I woke up this morning feeling like I was supposed to do something or that today is important for some reason. What the heck could it be? What could be so important on October 27th? Should that date mean something to me???? I don’t think it has anything to do with Duran, right? If it did, I would, for sure, remember, wouldn’t I? Of course, I would, right?
So, anyone doing anything fun this weekend? I bet those guys in Duran aren’t doing anything special…oh wait. Crap. Today does mean something! It is not only a Duran member’s birthday but it is a big one. A monumental one. On this date sixty years ago, our favorite lead singer and yours was born!! This is definitely one birthday that I’m happy to acknowledge and celebrate.
As a kid, I have to admit that I first took notice of Simon out of all the guys. He is the lead singer, after all! While I’m not sure which song or video I first heard or saw, I am willing to bet that it was Hungry Like the Wolf. Clearly, that video is designed for Simon to be the hero, the adventurer, the James Bond character of sorts. I remember just thinking about how cool and brave he was! I would never cross the bridge that he did or hang out in that water. Nope. No way. I am one big ‘ole scaredy-cat.
This, of course, was followed up with lots of other videos and live clips that were equally as amazing. By the time Seven and the Ragged Tiger came out, I would have declared myself a Simon fan, a Simon girl. Shocking, I know. While I admit that this did not last, thanks to John Taylor and the video for the Reflex, it wasn’t like I no longer liked him. I probably would have even said he was my number two then. Goodness, we have all seen Simon in New Moon on Monday and the Reflex, right? I especially liked him being the leader of the resistance in NMOM.
Of course, his coolness factor continued through the 1980s and 1990s and even until the 2000s. In fact, even he was still so cool to me that when the reunion rolled around and I began to think that it might be possible to actually meet the band after hearing so many stories that I assumed that he would always be off limits. He just seemed so dang rock star to me, then!
During the Astronaut days, I had the chance of seeing Simon out and about. I never even attempted to approach him. In fairness, part of it was the fear that I would be rejected or worse. I couldn’t handle that so I claimed that I didn’t want to ever meet him or suggested that my fandom was better than that. It is funny how we say and do things to protect ourselves. Fast forward to the Red Carpet Massacre era and to a little cd signing event in Chicago in 2007. I figured that this would be my best chance to “meet him” without fear of rejection. After all, this was an official event. I wouldn’t be bothering him outside of a venue or at a hotel. During this signing, I would face Simon first. I avoided thinking about that by being on the phone with Rhonda up until the last minute. In fact, I was so focused on the conversation that I didn’t bother to undo the plastic wrapping of the cd in order to get out the insert for them to sign. As I stood in front of Simon trying desperately to open up the cd as quickly as humanly possible, I couldn’t believe how ill-prepared I was. Not good. Finally, he says in an impatient voice, “Just give it to me.” Initially I thought he was being mean but after looking at his signature along with a heart, I think he was trying to put me out of my misery. The experience made me wonder. Did I have this guy all wrong???
Then, 2011 happened. As I’m sure you all remember, 2011 was the year of All You Need Is Now. It was also the year that Simon lost his voice. Suddenly, I felt concern. I felt sympathy in a way that I had never when it came to Simon. Being Mr. Cool Rockstar meant that he didn’t need concern, at least in the back of my mind. With his vocal loss, I found myself viewing him in a much more human way, in a much more complex way. This feeling was only reinforced by a million once Rhonda and I flew over to the UK only to have all of our shows canceled. Instead of being angry, I felt protective, which only grew when I saw the man stand in front of me and other Duranies explaining that he didn’t think he would be able to sing. I saw his humanity in a way that I hadn’t ever before.
This new understanding of Simon combined with my love for the song, Before the Rain, which I think really captures Simon’s true genius. The lyrics are such that they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For me, it spoke to a time in which I lost my grandma and beloved cat right before my profession came under attack. Lines like “I hear the silence waiting to fall” and “a stormy summer” really spoke to me during this time. The song provided comfort when I needed it. Not to mention the fact that I loved this as a show opener.
Then, there’s the most recent era surrounding Paper Gods. This is when things really got fun. If you read Rhonda’s blog from Thursday, you know what I’m talking about. Basically, we enjoy the heck out of giving Simon a hard time. Of course, that has taken a variety of forms. Maybe it means that we hide or turn our backs when he is about to spit during White Lines. Perhaps, it is shown when we decide to paint our shoes green to match his.
Yes, clearly, we enjoy giving him a hard time but we think he likes to give it right back to us. For instance, there was the time in Paso Robles when he came to the edge of the stage with his mouth beyond full with water during White Lines. He watched us as our eyes widened before we started searching for some sort of cover before he then swallowed the water and laughed. Yep. We laughed right back. Truly, some of my best moments of being a fan has been when we are either giving him a hard time or vice versa. It doesn’t have to be serious, after all, does it?
On a more serious note, while I’m thankful for all the wonderful words and songs that Simon helped to create, I’m more thankful for the little things that he has taught me about myself and how to approach life. I learned to have fun even with people you look up to. I learned not to be so fearful of rejection. I also learned about the power of being openly vulnerable as I watched Simon openly grieve his mother’s passing at shows in the summer of 2017.
On that note, I want to celebrate this big birthday by watching one of my favorite Duran clips ever which is Simon’s 50th birthday gift. Then, I asked that people share their favorite Simon performance or lyric. It would be cool if we could get at least 60 favorites!
Happy 60th Simon!!!! Hope it is filled with lots of happiness and love!