Category Archives: videos

I Miss My MTV

I’ve just started reading another book – I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum.  I’ve had it on my iPad to read for a while now, and I’m finally just getting to it.  It’s one of those books that I felt like I needed to be in the right frame of mind to read, primarily because MTV completely shaped my teenage years, and like a lot of the MTV generation – I’m completely PISSED that it’s gone to hell in a handbasket.  I’m not just nostalgic, I’m annoyed that it’s been watered down and ruined.

Not sure if anyone has noticed yet because it might be difficult to tell, (that’s sarcasm right there) but I’m pretty damn opinionated.  🙂  In particular, I have strong opinions on the music industry.  It’s frustrating to be a fan (and not just of Duran Duran, but of music in general) and see what has happened since the 1980’s. It’s not just about the labels failing, or about the fact that radio plays crappy music 24 hours a day, or even about the lack of record sales….it’s not just about any one specific thing.  It’s the whole lot!  The way I see it, all of those things, plus a plethora of others that I don’t dare even get into for fear I’ll end up writing an entire book in one blog post, fell down like dominoes. One on top of the other, and the real pisser being that each thing: sales, radio, labels, etc. all depend to some degree on one another to make it all work.  (work WELL, that is)  I could write volumes and volumes just from the fan perspective.

So, while reading this book, and I’m only up to about chapter 4 at this point, I find myself highlighting and making a LOT of notes that may or may not end up in my own book or my own blog some day.  I’d really love to write something about how MTV changed me as a person, and make no mistake, it did.  I used to be fairly obedient and boring before August 1, 1981 came along!  The one item I come back to, over and over again (aside from the chapter on Girls on Film, because it’s still funny to read about those guys falling all over themselves while making the video)…is that MTV woke up a sleepy recording industry.

I had to think about that for a long while yesterday.  In August of 1981 I was 10 years old…I didn’t turn 11 until November, but I was going into junior high school that year.  (we started junior high in 6th grade)  I have very few memories of music before MTV.  If that’s not dating myself, I just don’t know!  I can remember The Beach Boys being played in my house quite often (hence my name: Rhonda), Elvis was my parents favorite (thank god they went with Rhonda…), and as for me – I seem to recall Shaun Cassidy, a bunch of Disney records, and Rick Springfield before Duran Duran came along.  Oh, I also remember the year I received a clock radio alarm for Christmas.  It seemed like every single morning “My Sharona” by the Knack was being played as my alarm went off.  I still jump up in some sort of sick Pavlovian response when I hear the familiar chords.  My point being of course that I didn’t realize the music industry was really failing much at the time – but at 10, who pays that much attention?  All I do remember is that at some point on or around August 1st of that year, I found MTV.

According to the book, “MTV did a lot for record labels, helping to revive a slumping industry, but it was bands who benefitted most.” (page 17)  I wouldn’t dare argue against that, especially since as part of their audience, MTV introduced me to bands that I would have never heard of otherwise, particularly the more obscure British artists that I grew accustomed to love during the first few years of MTV’s existence.  In a lot of ways, I really feel that this is where the beginning of radio’s real failing.  While those radio guys were busily playing Top 40, MTV dared to break beyond those boundaries – whether by design or by fault – giving this not-yet-a-teenager much more to think about than Michael Jackson, The Police, or Madonna. My eyes became increasingly widened to just how much talent there was in the world, and I soaked it up like a water-starved sponge.

In turn, I bought records.  Oh boy did I buy records.  My garage plays constant witness to the buying that I did back in the 80’s, and that I’m still doing now as a blatant attempt to own “all the vinyl in the world”.  (Ok, it’s an exaggeration…but one entire wall from top to bottom in our garage is covered with shelves of vinyl….and not all the buying was done by me!)  So yes, I really do believe that MTV helped both label and band.

I stopped watching MTV with any kind of regularity the year I started college.  That was in Fall of 1988 for those of you counting. (I stopped.  It’s too depressing.)  I know we had cable in my dorm at Cal State Fullerton, but I was too busy….studying (in case my mom is reading)….or socializing (the reality) to watch much.  By that time, my favorites had started to fade, and by 1992, MTV had changed significantly.  No more was it videos 24/7…there was a new show in town called The Real World, which was trashy at best to begin with and sunk deeper into dumpsville as time wore on.  I gave up on MTV completely after that, and my own “golden era” had ended.

What I do wonder, sometimes aloud when I’m busily talking to myself (no one else really listens and my youngest doesn’t know much music beyond Duran Duran….she’s a huge fan at 3 and a half!), is just how much different the industry would be today if MTV had stayed their course.  It wasn’t just The Real World that changed things though.  I think the real changes came almost immediately with MTV, as they do with nearly anything.  Lets be honest, the goal of MTV was always to make money.  It’s a business, it’s what is done, and we should recognize that up front.  MTV desperately needed to sell advertising to keep going – by some accounts MTV lost almost 50 million dollars before it ever made a dime, and my assertion is that MTV was only pure during that period where they were losing money.  Funny how making money will do that.  Prior to that point, they only had to answer to themselves, and it didn’t matter how much the on-air talent screwed up or rubbed their noses on air.  They could play the videos they wished (actually, they could ONLY play the videos they were able to obtain, which were precious few for quite some time!), and during that time I saw plenty of fantastic, tasty obscurities I’d have never seen otherwise.  So for me, that time was golden and pure.  After they started selling that ad space, that’s when they started having to answer for themselves, and to labels…and to corporations, and once again we’re back to the men in suits being able to tell the rest of us what music is good, and what music is awful…and that music doesn’t need to have a place on MTV at all.  “MTV created the video music industry, then abandoned it, leaving behind a trail of tears -disgruntled music-video fans have stamped the phrase ‘MTV sucks’ and ‘Bring back music videos’ all over the comments pages of YouTube.” (page 20)

Here’s the funny thing: a lot of those statements are probably mine.  If video did so well to SELL records, to make bands famous, to change the industry – why on earth aren’t we still using it??  YouTube is great because I can go on there at any time of day and find the videos I want to watch….but the reality is, I would much rather watch Reach up for the Sunrise, or The Reflex….or even the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller on my big TV.  I miss my MTV.  I liked being surprised by the little gems they’d pull out, I enjoyed watching Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman and little Martha Quinn.  I liked yelling “I’ve seen this stupid video 50,000 times – play something else for a damn change!!!”  when they’d play “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, or better yet “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!  (I love both bands so spare me the hate mail…I’m sick of Hungry Like the Wolf, as well.  Did I mention that?)  Those things are what made MTV.

I don’t know for sure what really changed MTV into the watered down kool-aide it is today.  As I’ve said numerous times, I’m just a fan who happened to grow up during the 80’s. Maybe my generation just grew up, and they didn’t know what to show us anymore.  Maybe rap really did become king and the only viable videos were those showing mostly unclad women, baggy jeans, baseball caps and cars.  I’ve read that every great idea for video has already been done so it got boring.  I call BS on that one.  I think it’s more to do with the fact that no one wants to work hard anymore.  No one wants to be unique or creative when you can just dress up any wanna-be-Britney, Kanye, Justin or Beyonce and put them in front of a camera and microphone and get a hit, thanks to autotune, smoke and some mirrors.  That isn’t to say that those people don’t have talent, but their uniqueness certainly gets lost in the shuffle.  That’s MUCH easier than taking the time to properly market a band that already has their own sound, actually plays their instruments, knows how to entertain, yet can’t be categorized in any one specific “box” on some sort of marketing tally sheet for the execs to see.  Fast food music rules the airwaves.  Every time I hear a new artist that actually has talent, or a band that actually plays their own instruments and doesn’t rely on production and autotune, I hold on to a little hope.

Once again, the very people who run the industry just don’t get it.  It’s not just about any one thing, although I really do believe that MTV (or the loss of the “music video” portion of MTV) has quite a bit to do with why the industry continues to flounder and fail.   One definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over expecting different results each time….

maybe that’s the real problem.  The industry is insane.

-R

Falling Down-An Interpretation

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that I believed that there were two basic camps of fans; those who want just fun and entertainment and those who want to analyze as well.  To me, the Red Carpet Massacre era showed this division clearly.  Many fans liked the music because songs like Tempted were “fun” and made them want to move, to dance.  Others recognized the music as lacking soul, specifically Duran Duran soul.  I was one of those fans criticizing the project.  Yet, for me, there was one glimmer of the Duran I knew and loved in the form of the video for Falling Down.  Thus, it seemed so strange to me that so many fans seemed to be disinterested in that video, at best, and hated that video, at worst.  I couldn’t figure it out.  I even posted my interpretation about what I thought the video was about in various message boards and still no one seemed to appreciate it more.  No one saw that it was filled with meaning and that the majority of the rest of RCM was empty.  Clearly, this animosity for Falling Down still exists.  Let me give you my interpretation and then we can ponder if my interpretation is crap or if it is just an example of the two camps of fans and that, in this case, the larger camp is one that just wants the entertainment.

On the surface of the video is the story of a celebrity entering rehab or some sort of psychiatric hospital with others like her.  She is resistant to go but does.  Inside the hospital, she meets others and is under the care of doctors played by the members of Duran.  At the end, she leaves the hospital and returns to her regularly scheduled life, including drinking champagne, hanging with a disinterested agent, and riding around in a driven towncar.  Thus, it appears to be about celebrities like Britney Spears and is once again filled with the model types that are frequently shown in Duran videos.  I saw something completely beyond or below this surface story.  I saw the bands’ story and I saw our story.

I have heard Simon introduce or discuss this song many times and he almost always states how it is about falling down in public.  It is about making a fool of oneself, becoming an embarrassment, falling from grace, etc.  I think many of us can relate to that idea, in general.  Yet, for the members of the band, they have made their mistakes in the public eye, for the whole world to see.  For them, they must live with what the public thinks of them and of their perceived mistakes.  The video showcases what their mistakes were or what their embarrassing moments are BELIEVED to be.  For Simon, he is surrounded by women and is clearly being tempted at all times.  This is shown by even the nurse who is showing quite a bit of cleavage.  Isn’t that Simon’s reputation?  To be a womanizer?  Someone who is focused on female bodies?  Then, there is John.  What does he do in the video?  He passes out the medication, the drugs.  Obviously, John is very open about his drug addictions.  Thus, the video shows that his public moment of falling down surrounded drugs and drug use.  What about Roger?  In my opinion, Roger is barely shown in the video and I believe that this was intentional.  After all, didn’t Roger seem to disappear for YEARS, for decades?  Roger was the quiet one who was rarely seen and heard from, at least “back in the day”.  Again, this video shows Roger’s experience.  Lastly, there is Nick.  What does Nick do?  He takes photographs of the women.  In many cases, Nick is taking strange photos.  Isn’t that what Nick is famous for?  He is known for not only taking photos but taking very strange photos.  Nick is believed to be not ordinary in any way and the video shows that. 

Now, the video also addresses the fans and our weakness.  The band and the fandom is our weakness.  Don’t we all go a little crazy when we become fans?  Don’t we leave behind our rational side for something emotional?  I keep thinking about how I will be going back to the UK in a couple of weeks and keep thinking to myself about how no normal person would do this.  Look at how much time and energy we spend on thinking about or discussing the band and everything associated with them.  Therefore, I believe the women really represent us.  Before you start typing about how you aren’t crazy or that you don’t spend that much time on the band; yes, I realize that this is a generalization and one that won’t apply to everyone.  Think about it, though.  What do the women do in the video?  They seem fixated on things related to how they look (like many of us before a show, for example).  Other activities include reading magazines (wonder what those magazines might be about…one’s chosen celebrities?!) and playing with their cell phones.  I’m sure that no Duranie ever plays with his/her phone.  Nope, I’m sure no one does.  😉  Towards the end of the video, these women all go to seats to do what?  They go to see Duran perform.  Then, you start to see the women smile for the first time.  You also start to see the women take pictures of each other.  Again, this is a common occurrence at every Duran show I have been at. 

At the end of the video, the main character seems to leave.  Let’s assume that the hospital represents fandom and being a Duranie, in particular.  Does she really leave her chosen fandom?  It certainly doesn’t seem like it, especially when Notorious begins playing when she enters the car and I think the choice of Notorious is intentional as well due to the meaning of “notorious”.  Perhaps, this is saying that even when a fan is away from the band and maybe away from a show, they are still connected, still part of the fandom.  One could go so far as to argue that the champagne and nice car represents the travel and the partying that Duranies often do when going to a show or going on tour and these activities remain as part of fans’ culture.

So, now that you have all read my interpretation, does that make you appreciate the video for Falling Down more?  Does it make you conclude that I think WAY too much and analyze things to do death?  Are you still just interested in watching the video for fun and this video isn’t fun?  What do you think?

-A

Girl Panic (The Shortened Version) and Entertainment

By now, I’m sure many (most/all) of you have seen the shortened version of the Girl Panic video.  I have seen many people say that they prefer this version over the 9.5 minutes of the original.  I can’t say that I have seen many reasons why they prefer this version.  A few people have mentioned that they feel like it showcases the song more since the song is played all the way through and it is a more traditional version of the song.  I suppose we are more used to this format of having the regular song being played the whole time.  As I ponder the differences and my preferences, I thought back to another Duran video from another era with different lengths and that is New Moon on Monday.

As a kid, for a very long time, I only knew of two versions of New Moon on Monday.  I knew the “regular” clip that was shown on MTV.  This clip was the exact length of the song and had no dialogue despite the very obvious storyline.  I was not sure exactly who the main female character was but I knew that there was some sort of protest being planned and that Duran had to hide from the totalitarian government.  This female seemed to be working with them, Simon in particular, but decided to turn them in, even though at the end, she rejoined their efforts.  The other version I knew was the one from Dancing on the Valentine.  This one was longer and had Simon by a big moon (the opposite of a new moon, ironically enough) and showed shots of John playing bass and singing that were to die for!  These additional shots did not enhance the storyline but they did add plenty of squee moments (ha!).  Later, I discovered the movie version and I thought I died and gone to heaven!  This had the storyline that I thought was fascinating AND it had dialogue!  It was 17 minutes of pure Duran gold, in my opinion.  I thought Girl Panic was going to be similar in that I would like one version and LOVE the long version.  It is not similar.

I hate the short version.  Hate it.  If I wasn’t a big fan, I wouldn’t have a clue that the supermodels were supposed to be the members of the band until the very end when they are “playing”.  Before that, I would just assume that the video was about supermodels.  The storyline was totally taken away.  I might not even know if was Duran, if I was unfamiliar with this song and their style, as we don’t see a band member until we see John driving about one minute and twenty seconds into it.  To me, the storyline was not maintained like it was in the shortened version of NMOM.  On top of that and more importantly than that, it took away literally everything I found fabulous about the long version.

The shortened version did not contain any interviews from the band members.  It did not and would not make me question stereotypes and assumptions about rock stars or celebrities in general.  Instead of showing how over the top and over-indulgent these assumptions are, they reveled in them.  The video became the stereotype instead of questioning the stereotype.  Early in Duran’s career, they got a lot of grief in the press and with music critics because their videos seem to be promoting a lifestyle that the common person could not relate to, which was seen as an insult to common people (at least by these critics).  While I obviously don’t agree with those negative reviews, in this case, it would appear to be true, in my opinion.  The longer version, however, showed that this lifestyle isn’t real.  I saw an interview with John and Simon where Simon says that everything was based on some experience in their lives and John responded with, “We wish.”  Enough said. 

This leads me to wonder why my response was so different than other peoples.  Is it because they felt comforted in the shorter, more traditional format?  Maybe.  It seems to me that there are two camps of fans.  One camp of fans just want the entertainment, the fun.  I can understand that.  The other camp is where I live.  I want something that makes me think as well as makes me feel.  I want my entertainment to be something that I can analyze and look for deeper meaning.  Obviously, Rhonda feels the same way or else we wouldn’t be writing this blog or our book where we analyze what it means to be a fan and a Duran Duran fan, in particular.  Tomorrow, I will talk about one other video that showed this division within the fandom and contained models!  Can you guess what that video is?
It is one that is usually talked about in a negative way as it seems that most fans hated but one that I thought was brilliant.

-A     

Girl Panic video – The Daily Duranie Review

What a morning.  I need a drink.  Hey Roger, can I get a dirty martini over here – Grey Goose, four olives and so icy cold I can see icebergs, please!  (and yes, he can be *my* bartender ANY TIME.  ANY TIME.)

Here’s the reality: Amanda and I can’t review this in quite the academic sort of way that we normally might.  Every single time I’ve watched the video today, I’ve seen something different and new that makes me see the whole video in a completely different light…not totally unlike the way I might look at a crystal or a diamond, come to think of it.  With that in mind, you’re going to get a review unlike any other we may ever do here at Daily Duranie, and we may end up needing to revisit this subject several times before it’s finished.  That said, off we go and it’s my turn (Rhonda) first!!

So today was the day I’ve been waiting for since June 6 – the day they FINALLY released the video for Girl Panic.  I almost wish I’d never known they’d filmed it in many ways, and try as I might – I had so many thoughts running through my head before I actually saw the video in its entirety.  It was very difficult to discern what the final cut would look like, but all I knew was that there were going to be supermodels and the band.  I don’t mind saying that I felt like that premise was so ridiculously overdone that it was cliche.  I was hoping for the best, expecting the worst – even though I wasn’t quite sure what that would mean.  Even this morning as I cautiously got onto Facebook, I saw that the video had been posted in 1,000,000 different places and instead sat absently biting my nails wondering if I should watch right then or later on.  I wasn’t prepared for what I might find, but watched anyway.  Turns out, I really was not prepared!
Initially, I will tell you all that I rolled my eyes not once, but SEVERAL times.  I had a very difficult time grasping the concept of the supermodels being the guys, and I have to admit that I’m still not sure.  I think that at least for right now, it feels very much as though the band – while interviewing each of their corresponding “supermodels” is almost looking at themselves through a mirror of sorts.  That had to be a very strange moment or several for each of them.  I also rolled my eyes at the girls, the black leatherish lingerie, the girl on girl action, the champagne, the idea of “Roger” being rolled in on a luggage cart…of course Yasmin’s role in the entire video as the unnamed guitarist, several comments from the band – in particular “Roger’s” comment about wanting to be a drummer because drummers are cool…”Nick’s” comment about writing the final song and taking full credit (OK, seriously who wrote that?!?  Hilarious one there), there’s just so many completely over the top moments in this video – how can you not roll your eyes?  Am I right??
Hardly…and isn’t that the point?  
The beauty of Duran Duran, and the overriding theme of their entire careers is that primarily all that is ever seen by critics…the public…and an overwhelming majority of even their fans is what’s ONLY at face value.  My gosh, most of us had them up on our bedroom walls and regularly admired their outward beauty.  I never even considered what the song Friends of Mine was really even about until I was an adult!  Interestingly enough, there is so much more to this video than what you see initially, and I really think that’s the entire point the band (and director) is trying to make.  
This video is quite the parody on the band themselves.  It’s a view of what the band thinks the public really sees and believes about them – the stereotypes that continue to follow them to this day – and I think they nailed it in almost every way.  Yes, a lot of it probably has happened over the years, and I’m sure that quite a bit of it is true to form in one aspect or another.  Believe me, I don’t want to paint the band as being completely misunderstood or perfect – if you’ve read this blog over the past year, you should know that about me by now.  Honestly though, how many of us don’t think or thought about the “afterparties”…past or present… as wild orgies of women?   That’s why there ARE girls on girls in the video.  The supermodels are playing the band – because that’s how you and I: the FANS – see them!  For us, they ARE our supermodels!  They are our idea of perfection and fantasy.(or at least they were when I was 12)  The other girls in the video are probably playing roles of both the gorgeous women we assume must be at the afterparties in their hotel AND the fans.  Did you notice the girls simply just waiting on the stairway or the girl waiting in the hallway, with that familiar expression of “I probably shouldn’t be here but maybe if I just act like I belong no one will notice”??  That’s a fan, a stalker…maybe even a groupie *gasp*!   Oh, and I recognized that expression because yes, I’ve very much HAD that expression at some point(s) that will-not-be-named-here.  (rest assured, I’m going to start practicing the “I belong here” look from here on out)  The video is so smartly tongue in cheek.  Well done.  Well done.  You can’t watch this video for simply the “squee factor”…and if you are, you’re about to be very disappointed.  
There are some very telling moments throughout the video, and most of them are included in the dialogue of the “band” when they are being interviewed…by the real band members.  “Simon’s” comment about how lonely it is when there aren’t hundreds of thousands of people screaming for you on stage.  “Silence doesn’t mean you’re forgotten”.  The moments at the very beginning of the video when they talk about the last night of the tour – there’s this beautiful, poignant moment where you see “Simon” waking in his room, looking at the remnants from the night before (including the women all over), “Nick” walking over the city – it’s almost as though they seem lost within themselves.  Fascinating if not extraordinarily telling.  Then there were times that I am still trying to understand – why is it that Roger asked “Roger” about addictions and why didn’t “Roger” want to talk about it?  As I understand, it was never Roger who had those issues, so I thought that was kind of funny.  I thought it was funny then that “Roger” was being wheeled in by Nick on a luggage rack, only to fall off the rack and then dial up room service for champagne.  I thought it was also funny when John asked “John” about the guitarist…and of course “John” answers that “As you know, we’ve had more than a few guitarists and so it’s gotten to the point where I never really know who is going to show up.”  A Spinal Tap moment??  Yasmin was also funny when she says she’s not a member of Duran Duran…but if you watch her closely at the end of the video she has Dom’s stance down to a T. Yes, maybe I’ve watched him too often at shows…but so what? 😀  Well played.   I will even say their choice to go with Swarovsky Crystal is incredibly over the top – but also poignant is it is indeed considered to be a diamond simulant – something that LOOKS like diamond, but really is not. (it also photographs and films much better than real diamond…but that’s another subject for a different blog!)  
For all of the good that this video is, and it really and truly IS good with all of the sex, overconsumption, girls, bling and unabashed decadence that we’ve always loved about Duran Duran, along with quite a bit of hidden intelligence that somehow never quite gets noticed, there is at least one thing that I believe the band completely missed: and that’s the opportunity to promote the song AND themselves.  Maybe they didn’t feel they needed to do that, but I have to pan them for the missed opportunity.  The very best moment to have done this would have been during the last minute to perhaps minute and a half of the video.  The money shot here would have been to allow Naomi and Co time to sing Girl Panic on the set as though they were doing the video, only to end up with the real band finishing it, thereby showcasing themselves and the song properly. (complete with the fabulous guitar straps and microphone because I loved them).  They needed that moment to bring the video full circle, and to give the song the full credit it so deserves.  Other than that detail – and make no mistake I think it’s a big detail that should have been done, the video is good and worth watching over and over again.  It’s no New Moon on Monday, but it’s definitely better than Girls on Film for me.  😀

Amanda’s turn:
I have to write this review fairly quickly in between work and another meeting, but I will do my best to give anything Duran justice.  That said, let me tell you that I watched the video this morning and HATED it.  It is interesting that the initial reviews of it from other fans I saw, talked about how they were worried it was going to be like Falling Down, which apparently they all hated, whereas I LOVED and will blog about this weekend.  What is funny, though, is that this stayed in my head and made me what to watch it again, which I did at work.  The strange thing is that I found myself noticing SO much and thinking SO much that I began to think it was genius.  Clearly, this isn’t going to be a basic video of Duran’s where the fans who are attracted to men will watch and squee.  It isn’t one that is filled with a significant plot but one that I will watch over and over again just to try to see everything!

The video begins with a throbbing sound of sorts and a stark, black and white view of a city.  Then, of course, this is followed up with the statement “tour’s over”.  Is this how it feels to the band?  Is this how it feels to the fans?  Is this how we are supposed to think they feel?  The video does not stay black and white and does shift back and forth between color and black and white.  With this video and everything about it, I have to believe that it was intentional and one element that I hope to see what the connection is.  Is black and white used to show reality and color used to show the perception?  Yes, obviously, before I go much further I absolutely believe that this video is about perception and stereotypes.  It is about stereotypes of the band and about rock and roll in general as they even used those words, “rock and roll”.  Do I think that this is what it is like to be Duran?  No, sorry, I don’t.  Are there elements that exist?  Sure.  It’s possible.  Is that what it was like back in the day?  Maybe.  Obviously, though, we are supposed to be thinking about the present as one of the first questions has to do with being a band for 30 years. 

Speaking of the questions and comments, I thought they were brilliant and all of them from what I could tell could be broken into two camps:  rock and roll, in general, or Duran, specifically.  Some of the specific Duran questions:  Nick was asked about being a metrosexual, Simon was asked about playing a role on stage, Roger was asked about addictions, John was asked about fashion.  Even the question and statement about guitarist is very much about Duran and their long career.  Then, of course, some of them were about rock in general, including something about how no one teaches about being famous, the rush of being on stage, and how they are doing what makes them and their fans be happy.  The headlines that flashed across the screen after the statement about having some “truly shocking reviews” were also fitting of Duran:  “Nick adopts alien baby”, ” 99% style 1% music”, and “Trash hotel room again”. 

Of course, they attempted to show what people (press, fans, the world) think of them by having supermodels be the band.  Is the use of models overdone in Duranland?  Of course, it is.  I think that was the point.  They had to be predictable.  It is one of the major stereotypes about their videos.  This is one element I really liked about the video, the layers that were involved in both the stereotype element and in the production.  They used film credits, which reminded me of New Moon on Monday, to start it and end it, which leads you to think it is the finished product.  Yet, there were many other parts that showed that it wasn’t like the clapper indicating a take or the “behind the scenes” wording or seeing what the camera is filming.  It was very post modern, in that way. 

While there was a storyline of sorts, it wasn’t so straightforward in that people would get lost in the plot.  Of course, clearly, it begins with Simon waking up, surrounded by girls as any proper frontman would.  Clearly, there had been much partying and action taking place.  Yet, Simon seems lonely as the curtains are opening.  Then, of course, there are photoshoots and an afterparty at night.  In between, before and after are all of the other trappings associated with being famous:  press, pictures, people demanding autographs, champagne, partying, sex, and groupies/stalkers as Rhonda mentioned looking very cautious and very curious standing in stairwells and hallways.  At the end of the clip, there is the video shoot for the song that they are clearly promoting as evidenced by all of the interviews being done.  For the video, they are ultra glam. 

I’m sure, by now, many people are talking about the use of women and the girl-on-girl action.  My first reaction was…if we are going to see some same sex couple kissing how about a little JoSi, thankyouverymuch!  Yet, to me, this makes sense for the purpose of the video.  Obviously, in this video, the band was being played by women.  The rest of the people surrounding the band, in reality, would be women, wouldn’t it?  The people who are attractive enough to be welcomed into a hotel room would be women, right?  The groupies would be women?  The stalkers?  Yes, they would be women again, at least if they are maintaining the stereotype/perception theme as this is what people would think about Duran.  On top of that, the use of girls and models is what Duran is known for with their videos and, in case we didn’t remember that, they showed clips of videos like Girls on Film, the Chauffeur, Rio, Notorious to name a few.  That part actually bothered me because they felt like they had to include that to remind us like we were too stupid to remember that without the reminder.  Anyway, while I understand wanting to see less women and more of the guys, it doesn’t fit, for the most part, until as Rhonda mentioned, the end.  They could have easily had the models turn into Duran, which could have made the end more normal video like.

So, now that I have had some time to watch it a few times and think about it, do I like it?  Love it?  Hate it?  For me, it depends on what the purpose is.  Again, I don’t think it is a video that I would watch with a bunch of other Duranies to squee over the guys as they just aren’t in it all that much.  That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want John to drive me around or have Roger make me martinis!  Thus, I doubt it will be a fan favorite as there are many fans out there who are just looking for that and who don’t want to think too much.  Is it is quality video that will help sell the song?  I doubt that, too.  Yes, I think it will get some attention, initially, in certain circles but it isn’t a clip that can be really short and it doesn’t highlight the band or the song, especially since the song is stopped for dialogue.  Yet, if I analyze it for quality.  I would give it a big thumbs up.  It is SO smart and really does show the stereotypes and should make people, including us fans, question their assumptions about what life is for the members of Duran and other famous people.  I doubt it is really all of the over-the-top glamour and bling that is shown in the clip.  As a piece of art, a film, I think it is brilliant.

What do the rest of you think?  Are we crazy with our reviews?  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Somewhere in between?  Why?  Let us know your thoughts!

-A and R

Duran and Bling

There seems to be quite a lot of action in Duranland regarding next week’s premiere of Girl Panic!  In order to increase interest and excitement, the band’s official website, facebook and twitter have released a series of teasers clips that Rhonda mentioned yesterday.  Today saw more posts regarding the video.  One post today provides some background to the project and informs people of when and where they can see the completed video (Tuesday on Vevo.com).  It also provides a link to a little behind-the-scenes clip on Style.com.  Then, another post includes a video in which the band shows the use of Swarovski’s crystals.  This video included quite a bit behind-the-scenes clips as well. 

By now, most of us have heard the basic storyline of the video.  Five supermodels are playing Duran Duran in the day in their life style and the band is featured as chauffeurs, bellhops, etc.  This day in the life includes a fancy hotel, jewels, much attention from the press, chauffeurs and everything that would be thought of in a stereotyped view of the rich and famous.  Now, I cannot judge the video yet or, even really, the storyline but it is clear that they are trying to present a certain image about what it is like to be a rich and famous person/group.  (Don’t worry, readers, we will be reviewing the video!)  Today’s clip about the use of Swarovski’s bling emphasizing this image.  Assuming that my conclusion about the image they are presenting is right, I wonder why they decided to present such an extreme representation of being rich and famous.  I also wonder if it is the right choice.

Throughout Duran’s history, they have often presented a jet-set, super-rich lifestyle.  Obviously, the image of Rio is one that has stayed with the band for decades.  Some critics took this image to decide that Duran was not a serious band and a band that did not care about current state of affairs.  Others, including a lot of fans, loved it as it represented a complete escape from their harsh realities.  One thing I always appreciated about that Rio video was the humor woven throughout it as the band presented themselves as uncoordinated dorks.  Is that what the band is going for by having the supermodels represent them and by having them serving the female version of the band?  Maybe.  We will find out.  That said, Duran is at a much different place in their careers.  When Rio was made, they were just climbing towards fame, fortune and success.  Now, Duran is legendary.  They are not the biggest band in the world despite their long-lasting, successful career.  They are also no longer in their 20s.  Now, they are in their early 50’s, except for Nick who will be turning 50 soon enough.

Will this video work for them now?  Will the image they are projecting help with their careers?  Will this rich and famous lifestyle be embraced as an escape or will it seem silly?  Perhaps, the video will make us all see rock stars in a different way.  Maybe, it will question people’s assumptions about what life really is like or is not like for those who fit the category of rich and famous.  I don’t have answers and I am not judging the video before I see it.  These teasers and extra clips have got me thinking, wondering, pondering…This thinking is obviously one thing that I have always appreciated about Duran.  They usually get me thinking.  In many cases, I find myself in agreement with them or in awe over what they did.  Other times, I’m left wondering what the heck they were thinking.  By this time next week, I’ll know which way I have gone with this video. 

One thing I can say, though, about the video so far is that they are really trying to get people’s attention by releasing the teasers and other clips.  They are making a big deal out of the premiere in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time and this reminds me of how world premieres of videos were “back in the day”.  It seemed to be a big deal when a new video was premiered, usually on MTV.  Heck, I still have the world premiere of I Don’t Want Your Love on VHS somewhere.  🙂  Will I remember this premiere as fondly?!

-A

I’m a girl and I guess I’m in a panic….

No, I really don’t think I could be any more “corny” today.  (Actually, I probably could.  Nobody needs to see that though, am I right??)

There are days when it has already been predetermined what I am going to blog about, and this is supposed to be one of those days.  Luckily for me though, Amanda lives nowhere near me and can’t come “get me” if I choose to ignore our plans!  There is just simply too much being posted for this blog to solely be about Simon and John’s appearance on the Morning Buzz on VH1. (I could say something here about how I probably didn’t even say that right – the name of the show anyway – and I really don’t give a damn….but that would be FAR too cornball….)

Their appearance was about 8 and a half minutes in length, and I’ll admit that I was fairly entertained.  I’m always amused by the interviewer(s) who talk to the band because it’s almost ALWAYS a female and they always admit to being huge fans.  Aren’t we all?  😀  I really think there’s some sort of scientific method to determining how big of a fan the interviewer is by the amount of giggling they do within the first 30 seconds of the interview, and in this case, the girl is off the charts.  I applaud that, I do.  I know at times Amanda and I can be really tough on interviewers because we don’t love the giggling and stupid questions, but sometimes it can be charming and aside from one brief moment where I felt that she was gushing WAY too much over Simon – in fact I yelled “Don’t feed the bear!” because she was going on about how gorgeous he is (seriously, he’s got a pretty big ego as it is, doncha think??), admittedly I lived vicariously through her a bit.  I’d probably need to be doing some major self-talk through an interview with them, reminding myself not to gush and reminding myself to remain composed! So, I give her credit.  I think it was especially clear that she was a fan when she asked John to sign her poster at the end of the segment.  I dare to dream.  🙂

Notice I didn’t mention much about the main subject of the interview?  That’d be Girl Panic!  the video…

That video will be premiered on Monday, November 7th.  Happy Birthday to me.  😀  Until then, there have been a series of sneak peeks posted on Duran Duran’s Facebook wall that I’ve watched.  Each snippet is about 10 seconds in length, and so far what I’ve been able to extrapolate is that the video is about 9 minutes in length (Longer is ALWAYS better, although it’s what they do with the length that matters most….*curtsies* Yes, that’s some cheek for ya on this lovely Thursday), and that for some reason, they thought it would be cool to have each of the supermodels play a different person in Duran Duran.  I’m not sure how on board I am with that concept yet, but we will soon see.  I also saw one snippet this morning that reminded me very much of the hallway in the movie “The Shining”…you know, the one with the twin girls?  I would SWEAR they were going for a moment like that, but without seeing the whole video it’s hard to really tell for sure.  They’ve been posting sneak peeks all morning without any sign that they’ll be stopping or continuing, but it’s been interesting to see what they’ve got so far.

I will say this – I’ve yet to see a sneak peek with Yasmin, but out of what I’ve seen so far, I like Cindy Crawford as John the best, although I’m still not sure I like the whole idea.  I can’t wait to see the video and review it though.  Nine minutes can’t be a bad thing!

It was also announced that Duran Duran is coming out with a new 2012 calendar, also due out on Monday via the DD store on their website.  I know many a Duranie who is thrilled to hear this is coming, and I must admit that even I am somewhat tempted.  I’ve never bought a DD calendar, believe it or not!  I have a daily calendar that Amanda created that I use every year – for each day she’s found a photo and a “what happened on this day” tidbit on there.  I love it!

Rumors continue to circulate regarding the possibility of yet another US tour next year.  I’ve heard several dates mentioned – most swirling ’round about springtime.  Mind you, not one single date has been leaked or venues mentioned and already there are many complaints coming from all directions, whether its “Why are they going back to the US AGAIN without coming to X (country) first.  It’s not right!!” or my favorite “They are ignoring my city AGAIN and you know, they always go to LA and NYC.”  I get it. I understand the disappointment, and yes I know that not everyone can afford to travel…and some won’t even drive out of their way to see them, so yeah, it’s disappointing when they won’t play near us in favor of playing in a larger city that will afford them more concert ticket sales.  Or that they made a different choice altogether and say…completely missed St. Louis and a thousand other places which makes no damn sense at all…but hey I’m not complaining.  I’m just saying that I get it.  Vent away, but do it in a way and at a time that makes sense.  None of us even know if they really are for sure coming back that soon, and certainly none of us know where they are planning to play.  Its one of those things that surprise me even though I know it shouldn’t.

In the meantime, I’m working on UK details for the Daily Duranie.  We’ve got hotels – or as we like to call them – places to store our luggage.  (we hardly sleep, so it seems)  We’ve still got to get a flight from Glasgow (or actually Edinburgh since that’s where we’re staying in Scotland) to London the day we fly back to the US, but it’s all working out.  I’m starting to feel a sense of panic (hence the title of the blog today) over the idea of leaving my kids again…especially my little one…but it’ll be fine.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.  We leave in 26 days.  AAHH!!

-R

Friday Night Videos: Daily Duranie Style Part 7 (The end!)

This is it, kids.  We have successfully asked a question for each Duran and Duran related video we know of!  We hope that you enjoyed the challenge and watching some fabulous videos along the way!  We hope to do other challenges in the future because we think they are fun and we hope that you do, too!  Here’s your chance, though, to offer some feedback.  What did you like about this challenge?  What didn’t you like?  Were the questions too easy?  Too difficult?  Did you like this one better than the 30 day daily challenge or vice versa?  How could we make them better?

Of course, I still need to provide the answers to the last set of questions! 

51. Tombody better be able to figure out the video that seems to use this enunciation…
Answer:  Burning the Ground

52. Brompton Cemetery is a filming location for this video.
Answer:  All You Need Is Now

53. We heard the band burnt their feet while filming this one!
Answer:  Save a Prayer

54. What video was filmed at a hospital that has been used in several other TV shows and films, including “Bachelor Pad” on ABC?
Answer:  Falling Down

55. Which video shows road signs for Birmingham…besides our personal videos from our trip to the UK in May?
Answer:  Hey Day by John Taylor

56. Red jazz shoes and a dinghy are the clues to look for in this video.
Answer:  Nightboat

57. This video contains red carnations and a green parrot. Find it!
Answer:  My Own Way

58. Which video uses an aquarium as a backdrop?
Answer:  Come Undone

59. In which video is there an alternate version in which the band is holding a sign at the end that states, “Some people would do anything to sell their records”?
Answer:  Girls on Film

60. Which video has a grocery cart?
Answer:  What Happens Tomorrow

61. In which video is Andy wearing a leather jacket with fringe?
Answer:  When the Rain Comes Down by Andy Taylor

62. Which video shows a rainbow of concentric circles?
Answer:  Dark Circles by the Devils

63. This is quite possibly the first video (for this band) that featured a crowd of fans.
Answer:  The Reflex

64. What video is coming out in November?
Answer:  Girl Panic

Friday Night Videos: Daily Duranie Style Part 6

Happy Friday, everyone!  I suspect it is a pretty happy Friday for those lucky fans in Vegas tonight seeing Duran perform!  Someone remind me why we aren’t in attendance, again?!  Ah..yes, responsibility.  Thus, I’m stuck sitting at home watching some Duran videos, sharing the next set of answers and questions with you guys!  It appears that we are getting to the end.  Now, here’s last week’s questions and answers!

41. Which video has shots of flowers like roses and orchids?
Answer:  Ordinary World

42. Name the video that uses marionettes of the band.
Answer:  All She Wants Is

43. What video has a girl who not only has eyes for Simon but has eyes for John as well?
Answer:  Careless Memories

44. In which video is Simon wearing a jacket with flowers on it?
Answer:  Meet El Presidente

45. Which video has Nick mouthing the words, “I’ve got it!”
Answer:  Union of the Snake

46. Which video shows John just standing while all the other people are walking?
Answer:  A-Anon by John Taylor

47. A Rolls, a powerpuff and trenchcoats. Which video do these have in common?
Answer:  The Chauffeur

48. Which video shows Andy playing in front of a speaker that is way bigger than he is?
Answer:  Take It Easy by Andy Taylor

49. In what video do we see a guitarist, but never his face?
Answer:  Skin Trade

50. In which is there an American flag on stage?
Answer:  Jerk by Neurotic Outsiders

Now, for the next set of questions! This is the usual drill. Send us answers by commenting here, an email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), a private message on facebook or a direct message on twitter! This allows everyone a chance to play without seeing any hints or answers!  For those of you still playing, we appreciate the participation and for the rest of you, now would be a good time to join in as there aren’t many choices of videos left!

51.  Tombody better be able to figure out the video that seems to use this enunciation…

52.  Brompton Cemetery is a filming location for this video.

53.  We heard the band burnt their feet while filming this one!

54.  What video was filmed at a hospital that has been used in several other TV shows and films, including “Bachelor Pad” on ABC?

55.  Which video shows road signs for Birmingham…besides our personal videos from our trip to the UK in May?

56.  Red jazz shoes and a dinghy are the clues to look for in this video.

57.  This video contains red carnations and a green parrot.  Find it!

58.  Which video uses an aquarium as a backdrop?

59.  In which video is there an alternate version in which the band is holding a sign at the end that states, “Some people would do anything to sell their records”?

60.  Which video has a grocery cart?

61.  In which video is Andy wearing a leather jacket with fringe?

62.  Which video shows a rainbow of concentric circles?

63.  This is quite possibly the first video (for this band) that featured a crowd of fans.

64.  What video is coming out in November?

Friday Night Videos: Daily Duranie Style Part 5

Like many of you, I am wishing that I was in Washington state getting ready to see Duran Duran play the first show of the tour and the first official show since May!  Yet, unfortunately, I’m in the Midwest and have to patiently wait for reports, pictures, videos and the official setlist!  Lucky for all of us, though, it is Friday and that means that it is time for another session of Daily Duranie’s version of Friday Night Videos.  Before we get to this week’s questions, here are the answers to last week’s!

31. Which video features a book that shares the title with the song title?
Answer:  Missing by Arcadia

32. Which videos shows a little kid watching a guy try to break into a car?
Answer:  Don’t Let Me Die Young by Andy Taylor

33. Which video showed someone in jail?
Answer:  Say the Word by Arcadia

34. Which video showed Simon wearing a white, winter hat?
Answer:  Grey Lady of the Sea by Simon LeBon

35. Which video has Nick on a typewriter as opposed to a keyboard?
Answer:  Breath After Breath

36. Which video uses black and white drawings of skulls?
Answer:  White Lines

37. Bonfires…animals…any Duran know this one?
Answer:  Hungry Like the Wolf

38. Which video shows Simon singing on a balcony above a pool?
Answer:  Dreamboy by Simon LeBon

39. Which videos shows an old lady sitting and drinking sherry?
Answer:  New Moon on Monday

40. In which video do people eat popcorn?
Answer:  I Do What I Do by John Taylor
Now, for the next set of questions! This is the usual drill. Send us answers by commenting here, an email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), a private message on facebook or a direct message on twitter! This allows everyone a chance to play without seeing any hints or answers! Happy video watching!!!
41.  Which video has shots of flowers like roses and orchids?

42.  Name the video that uses marionettes of the band.

43.  What video has a girl who not only has eyes for Simon but has eyes for John as well?

44.  In which video is Simon wearing a jacket with flowers on it?

45.  Which video has Nick mouthing the words, “I’ve got it!”

46.  Which video shows John just standing while all the other people are walking?

47.  A Rolls, a powerpuff and trenchcoats.  Which video do these have in common?

48.  Which video shows Andy playing in front of a speaker that is way bigger than he is?

49.  In what video do we see a guitarist, but never his face?

50.  In which is there an American flag on stage?

Friday Night Videos: Daily Duranie Style Part 4

Happy Friday, everyone!!!!  I, for one, am super duper glad that it is Friday because this work week felt like it was 3 weeks long instead of being one week long!  Anyway, I’m ready for some fun and that means it is time for a little Duran!  Yep, it is the 4th installment of the Daily Duranie Friday Night Videos Challenge!  Before my exhaustion shows too much, here are the answers to last week’s questions:

21. Which video shows a band playing in a darkened room except for a row of small, square windows?
Answer:  I Might Lie by Andy Taylor

22. Which videos does it appear that Nick’s makeup gets messed up by a pair of hands?
Answer:  Goodbye is Forever by Arcadia

23. Ropes, a compass, a wood deck…what video is this?
Answer:  Rio

24. Which video has Jane Fonda shown on screen as none other than Barbarella?
Answer:  Wild Boys

25. In which video does Simon end up in a bathtub?
Answer:  The Flame by Arcadia

26. Which video takes place in a courtroom where funk is on trial?
Answer:  I Don’t Want Your Love

27. A red walkman takes center stage as the villian in this video.
Answer:  A View to a Kill

28. This video shows Roger in a bed. Is there anyone else IN the video because Rhonda didn’t notice?
Answer:  (Reach Up For The) Sunrise

29. Fire and someone on stilts…what video is that?!?
Answer:  Serious

30. Which video shows a bird sitting on a person’s shoulder and then on a person’s head?
Answer:  Follow in My Footsteps by Simon LeBon

Now, for the next set of questions!  This is the usual drill.  Send us answers by commenting here, an email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), a private message on facebook or a direct message on twitter!  This allows everyone a chance to play without seeing any hints or answers!  Happy video watching!!!

31.  Which video features a book that shares the title with the song title?

32.  Which videos shows a little kid watching a guy try to break into a car?

33.  Which video showed someone in jail?

34.  Which video showed Simon wearing a white, winter hat?

35.  Which video has Nick on a typewriter as opposed to a keyboard?

36.  Which video uses black and white drawings of skulls?

37.  Bonfires…animals…any Duran know this one?

38.  Which video shows Simon singing on a balcony above a pool?

39.  Which videos shows an old lady sitting and drinking sherry?

40.  In which video do people eat popcorn?