Melancholy and Optimism

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.  🙂

-R

And So It Begins….(again!)

Have you heard the news?  Duran Duran recorded an interview yesterday (that would be Tuesday) for the Today Show here in the US.  The show date is November 13th, which is a Saturday.   I was ecstatic to see that they’re finally doing interviews – assumably for the new album, which is great news!!!

Where I live, the show airs beginning at 5am on Saturday.  It just so happens that I will have not only my closest friends here that weekend, but also my blogging-partner-in-crime, so we’ll be doing a joint blog that day on our reactions from the show I am sure.  I can’t wait to see the band again, and what makes this airing even more special is that my closest friends, all of whom I’ve met as a result of being involved in this godforsaken community.   I almost never have the opportunity to experience real “Duranie” moments with my friends, unless it’s at a show – because two of my friends live in the midwest, and the other lives in New Jersey.  They’ll all be here with me that weekend because as the resident old lady of the group – I turn 40  this Sunday.  They are coming out next week to help soften the blow.   I really can’t seem to decide if I’m more excited about seeing a Duran Duran interview, or if I’m genuinely more excited that I’ll get to make comments, point and laugh, and probably squeal in delight at the interview right along with my three friends here in my own living room.  

That’s the beauty of our community.  We all came together for the love of a band, yet our friendships surely transcend the “life” of the band at this point.  No, we’re not all going to be best friends, but I feel so incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon the whole lot of you, and even more so that I’ve found some of the most wonderful friends within this crazy community of ours.  Sure, there’s an amazing amount of competitive, cheap and petty behavior that goes on at times, and yes – I’ve met more than my fair share of people that I feel need a “crazy” certificate; but on the other hand, to meet all of them has made my life so much more colorful.   To think that just six short years ago I’d found DuranDuranFans.com, and since then I’ve organized a convention, started a daily blog, found a fabulous group of women to lean on during some of the roughest times of my life, not to mention finding a fantastic writing partner…. I’ve had a good run so far, and I’m looking forward to more!

Hold on tight, because this show is about to get on the road!

-R

Election Day

Today is Election Day in America and I hope that all of my fellow Americans are heading to the polls to exercise their right to vote!  For those people who know me outside of message boards or this blog know that I have been very involved with campaigning.  I have always been passionate about politics but did not get involved in a political campaign in a serious way until 2008.  In May of 2008, I discovered that John Taylor agreed with me, politically, when he came out for the encore in Chicago wearing an Obama t-shirt.  At that moment, I felt nothing but validation.  Obviously, this feeling was not shared by all Duranies as some were supporting Obama’s opponent.  This led me to seriously consider how political I think Duran should be.

Duran Duran has never been a political band, not like bands like U2.  Of course, I knew that they did commercials for organizations like Amnesty International and, obviously, supporting getting food to famine victims in Africa in the 1980s.  Yet, none of their songs were about politics or political issues.  Even when they began to get more political on their albums, they did it in a very subtle way.  Take the song, Finest Hour, for example.  My understanding is that song is a reference to a speech given in World War II about how Britain had to stand up against Hitler and even if they lost, they should still be able to say that this was their “finest hour” as a people.  From what I heard, Simon’s lyrics wanted to use this reference as a means of standing up to Bush and the Iraq War, which was just beginning at that time.  Yet, people could easily listen to that song and assume it was about the band reclaiming its place in the world or about people reclaiming some element that they have been missing.  It is a song, like most Duran songs, that can be interpreted in different ways.  Is this the way that they should express themselves, politically, by using subtle references in their lyrics or should they be overt like John was in wearing that Obama shirt?

I don’t have the answer to this question.  On one hand, I absolutely believe that they should have their own political beliefs and should be able to express them.  I wouldn’t want to have to suppress my beliefs just because of the job I do.  On the other hand, should they risk alienating part of their fanbase?  I can’t imagine how I would have felt if they had been openly supporting McCain, for example.  I’m sure that I would have felt distant from them at the very least.  Now, I absolutely believe that politics can be an expression of one’s values and core beliefs about people, government, etc., but I also believe that people can have differences of opinion and still be similar at the core.  So, where does this leave me?  It leaves me, generally, glad that Duran hasn’t been overtly political, for the most part.  I need some part of my life to be just for fun, to be carefree because the rest of it, isn’t.  I don’t want politics to divide Duranies.  After all, there must be something special about Duran since they were/are able to bring all types of people together to form a very dedicated fanbase.

On that note, on this Election Day 2010, I leave you with this passing thought.  Can Arcadia Simon look any hotter than he did in the Election Day video? 
-A

Fairness?

Two things that have never felt synonymous – fairness and the DD fan community (or DDM to be exact).

Recently on the DDM board, there was a contest to go and see Roger at one of his DJ gigs.  For me, the contest was for a gig overseas, and therefore – I knew that there was very little chance I’d be able to scrape together a trip at the last minute, and so I decided not to enter the contest.  The chances of winning are very small, and if I had won (which has never happened), I would have been furious about not being able to go – not to mention the fact that if I’d won, quite literally I would have been taking the opportunity from someone else who was able to attend.  I didn’t pay much attention to the thread about the contest after that, until Jim from GSG Entertainment put up a thread titled “Fairness” on DDM.  Apparently some of the winners of the contest ended up not being able to attend the show, and as a result – Jim felt the need to remind all of us that we should only enter contests if we think we can go.

First of all, this is not a “new” problem.  I know PLENTY of members who enter each and every contest to see if they can win.  Many of them say “I’ll figure it out later if I win”, and when it’s pointed out to them that if they do win and aren’t able to go – they basically have taken the tickets away from other people who can – the response is typically something to the extent of “I pay for membership here, it’s my “right” to enter, and it’s nobody else’s business if I can’t use the tickets.”   Quite honestly, I think this attitude runs pretty rampantly throughout the community.  Our fan community has always been “dog eats dog”, and it’s really kind of tiresome at this point for me.  I love the band, and I love the idea of a fan community, but the game playing that goes on is a huge turn off for me at times.

I responded to Jim’s post – primarily as an assertion that it happens all the time, much in the same way I’ve done here.  The thread is now 5 pages long, so it’s obvious the topic has hit a nerve.  Many post saying that they would never enter a contest knowing they couldn’t go, and many seem to want to debate what is really “fair”.

The subject of people who win multiple contests came up – several believe there should be a limit as to how often one can win a contest.  I would probably agree with this, although I don’t know how much of a problem this really is when it comes to contests for signed CD’s and things like that.  However, I *do* see the same folks winning meet and greets at shows (when you purchase a ridiculously expensive VIP ticket – you enter a drawing for a chance to have a super rushed meet and greet with the band).  Now to be “fair”, I have to say that these days – it could very well be the same people buying VIP tickets over and over again, so of course it’s the same group of people entered into the contest to win.  I only know that during the shows in 2005, there were some “EXTREMELY” lucky people who won multiple times.  If I had that much luck, I’d be buying lottery tickets, that is for sure.   Regardless, even within this discussion, there were more than a few that felt there shouldn’t be a limit on how often someone can win.

Our community is made up of people from all walks of life.  There are married, single, gay, straight, wealthy, poor, struggling….all different people from all different backgrounds, sets of circumstances, and different places all over the world.  Each of us have our own ideals and our own “rules” that we live by.  Where I wouldn’t ever think to worm my way up to the front of a GA show, cutting in front of people who had been standing there all evening – others seem to believe it’s their given right to do so.    Some believe that being fair means playing by the rules, yet others believe you’ve got to take matters into your own hands and make your own luck.  Fairness doesn’t even enter into it.   What is really “fair”, and does it really matter?    Let me know your thoughts!

-R

Record Sales

Recently, Nick was BBC2 Radio and confirmed that the band hopes on releasing the album, digitally, in December with a physical release in the beginning of 2011.  Around the same time, give or take a day or two, an event on Facebook appeared asking people to RSVP to download the album on December 25th.  Perhaps, this event came after Simon made a statement on his latest Katy Kafe about how the fans will have a Christmas surprise, in regards to the album.  All of this leads me to have further questions.  Will they release the album before a single?  Will there be a single?  Will it really be released on Christmas?  Will having both a digital release and a physical release help album sales?

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the message boards in regards to how well this album will do.  Some people believe that the album won’t sell any better than Red Carpet Massacre because only dedicated fans will buy it.  Others think that the album will sell more depending on the quality of the music.  If it feels like classic Duran, people will buy it.  Here’s my question:  Who are the dedicated fans?  How many of us are there?  How do you define “dedicated”?  Will only Duranies buy it? 

Since we have started this blog, we have been amazed at how many readers we have from places outside of the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.  We have had readers in places like Iraq, India and other places that Duran Duran has never played.  This leads me to wonder how many Duranies there are, worldwide.  I obviously realize that not all Duranies read message boards or post.  Did all “Duranies” buy RCM?  Did they buy as many as they did Astronaut?  Will they buy more copies if the album is solid? 

Call me an optimist but I do believe that some of the people who bought Astronaut but did not buy RCM will buy All You Need is Now, if the album is what they think Duran should sound and be like.

-A

Dying for a Show!!

I am dying for a show.  It is as simple as that.  My desire for a show is increasing with every piece of news and every rumor about the new album.  Non-fans might think this is silly or obsessive but I’m willing to bet that most other Duranies are feeling like I do (except those lucky fans in South Africa!).

The last show that I saw was in July of 2009.  It is simply unacceptable that I have gone almost a year and a half since I have seen the band perform live.  To me, there is nothing better than a fantastic Duran show, one that is filled with energy and includes lots of fun interactions with the fans.  I miss singing with John Taylor, screaming for Dom, laughing at Simon’s classic moves, and grabbing Rhonda’s arm during all JoSi moments.  I’m longing for those pre-show meetups when Duranies gather in some restaurant or bar to meet each other for the first time or to see people you haven’t seen for awile.  Those post-show gatherings are great, too, as we are ready to have more fun to burn off the energy we got from the show!

I miss making all of the plans in regards to shows, to tours.  I love that moment when the tour dates are announced and I can begin plotting about which shows I might be able to get to!  My partner-in-crime and I then get to *squee* together as we begin to formulate our plan about which tickets to buy, which hotels to stay at, how to travel to each show, etc.  The message boards are usually full of activity as everyone posts which shows they are going to and meetups discussions start, which works to build everyone’s anticipation!  I miss all of this!  I long for all of this! 

To me, this time in Duranville is much like a long road trip.  On a long trip, I’m usually good for the first few hours but the last half hour is simply unbearable.  I know that we are close but aren’t quite there yet.  I am beginning to see the exit and can’t get there fast enough.  My patience is almost gone.  I need something to keep me going.  I don’t care if it more snippets of new songs or an actual release date or an updated website but I need something!!!  (Although, I would really like some dates…)  😀

-A

The Limit of Fandom

I am a huge Duran Duran fan, which is pretty clear by the amount of time I spend on message boards, on social networking sites and on this blog.  I have spent quite a bit of money over the years on shows and on their products.  It is not uncommon to hear my stereo playing something Duran related or seeing a Duran show or dvd on my television.  When I’m with my Duranie friends or talking to them on the phone, they are always part of the conversation.  I memorized as many facts as I could as a fresh, new Duranie in the 1980s and I like to share that knowledge when I can, even now!  As I type, I have no doubt in my mind that I will buy the new album on the day it comes out and will plan to travel as soon as tour dates are announced.  I am a big fan, but, even I have my limits.

Four years ago today, Rhonda and I were among the thousands standing on a muddy field in New Orleans waiting for the headlining act to appear.  Initially, we thought we were so smart as these general admission tickets to the Voodoo Festival cost us around $25 a piece.  We arrived early in order to stake our spots in front and we managed to do just that by being about two or three rows back from the center walkway.  Before arriving at the festival site, we bought a blanket to sit on as we knew that it would be hours before Duran played.  Again, we thought we were so smart!  By two or three in the afternoon, there was no longer room to sit down and we were struggling to maintain our position as more and more people were pushing their way to the front.  Then, the crowd surfing and moshing began.  As most Duranies know, this is not EVER something that happens at a Duran show and we like it that way.  As a short female, I appreciate knowing that I am not risking injuries by attending a show.  We literally spent the next four or five hours watching and guarding against getting kicked in the head or face and against losing our spots.  This was not at all enjoyable.  We were no longer feeling so smart.

By the time Duran appeared on stage, we were more relieved than anything else.  After all, we had been standing in a tiny spot for literally hours with no room to move, no chance for food or drinks and no way to even think about going to find a bathroom.  I do remember that at the end of Duran’s set, Simon dared to ask the question, “Do you have time for one more song?”  Dear Rhonda screamed back at him, “Do I have time for one more song?  I have time for 50 more songs, now sing bitch!!”  as she, like me, felt like we had deserved to hear thousands of songs for all that we had suffered through. 

After that show, I discovered that I, too, have a limit as a fan.  I’m willing to do a lot in the name of being a Duranie.  I’m willing to put up with not-so-good albums *RCM* but I am no longer going to be attending any festivals featuring Duran Duran or anyone from the band unless I get a seat ON the stage.  I don’t like, literally, fighting for survival.  I can’t say that I’m a fan of standing on my feet for HOURS or not getting anything to eat or drink.  Bathrooms are a necessary part of life that was sacrificed that day.  So, never again will this Duranie attend a festival.  That is my limit.  What’s yours?

-A

Tell Us What You Know!

Just when I think the day is going to be quiet – a little subtle change appears on the horizon that brings on a small rain shower.

If anyone has been watching, the space under Label has remained fairly blank for while on the band’s myspace and facebook pages, then very quietly it was filled – I’m not sure if it happened this morning or last night, but it now has a name listed.  “Tapemodern”.  I’m going to be up front and honest, this blog isn’t really going to be about the label “announcement” – I’ll leave that to other perfectly capable folks to mull over.  What I am more curious about is the reaction AFTER noticing that space being filled with a name.

One of The Daily Duranie’s fellow bloggers took to her blog this morning, announcing the small change.  You can read it here .  Even more fascinating than the label itself (which really isn’t huge news if you’ve been paying any kind of attention for the last year or so) are the comments AFTER the blog.  Immediately folks jumped on Nathan Stack, who is the handler of the bands myspace and facebook pages.  They wanted to know where he got his information, and Nathan – ever so carefully, I might add, sidestepped the real question. (clearly he’s been learning – good on him!) That’s when another person commented, as anonymous as the first, that Nathan was being coy and evasive and that he should just tell us where he got his information – or if he was just following the bosses orders and wasn’t told why.

Upon reading the comments – I had this clear vision:  Nathan tied to a chair in a small dark room with a single light bulb hanging down from the ceiling.  Someone from the Gestapo standing in front of him, whip in hand, demanding answers.  “Tell us vat you know!”

Really people?  This is our fandom???  One tiny bit of news that isn’t really THAT huge and we’re going to be like the Gestapo to get answers?  One person even commented that if Nathan really changed the label name – that he should know the answers and at least be able to verify whether it’s true or not.  It almost infers that  #1 – Nathan might not have been the one to change the label name, and #2 – that if he did change it and doesn’t know why, than maybe it’s just rumor.   I suppose it’s possible that someone else went onto the accounts – whether that was because they had authority to do so or because the account was hacked as a joke and changed the label – but I kind of doubt that.  Why bother??  So I’ll go out on a limb and say that if it’s on their myspace and facebook, it’s highly likely that it’s their label.   That said, I don’t believe Nathan or anyone else on Duran’s staff is responsible or required to explain themselves to the fan community.  I just can’t quite get over that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re going to question EVERYTHING – even their own facebook and myspace pages – simply because we all know that a fellow fan runs those pages, as if that makes them fair game for bullying.  It doesn’t.

Even more fascinating is the “why”.  Why do we as fans feel it’s our “right” to know everything, and I do mean everything, as soon as it happens?  I’m just like the rest of you, I sit in very anxious anticipation for the next album.  I can’t wait to see them on tour.  I have posters hanging in my closet.  (wait….I probably didn’t need to mention that…. ;D)  Yet I don’t know when it became my right to know exactly what they are doing and why.  I think that at the end of the day, I have to trust that the band has a pretty good idea of what they’re doing and how the business works, even if I don’t always agree with their choices.  They probably wouldn’t agree with many of mine…so we’re good on that one.  In all due time, we’ll find out what made them decide to go with Tapemodern (*coughs* Nick *coughs*), and why there are still listings of UMG distributing a single for them on December 14th.

This whole morning/afternoon has reminded me of the UCLA Internet Symposium that John spoke at this same time last year.  During his speech, he spoke of how Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums have brought the fans so much closer – there’s not nearly the same sort of separation as there was when he was young.  This is true.  He talked about the anticipation he would have over getting specific albums after seeing his favorite bands live, because that was the only way at the time that you could continue to feel that connection after leaving a show.  Nowadays, the line between privacy and public life is so blurred that a lot of that anticipation is lost – which is one reason (out of many I am certain) that John chooses not to participate in those social mediums.  I would venture to guess that “back in the day”, the band could have (and did) switch labels without noticing so much as a ripple of commotion in the fandom.  In present time, we often find out about such things well before the band even intends to announce them, and yet ALL of us (this blogger included) continue to question why the band openly chooses – so it seems – to put up such a brick wall between themselves and their fans, whether that brick wall is perceived, misunderstood, or otherwise.

I think that much of the answer to that question can be found in this blog, on the bands facebook and myspace pages, and on our message boards.

-R

Can You Eat Elderberries?

It’s that time of year again!!!

I don’t know what it is with Simon and the fan community, to be honest.  I know that within my group of friends (including Amanda) – Simon has always been the band member we’ve “picked on”, so to speak.  I can’t really answer why, but perhaps it’s because he’s out in front, he’s generally not afraid to tell a fan to take a hike. (in much better words I’m sure – but surely you get the point) ….and he likes wearing that Eagle belt buckle.  🙂   For every good fan story I’ve heard about Simon, I’ve heard and read just as many that paint him to be “not the nicest” band member to meet.  On a personal note, I’ve never really met him – other than at the signing in Hollywood.  I don’t even think I’ve ever seen him out in public after shows that I can think of offhand, so I have no idea how he “really” is.  My guess is that he’s human…and very much a scorpio.

The thing is, at least in my case, I love Simon.  I also love to tease him.  I have to think that if he knew me – which he does not – he’d probably give me a hard time right back, and I’d enjoy that.  I also know that he is at the heart of Duran Duran.  The band would definitely not be the same without him – in the same way that it wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t the same) without all original 5 members.  Some will argue that certain members, such as Simon, can’t be replaced at all, and while I would wholeheartedly disagree (everyone can be replaced, but it would change everything about the band, and that’s really the point in question.), I wouldn’t want him to leave.  I need to see him in front of the band, I enjoy watching him banter with John (those infamous JoSi moments!), I would miss watching him “dance”….well, we won’t get into that.  (note to self: must learn how to upload video to blog.)  Have you watched yourself dance to Skin Trade, Simon???

My oldest daughter has met Simon.  She was seven at the time (she’s now 13), and it was when we went to the signing for Astronaut in Hollywood.  She remembers it very clearly and it ranks right up there with Andy jumping out of his chair to shake her hand on the same night.  She was carrying a book with her in line, it was a Nancy Drew book – and he was very interested in what it was about.  I think she might have impressed him when she stood there and told him what it was about, and whether or not she thought it was worth reading.  (she did, as I recall – it was her favorite series at the time!)  Then she told him she really liked the album, and with a twinkle of mischief in his eye he asked her what her favorite song was on the album.  I kind of think he thought she was just being kind when she said that, and that she wouldn’t know what to say.  She smiled and said “Sunrise”, because it’s the happiest song on the album.  He grinned and signed her CD.    Of course, Simon didn’t look twice at me as I went through the line right behind her – but that’s OK.  I enjoyed watching him with my oldest!

The second time my daughter saw Simon in person, it was from the audience at the Pearl. (The Palms show in summer of 2009)  We were up close to the front, and during Tempted, Simon flashed his devil horns.  Keep in mind, at this point – my daughter was then 12 and full of mischief herself!  Well, she flashed them right back at him, to which he rolled his eyes.  She turned around with her eyes as wide as saucers because she thought she’d offended him, which amused me all the more!!  What Simon doesn’t know is that we coaxed her to do it back at him, and we ALL laugh when he does the devil horns.  It’s right up there with the “karate” moves at the end of Notorious – and it’s what makes Simon, Simon.

I’ve even had my proverbial ass handed to me by Simon on occasion.  Some would have been mortified – but I LOVED it.  I’m not entirely sure he even really meant his comments for me, but I will say this – they were extremely timely.  As I’m sure most of our readers have figured out by now, Red Carpet Massacre isn’t my favorite Duran Duran album.  Last year at some point, we had gotten into quite a discussion about it on DDF .  We were talking about whether or not they’d lost their label (they hadn’t announced they’d parted with Sony yet), where they seemed to have gone wrong, and what would lie ahead for the band.  I was pretty candid with my comments since it’s my home board – and apparently sometimes I forget that anyone could be reading.  Within the next day or so, lo and behold a blog pops up from Simon about parting ways with Sony AND that “for the record” he was still very proud of Red Carpet Massacre.  I didn’t save the entire blog, but when I read it, it seemed very possible that he’d either read my mind, or my post on DDF. (which I am sure isn’t the case – it was just very, very coincidental.)

As far as the fan community goes, I hear the stories about his escapades after shows.  I’ve been told that if you ever want to attract Simon’s attention – ignore him.  I suppose the bad stories tend to go along with the good, and it’s not up to me or anyone else to judge.  Simon is who he is, like it or not, and that’s one reason why I do like him.   I know how much we poke fun at him for tripping on stage or for attempting to crowd surf, or for putting on a hat and sunglasses that make him look like a pimp.  I suppose it’s all part of our relationship, if you can call it that, with Simon.  I sincerely hope that he recognizes that most of it is done out of fun, and love.

As much as I complain about how some of his blogs in the past have almost driven me to drink because I couldn’t understand what the hell he was saying, and as much as I cringe when he decides to spit water on the audience (I swear I’m bringing a poncho and umbrella next time!!), he is part of what makes this band so terrific.  He is the reason my friends bring air horns and tambourines to shows, and without his amazing voice, we wouldn’t have songs like Ordinary World, Rio, Chains, or even Red Carpet Massacre.

So, to my fellow scorpio – a VERY happy birthday.  I didn’t send you a card or an expensive prezzie…but you get a blog instead.  🙂   Tomorrow it’s back to my endless teasing and ridicule, so enjoy, buddy.

Oh and Simon, you CAN eat Elderberries, but only if they are very ripe and/or have been cooked VERY well.  Don’t eat anything “green”. (leaves, stems, etc.)   You can make elderberry jam, wine, tea and brandy – I’m sure you have time to make that jam or brandy while you’re waiting for the album to be done, right?  That said, apparently elderberries contain cyanide…and I sure as hell do not want to be responsible for the lead singer ending up in the hospital.  Hmmm…yeah I’d probably just skip the elderberries altogether and go with raspberry tea!!

-R

Silver Lining

I usually title my blogs first, oddly enough.  I know Simon feels that you can’t really name something until you’ve seen it – but I do it backwards.  (that is so typical for me!)  In any case, this time – I can’t title it yet.  Hopefully something will hit me before I need to publish, otherwise this blog is going up without a title.

I have a calendar that Amanda, my writing partner for the blog, created.  It’s a daily Duran Duran calendar – each date has a specific event listed.  There’s no need for me to worry about whether the band is going to publish an “official” yearly calendar because I already have my own, and I love it.  Every night I change out the page for the next one (it’s in a small plastic frame in my room), and it gives me a brief moment to reflect on the memory of the event, or in some cases, I just say “huh” and go on to whatever task I have happening next.  Last night, when I finally got up to my room for the night, I turned the page only to reveal that on this day just 4 years ago, we got the “official” announcement that the Fab 5 partnership had once again been dissolved and we were now at 4.  Truth be told, I had already learned of Andy’s leaving a couple of weeks prior – but I was sworn to secrecy, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone just how much earlier I’d known what was going on.  I don’t even really have “insider” knowledge – it was just odd luck, and it was something that at the time, I didn’t want to believe and I certainly didn’t want to share in hopes that it was false.  Regardless, as I turned the page and put it into the frame, I remembered how I felt that day when I got several phone calls from my closest friends.

I think that for me at least, I don’t know that I ever expected Andy…or Roger for that matter, to stay for long. I guess it just all seemed way too perfect.  I know of many, MANY Warren fans out there, and good on all of you for being able to accept him so well, but for me he was never a part of MY Duran Duran.  At least not the one I fell in love with.  For me, that band has 5 members, and you know their names, including those 3 Taylors.  So, when the reunion was announced and I saw them live again, it WAS perfection.  It was my childhood, adolescence and adulthood all coming full circle – and it was a perfect, shining moment that I never thought would last.  Of course, it didn’t.  I saw Andy perform with the band 4 times, and I do treasure those times.  Regardless of what anyone says about his work ethic or his playing style, he provided something to that band that can’t be replicated, and I thank him for coming back at all because in doing so he allowed me to live out a dream – and that was to see all 5 of them together.

That day 4 years ago, as I spoke to friends on the phone, I had very mixed emotions.  I know I was really angry – many fans have been and still are to some extent.  However, I think that if anything, my anger was directed towards the rest of the band more so than Andy, particularly because from everything I’d learned about the upcoming album – it was going to be nothing like what I expected from Duran Duran (and it wasn’t).  I was (and still am) convinced that the direction of the new album was at least partially responsible for the dissolution of their partnership.  Many will argue with me, saying that I couldn’t possibly know what went on – but one thing I *do* know, is that if Andy were truly interested in being in the band and recording the album – he never would have allowed for a stupid travel visa (or lack thereof in this case) to be the reason he didn’t show up for recording.  Out of all of the lame reasons I’ve ever heard in my lifetime – and trust when I say that working in HR and staff management – I’ve heard more than my share – that is probably one of the worst.

I also knew that I was about to board a plane headed for Chicago, where I was going to see Duran Duran be the opening concert for the brand new Sears Center.   I’d already seen Dom Brown as their guitarist for a few shows – so I knew the band would obviously still play, but I wondered how they would be as they came onstage.  They would be facing a lot of fans with a lot of emotion behind them – and many of us were following them on to New Orleans (they would play the Voodoo festival later that weekend) from there.  It was important that they come out on stage that night and play the show of their lives to prove they could still do it without Andy – at least, that’s how *I* felt about the show.

I went to the show with a heavy heart, but also an inner yearning.  I wanted that band to come out there and blow my socks off.  I needed to hear that they were going to be fine, and I’ve always felt that I could tell how the band was doing by the way they were playing – they aren’t that great of actors, and I think it’s become fairly clear (to me, at least) when things aren’t great backstage.  They came on that night with a fire in their bellies, that is for sure.  They all sang and played with more fire and conviction that night than I’d seen since they played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa in 2003.  John Taylor played his heart out that night, while Amanda and I sang right along with him.  😀  I looked over at Dom several times that night, wondering how he must have felt.  It’s one thing to take over for someone when they are ill – but it’s quite another when you know it’s just been announced that they aren’t coming back and for the near future, you’re the guy.   Dom stood off to the side, respectfully played the guitar and did a fine job.  He interacted with the band, but not overly so, and I found myself being more and more drawn to him.  Mostly, I wanted him to see that the fans wouldn’t eat him for dinner just because Andy wasn’t coming back.  I found myself wanting to give him the heroes welcome in a lot of ways, because truly – had it not been for Dom’s ability to step in and play a superb guitar, we would not have had a show that night.

Later that weekend, I ran into Dom on a plane bound for New Orleans.  He sat right across the aisle from me – and after I picked myself up off of the floor both from illness and from shock, but I took a second to thank him for playing, and I commended him on being able to step into some very big shoes.  We talked a little bit during the flight, Dom was very, very kind and he’s earned my loyalty as a fan, whether he’s playing for Duran Duran or playing his own shows. (someday, I will make it to the UK to see him, or he’ll come here – but I will see him one of these days!)  I know he’s not Andy Taylor, and of course he never will be – but he’s a gift to us in his own right.   That weekend, Amanda and I made Dom his own sign for the Voodoo festival (and we waited all day, were practically trampled by My Chemical Romance Fans and narrowly avoided being rolled on by the lead singer of Flaming Lips in a huge hamster ball in order to show it to him), to us – he’s part of Duran Duran and therefore part of the family.  The sign said “We Scream for Dom” – and I don’t know if he ever saw it, but Simon and John did – and they were trying to point it out to him.   It was just our way of saying thanks and welcome.  To this day when we see the band in concert and it’s a GA show, I try to position myself somewhere between Simon and Dom, that way I can see Dom, and I get a great view of Roger as well.   I have no idea if Dom remembers me – but he’s got a fan until I can no longer get myself to the shows, and even then – I can still keep listening.   For me, he is part of the silver lining.

Nile Rodgers once posted that the gift is always there, even in the worst of times – you just have to find it.  I think that our gift is that many of us finally got that opportunity to see and hear all five together again.  How many of us really thought that would ever happen??  Certainly not me.  It was a brief, shining moment – and one that I continue to treasure.

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!