew. We never called ourselves “blue-collar” (both of my parents had office jobs) or “working-class”, but if either of my parents stopped working – we definitely weren’t going to be eating. My mom and dad nearly lost their home back in the early nineties when my dad was laid-off (“made redundant” for those of you elsewhere in the world), and I’ll tell you what – I’d take being “middle-class” over those days of worrying about how long it was going to be before we were evicted from our own home ANY DAY. (Thankfully in our case, we were able to “short-sell” that home, but it was a horrible experience. I don’t think my dad ever fully-recovered from that loss, both financially and emotionally.) I know those fears, and I know them well. That said, John says something about how there is no pride in being middle-class, and I have to say given my own background, I can’t agree – although in this current day and age I can certainly see why he might say that, and let’s face it, we all have our own truth. In my family, there was pride in being able to maintain a mortgage, and middle-class in 1985 meant owing the bank for a small home. (The house I grew up in was just under 1200 square feet. Three small bedrooms, two very small bathrooms, a tiny kitchen, a “dining room” and a living room.) I had friends whose parents paid rent on an apartment that would have loved having my parents house – back then it was just about coming up with the down payment! My parents took great pride in paying off a bill – however small, and you know what else? We knew exactly who we were. We didn’t have to use the words “middle-class” to know we were in the middle. It was simply understood. I can’t say that about many of my more wealthier friends now. They are so busy shuttling their kids to their various activities and worrying about whom they need to impress next that I think many of them have forgotten where they came from. I think you find that anywhere, no matter what tax bracket you’re in, though. One thing I’ve gleaned from my own personal set of circumstances – it’s one thing to be proud of who you are, it’s another to be proud of what you have, especially when those “things” can disappear in a heartbeat.

Curt also points out a theme that I’d noticed within the book as well – an sense of extended family, and it would seem that John himself may have not recognized that within his writing.  John talks about how the band has become this way of people connecting with other people.  Of course Amanda and I both agree with that concept wholeheartedly – it’s what we talk about time and time again here on the blog. What I think Curt was trying to show John was that in his writing throughout the book there’s a sense of John wanting to be a part of a greater whole. The loneliness he feels, those demons, it would seem that all of that is merely a symptom of wanting to feel included and part of a family. I totally get that. Sure, I have a family. A really LOUD family. (and by the way I know what John is saying when he mentions that he doesn’t want to generalize about all kids – but the fact is – mine are loud, one of which is still pretty young, and sometimes I am sure that I could get away from all of them, husband included, and be just fine for several weeks at a time. I’m sure most moms, if not most parents, feel that way. So there, I said it. :D) I also know that there are many, many times when I feel the most “at home” when I’m not even AT HOME, but I’m with my people. My fellow Duranies. I’m the most “myself” in those rare moments, too. John is unequivocally correct when he says that the band has become a sort of conduit for fans to connect with one another though. I thank my lucky stars every single day of that simple fact. For me personally it isn’t enough to just sit and absorb the music. I need more than that, my life needs more than that, and this band has acted, for me, as the purpose I needed in order to find the connection, the friends, I craved. Otherwise, yeah I’m pretty much a hermit here at home in the sense that I don’t go running to meet friends for lunch or get involved in a ton of different clubs and things. No time, no need.

Curt comments that he found the beginning and end of the book as the most interesting. The middle section of course, is for the fans – because it is the story of Duran Duran from John’s point of view. Maybe I’m just different, or maybe I really am as weird and uncool as my older children say (the youngest still has a great deal of “mommy-worship” for me and you can bet I’m holding onto that for as long as possible!), but I have to admit that I got far, far more out of the beginning and end to his book than I did the middle. Maybe it’s because the middle portion was what I’ve already lived through. No, I didn’t know every single story. I definitely didn’t realize a lot of the subtle behind-the-scenes things. I just know that when I read the book, I wanted to learn about John Taylor – and I believe that we do get a glimpse of who he really is as a person from the beginning and the end of the book. I’ll be curious to read what others think as we go through our book discussions here on the blog. Speaking of which, Amanda will be directing our discussion of John’s book here on the blog. We will begin this next Monday, and her discussion will be quite a bit different from what we did with Andy’s book, so take note. She tells me that for next Monday, we should read through Chapter Six, and the general theme is John’s childhood and family background. We hope you’ll take the time to read and comment on the discussion, we love reading the different opinions out there.

One last point I’ll touch on, and then I’ll leave you to your own reading and surmising was a profound sense of guilt I had while John described how he felt being “the cute one” and coming away from that now. After having read that, I immediately went to the place in my head where I keep track how many times I’ve blogged about various things. It is true, I did always see John as the cute one. So much so that I knew he was completely out of my league. I steered as far from him as possible, knowing he would be the one my friends would fight over, and I wanted no part. The other girls, the millions out there, could have the handsome one, and I would be a fan of the guy in the background. I had no way of knowing what John was really like as person, quite possibly because he self-medicated to the point where it was impossible back then, but also because during that time period I was too immature to see past the pretty face. Maybe if we all had been older, we would have seen what was undoubtedly there behind that wicked grin and arched eyebrow. I really don’t know. I just know I felt awful as I read and allowed myself to absorb the words.

-R

Readings, Signings and John Taylor…Oh My!

Just when I think I couldn’t add anything else to my extremely busy plate of activities, schedules and thoughts, something else falls into my lap, which is what happened yesterday afternoon.  Now, Friday afternoons have become a big deal in my life.  They didn’t used to be that important as I typically would spend Friday going out for a drink with colleagues or friends or just come home to sleep and relax.  Now, Friday afternoons and evenings mean getting ready for the weekend and, in my case, a weekend of all day campaigning.  Therefore, after work yesterday, I ran some errands and began straightening my house and making a list of everything I needed to bring to the campaign office that I’m in charge of through election day.  Before I got into a groove, I received both an email and a text message regarding the fact that many John Taylor book signings and readings were announced on dd.com.  If you want to read the details, you can go here.  Here is the basic gist of locations, dates, and events:

October 16th-New York City book signing at 12:30 pm

October 16th-New York City book reading and signing at 7:30 pm

October 18th-Ridgewood, New Jersey signing at 6:00 pm

October 24th-Hollywood reading and signing at 7:00 pm

October 25th-San Francisco reading and signing at 6:30 pm

October 26th-Austin reading and signing at 6:30 pm

October 29th-Toronto reading and signing at 7:00 pm

October 30th-Chicago reading and signing at 5:30 pm

To say that I am surprised by all of these events is an understatement.  I honestly didn’t think there was any chance that more book events would take place for three simple reasons.  First, the first New York City event was announced a long time.  When there is a long break between event announcements, I just assume that is all that would be happening.  I suppose that I should know better after seeing the long break between the first announcement of  some summer shows last year like Durham and Chicago and the rest of the tour, but habits are hard to break.  Second, the only locations mentioned when John appeared in Second Life was New York City and LA.  Yes, perhaps, he mentioned that he hoped for other locations, but hopes are very different from reality.  Lastly, I assumed that I wouldn’t have any luck and that he wouldn’t come anywhere near me.  In general, though, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised that he is going to as many places as he is.  I’m also glad that he isn’t just going to the coasts.  Now, of course, there are COUNTLESS more places that could be picked for a spot.  I know this.  Everyone knows this.  I’m sure that John Taylor and the publisher knows this. 

So, what does this mean for me, the insanely over-scheduled and lucky to get 5 hours of sleep person?  I’m not sure.  Obviously, I would LOVE to get to the one nearest me.  Who wouldn’t?  It does mean missing other things, other commitments.  Here’s where the real test of fandom comes in, right?  Do I skip other things and possible risk consequences?  If so, does that make me a bigger, better fan?  If I don’t keep my real life commitments, does that make me too obsessed of a fan?  Will I totally regret not going or will I feel guilty if I go?  I am totally over thinking.  I know this.  Another thing I know and have been living for awhile is how much I HATE being pulled into 3 or 4 different directions.  I would love to just be able to commit to one thing and one thing only, but I can’t give up any.  For example, I can’t give up my paying job (as much I would really like to, at times) because it is what pays the bills.  I won’t give up fandom because it brings me the most joy.  As far as campaigning goes, I only have 24 days to go.  I just wish that I could worry about one at a time.  I wouldn’t feel so very torn and guilty all the time.  So, readers, I ask you.  What do you think I should do?  Do I allow myself a day of John Taylor and screw the consequences?  Ignore my other responsibilities?

-A

You Can Read about It!

I couldn’t resist.  I bought the latest copy of the silly People magazine.  Unlike a lot of people I know and I say this without judgment, I don’t usually buy People.  It isn’t that I have some great philosophy of not wanting to know what celebrities are up to or whatever.  For me, it is more about the fact that I have three jobs (here, campaigning and teaching).  I don’t have time.  Seriously.  I have watched one new TV show in the last year and that was during the summer.  When current popular culture topics come up in conversation, I just sit and stare, blankly, looking for a connection to politics or to Duran Duran.  Wow.  I’m awesome.  Anyway, I have seen some scans of the little feature on John Taylor and his book but that was not enough.  Nope.  I must have a copy if I can.  Heck, I just renewed over at DDM and, truly, part of my reasoning is that I wanted the stuff.  I like to minimize many things in my apartment and in my classroom except for my Duran collection.  That, I let grow wildly!

As I opened the magazine today, I reminded myself not to have high expectations.  Again, I don’t say this to criticize People or other media outlets like it.  That said, it is what it is.  The articles are not all that in-depth or force people to critically think.  I think, for the most part, people read magazines like this for entertainment, for fun and not to think critically about global problems and their possible solutions.  Thus, I tried to remind myself that this is how a lot of people, probably most people have fun and that it would be good for me to break out of my usual fun reading of Smithsonian and Mother Jones (not even kidding here).  Besides, I was sure that there would be great pictures of John and that could be fun, too!  In fact, there was a lovely picture of John right in the table of contents on page 6.  It described the focus of the article, which, of course, was John’s upcoming autobiography or memoir as they called it.  Then, they mentioned about how it includes sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Ah, yes, the media’s love affair with what is juicy.  I had to have a little self-talk about how this gets people interested, more copies get sold and that once they read the book they will know that there is a lot more to it than just that before I continued on. 

Then, I turn to the article, which is three pages long.  Well, the feature on John is three pages long.  The first page is really just a picture.  It is a nice picture but a picture, nonetheless.  Then, I notice the title.  “Rock Star Gone Good.”  Hmm…again, the self-talk comes back and this time needs to be a little louder.  This voice reminds me that they don’t mean anything by the title just that he is no longer focusing his life on partying and everything that went went with it.  They don’t mean that he wasn’t a good person then, says my inner voice.  I take a deep breath and enjoy the picture again.  Ah, better.  While on the subject of pictures, they include many of them, which I do like.  There are two group shots from 1981, a picture from the Olympics, a few pictures of family and a JoSi.  Most of these pictures have quotes near them.  A couple quotes really stood out to me.  First, John says in 2012 something about how Duran is “sunshine” and that he needed to include the “dark” stuff, too, in reference to the book.  Uh…I know that we have had this discussion here before but I don’t always think of Duran as “sunshine”.  I think it is fascinating that he does.  The other quote that really caught my attention was by the picture of JoSi where John admits that JoSi is a fan fantasy.  Oh my.  Yes.  Yes, it is.  I can admit that fantasy and I know that I’m not alone in it.  That said, I’m terribly amused that he is well aware of it and addressed it here.  Buy the magazine for the quote.  Just know this.  John has a good sense of humor about it all, which I appreciate. 

As for the article itself, it said basically what I expected it to say.  It referenced the rapid rise to fame, the partying lifestyle and the drug use that went with it and where John is right now in his life.  One part that did catch my attention was how John said that the book isn’t about “naming and shaming” people.  I hope we discuss that when we get to the JT Book Club.  Is that a true statement?  Does he keep from talking about others and their behaviors that they might be ashamed of?  If he does, is that how he should have approached it or not?  Now, don’t answer those questions now.  Save it ’til the (Monday) morning after…John’s book is released in the US.  Lastly, the article does feature a small blurb from the book.  Which blurb did they choose?  You guessed correctly.  They chose one about sex.  Go figure.  I’m not surprised and I understand why they did.  I can’t be annoyed at People as this is what they do but I really just keep finding myself wishing that John’s book would be talked about with a focus on other things than sex, drugs and rock and roll.  After all, I think there is a lot more to him and his story than that. 

-A

A journey indeed

Crazy stuff has been happening lately. Things that I just never gave much thought about, and other things that I still can’t quite ascertain – I just know things are happening. I can sense things changing (both inside and around me), but I am just allowing them to happen. That right there is a MUCH different path than I normally take. I’m trying not to question anything, just to take opportunities as they come – honestly and without judgement. Last night as I was putting my four-year-old to bed she asked me the strangest question. She wanted to know if dreams ever come true. Now, in her four-year-old mind I know she was really wondering if there was ever any chance of her becoming a princess and ruling over a kingdom in a beautiful pink gown with a jeweled crown to match, but I took her question seriously and gently. I told her that there were things that I never thought would ever come true in my life that I’ve been able to do, in very recent years no less – and that I didn’t think she should ever stop dreaming. Sometimes even the craziest dreams can become reality! She wanted to know exactly what I was talking about, so I gave her a few very easy examples that seemed to satisfy her enough to get her to go to sleep. (…And I’m not going to lie here – after 9pm, that’s really the goal. We read a book together, and then it’s off to bed for her so that I can finally have a few minutes of peace.)  As I exited her room and went upstairs, I continued to ponder her innocent question.

You know, back when I came up with the insane idea to start this blog, it was merely a way to get the thoughts that were in my head organized somewhere. I’ve said I didn’t think anyone would read it, and mostly – I still stand by that comment. When people come up to Amanda and I at shows and get togethers and say they read the blog, I’m still really surprised. Yes, I can access our stats here, but I think it lies. (and it really does!) I’m also really thankful when someone says they read, only because if it helps someone else or it gives someone the motivation to come to a fan get together, knowing that at least the possibility exists that they will not be eaten alive, but instead welcomed, then I feel like I’ve done something positive. No one should have to go to shows by themselves, or sit at home watching New Moon on Monday alone, darn it.

The point of course is that I had no plan when we started, only that we begin. It is not really an accident that the very day I wrote our first blog was also my dad’s birthday. He’d passed away a couple of years prior at the time, and as anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone) knows – the birthdays can be tough. I’ll be fine for months on end and then suddenly I’ll just sit up and realize, and the pain is easily as bad as it was as I stood up at his memorial, recalling stories of my dad and I together. So on that first day as I started poking at the keys, trying to find a good way to explain who we were and what we were doing, my dad memory was heavy on my heart, and blogging was my way, IS my way, of coping.

I still really don’t think I have a plan, and when someone wants to know what my “end” goal is, I can’t really say. I just don’t know, and I don’t really like being forced into coming up with an answer. Right now I just want to finish the book and get it properly published. I want to keep blogging and I want to let whatever else is going on just happen naturally. I’ve never been good at just letting things happen – and I’ve got to tell you all – the things in my life that I’ve sort of “forced” through haven’t necessarily ended up being the best! Coincidence?? Maybe in some cases, in others? Probably not. I just know that something is out there in the distance and I’m trying not to ruin it by over-thinking or over-planning. If this sounds familiar to you – as in perhaps you read it this morning in a blog by none other than John Taylor, you would not be wrong in making such a connection.

When I logged onto Facebook this morning, I saw he’d written a blog, and like the rest of you – I clicked on the link for it right away. Wanna read it? You can find it right here. John Taylor is an amazing individual. Yeah, yeah – I know all of you already think that and have since the 80’s. The thing is, back in the 80’s I steered clear of John, primarily because I didn’t want to try and claim to be a John-girl and have my fellow Duranie friends after my hide. I paid attention, but I didn’t fawn over him. (Much. I AM human, you know.) The thing is, John’s writing is so pure and so real, how can I not notice? His writing inspires me (and I know he inspires Amanda) to keep writing, keep blogging, and to keep going. Who knew that the bass player from Duran Duran would be the one to motivate me?!? Not this girl. It’s not just about sharing his story, either. Anyone can write a memoir. Some are interesting, and others just feel like words on a page. The quote he used from his motivational book is so, so true. “what does not come from the heart does not reach the heart”. John’s book, his blogs and even his music comes from the heart. That’s why each of those things reach me. 

Just as John is saying that he doesn’t really know where it’s all going and that it’s a process, that’s how I’m seeing all of this blogging and writing with me. I haven’t had that many out of this world experiences – I mean, I didn’t nail a dream job (I don’t even know what a “dream job” would even mean), I haven’t necessarily met my idols or anything quite that obvious, it’s just a case where I know, for the very first time in my life, that I’m on the right path. That has to be worth something, doesn’t it? While it’s true that we (Amanda and I) do not have nearly the audience that someone like John Taylor might have, nor do we have aspirations of  becoming rock stars or professional groupies, the affirmations are indeed the same.

Some personal comments – just in case John Taylor ever comes across this blog. I can’t even believe you’d ever worry that writing a book WASN’T a good idea!!  I worried that you would give away too much of yourself. I too wondered as Gela did, about how you felt now that people know more about you. I guess that must be the line you walk – giving away without giving too much. I can understand and respect that. Sometimes as fans we question whether you’re (not specifically YOU, but any one in the public eye) do things purely because you want to share or because you want whatever you can get out of us. It’s a sick game at times, and I think fans read way too much into some of the most simple things. It’s something I struggle with myself on occasion – no one likes to be taken for a fool, but yet if you don’t leave yourself open, life can be very constrictive. People constantly question if you (yes YOU) are only on Twitter because you have something to sell, and perhaps that really is the case at times – as I’m fond of reminding people – being a rock star is still a JOB when it comes down to it. You can only give so much before you have to return to your reality. Your family, your personal friends. Your life. The fact is, I still believe you’re there and here because you want to be. I’m enjoying the journey, and it seems you are as well, John. Isn’t that really the point?

-R

Second Life with John Taylor

I’m late with the blog today and I apologize. Up until about 5 minutes ago I was eyebrows deep in the beginnings of the American Revolution, and I think I might have even told the story well enough to keep my 13 year old son from falling asleep.  That’s progress!!

I don’t know how many of you have seen the video from You Tube of John’s reading and Q & A session on Second Life, but it’s actually REALLY good.  I was one of the skeptics, not really sure how it would turn out, and for reasons that have to do with Homecoming Dress Shopping (A very serious drama-filled in our house right now for my 15 year old…and for those unaware of the term “homecoming”…it comes down to a fancy high school dance for us.), I couldn’t even attempt to be there on Sunday, so I was thankful for the video.  (A huge shout-out and thanks to Johnny Beane for taking such great video and putting it up on You Tube for all to see!)  To begin with, John was there for a really long time!  I was surprised.  I know the readings and signings he’s done so far have been fairly lengthy, but I guess I figured his stay in Second Life would have been shorter?  Regardless, it was a nice surprise.  I loved that he interspersed the section readings with questions from those in attendance, and the questions were great.

There’s so much to comment on, and yet since I don’t want to give book details away, I will stick purely to a few topics asked in the Q&A.

To begin with, do you want a signing in your US town?  At the moment, John says they have signings planned in NYC and LA, but he is working on convincing Dutton, the publisher, to do more.  He says they have to really be pushed a bit – so he suggested that fans write the publisher.  If you’re on Twitter, they have an account there as well. (@DuttonBooks)  I have to admit that I’m surprised more emphasis isn’t being put on the US market.  It’s not as though John has no fans here, or people willing to buy the book.  I would think that if he’d do a few signings, including one in Chicago…that it wouldn’t hurt sales.  I guess that shows just how much I know about books though.  I’m an avid reader, avid iBook person, but signings?  I’ve never been to a single one.  Maybe that says something.  Not sure.

One thing that I’ve noticed, and surely John has noticed at this point, is that fans are eager to try and compare his autobiography to Andy’s. I think this is partially natural and it probably would happen regardless of who was writing. On another hand, I think there’s also a propensity to create more tension and drama where there might already be plenty to go ’round. At each Q&A I’ve heard or seen video…I’ve heard someone ask if he did his book as a sort of answer to Andy’s. I can see why this is a valid question, and I’m sure John can as well. He was very kind during the Q&A on Second Life when he said that he was glad that Andy had done a book, and that he hopes other people do them as well. (In fact he encouraged ANYBODY to write a book about Duran Duran. To that I coyly reply, “Be careful what you ask for, Mr. Taylor.”) In some strange sort of kismet that I’ve yet to really figure out, my son and I are doing a unit in his Language Arts class that asks the “Big” question: “Is the truth the same for everyone?” I think this question of John’s book to Andy’s is of the same vein. Both people were in the same band, and a lot of their experiences were shared, but the truths are very different. Perception is everything. I can’t imagine John sitting down and trying to “right” whatever stories were told in Andy’s book – that wasn’t his purpose in writing, and honestly, I think that his story comes off very genuine as a result.

Another fan asks about collaborations – a very common question the band has gotten over the years, and they never fail to stun me with their answers, until today anyway.  I think my mouth dropped open (in pure unadulterated joy, mind you) when I heard John say that there just wasn’t anyone he was interested in collaborating with.  I stopped the video, then stood up and applauded.  Then I played it back again to make sure I heard him correctly.  He says that he and the bands would wrack their brains coming up with appropriately “cool” answers when they were asked in the past, but at this point, he’s happy with what he’s got.  So are we.  Completely.

I would be disappointing myself if I didn’t mention John’s comments about Dom. Someone asked if Dom would ever be made a permanent member of the band. John answer really kind of took me back, to be honest. He said that Dom already is a permanent member and he is welcome to stay until he chooses to leave. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I heard John explain that Dom is not, however, a Founding Member. It would be difficult if not impossible to bring someone into that sort of circle of trust at this point. History cannot be rewritten, and I think most people would understand that. On one hand, I was happy to hear that at least as far as the band is concerned Dom isn’t going anywhere…on another hand…I’d really like to see Dom included in future press, PR, merchandise…and listed as an actual member of Duran Duran if in fact he’s really part of the band and not just a member of the “onstage ensemble”. I guess I’d like to see him get the same sort of billing that other guitarists and a drummer or two who were not “founding members” enjoyed during their tenure(s) with the band. I would think he had more than proven himself to be worthy by now, but I also completely recognize that for the band – this goes way beyond just “fitting in” and the longevity of nearly nine years. I realize that for the band, a lot of this is purely business. However, for fans? Completely different matter entirely. It’s a matter of fans seeing for themselves that yes, Dom is truly a member of the band – that the band in fact accepts him as such, not quite as much the “hired gun” that some fans continue to claim him to be even though he was given writing credit on nearly all of the All You Need is Now album. Maybe with the next album this will happen, we shall see.

John talks about his excitement with the Second Life community, and I think he really appreciates the visual he gets – I suppose it’s a little like being on Twitter but with pictures.  He said that it was “easy”, which makes me wonder if Second Life has been completely overhauled since I last visited.  I had a tough time doing anything but flying – and even then, I’d fly into buildings and things.  *big sigh*  My son (the video gamer in the family) would have not been proud.  He definitely doesn’t get the gaming genes from me.  I don’t know though, if the band really does continue doing things like this on Second Life, it does make me think I should give it another try. How hard can it really be???  (Famous last words, right??)

I know there were many, many things John answered in the Q&A, but these were my favorite “highlights”.  I smiled as I heard John comment that there’s comfort in that where ever he gets on stage, he can always count on some of us being in the audience.  This is true, and we’ve been through a lot together, haven’t we?  It’s been a great ride so far, with more to come.

-R

For those who haven’t seen the video:

Still sipping on the high of desperation!!

I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I thought I could wait. I figured that it wouldn’t bother me, and that I would simply sit back and wait until it was our turn. Then I got busy with my family vacation, going on a road trip to the southeast, and getting ready to homeschool. Then at some point last week, I realized I was missing out. I’m not sure if the moment hit me when I saw friends headed to London, or when I saw pictures of the signed books….or maybe it was on Saturday morning when I realized that even a lot of my US friends had a copy and were ravenously pouring through the book as though it was their last meal. No matter to me, right? I could simply wait.

Nope.

By Saturday afternoon I was climbing the walls. It didn’t help that every time I went onto Twitter OR Facebook my senses were being assaulted with images of signings, of John himself standing and speaking, or even better – interviews explaining in the vaguest of terms what I was already missing. My curiosity was strangling me, and I knew of only one thing: I wanted that book.

I’m not even a huge John Taylor fan. (OK, that is such a lie. I really am, but I’m not one of the millions of “John-girls” out there. I could probably have a reasonably intelligent conversation with the man and not even swoon slightly. Well, at least that’s what I tell myself. Listen, we ALL have fantasies!!) I think that’s why I didn’t just go ahead and buy a UK hardcover version of the book to begin with – I figured I’d just wait it out. I mean, I already sort of know the Duran story, don’t I? What could possibly be in there?! If we’re going to really get to the nitty-gritty here, I don’t even think I realized that the US release was going to be a month later until last week. Yeah, that’s how much I was paying attention. All I really allowed myself to think about was that I had something I was working on for late Septemberish, and John’s book was coming out for the UK, but then the US release would be in mid-October, and that there might be signings. I figured I’d wing it when the time arrived. I love all of the band members without question, but I just didn’t think a book was going to make me as crazy as an album release.

Clearly, I was very, very wrong. By Saturday afternoon I was starting to twitch wildly as I sat at the computer. I wanted a copy, and I thought of my options. I could order one and have it shipped quickly – which might end up costing as much as a ticket to a gig…or I could do what others suggested and simply order off of Amazon.uk and get it for the Kindle app on my iPad.    That’s when a light bulb went off. I saw a bright flash and I don’t remember much after that, until last night when I finished the book.

Now I know what some of you are saying right now. After you finish begging me for no spoilers (There will be none. We’re waiting until the US release to do any sort of book club), many of you are saying I cheated. You’re right, I totally did! Still others are wondering if I still have the US book on order (I do. I have the normal hardcover copy as well as the audiobook, thankyouverymuch.)…and then there are those of you who want to know how I downloaded it because they want to do it themselves. Of course you do. (email me)

To begin with, as I said above, I did cheat. I also think it’s completely lame that the US release is a full month later than the UK. I am not a book publisher, and so I don’t really know why this is the case, but I still think it’s silly in this day and age. Normally I pay about zero attention to release dates for books; but, since it’s THIS book that THIS community will want to read, it is of paramount interest and speculation. Isn’t that typical? Regardless, I did feel somewhat pathetic (OK, very pathetic!), sad and dirty going to the trouble to change my amazon account to a UK account for one simple order, but that certainly didn’t stop me. I did think about the fact that I already have two books coming, but now I’ve got all types of media covered, just like I would have done for an album. This reminds me of the day All You Need is Now came out and I went on an all-out search to nearly every Best Buy in the area trying to find a single copy. I don’t know why I didn’t order it beforehand (Personally, I think it had something to do with post-traumatic stress from Red Carpet Massacre…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!), but Amanda and I decided that I needed the copy so that we could do a review.  She of course had responsibly ordered hers ahead of time and had it in time for release day. It was ridiculous: I had people crawling on their hands and knees looking through their shipments to find the SINGLE COPY that the store had been allocated.  That’s no joke.  Anyway, you are right and I own up – I cheated. Proudly.

About the other books I have on order though: I am a collector. I like having several versions of whatever it is that I want. I think I’ve got about 3 or 4 different versions (not actual copies…those number at about 10 now.) of All You Need is Now…and many of them remain unopened, preserved for all eternity. I have vinyl in our garage that is still in shrink wrap, along with the same exact copy that HAS been opened and played. I’m funny that way…and not funny ha-ha. Funny as in, “You are mental, Rhonda.” Do I have a problem? Um, YES.  Yes I do and OCD is likely only the first minute issue – according to my husband, anyway. Admitting it is the first step, but the reality is – I’m perfectly happy right here. Someday one or more of my children is going to have one hell of a collection to enjoy. (They’d better keep it all or I will definitely haunt them.) I do want to make one note though, and that’s of the “Catholic guilt” I felt while I was downloading the UK copy. (My grandmother would be so proud…) I did think more than twice before I did it, and not just because I couldn’t quite figure out how to change my Amazon account properly. I thought about whether or not I’d somehow be hurting John’s book sales, but I’ve still got those same US copies on order, and all I did in downloading this Kindle version was give John and his publishing company another sale.  Even so, I did feel deliciously devious….

What I will say today, since I finished the book (and so did Amanda) last night, is that I am even more of a fan now than I was before, and that’s of both John Taylor as a person AND of Duran Duran. Talk about feeling connected, I certainly do. It almost makes up for the decades prior where I felt as though the band was this sort of enigmatic vision or mirage that was completely untouchable aside from the posters on my bedroom walls (closet!). They put out the music, we bought the music, attended shows and nary between the two shall meet…am I right? Keep in mind that I didn’t grow up in the UK, nor did I have any possibility of ever seeing/writing/connecting with the band until Twitter or Facebook came along. There was no waiting outside of a band members home or going to the studio…I grew up in Glendora, California and trust me – no rock bands hung out in my little town or did studio time nearby. (Well, except for Motley Crue. Then again, those guys went to my high school and graduated well before I got there. That’s not really the same thing.)  It’s a completely different world in which to be a fan these days.

There will be no spoilers in this blog because that really would be unfair and unkind, but I’m very proud to call John Taylor one of my idols.

-R

Guest Blog: An Evening with John Taylor


A little bit about how I came to love Duran Duran. I’m your average 17 year old girl except for one thing – I love DD. As a child, my mum and dad would play CDs in the car. Looking through all of my parents’ extensive collection, I stumbled upon the Greatest CD when I was about 12/13, that would change my life. Soon after that I was given a CD that came free with The Daily Mail which had 10 live tracks from the reunion tour. I identified immediately not just with the sound but with one special person on the front of the CD sleeve, John Taylor, who was wearing a white shirt and black waistcoat standing behind a billiard table. Since then I have seen the band on the All You Need Is Now Tour in December of 2011 and at the Hyde Park Olympics show. Growing up I have never been a fan or really liked any bands that are around today – mum calls me her retro girl.
 
Anyway I jumped at the chance to buy a ticket to go to the Leicester Square book signing from Alison, whom I follow on twitter, as they were sold out when I tried to book them. Details of the ticket were arranged the night before the signing, talk about last minute! Thursday 13th September: My dad drove me into town so I could buy the book and go to college. Once I had finished college I got the train to Leicester Square and arrived there about 5pm. By this time I had already read up to chapter 30!

Outside the venue were a crowd of Duranies all eager to get into the theatre. With everyone sat down in their seats, it was time for John (and Tom Sykes the co-writer) to come on stage. After a very warm welcome from the audience, John and Tom talked about the production of the book and how it all started. John rose from his seat to read the first chapter to the audience, beginning with “Are you sitting comfortably?” After this both Tom and John shared their favourite parts of the book and anecdotes about the writing of the book. John read a few more chapters of the book before having a Q and A with the audience. A short break followed, so that a desk could be set up on stage, for the row-by-row signing. This gave me a chance to read up to and beyond chapter 39. If you notice carefully there is a typo “On 5 October 5,1982” on page 207 – the beginning of chapter 39. As I get nearer the stage I think to myself ‘It’s a do-or-die, now-or-never moment’. I hand over my book and camera to a woman. John looks straight at me and says “Penelope” in a questionable but interested tone. It is at this moment when I nervously say “Correct me if I’m wrong but I think there is a typo.”  He immediately says, “There’s gonna be one somewhere.  Where?”  Me (pointing):  “Chapter 39, page 207.”  Making a face he crosses it out, draws a line and scribbles on the page, “HORRID TYPO!”  Everyone around us has gathered to see the typo, we exchange glances once again before him ending with, “You’ve ruined it” (humorously) and me apologising.

  
 For a girl who has never caught a train or been to London on her own, I think it was very successful and a night I will remember for the rest of my life!
By Penelope Gush
 
Bio: Penelope Gush is 17 and lives in Essex, England. She is studying at college and hopefully going to university to become a primary school teacher. Her passions include ballet and music.


Proving One on One; It Can Be Done

My mind is spinning from all of the John Taylor news and updates the last couple of days as his autobiography has been released in the UK and Australia. This release has been accompanied with a media blast all over the UK and signing/book talks in many UK cities. I know that our facebook and twitter were filled with tweets and status updates from many a happy Duranie after getting a copy of the book signed by the man himself. With all of this activity, I struggled with what I should focus on with this particular blog post. Do I focus on the fan reports? Do I talk about how jealous so many of us are here who are unable to experience what people went through yesterday? Do I ponder why there aren’t more signings? Do I mention what I have already learned from brief appearances on TV shows like Loose Women and Yahoo UK? All of the above? I swear, sometimes, when it rains it pours in Duranland…

In many ways, I think most of this is connected. Obviously. While I could talk about those media appearances, I think I will focus more on the fabulous book talk and signing that many were lucky enough to experience and how so many more want the same thing. From what I heard via social media and friends, this signing in London yesterday was golden. I only heard of positive experiences! The format consisted of having John do a book talk first before people were able to line up to get a copy or two signed. To me, the book talk really adds to the experience. Don’t get me wrong. I would always love a chance to say something to John and to have John say something to me. Who wouldn’t?! That said, I truly am anxious to get my hands on the book. I want to hear what John has to say about it and the process of writing it. The signing part would be like the icing to the cake. It adds sweetness to something that is already wonderful. Anyway, the signing portion of the evening definitely pleased everyone we heard from. According to what I heard, he was charming and took the time to personalize each and every copy! He was open and conversed briefly with the fans there. Friends of ours were able to exchange a few sentences with him and I didn’t hear one mention of feeling rushed. This one-on-one time, I’m sure, meant a lot to each and every fan who was able to participate. The fans felt appreciated, from what I could tell, and I’m sure they are all still grinning today!! I think this type of experience helps people’s fandom not only survive but to grow. It doesn’t take much to please most of us and it sounds like John did that and more yesterday!

Of course, as thrilled as we all are for our friends across the pond, many of us here in the States openly wonder why is there only one signing here and the one planned doesn’t sound like what they had yesterday, either. As far as I can tell, it is just a signing in New York.  There will be no book talk. So, why the difference in focus between the UK and the US? By the way, I’m in no way saying that there shouldn’t be events in other parts of the world besides the US and the UK as I wish for everyone to get an event like the one that happened yesterday! Nonetheless, I’m still wondering why the focus ONLY on the UK. Of course, we don’t know for sure that there won’t be more signings. There might be. I’m just preparing myself that there won’t be. I admit it. I would be disappointed. Why wouldn’t the publisher be pushing the book here? I see no upcoming media here either. It is like the book is only being released there. Now, I do know that it isn’t coming out here for another month. Thus, again, it is possible that events will be added but…some people have started to wonder if it isn’t because the publishers or the powers that be (Note: I know NOTHING about how this sort of publishing works or who makes decisions.) think that the book won’t sell well here. Others have asked if it isn’t because of the contents of the book.

This makes me think about the point of the book and the audience of the book. The teacher in me would say that when anyone starts to write, s/he needs to consider the intended audience. Rhonda and I did for our book. I’m willing to bet that John did, too. In my opinion, the audience of this book isn’t just for fans. It is for Duranies but it also tells the story of one person who experienced a tremendous amount of fame and everything that went with that. It seems to me to be the story of an extraordinary life. This is a broader story and one that should be easy to market. It seems to me that a lot of people are interested in life stories such as this. Thus, I have a hard time believing that it couldn’t sell here. *shrugs*

While I will continue to hope that the people with power reconsider adding more signings and book talk events, I will be paying attention to the stories from all of the lucky fans who have had or will have their moments with the Bass God himself. It sounds like the time one-on-one definitely sent a powerful message of appreciation between both John and his fans.  What a great experience!

-A

P.S.  We would love to have a first-hand account so if you were there and would want to share, please get in touch with us!!!

There’s Got to be a Message Here This Time-In the Pleasure Groove Book Discussion

For those of you who are familiar with John Taylor’s solo work, you probably recognized the lyrics in the title from the song, “Immortal”. That line, that song seems extra fitting today, on the day that John’s autobiography is released in the UK and Australia. First, I’m sure that there are many messages throughout the book. I don’t mean that John will be preachy or anything like that. I just mean that we will see John and his life through his eyes. We will gain some insight. Second, the song, “Immortal,” also seems fitting because of the meaning of the word. Immortal means to live forever. We, fans, all know that John Taylor was already going to live forever through all of the music he helped to create despite the lyrics of this song. Now, his life will live on. As a John fan, this truly is a gift. Since it is our (Daily Duranie’s) birthday today, I feel like he gave us a gift by writing and publishing his story. We thank him and we don’t even have copies yet!

I remember a few years ago when dd.com started putting up blogs by the band. It seems to me that each band member’s personality and style showed through in their blogs. (The same is probably true of us here.) Much of the discussion on the various message boards, at the time, was how John really should write a book. His blogs were lengthy and filled with details.  More than that, his voice really showed and people felt an emotional impact after reading.  (The blogs are still available under the writing section at dd.com.) Little did we realize that we would be sitting here in the fall of 2012 either holding his autobiography in our hands or waiting to hold a copy of it. Personally, I don’t have a copy yet. Unfortunately, the States has to wait another month. That said, I openly admit that I couldn’t wait. Nope. I ordered a copy from the UK. Now, of course, it still won’t be here for a while but it will be faster than waiting until mid-October. I know that I’m not the only one who couldn’t wait, either! Apparently, some of us aren’t very patient. The same thing is true with setlists. I always look at them. Always.

The question that you all might be thinking is how we are going to deal with the book. Will we just acknowledge it and move on? Will we analyze each chapter like we would do songs on an album or something in between? I’m sure it won’t surprise any of you that we must do something! After all, Rhonda and I are full of thoughts, reactions, words that we just can’t keep to ourselves! Why would this be any different? Of course, a book is a very different deal than a song. While we could do what I’m used to doing at work, which is grading on the writing quality based on the six traits of ideas, organization, sentence fluency, voice, conventions and word choice, we will instead be a little more open. We thought we would lead a book club of sorts. I’m not sure how many of you are in or have participated in book clubs but the ones I have been involved with look like the following. Everyone in the club is expected to read something. (It isn’t school, though, so you won’t be graded for doing homework. You all can thank me later!) Then, when it is time for discussion, someone leads the discussion and people chime in with their thoughts, reactions, etc. It is not so formal that each section is talked about in great detail. It is more about what hits people. It is about what causes people to react and then talking about it. Of course, in real life, people often share snacks and drinks at book club. I recommend then getting a cup of coffee or a glass of wine along with a treat before settling down with the discussion.

Rhonda and I decided that our book club, of sorts, will be held on Mondays. The key here is that book club won’t start until the Monday after the book is released here in the States.  According to my calendar, this is Monday, October 22nd. We will then discuss the book chapter by chapter. I will introduce topics that I thought were interesting or that I wanted to discuss, then I’m hoping that you all would want to respond to my topics and/or add your own. It would be nice if there was a real dialogue, a dialogue that not only flows from us to you and back but one that allows for everyone to respond to everyone.

Until the beginning of book club, I’m going to be frequently checking the tracking status of my copy from the UK, waiting to hear about the various signings in the UK and wishing over and over and over again that he would signings in other cities here besides New York City.  I hear that Chicago and Los Angeles are lovely places!!! There are lots of book buyers in those cities, too!  *sigh*  Well, if I can’t have a copy yet and I can’t go to a signing, I can at least watch a JT video, right?  Perhaps, you, too, will be thinking about John’s immortality with his book and this performance of his.

-A

For your reading pleasure….

Who here is excited to get their hands on John?

Ok, OK….I was just kidding.  Trying to wake y’all up on a Wednesday!  (Note to the readers: I really don’t say “y’all” much in real life.  Like ever.  I don’t know what made me type that. Things happen sometimes.)


We were treated to both the UK/Australia and US press releases for John’s book today, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran.  I hear that at least for the US, it’s coming out on October 16th.  So we’ve got one fairly “dry” month to get through before we will get the tactile pleasure of having John between our fingers and whispering in our ears. (audio version…get it?)

Wow.  I’m just going down a road on this blog today that I probably shouldn’t really travel.  Something must have been in my coffee this morning.  

One thing I have to say about this book is that…well, actually there are a few things…in the little bits and pieces that I’ve seen/read/etc. is that the big selling points for everyone who is NOT a Duran Duran fan seem to be the sex and drug highlights.  I’ve read about how the band had a number printed on the morning “This is what date it is, where you are, and what we’re doing here” paper that they received each morning.  That number told them what the age of consent was in that particular place.

My comment?  Nice.  I guess there really WAS a reason I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts alone back then.

All joking aside, I really hope that the book is less “tell-all sensational” than the press seems to be making it out to be.  I really hope to gain some insight beyond John’s drug of choice and why.  I mean, that’s all fine and good – but I really want to know about him.  I don’t think I’m alone in that desire, but I also completely recognize what sells books.  It is just business, even though I’m still hoping for that cathartic moment when I read or write – where it all just becomes clear.  I kind of think this is one of those many situations where you can go into it just expecting far, far too much.  I’ve seen so many fans hoping that he’s just going to open up the flood gates and tell us everything – from why he changed his name to what exactly happened (and all the dirt contained within) in his marriage to Amanda, and just why it is that he and Andy seem so incredibly bitter towards one another.  I suppose that from my point of view, I just think John has to keep something for himself.  I have no idea what he does or doesn’t reveal in this book – but if I had to guess, there is plenty that he simply chooses not to say at all.  While it might drive fans crazy, I can’t really blame him.  There’s a saying I’ve heard amongst musicians and even some actors/actresses.  They leave it all on the stage for our enjoyment, and whatever is left over is theirs, and theirs alone.

Seems fair to me, even if my natural curiosity about people makes me wonder what’s beyond that glossy sheen we see in the photos, in the music and on the stage.

Here are the press releases, for your reading and gawking pleasure.

UK/Australia

North America

I personally can’t wait to have John telling me his story….I’m definitely getting that audio book and I dare say it might even sell better than the printed version.

-R