Inside this gilded cage

I was able to take some time and catch the Robert Elms (BBC London) interview with Lori Majewski and Nick Rhodes. Here’s the link for those of you who want to listen. (It starts with Girls on Film at about the 2:31:00 mark)

For the first half, Robert spoke with Nick as they were having “technical difficulty” getting Lori patched in from New York. They talked about New Wave, and how even on American charts – most of the acts were British. Nick spoke of how British acts really wanted to make their mark in America. He also talked about the diversity of the charts and what was available at the time.  At this point, Lori is on the line and is able to say that we were very much caught in “middle-aged” American tastes. She’s right. I can remember being at my sitter’s house after school and having to listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” over and over again. On 8-track. It really is a wonder how I made it through that year before I finally discovered KROQ and heard Planet Earth for the first time.

They continue on this theme, and it seems almost astounding to Robert Elms, and I suppose many Brits, that here in America it wasn’t places like New York and LA that drove New Wave. It was suburbia.  Lori makes the point that MTV didn’t arrive in NYC or LA (proper) until 1983, but places in middle-America had MTV far earlier. It was when radio stations began getting requests to play Girls on Film in the middle-of-anywhere Kansas or Florida that suddenly New Wave got a foothold. Thank goodness, otherwise we might still be listening to the Piña Colada Song…

Lori also talks about John Hughes films, which, if you’re not from America, I’m just not sure the importance comes across. You just cannot really imagine how vital those films were to 1980s coming-of-age. Movies such as Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire…those films were what framed our adolescence. They set the bar for what American teens wanted to look like and be like, and that music really became not only part of the soundtracks for those movies, but for our lives. Much of that music IS New Wave.

I think back on my pre-teen/teen years and it’s really impossible to untangle it all. Unlike many people who chose to write off the 80s as some sort of style experiment gone off the rails, those years matter to me. They made me who I am. I interviewed Lori Majewski several months back (you can read that interview here) and we talked the reasons why Duran Duran fans respond so emotionally to the band, even today. Why does this band matter so much to us?  Many of us were so young when the band was at the height of its popularity, I know that in my case, I didn’t even have the opportunity to see them (Duran Duran) until I was in college.  Even seeing them today has the potential to live out (some of) the fantasies that rolled through my head back when I was twelve. That undaunted, unbridled, RAW teen emotion still exists within. For many, that emotion is not only what keeps us returning for more, it is also what drives us to do some of the crazy things we hear about. Not that I’m judging.  After all, I’ve bought tickets to shows I openly swore I would not be attending, I’ve fawned over a band member or two in my time…and I write a blog. When I picture my fandom, I see it as that leopard in a cage that a certain song mentions. Occasionally, the leopard gets out. I’ll bet yours does too.

-R

3 thoughts on “Inside this gilded cage”

  1. I love music, and enjoy many kinds of music, even as a kid. Which is part of the reason I did not fit in with most of the kids I grew up with. Plus it is also why I still have difficulties hanging out with people my own age, now. I loved listening to music with both my Mother, and my Grandma. From the time I was 3yrs old I was listening to Swing, Big Band, Country and Western, Blues, Dixieland Jazz, Classical, and of course Rock’n’Roll (long live Disco). Today I still listen to all of those types of music, as well as modern artists like Lady Gaga, and LMFAO. I want to hear the next new music, which is why I have difficulty understanding why most people seem to stop wanting to hear new music by newer artists, once they reach a certain age. I’m 42yrs old now, I go to dance clubs with 20-somethings and dance to whatever is playing whether it’s Techno, or Dub-step, etc.
    In my opinion Kenny Rogers is a wonderful artist and “The Gambler” an excellent song, and “Escape” (mistakenly known as The Pina Colada Song) by the artist Rupert Holmes is a very sweet song. Personally, I find Lady Gaga’s song “As Free As My Hair” to be inspiring, and LMFAO’s song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” to be a positive, self-affirming, feel-good song.
    So, why can’t adults try to appreciate newer music inspired by the artists they grew up listening to, and kids try to appreciate the music that influenced the newer artists they listen too? What has age got to do with your own personal tastes in music or anything else for that matter? I am a Duranie, and I will shout their praises as well as defend their honor till my dieing day, but first and foremost I Love MUSIC (I can only think of 3 types of music that I actively dis-like), so I will also shout the praises of any artist that in my opinion deserves it, not just Duran Duran. If I live to be 80yrs old, I’ll still be listening to all the music that I grew up enjoying, as well as listening to the newest chart toppers. As for the small amount of music I actively dis-like, well for one thing I do not go around making fun of it or of those who do like it.

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