Dear Nicholas

I think we all know what today’s date marks in Duran Duran world.  It’s Nick Rhodes’ 49th birthday.  As the “baby” of the band…he’s the last one to make his way over to the other side of 50, and he’s still got a full year to go!  He put out his own special birthday message today (I love that he’s taken to doing little video blogs as opposed to writing, tweeting or having a Facebook – he always has been the more visual one of the group, hasn’t he?), and within the message he makes mention of the fact that next year, he shall be hiding on this day.  To that, I have this extra special comment:

You can run Nick…but you really cannot hide.  Especially from Duranies.  We’re resourceful people.  Just saying.  


I see Nick so much differently than I do anyone else in the band.  I don’t pretend to know him – in fact, the closest I’ve ever really been to him has been across a table as he signed my Astronaut album back in 2004.  He was especially kind, as he was the one to wave my daughter and I in from the doorway to the table as we waited our turn to get to the signing table.  “Come on over”, he said as he smiled and looked me in the eye.  It was only then that I had to take an extra breath just to make sure I wouldn’t pass out on the way up to the table where all 5 band members took their turn signing the various albums, CD’s and other things that passed by.   Nick took the extra second to say hi to my daughter, and made mention that she was one of the first little ones (at the time she was 7) he’d seen that night with their moms.  To which I replied, “Have to raise them right!” as I moved on.  It was a brief moment, but a moment all the same.

I had a brief “affair” with Nick back about the time his hair was orange back in the 80’s.  (I’m sorry Roger.  I strayed.  It’s true…)  Never mind that my affair consisted of taping the pinup I had of him to the very center of my wall above my dresser mirror, and making sure it was the last thing I saw before I shut my eyes at night…to me and my then 12 or 13 year old self, it was a sordid fling!  I can still envision the pinup to this day.  Nick was there in all his glory, orange mullet-ish style hair, a grey suit with a light purple or lavender tie and that gorgeous 80’s toned makeup, complete with a purplish eye liner that I would have killed to have.  Yes, that pinup was a thing of beauty.  Occasionally I’ll see someone with that picture on their profile and to this day it still makes me look twice.   The affair was hot and toasty until one day, I saw that Nick had changed his hair color – it was probably in an interview or as a picture in another magazine, and it was over.  Back to Roger I went, and Nick was then relegated to another corner of my room once again.  I never really strayed again after that.  No, my friends, it was Roger that left me next.  *insert dramatic sigh here*  But, my fondness for Nick continues to this day.

The thing with Nick is that it’s very clear his life is well-measured and controlled.  I never, ever see the man in any kind of a stressed out craze.  Ever.  We joke that he never sweats on stage.  I honestly believe it!  I was at the recent shows at the Mayan theater here in LA, and at the Fox Theater in Pomona, and I watched Nick as he would play, then take a second, grab his little camera and snap pictures of the audience.  The man wasn’t even glistening and from what I could hear, he never missed a note.  Count me as impressed.  I can’t even brush my teeth and walk at the same time without tripping.  (ok, I can’t even walk and talk without tripping, so perhaps I’m not a fair judge of what’s impressive….)  He never appears out of breath, or anything more than calm, cool and collected.  I don’t think I ever look like that, even when my house is completely quiet, sans children!!  What I really need from Nick are lessons in how to remain calm.  Is that just a Brit thing?? (I ask because I noticed the same thing out of the Brits while I was there in London – it can be complete, utter chaos in the tube station and yet they all just stand there, calm, cool and collected.  I need to learn that skill!)  Every time I see Nick do a video update or blog, I think to myself that he is the phrase “Keep calm and carry on” personified.

It’s been a good many years since I’ve seen a technicolored Nick hair-do, and even more so since I’ve seen pictures where he is smiling in quite the same abandon that he once did when he was young.  I just don’t think I realized just how “in control” Nick really is until their reunion.  I remember reading the tour book from Astronaut and noticing he was a list-maker: a trait that I share with him (and probably countless others of you out there).  In my case, if I don’t make lists…every single day here…I forget things.   Like picking up my children at the correct time, or remembering to get 2 out of the 3 things I need at the grocery store, for instance.  I have to wonder if it’s like that for Nick.  Probably not.  He’d go insane in my household.  Then again, most people would.   I wonder if he misses coloring his hair in every shade of the rainbow?  The one thing I miss from Nick are his glorious smiles.  Every now and then we’ll get a picture of his smile – he really has a great one and he should use it more often.  In his little birthday video blog, he smiles when he talks about hiding next year – it was great!

A few of us have taken to calling Nick “The King of Spin”.  It’s true, and I don’t mean it to be quite as derogatory as it might sound.  He can make ANYTHING sound like it’s going to be fantastic.  I learned that with all of the press and updates he did for Red Carpet Massacre.  Granted, many of you out there agree that the album is fantastic – so to you – this wasn’t hard to do.  For me and a good many other people, however, Nick was at his best (and his worst…) during these updates.  If I had a dollar for every time he called it “grooooveworld”….well, I’d own the Rolls that John took out for a drive along the embankment yesterday.  (actually, I wouldn’t want it.  Too big. I’d sell it and buy myself a Maserati convertible instead!)  He is very good at PR, and Nick always seems to measure his words and phrases before he says them. He doesn’t seem to speak with his emotions, and he definitely doesn’t wear them on his sleeve the way that some others in the group might. (*cough, cough* John Taylor…)  I would love to learn the skill of making say, my son’s math grades for instance, or the challenge of parenting a teenager, sound like amazing, fantastic things that I am learning from each and every day.

Finally, there are a few of us that really think Nick is an alien. Do I need to remind you of the spaceship in the Astronaut video??  He seemed very much at home in there!  Just watching him in that small space started making my heart palpitate, and no, definitely NOT with excitement.  No sweating, always knowing what to say…that very pale skin that I’m SURE has never had a blemish of any kind….the fact that I’m pretty sure the guy never sleeps and never seems to age much….yep, he’s got to be alien.  He’s probably convinced that the human race can’t be saved at this point.  I would have to agree.  We’re beyond help.

Some believe that Nick and Simon are the heart of Duran Duran.  I don’t know if I would completely agree, but I will say that Duran Duran wouldn’t be the band they are without Nick.  I am very glad my little portion of the world includes him!  Happy Birthday Nick – and remember, you can’t hide next year.  We’ll find you.   🙂

-R

2 thoughts on “Dear Nicholas”

  1. Hi,

    I do believe Nick is the center piece of Duran Duran with Simon of course. In fact , just take a look ( well, maybe better listen to) Arcadia, but I think each member is an important piece of the puzzle. John with his magical bass and Roger with his very organic drum. I love him too because of who he is, maybe excentric but very human too. However, a friend of mine who is musician told me that Nick isn't playing live…He do some very little things but not so much.Of course we all know that lots of it are samplers, but still my friend insist that he is not playing live. I don't know… It, of course, shocked me! At the contrary John is almost perfect live and of course Simon sing and not just lipssynch thanks God, just can believe how it is possible so many singers don,t sing really on stage, but our dear Simon do sing even if he do little mistake and ruined the final of Ordinary World on a daily basis. 😉 But we love them for that too, for being human and realmusicians. But what is it for Nick? I don't know… but still even if it was real and that he didn't play for real live, I still love him because he is tha spirit of Duran Duran, the mastermind.

    Pat

  2. Yup, I've always been & always will be a 'Nick & Simon are the heart of the band' girl! Without them, the essence of DD's music wouldn't exist, as has been tested to the limit already. And don't discourage JT from sharing & oversharing – he's perfect the way he is!

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