Get Angry at the Weekend and Go Back to School

Tuesday evening, I went to a meeting to discuss possible political work with the people who were my campaign volunteers.  I looked forward to the meeting as I miss many of the people now that it isn’t campaign season.  Yet, instead of enjoying myself, I found myself increasingly frustrated.  Why?  Well, our discussion included the results in the last election, which included results on three seats for our local school district’s board.  Now, as you all know, I’m a teacher and many of my team are current or former teachers as well.  (That probably says something about Wisconsin teachers!)  Anyway, the discussion moved away from the results to discussion on the new superintendent of the district.  During this never-ending discussion, everyone kept asking me what I thought about the new person, what her plans are, what she has done as far as outreach was concerned, etc.  Eventually, the discussion became just about education, in general, and different mandates within my district.  After an hour, I wanted to beat my head against the wall.  Do I have some opinions about the state of my district?  Of course.  Do I have thoughts about the school board results?  Sure.  Do I have a few ideas on the new superintendent?  Maybe.  Yet, we weren’t there to discuss all that.  We weren’t.  We were there to discuss possible upcoming political actions.  We weren’t there to debate actions on education, either.  What irritates me is that a number of these people ALWAYS ask me about teaching and the state of education and only about that!  I understand why they do.  They know that I’m a teacher.  It seems logical to them.  For me, though, I don’t have those meetings to talk about WORK.  I am there to talk about other things.  I talk about work plenty when I am at work.  I want a break from work.  Is that too much to ask for?

After the meeting, I arrived home to check on the online world, including facebook.  That night, like I frequently see, someone had posted an article by a teacher who talked about why he would not encourage anyone to go into teaching.  That didn’t surprise me.  Yet, I made the mistake of looking at the comments that followed.  A number of comments were offering support to teachers and how hard our job must be.  Unfortunately, a number of them were usual anti-teaching rants about how little we work since we only work until 3 and how we get so many days off and summers, etc.  Yeah…that isn’t the first time I have read/heard things like that.  It won’t be the last.  My only response to those comments is that I would gladly allow them to take over my job for a full calendar year so they can see how wrong that comment is.  As I tried to sleep that night, I pondered about how both the meeting and the comments were expressing the same thing.  They want me to be a teacher at all times and do nothing but think, breathe and talk teaching and education.  I shouldn’t want to talk about anything.  I shouldn’t want to have other thoughts or interests.  I shouldn’t want to take a break from it ever.  Teaching should be my only identity.  I shouldn’t be an organizer/campaigner/activist.  I shouldn’t be a fan/writer/blogger.  I am not sure where my friends and family should fit in.  Maybe they shouldn’t be that important either.  Nope, it should be all teaching, all the time.

Clearly, I don’t think it is fair of people at my meeting or the random people posting comments to think that I should only talk about teaching.  I think we would all agree that people aren’t just their jobs.  People should be allowed to have other interests, no matter what your job is or how important it is.  I shouldn’t have to just think about teaching.  I should be allowed to have a life outside of work.  I bet everyone reading this would agree with this.  Yet, I wonder if we really think this for the members of Duran.  Do they have a right to think about something outside of their JOB?  Can they think or talk about something other than Duran or something else connected to Duran?  Do we as fans let them?    I wonder if we do.  This week, for example, Simon showed up on Twitter.  The first tweet I noticed was about Margaret Thatcher’s passing.  Soon after that, my timeline was filled with tweets to Simon.  Were they tweets about her death?  Were they tweets reacting to what Simon said?  From what I saw, they weren’t, for the most part.  Many of the tweets were about the band and the work in the studio.  Is this just like the people at my meeting who seemed to think I would want to talk about work when I’m not at work?  While I understand how we all want to know what is going on in the studio and how the album is going, should Simon and the others only get to talk about work?  After all, Duran is just their job.  Yes, it is a big part of their lives but it isn’t their whole lives.  They have ideas outside of the band.  They have other interests.  I know what some of you are saying…but they are celebrities.  Their job is different than yours and mine.  True.  They are.  Yes, their job is different than mine.  What part of being a celebrity means that they can or should only think about work?  Maybe, I’m missing something but I think they should be allowed to think and talk about other things.

Then, of course, I have also seen some criticism around Duran’s time in the studio.  Where/when did this criticism come from?  I saw some of it as soon as John’s book talk in Copenhagen was announced for April 17th.  Then, when Roger’s DJ Set in Chicago was announced for April 25th, the criticism increased.  “Shouldn’t they be in the studio?  Shouldn’t they be working more?  Why are they taking breaks?  This album will never get done.  Why isn’t the album their priority?”  I could keep going but those are some of the things I have been hearing.  Isn’t this like those people who criticize teachers like me for getting a break?  Some people are allowed breaks but others aren’t?  Is this fair?  I get it.  People want the album to be done as quickly as possible.  We all want the album today or, at the very latest, next week.  We love Duran music and we would love to hear new music from them.  That said, they aren’t machines.  They are people who do create and perform music for their careers.  I believe, though, that they, like everyone else, need breaks.  Breaks help people be productive.  Also, they are involved in the creative arts.  I don’t believe that people can just be creative every single day to the same level as the same as the day before and the same level as  the day after.  People can’t control creativity like this.  I know that my mom, who is an artist, can’t.  She has times when nothing hits her.  She may try to work on something and nothing shows well.  Then, at other times, she can’t stop her creativity.  On those days, I think my dad has to make her step away from her work just to eat.  I know that I feel this way with writing.  Some days, I don’t feel like I can even write a sentence and if I do, none of them make sense.  Other days, I wish that I could just write the whole day and all of it sounds fabulous.

I think my point here is that I’m not just my profession and should be allowed to have breaks and other interests.  Likewise, John, Simon, Dom, Roger and Nick are in a band for their careers.  They, too, should be allowed to have other interests and be allowed to have breaks.  Maybe, I’m crazy but I don’t think their fame took away this element of their humanity.

-A

11 thoughts on “Get Angry at the Weekend and Go Back to School”

  1. the social media boom has been awesome, don't get me wrong but there is a problem with it. I think that we know too much about what they are doing. Back in 1983, and they were working on 7ATRT did we know how much time they spent in the studio? Did we know how much partying they were doing? did we know where they were every minute of the day? most of us did not, and that album (and every other one since) have gotten finished just the same. It's like Christmas Eve, the sooner we let ourselves think of something else and drift off to sleep…the time will zoom by, and before we know it, we'll wake up and the new album will be ready.

  2. I never did critics on their “gaps”, since very often amazing releases came out (The Power Station and Arcadia, for example.)
    Actually, I think they got the right to take all the time they need to work on DD and they also have the right to do something different.
    Full respect to the guys and to every other longtime successfull musician who takes a break!

  3. I guess I didn't make this clear. I think they should be able to take breaks from work. That work could include working on a Duran project, a solo project, a side project, social networking, etc.

    -A

  4. People that are posting the 'they should be in the studio' posts need to seriously rethink their priorities. I think sometimes people forget that the band members are human beings that have families and friends and a lot of things that go on outside of their jobs. Being in the band is their job, not their entire lives. I think that pretty much goes for anyone that has an 'all consuming job'. If you don't have a job like that, then you don't understand. Pure and simple. I'm constantly annoyed by people that make posts like that as well, but I think that I mostly just feel sorry for them.

    I promise that next time I see you Amanda, I won't talk to you about teaching:)

  5. But do we really know too much about what they're doing? They only tweet when they like, and to be completely honest – I miss plenty of it, meaning that I am not online to find their tweets 24/7, and I really don't care how long they are or are not in the studio. It's none of our business, right?

    That said, this post isn't about the new album. It's about treating them as PEOPLE. Why do we always have to talk about the band with them? I mean – sure, it's the obvious common denominator, but if you really want to talk to them, how about allowing them to talk about something else for a change? It doesn't always need to come back full circle to the band, especially when they've tweeted about something else entirely.

    I don't know, I get the feeling people don't really get it – and that fascinates me. I am a mom, and yet when I go out with my friends, as much as I love my kids (and I really do!), I am perfectly content to talk about my other zillion interests. It's actually nice to leave the stress of child rearing and being married behind for just a little while. Being a mom doesn't completely define who I am, what I like or what I want to talk about. Why would the band be any different?

    -R

  6. This is a very interesting subject Amanda, I have the idea that maybe the fact that they do different activities outside the band is a great thing. First, it give them the oportunity to live something different that can lead each one of them to have new ideas. Second, it offer them a moment outside the band. It is important, imagine yourself at your work days after days in a very closed space. It can lead to tensions and if there is a thing we don't want is a break in the band. They already had their histories in the past. We now have the band almost complete (I don't have special good feeling about Andy but he was the guitar player of the most famous era)it would be sad to lose again one of the great original member. How many bands exploded even if they were famous and succesful? Think only at the Beatles and Pink Floyd, and even recently Bon Jovi. So some escape for each one is good. I personaly loved many of the work they have done that way, Arcadia, The Devils, TV Mania etc. There is a danger here, if the project have too much success. Probably Power Station influence Andy to leave giving him the (false) idea that he could be successful alone. But a superb project like TV Mania or Arcadia cannot be as popular because of the less commercial approach. I love each member but I think the magic came alive when they are all together. So each thing that can help them stay together and giving us great records for a long time is welcome.

    Pat

  7. I don't disagree about side project. Yet, the point of the blog was really that the members of Duran should be able to have a break from ALL work–whether that is Duran Duran, solo work, or side projects. Side projects are work, too.

    -A

  8. A lot of people thought just like you, Pat. It's okay. I must try to be clearer next time.

    I'm sure that their lives are fun and comfortable but I'm also sure that they have pressures and worries just like the rest of us.

    -A

  9. I agree with you Amanda. Lifes like that are surely incredibly fun and give a lot. But the pressure is enormous. Just to see how many of them fall into drug or alcool say a lot. I believe each thing in life have is good side and his bad side in proportion. But being a good thing in so many people's life have to be a great feeling too. They surely are in mine almost all days and make me happy and they helped me so many times in my bad moments. They made me less alone often.

    Pat

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!