The plan for the signing was pretty simple. I would leave my house around noon and head to Chicago to meet up with friends. Then, at 5-5:30, we would head to the City Winery for a meetup consisting of dinner before the event there. I had an uneventful drive down without any traffic or weather problems. In fact, I was able to make a couple of campaign related phone calls so I felt pretty good by the time I arrived. I found my friends, easily, and enjoyed some nice conversation. Once we got into the City Winery itself, it was a bit overwhelming as the Duranies seem to come out of the woodwork! Normally, for meetups, the group is rather small or the setting is such that I would know that everyone there was for the meetup. This time, though, I doubted that everyone was there for the Daily Duranie’s meetup. I wished that my partner-in-crime was with me as I figured that together we might be able to recognize everyone, or most everyone. I did the best I could to mingle, but if I missed you and you were there, I’m sorry!
Finally, it seemed like it was time that they let us into the room where we would eat dinner and where John would do the reading and question and answer session. My friends and I were in the center, front section. In each section, there were 8 to 10 tables and I was in the last one of our section. This was fine for me as I had a great view of everything but wasn’t right on the stage. As we all know, I don’t necessarily do well for in that circumstance! We ordered glasses of wine and dinner but it seemed to take forever. It took a long time for them to take our order and to bring the order. Even then, they totally forgot to bring food to one person at our table. It goes without saying that the service wasn’t that impressive, but we didn’t have much choice.
According to everything I read and heard, John was supposed to come on at 7:30. He arrived early and he arrived before many of us were done eating. I didn’t like that as I wanted to give him my undivided attention. Luckily, I was just about done with my food so that I could focus solely on him. John and the interviewer sat on chairs in the middle of the stage with a small, round table in between them. There was a podium set up as well but John never used it. Instead, he remained in his seat even while he was reading. Then, on both sides of the stage were large screens that showed pictures that matched the readings. The event went as follows: The interviewer asked John questions, then he did a reading, then more questions from the interviewer followed by questions from the audience and a final reading. After that, we all lined up for the signing, which was in a different location in the building. The pre-signing part of the event lasted over an hour and a half but I would have sat there forever. Forever. I don’t think I moved at all. I heard some people were talking during it or doing other things and I couldn’t begin to relate to that. I couldn’t imagine missing a single second of it. In fact, my phone was buzzing from constant campaign calls and emails. None of which I took during that time. Nope. It was all about John Taylor.
Of all three parts (reading, interview, question and answer session), I generally liked the reading the best, which surprised me. I figured that I would like that the least since I have read the book and am in the middle of listening to it as well. Yet, as wonderful as it is to listen to the book on audio, it is something magical to hear and SEE John read the book in person. While the audio provides an insight, seeing the body language and facial expressions only enhanced that. He read three sections: Going to church, the legal age information on tour and the final chapter. I understand that he read many of those same chapters at other signings, but I still find them fascinating. First of all, we just recently had quite a discussion on here about John’s feelings about church. Did his reading change how I look at it? Not really. I think it only confirmed the conclusion we came to during the discussion. Second, that last chapter really got to me. It got to me when I read it the first time and I know it did for Rhonda as well based on the flurry of emails that were exchanged at that time. I won’t give it away other than to say that John gets it. He totally knows what fandom is really all about. It is what we are all about here, on the blog, which is that fandom should be and is about bringing people together, making that connection. I have to admit that hearing and seeing him read this part right in front of me almost brought tears to my eyes. I don’t think I could become a bigger fan than I was at that very moment.
The question and answer session seemed short to me, but, it probably wasn’t. Maybe, it is because John didn’t have a lot to say for all of the questions. Most of the questions were ones that we might expect, such as which bassline would you have liked to have written or what song should have made it on the Thank You album. Those questions are fine but I always prefer the ones that pertain to just John and his autobiography. After all, the book is about him and not about Duran. Now, I could have raised my hand to ask a question but I didn’t. I am very shy in those types of settings. What would I have asked him? I had two questions in mind. First, I wondered about the writing process. Did he have an outline or a plan of what each chapter would be about or did he just write about his life? Did he have a message that he wished to convey in each chapter? Second, I wondered if he wanted to really show his identity in this book. While the book is about his life and his events, does it, if he wanted, show WHO he is rather than WHAT he has done and felt. Alas, my scared self sat quietly watching and hoping for questions that would catch my attention. I did like the question about how he didn’t include much of his solo days. He talked about how, at that time, he could have been on that fan forums 24 hours a day/7 days a week when someone in the crowd yelled out, “Me, too!” We all got a serious laugh out of that, including John!
The interview didn’t do much for me as I have seen and heard about 50,000 interviews lately with John being asked questions regarding the book. I did like when John talked about the other guys reading his book. Specifically, he talked about Nick’s reaction when John gave him his copy. John impersonated Nick well and explained that Nick was excited about the smell and that was it as he has no plans to read it. That said, even though the interview didn’t excite me that much, I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time hoping it would go on forever!!!
Soon enough, it was over and we were all on our feet giving him a round of applause. Then, we lined up for the signing part. I was thrilled to be next to some fabulous Duranies as it made the seemingly forever wait tolerable. Of course, I didn’t want to be rushed when it was my turn so that helped keep me from being too anxious about how long it was taking. I had spent some time trying to think about what I wanted to say but found myself throwing it all out. Thus, by the time I was getting close, I didn’t have much of an idea of what I was going to say. They did have us put our name on a post-it so John wouldn’t have to guess at spelling, etc, which has to be a big help. The only thing I really knew is that I wanted to get a book signed for me and a book for the other half. I had a UK copy and an American copy. When I got to John, he greeted me with a long “hello!” I responded in kind back. Before I could say anything else, he noticed that I had a British copy. I confirmed his statement. (I’m so awesome at being super articulate in front of idols, aren’t I? First, I tell the President that I’m tired from non-stop campaigning. Then, all I am able to say to John is “hi” and “yes”.) In my book, he wrote my name, signed his and drew a little picture in the corner. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. By the time he was done with the doodle, I found my voice long enough to ask him if he would be willing to sign a book “for my friend, Rhonda, the other half of the Daily Duranie.” He said, “Sure.” Notice that I’m better asking for her as I’m not good at asking for myself! Maybe, that’s why I don’t have any pictures, but that’s another story for another day. Now, in Rhonda’s book, he also drew a picture. By then, I understood that he drew a British flag in my UK copy and an American flag in Rhonda’s. They complement each other, which is so fitting I can barely stand it! It is almost like he understands our friendship as that it exactly what we do, here on the blog and in real life!!! Craziness! By this point, I was feeling a smidge braver so I stretched out my arm and offered him a Daily Duranie wristband. When I handed it to him, I didn’t expect much other than for him to glance at it and put it to the side. Funny enough, when I walked by later, he was wearing it! I couldn’t have asked for more!
The drive home went by quickly despite the late hour and the absolute exhaustion that I have been living with. John Taylor was everything I had hoped for and more. He brought his already fabulous book alive that night for me. On top of that, I felt a connection in the sense that I think he gets a little part of me, a little part in all of us fans. I will always adore the fact that Rhonda’s book and mine complement each other. Then, he was so very generous to wear our wristband. It was truly the icing on the cake. Thus, for part of one day, I got away from not only the insane work but I was transported to my happy place, one of fandom, friends and life long connections. Thank you, John Taylor.
Me looking very fan-like!! (from Duran’s facebook!)
Cropped pic of John wearing the wristband (from DD’s facebook)