So, the past 24 hours have been crazy. CRAZY. Let me indulge you in a bit of the glamorous life of Rhonda… my husband (and if you’re reading this Walt, I’m ready for you to come home. Now. Thank you.) is in China. Or Taiwan. Or maybe somewhere else in Asia today. I don’t even KNOW what the day is there. Regardless, he’s not at home. This is the week before my kids are out on holiday break, and as a result – every single teacher thinks it’s OK to pile on 40,000 projects that were all due this morning in the case of my son, and in the case of my daughter – she is a dancer at OCHSA (Orange County High School of the Arts) and this is performance week. The school is about 20 miles from home and guess who is driving her back and forth to school, then to the theater which is another 20 miles in the other direction from home. Today I was up at 6am, ready to begin driving at 6:45. The youngest was not happy to be up an hour earlier than normal, but then, neither was mom. 😀 I figure I’ll finally be done with my own chauffeuring duties by about 10pm tonight, which means both mom and little one will be getting to bed way later than normal only to start over tomorrow bright and early at 6am again. We make due, right? I rush the oldest, along with every bit of stage makeup and costuming she needs to school (I won’t see her again until after 9pm tonight), get back home by 8:10 to make sure the boy is up and gets off to school. That’s when I take a brief second to check facebook, only to see that my sister has sent me a note because she noticed that John Taylor, of all the people on the planet, is now my “friend”. She has to give me a rough time about that because clearly my sister (5 years younger but who is really counting?), thinks it’s hilarious. I think it’s a sign of the world coming to a swift end – because seriously who would have ever thought that John would have a facebook and actually chat up fans?!? (kidding John. It’s your turn for some teasing here.) So, as I’m typing a quick witted response back to my sister, my son pokes me and says “I hate to break into your little Duran interlude here Mom, since you’re clearly conquering the planet of Duranie now that you’re facebook buddies with John Taylor or whatever that bass player’s name is, but it’s time for me to go to school and you have to carry my adobe brick!” With that, he thrusts a cookie sheet into my arms, upon which sits the most massive clay brick I’ve ever seen. The damn thing must weigh 25 pounds. (thanks for making that brick with him, Walt!)
What’s the moral here? Just when you think the day is going well – you end up with a huge weight thrown at ya. Trust me, nothing brings you back down to Planet Earth (pun is TOTALLY intended. This is the Daily Duranie blog – of course it’s intended!!) faster than your kid shoving a brick into your arms. 😀 He’d better get an A on that damn thing, that’s all I have to say!
So, have any of you friended John Taylor on facebook or started following him on Twitter yet?? Pretty crazy cool stuff going on there. I don’t mind mentioning that just a year ago, give or take a month or two – I sat and listened to him at the internet conference at UCLA (actually I was at home, but I still listened!). He spoke very eloquently about how much things have changed in the music industry since the internet began. This is true, and I don’t think there’s a fan out there that hasn’t noticed obvious differences. The sheer amount of information that can be gained just from a mouse click is overwhelming. There is very little that a celebrity can do that isn’t broadcast widely online, and I have to admit that there’s a certain amount of mystery that has been lost due to all of this fantastic social networking. It’s much harder to keep an idol on that proverbial pedestal. I find that my oldest doesn’t tend to follow one person or one band like I did (er…do?), and this is partially because of the fact that so much information is out there, she finds out things that she doesn’t like about whomever it is that is the favorite this week – and unceremoniously moves on to whomever she loves next. For my generation, it wasn’t like that. Hell, I remember the first time I heard that the band loved cocaine…I was shocked! (yeah, I was pretty naive as a kid. Sue me.) Nowadays I would imagine I would have found that out far earlier than I did as a teenager. John also spoke of how there is a loss of anticipation and desire when everything is so readily available through the internet. He used the example of going to see a band (I think he used The Clash as the example, but if I’m wrong don’t send hate mail!), and feeling that connection that we’re all used to feeling at a show – and the only way he could recreate that connection was by going out the next day and buying an album. Today, we don’t necessarily have to do that…and with twitter and facebook, it’s probably not necessary at all. Does that translate to lower album sales though? Hmm.. The point being that while the internet has opened huge doors and made our world a lot smaller today than it ever was when I was growing up, it has also permanently changed the entertainment industry, and not necessarily for the better.
Fast forward to yesterday when John finally caved and started a twitter account, or a week earlier (?) when he started his facebook page. What changed? Well, I can’t say – I’m not John Taylor, and I haven’t had the luck of sitting down for a chat over a cup of coffee with him, otherwise I’d ask. (I’m American. Coffee is where it’s at!) I do know from the experience I’ve had working with some other bands over the years – none having the stature or history of Duran Duran – that young fans insist on the connection that’s made through social networking. Video doesn’t cut it anymore, and apparently neither does print and tv media. I would venture to guess that in just the same way he realized that video was the way to connect to fans back in the mid-80’s, he’s realizing that spending a little (or a lot) of time on facebook and twitter is going to do the same today. I don’t think it’s sticking my own neck out to say that facebook and twitter is only as intrusive as the account owner allows. No one is forcing anyone else to tweet about every moment of their lives, or to put anything out there that they don’t want out. I know this is difficult to imagine, but even little ole me – someone who is not a celebrity nor a “wanna be” celebrity keeps the private things private, so I would expect the same from John Taylor, Simon LeBon….or even Nick and Roger if we can ever get them tweeting. 😀
I’m happy to see the band getting involved with the fans after all of this time. For the past few years, I have been openly suggesting that they are missing the boat with regard to social media. I don’t know if the original intention of the band or their management, PR, etc. was to create a demand in the fans by making sure the band was always just out of reach – but the intimation was always present. The one complaint I heard over and over during Astronaut and then especially after the epic fail of Red Carpet Massacre (sorry guys, I write it as I see it from the fans point of view as a whole), was that the band still felt they were above all of us (the fans), even though clearly at that point – it’s not 1985 anymore and they aren’t on top of the world anymore, much less playing for stadium filled crowds of 50,000. Of course I write that, then think back to stories I’d heard and witnessed during the tours of Astronaut…we might be a smaller fan base, but we still make the noise, don’t we? The bottom line here is that I think that by giving the indication that they aren’t too good to chat it up with the fans, they’re going to be doing themselves a world of good in the long run. I don’t really know if the band realizes just how many fans they may have lost over the course of the last 10 years JUST because they gave the impression that they didn’t care about their fans, only their bank accounts. That might not have been what they intended at all, but unfortunately – that’s what was communicated on many different levels, whether by the band themselves, or their management simply by NOT communicating. Hello 2010.
This is the dawn of a new beginning where I hope that by making the effort to reach out to the community, we can make the same effort towards the band by not acting like complete idiots when we see them. …… Before you rush John, Roger, Nick or Simon after the next show, take a deep breath, remember that we’re not 12 anymore and that if you act like an ass, THAT is what is going to be remembered. Not the fact that you own 12 drumsticks or have pictures with every single band member. Hell, I still don’t have pictures with ANY band member! 😀
Hey, dreams are free, right? 😉 And anytime one of those band members wants to sit down over a beer, glass of wine or a cup of coffee and chat….let me know, I’m here!