Category Archives: Katy Kafe

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

It’s going to be conditional

For my next trick, I Rhonda, your ever-faithful Daily Duranie blogger, will attempt to comment properly on the Katy Kafe posted on DDM within the next 15 minutes.  The Kafe hosted John, who was ever-insightful about the band and their rehearsal habits, touring, and of course, how the band is going forward from the infamous stopping point of last May.

If you haven’t listened to the Kafe yourself, I have to tell you all – it’s worth the close listen.  I gleaned so much from the 15 minute session, and I can’t possibly convey all of my thoughts and feelings here, and definitely not within the self-imposed time frame of about 15 minutes.  John jumps right into what it has been like to restart the proverbial “touring engine” for Duran Duran – and while I haven’t been to the shows yet (my turn is Saturday), I felt as though I had a general sense of what the shows have been like for the fans.  John comments that the shows have been great so far, and that he feels like they are “where they really should be” for the present.  He also comments that they have a “long way to go”.  It would appear as though that is the case – at the time the Kafe was recorded, it was the 25th, and they’ve since done the Mountain Winery show in Saratoga.  They are only 3 shows into a very lengthy tour, especially when, much later in the Kafe, Katy mentions that the plan is to tour throughout 2012.  That’s a LONG time for any band, much less a band that has experienced severe vocal trouble with their lead singer…which brings me of course to Simon.

According to John, the band felt that Simon sounded as good or better than he ever has at the shows in Everett Washington and in Portland Oregon.  When they came offstage before the encore, however, Simon could barely speak.  He immediately requested that the band shorten the encore to just Rio, which of course they did.  The show was about 90 minutes in length with that revision.  While walking back after the show was over, Nick and John mentioned to one another that they didn’t see that coming.  To me, Miss Rhonda-Fan, that’s concerning.  It should be concerning to any fan, but to be fair and realistic – these guys are not 30 years old anymore.  As John said, anything is going to be conditional going forward.  They must take care of themselves, and even then, there are going to be times when the engine just isn’t running the way they might like.  A good example of this would be their performance last night at Mountain Winery, where Simon apparently missed several (3 or 4) of his vocal cues, and was just clearly off his game (no matter the reason).  Reports from the show (again I was not there to hear it myself, I’m only reporting what was told to me) were that his voice sounded very gravely at times – “rough” probably being the best way to describe it.  As I understand it, once again the show was shortened to an hour and a half, and according to John – that’s about the perfect length for them….right now.  I think, given his discussion with Katy, that the hope is that eventually they may make it to the 2 hour mark in the last week or so of this tour, but I think it’s also appropriate for the fans to recognize that the days of the two or two and a half hour show may very well be over.  I know not everyone will be thrilled by that, nor am I, but I would prefer any show over no show.  Food for thought.

John speaks freely about the audience vibe throughout the year.  He feels as though the fans want to be there, they are there for them, and “not just for the nostalgia”.  He goes on to say how important that is for them, and that he doesn’t know if it’s the social networking or what the difference is between now and a few years back.  I would like to direct this part of the blog to John specifically:

1. The reunion ended when Andy left.  It took a lot of people a while to come to terms, and others left altogether, but what you’ve got now are people who truly WANT to be here.

2. I think that overall, the fan community seems to be behind AYNIN much more than RCM.  Take that for what you will.

3. Your fans desperately wanted to feel connected to the band beyond the stage.  You answered that need with getting involved on Twitter and so forth.  While it might feel like therapy for you – it is that way for the fans as well.  A fan community that is connected to their band (aka Duran Duran or it’s members in this case) is a fan community that truly has a bond to their band.  It works!

4. I think most everyone realizes this isn’t going to last forever, and while going through Simon’s vocal trouble has somehow bonded the 4 or 5 of you (if Dom is included) more closely – it is clear that the same has been done for the fans.  We’re making the most of the time we’ve got.  Living in the now.  Loving the moment.  All You Need is Now.  😀

5. I could go on…but I think you get it.

It sounds like the band has quite a lengthy road ahead of them, and not all of it will be smooth.   We fans may need to adjust our perception of what makes a good show (meaning that an hour and a half of awesome music beats out a two hour rocking show followed by a 4 month absence), and I still say the band can do without playing so many “hits”.  John said they play about 8 a night.  Why not do 6 and get in a couple more songs off of the new album or even sneak in Shadows on Your Side?!?  Secret Oktober???

What if I beg?!?

Tonight is LA, followed by Friday in Vegas and Saturday in Valley Center.  Let’s see how this goes!

-R

Katy Kafe with Simon 7/20/11

Happy Wednesday to all of you…it’s been a busy morning so far, and now I’m taking a quick moment to throw down the blog before heading off to the next “adventure”.  (That would be cleaning.  Joy.)  

There’s absolutely no doubt that many fans feel the band completely missed the boat when they passed up putting up Beautiful Colors on Astronaut.  That said, a few other notable songs mentioned are:  Tel Aviv (the Air Studio version), Matter of Fact, Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Virus – which was only put on the Japanese release of Astronaut.  I’m still enjoying seeing the various choices people make each day – and I am especially looking forward to the results from today’s question, “Which song should have never made it off of the editing room floor?”  I had a tough time choosing, did you?
This morning I was able to sit down and actually listen to the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.  I’m going to admit that normally, I’m a little less than motivated to sit down and listen, primarily because my house is loud, and I never have that long to actually sit in a chair… However, once I saw that it was Simon in the Kafe, I was ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and give it some time.  Naturally, I was as curious as I imagine everyone else was to hear his voice and see how things were doing.  In typical Simon fashion – he was ready to tell quite a story as soon as the Kafe began.  We were treated to hearing all about his motorcycle issues.  All I really know about motorcycles: 1) We have one in my garage.  2) I’m afraid to ride it.  3) My husband has been literally thrown off of it because he’s a lousy driver and takes too many chances.  He’s really lucky to have come away from that “incident” without breaking a single bone….either by the accident or by what I wanted to do to him when I found out what he’d done.  Men.  *sigh*    Anyway, all I know about Simon’s motorcycle:  1) It’s not working properly.  2) I could HEAR the annoyance in his voice. (characterized mainly by the big huge sigh he gave when beginning the tale!!)  3) There was some stuff about petrol and paint chips in the gas tank.  I began to tune out, and I’m not even going to lie about that – I’m female, it’s what we do.  
I immediately snapped to attention again when Katy casually asked about how the voice was coming along (you know I was waiting for this, and so were the rest of you!!).  Simon sounded totally positive.  He’s singing again, doing the “easy” songs, and was able to hit all of his notes, including notes he hadn’t been able to hit in a few months.  He says he’s not 100% yet, but he feels positive that he’ll get there.  Thank goodness.  Katy was right when she said that “it is what it is.  It will heal, but in it’s own time.”  I also chuckled a little when she said that “the fans were letting their imaginations run away.”  That’s fair.  I don’t know if she can really blame us though.  While I realize that she tells us what she can, a lot of times that leaves VERY little that she can say, and over the years we’ve all come to understand that, and a lot of us also know that there are many times when we either won’t get the full story, or we won’t even get the REAL story.  It’s difficult to ascertain when we’re hearing the party line – or we’re getting the real thing.  It’s easy to water down the details, no?  That said, I also am aware of just how far off the beaten path some fans were getting with their imaginations, so it was very good to hear Simon tell it how it is from his point of view.  I think we’ll be hearing even better news very, very soon.  *crosses fingers*  
Katy also went to bat for us and tried to get some super secret information about any songs being included in the setlists from “way back when” (read: my childhood, and possibly yours!).  Simon wouldn’t give.  At this point I pictured a dark room with a single wooden slat chair and a  lonely lightbulb hanging from a socket in the ceiling.  “Ve vill MAKE you talk!”  Or not.  I guess we’ll be waiting on that one….yeah, I love surprises, and he’s right that if he told us then it’d take the fun out of hearing the set for the first time.  I can’t help but quip that yes, all of that is true – it’s just that *I* was supposed to hear MY set back in May!  Yes, I’m whining, and I’ll stop.  Oh well.  December is only what, 5 months away… if I don’t do any other shows??  *sigh*  Thanks for trying, Katy!
Anyone know anything about Cricket?  I always figured it was pretty similar to American baseball, but Simon sure put that notion to rest.  I had no idea that when you go to a Cricket game, you’re probably only going to see 1/5 of the action because the blasted game can last for 5 days.  DAYS?? That’s insanity and more proof that Americans are into instant gratification.  Our games are really long if they go for more than say, 6 hours!  Then Simon taught us that even then, the game can end in a draw. (or as we American’s say – a “tie”)  I say “What in the hell is the point then?”  Not only do you have to buy a ticket for each day of the game, but then at the end of it there might not even be a winner!  Ah yes, it’s the “sport” of it.  Well, they can keep it.  I’ll stick to….well…I don’t really do sports much.  I spend too much money going to see Duran Duran! (and if they want to play a concert for 5 days, I’m all over that idea!)
A few of my thoughts, as if you haven’t read enough:
* He sounds good and definitely happy.  Not at all tired or frustrated unless he’s speaking of his motorcycle.  
* The one thing that struck me during the Kafe was when Simon said that the whole experience with his voice was frustrating, and even demoralizing.  Well, that statement humbled ME in return.  I’ve said over and over that this experience has changed me forever as a fan, and even as a fan of Simon’s.  I see him so much differently now, and while I’m looking forward to seeing him get back on stage and be the onstage “Simon” I know, I like the man he’s allowed us to see throughout all of this.  
* I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve noticed that more and more people are openly referring to Simon as Charley. (or is it Charlie?  Why can’t I remember these things when I need?!?)  I seem to recall reading in more than one place over the years that he reserves that name for close friends…perhaps it’s what he goes by offstage??  I really don’t know, but I never used to see anyone actually calling him that, and should a FAN ever call him that – well – we’d be killed on sight by the daggers coming from Simon’s eyes.  I follow the rules, so his name is and always will be Simon.  Besides, I like living.  Anyway, I’ve just seen his bandmates call him that, Katy referred to him that way in the Kafe today, and I just took note of it.  He’s still Simon to me.  
I think that’s it for today.  Be good humans and I’ll be back tomorrow! – R

It’s Katy Kafe time!!

I think my lucky stars must all be in alignment today…or this week/month, etc.  I probably shouldn’t waste the time to dwell on it too much, but I can’t help but feel like the winds of change have actually turned in MY direction for a brief moment.   It was just announced this morning that  Duran Duran will have special guests Kelis and Mark Ronson with them in LA for the show at The Mayan – and I read from Simon (at least I believe it was Simon – if it was John I sincerely apologize) on twitter that the show that night will be about 2 hours in length.  That is fantastic news for all of the fans!   I am so thrilled to be able to see Mark with the band, and of course knowing that Kelis is going to be there is extra exciting! (have to believe we’ll be seeing Leopard unveiled for the first time that night…)  It’s going to be a long wait until Wednesday evening!

If that all weren’t enough – which I believe it is – there was a Katy Kafe with John Taylor put up on DDM last night.  I just gave it a good listen, and I’m pretty tickled to be able to comment on one of it’s topics in the blog today.  Specifically I would like to focus on John’s thoughts regarding Twitter; primarily because he speaks directly about the connection that fans are making, both with the band (he and Simon) – and one another.

The one sentence that I found to be the most profound in everything that John mentioned on Katy Kafe was that Twitter is really giving the fans the opportunity to be more connected.  That connection gives the fans a sense of unity and power – he couldn’t have been more “right on” had he tried.  I believe that it’s the very reason that fan communities exist and thrive.  Fans strive for that connection.  They want to know they aren’t the only people on the planet that feel that certain way about whatever it is they are fans of.  The need for connection isn’t limited to only music fans – it’s everywhere.  It amplifies the enjoyment someone might receive from going and participating in shows, games, etc.  For example, I’ve always said that while shows were always fun before I really knew people in the community – the very best concerts I’ve been to (specifically in the case of Duran Duran) have been the ones that I’ve attended with friends.  I can’t imagine traveling to the UK alone to see the band, in fact, I don’t think the idea ever even entered my head until I really got involved in the community!   The interesting thing that I think John is missing, through no real fault of his own, is that this FAN connection existed before Twitter, and even before Facebook.  Message boards created that sense of community – and before that there were fanzines and even earlier – fan clubs, to a very limited extent, lit the fire in the bellies of the communities that exist today.  There is however, one real difference between the fan clubs and message boards and Twitter – and that is band involvement.  Sure, the band was somewhat involved with their fan club – they might have signed a welcome letter that was sent to new members.  They might have done an interview or two for a fanzine, or taken special photos that went out to the fan clubs, but all of that was purely static involvement.  Twitter and Facebook are entirely different animals.  They require time, although as John openly states – they shouldn’t be slaves to it.  (I hope they don’t feel as though they are, because that would completely change, if not ruin, the effect it’s having)  They require energy, and to some degree – I really believe they require some caring on the part of the band.  That emotion does make a difference.  Fans can tell when the band isn’t into it, and there’s no bigger turn off than seeing a band member look like he’s just “phoning it in” for the sake of being able to say he was there and did his duty.  When it gets to that point, they ought to just do themselves a favor and take a vacation.   I think the fans have been connected for quite a while now, but having the band take an active interest – seeing that they at least SEEM to want to connect with their fans in return, has made all of the difference.

I know that for me, and I’m just an average fan like anyone else, having the band involved has kind of taken the whole idea of being involved in the community up a notch.  Let’s be honest and fangirl-like for a second here: who amongst us ever thought in our once 12 year old heads that we’d EVER have a chance to really chat with John Taylor?  Who thought that Roger would comment about us BY NAME on his facebook wall or have Simon directly mention us in a tweet reply?   Granted, I’ve never had any of that happen yet – but that’s not really the point.  I’ve seen it happen with other fans.  I see that John takes an interest in what we think.  Simon seems to like getting some of the corniest jokes I’ve ever read from us…and Roger, well, Roger is just as sweet on Facebook as I’d hoped.  (Yeah, he’s still a favorite.  Old habits die hard.  Sue me.)  I don’t even think they have the time to read many of our replies, but the hope probably exists in all of us that at some point, they just might read what we have to say, and will comment back.  Three years ago, the best I could have hoped for was a chance meeting.  Now there are three of the four members actively seeking our involvement.  I don’t know what to say about Nick there, except that I hope at some point he feels comfortable enough to try it out.  Regardless, I have to think back to the days during Astronaut, or even Red Carpet Massacre, where it was clear that there was some discord in the masses (fans).  I think it was then that I started losing my way in the community.  I had friends, I was connected with the people I chose to be connected with, and after that, there just didn’t seem to be much left.  My friends were going to be my friends whether I loved the band and what they were doing or not.  I didn’t feel very attached to the band, and I certainly didn’t love the album enough to feel connected to that either.  The band, to me, felt very unattached to the fans.  It didn’t seem as though they really knew or cared as to what kept us together as a unified group.  It’s not just about the band and whether or not they keep going – it’s about the fans as well.  Personally, I felt so disconnected to the band, I really started questioning whether or not I still belonged in the fan community.  Perhaps I’d really outgrown my place.  I searched for that feeling, that connection – hoping that I’d feel something, ANYTHING.  As my group of friends started to dwindle – people went off in different directions as their lives moved on, I kept up hope.  It very much felt like the fan community was fading, and to be honest – I worried that time was up for the band.  Then the announcements and snippets from the new album started coming out, and then John and Simon got involved on Twitter, and at some point prior – Roger used his Facebook page more effectively.  I can’t say that the change was instant, but it’s obvious that for many fans, including myself, this has made all of the difference.

It’s not just about the music.  After 30 years of involvement with the band, they are a part of our everyday lives in many ways.  We fans feel like we know them (of course in reality we only know who they want us know!), and now it feels as though they are getting to know us in return.  The once “one-way” relationship is now “two-way”.  That, my friends, is the real difference.  What was once purely a connection between fans of a band is now a circle of relationships that includes the band.

It’s refreshing to hear that John has picked up on the importance of the one monumental benefit that Twitter provides, especially for celebrities and bands.  I know that when Twitter first started getting real press, I was very cautious about it’s purpose.  I just didn’t think it was necessary for a fan to know absolutely everything about the celebrity they were choosing to follow – nor did I feel it was that important for me to tweet about going to pick my kids up from school and so forth.  Who cares??  The trick is that it takes only but a tweet or two about things that DO matter in order to spur interest or to create a connection.  Sure, John could have chosen to tweet AT us, never bothering to reply or answer, but he really doesn’t do that.  He tries to bring us along for the ride, so to speak.  Simon, on the other hand – will sit up for hours, braving the Oscars just to tweet with fans.  Granted, he may have told us all to shut up, and he might have even fallen asleep at the computer or even tweeted that poor Kirk Douglas looked like he was talking out of his ears  (gotta love Simon’s tweets…), but he was at least trying.  Let’s face it – we fans are tough to handle at times.

I know plenty of people in the community that won’t agree with that statement.  They’ll say that the fans don’t matter, that we’re a dime a dozen, and that the band would keep going whether we’re here or not.  I call foul.  The fans DO matter, and while I’m not saying we call the shots (Not in the least, nor should we.) – my assertion is that without the fans, the band would have no real purpose, and without the band, well, there really wouldn’t be a fan base.  It’s a two way street, and in reality it’s really much more than that.  We need each other to thrive as a community.

-R