Yesterday’s winner: Electric Barbarella
Switching band members today. In which video does DOM look better: Falling Down or All You Need Is Now?
Yesterday’s winner: Electric Barbarella
Switching band members today. In which video does DOM look better: Falling Down or All You Need Is Now?
Happy Monday, Duran fans! Welcome to a brand new week. If I cannot be on tour, I cannot think of a better way to begin the week than with a huge Duran Duran holiday, celebrated by fans around the world. No, today isn’t Duran Duran Appreciation Day, it is the anniversary of the very first time the band in its classic, five-piece lineup of: Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Le Bon, Rhodes played The Rum Runner on this date in 1980.
While it may be true that Amanda and I tend to celebrate many sorts of little anniversaries of things the band did, or we ourselves have experienced along the way, this is the big one. The big Glamfather of them all. The Big “R” in Rio. (Gosh darn it, that hyperbole would have worked SO WELL if only Rio had been out during that time period. Alas, it is Monday, and I’m going with it anyway!)
Thirty-eight years ago today, this band began to play….
(I could probably do this all day long.)
I love Duran Duran Appreciation Day, but I also love this anniversary. It would seem to me that if a band WERE to celebrate a specific date as an anniversary of its beginning that this one might serve well. I’d also go out on a limb to suggest that maybe, if a band were to say, celebrate ones 40th anniversary by playing a super special show (or set of shows) in a town known for being its birthplace, that maybe a July 16, 2020 show in Birmingham would be reasonable. I’m no tour organizer, and I’m certainly not a band manager, and no one need listen to me, but if I were in charge – this is the date I’d shoot for.
Amanda and I are not betting people by any means, but if you don’t think we’ve had recent conversations about a trip abroad during the summer of 2020, you’d be severely underestimating our level of crazy. We’ve written this blog for nearly eight years now. By the summer of 2020, it will be coming up on ten, and we don’t post once a quarter, we post something nearly every single day. We are either completely nuts, or remarkably driven. You decide. In the meantime, I’m going to keep thinking about the possibilities for a summer trip to the UK. I wonder if my family will notice if I’m gone for a few weeks….
Who really knew that a show on July 16, 1980 would be the beginning of all this? Moreover, who would have ever thought that they’d continue going strong even 2018 and beyond? Isn’t that thought worth celebrating?
I don’t really know why this isn’t already a holiday for Duranies. Seems to me, we deserve more than one, don’t you think?
This past week, month, and year I have been thinking a lot about safety. As a teacher, I’m very familiar with the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you don’t know about this psychological theory, it is pretty simple. People have a hierarchy of needs that include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence. Basically, people need to have their physiological needs met first. This makes sense, right? People require air, food, water, etc. If they don’t have those things, the rest of needs cannot happen. If people have food, water, etc, then they can worry about safety, which includes both physical and emotional safety.
This week featured a test to Duranies sense of emotional safety. Everything fans believed about Duran was called into question with this accusation of sexual assault. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll refer you to this blog post here.) I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that Duran has provided me with an emotional safety net of sorts. It is the “place” I go when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or whatever. The examples that immediately pop into my head are numerous. I remember listening to Ordinary World over and over again to deal with my overwhelming loneliness when I first moved to my city over 20 years ago. Before the Rain played in the background as I hugged my mother as we waited for my grandma to take her last breath at Christmas in 2010. For years, Duran has provided the catalyst to countless friendships, parties and trips. I felt confident in my fandom as I knew that the band members, while human and imperfect, are also good guys. They do the right thing when it counts. So, when something comes out that questions that assumption, it hurts. It causes pain and confusion. It makes my emotional safety net feel a little less strong, a little less secure.
Since the allegation came out and statements were made both by Simon and Katy, that emotional safety net has been slowly repairing itself. It is easy to begin to assume that this woman, for whatever reason, got it wrong. I want to believe that. In many ways, I need to believe that. Yet, something has been eating at me that calls into question my emotional safety.
When the articles first appeared, many fans responded as Rhonda and I did with a complex mix of emotions. While we wanted to simply side with Simon, we understood that issues like this are inherently more complex than this even when the allegation is false or appears false. Emotions tend to ride way higher than an accusation of verbal abuse, for example. Sexual assault is one that is wrapped around centuries of mistreatment of women as well as individuals’ sense of self-worth on such a fundamental level that there are no words to adequately describe it. To say that it is a dicey topic is an understatement.
Some fans, though, immediately began to lash out from what I saw. They didn’t strike out against the situation, the circumstance, the fact that our happy place was violated. No, some seemed to focus their anger on the woman, the accuser. Now, I understand why. These fans love Simon and want to stick up for him, no matter what. They wanted her to know that they believe him to be a stand-up, honorable guy. I get that. I really do. We have often talked about Duranland feels like a family in that we don’t always get along but we always have each other’s backs and definitely have the band’s back. It is the idea that Duranies can criticize the band because of our extra special Duranie card but others without that card cannot. They are simply not allowed.
While I understand the psychological need to stand up for one’s family member, one’s hero, in this case, I struggle with some of what I saw. It wasn’t always just, “I’m sorry, woman, but I think you misinterpreted what happened or I don’t think your story is true because Simon is a great guy,” I saw insults. Name calling. Harassment. It was just defending as it sure felt like attacking. Yes, I’m sure many of you say that she deserved it. But does she? Assuming that she made up this story for whatever reason, what purpose does it serve to say these things? Let’s say that she did it for money. Would people harassing her, calling her names, or trying to prove that she is a terrible person really stop that? If she did it for attention, wouldn’t/couldn’t these types of reactions reinforce that? What’s the goal? Hoping that she would take it back? Even if she did, would that be the same thing has having a time machine to go back to before it even came out. I don’t think so. Okay. Maybe you still think that this particular woman still deserved each and every negative statement to or about her. I wonder, though, what it does for others.
What message does it send to (real) victims? To me, it sends tells them that it is best not to come forward. Why? It reminds them that this could and probably would happen to them. Why would anyone want that?
Then, I think about the message it sends to me about my emotional safety net. There have been times when individual fans or people have done or said something against Rhonda and/or myself that have made this fan community feel a little less safe to me. Yet, I could always dismiss those moments to a few individual people. I could remind myself that the majority of fans in the community don’t act like this or feel like that. Now, I’m not so sure. This situation has left me feel shaken. It isn’t just because someone I admire was accused of doing something really awful. No, I can dismiss that as one woman making a ridiculous allegation. What is harder to dismiss is the venom I saw from fellow fans. It made me fear for my emotional safety in this community as well as others. Could fans turn that rage on me? On other people? Yes, I know that people could argue that this woman’s crime was so bad and that I would never do something like that. While that is true, where is the line of what is deserving of that treatment? Who decides it?
Maybe my internal make up is different than others. Yes, maybe I am “soft” or that I feel too much. I can acknowledge that. To me, though, two wrongs don’t make a right. It didn’t take back the accusation or make the situation better. Not really. Maybe typing an insult or calling her name made some feel better at the moment but it only made me feel worse. Support Simon. Love him up. I’m down with that. Send him tweets or messages. Thank Katy for her defense. It just seems to be the more productive and healing way to go.
Yesterday’s winner: Out of my Mind
In which video does Warren look better: Electric Barbarella or Someone Else Not Me?
In my continuing quest to keep moving forward, I decided to see what else has been going on or connected to Duran Duran this week besides the big story. Typically, when I see something Duran related and lack time or energy, I just save it to refer back to it. So, that is where I started this afternoon. What the heck did I save? Ah, yes. My friend shared an article from deadlines.com about a TV show in development. What is the TV show called Juicy Stories about? This is how the website describes it:
Juicy Stories is the story of how two women in their 20s created the iconic “Juicy” tracksuit and turned their $200 investment into a billion-dollar business — and a life-long friendship. Inspired by the lives of Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, Juicy Stories tells the tale of two women who made clothes, made mistakes, made babies — and made one of the most iconic brands of the 1990s, Juicy Couture. These “Juicy Stories” — both aspirational and sensational — flash back to Los Angeles in the 1990s and are narrated on camera and in the present by the real Pam (Lawfor) and Gela (Serafino), still business partners and best friends.
For those people lost, Gela Nash-Taylor is John Taylor’s wife. According to the article, which you can read here, the show was inspired by the memoir, The Glitter Plan, written by Pam Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor. (Fun fact: Rhonda blogged about that memoir here.) Now, I admit that I know very little about the history of Juicy Couture and, unlike Rhonda, I did not read the book. That said, I can appreciate the idea of celebrating both female friendship, which is clearly an important piece of the story, as well as successful women. It sounds like the show will feature mostly women, which I can applaud.
But on to the important stuff! If this is about the story of Juicy, will John Taylor also be there? Indeed, Gela’s husband will also be a character on the show. In fact, he is described in this way, “Gela’s sexy, charismatic, actor/musician husband.” What is interesting or perplexing or curious, depending on how you look at it, the characters playing Gela and Pam will be called “Gela” and “Pam.” Yet, the John character will be called, “Drew.” Huh? I wonder why. I think that is weird. So, who is the guy who will be playing John/Drew? His name is Tanner Stine who is also in Impulse, Here & Now and Zac and Mia. I won’t lie. My knowledge on actors is way limited so I have no idea if this guy can act well or not. He looks like this, though:
Does this guy seem like someone who could pull off playing John Taylor? Here is a video of the show, Impulse, in which he plays Clay.
I have to admit that I’m not sure. First of all, he is really young. Second, he has really blue eyes, which does not match at all. Yet, in fairness, I’ll admit that I have a hard time imagining anyone being good enough to play John Taylor. I’m a bit biased.
Now, I admit that this isn’t typically a show I would turn in to, despite the female focus, but I probably will just to see how this guy does. I am curious to see how John will be written and portrayed. There does not appear to be a date for a premiere and the show is only in development so my guess is that we will have to wait awhile. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.
Yesterday’s winner: White Lines
In which video does Warren look better: Perfect Day or Out of my Mind?
Throughout my teaching career, I have had to help students of various ages deal with crises. Those crises came in various forms from having a classmate critically injured to having a teacher die in front of the building to national situations like the terrorist attack on September 11th. No matter the size of the crisis or scope, many experts agreed that it is important to maintain structure after addressing the current crisis when possible, to keep things normal while students process. The ordinary provides comfort. At first, I questioned this. Was this really the right way to go? Then, I discovered that it not only helped them but assisted the adults, too. It provided the necessary push for us to keep moving forward, one day, one activity at a time.
The last few days have been hard in Duranland. I know that I’m still processing. On top of that, I had a terrible scare in my own life. I went with my mother for a routine medical procedure yesterday when all of a sudden, she reported “feeling funny” before having her eyes roll in the back of her head, mouth go slack, her heart rate and blood pressure drop as she passed out. This resulted in calls for help from the medical staff present to other medical staff in the hospital as well as calls on the intercom for assistance in a “medical emergency.” Thankfully, she came to within minutes and her vitals returned to normal. The culprit appeared to be some sort of reaction to the medication given or the procedure itself. Today, she is home and feeling good. Still, it is moment that has replaying itself in my mind since then. In response to both this terrifying experience with my mother and the reports in which someone accused Simon of sexual assault, I am left feeling shaken. This is when I turn back to my training, my experiences as a teacher. I attempt to keep that structure to provide me a little comfort. To that end, instead of giving my two cents about this upsetting news in Duranland, I will instead take a listen to this month’s Katy Kafe, giving my reaction to some of the highlights. As always, I’m sharing what stuck out to me. For the full blown kafe, I would head to DuranDuranMusic to listen for yourself.
Of course, the kafe opens with Simon talking about how he was looking forward to the football (soccer) match between England and Croatia. Apparently, he was having friends over to watch. (For the record, so sorry to my friends across the pond for England’s loss. Big bummer.) I’m slightly amused that Simon went on and on about his new TV and its wall mount. Without much of a pause, he brings up both tennis and his new grandson, Taro. Simon says that he is “absolutely beautiful.” He describes him as quiet until he is hungry then he is loud. Simon says that he can see himself in him. It sounds like he is enjoying this experience immensely. I, for one, am thrilled for Simon and the rest of his family.
Simon thought the documentary was “brilliant”. Katy zeroed in on Simon’s choir teacher at his church and whether or not Simon had been in contact before this. Simon said that he had been a little bit and that his teacher is proud of Duran Duran. Aww…as a teacher I know how proud one can be from seeing a student succeed. Beyond that, Simon brought up this idea of putting those early songs out to raise money for the church. (I hope this happens. That would be cool.)
The other piece of the documentary that Katy brought up was the time when the band squeezed into the Citroen car and how difficult it was from Simon to drive. Like much of the rest of the kafe, Simon quickly brought up the other cars that the band members drove throughout the documentary. (This part of the conversation is much like the TV discussion in the beginning.)
Sadly enough, Simon did not see the Night In part of the programming when the band members talked about their media influences. Katy said that she enjoyed that part better than the documentary. (Again, I think about how I had little expectations for this program but it was so entertaining. I loved seeing them interact in just a simple conversation between friends.) Interestingly enough, the band got a bunch more followers on Twitter on the day those shows aired. I have to wonder where those fans were before this!?!
Katy asked the question that a lot of fans want to know–will the band return to the studio this year. Simon said that they were. It just depends on logistics. Of course, he also acknowledged all the work that went into the Paper Gods project and how they all want to enjoy themselves this summer. So, Simon says later this year for the studio. Interestingly enough, Simon mentioned that they would also consider show possibilities for the end of the year or next summer. Hmm…
You know what is funny? In the past, when I listened to a new kafe, I would always root for some big scoop. Don’t get me wrong. I still love when a band member shares something new, but I didn’t find myself fixated by that idea this time. No, I found myself appreciating the way that Simon bounces from topic to topic (perhaps that was the caffeine talking) and the easy conversational flow between Simon and Katy. Like the show with the band talking about what their influences were, I like that this kafe felt like hearing two friends just talk, catch up. It felt easy and relaxed. Happy. It was just what I needed today.
Yesterday’s winner: Too Much Information
In which video does Warren look better: Femme Fatale or White Lines?
There are some days when it is just tough to be a fan. Yesterday, I was in the middle of blogging when a news story broke. I didn’t pay much attention and went right on writing. I was in a hurry, and didn’t have time for distractions. Then the news story was sent to me two or three times. I glanced at the headline and thought it was either a scam, clickbait, or a virus waiting to happen. So I just went on about my day until an hour or so later when a friend sent me the article and asked what I thought. This time, I read it.
I wished I hadn’t, to be honest. I need for this – my fandom – to be my happy place. I don’t ask for much. Some smiles, maybe a laugh or two, some good friends, decent vodka, maybe even a lime and some tonic. Not much. I just need it to be happy. But now, the Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it is really difficult to know what to say.
My comment to someone who messaged Daily Duranie directly about the news story was fairly straightforward and simple: We have chosen not to comment on something that may have happened 23 years ago. Amanda and I continue to agree on that point.
The Daily Duranie is almost an oral history of what it is like to be a fan on any given day. In the past we’ve called it a State of the Union (of Duranies), and that still kind of holds true. Today, our union is a bit tumbled and fractured. It’s been a rough 24 hours.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to turn the clock back about 30 hours. I hate this.
I love Simon. I really do. He has been nothing but nice (well, nice in that sort of “I’m going to spit on the two of you and then pretend I don’t know who you are later on when we hang out at a bar together” sort of way.) to us. I care about him and his family. I think about him, and how he’s handling the loss of his mom, and what it must be like for him to be a grandfather now. Um, I mean glamfather, of course. I think about how it’s gotten to the point at shows where he recognizes Amanda and I, and how he will wave to us if he sees us out and about. It’s nice, and to be fair – Amanda and I aren’t looking for any more than that. We’re not really “looking” for anything at all, it’s just that I appreciate being like normal people around one another. I think he knows we’re not going to launch ourselves in his direction because that’s super weird, and he should also know that if he ever wants to sit and have a drink with us, we’ll save a spot for him at the bar.
I don’t want any of that to end.
He is the crazy uncle of our huge dysfunctional family, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for him, as I don my neon green shoes or wear unsightly pajamas so that Amanda and I can continue making fun of him. It is what we do. I don’t want those things to stop, which is why this kind of news is so hard to take, regardless of whether it’s true or false – it is hard to handle.
I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, and my bet is that I’m not alone.
I feel like crap, to be honest. Duran Duran is my happy place. Even when my regular, normal life has been horrible (and there have been many of those times), the band and this fan community have been my constant. While right now my marriage is really good, in the past it hasn’t always been. Duran Duran was kind of my refuge from all of that. I sort of feel like this was the place where the bad things weren’t supposed to follow, you know? The outside lunacy wasn’t supposed to get in the front door, and now here it is – running around our living room, tossing over the furniture and creating havoc.
I chose not to talk about any of this on open social media yesterday. I did chat with a couple of trusted friends. I wish I could say I felt better. I still don’t know what to say.
The Daily Duranie also looks at fan behavior. Oh, I’ve seen some of that in the past 24 hours. To copy my friend Jennifer – I’m at a loss for words.
First of all, I’d like to just point out that we’re all fans. That means we like Simon. As such, we’re biased. The fan thing taints our perception. Goodness knows that I’m having a very hard time writing this blog today as a result. Emotions are running high, and fans are reacting in the only way they know how – by calling out one another.
If you don’t use a hashtag #IStandWithSimon, or #TeamSimon, you’re obviously convinced he’s guilty and you should be banished from the kingdom. If you post the news story on your page, you’re a bad fan because you’re being negative and besides – everyone has already seen the story so you’re beating a dead horse. Posting anything that could possibly be taken to be questioning Simon’s complete innocence means you’re a hater. Should you decide to remain quiet, you clearly don’t love Duran Duran enough to stick your neck out for them.
Then there are the folks who, in direct response to the accuser’s story, say they’d like for Simon to grope or assault them. Hell, I saw one person say that all fans want Simon to grab their ass and that if you don’t, you’re lying.
I don’t even know where to begin with that, except to say that I really don’t want him to grab my ass. Ever. Hugs are fine. Waving to me across a room, fabulous. Grabbing my hand to give it a friendly squeeze, wonderful. Grabbing my butt though? Not unless you want to lose that hand, and I’m not lying, thanks.
And then there is giving permission for someone to grope you. That’s different. I see it as trying to add a little humor into something that isn’t funny at all. I also think it is one of the more tone-deaf things anyone could say in response to something like this, regardless of whether or not you believe the victim’s story. Sexual assault isn’t about the sex. It’s not about making someone feel good. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about taking something that isn’t yours to take, simply because you think you can. Why anyone would want that to happen to them is beyond me and I’m completely disgusted that fans would say such a thing. It is one thing to say that you want Simon to touch you – and while I don’t share that feeling, I get it….but to use the words “grope” or “please assault me any time” …. have you lost what is left of your damn mind???
Let me let you all in on a little secret: I am a victim of sexual assault. I couldn’t move when it happened. I froze. I felt paralyzed, and I just let it happen because I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I got up, and didn’t talk about it again for many years. I don’t remember the exact details of where he was and where I was. I can’t remember if I was laying down or sitting up. (it happened on a date, and no, it wasn’t quite date rape) I can’t remember what side he was on, or how it started or ended. Those kinds of things aren’t burned into my memory. What IS in my memory though is the way my clothes felt on my body at the time, the way the fabric of his shirt felt, and the smell of the air around me. I can remember how stuffy the room seemed at the time, and that I stared at the digital clock on his desk. I remember exactly how frozen I felt, or how I clenched my fists to the point where my short nails left imprints into the palms of my hand. I remember how when it was over, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have run? Should I have gone and told someone? I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I did eventually talk to with the person who did it though. Yes, we had a face to face conversation. I didn’t sue him. I didn’t even report him. I just wanted to talk with him. Turns out, his perception of the events in question was very, very different from mine.
I don’t know what happened with Simon and this woman, if anything. I don’t want to talk about it. That’s really the bottom line. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I barely know how to put my feelings about being a fan into words.
So how do I feel today? Not good. The one thing I know for sure today is that I’m a fan of Duran Duran. I’m here because of the music. That music is what unites all of us, first and foremost.
Happy Wednesday! I’m sorry for my unexpected absence yesterday. We were having carpeting installed, and we had to disconnect the octopus of wires behind a desk. Unfortunately, that also disconnected our WiFi and disrupted our internet connection until it was far too late in the day for blogging.
I’m also late today, because of a meaningful, deep, philosophical discussion regarding the merits of the song “Drive By”.
Only a fellow Duran fan understands enough to talk about the space a specific song or album occupies. It is rare to find someone who understands and is able to relate such a song to the bigger picture is a gift.
The conversation was simply about why I believe “Drive By” is a definitive Duran Duran song of the Simon-Nick-John-Warren period. Actually, I think its one of the more definitive songs of their career. “Drive By” is definitive of their career during the mid-90s, but does it’s statement go even farther than that?
Let’s consider the period of time. John, Simon, Nick and Warren were defining themselves as another iteration of Duran Duran. This was an era of rediscovery, reinvention, and to some extent – forgetting who and what they once were (as a group). So “Drive By”, a deconstructed, even “now separated, once-conjoined twin” of “The Chauffeur”, is a spectacular example of this period of Duran’s career.
I can point to the cover of “Medazzaland” as another example, granted in a slightly different period. The graffiti-laden image of “Rio” weighs heavily in my mind. I often wonder if they weren’t really trying to bury that bright and glossy 80s magazine pin-up image of the fab five. Let’s face it, there was quite a bit to run from at that point. Maybe they were really over the idea of fans swarming their limos, even if by necessity. Perhaps they were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians. Maybe they were over being the pin-up dreams of fresh-faced, dewy-eyed teenage girls? Maybe they saw this new iteration of Duran Duran as being the “anti”1980s Duran Duran? It isn’t difficult to imagine what they might have been thinking of when picking a cover for “Medazzaland”.
Rather than examining the song, or any one song, under the Duran Duran microscope, lately I’ve been thinking about the broader context. I’ve considered the changes in their sound over the years, such as the rearranged, heavy jazz sounding brass and horn version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Burning the Ground” – the remix to put a final period on 80s era Duran Duran. I’ve pondered the more obvious, recent style changes, like the full, production-heavy pop sound on Astronaut compared to the deep urban groove of Red Carpet Massacre, or retro sounding All You Need is Now, along with Paper Gods. Individually, each seeming to be a stroll down a different musical lane, but collectively – what do they really say about this band?
To some extent, I tend to believe the band has spent a great deal of time and energy running from what they (and critics) believed they were in 1984. We can say they’re not comfortable sitting upon their laurels, and we can claim that they are not easily satiated, creativity speaking, and I don’t think we’d be wrong. However, I don’t think it hurts anyone to examine the deeper motivation of what might drive them.
Recently, during the BBC takeover night of DD television a couple of weeks back, John admitted that the critical comments from music journalists back in the day have bothered him up until very recently. This was not a surprise to me, other than being shocked at his utterance of the words out loud for all to hear. Amanda and I have been talking about that for years now – we’ve written about it many times on the blog, and I think we both cheered when we heard John say the words. Of course it bothered them. I get it! I very much appreciate his honesty and vulnerability. Accepting, and even respecting that one nugget of truth gave me such a different perspective on their career. It is like finally having the big picture come into focus. I just love them.
This is a band with an image based on the proverbial double-edged sword. On one side, they were incredibly successful because they appealed to teenage girls. They never said no to being the – poster boys of the 1980’s. In fact, they welcomed it, and we welcomed them! On the other side of that sword though, somewhere down deep, they secretly aspired to reach the recognition, acclaim and respect that comes from critics and other musicians. Screaming girls are wonderful, but perhaps having respect mattered too. Could we really blame them?
That isn’t to say the band’s career has been a giant folly, or that they were wrong to explore. Not in the least, and I want to be clear on that. In my mind, the fans are the ones who have made out the best on this deal. This band is still hungry. They are still in search of whatever is out there. With each new album comes a newly discovered Duran Duran. I just happen to believe the motivation to do so comes from something a bit more definitive.