Confession: I’d followed everything Duran from the time I was twelve — I was one of those umpty-gajillion kids with thoroughly Duran embellished walls — until just after the Powerstation project, when I sort of fell off the DD wagon and into full-blown adolescence. Sure, I knew about their next couple of albums and I bought them, but I was no longer the obsessed fan that I was as a young teen. Life happens to all of us, right?
Anyway, this Duran blurb was something related to the upcoming release of AYNIN: exciting news, indeed. But what REALLY caught my attention was at the bottom right corner of said blurb: a tiny little black and white JT icon with a little @address beside it. Hellooo, old teenage crush! John Taylor is on twitter? Wow, I haven’t thought about him in ages.. Hmm… I might just have to take another look at this Twitter thing.
So I did.
I think that for the for the first week or so I just sat back and watched. I read JT’s older tweets, his mentions; just getting acclimated to the app and to what he had to say. It was absolutely fascinating, this method of communication! (Who knew??) Then one day I happened to be logged in when JT was on and tweeting, so I thought, “what the heck?”, jumped right in and joined the fray. Tap! Tap tap! S’this thing ON?
Tweet from Random Fan: Surreal but awesome. 30 years later, getting updates from my uber teen crush, @thisistherealjt
@thisistherealjt: Surreal to me also
Tweet from Me: Surreal good, or surreal…uhh..not-so-good. Could be either, right?
Oh my god! Did that just happen? He talked back! (This thing IS on!)
I remember thinking, Man…my teenaged self would be flipping OUT over this. (I think my adult-married-with-two-kids self flipped out a little bit, too.) The JT I “knew” from all the magazine-printed facts I’d memorized as a young teen, the videos, the posters, the interviews… THAT guy was actually acknowledging the existence of ME (really, to me, my thirteen year old self) by typing a one-word response on his keyboard. All that long-forgotten energy I’d expended “loving” John Taylor as a kid came swirling right back up in a vortex of instant, hit-and-run emotional gratification. Can you say “hooked”?
That first little typed out word from him would be my tweeting gateway drug, and the beginning of my part in a running conversation he’d have with all of us for the next two years. One that we’ve all sort of settled into like a comfy chair.
During these couple years, I’ve tweeted to John (a lot! Ha!), read the occasional reply back, seen him perform on stage quite a bit, read his book, met him on a few occasions, talked to him a little. But mostly I’ve listened. I’ve heard what he’s said, and have sometimes seen the significance of what he’s left unsaid. He’s been generous in putting himself out there like he has. I’m sure it can’t always be easy for him to do that. Funny thing though, I would swear that he actually liked it! Liked talking with us, and probably liked just listening, too. It never felt forced or that he was doing it solely to promote something (notice i said ‘solely’. Even I’m not stupid enough to believe that wasn’t a part of it at times.)
But then JT fell off the Twitter grid. When he was quiet in December, and even through January, I imagined that maybe he’d just decided to take a breather from all things Duran, from Pleasure Groove stuff, from ANY thing that required him to be ‘on’.
“He deserves a break!”, I read so much during this time. “He’s exhausted!”, I saw. Absolutely, I thought.
He’d been working non-stop the last couple of years, so it was understandable that he might choose to self-impose a time out. To quietly turn off the blackberry and hide its charger somewhere safe–just for a while–until he’d fully recharged himself. He’d be back around soon enough (‘of course he would!’), and we’d continue our conversation as if this blip of silence had never happened at’all.
But winter marches on, and the lasting reticence of my twitter pal is deafening. Instead of an affable turning off, it’s starting to feel like he’s slammed down the phone and jerked the cord out of the wall. Like he’s made up his mind to cease all communication, period; to end this long chat with the sharpness of a director’s clapboard — SLAP! Just like that. Connection with JT has flatlined.
Others have shared some goings on over the last few months, which is cool. I appreciated hearing about his recent award ceremony: seems a lot of love surrounded him that night, which makes me ridiculously happy for him. He’s studied to become a half US citizen now — Love that, too. And he’s probably gone back to England, hopefully getting ready to start stirring up a lil Duran somethin-somethin. All good things.
But its just not the same, is it? A big part of the Twitter connection is the two-way-streetness of it. That even when he doesn’t say anything, the line is still open to say something to him. And I’m fairly sure he used to hear all that, and that was the special bit. For me, having John on Twitter hasn’t been just about what he decides to share but that he’s cared enough to listen back. Must be the extrovert in me that likes to know that I can talk to him and there is at least a chance that he’ll hear me. Otherwise, what’s the point of all this? I can get news from anywhere. It’s the interaction that matters, and for a long time we had it. Totally just a gut feeling, but I think that line’s been cut. Is it a temporary thing? Who knows? Was it something we said? No idea. One thing we can be sure of, though: he now has an “off switch” that is fully functional. And maybe that’s a good thing for him.
I’d love to be able to tell him that we all miss him around here. I think he knows that, though. He’s a pretty smart cookie. I’d also like to tell him that if this is something he needs to do for himself — for whatever reasons — that we’ve got his back (even though I really hate it from this end). And I’d also tell him we’ll still be here when (if?) he decides it’s time to open up the lines again. Cause that is what friends do. They leave a light on.
Mostly, I hope he’s so happy that he can’t stand himself. Truly, inexhaustibly, ferociously happy.
Much love your way, brutha. Much love.
Jonee has been a fan of Duran Duran ever since she saw John Taylor running down the streets of Sri Lanka bare chested in Hungry Like the Wolf when it came on Friday Night Videos (she was 12). She missed a great deal of touring since her first show in ’84 (life, college, grad school, family, yadda yadda), but has since come back into the Duranie fold just in time for this whirlwind All You Need Is Now tour. She loves the band and all the ridiculously cool friends she’s made through them. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the mom of two kids, and is currently trying to convince her sweet husband that she needs to see Duran Duran just one more time..