The Layman’s guide to John Taylor

I don’t know how I came up with that title for this blog, but I suppose I wanted to convey just how very little I know about the man.  Perhaps it’s supposed to be that way, perhaps I’ve not paid enough attention over the years, and perhaps I know more than I realize. (doubt it!)  Regardless, this is the blog I should have written yesterday.  Thank you to Amanda for pointing out to me that I’d been remiss when I only said a hearty “Happy Birthday” to him in the blog rather than dissect him the way I have done the other band members. (those are her words, spoken to me yesterday on the phone – and as appropriate as they might be – I envision myself in a lab coat leaning over him on a table with a scalpel in hand – and biology was NOT my best subject in high school. Sorry John!!)

The fact is, I don’t know where to begin.  I don’t honestly know John Taylor.  (then again, that hasn’t really stopped me before….)  My closest encounter with him was at the Virgin Megastore signing for Astronaut on Sunset Blvd.  Nick handed him my Astronaut album, John didn’t even look up, signed it – and handed it on to Simon, who was already chatting up my daughter about the book she was reading and quizzing her on what songs she liked best off off of the album.  In desperation to have SOME sort of real interaction with him, I said “The album is beautiful, John”, to which he briefly glanced up at the girl directly in front of him and said “Thank you”.  That’s it, that is my John story!  (you can’t see me, but I’m taking a bow right here)

John is the one band member that I haven’t ever seen out in public after a show.  He doesn’t tend to mingle – although I know he has tried (I just haven’t been to a show where that’s happened).  I hear it’s nearly impossible for him, that fans still believe that they have the right to grab him, attempt to rip his clothes off and behave like wild animals.  Yep, because that is DEFINITELY going to make him see that fans are cool people and that we aren’t crazy.  I can’t say I blame him for not hanging out after a show, rather choosing to find refuge, quiet time and privacy.  The only people missing out are indeed the fans on this one, and it’s a shame.

Where is John Taylor in my personal line-up of Duran Duran favorites?  Here is the reality:  John Taylor is too handsome for me.  He’s completely and totally out of my league, and I know it.  I’ve never had a crush on John just like I never had a crush on the cutest football player in high school, or any of the Sigma Pi’s (arguably the most popular fraternity on my college campus at the time I went to college) at Cal State Fullerton.  They were out of my league.  Sure, I’d admire them from afar; but I never dared mention that they were the object of my admiration. Back in the 80’s, John was the most popular member of Duran Duran. (my apologies to Roger, Nick, Simon and Andy)  I knew it.  He probably knew it…and every other female fan out there knew it.  As a result, when I’d hang out with my friends from school and discuss Duran Duran (every single day at recess and lunch!), we’d talk about our favorites.  John was always the one that the girls would fight over.  I’d wait until they were finished, see how it all settled out, and then name my favorite: Roger.   I always wondered why everyone went for John and fought over him – sure, he was cute and all – but Roger had that dark hair, dark eyes and those brooding looks – (and oddly enough, my husband…as well as my boyfriends prior to my husband, have ALL had dark hair and dark eyes.) who needed blonde bangs and a baby face?   I suppose that while I knew John was the obviously handsome one, there was a certain amount of comfort knowing that most of the time, no one would fight me for Roger.  So I stuck with him.   John had a very secure place on my bedroom walls – right above my mirror, just to the left of Roger.  I knew where he stood with me, I know where he still stands, and I’m still way out of his league.

Once upon a time, I complained quite openly on this blog about the lack of connection between the band and the fans.  John was truly at the center of my complaint because not even a year prior (to the time I’d written the blog), he’d spoken at a conference for the 25th anniversary of the internet at UCLA.  His main assertion was that the internet, with the sheer amount of information, content, etc that is available – really ruins the romance and mystery that takes place when you’re a fan of a celebrity or band.  To his credit, I did and do understand his point.  The trouble was, this was no longer the 1970’s or the 1980’s.  The media is available.  Social networking is the norm – either celebrities and bands use it, or they are left behind.  The general public wants more than an album and a tour.  They want to feel that personal connection.  Even more to his credit, John apparently revisited his theory and actually tried Twitter.  The first day he posted, I nearly fell out of my chair.  Within what felt like days, he was obviously hooked, and so were the fans.  I can’t speak for John, but as a fan I have to say that I think it’s helped many of us feel that bonding on a completely different level than we ever have had before.  After 30 some years of following the band, it’s as though our “relationship” with the band is at a new level, and most of the time – it feels good.  I would venture to guess that it feels good for John as well.  When he says that it feels like good therapy – I believe him. He’s witty, not at all rude (even when I think he should be!), and extremely patient even in times where I think he should tell us all to take a long walk off of a short pier.   Some say he might wear his heart on his sleeve, and some may say he overshares – but I think he’s become much more to me than just a pinup on my wall or the bass player in the band.  He’s become a real person, and I treasure that even though he still has no idea who in the hell I am.  (probably for the best!)

John has commented that he’s a narcissist.  I say “show me a rock star that isn’t!”  I think that when you’re a celebrity, it’s very easy to fall into that trap.  Let’s face it – when you’re on stage every night, it IS all about you.  This isn’t a free pass for John, or anyone for that matter, but the reality is – John SEES it in himself.  How isn’t that admirable?  Let me tell you John, I worked with a “rock band” (the quotes are necessary here for a number of reasons…), and those kids were not only narcissistic without reason, but they didn’t even notice it in themselves.  That, my friend, is not admirable, it’s immaturity.  You sir, are just the opposite in about every single way imaginable.  Newsflash to John Taylor:  You are human.  You have faults.  We kind of like you anyway.   🙂

-R

Happy Birthday John Taylor, and welcome back to insanity!!

I should never grow complacent.  That is the lesson here.  The moral of the story.  Not quite the silver lining, but the one thing that I should have learned by now that quite obviously, I haven’t.  I tend to believe that life is about learning lessons, and you keep having the same overall problem thrown at you until you finally GET the lesson.  Then life starts in teaching you something else.

My problem here is that I keep getting the same problem tossed my way, and instead on actually learning whatever it is I’m supposed to learn – I only see the details.  I forget the real lesson.  Funny how in hindsight I see it oh-so-clearly, yet in my daily life I miss it completely.  I fix the details, forget the lesson.

I figured today would be a normal Monday, except that I have my sons graduation from 6th grade today.  A moment I never really thought would arrive has somehow come into focus.  I’m still dealing with the anxiety that come September, not only will I be trying to go to some Duran Duran shows here in the US….but I’ll be driving my son to junior high school.

Has it gotten cold in here??  I’m starting to shake!

Where was I?  Oh yes – it’s Monday.  I got on the computer, planning to blog about what it really means to be a stalker. Instead, I see that not only have the UK dates been rescheduled (headache begins), but a date has been added for the Mountain Winery in Napa (a migraine type feeling comes over me), AND it’s John Taylor’s birthday. (yes, I saw that one coming, but the headache is in full raging mode now)

Complacency is my enemy.  I suppose my first mistake was assuming that since it didn’t really seem as though Simon was improving that quickly (although I’ve read he is getting better), I still had time to play!  I figured I had months of “What does it really mean to be a stalker”, type of blogs left to write.  I thought that I’d be working steadily on my “Social Networking” chapter for the book for at least another couple of weeks. (actually, I really mean that I’d be STARTING that chapter….)  I figured that at the least, I’d have a few more weeks of buttering up my husband to do before I’d have to spring the new dates on him.  Mostly though, I just didn’t allow myself to even think about getting back on the “should I stay or should I go to the UK” roller coaster again.  I grew complacent and tried to put the band in the back of my mind.

Now I’m going to act out the next best thing to complacency.  It’s called procrastination.  As in, I’m procrastinating about dealing with these UK dates, any California dates…or dates at all.  I will bury my head in the sand, go to my sons graduation, and put the rest in the back of mind to occasionally nag me at about 2:30 in the morning.


So with that, I intend to wish the bass player a VERY happy anniversary of his 50th birthday.  We won’t even say what anniversary this is…because I am nothing if not supportive, and apparently a bit of an enabler in my own right!  I’m right on board with the idea of just skipping the birthdays from here on out, I only wish I’d thought of that back when I turned 25 as opposed to well, 40.  Oh well.  Live and learn.   Or not.

Happy Father’s Day and the Lesson on Fandom

Today, like many people, I’m helping my dad celebrate Father’s Day.  The celebration started this morning by taking him out for brunch at the best breakfast place in town.  Later, my parents and I will watch the White Sox game then probably play some games ourselves.  I have been working on a Duran cd for him that I hope to be finished with so that he can enjoy it during the game playing!  That’s the thing about my dad.  While I can’t say that he is a Duranie, I can say that he has always tried to appreciate them, even if he still can’t recognize my “favorite” member after all of these years.  Just the other day I went over there after a bad day and my dad put on the first Duran cd I had made him.  It was very sweet.  That cd was done in 2005 so it is definitely time for him to have a new one.  This shows me that he tries to understand my fandom, even if he doesn’t understand Duran.  In fact, he is a fan himself.  He is such a fan that I actually blame my fandom on him as he is the one who taught me how to be a fan.  Seriously.

I was born and raised in a White Sox household, which is common for those of us from the south side of Chicago.  The family activities often revolved around the White Sox games.  For example, we made sure to have dinner eaten and cleaned up if there was a game on TV.  When we got together with my cousins or grandparents, discussion on the Sox was routine.  The real treats were when we actually went to the Sox games at old Comiskey Park.  We didn’t have good seats but we still watched intently and often kept score.  My dad taught us to take the game seriously.  I will never forget the story that he frequently tells about how he was on this date that he had been really looking forward to on the day that the Sox won the pennant in 1959.  He decided that he had to take this woman to a bar to see the game, etc.  She wasn’t at all interested and my dad just knew that she wasn’t the one for him.  Lucky for all of us, he met my mom who is as much of a Sox fan as anyone! 

My parents and the rest of my family always rooted for the Sox and we sat through many, many, many horrible, losing seasons.  Those seasons were tough as they were filled with frustration and much discussion about what roster moves should be made and criticism over the past trades.  We always took and still take the losses to heart.  It is like we are part of the team and it bothers us to see them lose.  Yet, no matter how poorly they played, we never stopped caring.  We believed in the team.  We didn’t always believe in the moves that were made but we believed in the tradition, in the institution.  We still wore Sox t-shirts and sweatshirts and bought our Sox related household items.  My parents today, in fact, have a Sox mailbox!  It’s true!  Sox fans around the world have survived all of those losing seasons and were able to celebrate a World Series Championship in 2005.  I won’t ever forget that season.  First, they clenched the division on the day that I was leaving for Vegas to hang with friends and to see Duran play at the Agassi charity event there.  Then, they won the World Series on the night before I was co-hosting a Duranie weekend.  It was the best of times, in many ways!

As you can see, I learned many things about what it means to be a fan from my dad.  I learned that to be a fan means that you are loyal, through good times and bad.  While that love always remains, there can and should be criticism when it is due.  Despite this private criticism among other fans, the outside world should know that you are a fan and that you should show that proudly.  I also learned that there is an emotional connection between the object of your fandom and you.  For my dad and I, our Sox fandom connects us to our family, to each other.  It has been a part of our family for decades and will remain so.  The Sox have always brought us together.  For example, whenever there is an exciting event in Sox history, it is common for my siblings and I to all check in with my parents.  When Mark Buerhle pitched his perfect game a few years ago, my brother and sister both called to share their and our excitement!

My Sox fandom isn’t really that much different than my Duran fandom.  I will always be loyal to Duran and have certainly witnessed both good time and not-so-good-times.  I can’t imagine really ever leaving.  That said, I will always offer my sincere opinions about the band.  I will voice my thoughts about when they have done something awesome and when they missed the mark.  To me, that is what is means to be a fan.  Like in my Sox fandom, I’m pretty open about being a Duranie and will wear their t-shirts when I can!  Last, but not least, Duran like the Sox brings people together.  It is the connection I have with many other people, including my partner-in-crime.  Duran is something that we share and always will.

Therefore, as I continue to celebrate my dad today, I will also celebrate what he has taught me about what it means to be a fan.  Happy Father’s Day, to you, Dad, and to the rest of the dads out there, including those dads in Duran!  😉

-A

A Glimmer of Hope…

I have been looking and looking and looking for any signs of hope out of the Duran camp this past week, especially after seeing their mid-week announcement about canceling the remaining June dates in Finland and Russia.  I have been going to their official site and to Simon and John’s twitters more times than I care to admit.  Another part of my search for hope has been on the various message boards in hopes that someone had heard/read something and was able to share with the rest of us!  This kind of search isn’t something new for me.  I’m really an optimist even in the face of unbelievable odds and I’m not one to give in easily to matter the level of challenge involved.  Perhaps, these characteristics have allowed me to teach for as long as I have, too.  Therefore, no matter how bleak things were looking with Simon, I refuse to give up hope, which is the same motivating force that keeps me searching for signs.  (No comment, Rhonda!)

Yesterday, as part of my daily glance at all things Duran on the internet, I noticed that Duranasty site had been updated.  Now, anyone familiar with this site knows the time and attention to details that goes into every update.  Usually, the updates contain quite a bit of unofficial news.  This update was no exception and you can read it here.  This update provided me with that glimmer of hope, that oasis in the long stretch of desert that we have all been living in.  The information in this updated included a fan report of a conversation with Simon in which he stated that his voice seems to be coming back in small increments.  The band also feels confident that there will be shows played in July.

Obviously, I hope for those who have tickets for July and August shows that this is indeed the case.  Of course, this could also mean that the postponed shows could be rescheduled and announced as well, which is great!  However, this statement provides more than just tour possibilities.  I hope that it means that Simon is truly recovering and on his way to full health again.  For him, personally, I cannot imagine how difficult this must be on him.  It is one thing to know that a particular body part won’t work as it should, which many people experience, but to have that body part be essential for your career and your identity.  This made me think of my mother, who is a fiber artist.  She relies on her vision to create her works of art.  A few years ago, she lost partial hearing in one ear after a horrible ear infection, which is annoying to her but not as devastating if she had lost part of her eyesight.  Beyond Simon, personally, which is enough, there are countless more people who rely on his ability to sing, especially his bandmates.  Then, of course, there are the fans.  We rely on his voice, too, to provide us with the entertainment we have come to know and love.

Beyond the hope, I have to remind myself to be cautious.  While I’m not doubting this fan at all, I also know how emotionally invested we all are.  I wasn’t there and I don’t know exactly how the conversation went.  I also know that even with this hope, Simon may not be out of the woods yet.  He may be gaining some of his voice back and then can lose it again.  It may also take a LONG time to fully come back.  While I love the idea of having hope and the world knows that I need it, I think it is also good for me to be cautious and to try to be prepared for where we all go from here.  It may not be a smooth road.  It may not be a straight road that takes us directly from point A to  point B.  There may be many twists and turns along the way.  So, for now, I remain very, very cautiously optimistic.

-A

That Was Then…This Is Now

Four years ago today, I was in New York City along with my writing partner and another friend.  We were there for the DuranDuranMusic fan only show.  It was a Sunday night, on Father’s Day, no less.  We had arrived in the Big Apple on Friday evening and enjoyed ourselves up until that point.  As part of that weekend, we had done a little sight-seeing on one of those bus tours and had met a bunch of cool Duranies at the Pyramid Club get together.  With those happy experiences behind us, we were ready for the VIP party and the show! 

Let me take you all back to the state of the fandom at that point.  The summer of 2007 was one filled with both great anticipation and great anxiety as we were a few months away from the release of Red Carpet Massacre.  At this point, we knew that the band had been working with famous producer, Timbaland, and were hearing rumors about Justin Timberlake.  Many of us were still reeling over the departure of Andy Taylor.  During that time, it seemed that the message boards were filled with much debate over Andy’s leaving and about the collaboration with the Tims (Timbaland and Timberlake).  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fanbase was divided.  Some were okay with Andy leaving and some weren’t.  Many fans were nervous about the band working with the Tims and others were excited.  In my opinion, it wasn’t such a fun time to be a fan.  No matter my opinions on these moves and I did have them, I hated that people were split!  I hated that we all weren’t as excited as we normally are about a new album!  I feared that many people would leave the fandom, either because they disliked the new direction or because of the contentious feeling of the community.  I worried that many or most of these people would leave and never return and it was clear to me that the fandom couldn’t afford to lose people.  Thus, I had really hoped that this fan show would prove to me and to the rest of the community that all was right with Duran and that we can and get should behind them.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.

The fan show, I must admit, was one of the most disappointing moments of my long history of being a Duranie.  I expected so much from the show.  Yes, I had hoped to hear new material.  Yes, I longed to see the band excited and PROUD of their work and where they were as a band.  I thought that the fans would notice this excitement and return it ten fold in what would be the best Duran concert ever.  As many of you know, either from reading about the show or from being there in person, the exact opposite happened.  I saw a band nervous about where they were, musically.  They seemed uncomfortable on stage, both when introducing the cd, which for the record, I thought was a bad move, and when playing Nite Runner for the first time.  Then, sound problems and Simon’s forgetting of lyrics added to the lackluster show.  I will never forget the look of shock and disappointment etched on everyone’s faces that night.  Many people responded with anger.  Others responded by being hurt.  Some stayed in shock for a long time.  I remember truly wondering for one of the only times in my life if this marked the beginning of the end for Duran, as I wondered if the whole album was going to be marked with problems and with a lack of enthusiasm.  I pondered if those upset fans would be able to work through all of the negative emotions to stay fans. 

Yet, we all know that Duran was able to overcome this horrible show and an album that divided the fans.  They were able to put on solid performances for the Broadway shows done in November of that year, to promote the album.  Many fans enjoyed the shows that they attended during the 2008 tour.  While some fans did leave, many stayed.  Most stayed or came back.  I suspect that they those who stayed, did so because they, knew that Duran could and would be better again and that they could make an album to unite the fanbase and put excitement back in all of our lives.  In my opinion, they did just that with All You Need is Now.

This current album of theirs is one that most fans seem to be enjoying.  Yes, there still is debate about the quality of music found on there.  Sure.  We are all still fans and part of that means that we are going to seek meaning through discussions of that nature.  Absolutely.  Yet, I rarely, if ever, people say really HORRIBLE things about it, which is something I heard about on a daily basis during those RCM days.  I don’t feel like there is an even split between those fans who love it and those fans who hate it.  I think most fans like the album to varying degrees.  There is definitely more harmony in the fan community now (at least on that front).  On top of that and, perhaps, more importantly, I saw a band excited and PROUD of their new album.  I saw it in their interviews, in their tweets and in their live performances.  They no longer seemed uncomfortable like they did on the night of June 17th, 2007.  My band had returned and I was proud that I stayed through the not-so-fun RCM era. 

Perhaps, this is why the loss of Simon’s voice and the postponement or cancellation of shows is so upsetting to me.  They deserved to be able to share this new music with people.  They deserved to celebrate an accomplishment.  We, as fans, deserved to celebrate and be proud with them.  They didn’t deserve this.  Simon didn’t deserve this.  Now, of course, I’m hoping that they will soon be back up and running to be able to share this gift with the world.  Then, we will have even more to celebrate.

-A

Second thoughts on Second Life

No, I’m not thinking about downloading the program.  I just liked the title and went with it!  There has been more information that’s come out about Second Life today via duranduran.com, you can read the news byte here.  Overall, I must admit the idea seems to be really kind of cool…if it were still 2006.  The island has the Sanhedralite Sea, the Azizi sky (really?)….and some sort of underwater UFO club that you KNOW Nick Rhodes came up with all on his own.  He probably lives there with his vampire alien avatar.  (Yes, I hear he really has one.)  Gotta love that.   

Of course, part of my scorn is that this “land”, “universe”….whatever you’d like to call it….should have been put in place years ago.  Why make a huge announcement about Second Life if it’s going to take you 5 years to get the place up and running, when the buzz about Second Life is all but dead?  The Bees have moved on to other hives now, so to speak.  I’m sure the folks at SL are thrilled that the Duran Duran Universe, or whatever they’re calling it these days, has come to fruition, and they’re probably hoping that the Duranies will flock back to give SL another try.  I wonder if it’ll take a Duran Duran concert to bring people back?

On yesterday’s blog, I received a comment that really made me think, and I’m going to share with the rest of you.  Perhaps the gamers amongst us can enlighten me a bit.  Someone corrected me (very kindly and not really directly) that Second Life isn’t a game, it’s truly a virtual world.  Is that really how people see it?  Obviously, I didn’t get much past stopping myself from flying and/or walking into walls and getting stuck to really appreciate Second Life.   I suppose since there doesn’t seem to be a plot or a way to “win”, it’s really NOT quite a game.   I just have a difficult time seeing it as some sort of virtual world…or life.  Want to talk about message boards?  I’m totally there, and I really do get the point.  Facebook?  Love it and probably couldn’t do without it (until the next greatest thing comes along).  Twitter?  I really do get it…and I’m learning to appreciate the finer points.  Second Life?  I’m still stuck on flying.

During my brief foray into Second Life (by the way, I seem to recall my avatar’s name on there – which should have long since been “retired” – it was Rhonda Irvine.  No, I wasn’t bright enough to think about grabbing a Duran related last name at the time.  I went with a city near my house. :D), I did run into an interesting avatar.  As far as I could tell – it was male, and he was more than happy to educate me on just how “serious” a place I was entering.  He explained that Second Life could be just a fun way to spend an afternoon, or that I could choose to become more invested, spending what could amount to thousands of dollars (that would be real, US dollars) in order to own land, buy places of business, set up shop, and allow people to work for me.  It was a place where I could choose to marry someone else or have an affair (since of course this is the Second Life – it’s not “me” marrying someone else, it’s my avatar), I could decide to change my sexual orientation, and according to him – there were ways to even have sex.  He told me about the darker side to the game, where violence really has no boundaries.  I was fascinated and horrified at the same time.

If I remember correctly, that was my last visit to Second Life.  Truthfully, all I was looking for at the time was a way to see a flippin’ Duran Duran concert.  This all seemed so serious, and no – I’m not talking about the song.  I wasn’t interested in the idea of having an affair, online or otherwise, first life OR second, and let me be honest – if I wanted to get married again, someone ought to slap me.  The first marriage is MORE than enough to handle, thanks.   I felt that at the time, I’d have to leave Second Life to those who were far more hardcore.

One final thought before I close for the day, and this is something that occurred to me just a moment ago – John and Simon seem to be fairly avid tweeters.  Roger takes to Facebook once in a while (It’d be nice to hear from him more often though!), and that leaves Nick.  Perhaps Second Life is going to be Nick’s move into a sort of Social Networking, and really, isn’t it just Nick’s style to pick something so visual, so real, yet completely UNreal?  Now the Duranies are going to have to step up their game to keep up with you.

 Well played Nicholas – Mr. Vampire Alien, well played.

I’m probably going to just stay on the sidelines, tweet, send in a Facebook status or two, and mingle with the rest of the First Lifers.

-R

Second Life, The Sequel!

Once upon a time, there was news of a land not far off from the one in which we all (most?) currently reside – but millions of miles away from “Real Life”.  It was a place where we could choose our own names, decide on our own careers and make our own money.  The best part of this new land was that Duran Duran themselves were going to be a part of it.  They were to create their own special “universe”, and it would probably be the one place in the world…or another world, so to speak, where Duranies could run and feel free to blast their Duranie-ness to  any and all who care to occupy space in this, Second Life.

At the time this was announced, and if I remember correctly there was not only announcements of the band having their own avatars to roam Second Life, but there was also an announcement of an online concert IN Second Life. (presumably in the Duran Duran universe)  To a lot of fans, this was excellent news!  Not only could we go to shows in our real life, but our alter egos could attend them in our other life, too!  Double the fun!  So, off to Second Life we went!  The program was downloaded, avatars and names picked, and customization began.  Then the fun started, as one must learn how to “move” on Second Life.

My recollection of moving on Second Life was mainly that no matter which direction I wanted to go in – my avatar would simply ignore me and either “fly”, or get stuck in some sort of odd dance routine.  At the time, I was an avid video game player (although truth be told this was well before the XBox or even the Wii took up residence in our home), and I still couldn’t figure out the basics.  I took the requisite tutoring sessions, tried to ask a lot of questions and eventually I could walk a semi-straight line as long as I didn’t try anything fancy – like run or anything.

At this point, I would say I was less than two weeks into Second Life.  Actually, it could have been longer – I’m not really sure.  All I know is that Duranies were EVERYWHERE.  I really believe that once the band announced their intentions, fans flocked to the game – many gave up almost immediately because the learning curve is fairly steep, but many were able to figure it out, and I have friends who became very successful pole dancers in Second Life!   In my case, I knew that I wouldn’t pay for a membership – money was scarce in this house at the time – but I wanted to see what I could do with the game otherwise.  Most of my time was spent trying to find money in trees, wandering the different lands looking for free stuff to put…well…nowhere because I didn’t have a home, and watching all of the other crazy first-timers learning how to move.  It became obvious rather quickly that I did not have what it takes to navigate through my real life here at home AND maintain a successful Second Life, so I bid the game adieu.

The joke here, as most fans know, is that it’s been years…and I mean YEARS…since the band  announced their intentions to join Second Life.  I can’t even remember the name of their special “land” within Second Life, but it’s been under construction for what seems to be an eternity.  I thought for sure that this brainiac idea of theirs had gone way of the countless other ideas that have obviously been locked away in the Duran-vaults in Nick’s house.  Why Nick’s house?  I don’t know, I guess I chose his house because we’ve talked enough about Simon lately, and quite honestly – who here doesn’t think Nick have closets and vaults of ideas!?!?

I’d completely forgotten about Second Life until this past week – Nick’s birthday to be precise – when it was announced that their Second Life land will open on June 22nd, and I’m assuming that’s in REAL LIFE time as opposed to Durantime, or Second Life time!  Now the question becomes, do I dare download Second Life again, start over and learn how to move, or do I skip it, full well knowing that my real life is still more than enough to handle?

-R

How old is that kid up there???

I think I’m a pretty lazy fan.  Most days, I come online only to find some fantastic piece of news that other people have known about for months, if not years.  Yeah, that might seem like an exaggeration to some.  It’s really not.

For instance, and I *am* embarrassing myself by putting this in written word for all of the Duranieverse (a new word) to read; it wasn’t until I had been a member of DuranDuranFans.com for more than a few months that I came to learn that there even WAS an album called “Thank You” put out by the band.  (hey, I was a little busy back in the 90’s…and typically I don’t like cover albums!) Not to mention that Roger Taylor, my self-described favorite, performed on not only the album, but the video for Perfect Day.  I’ll never forget that moment because I was on the phone with a friend, watching the video (keep in mind the video was very low resolution – it’s my story and I’m sticking to it) when suddenly it occurs to me that the drummer is someone I recognize.  I blurt out “Oh my god, Roger Taylor is IN this video!”, to which my friend on the phone cackles with laughter and proceeds to educate me on Duran Duran history.  It was a beautiful moment, and yes, at the time I did have blonde hair.  Thankyouverymuch!

A month, or maybe even two months back, there was an article in a magazine that I honestly can’t remember the name. (Again, see the laziness?  I could research the name, which most times I do, but I’m in a hurry here today so it’s not going to happen.  Bonus points for the fan – Amanda doesn’t count – who can post the magazine name in our comments)  In this lovely article, Dom Brown was interviewed.  There were a plethora of fantastic questions asked and answered, but one tidbit struck me enough that day to where it’s been nagging at me ever since.  The interviewer had asked Dom if there was any piece of information that the fans didn’t know (or something to that extent).  Dom answered that he didn’t think most fans knew his birthday or his age.

I read that article and realized he was right.  I’d been screaming for Dom at shows since 2005 and had no clue about his age.  Secretly I hoped that he was closer to my age than say…in his young 20’s…there is a story behind that comment that I won’t share here, but I really didn’t have any idea.  I felt bad in some ways because a few birthdays had past and I’d never sent a “Happy Birthday” his way.  In odd, random moments here at home I’d consider ways I could find out his birthdate, but I never did much.   I could say that there’s too much going on around here for me to remember much besides the names of my children, my own home and cell phone numbers, (don’t ask me about my kids’ cell numbers – thankfully those are written down.  Somewhere.), and occasionally I might even remember my husband’s work phone number and possibly even the last 4 digits of my credit card number.  The reality is, I’m lazy and I didn’t look up Dom’s birthday anywhere.

Flash ahead to this morning when I checked Facebook.  The day seemed pretty uneventful.  I checked my personal and Daily Duranie email, where I found some communication from Amanda.  She lets me know that fans are wishing Dom a happy 39th birthday and wants to know what I think of that.

Well, to begin with, I pretty much suck.  (That’s American for I inhale quickly, loudly and strongly through a straw.  Suffice to say I’m really bad.)  I should have really been better about being a fan.  Damn it.

I know that Dom is not a Permanent Member of the Band,  and somehow that alleviates the pressure from me having to know his exact height, weight, hair color, birthdate, place of birth, favorite color, food, etc.  Reality for me is that I fell in love with that guy from the moment I saw him on stage in 2005.  Now, before you Andy-fans come out of the woodwork with scary looking things to beat me with – I love Andy too.  Andy IS the guitar player for Duran Duran.  I’ve never, ever said otherwise.  He is the guitar player that was with the band when I fell in love, and as such he will always hold that place in my heart.  I have total respect for Andy, I read his book, and I still read his blog whenever he chooses to post.   Andy decided to close his chapter on life in Duran Duran, and I respect that decision completely.  I’m still a Duran Duran fan though, and as such – I exercise my right to learn to love the band in their varying forms.  Some more than others.  When Dom first took to the stage in 2005, I thought he did a fine job.  He stayed out of the limelight, played the notes as written, and didn’t make it into the Dom show.  He’s a session guitarist and that is what they do.  Extremely well, I might add.  In 2006, when after an official announcement that came WEEKS later than it EVER should have come from the band (yes, that is indeed this half of Daily Duranie saying that the band and their management screwed up royally), Dom had to play the show at the Sears Center in Chicago, knowing that Andy would never be returning, that fans were not pleased by the news, and that he had extraordinarily large shoes to fill.  In my opinion, he exceeded my expectations.  Again, he played the songs, stayed out of the spotlight and seemed to be respectful of the task ahead for the band.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more, other than to have Andy back. Since that night, he has quite honestly grown more and more comfortable in his position within the band.  He obviously loves the work, he enjoys being onstage, and he seems to really love the rest of the band as well.  I’ve never, ever heard him say one tiny cross word towards Andy – regardless of how he may feel privately (and I have no idea how he really feels, I hope it stays that way permanently to be honest) – and I have to give him credit.  It would have been far easier to come in and smear Andy’s reputation just to make himself look good.  I daresay that other guitarists have done similar things in the past, and it’s not even remotely close to attractive.  Overall, I think Dom has done a great job.

Do I think Dom should be “in the band”?  My question in return is “Does it really matter, and if so, why?”  I think that the current situation seems to work for all of them.  Whether or not that’s the real truth or just the current line that is being used to appease the fans, I don’t know.   Some fans can’t stand Dom.  I’m not surprised.  As I said before, those were incredibly large shoes to fill, and in MY opinion, only Andy can fill them completely.  There’s always going to be something missing for some people unless it’s the original 5.  All I can say to that, is that I respect your opinion and your feelings.  How could I not?

Ultimately, I am glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see Dom onstage with the band.  He is charismatic, fun to watch, and darn it – the guy is cute.  When he looks out into the audience and sees someone he recognizes, he does his best to indicate as such, which is really kind of cool.  Yes, I guess you could say I’m a fan.  (I’m not straying Roger!! I promise!)

Speaking of being a fan – I really need to get back on the horse and stop being so lazy.  The time for not knowing which drummer is in their videos, or whom is on guitar, or whose birthday it is today must stop!  With that, I say a very loud and hearty “Happy Birthday Dom!”  I sincerely hope you enjoy your special day with your lovely wife and those two adorable kids of yours!   (and by the way – 39 goes super fast – so enjoy that last year of being in your 30’s while you can, you youngster!!)

-R

Biographies, Memoirs and Life Lessons

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. (I suppose those last two are really sort of the same…)  Normally, I’m a romance reader, but lately I’ve grown sick of them.  One can only live in fantasy for so long, I suppose.  So now I’m living vicariously through others!  So far, I’ve read things from George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Ron Paul, (you may think you see a theme, but it’s just that I haven’t finished reading all of my books yet…I have plenty from the left side of the aisle to get through!!!), Rick Springfield, Portia DeRossi, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey.  As I said, I still have quite a few more to either start or finish – and yes, I read more than one at a time.  I can only read so much about politics before my head starts hurting.  It’s been eye-opening on more than one occasion, and yes, it’s even changed the way I feel about some people.  That seems to be a sort of recurring theme in my life as of late.  It’s as though the assumptions I’d made regarding people have had to go a sort of re-tune now that I’m older. (I say that because most of the books I’ve read lately have been about people that I’d grown up admiring, or arguing with while they were on various TV talk shows and or news programs!)  Duran Duran should really be included in that list.

It’s no secret that their current situation has probably made any fan really think.  I must admit that writing a book about the fan base has given me plenty to consider, and in some respects I think it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d never given any thought.  For instance, once upon a time, I never really thought much about what went on behind the scenes.  All I cared about is what I saw onstage, or heard on a CD.  I never really considered the various walks of life their fans came from, I never really thought about how each of our cultures helps to “train” us to be different types of fans.  I thought that fans were fans.  We all want the same thing, we all react the same way (basically).  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The biggest example of how different we all react has to be the postponed UK and European shows.  I don’t have an interest in rehashing the reactions, I just want to acknowledge that they exist.  My writing partner wrote a blog over the weekend that created much buzz on Facebook.  Not all of it was positive.  Many reacted the way I would have expected, but some reacted with complete anger and frustration.  I don’t know that I would have anticipated that.  The motive behind the blog topic was simply to ask “What If”; while many had no trouble commenting on how they would feel – regardless of what those feelings were – still others were incensed that the question was even asked.  Initially, that upset me because, as I explained on Facebook – this is a BLOG.  It’s about opinions, it’s about presenting topics and allowing discussion.  Comment all you would like on whether you agree or disagree, but to comment on the topics chosen seemed to be counterproductive.  As the day wore on, however, I realized that the anger behind our topic has far more to do with not being willing to even discuss the possibility.  I need to respect that, and I do.  I may not necessarily agree, but the fact is – we’re all fans.  In as much as I know that Amanda meant no harm in expressing her feelings about the subject at hand; I also recognize that the comments weren’t meant to harm her, or her thoughts specifically.  Let’s be honest, none of us want to be talking about the demise of the band.  Real, imagined, or otherwise.  I think we all can agree on that.

For me personally, I’ve reached a point in my life where on one hand, I have to give people credit for putting themselves out there, doing the hard work, having an opinion, or just plain being good people – and for the most part – I do believe people are good.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten to a point where I refuse to put up with the, well, B.S. (for lack of a better way of describing!)  My friends take me as I am, and I take others as they are – and if I can’t, I won’t.  I think that I’ve stopped caring about trying to be what other people want.  I have the luxury of being a mostly private citizen – I don’t put myself up for public scrutiny in the same way that the band might.  I recognize that for Duran Duran and the plethora of other bands and celebrities out there, their livelyhoods depend very much on what we think, and what we want.  I don’t envy them for that.  There must be a very fine line on which they must balance, and while a good part of me says “Who the hell cares – they should put out the music they like!”, another part of me recognizes that business is business.  They employ a good many people who count on them, and they do have the right to make music that will sell, even if I don’t personally enjoy their work.

I don’t envy the band, celebrities or even my favorites from the 80’s Brat Pack years in much the same way I don’t envy any of our politicians, which is one thing I’ve learned from all of my reading.  I don’t have to like their choices, but I must give them credit – because I’m mighty comfortable being an armchair critic!

-R

 

A Duran Thank You

When I eat breakfast each day, I try to check into the Duran world and see if there is anything new.  Part of this, of course, is to figure out what I want to blog about, if I don’t already know.  I thought I might talk about the fact that Duran is finally going to be on Second Life or one of the Katy Kafe’s from recent months that we haven’t talked about.  I still might blog about those things or Rhonda might because I noticed that Duran had a new post on their official website.  In this post, which you can read here, Duran thanks their fans and once again explains again the situation with Simon and the postponed shows.  They also included some live tracks from a recent performance in Rome. 

Now, I wasn’t sure how to react to this thank you.  Obviously, I appreciate communication from the band to us.  Then, I decided to see what the rest of the fanbase had to say about this.  Many people seem to feel like I do–that communication is always nice.  Others discussed the fact that the there was both information and an “apology”.  A lot of people seemed to like the fact that there were live tracks included.  These reactions made me think a little deeper about what I thought about this thank you. 

The beginning of the note thanks the fans for all the love and support after the band had to postpone the UK tour and the first dates in Europe.  While I have seen a ton of love and support directed at the band, including and especially Simon, I have also seen reactions that I wouldn’t necessarily define as “support”.  For example, I have seen people do nothing much beyond complaining about the loss of their shows.  It seems that some people have been focused on the loss of their money, their vacation time, etc.  While I definitely understand people’s disappointment and frustration, I believe that the issue is much bigger than one’s personal, individual loss.  I feel pretty confident in saying this, too, since I was one of those people who lost money and time from work.  In fact, I lost a pretty significant amount of money with both the sheer expense of the trip AND the loss of pay from work.  Yet, it doesn’t seem right to me to complain.  My finances are small in the grand scheme of things.  The loss of shows is also really small in the great history of Duran.  Right now, the focus should be on Simon’s health.  Where we ALLl go from here, depends on that.  Anyway, I am sure that the band does appreciate the love and support they have received but I just wish that they only had to deal with support but suspect that they have to deal with non-support as well.   

The next paragraph is packed full.  First, they talked about how disappointed they were with having to cancel these shows, especially since they had planned something “special”.  Boy, do I hope that I one day will be able to attend 1 or 4 of these special shows.  I would love to see what they had planned!  Second, they acknowledge the hardship on the fans, especially those of us who had traveled far, spent money, took vacation time, etc.  I appreciate the sentiment but feel like they have offered so many apologies all ready.  I don’t need anymore and feel sorry that there clearly must be people that do.  I realize that they didn’t postpone the shows for fun or for some other reason other than what has been said.  What does it say about the fanbase that they feel it necessary to keep apologizing?  Are people really so stuck on that?  I can understand if they postponed the shows for a silly reason but they didn’t.  They didn’t want to do it.  Lastly, they once again explained how they often couldn’t give advanced notice for the postponements due to all of the people involved, including insurance agents and medical professionals.  Here is where my patience gets a little thin.  They have explained this MANY times.  John did it, personally, in his blog.  Why can’t some of the fans get this?!  Is this so hard to understand?  I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for them knowing that the more painful it will be for fans the later the announcement is but having no choice when they have had to postpone these shows.  Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. 

The ending of the thank you consists of a positive message of “Duran Duran fully expects to be back in tip top form this summer” and discussion about re-scheduling.  I’m not sure how I feel about this statement.  I obviously want to believe it to be true.  What Duranie doesn’t?!  I’m hoping that they are exactly right with this statement!!!  Of course!  I would also LOVE to know when my shows will be re-scheduled for so that I can plot…I mean plan for them (hopefully!) but I, like many fans, don’t want them to rush on this.  I think it would be best for all involved to really know that Simon is okay and that they can continue.  I just don’t want to be disappointed and I don’t want others disappointed either.  Thus, while I love the optimism and faith, it makes me nervous.  I want desperately to believe nothing but that but I also know that no one really knows that.  Yet.

The band then leaves a peace offering of sorts with the songs from the recent Rome performance.  That’s a sweet gesture, but I am left wondering if they felt like they had to offer something.  In my opinion, they didn’t have to give this thank you.  We have received many thanks of support already and have definitely heard many apologies for something that it is not really in their control.  It makes me sad that they feel like they have to keep doing this.  It makes me wonder how much grief they are getting that I don’t even know about.  It makes me think they aren’t getting total support.  Maybe I’m just reading into it.  Maybe I have seen a couple of statements from fans that I think are a little less than supportive so I’m assuming that there must be more where that came from.  I can definitely hope that they are getting nothing but support as I truly believe that is what they deserve.

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!