My Pick from 2010-2011: Semitones and Simon

So, what made me choose this one, originally posted June 1, 2011?  

As I started reading the blogs from our first year, a couple of things became clear: One, this idea of finding the “best” blogs from the year was much more difficult and time-consuming than I’d realized. Two, my memory is very poor.  What I mean by that is simply that when Amanda and I first started discussing this idea, I could think of topics that we’d written about, figuring they only happened a year or two ago.  Wrong. For example, we wrote about fan validation that year – and I would swear it was only a couple of years back!  It’s been seven!! So, my task was arduous. I couldn’t decide if I should go with what was easiest – picking either our first blog or something similar, or if I should just look up the blogs by traffic numbers and repeat what was most popular.  I ended up doing neither. 

I sat down and forced myself to re-read. Now, some blogs I simply glanced over, knowing they weren’t what I was looking for. On the other hand, there were many others I’d forgotten. So I whittled down the year’s worth to three.  From there, I just went with what felt right. 

In this blog, originally titled Semitones and Simon, I share what Simon had explained about his voice.  Interestingly enough though, in hindsight – the blog really isn’t about his voice or semitones. It’s about my own relationship with the band, Simon in particular.  I will just close here by saying that even forty years in, my impression of the band, and my feelings for them, continue to evolve. 

I still like to give any and all of them a rough time however I can, though. That’s not gonna change any time soon.  Enjoy!

 

According to the music sites I visited today, a semitone is an interval equivalent to a half-tone in a standard diatonic scale.  I am pretty embarrassed that I had to even look up the term – it’s something that even as an amateur musician, I should (and do) really know. Basically, for all of you retired high school band members out there like me – they are the sharps and flats.  The half-steps.  Why I couldn’t figure that out on my own this morning probably has something to do with early onset Alzheimer’s, at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.  Won’t matter anyway, because I’ll likely forget the whole thing by tomorrow.  (Yes, that’s my idea of humor!)

What is the whole point of this semitone discussion?  I was greeted this morning on Facebook by a news item from Duran Duran.  Simon had written a blog and it was up for our reading pleasure.  Of course I was interested, and it is very much worthy of reading.  Once again, Simon shocked me.  (this is fast becoming a habit!)  I’m very used to reading Simon’s blogs, scratching my head, reaching for the vodka bottle, reading it again, and still not quite understanding what happened in the translation.  I jokingly say that one has to be under the influence to understand him, and reading his blogs can be somewhat like reading his lyrics at times.  This new blog is not that way at all, and he is kind enough to share details of what is really going on with him at the moment.  He explains that he seems to be missing 6 semitones at the top of his range.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by semitone, but after looking it up – it makes perfect sense.  An octave is made up of 8 full tones and 12 semitones.  Why 12 and not 16? Look at a piano keyboard and count the notes.  That’s my easiest, non-theoretical answer. 🙂   Those black keys are known as the sharps and flats, and they fall in the middle (give or take) between each full tone.  Simon thinks he’s missing 6 of them, and thanks to my fabulous math skills I know that’s about half an octave – which is kind of a lot for a vocalist!  (although this morning in a fit of brilliance I said it was 2/3 of an octave.)  Regardless of the details, the Simon I am learning to admire these days is a far cry from the guy I’ve seen on stage over the years – and not in a bad way at all.  I really kind of like him when he’s not being mean-spirited on twitter. (Which is probably required once in a while.  I’ve seen some of the tweets he gets!)

Simon IS cheeky, he can be funny at times – and similar to the other males I share my life with, he can also be a downright pain in the ass.   Coincidence??  Nah… This Simon though, the one I met the last week in London, is someone new to me.  I don’t mean this to be a crack at Simon, it’s just that the lead singer I’m used to seems to be all about the ego.  Back when I was a teenager, I loved it.  That blondish hair, the way he’d smile slyly into the camera – who could ignore that?  Even into my 20’s, I thought Simon was amazing.  Once I hit 30, and then 35, and now 40, I will openly admit I grew tiresome of the huge ego.  It just seemed like it was time to get real.  I was loathsome of the way I’d hear he’d treat fans – whether they were stories, embellishments or otherwise – and as a result I had pretty much determined that I never wanted to meet him in person.  No reason to open myself up to being ridiculed just because he’s the lead singer in the one band I’ve always loved.  So, I avoided him at all costs.  In no way am I the type of fan who would just walk up to one of the band members outside of a gig and expect them to entertain me.  I may end up at the same bar, but I would never approach because for them, that time is “after work” and just as I wouldn’t appreciate having my boss follow me around after work (although I don’t mind saying that MY bosses live with me and I’m never off of work – just one of the joys of being a stay at home parent!), I recognize that perhaps they should be afforded the same luxury.  If they want to come up and share a beer, glass of wine or a conversation – I’m all about being friendly, but I won’t insist on it by imposing myself on them.  I feel pretty confident with who I am, what I look like, and what I’m worth as a human.  I just don’t need one of my idols to openly reject me because I’m not a supermodel, I don’t have long dark hair, or exotic looks.   I know I’m not the only fan out there that feels that way…right??

It’s funny because this situation has made me see the band in a much different light.  I guess to some extent, I’ve always taken them for granted.  They would always be there, in some shape or form.  It never occurred to me that there would be “an end”, much less would there be an end without any major fanfare.  I figured I’d always know it was coming and would be able to prepare myself, but of course – it never happens that way, does it?  I’ve been home now for a few days, and I’ll find myself in the middle of say, folding laundry or something.  I’ll stop and think “Holy hell what just happened there?”  It’s as though while I was in the UK, I was just a robot going through the motions of every day, and it’s only just now that I realize I flew 10 hours there, spent 9 days wandering around only to see not a single show, then fly 11 hours back.  (gotta love the jet stream)  What just happened?!?  It reminds me very much of how I felt in retrospect after my dad passed.  For an entire month I wandered around this house, going through the motions of caring for a tiny newborn and planning every aspect of my dad’s memorial – and only several weeks after all was said and done did I look back and think “Wait a damn second here.  Did all of that really just happen?”  I’m not emotional, mainly just incredulous that I went all the way to the UK to live out a dream…and walked away before it really happened.  Now of course we’re all wondering when Simon will sing again.  I hope it’s soon, and I hope I have the chance to witness it for myself.

In any case, my heart continues to go out to Simon and I wish I could help – tap dancing here on this blog doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

-R

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