Category Archives: John Taylor

John Taylor: Actor

This week in Duran Duran history saw anniversaries of premieres/debuts of two different acting projects for John Taylor.  These dates in history make me smile and seemed to make other people smile as well.  Yet, it also pointed out how some things have changed over the years.

I remember as a kid being so excited to watch videos like Nightboat or New Moon on Monday in order to hear a member of the band mumble a line or two.  Of course, I was beyond thrilled by the documentary, Sing Blue Silver.  I watched it over and over and over and over and over again.  I knew every line and knew exactly when I would hear my favorite member speak.  Heck, I’ll be honest.  I knew every moment on any video that showed a “cute” John look or moment as well as any sentences spoken.  My best friend, at the time, and I would watch this small amount of Duran footage almost every time we got together and we would *squee* over these favorite moments.  Then, of course, if we were really lucky, we would catch a new interview on Friday Night Videos or MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and, honestly, we didn’t have very much compared to what we do today.  Really, I couldn’t imagine a more looked for to moment than new Duran footage.  I will never forget the night that John and Andy were to be guest VJs on MTV for an hour, where they would talk and introduce videos they liked.  My family bought our very first VCR that night and I was so excited by the idea that I would be able to record this and watch it over and over again.  Unfortunately, the VCR didn’t work as it wasn’t cable ready (can you imagine!?) and we exchanged it the next night.  My point being that any and all moments when I would actually hear the band speak, especially John, were so exciting to me as a kid!!!  I can’t imagine what I would have done if John had done acting at the time.  I think my friend and I might have exploded from excitement and/or from screaming at the screen.

Now, I have John’s acting work as an adult.  As the type of fan that I am, I admit that I had to see everything he acted in.  In fact, I owe as much of it as possible.  I do wonder, though, how many fans have seen his acting work.  I bet that there are quite a few fans who have seen some of the more popular ones.  Then, I wonder what people think of his work.  Did they think John’s acting ability was quality or not?  I’ll be honest here about what I thought.  I truly do like many of the shows/movies that John was in.  This week we acknowledged the premiere of Sugartown in 1999.  This one is definitely one of my favorites.  In this movie, John plays an English rock star (what a stretch!) who has a fan come to his house in LA with a child that she claims is his.  During the movie, he has to not only deal with this but is also trying to get a record deal with this new “supergroup” made up of English rockers from the same musical era but different groups.  Obviously, this storyline has some similarities to John’s real life, including being in a group with members from other groups and being an English rock star in LA.  I think he did a good job in this and I have to admit that I enjoyed the little comments regarding fans and fandom.

Another movie  that we recognized this week was Strange Frequency.  This movie was one made for VH1 and had 4 parts to it.  John played in one of them.  In his part, he played a wild rocker who liked to trash hotel rooms for fun.  This hotel maid had to clean up his mess over and over again, which became more and more problematic as John’s character kept escalating the amount and ways of trashing the room.  While this character didn’t seem John like, I thought it was fun to see John play this kind of stereotypical rock star.  He seemed to enjoy it as well.  Besides, who doesn’t like John Taylor with heavy eyeliner and blonde bangs?!  (Well, maybe not everyone…but I do!)

There are many other works that John appeared in as an actor.  Other ones that I really liked were his guest appearance in the TV show, Samantha Who, and Four Dogs Playing Poker.  That Samantha Who episode really deserves a blog post all by itself since it really is all about fandom!  As for Four Dogs Playing Poker, John played a hit man, which was pretty crazy!  His partner-in-crime, literally, in that movie was Steve Jones from Sex Pistols and Neurotic Outsiders fame.  Then, there are productions that John was in that I’m horrified by.  For example, Vegas:  City of Vegas is pretty horrible, I think.  He plays a bad guy in that movie, too.  Unfortunately, the writing and acting were all pretty bad, in my opinion.  That said, a lot of John fans still appreciate shirtless John or John in the shower.  I, personally, think that the next time I watch that movie it should be done as a drinking game!  Then, I could stop cringing and have fun!!! 

I guess I have seen a lot of John as actor pieces.  I no longer get as excited about every line and look on film anymore.  The supply of John increased so much, I guess, that my demand was met.  I’m still glad that I have all of those John movies and shows, though.  I will still watch them but they aren’t like how Sing Blue Silver was in 1985 for me.  I’m a little sad that I don’t have that same level of excitement.  I’m sure, though, that I will be that excited when John’s book comes out!  This all reminds me of how talented and diverse John’s talents are from bass player, to songwriter to actor to artist to writer.  Perhaps, that fact is what I really should find exciting!!!

-A 

The dreaded P word

P is for piracy, for today anyway.

This is a subject that we’ve not really tackled much of here on Daily Duranie.  During John’s panel discussion yesterday at DLD it was brought up rather briefly, but long enough to find that piracy and illegal downloading doesn’t keep John up at night.  He doesn’t seem to worry much about it, and went as far as to say that at least in his opinion, if fans are going to the trouble to find bootlegs and things online, they obviously are interested in what you have to say.  Naturally, not every member (past or present) of Duran Duran feels the same way.  For instance, I know that Nick is much more concerned about the issue – even so – I don’t feel as though it’s something that the band really addresses that often.  Perhaps it doesn’t come up in interviews, what with all of the “Are there really plates and piles of cocaine backstage?” questions that come up.  There’s just not enough time to cover all of the hard questions!

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that for labels – piracy and downloading is a huge issue.  That’s not to say I really believe it hurts sales as much as I think that labels honestly don’t know their backside from their brain(s) enough to deal with technology in general.  I just happen to believe that to the labels, it’s the huge elephant in the room that refuses to budge, and that thought process trickles on down to contracted/represented bands and artists, whether by droplets or by a small deluge. I’ve been around long enough to see Napster come down in flames, to see iTunes go from rumor to reality…and to see sales figures that appear dwarfed compared to decades earlier.  The trouble for me is deciding just how much of it really comes down to downloading.  If I were to ask any label person, anyone in the industry – they would likely say most of the problem is from illegal downloading.  If I asked a music fan, they’d laugh and say that downloading has very little to do with the problem.

Since I’m indeed a fan and not an industry person or analyst by any means of the word, I can only see this one perspective, that of a fan.   If you have your own perspective or wish to guest blog for us and bring your own experience to the Daily Duranie blog, let me know.  I’d love to have another perspective.  Truth be told – my experience begins and ends with Duran Duran.  I’m not going to lie, of course I know of bootlegs.  It’s difficult to be around the community and not at least know of them.  I’ve seen everything from shows to demos that can be traded amongst fans.  That said, if these items were sold by the band, we’d buy them, and I think that should be crystal clear to the band by now.  If it is not, let me put the band on notice: WE WOULD BUY WHATEVER YOU MADE AVAILABLE.  Some of the tastiest treats I’ve heard have been bootlegs of various things, various shows, things that were never officially recorded and sold by the band.  That said, I have bought multiple copies of every single album, single, etc. that the band has ever made…and I don’t say that as though I should be worthy of a trophy or something.  I say that because I know I’m far from being the only one.  Granted, the sales of their more recent work hasn’t been great.  We all know that, but it’s not because of the fans that this is so.  I’ve looked for things online (specifically shows I’ve attended) hoping to find certain songs that I will likely never hear again live, not because I don’t care to purchase them directly from the band (if they offered the shows I’d buy them in a heartbeat), but because I want the memory from that special night.  I already own the recorded version and want the live performance from the show.  As John said so eloquently yesterday – I am very interested in what the band has to say, and again – I am positive I’m not the only fan out there that would agree!

Illegal downloading and piracy goes much farther and deeper than just some show bootlegs that aren’t “official”.  There are fans out there that just don’t feel as though they should have to buy music to enjoy it, that they should be able to download them for free whenever they so choose.  In my opinion, that’s not really the same issue.  If an album is available for purchase and someone is choosing to download it for free instead, that’s entirely different from getting a show bootleg by trade (not by purchase).  Would you agree?

The bottom line for me is that on one hand, it’s a situation where I believe as long as the music gets out there – that’s what’s important.  If people really like you and are interested in what’s going on, eventually you’ll make a sale from them.  On the other hand, I really do believe that music is artistic and intellectual property and shouldn’t be copied and stolen.  That said, I don’t see how this is any different from copying audio tapes for friends back in the 80’s.  I can remember making tapes of various songs and giving them to friends (ah yes, the memories of mix tapes!).  Of course the operative word there is “give”, not “sell”, which I’ve never done.  I have burned many a CD for people, again – giving them away just as I would mix tapes.   I’m not sure that we should be blaming downloads for all of the problems that the industry bears these days, especially when it seems to be more of a cop-out than anything.

-R

Here Right Now at DLD

I’ve got a confession to make:  I love doing homework for the blog, even when I’m interrupted five times while doing so.  This morning I watched the feed from the DLD conference with John Taylor.  Do you want the link?  Oh, you know you do….watch it here!  I have to say, it’s one of the better “interviews” (for lack of a better term) I’ve heard/read/seen in a while.  As we’ve discussed before, it’s tough for a diehard fan to get past some of the filler crap we get in magazine articles.  I don’t really need to know that the Taylor’s aren’t brothers, for instance…or how long the band has been “back together”…or that Andy is no longer with the band.  This discussion gets a little past those things, and chews a bit more at John’s insight with regard to where music has been, where it’s going, how they fit their career to the new model of business, and lastly, he talks more about the Here Right Now project.

To begin with, the conversation talked about aesthetics.  Specifically, the loss of aesthetics with regard to MP3’s.  John did give a bit of background, mentioning that their last album (that would be Red Carpet Massacre) was really a low point with them (he was referring to the lack of connection to their fan base).  I think he went back to describe that so he could explain why they chose to release AYNIN independently through iTunes.  As any of us who was around in the 80’s and loved vinyl knows – there is something really lost without those precious liner notes and album covers.  I still feel that way, and I know I’m not alone.  Yes, iTunes and the like has(have) many wonderful attributes, but there is something really special about being able to hold that album in ones hand and see that artwork up close and personal.  John continues to explain that the first video for the album (AYNIN) only cost them $10k to make.  Say what you will about labels, I do understand how the lack of resources can sting a bit.  Although in my opinion, this video is more than strong.  John says it was “nothing extraordinary”.  Maybe not.  However, if you’re asking me….and I know you’re not but that’s the beauty of this blog….I think the video is absolutely extraordinary because it feels organic and natural in a way that most videos today do not.  It showcases the song, the band and a sense of “self” that the band doesn’t often show.  Of course, on the other end of the spectrum is Girl Panic, which is the epitome of excess in almost every way, complete with product sponsors, girls, skin, champagne…and almost no sign of the band or the song it is supposed to be promoting.  Oddly, this one video is the first video that the band has had that has gone “viral” in any sense with over 5 million views at this writing.  John explains that they really didn’t know what the video would do, they had no control over where it would play or how far it would go.  (I wonder what it’s like to be on their end at times when you just have to take a step back and let the video do it’s thing!)  So, either I’m totally wrong about AYNIN or I just don’t get people.  I’d probably say both.  John was then asked if the view count of the video translates into sales – because let’s face it – that really IS the question, isn’t it?   John was honest, and I give him complete credit for not trying to spin the answer the way some in that band might have done, and he said that they don’t know yet but that he thinks it’s more about the indirect brand enhancement.  When they play it at shows, he commented that it feels more like they’re playing a hit song, even though it’s gotten very little airplay (if any) on radio.  Personally, I think he’s on to something with that.  YouTube might need to be looked at differently in order to be used more effectively by the band.  It may just be more of a marketing goldmine than anyone is really thinking.

Technology as a whole really has changed since the 80’s, and that in turn has changed music.  John feels that iTunes has really changed the listening habits of the younger generation.  He gave the example that back in the 70’s, he listened to acts like Bowie – who to a large degree were only big in England until the industry itself started thinking more globally; and his musical tastes centered around acts that were big at that time (the late 70’s).  I think to my own tastes, and I often comment that I listened to 80’s alternative.  I discovered most of my music from KROQ radio here in Los Angeles and MTV.  I didn’t have the library of iTunes to wade through (although I did love Tower Records – which was king of vinyl back in my day!), and even when I did spend time in record stores, I bought music that I’d already heard somewhere.  There was very little ability to “try before you buy” (those “listening station” things didn’t really come into practice until the later 90’s).  iTunes, on the other hands, allows for the buyer to really get a taste of what they’re buying, they can buy music on a huge global level, and just about anything you’ve ever heard from any time period is able to be bought.   You’d think that today’s generation would have better taste with that sort of spectrum to glean from, wouldn’t you?

Duran Duran’s fans come from around the world.  This much we know to be true, and we also know that during the past year or so, at least a few of the band members have tried to reach out and connect with fans.  John found that he enjoyed the rapid back and forth real time banter he was able to have with fans and friends throughout the world – even though initially he wasn’t sure he would enjoy social media.  What seems to have really struck, and maybe even surprised the band, was how fans in turn connect with one another.  I would go so far as to tell him that because the band was so late in coming to the social media “table” – fans actually connected with one another before we really even connected with them on a level beyond the stage.  Granted, we all came here due to the band, but I still say that many of stuck around as much for one another as we might have to support the music.  A drastic thought, really.  The band has found real power in our connection, and as John put it – they have seen that power and energy continue to grow.  It’s that power that I feel the band has to learn how to put to good use.  Before we eat one another, of course.  (good luck!)

While the band plays catch up and sees that if they harness our loyalty to themselves and to one another, we might be able to set this world afire, there is the Here Right Now project, which I introduced in this blog here.  This project was introduced to the fan community a few short weeks ago, but today it has been formally launched to the world.  Originally the project was seen as a way to show peoples needs around the world, and morphed into what it is today.  The band wants feedback from fans, utilizing short prompts – and over time, these prompts will change and become more obscure.  I suppose to some extent, one could look at it as though it’s a giant global game…they name the word, we think of the picture to describe what we think when seeing that word.  What remains to be seen is how much the band will take part, if any; and if the past is any sort of indicator to them – they need to know that it is this sort of thing where they really should attempt to take part.  It’s part of the whole “connecting with fans” thing – and in this case it seems as though it should take no time.  The ability to upload pictures with a mobile phone means they could be (and will be) anywhere in the world, take a picture – and upload it to the site.  Obviously, fans can and should do the same.  In a year where so much will be taking place on our globe – it would seem to be a great time to connect on such a visual level.

Of course, ask me if I’ve tried it out myself – and the answer would be no. I have to be honest, I haven’t even thought about the site lately.  I suspect it’s one of those things that can be easily forgotten, and will take the same sort of effort that going to Twitter or Facebook initially took.  Some will get it, some might not, but the beauty is that there seems to be some sort of way to connect for everyone in a way we never had before!

-R

Be careful with that double edged sword!

I’m deep in the dark chasms of social media, at the moment.  The current chapter I’m working on has to do with the places we live: MySpace (Our starter homes), Facebook (what I would consider to be the single family home neighborhoods of social networking), and Twitter. (I think of these as the high rise apartment living in the city)  Funny thing: I thought writing this chapter would be easy, since I am online every day and deeply enjoying the sanctities that come along with social networking.  Well, as it turns out – its neither easy to write, nor is it easy to understand.  Perhaps that’s the real problem: I am trying to make what is/are truly a very complicated relationship(s) very simple.

To begin with, Facebook, Twitter…all of it really, IS very simple.  The UI (User Interface…and oh my god I’m starting to sound like my husband…*shivers uncontrollably*) is not difficult to follow, which is why all of us are here. (isn’t it?)  Anything that requires a manual, perhaps a tutorial, or god forbid a video series to explain…is far too much.  So, I think it’s safe to assume we’re all here because Facebook and Twitter (I’m sticking to those forms of media just because it’s what we all tend to use with regularity these days) is EASY.  The trouble comes when one starts actually using the media for which it was intended, and that is to make connections between people.  For our purposes here, I’m specifically talking about celebrities and other fans of those celebrities…and more specifically, the band members (past, present, future, backup band, etc) and us.  The Fans.  


On one hand, we’ve got the band.  People like John Taylor for instance.  I don’t think there’s any argument from anyone that he started using Twitter simply as an avenue to get the album promoted and sold.  In fact, I know he’s done interviews saying as much.  Simon was on Twitter well before John ever joined, but I don’t think he really used it much.  As we’ve heard since then, John is downright addicted to Twitter in a lot of ways, and it sounds to me as though he gets a certain amount of enjoyment (much to his surprise?) out of using Twitter.  He’s indicated that perhaps he’s getting more than just promotion out of Twitter, that maybe he’s even having fun communicating with fans to some extent.  I would imagine that this is far more than he would have expected.  Simon seems to enjoy Twitter to some extent as well.  Fans in turn probably read this to mean that the band loves talking to their fans…and thus we travel down the slippery slope to whatever fantasies we’ve got going on in our own heads, which we’ll come back to later.

In the other firm grip of the other hand, there are the fans.  You and I.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was on Twitter before the band. I had my own account way before Amanda and I started Daily Duranie, but I didn’t get it.  I wondered why anyone would care what I was doing during any part of my day.  It felt very voyeuristic to begin with, and so my Twitter visits were kept to a minimum.  I stuck to following the few friends I already had…which was truly bizarre since I already knew what those people were up to, and didn’t bother with much else. I just didn’t see the purpose.  I don’t read the gossip rags, I don’t watch those types of shows on TV, and to be blunt I don’t give a shit what Lindsay Lohan or Donald Trump is thinking in any given moment.  Unless one of the news stations was going to tweet that the world was ending…I just didn’t think Twitter had value.  I’d still check with Twitter from time to time when I thought of it though. (you can read this as: I would check Twitter when I’d remember – which meant every 3 months or so, and then pray I still remembered my password.)  Once we started blogging and I got the @DailyDuranie account started though, I checked it every day and started actually communicating – it was a great way to tell people when the next edition of the blog was up each day.  I liked that Twitter worked in real time, and after a while I noticed you could really have a conversation with people.  It wasn’t about just saying what I was up to – it was like a giant chat room, and that part was fun.  I would imagine that other fans had similar experiences.

Then one day, John and Simon actually started tweeting.  And answering FANS.  Suddenly Twitter wasn’t about just chatting with friends.  It was about seeing what the band was up to.  It was a lifeline while we were waiting for the new album.  John openly teased us with tour and album tidbits. (I still haven’t forgiven him for ruthlessly dropping Coachella hints before the announcement…then telling everyone that no, it wasn’t going to happen…and then disappearing right before the announcement was made.  If there was ever a good moment for spanking….Oh. Boy.)  Simon posted…well….Simon-types of tweets.  I scratched my head a lot.  It was good.

Are you wondering about that double edged sword yet?

Social Networking is complicated.  Why?  Here is the newsflash: no matter how much we want to believe otherwise – it is part of a celebrity’s JOB.   While yes, John and Simon (and Dom, although he really needs a bit of a tutorial. :D) probably enjoy tweeting and reading funny or nice things back from the fans, they are not our friends.  They have no idea who we are.  Sure, they might recognize our screen names.  They might even follow us.  (not a chance in hell when it comes to Daily Duranie and that’s OK.)  However difficult it is to understand, Twitter is not a pure unadulterated two way street of friendship between band member (celebrity) and fan.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that interactions with fans probably equals sales of tickets, albums, etc.  Duran Duran would not be a band…or at least not a very lucrative one…without sales of some sort.   This one tiny kernel of truth – that it is at least a small part of the band’s JOB to interact, even if they enjoy it – is what makes social networking a double edged sword for both the band and the fans.

Yes, it’s very good to connect; it is also very good to establish boundaries.  It’s also very good for the fans to in turn respect those boundaries, however slippery, vague or hazy they may seem.  The trouble there is that some fans have a difficult time navigating the boundaries without crossing the line.  It’s not all that difficult for any of us (or at least it shouldn’t be) to understand how it happens.  We’ve all been there in that exciting moment when Simon is online.  He’s tweeting…you’re typing as fast as your little fingers can type so that you can hit “send”, hoping he sees your tweet and responds back, and bingo – that precious moment arrives.  You might have sent something so incredibly interesting that has absolutely nothing to do with Duran Duran (my guess is that this in turn is a very precious moment for them: when they can actually talk about something other than that blasted band of theirs…), and you get more than one reply….or even *gasp* a Direct Message.  *more gasping*  Let’s be honest here, we’ve been fans for 30 years.  We think we know these guys.  I get that.  My gosh, I KNOW that feeling.  It’s OK to admit that, you’re not anymore of a freak than I am, and so therefore we’re all in good company here.  The trouble is that connecting through Twitter and Facebook can be so much of a seduction that we forget where that line between fan and friend really lies, and it happens to everyone.  Even me.  Even you.

Saying the words that create the boundary for our relationship(s) with the band is simple.  Typing them makes it all even easier until we start getting real.  Interacting with the band online is very similar to being at a concert and being in about the 10th row.  You think you’ve caught an eye from one of them, they wink or smile and you are positive it must have been intended for you.  The reality is that that they could have smiled at your (*MY*) general direction and you’d have still thought it was for you, right?!?  Based on that, you’re sure that when you go to the show the following night, you’ll get another smile because my gosh – they’ll recognize you!  And that my friends…is my own personal story here.  I’m that girl that is insistent that the band (or a member thereof) has smiled or winked at her during a show. As if I was the only person IN the audience.  How incredibly narcissistic?!?!  Yes, I know.  It’s OK to admit it here.  Call it therapy, I do.

So as I go back to trying to write this social networking chapter, I need to admit that this is never going to be simple. I can’t completely untangle the complicated relationship we have with the band, no matter how one-sided it might actually be…

or is it?  Ah.  Another blog for another day.

-R

Why Twitter

This is probably the latest blog entry ever.  I apologize for that.  Today has been a crazy day.  As many of you know or have found out, our lovely little Twitter account was hacked overnight.  Thus, much of the day was spent trying to change passwords or respond to people in this regard.  What a mess!!  Anyway, Rhonda and I appreciate people’s patience while we fixed our account.  This blog entry, though, isn’t about our twitter account but about another situation that took place this week on twitter.  This week, on twitter, many tweets were made and exchanged about John Taylor’s twitter.  No, he didn’t say anything political nor did he say anything to a fan.  Instead, until yesterday, he had been off of twitter for about a month.  This absence created quite a discussion!

John’s absence from Twitter led some people/fans to speculate if he would return and also why he was tweeting to begin with.  Some fans thought or felt that John might never return and that his appearance on Twitter was solely to promote his book, the album or the tour.  Others felt that John was likely off of Twitter to write his book or to spend some with his family.  This twitter vacation did coincide with a break for Duran, which could have added to the theory that John was on Twitter just to promote.  Let’s break down this argument some.

As I stated in the first paragraph, we have a Twitter account.  We also have a Facebook account.  Thus, we use social networking.  Why?  Why did we choose to get accounts for the Daily Duranie as opposed to our own personal accounts (we both have them, by the way)?  One very large reason that we got those social networking accounts were to connect to other fans.  We wanted to get to know other fans and make friends, which is probably the reason that many of you got accounts yourself!  That said, we also got accounts for a couple of other reasons.  We are students of fandom.  We are writing a book on fandom and we cannot do that well if we don’t exchange dialogue with other fans or observe other fans.  Goodness knows that no one is going to want to read about just our opinions and our experiences!  Thus, being on Twitter and Facebook will help us understand fandom better,which will positively affect our book and whatever else we do to bring fans together!  The other reason we have those accounts is as means to share what we are doing.  We want to tell people about our blog and our book.  We want people to read what we write.  Is that straight up promotion?  I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how you interpret promotion.  Does it matter that we don’t get paid for this?  Does that make it less like promotion?  I don’t know.  You tell me.  This leads me to think about John’s possible reasons for having a Twitter account.

Why do you think that John joined Twitter?  Were John’s reasons like ours?  I don’t know.  That said, I could analyze the possibilities.  Did John join twitter to get to know fans and to make friends?  I don’t know.  Does it appear that he wants to get to know fans?  I don’t know.  He responds to fans when he goes through those tweet-fests.  Does it appear that he wants to actually make connections?  I wish that I could say yes but he is really just answering questions or making quick comments.  Of course, we, fans, appreciate that he does this as we get to know HIM better.  So do we think that John joined twitter to understand fans?  Obviously, he is not studying fandom (or at least I don’t think he is!) but is it possible that he wants to understand Duranies and what they think?  Does he want the feedback that we provide him?  That seems possible to me as I’m sure that he gets tons and tons of tweets about people’s favorite songs or about what people thought of a show or video.  This leaves the last possibility in that John joined to promote his work.  Does John’s presence on Twitter help sell records or concert tickets?  I think that is possible as many people might start following him because they kinda liked a song or because they were fans back in the day, which leads them to check out the new material.

Now, of course, people expressed concern that John was just on Twitter to promote Duran and/or his book.  I guess I don’t really see this as a big issue and part of this is because I didn’t and don’t really think John is trying to make friends there.  At least, I don’t think he is there to make friends with fans.  This led me to believe that he was just there to get feedback and/or to promote.  While I love the idea that he wants to make us happy by becoming our friend, I don’t see it.  Yes, I don’t think he minds making us happy by answering our questions or commenting here and there.  Who knows…maybe this is his motivation.  It just feels like it is more possible that he was there for feedback or promotion.  Perhaps, making fans happy is a great side effect, a bonus, an extra. 

What difference does it make why John Taylor joined Twitter?  Really?  Does it make fans less excited when they read his tweets or get responses from him?  I don’t think so.  While I understand that people don’t want to feel used, which is what people might feel if they find out or believe that he is only there for promoting, I think it is important to remember that he is the rock star and we are just the fans.  We aren’t ever going to be friends.  Maybe I am excusing him from not being more concerned about us fans.  That’s possible.  At the same token, I want to enjoy him on Twitter whenever it does happen.  If I feel like I’m just being used, I won’t have as much fun watching for tweets.

-A 

Game Day Thursday!!

That’s right, today is another fantastic edition of Game Day!  I’ve got another word search for you puzzle people out there!  This time, you need to complete the puzzle and then give me the theme I used!

In addition, I must send out a hearty “WELCOME BACK TO TWITTER” for a Mr. John Taylor out there.  I daresay that you were very, very missed.  I was actually beginning to get a little concerned for the safety of myself and my fellow Duran fans out there….(remember, we eat our own for breakfast!)

Finally (yes, it’s a short blog today), I wanted to give a follow up to a blog I’d done nearly a year ago now.  In another life, I was in fact a Girl Scout Leader with a couple of other moms in my neighborhood for my eldest’s Girl Scout Troop – she was about 7 at the time. (she’ll be 15 in 11 days…not that I’m counting)  The other moms and I became good friends while we were leading the troop, and we had a standing “tradition” of meeting for coffee while the kids were in school in order to do our planning, and it was something that we all grew to look forward to doing together.  Naturally, once our girls got to about the 4th grade (I’d say the girls were between 9 and 10), their interests changed and no longer wanted to be Girl Scouts, so our time as troop leaders ended. (thankfully)  While we were all glad to be through with the work involved, we missed our coffee mornings.  I still see the moms from time to time, although not nearly as often as I wish – and in March of last year I received the news that the younger daughter of one of our children had an inoperable brain tumor.  She is the same age as my son and had been in his class over the years. One never expects to hear this sort of thing, so yes, it was very shocking.  Our daughters used to play together, and while they’ve grown apart and no longer even go to school together – I just never ever gave something like this happening any kind of thought.

Nile Rodgers also has been battling cancer, and last year he had blogged about losing Bernard Edwards – he’d mentioned something about finding the silver lining in Bernard’s death, and I blogged in turn about it.  You can read that blog here.  Jessie’s battle with her brain tumor made me think about that blog again because for the past 10 months, right after she was diagnosed, Jessie was painting her own silver lining.  She took a devastating diagnosis and turned into something that would quite literally change the world.  She formed a foundation labeled NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) that concerns itself with spreading joy (which happens to be Jessie’s middle name) to children who are diagnosed with cancer.  In addition to that, Jessie wanted to do something special for each of the 50,000 children who are diagnosed each year with cancer.  Basically she came up with the idea to put joy in a jar.  Each week she and her dad would work in the “Joy Factory” (their garage) and stuff special small presents and goodies in jars that she would then take to hospitals and pass out to the kids in the oncology ward.  This was all done while Jessie herself was in radiation and chemotherapy treatment.  Never once did I ever see or hear her complain – even when she lost her hair, her eyesight, her hearing or control over half of her body, and in the last few months when she really lost the ability to smile – you could still see her try to smile as best as she could.  Jessie simply refused to let the cancer beat her spirit.  I have said many times that her parents should be very, very proud.  Jessie taught me more about grace, and wisdom in this past year than I learned in the 40 years prior.

Sadly, last Thursday morning Jessica’s body lost its fight over this horrible disease, and last night her family hosted a celebration service at the church where her dad Erik is a Pastor.  It was the most beautiful celebration of life that I’d ever seen – and what’s more – it’s brought our tiny little neighborhood community together.  Since the day Jessie passed away, people have been tying blue and white ribbons to the trees lining our streets.  Signs have popped up all over with messages ranging from “NEGU” to “We Miss You”, and just last night balloons were   also tied up so that when the family drove from our neighborhood to the church, there were balloons forcing smiles the entire way.  It was a glorious way to remember such an amazing little girl.  It’s amazing what a 12 year old is capable of teaching grown adults.

The reason I bring this up here is because yes, the experience of knowing Jessie has absolutely changed me.  I wasn’t even that close to her family or her mom during the last few years, but I kept in touch with Jessie’s progress, and my heart ached when I learned that she’d passed away because I know just how much Erik and Stacey will miss her.  No parent should ever have to bury a child.  Two songs continue to come to mind as I think about NEGU, JoyJars and Miss Jessica Rees:  [Reach up for the] Sunrise….and All You Need is Now.  If there were ever a lesson in those songs….I get it loud and clear.

For those interested in learning more about Jessie and her causes:

Jessica Joy Rees

NEGU

Jessie’s page on Facebook

Have a great weekend everyone, see you back on Monday!

-R

John Taylor’s Autobiography Reactions and Thoughts

This week, we learned that John Taylor is working on his autobiography that is planned to be released in the fall of 2012.  As the news broke across the fandom, there were cheers of excitement as it seemed that everyone was excited by this piece of news.  Yet, as days have gone on, I have begun to see some fans reactions that are less than thrilled and I have seen some fans ask some good questions.  This is both my reaction to the news, my reaction to others’ reactions and some things that I wonder about!

First, I couldn’t be more excited by this news.  As a John Taylor fan, which I’m sure is very obvious by now, I long to find out everything I can about him.  I want to know what his life has been like.  I want to know what makes me tick, what makes him happy, what makes him sad, what worries him, what excites him, etc.  While I have read countless interviews with him and listened to tons of interviews and appearances, I doubt I really have a clue about who he really is.  I know what authors have said in articles.  I know impressions I have gotten from seeing interviews.  Yet, those only show so much and they might not always be accurate.  Do the authors of various articles portray him accurately?  I don’t know.  Is John always himself in interviews?  No clue.  Thus, I’m thrilled with the chance to get more of an insight into him.  I also feel like John, typically, is more revealing than other members.  He seems to share more of himself and more of the band than others do.  I have always enjoyed his writing with various blogs and postcards on their official site.  To me, this promises to be even more revealing and even more personal.  As a fan of the band, I am anxious to find out new information regarding their long history.  Obviously, this information will come from one member’s perspective.  However, some of the band’s history has been discussed in Andy Taylor’s book.  It will be interesting to compare their different perspectives.  Therefore, to me, this project is a win and cann’t see much of anything to criticize about it.  Yet, some fans have done just that.

Some fans seem to be a lot less excited about John’s autobiography.  Some have concerns and others actually don’t like the idea at all.  One major concern that I saw from a fan was the effects on the band and the dynamic within the band.  Yes, obviously, the rest of the Duran knows that he is doing this.  While they might be supportive of the idea, in theory, how will it be when they read something less than flattering about themselves or about the band as a whole?  Will that cause problems?  Obviously, when Andy published his book, he was out of the band and did not have to worry as much about that issue.  Will John worry about it?  Will he hold back because of this?  Will he be too concerned about causing waves within the band?  I don’t want that.  I want him to be open and honest but I also don’t want major problems for the band, either.  Thus, I think it will be an interesting balance that John will have to find.  Perhaps, the band will need to have some discussions about what he says.  Maybe they will be completely okay with what he writes because they know and recognize that this is just John’s perspective.  I don’t know.  Nonetheless, I could understand the concern that some fans pointed out.  That said, I can’t really understand people that are completely against the project. 

I have seen fans, though not many, actually say that they think this project is a bad idea.  The reason given usually focuses on the band.  John is a musician and should be focused on the his role in the band.  He should only be focused on Duran and nothing personal or individual, so the reasoning says.  This fascinates me.  First, I hope those same people feel the exact same way for any other project that any other band member does.  Thus, I hope they don’t like Roger’s djing, for example.  Nick should never work on any photography and Simon shouldn’t do songs with other artists.  Second, I don’t really think that the band should ONLY focus on the band 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  They deserve to have a break from their main job as we all do.  Breaks, I think, are healthy and can actually inspire new ideas.  Maybe John will think about some idea that he had a long time ago that he put aside that would actually be really cool if he and/or the band finished now.  I also believe that if people focus on their jobs all the time, this can lead to burnout.  Burnout with a band means that the band ends.  Thus, I’m good with breaks if it means that the band’s lifeline continues longer.  Now, some people may not want to read it.  They may be fans but don’t want to read something that will cause them to lose respect for one of their idols.  I can understand but the solution to that is simple.  Don’t buy it.  Don’t read it but don’t stop the rest of us from reading it.

No matter what any of us think about this project, it will be made.  Then, we will have plenty to talk about.  Rhonda and I plan on discussing the book, chapter by chapter.  We could and probably should do the same with Andy’s.  As I wait for the book to be published, I can ponder what exactly he is going to focus on.  For example, will he talk about his childhood and what his family was like?  Will he talk about his friendship with Nick and their decision to form a band?  How much will he discuss his struggle with addictions or his unsuccessful first marriage?  How much will he talk about the other guys?  How much will he talk about the fans and interactions with them?  Then, what will the fan reactions be like?  Will they think better of John?  Will there be things mentioned or discussed that upset fans?  Will John be totally open so that every reader will be on the same page or will there be subtle elements in which we are left to discuss what he really means?

Personally, I can’t wait to read it.  I’m sure that the day it comes out, I will find my couch and not leave it until the book is done.  Then, I will look forward to all of the discussion that will take place!

-A

News News News!!

I am convinced that it’s the times when I don’t think about what I’m going to blog about in the morning that the most news happens.  Yesterday afternoon we were treated to a short blog from Simon, and then this morning…more news in the Duran camp as it’s been announced that John Taylor is to write an autobiography that is due for publishing in 2012!

Let’s begin with Simon’s blog from yesterday.  By now I’m sure everyone has read the blog – but did it strike anyone that even as the US tour was due to take place Simon was still feeling as though he was only at about 85% of where he should be?  I had heard murmurings that Simon was feeling less-than-confident, but I must admit that when the UK shows took place without incident that my concerns about that were fading.  That said, I must also admit to feeling some anger when I read the blog yesterday.  We’d been told, several times in fact, that Simon was back to top form, and I don’t mind saying that John himself had told us as early as August 8th on Twitter : Great rehearsal today, SLB on top form!  I don’t want to use John’s words against him, because I really do believe that John, Nick & Roger probably DID believe that Simon’s voice was back to 100%…but the fact is that Simon knew that was not the case, and yet an entire tour was planned.  The good news is that now that the band is seven shows into the tour, Simon feels that he is “recovered” and that it won’t be long until he’s “bulletproof”.   Confident words from the man who only last week shortened the encore and by accounts of his own fellow band members came off stage without much of a voice and is sticking pretty steadily to a 90 minute show.  I suppose that yes, I’m a little gun shy and questioning of his statements, only because we’ve been told similar things in the past only to find out that he wasn’t fully ready to tour. (Although admittedly not by Simon.  To his credit I don’t believe Simon has ever said anything other than he’s continuing to improve, and I have to believe he’s been as honest as possible.)  Sometimes I read these blogs from the band and I’ll come away with an emotional reaction and wonder if it’s just me.  So I throw the ball to the rest of you readers – what do you think about Simon’s short blog yesterday?  You can read it here.  


In what I feel is fantastic news – today Duran Duran announced that in 2012, John fans (and fans of the band in general I am sure) can read all about the man in the pinups you’ve been kissing goodnight since the early 80’s, because John Taylor will publish his autobiography.  I have to say that this piece of news intrigues me by all measure, because I’ve always gotten the sense that John is rather private.  He will allow us in (via Twitter) just past the stage curtain, but at some point at his discretion he disappears behind a secondary curtain, not to be followed.  He’ll reappear from behind that curtain from time to time, but never strays too terribly far so that he’s able to disappear whenever he so chooses.  Not a bad way to maintain a certain amount of sanity and normalcy in a profession that can be terribly intrusive.  I will be waiting to read the book from cover to cover (probably more than once!) when it comes out, and it will be interesting to see just how much John is really willing to share, and how much will we really learn about our bass player.  I wish him the best of luck with the writing (Assuming he’s already started if not already finished!)…I’m not even doing an autobiography and it’s very difficult at times.  I need to be more disciplined!  


In the meantime, my couch and I have a date today.  I’m down sick with some ridiculous concert virus (meaning I am sure I caught it at the show and I’ve already blamed it on Simon.  Why?  Just because I said so.), and my youngest is more than happy to share a blanket and some snuggling with Mommy time today.  Cheers everyone!  


Denver show tonight!  


-R









Rehab

In the midst of the UK rehearsal shows came a little news item on duranduran.com.  John is helping out with the Amy Winehouse foundation.  According to the news report, which you can read here, the foundation will set up a drug treatment facility for UK teens.  John’s role is to help with fundraising, including networking with potential large donors and artists. 

I think it is great that John is taking time out of his schedule to help out with a project like this.  I have no idea if he knew her but I do know that he has received treatment for his own addictions, which is what I assume part of his motivation is.  Strangely enough, this fact about John and treatment for alcohol and drugs seems to be not always common knowledge within the fanbase as I continue to see questions tweeted to John related to drinking, in particular.  Some of the questions I have seen are things like, “what is your favorite cocktail” or “what kind of wine do you like”.  Even last week, after Simon talked about having a hangover, I saw a question to John about whether or not he, too, had one.  As someone who observes fandom, I have to wonder why some people aren’t aware of this.  Perhaps, they were thinking back to the 80s when most of us, I believe, were unaware.  Maybe, it is because they aren’t like me in that I try to know everything I can about my favorite band.  Some might even say that they have seen John drinking.

I think most fans in the 1980s were unaware of the extent to John’s drug and alcohol habits.  I saw many, many interviews “back in the day” and never knew.  Honestly, I think some of this was because I was a kid.  I didn’t know what someone who was drunk or high would look like!  I wasn’t around that at all!  Yet, looking back at some of the interviews that I KNOW my parents saw, I have to wonder why they didn’t say anything.  I watch some of those interviews now and it seems clear to me that John and the others weren’t always clean and sober.  Did I just blindly believe what I read in print interviews as most of those had Duran denying their partying?!  I think that is definitely possible.  I also think it was possible that I didn’t really care as long as it didn’t mess up the band!  Yet, the kid excuse doesn’t work today as most of us fans are far away from being kids.  Do you think people don’t know that John has worked hard to be clean and sober and stay that way because they don’t care?

It is possible that some fans don’t really care if any of them drink or do drugs.  Maybe those fans are just concerned about the music.  That’s fair.  Yet, I can’t seem those same fans, then, asking questions about John’s alcohol intake if they just focus on the music.  Okay, so maybe it isn’t that they focus just on the music but that they don’t try to find everything about the band.  That could be.  Yet, if they have been following John’s twitter, they would have seen those same questions I have seen and would have seen that John refrains from alcohol.  Of course, maybe they don’t read every tweet of his.  That’s possible.

Some people, however, will claim that they have seen John drink in the last ten years.  Okay.  That may be possible.  I don’t know.  I am not around John, which really is too bad but another story completely.  Even if that is true, I don’t understand the point in telling people this.  What good does that do?  Does it help John?  If John is trying to remain clean and sober, which I have to believe based on everything he has said in the last decade, does making that statement help with that goal?  What if John fell off the wagon once or twice?  Does mentioning it help him get back on and stay there?  I don’t think it does.  I think that we, as fans, should support him in this very difficult task.  We shouldn’t do anything that would undermine that, which would include mentioning if he did have a drink, in my opinion. 

Personally, I think John should be proud of his personal accomplishments when it comes to sobriety and I think he should be proud for trying to help others with theirs.  I think that the fans should do what we can to support both.

-A

And on it goes….and on…and on…

I have to vent this morning.  I guess that’s one of the perks of having a blog.  🙂

I was on Facebook this morning, and narrowly missed another John Taylor Tweeting session.  I’m apparently VERY talented at missing those, but that’s alright.  He’s on UK time, and I’m pretty much on west coast of America time, and so that’s the way it goes.  I love that he has his accounts set up to where his twitter posts are copied to Facebook, by the way.  I still comment on them when I want, and John isn’t subjected to my thought patterns.  Probably for the greater good of everyone, no?  (Yes, I can and do laugh at myself often!)  Anyway, one of the comments to John…actually a couple of them really…were regarding Andy.  I’ll wait for you all to compose yourselves, as I know this must have been as shocking for you to read as it was for me.  (that’s some Thursday Sarcasm for you)

As I recall, one of the tweets was a question to John – the person wanted to know who he’d like to play with as a guest on this tour.  His answer?  Andy.  This of course just fueled the ever-present fire for Andy fans out there.  After that honest tweet, I could envision John’s Twitter account, full to the brim with all SORTS of Andy questions.  Where would you want him to play?  What songs would you want to do?  How many shows would you want to play with him for….and the list goes on and on.  Naturally, John doesn’t (and probably cannot!) answer every tweet, so I’ll never know for sure what was asked.  Another question a few minutes later was something to the extent of: On a scale of 1-10, what are the chances of Andy returning to the band.  I’ll wait for you all to gasp in shock as you know I must have at reading that question.  Again.   Rather than put us all out of our misery, John has to answer in a way that leaves the door just a little bit open.  He responds by saying permanently?  0  for a one off? 5.  

Not long before this nonsense, I read somewhere in my news feed that someone else read on Andy’s twitter (This is all meant to sound EXACTLY as insane and as much like a old fashioned game of Operator as you’re reading!) that he said he would have played with Duran Duran in Ibiza had the tour not been cancelled.

Right about now, I’m wishing this blog had sound effects.  I’d have something like “Duh Duh DUH” play in the background.

I have to say that Andy Taylor has done more for the nostalgia factor for this band than Rio.  What I mean by that statement is that by Andy leaving the band back in the 80’s, many of us (this blogger included) waited, crossed our fingers and hoped for the day that he would come back to the band.  Call it the hope of youth, call it immaturity, call it whatever you’d like – there were a lot of fans that wanted the original five together forever.  That Rio would once again be played as the Fab 5.  That angels would get their wings, and that cats and dogs would live together in harmony.  World peace would finally arrive and we’d all live happily ever after once again.  Then, by an amazing bit of luck, our dreams came true.  Well…everything except the world peace part, and those angels – I’m really not sure about those.  A reunion took place, and Astronaut was our moment in the sun.   Then Andy left again.  Once again many people are thinking about sacrificing small animals, sending smoke signals and begging whatever band member that will give them the time of day to get Andy back.  Once again Rio, the first album AND Astronaut are seen as the end-all, and for that faction of fans who insist on living in hope that the world will once again come full circle and be perfect once again, and maybe this time world peace really will come right along with a full reunion of the Fab 5.  It’s the nostalgia of the idea that back when we believed the band was perfect, there were 5, and our guitar player of choice was Andy Taylor.

I really thought by now the fervor would have died down.  I guess I figured that the saying, “Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you” would have been taken to heart – and really, it was by a lot of people.  Many fans out there wouldn’t want Andy back.  I’m not quite in that camp myself, but there are many that are, and I really can’t blame them.  They’ve moved on, they deal with change well and probably even run with scissors occasionally.  (Something I’m afraid to do because the last time I tried – I literally punctured a hole in my foot. Not a joke.  I still remember screaming bloody murder when it happened – I was about 10 then!  Did I mention I’m a bit of a klutz?)  The funny thing is, there are a group of fans who are insistent – Duran Duran is only really Duran Duran with Andy.   That of course, isn’t up to me to decide.  I only report what I see and hear.

My only reason for blogging about this topic today is that I’m simply amazed that what – 5 years after the man left, we’re STILL asking about his return.  I suppose for some of us, we’ll never stop wanting.  I love Andy.  Always have.  I also feel strongly that if for whatever reason, he doesn’t want or can’t commit to being in the band the same way that the other four have done; or if he can’t or won’t work with the other four – that it’s for the best he’s not in the band.  I don’t concern myself these days with why he really left, because what’s done is done.  I guess for my own sanity, I’ve moved on.  I’m glad he came back and did the reunion because it was something very, very special that I’ll never forget, and yes – there is absolutely a part of me that misses him being on stage – but only when he was FULLY with the band.  I hate(d) watching the shows where he truly looks detached from the rest of them and seems to be going through the motions of playing his own show.  I can’t imagine that was easy for him, or for the others.  I don’t really know – but it’s very clear they weren’t all a cohesive unit, and for me, that’s not enough.

What’s even funnier is that I don’t ever hear or see people begging for Warren’s return in this same way.  Perhaps it’s because there are many, many fans who would call for the public flogging of those people.  Maybe it’s because Warren was the #2 guitarist – not the original.  I’m not sure.  I read the reminders from his fans that he was in the band longer than Andy, and that somehow entitles him to be able to trash Andy….which still ticks me off to this day, but yet it’s very clear to me that Warren doesn’t have the same outcry for a return that Andy does.  It’s fascinating.

I posted a comment in response to one of John’s tweets today on Facebook.  I think it was where he said that there was a 0 chance of Andy returning permanently but 5 (out of 10) for a one-off.  My comment?

“Let the Andy Taylor thing GO.”

Really.  Don’t you think it’s time?  Why or why not?  -R