I don’t think I need to tell anyone whose birthday it is today. I especially do not need to tell my partner-in-crime here on the blog, since she’s been a John girl since elementary school. Unlike the band, we do play favorites – and John is hers, which would mean to me that perhaps she would be better suited to write his birthday blog, but alas, you’ve got me instead.
I have “met” John Taylor exactly one time, and it was at the Virgin Megastore signing in Hollywood for the Astronaut album. My meeting went like this: Nick passed him the album, John (Not daring to even look up at the crowd pressing the table, and I am not passing judgement on him for this, because truth be told – I wouldn’t have looked up either for fear of passing out. Too many people, not enough space. Yes, I’m just a tad claustrophobic.) took the album, signed it, and as he passed it on to Simon, I found enough voice to say “It’s a beautiful album, John”, to which he looked up briefly and said “thank you”. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what person the voice came from and as such – he said thanks to the crowd of people swarming his tiny little spot on the table. The whole thing was so rushed anyway, but that’s what I’ve got for you on John as far as personal experience goes.
Of course, that’s with me right in front of him. On stage is another matter entirely. I don’t know John, but if I had to guess, when he’s on stage it’s when he feels the most alive, the most “normal”, and the most himself. It’s been years since I’ve actually sat or stood on John’s side of the stage, as Amanda will gladly tell you because much to her dismay – we always seem to end up on Dom’s side and she’s a John-girl, but in the few times I’ve sat in front of him, John always seems to make eye contact.
There was that time in Milwaukee back in 2005 when Amanda and I sang and danced to every single song the band played. (Wait, don’t we always do that?!?) Not only did John notice and insist we clap along with him, but people around us noticed as well. (So we were a little excited about the show…nothing wrong with some enthusiasm!) Then there was the time at the Sears Center in 2006 when we were in 9th row or something like that. I was singing my little heart out until Electric Barbarella came on. Admittedly, this is not my favorite Duran Duran tune of all time and I frowned a bit. Actually, I pulled a face and stopped moving for the briefest of moments…and during that time, John saw, and frowned right back at me. I thought to myself, “That can’t possibly mean he saw me. Impossible.” So I literally stuck my tongue out. (Yes, I’m a complete idiot. I dared to test the system. I know.) Well, he stuck his out as well. Awesome. (Oh, you BET I mean that with every bit of Southern California “attitude” possible.) I laughed, he laughed, and from there I realized I would end up in an early grave if this kind of mutual admiration continued…because I’d either die from embarrassment or have a heart attack.
In Atlantic City, I think this was late 2008, we saw them at the House of Blues. While Amanda and I would have preferred to be up closer to the stage, on this night it wasn’t really possible, and so we we back more than a few rows in the GA crowd. I know this is going to shock you all, but there wasn’t much on Red Carpet Massacre that I enjoyed, song-wise. The one song I do love though – is in fact Red Carpet Massacre. It holds many meanings, and at the time, was very fitting for how I felt about being a fan and the fan community in general. At the beginning of the song, John claps, and I clapped with him. Well, I don’t take instruction well, apparently, because I catch John looking in my general direction. He shakes his head – and yes, I’m deluded enough to believe he’s meaning that shake of the head for ME specifically, and shows me how to clap to the song correctly. Then when I corrected myself, he smiled and winked. (I was missing the double clap. I could blame it on the significant amount of drinking I’d already done that evening, but the fact is, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure I was looking at Dom. ) Hey, we all have our favorites!
My final example(s) would be from both the fall shows I attended as well as our little UK tour. Once again, I’m sure I would shock you all when I say that I am ready to retire Hungry Like The Wolf permanently. As such, I wait with great anticipation each show to see if they’ll play it. Well, during the show in Valley Center, the song didn’t start off quite as I’d expected – it’s done a little differently than on previous tours, so it faked me out a bit. Of course, that was until I heard those familiar chords, in which case my heart sank once again and I probably made a face, and rolled my eyes. I know Dom saw this because he grinned. Well, John had already made his way over to Dom’s side of the stage and as they sing the “Doo doo doo…” part of the chorus, he looks directly at me and sings it, almost as though he was mocking me. Even my husband noticed, and laughed at me. Honestly. If I could have gotten up on that stage, I’d have spanked John AND Dom in that moment. In Glasgow, Amanda and I were second row, nearly dead center, and during that same song, we had both John and Dom singing right at us and playing right in front of us. I’m sure they were taunting us…because as I may have mentioned before, I’m deluded enough to believe that. (We ALL have our fantasies. I won’t ruin yours if you let me have mine!)
All fun and games aside, up until a few years ago – I really didn’t feel any sort of connection with John. I know the girls all loved him when we were young, and I know all the women love him now. Yes, it’s difficult not to notice how gorgeous he is, even today. I always felt he was just a little bit removed from all of us, and I never really felt like he cared. I hate to say that, especially because I am not meaning to be harsh, but out of everyone in the band – my opinion of John has changed the most over the years. It was only after he started blogging for dd.com and joined Twitter and Facebook that I really felt like I was getting a sense of who he really was beyond the stage. John seems to be thoughtful, kind…and he has a great sense of who he has sort of become over the years for the fans. He likes to tease even though he is as coy about it as any guy I’ve ever known, and I think that for the most part, he genuinely loves the fans and cares. I dare say that out of everyone in the band, he is the one who cares about his relationship with the fans the most. I value that so much. Without sounding like too much of a crazy person (Note to self: you write a blog. About a pop band. You’re an adult female. A mom. That ship has long since sailed, lady.), I waited a long time to see any glimmer of interest, concern, or anything that even remotely rivaled a connection coming from the band to the fan base. John was the first to sort of extend that olive branch, for lack of a better description. Sure, I know it’s done as a sort of professional courtesy or promotional effort in a lot of ways, and it’s done to try and make the end sale. I still value the effort.
As I said to him today on his Facebook page, he’s been in our lives in however large or small of a part for a very long time now. I can’t imagine what my world would be like without him in it. No, he doesn’t know me from Adam and I doubt that will change in the coming years, but he needs to know that he made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. He matters to a great many humans out there, and while I know fans can be a pain in the ass at times – we love him and wish him the very happiest of birthdays. And yes, he SHOULD be celebrating!
Ooh, in my revelry about John I almost forgot to mention that I’m going on vacation! I’m off for a reasonably quick adult getaway with my husband for a change, but never fear – Daily Duranie will still be posting as normal during my absence, and I’ll be back next Thursday. Take care, be good humans – and I’ll think of you all often as I am lounging under an umbrella by the pool in the desert heat (we’re going to Vegas) Mwah!