Tag Archives: Arcadia

Is it Congratulations, Happy Birthday, or both?

Over the weekend, the A-list of who’s who amongst friends and family of Nefer Suvio (Nick’s significant other) gathered in Venice to celebrate her birthday, complete with what can only be characterized as the reuniting of Arcadia. (I’m not posting other people’s photos here because I don’t have permission to do so, but there is a photo of Simon, Nick & Roger floating around in full gothic glamour that is rather stunning.)

A very happy birthday to Nefer, by the way! She is someone I’ve never met but did stand next to in Berkeley as she took photos of the band on her iPad. I didn’t say a word to her, but offered a shy grin and went right back to my business of cheering and dancing.

The celebration was a dramatic, gothic-glamour-themed night, complete with a stunning black layer cake topped with a skull, cascading with blood-red roses down the side, and a giant white tapered candle (because dammit, goth-themed or not, it’s a birthday and you gotta have candles).

Like many fans, I’ve seen a good many photos of Nick and Nefer over the years. She’s a part of the Duran Duran family, and as such she’s no stranger to the cameras that typically follow. There seemed to be quite a bit of paparazzi surrounding her party this weekend, including some posed photos through Getty Images, and those photos have ended up on various news media (Evening Standard included as well as a few instagram accounts of their friends who were there) In most cases, Nick is referred to as her husband, and Nefer as his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t really even respond. The rumor mill is quick, creative, and typically way off base. We haven’t had any sort of statement from the band, or from Nick & Nefer themselves for that matter.  It is just that this time, I’m seeing the words “husband and wife” in nearly every blurb about the party. Is it possible?  Sure, I suppose it is.  Why not?

Does it matter? Well, it matters in that I’m happy for them. I would expect as much from most, if not all fans. She and Nick have been together for quite a while. I never really thought about whether or not they’d marry – that’s their business, which is probably why if it IS true, they haven’t put out a statement, and I get it. But, I’m happy to see good things happen to good people. Will it change how I feel about Nick?  Absolutely not. He is still that crazy alien who never breaks a sweat, complete with that knowing grin, peering down from the top of his keyboard riser.  My friends and I have called him “The Controller” for as long as I can remember, and that will continue just as it always has, married or not!

I know that a certain percentage of fans tend to lose it when we hear rumors and aren’t told things. We all love to pretend we’re on the inside track when it comes to information, don’t we?  Like it or not, fans are on a need-to-know basis, and we may never “need-to-know”.

Lately I’ve noticed cameras getting more and more of those natural, toothy-grins from Nefer. I must say, for someone who seems to love that deep, dark, gothic glamour, nothing brightens her whole look more than those big smiles. She is lovely and it is nice to see warmth and joy on her face.  Married or not – and for our purposes as fans I’m not really sure it matters – Nick and Nefer seem very happy, and it is wonderfully nice to be a very-extended witness to that.

Happy birthday, Nefer, much health and happiness to you!

-R

 

Examining the Promise

This week’s lyric day search landed me on Arcadia’s song, The Promise.  As I looked over the lyrics, I realized that instead of analyzing just one line in relationship to myself or my life, I should look at the entire song.

First, let’s take a look at the lyrics:

Whose tears on a gaping voice
Who’s stretching arms match
The hunger of mine
There lips will they never join
But always draw me closer
And further entwined
With a promise dealer understand
All freedoms fade away
To a point of view
Where many different pathways meet
And we’re standing on this precipice
With nothing much to gain save
But the deep blue screams
Of falling dreams
With our next move
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry
The shades of a thousand steel
Come flashing by my face
In the fury of war
In desolation and abandoned fields
The hungry make their stand
When they’ll stand for no more
Hear the passion in their voices
See the heaven in their eyes
Their hopes and schemes are waiting
Dreams of less than paradise
And sometimes we make promises
We never mean to keep
For blackmail is the only deal
A promise dealer sees
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry

Hmm…as soon as I read those lyrics, I think about what I teach each and every day.  As I’m sure that most of you reading this blog know, outside of my life as a Duranie, I teach high school.  Specifically, I teach United States History from Reconstruction through World War II (1865-1945).  To me, this song could be about teaching history, any country’s  history as there are many moments of grief, anger as well as hope.  Just yesterday, I taught my students about the Wounded Knee massacre that took place on December 29, 1890, in which about 250 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe were killed by the United States army.  There is a great and famous quote by a member of that tribe stating the Wounded Knee was the end of a people’s dream (Native Americans).  The lyrics definitely could fit that event.

If you spend any time at all looking at human history, many tears can be shed as the history of humanity is filled with horrors, tragedies and loss.  Of course, history also has moments of greatness, progress, hope.  There are so many lines from this Arcadia song that captures the feeling well, including “Heaven’s eyes will never dry,” “in the fury of war,” “the hungry make their stand when they’ll stand for no more,” and so much more.  The video, I think also, fits this theme, which you can see here.

When I look further into this song, I found an Ask Katy question on the band’s official website:

January 12th, 2001

Hello Katy, I was wondering, who wrote the lyrics to the song, “The Promise” on the Arcadia album? Also, what was the inspiration for the songwriter? Thank you for your time!

SIMON WROTE IT. “I DID. IT’S ABOUT THE WESTERN WORLD’S BETRAYAL OF THE THIRD WORLD. s”

According to the Song Meanings website, there was another Ask Katy question about this song in which case Simon supposedly responded with, “The Promise is about all that’s worst and all that’s best about humanity.”  My response to both of these quotes is fascination.  If this is the case, Simon views history similarly to how I not only view it but teach it.  This will make me listen to the song in a very different way now.

Speaking of history, Arcadia came out in 1985 at the time that a lot of people, including many fans and members of the press thought of Duran as nothing more than pretty party boys.  Some people saw them as superficial and only looking for a good time.  The lyrics to this song, in particular, really calls into question that assumption.  Clearly, Simon was not just about having fun.  He did think about the world around him and even wrote about it.  This makes the negative assumptions about the band even more infuriating to me.  Obviously, a lot of critics and a lot of the public missed that Simon and the rest were a lot smarter and more aware than what they assumed.

-A

 

Cause Maybe We Have More Play Time Than Money

Last week, I introduced the idea of lyric day created by using shuffle to find a Duran related song then lyric to use as a blog starter.  Basically, the idea is that I would press shuffle on what music device is closest to pick out a Duran related song.  From there, I would search the lyrics to find a line that grabs me.  Then, I would write a blog based on what thoughts popped into my mind from that lyric.

This week, when I pressed shuffle the first Duran related song that came up was an Arcadia song, Election Day, to be specific.  My first thought was to blog about the line, “She’s moody and grey.  She’s mean and she’s restless.”  After all, I might resemble that remark but it also seemed too predictable.  Boring.  I don’t want that.  Thus, I chose the lyric, “Cause maybe we have more play time than money.”  This line is one that always catches my attention when I listen to it.  It reminds me of the differences between fandom as a kid and fandom as an adult.

When I first became a Duranie, I was very young (8!).  My fandom was simple then, in many ways.  It involves listening to the records over and over again.  Similarly, it included watching MTV as much as possible for any possible video viewing.  Many Friday nights were spent in my family’s “toy room” on the fold out couch watching Friday Night Videos with my best friend.  Fandom then meant simple consumption.  It was about listening, watching and buying.  What I was buying included the usual 1980s memorabilia.  I bought a lot of magazines.  I saved up money for thicker books like “The Book of Words” and “Sing Blue Silver”.  Christmas and birthday lists featured random Duran related items like the Into the Arena board game or Duran Duran pajamas.  My fan community was very super small.  Basically, it was me and my best friend.  We encouraged each other’s fandom by listening and watching together.  Likewise, we shared purchases with each other and tried to find the cooler items.  As kids, we had a lot more playtime than money and money is what we really wanted for our fandom.

Now, as an adult, my fandom is expressed way differently than my kid fandom.  I still like Duran merchandise, of course.  It is a good time and a good night if I’m able to spend it listening or watching Duran but that is rare.  No, my fandom now has to do with writing, like this blog, for example.  Traveling and going to shows is another significant part of how I express my fandom.  Like my childhood fandom, money is still involved.  Now, I have more money to buy those little Duran related items but there is not much of that around.  I often have some money saved up for shows but…there is a lot of time in which there are no shows to go to.  In many cases, that is just as well since I always have a long to do list.  So, now, that lyric feels like the opposite.  I have more money than playtime especially during the school year.

When shows happen, I try my best to squeeze in a show or two depending on when and where they are.  They are simply squeezed in to a super busy existence.  As a kid I focused on money and the cost of what I wanted in terms of my Duranieness.  Now, of course, money is important to get what I want but I also need the playtime and that does not always exist for me.

What about the rest of you?  Which is a bigger deal in terms of your fandom:  money or playtime?

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Project Final Vote

The Daily Duranie has been working to create an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  While Rhonda and I have definite strong opinions about what should be included, we didn’t think that made sense to just have it be from us.  Therefore, we have taken time to ask all of the Duranies who read this blog to help us create it.  The Ultimate Box Set would have multiple categories including:  Singles, Album Tracks, B-Sides/Bonus Tracks, Live Tracks, Side/Solo Project Songs, and Remixes.  So far, readers have chosen 7 tracks from all of the categories except for Side/Solo Projects and Remixes.  The results so far are:

Singles:

  • Planet Earth
  • Save a Prayer
  • Ordinary World
  • Girls on Film
  • Pressure Off
  • Rio
  • New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Friends of Mine
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Paper Gods

B-Sides/Bonus Tracks:

  • Secret Oktober
  • Late Bar
  • Beautiful Colours
  • I Believe/All I Need to Know
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Planet Roaring
  • Faster Than Light
  • (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Live Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • Careless Memories
  • The Chauffeur
  • Rio
  • Wild Boys
  • White Lines
  • Planet Earth

Now, we are ready to finally choose the 7 songs that will represent the best of Duran’s Side and/or Solo Projects.  In case, you want to listen to the choices, I made some playlists on YouTube for all of you:

Arcadia:

Power Station:

John Taylor:

Simon Le Bon:

Dom Brown:

Now, I think we are all ready to pick SEVEN side and solo project songs that should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!!!

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side Projects Part 2

It is Saturday, which means that it is time for our weekly poll relating to the creation of the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, the participants have chosen singles, album tracks, b-sides/demos, and live songs.  Now, we are working on which side/solo project songs should be considered.  Instead of tackling the enormous list all at once, we are breaking them into manageable chunks.  Last week, we started with Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.  The songs most picked by the fans voting were:

Power Station:

  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Get It On/Bang a Gong
  3. Communication
  4. Murderess
  5. Harvest for the World
  6. Still In Your Heart
  7. She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  1. Feelings Are Good

I allowed for 8 songs rather than the usual 7 because there was a tie between She Can Rock It and Still In Your Heart.

This week, we vote on the songs from the side projects that Nick Rhodes was involved in.  These include Arcadia, The Devils and TV Mania.

If you want to hear these projects again, here are some YouTube playlists:

Arcadia:

The Devils:

TV Mania:

Now that you have familiarized or re-familiarized yourself with these songs, it is time to vote!

Duran Duran without a drummer?! Roger Taylor leaves the band in 1986.

Nearly every Duran Duran fan I know has a favorite. It is one of the first questions we asked one another when we met, as though it’s some sort of way to identify one another. “Oh, that’s Suzie—she’s a Simon-girl.”

Well, my favorite original band member is Roger. My friend Lori believes it’s like imprinting, once you pick a favorite – that is it, he’s your favorite for life and it isn’t as though you really have a choice. It just happens. I can’t really say for certain that is the case, but I can tell you that my “favorite” came about in exactly that way. I saw him in a picture or on a video, and that was that. I really liked that within my group of friends, I was the only Roger-girl, and I didn’t have to “share” him, even if that meant I was only having to share pinups or posters out of the magazines we’d look through during breaks and lunch at school!

It was a happy existence, right up to when the Sing Blue Silver tour finished and I stopped really hearing much about Duran Duran for a while. I stopped seeing as many articles about them in the teen magazines, and instead heard little blurbs about how there was Arcadia, and Power Station…and then I saw Live Aid, and then nothing. By then, rumors were really circulating that Duran Duran was done or that some of the members were quitting. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I knew I didn’t like what I was hearing.

The one thing most Duran Duran fans will tell you is that throughout our history with this band – fans find out the news first, and then the band will finally come out with a statement. It does seem to be a pattern, even if I have more understanding now of why it all happens that way.  I think most fans knew something wasn’t right with Duran Duran way before they ever announced Roger wasn’t coming back, but hearing the words – reading the words, made it real.

I can remember hearing about Roger leaving the band on the radio. I couldn’t tell you what station I was listening to, or even who said the words, but my heart sank that day in 1986. I don’t think it was really a surprise to me when I heard the news, it just felt real. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that. I still followed Duran Duran for decades (obviously!), but from that day up until 2001, there was always a little hope that he’d return. I remember hearing rumors of a breakdown, and wondering what really happened.  I never collapsed into a fit of tears or anything quite that dramatic, but the magic of Duran Duran just didn’t feel the same after that.  Silly me – every time I’d see them in concert, I’d hope Roger would make a return. Hope springs eternal, right?

For me, the worst part was not Roger’s absence, but the questions of why he left—which have all been answered. Sometimes, I don’t think the band necessarily understands THAT piece of it – that for fans, it isn’t the fact of whether or not someone left, it’s the why.

I wouldn’t say (necessarily) that it’s because we want to intrude on their personal lives—although I can understand why some would assume that we’re just nosey, but the reasons are much more complicated.  In order to understand, I think you have to recognize that to a fan like me—I’ve “known” the band for many years now. (Seriously, I have known and loved Duran Duran longer than any other person in my life, other than my parents and sister. Think about it.) For example, Duran Duran have been in my life for so long now that I assume I know them. How can we not be family?? As family, we all feel like we have the right to know what’s going on….except to the BAND….they don’t know us at all. I mean, there’s only a handful of fans that they generally know. This goes back to general math: five of them, thousands of us, you get the idea. Even so, our relationship (as fans) with them, is really intense. It’s personal. We feel like they’ve saved us, or we’ve cried over life with them in the most intimate of moments. That isn’t crazy behavior, it’s just being a fan.  Many of us have been fans since we were very young. On some basic level, It is unconscionable to us that the band (or their representatives) wouldn’t explain full reasonings to us when things happen.

Sure, as an adult, I get it. I don’t NEED to know why Nick left the tour last year, for example. It’s none of my business. I understand privacy and I respect his. But back when Roger left the band, I would have given anything to have been told why – and not just a pat answer some PR genius wordsmiths together – but a real reason. Yeah, I wasn’t even quite 16 at the time. I still lived in fantasy land and loved it.

I quietly shut the book on fairy tales until some point in 2001, when I  read something about a reunion and nearly fell off of my chair. I can remember saying as much to Roger a few years later at a signing for the Astronaut album, as I told him he had always been my favorite and thanked him for coming back to the band. Thankfully, he didn’t make me feel like a complete imbecile that day, and instead said it was sweet of me to say. I swooned all the way home.

-R

Still Screaming “Like a Girl”, Thirty-two Years Later

Without knowing it at the time yesterday, my blog was timely!  In 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released, and on today’s date in 1985, Some Like it Hot peaked at #14 in the UK.  I wrote about both Arcadia and Power Station, describing how for me – I like both.

Since Arcadia never toured, I didn’t have the opportunity to ever see them live. On the other hand, Power Station was my very first concert. I was fourteen and went with my cousins, who were much older.  We sat in loge seats on what would now be called “John’s side” at Irvine Meadows. (My first and last shows at Irvine Meadows —which has been torn down since Duran appeared just this past August—had John Taylor on stage, which I realize no one else cares about, but I think it’s cute – particularly since I didn’t even think about it at the time!) I sat in my chair (yes, sat. My cousins were too cool to stand I guess?) and wondered what it would be like in the front.

I wondered about the front for a long, long time…apparently!

Anyway, I’d love to tell tales about how fantastic the show was or how I was so bowled over. I don’t remember much. I do remember the band coming on stage and being annoyed that Robert Palmer wasn’t with them.  I also remember screaming at John Taylor until my oldest male cousin told us to stop “screaming like girls”…whatever that meant. We were girls. We screamed. And??

I also remember walking the ridiculously long way back to our car that night and seeing limos pull out away from the venue with girls chasing them.  I don’t even know if that was really the band in there. Back in that day, I think they were still using decoy limos at times. I can remember wondering about that as we walked. Again, that same older male cousin telling me that “…only groupies follow the band, Rhonda.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, only that being called a ‘groupie’ must be a bad thing, and to my cousin, most girls were groupies.

Live and learn, I guess.

Regardless of my poor memory, 1985 does not seem so long ago…until I start really thinking about it, and then I realize I don’t remember a lot from that time. Only then do I recognize it was thirty-two years ago, and that seems painful.

Am I really that old?

Nope!!!  I just came back from seeing Duran Duran last week and screamed “like a girl” for my favorite.  Not only am I young, I’m pretty damn proud to say I’m still screaming, whether for Power Station or Duran Duran.

-R

 

 

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R