The very first song I ever heard from Duran Duran was Planet Earth, believe it or not. I don’t know the exact date, although I know it was in 1981 and I was in the 6th grade, which where I’m from meant it was my first year of intermediate school. I heard it on the radio, and I was listening to KROQ after school one day in my room. I lived in Glendora, CA – and KROQ was *the* station to be listening to if you were “cool”. I wasn’t cool, but I wanted to hear what the fuss was about. I remember turning to the station, and hearing the opening sounds of Planet Earth. It was completely different from the other music I’d been hearing all of my life up until that point – my parents were never avid music listeners that I was ever aware of, although my mom loved Elvis Presley and they’d play records on our stereo from time to time. Up until then, my own music collection consisted of some Disney records, a few Alvin and the Chipmunks albums, and two K-TEL compilation records, no – I’m not joking. As soon as the music came on, I distinctly remember being both intrigued, but also shocked because I was expecting “nothing but noise”. Why? My parents told me that’s what most radio stations played. 😀 When Simon started singing, I thought it was fantastic! I loved the beat and the bass rhythm and how it played off of the guitar – and of course the keyboards just added to the ambiance. I was dying to know who this band was, and I remember that when the DJ (and sadly I don’t even remember who the DJ was at the time) said the name, I laughed because the name sounded so silly! He said it was new, and that we’d be hearing more from them. I didn’t really think much more of Duran Duran until my friend Marsha had me over to her house one night for a sleepover – I believe it was probably summer at this point, but I’m not positive. I loved going to her house because there were no bedtimes, and she had a TV right up in her room that we could watch! She told me that I was going to love this new video show, and that they played this band that we’d been talking about at school – Duran Duran of course. It was on very late, so we stayed up, and sure enough they played Hungry Like the Wolf. That pretty much sealed the deal, because not only could the band play, they were super cute too!! It wasn’t long after that when Marsha and I bought our first DD t-shirts and albums (I can remember standing in Wherehouse records debating over whether to buy the first DD album or Rio – and yes, it was a choice because my parents were not going to buy me more than one album at a time. As my dad used to say, “We’re not made of money, Rhonda Lynn.” I bought the first album, and went back for Rio a couple weeks later.). Then of course came the poster buying. I would openly offer to go grocery shopping with my mom every single Sunday because I knew that while she was in the produce section, I could get away to go check out the new magazines, and I could almost always come away with at least one new magazine with Duran Duran pictures. I would sit at home, read the entire magazine cover to cover (well, the Duran Duran parts anyway – and at that point, they were all OVER the magazine!), and then meticulously cut out each pinup for my wall. My room was painted “Springtime green” (think about one shade off from neon green…and no, it was not my choice of color.), and over a remarkably short period of time – it got to the point where there wasn’t much green showing. I had the band all over my walls. I suppose that’s when I should have realized that the band wasn’t just a passing interest, but something that would stick with me well beyond my childhood.
It’s now 2010, and I am turning 40 years old on Sunday. When I sit back and think about where I was back then versus where I am now, I have no idea how I got here. The time feels like it’s flown by so incredibly fast. I don’t think I EVER considered that I’d eventually grow up back when I was cutting those pictures out of magazines, and I certainly never thought about the fact that I would eventually have a husband, three children – and that I’d never play for the LA Philharmonic the way I thought I would. It just didn’t occur to me to even think that far ahead, I guess. I suppose that’s the joy of childhood, and I am very lucky I had the chance to really be that carefree. There are times when I wonder what ever happened to the fearless 11 or 12 year old in me, but sometimes, I still get a glimpse of that girl. Every time I go to a Duran Duran show, she comes to visit. (and I really like her!) When I see the band do an interview on TV, I can feel her bursting out – squealing away in complete joy when Nick smiles or John raises an eyebrow – or if Roger twirls a stick on stage. The other day one of my friends posted the video for New Moon on Monday on their facebook page. It was one of the longer versions, and I had a free couple of minutes, so I watched it. I giggled as I watched the band pass out those flyers to people on the street, I laughed when Simon made a face at the girl who was waving the flag down a narrow alley, and I also waited to see the part where we all now Simon was hit by a horse. I could feel that young girl inside of me stir again, ready for whatever came next. My moments with her are often fleeting – but it’s good to know that she’s still there.
Turning 40 tends to make me feel melancholy rather than powerful at the moment, mainly because I look back and think of what I’ve lost over the years. I miss the freedom of youth, the joy of making decisions without having to check with 4 other people, my father (a terrible, terrible loss that I still have yet to make peace with), and the excitement of looking ahead to adulthood. That said, I’m trying very hard to feel optimistic about what comes next for me. I am learning to look ahead rather than continually looking back – it’s a work in progress. I am looking forward to seeing my oldest achieve all that she’s dreamed of and worked towards, I can’t wait to see my son graduate from high school and then go on to be an amazingly smart college student – if I can just keep him out of trouble in the meantime, and I really wonder what kind of person my little girl, my two year old, will become. She’s super smart, and never fails to make me laugh….even today at 6am when she’s calling for me to “help her”…and yet what she really means is, “I am up for the day and we’re going to play!!” My kids are my life, and truthfully, I think they help to keep me looking for my inner 12 year old.
The joy of writing this blog each day is that I spend a few moments writing about something I dearly love. As a mom of a 13 year old daughter, an 11 year old son that is on the autistic spectrum and a 2 year old “surprise gift”…my life is extremely full. I haven’t had a pedicure since before my youngest came along, and I’ve only just recently got back to where I’m going to get my hair cut and colored. (primarily because I’m definitely NOT at peace with my own gray hair yet) This blog gives me time to enjoy my inner 12 year old, but also practice what I spent my years in college doing – writing about popular culture. My goal is to not just write about the news – but also examine what makes our fan community tick. As a result, this blog has forced me to combine my adult persona with the young fan within. I might be turning 40, but I am still living. I’ve been asked many times when I’ll stop going to shows, take down the posters I still have up in my tiny walk-in closet, and when I’ll “finally grow out of this”. My answer? I hope I go to my grave listening to this band, because without music, what is there?
With that, I am off to pack. I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend with my husband and another couple who are our closest friends. If I’m going to turn 40, I’m going to do it my way, in the City of Sin. 🙂