Category Archives: Second Life

Second Life with John Taylor

I’m late with the blog today and I apologize. Up until about 5 minutes ago I was eyebrows deep in the beginnings of the American Revolution, and I think I might have even told the story well enough to keep my 13 year old son from falling asleep.  That’s progress!!

I don’t know how many of you have seen the video from You Tube of John’s reading and Q & A session on Second Life, but it’s actually REALLY good.  I was one of the skeptics, not really sure how it would turn out, and for reasons that have to do with Homecoming Dress Shopping (A very serious drama-filled in our house right now for my 15 year old…and for those unaware of the term “homecoming”…it comes down to a fancy high school dance for us.), I couldn’t even attempt to be there on Sunday, so I was thankful for the video.  (A huge shout-out and thanks to Johnny Beane for taking such great video and putting it up on You Tube for all to see!)  To begin with, John was there for a really long time!  I was surprised.  I know the readings and signings he’s done so far have been fairly lengthy, but I guess I figured his stay in Second Life would have been shorter?  Regardless, it was a nice surprise.  I loved that he interspersed the section readings with questions from those in attendance, and the questions were great.

There’s so much to comment on, and yet since I don’t want to give book details away, I will stick purely to a few topics asked in the Q&A.

To begin with, do you want a signing in your US town?  At the moment, John says they have signings planned in NYC and LA, but he is working on convincing Dutton, the publisher, to do more.  He says they have to really be pushed a bit – so he suggested that fans write the publisher.  If you’re on Twitter, they have an account there as well. (@DuttonBooks)  I have to admit that I’m surprised more emphasis isn’t being put on the US market.  It’s not as though John has no fans here, or people willing to buy the book.  I would think that if he’d do a few signings, including one in Chicago…that it wouldn’t hurt sales.  I guess that shows just how much I know about books though.  I’m an avid reader, avid iBook person, but signings?  I’ve never been to a single one.  Maybe that says something.  Not sure.

One thing that I’ve noticed, and surely John has noticed at this point, is that fans are eager to try and compare his autobiography to Andy’s. I think this is partially natural and it probably would happen regardless of who was writing. On another hand, I think there’s also a propensity to create more tension and drama where there might already be plenty to go ’round. At each Q&A I’ve heard or seen video…I’ve heard someone ask if he did his book as a sort of answer to Andy’s. I can see why this is a valid question, and I’m sure John can as well. He was very kind during the Q&A on Second Life when he said that he was glad that Andy had done a book, and that he hopes other people do them as well. (In fact he encouraged ANYBODY to write a book about Duran Duran. To that I coyly reply, “Be careful what you ask for, Mr. Taylor.”) In some strange sort of kismet that I’ve yet to really figure out, my son and I are doing a unit in his Language Arts class that asks the “Big” question: “Is the truth the same for everyone?” I think this question of John’s book to Andy’s is of the same vein. Both people were in the same band, and a lot of their experiences were shared, but the truths are very different. Perception is everything. I can’t imagine John sitting down and trying to “right” whatever stories were told in Andy’s book – that wasn’t his purpose in writing, and honestly, I think that his story comes off very genuine as a result.

Another fan asks about collaborations – a very common question the band has gotten over the years, and they never fail to stun me with their answers, until today anyway.  I think my mouth dropped open (in pure unadulterated joy, mind you) when I heard John say that there just wasn’t anyone he was interested in collaborating with.  I stopped the video, then stood up and applauded.  Then I played it back again to make sure I heard him correctly.  He says that he and the bands would wrack their brains coming up with appropriately “cool” answers when they were asked in the past, but at this point, he’s happy with what he’s got.  So are we.  Completely.

I would be disappointing myself if I didn’t mention John’s comments about Dom. Someone asked if Dom would ever be made a permanent member of the band. John answer really kind of took me back, to be honest. He said that Dom already is a permanent member and he is welcome to stay until he chooses to leave. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I heard John explain that Dom is not, however, a Founding Member. It would be difficult if not impossible to bring someone into that sort of circle of trust at this point. History cannot be rewritten, and I think most people would understand that. On one hand, I was happy to hear that at least as far as the band is concerned Dom isn’t going anywhere…on another hand…I’d really like to see Dom included in future press, PR, merchandise…and listed as an actual member of Duran Duran if in fact he’s really part of the band and not just a member of the “onstage ensemble”. I guess I’d like to see him get the same sort of billing that other guitarists and a drummer or two who were not “founding members” enjoyed during their tenure(s) with the band. I would think he had more than proven himself to be worthy by now, but I also completely recognize that for the band – this goes way beyond just “fitting in” and the longevity of nearly nine years. I realize that for the band, a lot of this is purely business. However, for fans? Completely different matter entirely. It’s a matter of fans seeing for themselves that yes, Dom is truly a member of the band – that the band in fact accepts him as such, not quite as much the “hired gun” that some fans continue to claim him to be even though he was given writing credit on nearly all of the All You Need is Now album. Maybe with the next album this will happen, we shall see.

John talks about his excitement with the Second Life community, and I think he really appreciates the visual he gets – I suppose it’s a little like being on Twitter but with pictures.  He said that it was “easy”, which makes me wonder if Second Life has been completely overhauled since I last visited.  I had a tough time doing anything but flying – and even then, I’d fly into buildings and things.  *big sigh*  My son (the video gamer in the family) would have not been proud.  He definitely doesn’t get the gaming genes from me.  I don’t know though, if the band really does continue doing things like this on Second Life, it does make me think I should give it another try. How hard can it really be???  (Famous last words, right??)

I know there were many, many things John answered in the Q&A, but these were my favorite “highlights”.  I smiled as I heard John comment that there’s comfort in that where ever he gets on stage, he can always count on some of us being in the audience.  This is true, and we’ve been through a lot together, haven’t we?  It’s been a great ride so far, with more to come.

-R

For those who haven’t seen the video:

My Response to Nick!

For the past two days, I had professional development, which means that I sit and listen to the latest and greatest idea in education.  I’m not very good at these type of things because, as a teacher, I’m used to doing.  I’m used to moving and talking constantly throughout the day.  I am not good at listening and NOT responding as I have many things to say about any/every idea presented.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason I chose to do this blog so that I could respond to what is going on in Duranland.  Tonight, the boys are playing their second to last show in Boston.  Yesterday, I became aware of an article/interview with Nick from The Boston Phoenix.  The article can be found here and my responses to the answers are here!  Obviously, some questions did not get my attention as much as others.

In the beginning of the interview, Nick is asked where he is to which he responds about how he is Chicago and says the following, “Actually in Chicago we’ve spent quite a bit of time.  I’m sure I’ll find some trouble to get into.”  As someone who was in Chicago, I have to ask.  What did Nick do?  I know that John and Dom went record shopping but what about Nick?  What about Roger or Simon?  Next time, I think the band should let Rhonda and I know their plans.  It would make our lives more interesting and fun!

Shortly, Nick gets asked about the new album. 

SD: So 2011 has been a pretty big year for you guys, although, not without ups and downs.NR: Yeah, it’s been one of the most exciting years in the Duran calendar in our three decades, I have to say. It all started with the release of All You Need is Now, which we worked on with producer Mark Ronson. I think when you have something that you feel very confident in musically and artistically, it gives you the energy to go forward and do other things and it helps to unfold the origami, because things start to happen when you have something other people are excited about too. We made the film with David Lynch. That’s certainly one of the highlights throughout our career so far. He’s been someone we’ve admired for many, many, many years, so when the opportunity came up to make a film together, that was a complete thrill. We started out playing in America at the SXSW festival. We talked about going there for years, because the spirit of Duran Duran has always been that of an independent band. Even when we’ve made records that have been enormously successful commercially and we’ve been on major record labels, we’ve never lost the spirit that we started out with.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled that they feel confident about AYNIN, musically and artistically, and that should be a highlight of the year.  Yet, the interviewer asked about the ups and downs.  Why not acknowledge everything that Simon went through?  Everything the band went through?  Everything the fans went through?  It could be easily acknowledged and done in a way in which tells how Duran is stronger, better because of it.

Later in the interview, after discussing how other bands had been “borrowing” from Duran, the interviewer asks about the fanbase, which as a student of fandom got my attention!  “SD: I think one of the reasons that you guys, and you know, this is me postulating, you can tell me what you think about it, one of the reasons you’ve maintained this fan base is because Duran Duran is kind of like it’s own little culture, it’s own little land. From the earliest interviews with you guys, you’re always talked about different art and culture, and I think in America, especially kids living in the middle of nowhere, to hear about Andy Warhol, to see Keith Haring on television, to hear about Cocteau and Patrick Nagel, and all these people. This was a big deal for a lot of people who didn’t have access to that kind of culture.NR: Well, I hope so, because I know what other artists from all spheres have given to me over my life. It’s food for me, for my imagination. Nothing makes me happier then sitting in a cinema or going to an art gallery. John, Simon and I all went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art the other day, because I’ve been there several times before and neither of them have actually visited there. I said, “Look, we have a day off, let’s go.” They were both completely up for it. We all left there just floating because seeing the collection that has been that well curated over so many years. I mean they have some of the greatest artworks ever made in there. They have the ultimate Marcel Duchamp collection, including The Bride Stripped Bare, the Nude Descending a Staircase, the Urinal, the Bicycle Wheel, each absolutely extraordinary. But then you sort of wander down the corridor and they’ve got one of the greatest Van Gogh Sunflowers. They’ve got a couple of the best Matisse’s that I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. You know, if you can bring a little of that information to other people in, I don’t know, in the form of suggestions, or images, or just the notion of it. Then I think that’s great.”
My response:  First, I completely agree that Duranland is its own little culture, which I have addressed before.  I think that Duran has influenced many of us to check out musicians, artists, fashion, etc. that we would not have ever considered.  As much as I was destined to check out art because my mom is an artist, I doubt I would have cared as much if it wasn’t for them.  I also find it amusing that Rhonda and I are like them as well since we try to check out art museums when we can!

This question about the year leads to questions regarding Mark Ronson.  “SD: Back to the new album briefly, I have to ask, I think a number of people have asked, and I know you guys obviously don’t have any plan or anything. But as a big music fan, like you guys are, I’m sure you can think of any number of sequels or trilogies of records that bands have made with producers. I know a lot of people are wondering if you guys might work with Mark again. It’s been a while since you’ve done two in a row.NR: Of all the producers that we’ve ever worked with, I have to say, Mark is the one that I think suits Duran Duran best. We’ve worked with some amazing producers, we really have, we’ve been very lucky. Sadly, the first few albums produced by Colin Thurston, and then the third album by Alex Sadkin, who have both passed away, but they were extraordinary teachers.
SD: For me as well…
NR: Yeah, amazing, amazing, amazing people. But, of the people we’ve worked with in the last couple decades, Mark just suits us better. He has an understanding of so many genres of music. He has incredible style and great taste and he really, really gets what Duran Duran is about. So, I sincerely hope we work with him again. We stay in constant touch. We’re so fond of him on a very personal level, as well as musical level. He’s really something.”
My response:  I completely agree with Nick that Mark is the producer that suits Duran best.  I think he gets THEM and I think that he gets US (the fans).  Thus, I, too, hope that they work together again.  🙂

Of course, this leads to brief discussions about both Red Carpet Massacre and Reportage.  “SD: I like the last record, I like Red Carpet MassacreNR: Me too.
SD: …I actually think it’s great Simon record.
NR: Yeah, a few people have said that. John and Roger feel that their presence was diminished on the album, I understand that.
SD: I feel like maybe the fans kind of felt like that. It felt a little anti-climatic post-reunion?
NR: Maybe. It was very programmed. You see, the genesis of that record is quite interesting because we made an entire album with Andy Taylor. Which is called Reportage…”
My response:  I’m not surprised that John and Roger felt like their presence was diminished.  It felt that way to me, too.  Thus, it didn’t feel like Duran to me no matter the quality of the song.  It wasn’t what I think of when I think Duran.  I also agree that it was very programmed, which again makes it anti-Duran to me.  Of course, Duran can, has and should use technology but it should have something organic, something more musical. 

The interview continues to say:  “SD: Which is coming out when?NR: It may come out, it would need mixing, it would need finishing a few things, but then what happened was we were just literally going to do a couple tracks with Timbaland and we got in there and Andy didn’t turn up for those sessions, and so we ended up doing them without a guitarist, we obviously added guitar to the tracks later, but we recorded them without guitar, wrote them without guitar. That set the mold, really. Had Andy been there, I think those tracks would have probably started to sound a little different in the first place.
SD: They sound really cool, and if that record had come out in, like, ’99 no-one would’ve batted an eyelash, but I think when you have this sort of legendary rhythm section back together it felt like, you know, they are a little bit under utilized on that record, theres just little moments…
NR: Yeah, I understand. For me, that album was an experiment. For everyone in the band, that album was an experiment. It was how to merge the Timbaland beats with Duran Duran. And the expense of us doing that was the rhythm section became different. Obviously they both played on the album. They played synth bass on some of them. Some of the drums were programmed by Roger…
SD: There’s some of that on the new album too…
NR: Yeah.
SD: It’s not like it’s unlike Duran Duran to have some synthbass.
NR: Yeah, but on that one it was largely the makeup of the sound and I think we definitely sacrificed something but we work as a unit and whatever we feel is right for Duran Duran, and I mean honestly, if we decided we wanted to make an album that was just guitars and strings and we decided, no, we’re not gonna use any synths on this, we would do it. It’s a case of the time and we felt with Tim that he was one of the most interesting people out there making contemporary music at that time. We’ve always loved dance music and so…”
My response:  Obviously, I have no idea about the quality of the songs on Reportage, how much work it would be to finish or even if they can finish it and release it, legally, but I would still love to hear it.  It might also be a good way of releasing another album sooner rather than later, if there aren’t legal issues with it, as most of the writing and recording appears to be done.  Nonetheless, it says something to me that if Nick, who was RCM’s biggest supporter, is saying that “something sacrificed” when they made RCM. 

Nick goes on to make a really good point and one that I must remember: “And certainly, the other point about working with Timbaland is that had we not made that album, I don’t think it would have lead us to make this new album with Mark.”  If this is true that Duran needed to work with Timbaland and needed to make RCM as a step before working with Mark and making AYNIN, I am grateful it happened.  I do think that sometimes things need to be one way before things are able to go a different way.  Maybe RCM was the lesson they needed to learn.

Then, of course, the interviewer turns to the current tour and the current setlist.  Oh boy.  “SD: I have it on good faith that you guys are gonna be playing “Shadows On Your Side” in Boston. Can I put that in print?NR: (laughs) We haven’t played it on the American tour at all yet. The trouble is with set lists, and I’m sure you could talk to any artist, you must know this yourself, if you have have a lot of material, it’s hard enough to condense it into something that is a little less than two hours. But when you want to put in a song that is possibly a real fan favorite, but maybe not with the broader audience, it’s hard to find places in the set to put them in. For example, recently we have been playing a song “Tiger, Tiger” from the third album which is instrumental. And the reason we started playing it was to create a little three minute spot for people to Tweet live during the show onto the screen. And it has been a fascinating moment in the set.
SD: Gives Simon a rest.
NR: So we thought, perhaps we’ll replace it and we’ll do “Secret October” instead because it has a vocal on it and we said we would play this song. And of course, Simon said “I don’t want to do it and have Tweeting going on whilst I’m singing.” Whereas musically, we are just creating a soundtrack and I think that’s fine, visually. And so we took out the Tweets and we did the song, and the song went down really well. But then we realized that a lot of people were missing the Tweeting thing because a lot of it was interactive and thats part of modern shows. So you have all these things …all I’m really doing is making excuses for you. We probably won’t. We could play it instead of a number of things but I’m not sure what would give.”
My response:  Clearly, they don’t want to put in anymore “fan favorites” than they already have for these US dates.  Obviously, they feel that they need to appeal to the “broader audience”.  As Rhonda and I have both mentioned, I think this is lame.  If you play enough hits, that “broader audience” will be happy.  Duran should worry about keeping us dedicated fans happy and keeping us going to shows.  Then, to hear Nick talk about the discussion surrounding Tiger Tiger versus Secret Oktober, I got even more frustrated.  Yes, I can understand Simon’s point of view of not wanting people to tweet during him singing.  I tweeted during Tiger Tiger but that felt uncomfortable, too, as I’m ignoring the band playing.  If you want to have the tweet thing in do it when the band is not on stage.  Have people tweet while waiting for the encore to start but don’t let that get in the way of the fans hearing a song they desperately want to hear!  Ugh!

Speaking of Twitter, the interviewer asked about the band’s involvement.  “SD: It is interesting. I think both Simon and John have been doing it since around the release of the record. It is interesting to kind of follow along…NR: I think John particularly loves it. I think its really something that he’s been able to focus some of his energy on. I know he’s always taking little photos and putting them up when we’ve arrived somewhere, or we see something interesting. He was tweeting from the Museum the other day. I’m all for that. I have a concept for tweeting which would be very much against the grain of what people like it for, so people may really not like the idea of what I might want to do with it, and I keep threatening to do it. For me, it would be a complete experiment so I would enjoy it, and I think there may be some people out there that would see what I was getting at, but it’s much more of a one way street. It would be that I was really just publishing certain things and not really getting involved in conversations about them. I’m not sure if that’s in the spirit of it, but I may do that.
SD: Well it’s difficult, I think, to have in-depth conversations. I think John tries to answer peoples’ little questions and things from time to time, but I don’t think you can get too in depth. The other side of it is, I think for some people, and I don’t know if you fall into this category or not, but some people see that artists being on Twitter constantly, kind of affects their mystique a little bit. Where it was so hard to get information about somebody ten years ago but now it’s like…
NR: Well I feel that way very generally anyways. We were talking about when were growing up as kids and the photos of artists we used to see, whether it was David Bowie or Iggy or the New York Dolls or Lou, they had a real mystery to them because there weren’t that many photos. You might see the occasional live photo from a concert or you’d see David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Moscow together or a picture of a couple people on a train having lunch and this was really as far as you got into their world and you had to then use your own imagination as to what else they might be doing or what it was like in the studio and what they were recording. Now I do feel with web cams everywhere and everyone with a mobile phone during the show, every second of everything is recorded from all these different angles and published everywhere, it’s an overwhelming amount of content. In a way, you definitely lose focus because people are watching dreadful live videos with dreadful sound quality and then saying, “Oh well that was that, wasn’t it.” As opposed to something that was being produced with beauty and care. And its not that I’m completely against it because this is a very modern world where this is what’s happening and that’s that, but as regards to what it has done to mystique, yeah, its shattered it into a million pieces.
SD: Yeah that’s true, it’s a strange game. I can’t think of a band, current day, that can maintain that exactly. You have to, obviously, evolve with the times somewhat, but it’s interesting with some groups, it might not be in their best interest to be too involved with that.
NR: I think you have to embrace new technologies and use them to the best of your ability, and use them artistically. With our online presence we’re always looking to do different things. We launched Second Life some months ago which was initially launched as a completely non-commercial project. It was literally an arts project. We built a universe for people go in as Avatars and communicate with each other, really. And so far I have to say I’m thrilled with the results because it seems to be a really good breeding ground for ideas and for artistic statements. The costumes that people are wearing in there are spectacular. It’s worth going in to look at that alone. When they have parties in there it really is pretty remarkable, it’s an utterly surreal world where anything goes and they’re having an amazing time. So, you try to do these different things with the website we’re going to relaunch that soon, so its version 2.2 or 3.3 or wherever we are now, and there have been some huge improvements there. The live stuff and the Tweeting. During the live shows I take pictures of the audience every night which has now become quite interesting because there’s a whole section on the site where you can see the audiences from my point of view from the different shows. We’re always looking to do things and find ways to make it a bit different. Everybody out there is putting everything up they can.”
My response:  I can definitely see Nick’s idea of tweeting being VERY different than what is normal, common, expected.  My guess is that Nick fans would eat it up!  Yet, ideally, fans would want some conversation and it doesn’t seem like Nick does, for whatever reason.  I also agree with Nick that technology should be used and embraced but that it does have its drawbacks and has taken some of the mystery out of life.  That said, I still don’t get Second Life.  I don’t understand why he is so thrilled by it.  He says that it is filled with artistic ideas.  Really?  Someone who is involved in it tell me how. 

The interview ended with a question about John’s book.  “SD: Have you seen any advanced writing in Johns book?NR: No, nothing. I think it’s probably best that I don’t and I’m sure John would feel the same. I guess eventually there will probably be a full set of books. I don’t know when I’ll be doing mine. I don’t know when Simon will be doing his but I imagine there will be a set, and that will give you all the different perspectives as to why Duran Duran is what it is.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled with the idea of one day having a set of autobiographies from the band members.  Maybe then, we would have a good idea of what went down and how it was!

So, readers, read the entire interview, and come back and tell me your responses!  Were there questions that I didn’t focus on that I should have?  Were my responses different than what you would have said?  I would love to know!

-A

Second thoughts on Second Life

No, I’m not thinking about downloading the program.  I just liked the title and went with it!  There has been more information that’s come out about Second Life today via duranduran.com, you can read the news byte here.  Overall, I must admit the idea seems to be really kind of cool…if it were still 2006.  The island has the Sanhedralite Sea, the Azizi sky (really?)….and some sort of underwater UFO club that you KNOW Nick Rhodes came up with all on his own.  He probably lives there with his vampire alien avatar.  (Yes, I hear he really has one.)  Gotta love that.   

Of course, part of my scorn is that this “land”, “universe”….whatever you’d like to call it….should have been put in place years ago.  Why make a huge announcement about Second Life if it’s going to take you 5 years to get the place up and running, when the buzz about Second Life is all but dead?  The Bees have moved on to other hives now, so to speak.  I’m sure the folks at SL are thrilled that the Duran Duran Universe, or whatever they’re calling it these days, has come to fruition, and they’re probably hoping that the Duranies will flock back to give SL another try.  I wonder if it’ll take a Duran Duran concert to bring people back?

On yesterday’s blog, I received a comment that really made me think, and I’m going to share with the rest of you.  Perhaps the gamers amongst us can enlighten me a bit.  Someone corrected me (very kindly and not really directly) that Second Life isn’t a game, it’s truly a virtual world.  Is that really how people see it?  Obviously, I didn’t get much past stopping myself from flying and/or walking into walls and getting stuck to really appreciate Second Life.   I suppose since there doesn’t seem to be a plot or a way to “win”, it’s really NOT quite a game.   I just have a difficult time seeing it as some sort of virtual world…or life.  Want to talk about message boards?  I’m totally there, and I really do get the point.  Facebook?  Love it and probably couldn’t do without it (until the next greatest thing comes along).  Twitter?  I really do get it…and I’m learning to appreciate the finer points.  Second Life?  I’m still stuck on flying.

During my brief foray into Second Life (by the way, I seem to recall my avatar’s name on there – which should have long since been “retired” – it was Rhonda Irvine.  No, I wasn’t bright enough to think about grabbing a Duran related last name at the time.  I went with a city near my house. :D), I did run into an interesting avatar.  As far as I could tell – it was male, and he was more than happy to educate me on just how “serious” a place I was entering.  He explained that Second Life could be just a fun way to spend an afternoon, or that I could choose to become more invested, spending what could amount to thousands of dollars (that would be real, US dollars) in order to own land, buy places of business, set up shop, and allow people to work for me.  It was a place where I could choose to marry someone else or have an affair (since of course this is the Second Life – it’s not “me” marrying someone else, it’s my avatar), I could decide to change my sexual orientation, and according to him – there were ways to even have sex.  He told me about the darker side to the game, where violence really has no boundaries.  I was fascinated and horrified at the same time.

If I remember correctly, that was my last visit to Second Life.  Truthfully, all I was looking for at the time was a way to see a flippin’ Duran Duran concert.  This all seemed so serious, and no – I’m not talking about the song.  I wasn’t interested in the idea of having an affair, online or otherwise, first life OR second, and let me be honest – if I wanted to get married again, someone ought to slap me.  The first marriage is MORE than enough to handle, thanks.   I felt that at the time, I’d have to leave Second Life to those who were far more hardcore.

One final thought before I close for the day, and this is something that occurred to me just a moment ago – John and Simon seem to be fairly avid tweeters.  Roger takes to Facebook once in a while (It’d be nice to hear from him more often though!), and that leaves Nick.  Perhaps Second Life is going to be Nick’s move into a sort of Social Networking, and really, isn’t it just Nick’s style to pick something so visual, so real, yet completely UNreal?  Now the Duranies are going to have to step up their game to keep up with you.

 Well played Nicholas – Mr. Vampire Alien, well played.

I’m probably going to just stay on the sidelines, tweet, send in a Facebook status or two, and mingle with the rest of the First Lifers.

-R

Second Life, The Sequel!

Once upon a time, there was news of a land not far off from the one in which we all (most?) currently reside – but millions of miles away from “Real Life”.  It was a place where we could choose our own names, decide on our own careers and make our own money.  The best part of this new land was that Duran Duran themselves were going to be a part of it.  They were to create their own special “universe”, and it would probably be the one place in the world…or another world, so to speak, where Duranies could run and feel free to blast their Duranie-ness to  any and all who care to occupy space in this, Second Life.

At the time this was announced, and if I remember correctly there was not only announcements of the band having their own avatars to roam Second Life, but there was also an announcement of an online concert IN Second Life. (presumably in the Duran Duran universe)  To a lot of fans, this was excellent news!  Not only could we go to shows in our real life, but our alter egos could attend them in our other life, too!  Double the fun!  So, off to Second Life we went!  The program was downloaded, avatars and names picked, and customization began.  Then the fun started, as one must learn how to “move” on Second Life.

My recollection of moving on Second Life was mainly that no matter which direction I wanted to go in – my avatar would simply ignore me and either “fly”, or get stuck in some sort of odd dance routine.  At the time, I was an avid video game player (although truth be told this was well before the XBox or even the Wii took up residence in our home), and I still couldn’t figure out the basics.  I took the requisite tutoring sessions, tried to ask a lot of questions and eventually I could walk a semi-straight line as long as I didn’t try anything fancy – like run or anything.

At this point, I would say I was less than two weeks into Second Life.  Actually, it could have been longer – I’m not really sure.  All I know is that Duranies were EVERYWHERE.  I really believe that once the band announced their intentions, fans flocked to the game – many gave up almost immediately because the learning curve is fairly steep, but many were able to figure it out, and I have friends who became very successful pole dancers in Second Life!   In my case, I knew that I wouldn’t pay for a membership – money was scarce in this house at the time – but I wanted to see what I could do with the game otherwise.  Most of my time was spent trying to find money in trees, wandering the different lands looking for free stuff to put…well…nowhere because I didn’t have a home, and watching all of the other crazy first-timers learning how to move.  It became obvious rather quickly that I did not have what it takes to navigate through my real life here at home AND maintain a successful Second Life, so I bid the game adieu.

The joke here, as most fans know, is that it’s been years…and I mean YEARS…since the band  announced their intentions to join Second Life.  I can’t even remember the name of their special “land” within Second Life, but it’s been under construction for what seems to be an eternity.  I thought for sure that this brainiac idea of theirs had gone way of the countless other ideas that have obviously been locked away in the Duran-vaults in Nick’s house.  Why Nick’s house?  I don’t know, I guess I chose his house because we’ve talked enough about Simon lately, and quite honestly – who here doesn’t think Nick have closets and vaults of ideas!?!?

I’d completely forgotten about Second Life until this past week – Nick’s birthday to be precise – when it was announced that their Second Life land will open on June 22nd, and I’m assuming that’s in REAL LIFE time as opposed to Durantime, or Second Life time!  Now the question becomes, do I dare download Second Life again, start over and learn how to move, or do I skip it, full well knowing that my real life is still more than enough to handle?

-R

Unfinished Projects

Yesterday’s blog about the upcoming release of the regular and deluxe versions of the album reminded me of an all too frequent occurrence in Duranland, which is unfinished projects.  Rhonda mentioned this interview with Duran Duran’s manager yesterday, in regards to the upcoming album.  Like Rhonda, I believed that there would be many different versions released, depending on location, type of store, etc.  Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  While each location for pre-order seems to have something slightly different, there isn’t enough of a difference to say that the band followed this idea.  I suspect that these differences between track listing has more to do with the ever-changing list of finished, extra tracks rather than releasing a bunch of different versions.  I’m willing to bet that by March 21/22, the track listings all match based on the country.  This leads me to wonder if this idea about many different versions is another one of Duran’s ideas that faded from reality.  I would have liked to have seen as many versions as possible, not because I need or want to spend a ton of money (goodness knows I don’t have it and may soon have a lot less) but I want as many new Duran songs as possible.  Therefore, this was one idea I hoped to actually see happen.

Another project that I long to see completed is the Drama Americana documentary of the spring 2005 U.S. Astronaut tour.  Like many of you, I’m sure, I have seen the trailer on youtube.  This brief clip just makes me want to see it even more.  That spring was such a great time for so many of us.  For some people, it was the first opportunity to see the Fab Five all together.  For others, it was the first chance to really tour or to get to know other Duranies or get to know them better.  For me, it was both.  I was able to see five shows in a week during that tour and was lucky enough to experience those shows with tremendously great and fun people.  Beyond my personal experience, it seemed to me that everyone was SO excited by Duran and by the reunion.  It was like no one could get enough of the band, of shows, of each other.  Plus, we were all celebrating Astronaut, an album that most of the fans embraced, from what I saw.  I loved the idea of a documentary about this time.  I was hoping it would be like an updated version of Sing Blue Silver!  It seems to be about done, too, if there is a trailer.  Yet, for some crazy reason, it hasn’t seen the light of day.  Why?  What happened?  They don’t have to release it through some big distribution.  They could release it just on their website.  I’m sure that many of us would still buy it!!!

On the opposite end of the unfinished projects is Second Life.  For those people who can’t remember, this was the idea that they would appear in this virtual world and eventually play a virtual concert there.  At that announcement, Duranies flocked to the website and signed on.  It seems like many people got into it, too.  Apparently, real life money is exchanged for or through the website.  I don’t really understand.  Yet, we haven’t heard anything about it in a long time.  Obviously, Duran was still thinking about it during the recording of RCM since Zoom In makes direct references to it.  Again, I have no clue about what happened to the idea or why.  Unlike the Drama Americana documentary, I don’t know that this one would have much interest, if it was resurrected.  Second Life was too hard, for me, to get into.  I’m not one to play video games and didn’t even like setting up my avatar in it.  Then, I didn’t understand why I should talk to people or how.  It seemed like way too much work for me and very time consuming.  Plus, while I love Duran shows, I don’t think a virtual one would be nearly as exciting as a real one. 

I’m sure that there are a bunch more unfinished projects just sitting somewhere.  Maybe they are sitting in the Duran archives.  Possibly Nick is storing everything in his non-human like brain.  I don’t know.  Some of them I would love to see come to fruition and others not so much.  What projects would you still like to see them do and why?

-A