Category Archives: Katy Kafe

Highlights from July’s Katy Kafé with Simon!

It is always a good day when I wake up and see that my blog topic has been chosen for me!  Decision made – excellent!!  Today, I bring you some of the happenings in the July Katy Kafé with Simon.  Naturally, I will remind everyone that the Kafé is one of the exclusive offerings that come with your paid DDM membership, and that while I am giving you some of the highlights, nothing really compares to hearing the whole thing for yourself. I can’t be nearly as funny as Simon or Katy!

To begin with, Simon got himself a cappuccino. I have a sneaky suspicion that Simon merely makes the appropriate steamed milk sounds…but it’s all in good spirits, and I had my coffee in front of me, so I’m happy to play along. (On a side note, I’m feeling as though I need a direct IV of coffee today…and a supply of Advil or Ibuprofen to go along with it. If you’re following me – @L8BarMom – on Twitter, you’ll know I just started month two of the Insanity workout program yesterday. I have two thoughts: pain and “Oh my God I have to do that AGAIN today?!?” If you don’t know what Insanity is – search for it on Youtube!)  Enough about me and my aching body…

Simon called in directly from the studio on this day, which was kind of interesting to think about. The format for this kafé differs from most because Katy asked for questions from fans, and then asked them to Simon.  I’m sorry but I missed some of the names of people who asked questions…so I’ll just address the topics themselves and give a synopsis.

Most all of the questions were, obviously, about #DD14.  Who really needs a working title when the entire fan community already has a hashtag for it?  I say no…as did Simon at the end of the Kafé.  He was asked if they had a secret or working title and Simon came up with some ridiculous name – I’m hoping I got it at least half right: “Little Red Painted Toenails on the Dancing Iguana.  Nice try, Simon.  Let’s just stick with #DD14, shall we?

A lot of fans wanted to know about Simon’s approach to the album…and what they are really going for on this one.  Simon summed up the album in three words: Nude. Duran. and Funk.  I get the Duran, I get the Funk…but the nude part…as always…we will see.  I can’t even begin to guess.  He also talked about moving on from All You Need is Now, saying that since they already went back to their roots and really tried to recapture that spirit, they felt that they’d accomplished that, and so they couldn’t very well do it again on this album.  So they are moving on from that point.  He was quick to add that they need to maintain that connection with their fans and stay true to the musical values they’ve established during this past thirty years…so they are developing the sound from that point on All You Need is Now.  This makes sense. I like that he’s making sure to explain that this new album isn’t about reinventing themselves, it’s just about continuing to develop and grow from there.  Mark Ronson is still involved at least partially on this album, but he is not writing – only producing, and he may not be producing the entire album.  He’s busy these days.  Simon’s own approach on the album, or any album for that matter – begins the same.  He goes into the project with an open head, and then as things develop, he adapts as necessary.

They spoke a bit about collaborations with other people…it seems to be one of the favorite topics that fans ask about.  Simon didn’t really mention who they were thinking about for #DD14, but he did say that the “dream” collaboration for him would be John Lennon.  (I’d give my eye teeth for that to happen…maybe in another life…which is why it’s a dream collaboration!)  Simon also said that he gets a lot of lyrics sent to him, which for whatever reason surprised me.  I didn’t realize people actually sent him things for him to consider using!  He said that writing is personal, and that he does not like sentimental writing. I totally and completely agree. He likes it as hard as nails, which is one reason I like Simon’s writing so much. Once in a while I can get gushy here, but more often than not, I don’t do sentiment like that. It’s even tough to use when it’s a guest blogger sending it to us, because while I know it’s the writing of someone else – their innermost feelings – I think that’s why it makes me so uncomfortable.  Simon likes humor, so keep that in mind if you’re going to send him lyrics.  I’ll just stick to blogging thanks, and leave the lyric writing to you experts out there.  Others asked him about where he gets his ideas from.  After thirty years, isn’t it tough to still come up with new things to write about??  Simon said that he keeps himself open to new things.  Things he hears…”noise that humanity makes”.  Sometimes phrases pop into his head from nowhere.  Again, I can identify with what he’s saying here because we write this blog every single day and there are some mornings when I get up that I’ve just got nothing.  I can’t even think about Duran Duran. Then there are other days when I know exactly what to write – the creativity ebbs and flows, and you’ve got to write when you get a chance.  Simon also mentioned that when he is writing, he can’t really be reading or doing other things – that the writing happens when he’s bored.  Personally I find that when I’ve got a lot of things going on in my head, nothing really worthwhile comes back out through the fingers onto the keyboard.  That’s why I have to do the reading and research first, and then somehow I let it stew…and eventually it flows back out.  The more I’ve got going on personally, the less writing that gets done around here.  It’s good to know I’m not particularly unusual in that regard.  

Speaking of collaborations, someone asked about whether the band would want to work with Nile Rodgers again.  Simon said that he would love to work with Nile, going on to say how fantastic of a guitar player Nile is, and that he’s a lovely person as well.  I think the fans would love to hear of the band working with Nile again – I can’t imagine anyone not welcoming that, and to be honest – if they want funk – I’d love to see this happen.  One of the more wonderful things to come out of Twitter is being able to read how Nile is doing these days.  He has taken the time to tweet with DD fans, and seems like such a genuine person, it’s fantastic to see Nile doing so well. (and yeah, even *I* like that Daft Punk song!)

Simon spoke a bit about the preferred atmosphere in the studio.  For Simon, he says it comes down to the music, but he also mentioned that they have a lot less big equipment than they once did – but that they write more IN the studio these days as opposed to before. Nick likes the studio to be as dark as possible (I have to wonder how he sees his keyboard…and I’m finding that I have to oppress this desire to mention the whole lack of daylight thing plays right into the tongue-in-cheek comments some have made of Nick being a vampire…), but others like it brighter, so they’re finding a balance there.  Katy said it sounds like a nightclub.  I can see that.

For those who are curious about instrumentation – it sounds like Nick is using his analog keyboards (Jupiter 8 among them) for this album.  Now, Simon did qualify that by saying it all comes down to the mix – you can record anything you want, many many layers, but the mix is what decides what really ends up on the album.  So, we’ll wait and see.  Nick does like the analog because there’s more artistry there than with the digital keyboards, but I think this gives a teensy bit into the vision of where they’re going.

Snippets anyone??  I know a lot of people chomp at the bit, waiting in hopes that something, ANYTHING, will be released to give us a taste of what’s going on in there.  Simon said that there’s always a chance. There is a real downside to releasing anything though, because if it’s not finished – if it’s substandard – people make up their minds very, very quickly that they aren’t liking it.  This is very true.  They also believe that anything they release beforehand detracts from the official release.  This, I don’t agree with, but maybe that’s because I’m a fan and do not work in the business office.  From my point of view – a 20 or 30 second snippet that is still fairly rough doesn’t give enough of an idea of what is to come for it to really detract.  In fact, one example I can cite from AYNIN is when a snippet of Runway Runaway was released.  All that I got from it was Nick’s keyboards – that sounded very much like any other DD song – and that gave me some comfort that AYNIN was not going to be like RCM in any way.  I loved that when the album was finally released, I was able to see where the snippet came from and how it was incorporated.  I don’t know how that really detracted from anything.  That said, I can understand that if they leaked full songs – well then, that likely would detract, and I can cite Astronaut as an example there.  By the time the album was released, I’d already heard every song off of the album and knew that they’d changed What Happens Tomorrow to the point where I didn’t care for the song much. I also know that many others owned the full CD months before the album was released, and so when Astronaut came out, in a lot of ways it kind of felt like an afterthought.  If it weren’t for the in-store signings, and the fact that it was the original five on the album, I think there would have been even less excitement.  So live and learn.

Anyone remember that fabled album Reportage? It’s the album that everyone wants released, that I hear almost everyone has gotten hold of…that I personally have never heard. (I’d like to know who leaked that one.)  The band is still talking about releasing that on it’s own – meaning the band wouldn’t try to release some of the songs from that album on #DD14 or anything they are working on now because from a business standpoint, it’s very hard to mix things they are working on now with things they’ve worked on with Andy.  Makes sense…and maybe someday I’ll actually hear the album.  I think Reportage has gotten to the point where it’s been built up in our fantasies to be this huge, big thing because it’s an album we thought was coming but was never released.  So I wonder if it would be a letdown to hear it now.  So many people tell me “it’s out there, you just have to find it.”…I’ve never found it, but I would love to hear it someday.

That’s what I was able to glean from Katy Kafé this month, and I’ve put off my Insanity workout long enough, so I must go. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

-R

June Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

June is flying past at breakneck speed, and I very nearly missed the June edition of Katy Kafe!   This time Katy chats with Nick Rhodes, who had already celebrated his 51st birthday earlier this month. (For all of you John Taylor fans, Katy was very quick to explain that last year, John sat in the Kafe for his birthday, and this year it is Nick’s turn…especially since John did the Kafe in May.)

It was a rather brief Kafe this month, something about Nick being busy and work on an album or something like that, but there was plenty of time to discuss the AMFAR appearance, the album and even TV Mania, and there was much to be gleaned from the discussion.

NICK’S BIRTHDAY: he didn’t really have plans this year, but then again he didn’t have plans last year until his fellow bandmates came up with the wonderful “art gallery” party for him.  Nick mentioned that he’s always up for a party (not a surprise), and that he supposes that you only get one chance to really celebrate some of these milestone birthdays “Well, at least until we get that genetic thing sorted properly.”  I had to laugh – and I’d appreciate it we could get that sorted soon.  Please.

AMFAR: They were pleased to be involved with such a wonderful event. AMFAR raises money for AIDS research, and on that one night 25 million dollars was raised.  That’s a huge amount of money for one evening!  Interestingly, Simon, John & Dom offered themselves up for an acoustic set to be played in someone’s home anywhere in the world, and according to Nick, the offering went for close to a million dollars (I believe it was $776k).  Katy asked if Nick knew who had won, and he did not know, but “they were very generous.”  Not a bad way to spend a million dollars, in my opinion…on one hand, you’d be making a positive difference in the world, and on the other?  Those three guys in my living room?  That would work.  I have room.  I’d MAKE room!

ALBUM: Katy wanted a scoop. I kind of think we’ve got some news to work with here…there are about ten songs now. 3 or 4 of them actually have titles, although Nick was not ready to share those yet. One of those songs is virtually finished.  (We have a finished song, ladies and gentlemen!) Nick made sure to say that it is different from the last album.  I appreciate that each member continues to pull the party line and say that it’s different – but what I’d really love is some further explanation of HOW it is different.  Nick used the words “groovy”  and “energy” to describe the music.  It is just so difficult to pull much of anything from the descriptions they’re using.  I’ve heard it described as a sort of Duran Duran meets Radiohead style, groovy, energy, and very different from the last album.  I can’t even imagine what it all must be like yet.  As for the album’s timeline, Nick said that they’ve tried to set themselves a goal that the album will be released in late Spring of next year, which means they would need to be finished with it by the end of this year. He knows better than to promise that though (smart man)…but he did say that they are farther along in the process this time than they were with the last album.  So we do have hope.  Katy asked if they were looking at working with a label this time or how they might look at releasing the album, and Nick said that naturally they will utilize iTunes and other digital marketplaces (Amazon, etc.), but that they were still thinking about what to do with regard to the label.  He felt that AYNIN was successful in some ways, but not successful in others – which is understandable – and so they would obviously be looking to improve.  There are real pros and cons to working with a label: on one hand they would be getting a much needed hand of help with regard to worldwide promotion, but on the other – working with a label is like dragging a big clunky machine behind you. The flexibility to change things on the fly is lost, and they wouldn’t be nearly as light on their feet.  As a fan, I can certainly understand the reasoning on both counts.  So at least Nick is considering the option of going with a major distribution deal on a label…we will see in the coming months ahead!

TV MANIA: Did you know that you too can be a TV Mania franchisee? It is true, my friends! Let’s pretend that you live in Outer Mongolia, well – you can register to become TV Mania Outer Mongolia.  What does that do for you? The whole point is that you can create your own beautiful works of sound and video and upload them to the TV Mania website – thereby creating content for the rest of the world to listen, view and admire.  TV Mania has a manifesto (rules that they work with) as well as a toolkit available to franchise owners that contains music samples, but it sounded to me as though there was room to be creative well beyond the framework that they’ve tried to create.  If you’re at all inclined to create music and video in the vein of TV Mania – this would be an excellent opportunity to get your work out there for all to see.  The cost for being a franchise holder? FREE.  That’s right, it’s free.  This is purely for artistic purposes.  TV Mania will even issue you rights to use their logo in conjunction with your name (so that barcode would read TV Mania Outer Mongolia)…and it really sounds like a great creative platform for anyone interested.  One caveat: if you are going to be sampling music – you’ll need to get those samples CLEARED. (meaning you’d better ask permission from the artist you’re sampling from!)  This is one way to share the music without TV Mania touring or doing appearances, which makes sense due to the unusual aspects of the project.

SECOND LIFE: Nick loves Second Life.  Katy even called it “Nick Rhodesian”, to which Nick replied “Good grief”.  The TV Mania family even has their own home in Second Life, and Nick jokingly said that he thinks a sitcom is coming next.  Truthfully, I had given up on Second Life – it just seemed much more difficult to navigate than I’d hoped, and this was back several years ago when they first announced the plans for a Duran Duran world.  In the past few months though, I’ve seen more and more taking place there – and even Nick commented that he sees Second Life “growing and growing into something more unusual.”  So am I Tempted?? (See what I did there?? And you people think I’ve no love for RCM…) I really am…maybe this summer I’ll find time to wander over there again.  Maybe.

So it seems that our fearless controller never stays still for long, as he was off as quick as he arrived at the Kafe.  I think we had a fair amount of news, and I applaud Katy for asking more questions about the album and even the whole debacle of labels…it’s of interest to all of us and we appreciate that she took the time to ask!

-R

May Katy Kafe with John Taylor

People will often ask me why I’m still a paying member over at DuranDuranMusic, the official fan club.  The first thing I will mention, of course, is the presales.  I might then mention the swag that one gets with membership as I’m a sucker for Duran merch.  That said, I do LOVE the Katy Kafes.  I always feel like I learn a lot about the band and the band member in the Kafe by listening to them.  I gain an insight that I wouldn’t gain from a regular interview.  First, I gain some insight by how the band member in question reacts to the topic at hand.  Sometimes, the tone and whatnot tells me more than the actual words.  Second, the fact that this is done with Katy, someone who really knows them, allows for a different level of interaction than a straight up interview with a random stranger.  My point being that I learn a lot from listening to them and enjoy them, too.  This month’s was no different.

This month’s Kafe was posted to the website on May 20th and found John Taylor in New York City before the band’s appearance in Cannes.  The topics were what you would imagine them to be and included information on the work in the studio, John’s autobiography, and the appearance in Cannes.  There was a brief discussion on coffee and caffeine as well.  While I figured there would be quite a bit of discussion on the new album and the work in the studio, I admit that I was surprised that his book was a topic as that seemed to be talked about a lot last year.  I was also surprised that there was no discussion surrounding his lack of twitter appearances for 2013.  This could have been a perfect venue for it to be discussed and John, certainly, could have explained himself well in this setting.  Yet, the fact that it wasn’t even brought up led me to wonder if it was something agreed not to be discussed, which probably just gets me thinking about it even more.

John did spend a long time discussing the progress of the new album.  He mentioned that they are in what is possibly his favorite part of the process as it seems like every song has the potential to all be fabulous!  It is only as the songs get finished that some are clearly not as strong as others, which I can imagine.  I relate to this as I feel that way as a writer.  Every blog is going to be the best blog ever until I actually write it.  Some blogs really do turn out wonderful and I’m really proud of them and others I feel like I miss the mark somewhere or didn’t explain myself as well as I could have.  He also said that it was nice to be with everyone again.  Katy asked a good question about whether or not people came with ideas despite typically not writing on the road.  He said that people did but that there really wasn’t pressure to come with some.  The most important thing was to get ideas that become or are group ideas.  The album shouldn’t be like a Nick Rhodes solo album with Simon singing or a John Taylor solo album with Simon’s vocals.  It should a great Duran album.  Everyone needs to feel a part of it and he specifically pointed out that “integrating Dom” is key.    One word that he used to describe a great Duran album is balance.  I definitely agree with him.  This is what the first couple of albums had and what AYNIN had.  There was a balance with all members.  They were all present and accounted for.  If they know this now and use this now, I’m totally reassured that the album will turn out well.

John was also asked about working with Mark again and the timeline of the album.  As far as Mark was concerned, he stated that they would be pleased for him to produce some of the album.  He specifically did not say the whole album.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  Would they bring in other producers?  Produce themselves?  Yet, John did mention that they need a captain to the project and that Mark did that whereas having a band member be captain doesn’t always work, which made perfect sense to me.  The captain isn’t as tied emotionally to any of the ideas or to the band and band’s direction.  S/he could be more objective, at least that is what I thought.  As for the timeline, this part made me laugh.  John said that they were all interested in playing shows next summer but wanted the album out before that.  Hmm…did I just read somewhere about shows in the summer and how much easier it is for people like me?!  Great minds think alike, apparently.  Anyway, despite this desire, he said he is open-minded about the album’s timeline.

Beyond the discussion surrounding the band’s current activities, Katy did ask about the book.  At first, I really wished that she hadn’t simply because I didn’t know what more could be gained.  After a minute or two, I was so glad that she had as John discussed how he did give copies to family members and that they seemed shocked to find out about his struggle with addiction.  He made an incredibly important point, which is that no one really understands as the pain is not seen.  John also explained a little bit about grief towards his parents and how it is a strong force.  This resonated with me.  While I haven’t (thank goodness) lost my parents, I still think I have experienced grief surrounding my job, which might sound silly but that’s how I look at it.  In response to grief, John said that it must be processed in the right way or it can become destructive.  Again, I was led to wonder if I have dealt with my feelings regarding my career the way that I should.  This, of course, is where I really appreciate being able to listen to these.  Not only did I gain insight into John but it forced me to reflect on my own life and my own experiences.

Was the best, more interesting, Katy Kafe ever?  Probably not.  We didn’t get a lot of insider information regarding things like how many songs have lyrics or any other behind the scenes information.  We did get an insight into John and his ideas on how the band needs to function to produce great Duran songs.  We also learned about his ideas regarding grief and loss.  I, for one, am thankful that I had the opportunity to listen to the Kafe completely as my reaction, which isn’t even a summary, does not do it justice.  I recommend listening for yourself.

-A

Special Katy Kafe with TV Mania

I never get the chance to discuss a Katy Kafe, or so it seems.  Therefore, when a special edition popped up on my radar yesterday, I knew that I had to scrap my original idea about what to blog about to discuss it.  Of course, now that I have taken the time, I realize how challenging it is to figure out how to get started since there is a ton to talk about.  First, let me provide the link, in case you haven’t heard it and would like to.  Unlike most Kafes, this one is not just for DDM members.  If you would like to listen to it, you can go here.  Obviously, my discussion about it will focus on the most interesting moments and this Kafe did not had many of them!

There was, obviously, quite a bit of a discussion about the TV Mania project and how unique it is compared to other bands or to other side projects of Duran’s.  Part of its uniqueness is that there was this family created that truly reflected the society of the 1990s.  One of the questions that they were asked focused on who influenced the creation of their characters, specifically Sassy.  Nick explained how they were truly based on “extreme stereotypes” including the Dad is the “religious freak”, Mom is a “pill head”, the son is a computer hacker and online gamer and the daughter is a fame seeker through whatever means necessary.  While this wasn’t necessarily new information to me, I did find out that this family now has a space on Second Life.  Who knew?!  As someone who doesn’t go into Second Life ever, I had no idea.  My question to those of you do:  Can/have you interacted with them?!  Of course, the project is also unique because of the incredible focus on the visuals and how, musically, it creates a new genre, according to Warren, which I have to agree with.  He explains how it doesn’t fit into the electronic genre of the 1990s and doesn’t fit today.  Of course, the visuals for this project are everywhere.  Many of us are fascinated by Nick’s photography exhibit, which he discusses to some extent.  I didn’t realize that the images were divided into “vicious women” or “troubled women” but featured all the same model, who is the “Sassy” character.  Fascinating.  This is one of those moments when I truly wished that I could see this in person.  Of course, the vinyl packaging is also supposed to be something.  (I will discuss that when I receive my vinyl.  Anyone in the US get theirs yet??)  They also mentioned the video for Euphoria and how there is a video remix of that coming, along with the video for Beautiful Clothes.  I, for one, cannot wait for that!?  Nick also mentioned how there will be a “visual” surprise for What About God?

Speaking of which, the project unlike a lot of music out there really, obviously, reflects on society and popular culture.  While the project came out before a lot of the social networking sites were up, running and popular, they did talk about the current use of twitter.  For them, it is another visual.  They described it as a means to send out random thoughts and images to “stimulate the brand”.  That said, when asked about what they saw the future being like, Nick hoped that social networking still wouldn’t be as important as it is now.  Hmm…so he still isn’t a fan?  Yet, clearly, TV Mania is using it.  Is Second Life not social networking?  This is even more interesting as they introduced this idea of having TV Mania being a franchise with different TV Manias all over the world.  What would that be like?  It would be anyone who is interested in making music using samples, technology, different sounds and combining it with visuals.  There would then be a YouTube channel that would showcase these different ones.  Wow.  There is a lot to think about with this idea.  On one hand, I love the idea that everyone could do it.  It feels very punk rock in that sense.  I also adore the encouragement of art and creativity.  Yet, I wonder about the details.  How exactly would it work?  I’m sure there will be more information to come.

Of course, no Katy Kafe would be complete without some mention about what both Warren and Nick are up to.  Nick, as usualy, sounds super busy.  He mentioned how they were back in the studio with Mark Ronson with the hopes of releasing the album next year.  One personal project he has is to sort his photography archives, especially since they won’t be touring anytime soon.  Yet, the part that caught my attention is how he is working with John on some sort of elaborate musical project with a storyline!  Fascinating.  While they might be the oldest of friends, they certainly haven’t done much together outside of Duran.  In fact, when apart, they seem to have gone in opposite directions, musically, so I can’t wait to see what they could come up with together!  Warren is working with a singer from Stockholm on some sort of Missing Persons project and is busy with his production company. 

This Katy Kafe was jammed pack with both information and with interaction.  Katy, often, didn’t get a word in edgewise as frequently Warren and Nick would just keep discussion alive.  If you are a fan of hearing interaction, then, this is a good one to listen to.  Sometimes, it was hard to pick out the information through all of the interaction and, at times, humor.  I appreciated the little jokes like the idea that TV Mania would tour in 2031 since it seems to take a long time to do things surrounding the project or when Nick stated how it was -500 degrees there.  Oh, Nick.  Try living in Wisconsin the last few months!  There is still snow on the ground that has been around since before Christmas.  All of that said, I can see where Warren fans would enjoy this Kafe more than others.  For me, I just loved hearing that there is more to look forward to with TV Mania and other projects!

-A

March Katy Kafe with Simon!

As promised, I listened to the March edition of the Katy Kafe, and took copious notes. (I think I say that every single month!)

I must concur with what DDHQ tweeted yesterday that Simon did not disappoint. He never really does – his Kafes are always entertaining for a multitude of reasons, and he was in an especially jovial mood on Monday. He opened the Kafe with mentioning that yes in fact he has about 98,000 followers on Twitter (DDHQ has almost 90,000 as I’m writing, yes – I checked.) This is apparently a source of great amusement for Simon and Katy, and unlike some more recent Kafes with other members of the band, it is very evident that Simon and Katy have a good time giving one another a hard time, which I admit – I enjoyed. (Granted, I was saying “Go Katy, Go…” but that’s just me.) I also loved that she gave Simon a good ribbing that she makes sure to keep the @duranduran Twitter updated several times each day (which is VERY true) and Simon comes around whenever the urge hits him. (Also incredibly true.) Simon said that he does try to come on once a day but sometimes it doesn’t happen. I just want to pipe up here and say that out of the entire band (I am looking squarely at you, John Taylor…and also YOU, Dom Brown…), Simon is truly the best on Twitter. Yes, I really did just say that. He *does* come on there and posts something fairly often, if it isn’t always daily. I know that as a fan, we appreciate that. It’s just nice to see that everyone is alive, doing well…and still at least appears to be somewhat interested even when there’s no new album to promote. Get my point?

So, as I mentioned on Monday, my psychic powers were telling me that the band was back in the studio. Ok, so I might have known that they were planning on going into the studio on that date…knowing that Mark Ronson will be joining them later in the month. Simon confirmed that yes, they gathered together on Monday, March 4th for the first time back in the studio. I’m sure chaos ensued because after six months – what really happens when you get back on the horse again? Katy asked Simon if he goes into the studio with a plan in mind – Simon’s first answer was “Yes, to make a hit record.” Then he quickly checked himself and said “No, really the idea is to make good music.” I was relieved. I don’t know about the band, but I think the last album was a gigantic success for them. Monetarily? I have no idea and its none of my business – but as musicians, artists and the idols I’ve always known them to be? Absolutely.

Simon spoke a bit on why he doesn’t like to explain the writing/recording process – he feels like the finished album is the important part. As a fan, I have to agree that the finished album is the most important part. That said, Katy mentioned that fans like hearing the background stories and things like that – and she’s right. However, I understand Simon’s point. As a writer – there’s no way I’d let people actually read my first drafts. Except for this blog…because this my friends, is always a first draft. *gasp*

The mustache. You knew he’d get around to it – and he did not disappoint. He is WELL-AWARE of how it has taken on a personality and life of its own. (along with it’s own Twitter account, which I rather enjoy) And, just as I’d suspected – Simon said that he “doesn’t give a fuck what people think.” I laughed. Loudly. While it is true, I’m not necessarily a fan (loved the beard but the mustache…??), I have to say – good for Simon, and spoken like a true stubborn Scorpio. (I should know – I’m a Scorpio too!) If I had to guess, I would say that the Simon-girls out there had better learn to embrace the facial hair….and if it continues to grow…it might end up embracing YOU!  (<— worst joke yet on this blog) He says he likes that Wild West look.

Back on the album front – Mark Ronson arrives next week. Simon said that Mark will probably follow the ideas that the band has for this album and will just guide the band through them this time. He made sure to mention how wonderful it feels to work with someone that they all truly enjoy. He feels that while All You Need is Now is a tough act to follow, they can’t be intimidated. I can see how for some bands, that might be a problem, but Duran Duran seems to have no trouble going from one album to the next, closing one door, opening another, and continuing to add dimensions to their sound. I can hardly wait to see what comes next.

Katy brought up the retrospective of The Wedding Album, but interestingly enough they ended up talking more about Liberty. Simon said that they were disappointed that they didn’t get Liberty right so they knew The Wedding Album had to be done right, and he looks back on that time with “great fondness”. Katy mentioned that she didn’t think Liberty was all that bad (I would agree completely – there are great songs on that album that get overlooked), and Simon mentioned Venice Drowning, Serious, and Violence of Summer. (Katy feels that should come out of the closet – again, I totally agree. I think this would be fantastic to do live again.)  Simon did not like First Impression though – and neither did I. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it doesn’t work for me unless I’m driving home from the Key Club up in Hollywood at like 2am and need to stay awake….another story for another blog…

Katy and Simon talked a little bit about the Oscars and some of the movies up for Best Picture, and interestingly enough – Simon had some rather strong words for Mr. Ben Affleck regarding Argo. In Argo – the point is made that the British don’t want to help out with the plan to get the hostages out of Iran, which is factually incorrect. There was some press regarding that when the movie first came out – I believe that it was done in order to “simplify” the storyline, but Simon is absolutely correct when he says that when you are creating a movie that is supposed to have true historical basis, it’s a good idea to stick to the truth.  I can see why Simon would be upset – the storyline makes it look like the British didn’t care, even though that particular piece of the story is not integral to the storyline (which is the whole reason I think it was written that way). Ah, Hollywood.

And in case you missed it – Simon is in People magazine this week. Why? The mustache, of course.

-R

January Katy Kafe Time!

I love it when I’m surprised by something that answers the question “What will I blog about today?” That happened this morning when I was greeted with the news that January’s edition of the Katy Kafe was up on DDM for our listening pleasure. So I did what anyone only this half of Daily Duranie would do – I set my youngest up with cartoons, grabbed my earbuds and spent 20 minutes listening and making notes!

I’m going to be straight-up here. John sounded very relaxed, if not almost bored and just a touch annoyed that he was in the Kafe. Maybe he was. Maybe the Kafe is an annoying thing to him when he’s supposed to be taking his part of a long holiday away from Duran Duran. I don’t know…I can only comment on what I heard. That said, we all have moods, and I have no idea what is going on in his life. I think about the crazy things that go on in this house while I’m trying to blog on any given day – and it’s a miracle I don’t have a camera or recorder following me around. No one needs to see or hear that!

Katy begins the Kafe by asking about a movie that John hasn’t seen, so she quickly has to move on to talk about In the Pleasure Groove. It is being released in Holland, Denmark and Brazil in the coming months, and so Katy asked if he was going to be doing signings and things in those places. John was fairly blunt and said he really wasn’t up for that. Now, I suppose you can take that as a dejected comment, but I did not. I think that John explained it very well by saying that he feels as though the project is finished – I can understand that.  When it’s done, it’s done. I think the past year had John putting himself “out there” in ways he never has before (and in fact he mentions that in the Kafe), and I think the project did exactly what he needed it to do, and he very clearly feels a sense of closure. From what I understand, the same thing happens when a band tours an album. Sure, fans could want bands to tour forever, but I think there must come a time when a band crosses that line from wanting to do it to being told they have to do it – and that’s when complaints start coming about how a band seems more machine-like than human-like. There is a balance to be met and maintained. Katy asks John if he’d ever write again, and I thought his response was very interesting because John says that towards the end of last year he was really thinking about doing a volume 2 (of sorts) to the book, but he’s since shelved that idea….at least for this year. He followed that up with explaining that he wants to keep his energy for the new music.  I can understand that, and maybe in a couple of years he’ll be ready for that next book. I think putting a few years between yourself and those books will help as well, and maybe more of a story will unfold. The one thing I’ve learned as I continue writing is that the best blogs and chapters happen when you simply LET them happen. I’ve found that at least for me, I can’t force the words – nothing good happens if I’m forcing them. John talks about how you have to truly commit yourself to that hard work, and he’s right. Just ask Amanda and I about that – we don’t have the capacity to ONLY write or ONLY blog, and as a result, we have a tough time getting started – the book writing in particular seems to come in spurts, which we both recognize is detrimental, but we do what we can. It sounds as though John recognizes that he can’t commit to everything, and as much as I would love to see him write again, his reasons for not doing it right now make perfect sense.

John spoke a little bit about the work he did for Koshii & Hush. I always smile when John talks about his singing because one of the first things he typically does is qualify that he is not a lead singer. Personally, I think he has improved so much on his vocals and he doesn’t give himself enough credit – but John has this sort of self-depricating way about him at times that is charming and humble enough to make me grin. Apparently I’ve been missing out on listening to some great remixes. Admittedly – I have such a difficult time with remixes. There are way too many of them, and a lot of the time they tend to be so repetitive that I find them boring. So I usually ignore them. John has a tough time with remixes too, but for a completely different reason. “Normally the first thing to go is the bass….” I had to laugh. He’s so right, and I’ve never thought of it that way. In this case though, he’s the lead vocalist, and he mentioned that now he sees why Simon might like them, because you can’t really “get rid” of the singer, can you? So each remix brings a completely different light into the song. I’m going to have to check some of them out – apparently there are four out there to find!

I know what all of you are most curious about…it’s one of two things…and fear not, John talks about both touring AND the new album. As all of us are aware, the good stuff starts in March when they head back into the studio with Mark Ronson. John was funny because he was saying that you can’t really go into the studio with an agenda of what type of album you want to record because you would be fighting everyone else to get that agenda through and it’s more difficult. I would imagine it really stops the entire process from being organic and sustaining in it’s own way. Then he began to say that he had no idea where they would be going with this album, and then stopped himself and chuckled, “I say I have no idea but I have a pretty good idea. I mean, this album isn’t going to be jazz!” I have to say that throughout the entire Kafe, this was the point where John started to brighten a bit, and I wouldn’t be one-half of Daily Duranie if I didn’t wonder why. I must admit, I’m glad he sounded at least halfway interested in the studio, otherwise I probably would have come away from the Kafe being much more concerned. I keep reminding myself that we’re all moody though…

One quote I loved from John here that I must share, “Friendships really express themselves well when we make music.” That’s beautiful.

I daresay that none of us should be packing our bags getting ready for a road trip any time soon. In almost a complete 180 degree turn from what he said in the Fall, John announces that he’s not in a rush to get back on the road again. (I hear ALL of you sighing dejectedly out there. I know.)  He spoke a bit on how in order to build up a media demand, they need to back off. I have to say that from my point of view – this sounds like a load of crap. Just as we’ve always done here, we’re honest and when I feel like I need to call someone on the carpet, I will. Band member or not…I’m a fan, not a lackey, and I refuse to just sprinkle sunshine and roses when I’m feeling like a hailstorm is brewing. To begin with, this band is not the Rolling Stones. I’m sorry, but they’re not (and I’m happy about that!)…waiting a few years to go on tour isn’t going to suddenly make Duran Duran into the Rolling Stones, either.  Yet that is exactly who John cites when he talks about needing to create a media demand. OK, I understand that part of the reason for touring is to get the good word out there, but the media isn’t who buys your albums. The one thing that John said that does make sense though is that they want it to be a case where they want to tour, not one where they have to tour.  He is correct when he says that he knows for some people – we want them to be on the road all the time, but it’s just not reality. I suppose that’s true, but I have to admit that I hope John gets a bit of an attitude adjustment in the next several weeks heading into March, because he sure doesn’t sound much like the fired-up and fan-sensitive John Taylor that I liked last year.

I had heard that EMI was divesting itself a few months back and wondered what might happen to the band’s early catalog. Apparently, I’m not the only one left wondering. John mentioned that they are waiting to hear where their back catalog that EMI owned ends up, and then intimated that the band would be interested in signing back with a label again – preferably the one with that catalog. Now, keeping in mind that I have no experience with label contracts or the business-end (not much, anyway)…I just have to wonder what exactly is to be gained from signing with yet another label. Have they really had much luck with that since EMI?? Remind me again?? Call me a loudmouthed skeptic (it’s true), but I’ve seen very, very few artists do well under a label. Sure, you can name some. So can I. Duran isn’t one of them, and hasn’t been in decades. That’s right, I said it…decades. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the band and everything to do with labels themselves. It’s a numbers game that the industry itself can’t even support these days. I’ll go one further and say I don’t think there’s any way to actually fix the industry. It’s imploded from within and no one, least of all me, has real answers on how to make it work again. Why on earth the band would want to be under the constraints of another label contract is beyond me, if for no other reason than because I would think they would enjoy being free to create what they wish to create.  Although if it is as John says, where the label is really into it…well…time will really tell, won’t it?

Lastly, they talk a bit about John’s upcoming award from Writers in Treatment. This happens on February 15, and aside from John downplaying the award by saying it’s a bit like being rewarded for fucking up (His words, not mine!), I think it’s a wonderful honor. Not all that many people are able to recover and then tell about it, and I happen to know that he has reached out to more than one person who needed help getting started with their own recovery. Yes John Taylor, you deserve an award. Suck it up and take it like a man. We’re proud of you.

I have to say, part of me wants to kick John’s skinny little behind just a bit. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this Kafe just sounded off. Maybe John was sick. Maybe he was in a bad mood. Maybe he’s like anyone else, he’s enjoying his vacation away from being “John Taylor of Duran Duran” and isn’t quite ready to get back into the swing of it. He doesn’t need my permission, but it would be fair and justified…..and maybe I’m just reading crap into things. Judging from my Twitter feed this morning, I am not the only one thinking all of this. All I can really say is that if someone needs me to head on over to the Hollywood Hills to get a fire lit under him and restore some enthusiasm to the situation, I will take one for the team. *sigh* It’s a rough job, but if it needs to be done…

-R

Year End Katy Kafes

What does a Duranie do when moving off the couch seems like a lot of work due to being ill?  This one listens to the year end Katy Kafes on DuranDuranMusic.com.  Katy Kafes are one of the true privileges of being a member of DDM, I suppose.  Although, highlights from each of them were posted on dd.com as each of the members wished Katy and the fan community a happy holiday season.  This blog will attempt to summarize the important or not-so-important points of each of them and give a brief review because that is what we do here, people! 

Simon:
I listened in order of how they were listed on the page.  I might assume that they were recorded in that same order, but I really have no idea.  In fact, the only one a definite date is known for is John’s, which was after his last book signing, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  In the beginning of the Kafe, Simon needed a refresher on what actually took place during 2012.  At first, I was critical of that until I realized that I had to think about what Duran did this year, too!  I could blame the bad head cold for my lack of memory, but it is probably just old age setting in.  Then, Simon discussed touring and some of the dates that were highlights for him.  Some of the shows he mentioned were the Switzerland date in January, Dubai, Latin America, Greece, Exit Festival in Serbia, Italy, France, the Olympics, and the US.  The part of that discussion that I really enjoyed hearing were the stories he told.  For example, he talked about skiing with Yasmin and Amber in Switzerland or how he hurt his knee in Latin America.  That is a lot more interesting to me than a list of fabulous dates.  When it came to the US dates, he talked about disappointing it was to Nick and the fans that the last of the dates had to be canceled.  He talked about he went ahead to Atlantic City and mingled with the fans.  Some of those fans were angry, which he felt was “inappropriate”.  I assume here that they were angry with Nick and/or the band rather than angry at the situation.  If that is true, I have to agree with him.  It wasn’t like Nick could control his health.  Sickness happens.  I know.  Outside of touring, he talked about Nick’s 50th birthday surprise with artwork from guests and other invited people.  He also discussed how he is enjoying his time off and being able to spend time sailing, being with the family, and being able to travel to India.  He also hopes a new Simon’s Reader will be coming soon.

Nick:
Like Simon’s Kafe, Nick began by discussing the tour and specific shows or places that were real highlights.  Some of Nick’s were South America, Exit Festival in Serbia, the Olympics, and the US.  He moved on to some of his traveling highlights, which included a few days in San Francisco where he enjoyed numerous art shows, including people like Cindy Sherman and Man Ray.  As someone who enjoys arts and art museums, I loved hearing about these shows.  I, too, would love to see the Cindy Sherman show, in particular.  Nick recommended looking online for some of these shows even if one is unable to travel to attend in person.  Good advice.  He also took the time to talk about Second Life and how those who are left have created and maintain a creative community.  I will have to take his word for it because it isn’t any place I go and spend time in.  He did say that he hoped to pop in before the end of the year, which is rapidly approaching.  Heads up, then, to all of you who do participate in Second Life!  A Kafe with Nick wouldn’t be normal if there was no discussion of movies.  He mentioned how he wants to see Lincoln (he totally should as I cannot recommend it enough) and Hitchcock but he did enjoy the latest Bond and the latest Tim Burton films.  Travel was part of his Kafe as well since he took a holiday to Bali, which doesn’t scream Nick Rhodes to me but cool.  He, apparently, wore shorts.  Other highlights for him for 2012 included visiting the Rio boat and his 50th Birthday Bash. 

Roger:
Roger’s Kafe began with a discussion on weather, snow, and children’s first snowfall as both Katy and Roger have young children.  This made me giggle since we have had so much snow here.  I have to admit that I still feel like a kid with the first season’s snowfall and this year was no exception.  Roger did not talk about many specific shows on tour when he began discussing his highlights for the year.  He did mention the Olympics and how big it was, especially since his whole family was there, watching.  The other show he said was Rome.  Now that the tour is over, he is glad to be home and spending time with his family.  He does look forward to going back into the studio with Mark Ronson in March and figures that he might be itching to get out on the road by summer.  Hmm…Outside of Duran, he has been DJing some, including with his son, James, which is good because James brings a different kind of taste in music.  He hopes to get to South America to DJ in maybe January.  There was a visit to Peru to visit family as well as a trip to Miami for vacation.  The other highlight that Roger mentioned was John’s book, which I thought was very nice and thoughtful of him.  He said that he thought the book was lovely and that John was lovely.  He is pleased that it did so well and that he is very happy for him.  🙂

John:
John’s Kafe was a little different from the rest as he had not only the band stuff to talk about but the book stuff as well.  He said that he thought it was a good year for the band.  Some highlights were the Olympics and the Exit Festival.  It wasn’t always easy, though, as he did feel overworked with both touring and writing the book.  Once the book was written, though, it was fun to put it together, pick out pictures and get ready to promote it.  This surprised the publishers who really only wanted him to go to London and New York.  John said that the Duran team had to fight for every city.  As for expectations, he tried not to have any as he had no idea how it would sell or how the fans would react.  Obviously, the results have been very satisfying and the in-person readings and signings have been great.  He is excited that it is getting translated into other languages.  That said, he is ready for a break.  In fact, he would find himself grumbling that the rest of the band had been on a break and that he needed his, too.  I can completely relate to this as I often find myself diving from one project to another without any real break.  He plans to spend his holiday in England and has a trip coming up, but didn’t say where.  He looks forward to getting back in the studio with Mark Ronson and thinks that they can build on what they did with All You Need Is Now, which sounds wonderful to my ears!!!  He hopes it will be out in early 2014.  At the end, he stated how this felt like a very successful year as many connections were made, which I have to agree.

Overall:
I always enjoy listening to these.  I feel like you can always gain an insight into the band members by what they say and I often feel like they can give subtle hints about what is happening behind the scenes.  This time, though, I didn’t sense any of that, which is a bummer. I am also bummed that they don’t give Dom a chance to do a Katy Kafe about his year.  I am looking forward to March when they get back into the studio.  Will Roger be right that they will be ready to hit the road by summer?  Will John’s prediction of early 2014 be off by 6 months?  A year?  Three?  I kid.  I only tease because I love.  I would obviously love the album by then and I would love dates by summer.  Who wouldn’t?!  To summarize, 2012 was a year of touring for the band.  They also traveled both on tour and on their own.  They spent time with their families and paid attention to art shows, books, and movies.  That wouldn’t be a bad year for any of us!  Now, I’m looking forward to 2013 and it sounds like they are, too!

-A

Nick’s Katy Kafe!

It’s Tuesday and I’m already behind.  How does that happen?!?

I have quite a list of things to get through this week, some of which has been accomplished, but what I’m finding with every phone call or email I send – I end up adding things to the bottom of the list.  I’m sure the rest of the world has that same trouble, but I’m also finding that if I really want to get a jump on my day – I need to consider getting out of bed at about 4:30 am and probably staying up until about midnight.

Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen.  I love Daily Duranie and I love what we’re doing and our plans to grow, but I really like sleep too.  These bags under my eyes thank me for those hours of shut-eye. So, onward and upward, yes?!?

One thing I did complete with flying colors yesterday is the establishment of a PayPal account.  I am excited to announce that we will gladly begin taking orders for Daily Duranie wristbands (pictured below).  As I have mentioned, we know many of you would like to have one, and these were wristbands that we handed out over the summer US leg of the tour. We have a limited number left over, and so if you’d like one, we need to be able to cover our shipping costs as well as be able to order more when the time comes.  Simply send us $3.00  USD via PayPal – our email is dailyduranie@gmail.com.  When you see the charge on your banking statements, it will show up as PAYPAL*DISCORDRHYM.  We are taking orders from now until December 31st, or until our supply is depleted.  Thanks!!

I won’t lie, I haven’t listened to Katy Kafe in months. Feel my shame radiate from the screen of your computer… Once again, I fear Nick Rhodes arriving at my home to request my Duranie card.  This will not do.  So today I gave it a listen, and it definitely did not disappoint.  Nick was the guest in the Kafe this month, and I must say – I was happy to hear that. We haven’t heard much from the band regarding Nick since the tour (aside from the beautifully written letter/blog that Nick wrote upon his return to the UK), and I am sure I’m not the only fan out there who wondered how he was feeling. I am pleased to report that he sounds wonderfully healthy and back to his normal busy self. I took copious notes as I listened (no it’s true – I’ve got two note pad pages worth sitting in front of me!), and I will attempt to condense my ramblings into a few bullet points.

*More from the end-of-tour: I think that Nick still sounds very disenchanted with the way the tour ended. I cannot blame him – in all the times I’ve seen the band and the various tours I’ve watched over the years, I really am not sure they could top what occurred with All You Need is Now, so ending it with his illness must have been difficult. It was difficult as a fan.  I’m happy that he seems to be back to normal though, and in the end, that is what is important.

*A few things that he his working on while at home:  He has been sorting through his photography archive (please tell me a book is coming…) and…this is big news…he is working with Warren to get TV Mania for release in February/March of 2013.  In fact, right after he was finished with the Kafe, he was meeting with Andrew Day to sort out the final artwork for the album.  If you’re not familiar with Andrew – take a good look at Medazzaland or Pop Trash, as well as The Devils CD.  They are going to be releasing TV Mania on Limited Edition vinyl as well as a download. Now, if you’re keeping track, you’ll realize that Nick is releasing this album in February only to go back into the studio in March to begin the next Duran Duran album.  Busy much??  Yes! A very interesting note on the TV Mania project – they could not find the physical master tapes, so one had to be recreated (for remixing purposes) from what they had on computer.  Things happen during a seventeen-year rest in a bottom drawer! This album was created during a time when the work on Medazzaland was taking a “bit too long” to complete, and the album is created entirely from samples taken from TV.  The “lead vocalist” on the album is in fact the television.  Sounds interesting, and we’ll definitely be taking a good listen and look at it for Daily Duranie when it’s out!   Nick is also going to be working on doing a remix for MNDR in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!!

*New album:  Let’s face it, the band hasn’t even been in the studio yet, so it’s tough to imagine what the album will sound like. Nick did comment a bit on some various things though, and it will be interesting to see how the album unfolds. I doubt very much that they’ll let us in on the inner workings of studio-time, probably preferring to let the final product speak for itself (I don’t blame them for that, even though I readily admit that I will be chomping at the bit for whatever news we can get out of them.), but I love hearing the juicy tidbits from time to time. He says that he’d love to see this album be completed in a shorter timeframe than All You Need is Now.  Katy replied that she felt the album didn’t really take that long, but Nick said that they have certainly had albums that have taken longer, but he feels that he can work fairly quickly – finishing an album in three or four months.

(I started chuckling here.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve always thought maybe it was Nick that took the longest to give an album the “OK”. I see Nick as the perfectionist in the group, so I can’t envision finishing anything in that short of time, but that’s just my own perception of the man I lovingly name, “The Controller”. :D)

Before all of you begin making tour plans for next summer, he simply said that he could work in that short of a time frame, not that he will.  He quickly followed up with “But of course we’ll have to see how long it really takes!”  Nick implied that the lyrics are what takes the longest, and while I definitely felt a bit of a dig at Simon there, I don’t think Nick meant that Simon is at all slow, but rather that there is a big sense of pressure, and it takes a while to come up with a good lyric. He mentioned that perhaps he and John will do some of the writing a little sooner this time.  I like that idea.  I love Simon and his lyrics, but I also believe he does his best work when he’s not stressed.  This, my friends, I understand.  Writers block sucks, to be extraordinarily blunt. Nick mentioned that he doesn’t have any idea of what direction the album would take, but hinted that maybe it would be a bit more funky this time around.  There was some discussion of a concept album (between he and Katy), and Nick said that he and John have discussed writing a selection of songs based on a particular individual. He said that he hadn’t mentioned the idea to Simon yet (Um, guess what Nick?  You just did!), but it was one idea.

From the sound of it, we have plenty to look forward to in the coming year.  I’m excited for February AND March!

-R

Should We Bother with DDM?

The other day, I went to DDM, or DuranDuranMusic.  This is not a typical action on my part but I went over to see if there was anything interesting on the boards.  While I was there, I checked the home page, which includes the news.  I found myself not only sadden by what the boards have become but annoyed by the overall site.

One does not need to be a paying member to see what is on the homepage, but, of course, you do need to in order to get all of the details on the articles/information posted, to get to the member exclusives, etc.  Once I click on the log in button, the site immediately takes me to the presale information page.  On one hand, this can be extremely helpful during presale “season” so that I don’t have to waste time getting to the presale page.  When there are not presales, why would I even go there?  Why would anyone?  It doesn’t make sense.  Wouldn’t you want to offer the latest and greatest offering by sending us back to the homepage where we started?  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.  I don’t know. 

Typically, then, I go back to the homepage myself in order to read what is new.  Here’s where my annoyance kicks into full gear.  It is hard to even see what is news or what was new to me as the news isn’t listed in chronological order.  Clearly, some “news” on DDM’s home page is deemed more important than others.  While I get that, the presale information about presales that have already taken place seems no longer then most important.  DD.com is able to give the latest information first except for in VERY rare circumstances, which I like.  Why can’t DDM?  Clearly, it isn’t that no one is updating this page at all as there is current information listed.  So, why not put the news in order by most recent?  Then, if some other bit of info needs to be at the top, put it at the top and indicate that.  Heck, this is what message boards do by having a specific symbol that shows that topic to be “stuck” to the top.  The problem here might be user error because I just can’t see what is new.  For example, I looked the other day and discovered that there was a new Katy Kafe there and had been there for over a week.  How come I didn’t see it the last time I was at the site?  Probably because the blurb about it was hidden on the third column on the news page.  Huh?  It just doesn’t make good sense to me. 

Of course, I could have found out that there was a new Katy Kafe if there was some advertising done.  Why can’t someone/anyone put a tweet out there that a new Kafe has been posted for paying members?  Why can’t a facebook status indicate that?  Yes, I realize that not every fan is a paying member but why not alert those who are?  Why not give us a reason to actually go there?  At the same time, it might encourage non-members to join.  Why wouldn’t Duran headquarters want that?  I don’t get it.  Yes, I realize that most of the members now are there simply for the presales.  If it is that, then why put an exclusives on there at all?  Why bother?  It seems to me that the site would be better as either simply a presale location OR a real fan site.  If they are going to include cool extras (which obviously can be debated), why not do it right and TELL people about what is there.  Rhonda and I post our blog topics elsewhere everyday, why can’t DDHQ do the same when something new is there? 

Now, I’m sure that many (most?  all?) of you reading this are thinking to yourself–“Why does Amanda bother?  The rest of us left or never paid for DDM to begin with.”  The response to this is simple.  Yes, I could just stop going over to the site.  Yes, I could just stop paying.  I could.  I absolutely could.  Yet, I do enjoy the Katy Kafes, including this month’s with Simon rambling about tennis, the state of the world and more.  I like seeing exclusive pictures and videos.  I think that is what a fan club should be doing.  Of course, I would like to see much more focus on the fan community aspect, but I have gotten past that.  Hence, why Rhonda and I have tried to fill in some of those gaps by starting conversation here, on twitter and on facebook.  We are all trying to bring people together in meetups and other events in the future.  Therefore, if a fan club isn’t going to try to bring the fans together, they should be offering us something for our money, in my opinion.  I think they could do this in a way that is more efficient and more effective for both them and us. 

I’m sure that 95% of comments will be about how I’m sucker to continue over there.  Logically, I’m sure that’s right.  Emotionally, I am not ready to give up on something that has such potential.  Thus, I tried to offer a couple of means to improve it.  It may not bring people back or restore people’s faith in it but it could be some steps in the right direction.  Right?  Maybe, it would just annoy me less.

-A

Try To Explain It But…

Last night, I took time out of my insane schedule to listen to the latest Katy Kafe on DuranDuranMusic featuring one Mr. John Taylor.  A great deal of the “kafe” was spent talking about John’s upcoming autobiography.  He discussed how it was broken into three basic sections:  growing up in Birmingham, Duran hysteria, and living life.  I immediately sensed how reading this book will be so eye-opening for so many people.  In fact, it will be eye-opening to everyone except for, maybe, the members of Duran Duran.  Who else can really relate to what they experienced in the 1980s?  Obviously, the rest of the world might guess as to what it was like to be super duper famous, what it was like to be rock stars in one’s early 20s with tons of money and success.  Yet, we probably don’t have a clue.  I know that I don’t.  Will I have a better understanding of what John’s life was really like?  I hope so.  I definitely hope so but can anyone, no matter the talent of the writing, to be able to explain what it was like to live that life, a life so unique, so out of the norm?  I don’t know.

It seems to me that there are parts of John’s book that we are all going to relate to.  I might not have grown up in Birmingham, England, but I, too, grew up.  I, too, have had to figure out how to be an adult.  I think we all can and will relate to those elements of John’s story.  Can we really relate to being a rock star?  I don’t think so.  Then again, I have wondered the same about my own life lately.  Are some experiences so intense, so unique that they not only change one’s life but also make it so that anyone not there, not present, not part of it, can never really understand.  I suspect that must be what it is like for the band.  I feel that way about my own life.  If you have been reading the blog for any amount of time, you probably know that when I’m not on tour, writing the book, or talking Duran, I’m either teaching or I’m campaigning.  I have never gone into detail about those here.  Frankly, I haven’t gone into that much detail with my friends or family in real life, either.  They might think that I do or have, but I don’t really.  Why is that?  Obviously, part of the reason is that politics can be extremely divisive.  I don’t want to drive anyone away.  Teaching shouldn’t be problematic but it is.  Right now, I work in an urban middle school.  Most of my students live in poverty and are also minorities.  I feel like I always have to be cautious as people will draw conclusions about them or about teachers.  Many of those conclusions I have seen drawn by the general public have been hurtful.  Thus, I have kept these aspects of my life to myself.

That sounds like the perfect solution, doesn’t it?  I keep aspects of my life away from others in order to avoid conflict or hurt feelings.  I think I also keep these things away from others because, like I imagine John Taylor or Nick Rhodes to feel, I doubt that anyone can really understand.  How can anyone understand how frustrating, how emotionally draining, how wonderful teaching can be?  Campaigning is like that as well.  It is intense, detailed work filled with what seems like silly tasks that turn out to be essential.  Can people who have never done it really understand?  Likewise, how can John really explain what it was like to be him in 1984?  How can I explain what it is like to teach my students on a daily basis?  I wonder how open and honest John will be with this time in his life.  Will people make assumptions that he is making more to it than it was or will people think he is censoring himself?  I can’t wait to find out how he is able to balance honesty and openness.  Like many times in my life, I hope I can learn from John here.  

Of course, beyond John’s general experience as a famous rock star, I wonder if he has had moments in his life that truly changed him.  Did he have a specific moment that lead to his decision to finally get sober once and for all?  Was there an experience that pushed him to decide to leave or rejoin the band?  If so, will he share that with us?  Will he be able to explain the emotional intensity of those experiences in such a way that we, the readers, really get it?  In the past year, I had a moment during the Wisconsin protests that shook me to my core.  It is an experience that will live on forever.  Again, I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to alienate anyone but I also don’t talk about it because I don’t think people will really understand how haunting this experience was for me.  This, of course, brings me back to teaching, to work.  My students just recently finished the book, Maus.  This is a young adult graphic novel that depicts one person’s story during the Holocaust.  It begins before the concentration camps and goes all the way through until liberation at the end of World War II.  The story is written by the survivor’s son.  Throughout the book, the author openly wonders if he is giving the story justice.  That’s what I’m wondering here.  I’m wondering how to give my own story justice.  I have no doubt that John Taylor will give his story justice.  I have such confidence that he will be able to explain what life was like for him in a way that creates an emotional connection with all of us readers.  Maybe then, I’ll be able to explain my life, my experiences to those closest to me.

-A