Do you ever read the written interviews on Duran Duran Music? If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, these are interviews with people who can give a little behind-the-scenes info. They are connected to the band in some way and the interviews often shed light on both the person and the band, in some way. In the past, they have featured people like John Warwicker who was involved in various designs including the one for the Live from the Budokan album that came out on Record Store Day this year, or DJ and author, Richard Blade. Now, I admit that I don’t necessarily read each and every one. While sometimes it is due to a lack of time, a lot of the times the person does not catch my attention. (I know. I suck. I’m a bad fan. I just cannot do it all.)
The most recent interview definitely peaked my curiosity as it features one Patty Palazzo. If you do not know who Patty is, DDM introduces her in the following way: “She’s helped design a lot of awesome DD things you’ve seen around for oh, maybe the last 15 years! She worked with John early on with B5, and on Juicy Mens etc etc AND she launched her own totally amazing tee shirt line, Punk Masters.” Even though, I know Patty and am lucky enough to call her my friend, I was anxious to read more. What more could I learn about her, her friendship with John Taylor, her art, etc., I wondered.
As I read about the various topics, including Patty’s love of t-shirts, how she got involved in designing t-shirts and how John supported her work, it made me think. At first, I thought about my mom. As many of you know, my mom is a fiber artist. What this means is that she uses fabric as opposed to watercolors or oil paints to create her art. She didn’t always use that medium. When I was a kid, she used more traditional oil paints in her work but she always enjoyed sewing and the use of fabric. It made sense that her art would go in that direction. I feel extremely fortunate that I have been able to see the journey my mom has taken as an artist. I think this interview of Patty does a nice job knowing her journey as well from loving t-shirts as a kid to designing shirts for John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders to working with Juicy to creating her own line. It seems to me that all great artists do this. Patty has. My mom did, too. Duran certainly has. They all experience a real journey.
The other fun of the interview for me was learning little tidbits that I didn’t know. For example, I love the story about how Patty picked the name, Punk Masters, or how she has come up with various ideas. I don’t know about the rest of you but I appreciate things more when I know the backstory, including how it was created and why. Right now, my mom, for instance, is working on a piece for my classroom. I asked her to create something to capture what I try to do for my Women’s Studies class. I love that she is not only walking me through her thought process but how she is bringing various elements in. I’m sure I will treasure the heck out of this piece and I suspect that my students will, too. As I read the rest of this interview, I felt good about owning some of Patty’s shirts and will gladly continue to support her in the future, not just because she is a friend but also because I applaud what she has done with her work.
So, what about the rest of you? Own any Punk Masters t-shirts? If so, which ones? How did you decide on the one(s) you did? Which ones would you like to get next? My suggestion. Go read the interview on DDM here then head over to Punk Masters and do a little shopping!
Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my Mad World book, picked up my own chauffeur from work (my husband!), some Daily Duranie wristbands (do you have yours yet?!?), my camera and made my way up to the Sunset Strip to one of my favorite bookstores: Book Soup! My mission was to have my book signed by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, authors of Mad World. I’d never been to a book signing that had a DJ along for the ride, spinning tunes as we stood in line. My husband Walt commented as we stood in line hearing Echo and The Bunnymen that it felt like we’d been propelled back in time to the early 80s. Observant, that husband of mine…. I loved the music, and yes, I did stay long enough to catch the familiar chords of Girls on Film flowing in the air. But back to that signing…
Book Soup is not a huge bookstore. It is this fabulous, homey feeling bookstore in the heart of the Strip. Situated just up the street from the likes of the Key Club, Viper Room and The Whisky among others, it’s in an unlikely spot, which is very much part of it’s charm. It reminds me of the independent bookstores I’d find on the main street of Glendora or Covina – my home town(s). Not only can one find books in Book Soup, but there’s vinyl as well – bonus!!
As I arrived last night and stepped into the store, there was no way you couldn’t be immediately swept away back to the 80’s. Kajagoogoo was playing, and no – I can’t listen to “Too Shy” without thinking of Nick Rhodes. I’m forever cursed. Thanks Nick. I wound my way to the line snaking around the perimeter of one side of the store, and as I stood in line, I dared myself to think back to what it was like listening to these songs in the 80s. I was pretty young back then, and if I only knew where it all might lead me… (and if I could figure that out now, well, maybe I’d actually be making a decent living!!) I just remember a time when I could turn on the radio and song after song would carry me away from my teenage problems to a world of daydreams. Nowadays I struggle to find a regular radio station that I can actually stand to listen to more than a song or two. The joys of aging, I suppose.
I looked up as I stood in line and caught the wandering eye of Lori Majewski, as she glanced to see how far back the line began. She waved. I started to wave back but then thoughtto myself, wait a minute. She couldn’t possibly recognize you, Rhonda. She doesn’t even KNOW you. Now you’re waving like an idiot. Awesome. So I looked around, only to find that no one else was looking up. She was waving my way after all. Great job, self-confidence. *begin slow clap here* I swear it was it was my own personal Ducky moment from Pretty in Pink. (watch the end of the movie if you don’t know what I mean…and why on earth do you not know what I mean?!?)
As I recovered from that moment (there are just times when I’m glad the band ISN’T there, you know??), I saw Patty Palazzo walk past me – and so I did what any normal person might do any Duranie might do, I got out of line to go say hi! I’d never met Patty before, but I have exchanged emails a few times….and actually, we’d agreed to talk that night about setting up an interview for the blog!! (I’m so excited about this news that I might burst! No really. I just ate carrot cake. I might honestly burst.) I don’t know where my courage came from because I am really not this brave ever, but I walked up and said hello, and even dared to hug her. *gasp* I don’t know WHERE that came from, because my friends – Rhonda is not a hugger. I like personal space. I am not touchy-feely. But I hugged Patty last night, and I’m pretty sure I violated her personal space. Maybe this is why I’ve never really gotten anywhere near the band…I’m a closet hugger!!! *gasp* This is really why I should never be allowed to go to events like this unattended. (meaning without Amanda) I even got Patty and a few new friends to wear our Daily Duranie wristbands! Amanda should be so proud…because I had those darn wristbands in my bag, and I kept thinking to myself: do I dare hand them out? Really? Should I? Will I look as super cool as I do right now if I hand them out?
(The answer is no. No Rhonda…you never looked super cool to begin with, so…you’re safe. Go with it.) So I did! Never mind that it took my darling husband three or four tries to get a decent photo…
Before I knew it, we were up to the front and Jonathan Bernstein was doing everything possible to make sure I knew it was time to hand over my book. I was too mesmerized by the process to see that he was practically grabbing my book out of my hands. (so sorry!) The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to Lori Majewski by Patty, and we’d set up a time to get together for something I’m not going to talk about just yet…you’ll have to just watch this space! (Again, I’m really thinking I might burst. Remind me that carrot cake is never an acceptable breakfast substitute…)
It’s blurry (sorry Jonathan…I hope your photographer was better than mine!)…but it is a very cool memory. Admittedly I am fangirling just a bit over meeting Lori. Back in the day, before writing Mad World, before Teen People, she was the editor of a Duran fanzine. How cool is that?? I don’t know where in the hell I was back then, but I intend to ask her all about that…when we meet up for that thing I’m not going to talk about just yet!
If that weren’t enough, and it’s really not EVER enough (I believe there’s a John Taylor quote to be had somewhere in there), after I had my books signed I had the chance to run into Duranie friends. I know that I’ve lamented here about how much I miss the band, and I do. Maybe that’s overly sentimental, but I miss seeing them play and I especially miss that sense of “one-ness” that we all feel with them when the show is going right. We’re all in that same place together feeling the same thing. It’s a remarkably cool feeling that I hope all fans get to experience at one time or another. However, it’s in moments like some that I had last night that I remember how much I miss my friends from afar. Friends from the UK, Europe, the midwest, east, northwest…southeast…I’ve been very lucky to have made real friends in a multitude of places, and last night I had just the smallest taste of getting to see some of them again. We don’t gather very often, and it was really nice to catch up with a few of them. Friendships are the one collective “thing” about being a Duranie I treasure most. Well, there is the music too…I mean, duh… (can’t really forget to mention the band, can I??), but I love seeing friends from all over.
The night ended relatively early for us, as we had to get back home, but it was really a great night and I’m glad I went to the signing. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Mad World yet, do yourself a favor and look for it on Amazon. I have read the entire thing once and am going back through it a second time. Jonathan and Lori did a fantastic job interviewing all of the bands, and there is just so much information in there – things we never would have ever known about the music we grew up with. It is genuinely worth the read. You should see my book, I was telling Jonathan last night as we left that my book is all marked up, highlighted, red-lined, complete with notes in the margin! (Note to self: next time, bring a book that is not already marked up with your notes in it…)
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!