I quit Girl Scouts when I was in fourth grade. I think it might have been near the beginning of the school year, because I have no memory of actually wearing the green junior uniform my mom had bought me that summer. My brownie troop had combined with a junior troop, and several of the girls in that troop were popular, and immediately decided they didn’t like me. These fifth grade girls took it upon themselves to comment on every single thing I did wrong, from my clothes, to my hair, to the way I spoke. The friends I previously had in our troop stopped wanting to be my partner when we’d go on field trips, because the other girls made it very clear that anyone who hung out with me was as big of a loser as I was.
Slowly but surely, I stopped wanting to go to troop meetings. I’d been playing clarinet for a while by this time, and it wasn’t long before my dad suggested I make choices about what activities I wanted to stick with and ones I was willing to give up. Girl Scouts was immediately chopped because I knew I was the odd girl out.
I quit sorority in college for the same reasons, although there were financial concerns to help me double down on my decision. In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking when I went through Rush to begin with. I’ve never gotten along with groups of girls, and the more popular and/or catty they are, the worse it becomes. ZTA was no different. I had a group of a few pledge sisters that I was very close with, but other than that – many within my sorority house grew to dislike me. Let’s face it, I’m very outspoken, blunt, and quick to be annoyed by drama – and I was no different in 1991. I stuck out like a sore thumb, and believe me, I had no false hopes that I was liked by many people. When I left, I’m sure it was a relief for them as much as it was for me and my wallet. Fitting in was not an option for me.
I wish that I could be like you
I suppose you can say I’m socially awkward. I’m not insulted by that. In a lot of ways, I feel a little less weight on my shoulders when I just admit it. I’m not cool, I’m not put together. I’m me. That awkwardness sometimes makes it a little difficult to meet people, which is why I remain thankful I met Amanda so early on. She and I talk about that a lot, and I think that’s why we first decided to try hosting a meet up back when we’d started the blog. I mean, if she and I – two of the more awkward people on the planet, I presume (sorry Amanda) could meet and become best friends, couldn’t others? Shouldn’t we help other Duranies like ourselves find their people?
Our plan was simple: invite people to come hang out with us before a show. If NOTHING else, we could talk about Duran Duran, right? It is always common ground to start from. While I don’t take credit, we’ve seen wonderful friendships start at some of our events. I’m grateful to be able to see those connections happen. If something as easy as mentioning what bar we’re going to be hanging out at, and inviting others to join us, helps somebody find a friend, I’m overjoyed. The friendships have nothing to do with me personally, but it warms my heart to see somebody who might have just as much trouble in a crowd as I do, find their person to go to shows with. That matters to me more than I can even put into words.
As a result, we’ve been having meet ups for nine years. Whenever the band is touring, or has a show that we can get to – we try to do something. Although, Amanda and I are also the first to say we can’t always meet before every show we attend. We’ve tried though, and if we couldn’t meet before, usually do something after. We know what it is like to come out of a Duran Duran gig on a high and have nowhere to go, or anyone to talk to. So we try to plan something – even if it’s just sitting at a bar, or even standing outside of a venue to talk. We just try to include people, make them feel comfortable, and hope the community grows as a result.
Love is flawed now
This time, we’ve done some advertising for our meet up – and that accomplishes a number of things. First, every single time we go to a show and then get back home, Amanda and I get messages from fans who aren’t super involved in the community (or are brand new) saying they wish they’d heard about our party. No matter how many times we announce it here on the blog or on Twitter and Facebook, it is difficult to make sure everyone sees it. Running a Facebook ad campaign helps a little. Second, the ad works to get people curious about Daily Duranie, and from there they can look up our FB page, and then our website. Just like anything else, ads work to stir up traffic, and we need that from time to time, or else there’s never any growth.
The ads aren’t just to promote the party, even though at first glance that’s what they’re about. If someone can’t go to the party, maybe they’d look up our name and see our page, and then check out the blog itself. Ads are a great way to spread the word about our site and blog.
See the lawless cry
We’ve invested a lot of our own time, energy and yes, money, into Daily Duranie. This site and blog is our labor of love. It has never turned into a business for us, exactly, but I think Amanda would agree that we’ve both gotten a great amount of joy from it, and to be blunt- it kept me alive when not much else seemed to keep me going. I know some people think we’re crazy for investing so much into this, but the fact is – we’ve gotten more out of Daily Duranie on a personal level than we have ever put into it.
None of this is really about Duran Duran, though. We never had grand schemes that this blog would get us in front of a band member or four, Although, we’ve run into many people over the years who seem to be incredulous that we haven’t been given access to them. At first when people would tell us about how so-and-so gets free tickets, etc,I guess we were naively hopeful. That came to a halt quickly, though. In hindsight – we were foolish. Even if we had gotten in front of them, or had been given comp tickets, what then? No, we didn’t do this for free tickets, or for access—not really for any of that, although I’m sure that is hard to believe if you’re not Amanda or I.
The thing is, we write what we want to write. We feel what we want to feel, and we have been doing it that way for nine years. You don’t do something like this for very long, much less nine years, unless something other than meeting the band is your motivation (particularly because the closest we’ve gotten to them, collectively speaking, is in front of a stage at a gig). My motivation, to be honest – is just being liked. For once in my life, I just wanted to be liked, included and accepted, even with all my socially awkwardness. If I’m one of two people planning the events and writing the posts, I’m included!
Cut my cord now
Events over the past week or so have made me think twice, and maybe even three times, about what Amanda and I are really trying to accomplish. My biggest weakness is that I worry over what people think of me. I’m well-aware that there are some within the fan community that I’ll never quite win over. I know that I’ve written things that have upset people here and there. It is no secret that I’m not in the current “popular” crowd, and to come toe-to-toe with those people might mean dealing with their ire in force. I don’t like any of that. I just know that we’ve been connecting fans for nine years, and have no plans of stopping now. This time, I’m not quitting.
So here’s the thing: we’re having two meet ups in Las Vegas. They’re Saturday and Sunday at 5pm in The CliQue Bar downstairs in the Cosmopolitan. Amanda and I will be there hanging out and having drinks (and food) before the show whether a hundred people show, or we’re the only people in the bar. We would love company. If you’re already friends of ours, we can’t wait to see you! If you’re new to the community and don’t know anyone, we will happily introduce you to anyone we can. In all cases, expect that we’ll be chatting about the music, and having a great time!
I would be very unfair if I didn’t mention that there’s also another group having a Duran Duran Fan event in the main bar of The Cosmopolitan earlier in the day on Saturday – I believe it is at 1pm. I’m sure it’s going to be a great crowd of people. Amanda and I don’t feel like anyone needs to “choose” which event to attend, and we’re happy to see other Duran fans planning fun events for all of us to enjoy that weekend. Too much is NEVER enough, isn’t that right???
Hello, Monday. I feel as though somewhere along the way, I lost one of my weekend days, because it feels like Monday arrived far too early. I’m still trying to regain some of the hours of sleep I missed out on from being at Vidcon last week. I wish I could say it was due to having so much fun, but in this case, I just didn’t sleep well.
We drove home late Saturday night, and arrived to see many tweets and posts about the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 – corresponding with the Kennedy Space Center show tomorrow.
I’m light years away
When the show was first announced, I knew right away that there’d be no way for me to get there. Sure, I could blame it on not having enough notice, but I could have had a month’s notice or even more, and still not been able to attend. Several years back, I went to a lot of things. I would fly across the country, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that many times, I didn’t even think twice about it. Three spousal job layoffs/changes, one very large move, childbirth, college, and countless grey hairs later, I’m finding that I not only think twice, I know I can’t travel like that anymore.
That fact is something I guess I’m still coming to terms with. I went from going to one show a tour (or even less), to taking a single trip to New Orleans and then Chicago, which ignited something in me. Suddenly, I felt the need to try and go to everything. My husband was less-than-thrilled with the arrangement. Usually though, I’d win him over by saying I’d save money in other ways, or that he didn’t have to buy me birthday/Christmas/Valentines/Mothers Day gifts, etc. In some ways that worked, but in others – I can see how selfish I was. Any extra money I came across would go towards seeing Duran Duran, and the fact is—when you have three kids and live in Southern California, there isn’t a lot of extra anything!
My head is full of chopstick
Even so, fandom – or planning to go to shows – was sort of like a drug for me. I couldn’t say no, and yet I didn’t go to nearly as many shows as a lot of people. Gigs would be announced and I’d think “Fly to Chicago? Oh, I shouldn’t…but I will!” “Go away for five or six days and see more than three shows? YES!” I wanted to go. I desperately wanted to be a part of the fandom wave that everyone seemed to be caught in.
During the Astronaut tour, which was really the first when I’d gotten involved online and knew people from all over the country – I’d sat on the sidelines for the most part. I went to two shows: Chicago and All-State Arena, and Milwaukee. That last one had been added to my itinerary without telling my husband. He’d expressly told me prior to even buying my Chicago ticket that I could choose ONE show to see, and that was it. “The concerts don’t change that much, Rhonda!”
Turns out, that while the set might not change that much (One night I heard “Nice” and the other I heard “Union of the Snake”), there are far more other, more subtle things, that do. Roger waved at us in Milwaukee. I cried when I heard “Tiger Tiger” in Chicago. I stood outside and waved to the band when they left the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee. I had my closest friends with me for Chicago, and got to drive to Milwaukee with a full car of Duranies. That was the first time I’d ever done something like that. After those two shows, I never wanted to miss anything again.
I’m making a break
However, that was/is an impossibility, at least for me. I’ve never had carte blanche to go to any show I want. I don’t work outside of the home, and my money is never my own money. Even when I’ve done what I consider to be a ridiculous number of shows, I’ve had to pick and choose. Sometimes, I’ve chosen wrong. That’s the crap shoot of life, I suppose. In darker moments, I wonder what it would have been like if I could have gone to all the Astronaut shows my friend Jessica went to see, or if I could have flown overseas as many times as other friends have gone. Would I feel any differently about the band now?
Over the years, I’ve seen people come and go. After having been an active fan in the online community for nearly two decades now, I have seen some patterns of behavior emerge from the fog and dust. I think about the people who seemed to be “regulars” for the Astronaut and RCM tours, and for the most part – those people don’t come around often now, and I rarely see them.
Maybe they stopped going to shows or participating online because life circumstances changed. Perhaps it was because they got sick of some of the childish drama that goes on between fans. Maybe it was something else entirely -but the fact remains that they’re not doing much these days. I have friends who went to 14, maybe 15 shows for Astronaut that just stopped following the band for the most part Can there really be too much of a good thing?
They should be mine
Getting back to my situation here – I have serious budget constraints that make it nearly impossible for me to fly very often. I don’t even fly to visit my mom or sister, so how on earth can I justify flying to see a band that doesn’t even know I exist? It is particularly frustrating when I’ve made the decision to buy tickets to something, and then another opportunity comes up that sounds even better.
For example, tomorrow Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. As soon as this show was announced, I knew there was no way I could go. The idea of traveling to Florida was out of the question. A flight from here would easily cost $500 during the summer, plus the $300 ticket for the concert, another $300 or more for a hotel room and the additional expenses for food, uber and drinks. It adds up quickly to a similar amount that my family might spend on a camping vacation – one that we’re not even taking this year. HOWEVER…
Had I known that they were going to be playing this show in advance of buying the tickets for Las Vegas (each was $441, if I remember correctly) I might have chosen differently. Sure, I’ll see Duran Duran three times in September whereas if I’d gone to Florida I’d only be seeing them once – but how many times does someone get the chance to see Duran Duran at the Kennedy Space Center??? I worry that I made the wrong choice. Zigged when I should have zagged…bought when I should have waited.
I’m saying this in private
Similar scenarios have happened before. In 2013, Amanda and I along with a committee of amazing helpers worked our butts off to put on a fan convention in Chicago. I can’t remember the precise timing, but I would say that within days of returning from that weekend, Duran Duran announced a special opportunity to see the debut of UnStaged at MOMA in New York City.
I think that at least to begin with – both she and I weren’t too upset. I mean, to some degree we’d wished we could go. We’d worked hard to put on that convention for fans, and in a lot of ways New York City seemed like it would be a great way to reward ourselves. Even so, Amanda didn’t have time off from work, and my husband had pretty much declared a moratorium on spending money and traveling. Just getting to Chicago was hard enough. Amanda and I paid the same amount of money to attend the convention as every one else. That’s right – we bought tickets to the very convention we were putting on for everyone else to enjoy. I paid for my flight from California, and Amanda and I split the cost of our hotel room., same as everyone else. That money did not come out of the convention budget. No sooner did I get home and back to an exploding family crisis when the MOMA show was announced.
We absolutely tasted our share of sour grapes while watching a few of the same people who came to our convention fly on to NYC. I remember feeling so dejected after I saw how the evening went. What started as a screening ended up as a cocktail party with the band present. There were pictures, and the band seemed so welcoming to fans that night…those who were there were so lucky!! Oh well, right? What can you do??
Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before
Even with the missteps I’ve taken along the way (and there have been many), I can’t be bitter. My days of sour grapes are over. I’ve done and seen a lot – much more than a lot of people. I’ve had times when I’ve been able to afford to go to a lot of shows and travel, and now I’m in a time where I really just can’t. Oddly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery because for the past few years – coincidentally the time when I’ve been least able to afford to fly – the band has played within reasonable driving distance to where I live. I am very lucky, which is why you’re not going to see me complain about set lists or much anything else. My luck isn’t going to hold out forever though, and I would imagine that next year – should they decide to tour for their 40th anniversary – I’ll be sitting at home doing most of my cheering.
I also can’t ignore the fact that for most of the rest of the world, they’ve had to sit on the sidelines since before Paper Gods was released, watching the US fans complain about ticket prices, set lists, and the like. It is easy to forget that many of these worldwide fans would pay whatever ticket price the band wanted, and would be willing to listen to whatever set the band plays, just to be able to see them.
Looking for cracks in the pavement
The reality is, most of us just can’t go to everything. I feel like I’m a recovering addict in that sense. Every time something is announced, I have to forcibly talk myself out of feeling like I need to go. I’m learning to say “no” to myself more and more often. I can’t say it’s easy, but a lot of times, it’s necessary. I’m not responsible for only myself. I have a family and husband to consider, and I wouldn’t trade my family for all of the Duran Duran shows in the world. That’s progress, right?
I see friends tell one another all the time that they should just buy the ticket and that they’ll make more money later. That thinking might work, until something catastrophic happens. I’ll never forget going to New York City in 2007 to see the special fan show that fell on Father’s Day. My husband and dad were fine with me going, and I came home to celebrate with them the following weekend. Little did I know at the time, that was the last Father’s Day I’d ever spend with my dad. I think about that a lot.
I’m a work in progress. Every single time I start feeling self-pity because I can’t be in Florida, or something else, I quickly force myself to acknowledge that other fans in the world haven’t done much in several years. I have one hell of lot of nerve feeling bad about one single event. That usually snaps me out my funk. I still feel like a recovering addict in some weird ways – but I’m working on it.
Over the weekend, I chatted back and forth with another Duranie about drumsticks. She’d gotten Roger’s sticks recently, and I’d congratulated her on social media, mentioning that I don’t even have a pair. Somehow over the years, I’ve never been that lucky. There was one time I came close, though. Another, much taller man right beside me grabbed them in midair, and you know – that’s the way it goes. After that, I realized it was silly to keep trying. Someone always wants them a little more, or is a little luckier in the process.
Anyway, this person was thrilled to have secured sticks from Roger. She encouraged me to keep trying for them, and asked where I’d be sitting at the upcoming shows I’m attending. I explained that in most cases, I’m really too far back. Although I’ve had front row a few times now, I haven’t tried for sticks.
I thought about that after our conversation ended. Roger was my favorite band member from the first moments I became a fan. He still IS my favorite, but it’s different in adulthood than in teen years—at least for me. For a few years, I held up signs for him at shows, but I don’t do that anymore. I don’t know when it stopped, or why. On second thought, I do know about when, and certainly why I left the signs at home. I became more aware of the fact that due to this site – more people knew me. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious, and that hasn’t changed with age.
Jungle drums they all clear the way for me
Fandom for me, is a tangled mess. That much, I know for sure. Part of it is, I’m well-aware that I write a fan blog. That alone is enough to make people smirk, and yes – it bothers me. I mean, it’s one thing to say you’re a huge fan. Even that might get grins when you’re amongst people who don’t really understand there is life after the age of 30 or even 40. Then when they ask how many shows you’ve gone to. I usually say “around 50”. The expressions change from amusement to almost concern, and then back to a smirky, snarky, sort of partial grin. But then, if I dare go one further (and I don’t always) by announcing that I run a fan blog/website dedicated to Duran Duran fans, that’s when the eyes roll and I can see a slight recoil, as though they’re trying to back away. This comes in especially handy at family gatherings, and workplace events for my husband.
In all seriousness though, I don’t like the characterization much. I’m pretty sure I’m not a crazy person, but the very second one backs up a statement such as “Not only have I gone to a lot of concerts, but I own and operate a fan blog dedicated to Duran Duran”, with a phrase like,“I’m not crazy, though”, it’s too late. My fate, and the corresponding label, already been granted. I must be one of those certifiably crazy obsessive fans.
Just a toy that you keep at home
I suppose that while there were a number of reasons why I stopped asking for sticks – one big one was because I thought that the more obsessive I acted, the more I asked for stuff, the less-serious people would take the blog. I didn’t want to be the punchline in someone’s joke.
Here’s a little nugget I’ve learned, but still wrestle with, over the nine years we’ve blogged. It doesn’t matter. At this point, people have already made their decisions about Daily Duranie, and particularly about me as a person. Holding up signs, asking for sticks, pictures, or even hugs from people I care about, isn’t going to make a bit of difference. People either like the blog, or they discount it completely. My internal struggle, or my anxiety, comes from knowing I can’t change any of it, but wishing that I could. For me, I think that constant inner tug-of-war is my Achilles heel. I seek approval and acceptance, from everyone, everywhere. It is an impossible task.
Several years ago, I asked Dom for a guitar pick before he left the stage after a concert. Not only did he flick the one he had been using my way (amazingly enough, I caught it), but he sent his guitar tech out to throw the rest of his picks from his mic stand at me. Other people eagerly grabbed those, but I didn’t care because I had the one he’d used just two minutes prior. I still have that pick in my jewelry box. I’ve never known what else to really do with it. I think the memories of getting it, or running into him after a show and having him come over to say hi, or giving me a quick hug in a hallway, are more precious to me than the pick itself.
With the strays and the damaged
I don’t know if I’ll ever hold up a sign for Roger again. I still feel weird about doing it, even though I know I probably shouldn’t. Also, I don’t know if having sticks would really make a difference. Would it make me feel like any more of a fan? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong – getting sticks is cool, but is it any more exciting than speaking to him at a signing? I’m really not sure much could top that moment for me, and it’s just a memory at this point. I don’t even have video or recording of our brief conversation. My point is, maybe someone else really wants them and needs them. I wouldn’t feel right about taking them when I know of someone else who has desperately wanted them.
I have so much work to do, personally. My anxiety, while better now that I’m living in a semi-rural and peaceful place, still plagues me more than I want to admit. I continue worrying about how other people see me, see the blog, or see my fandom, entirely too much. I’m a work in progress, but I’m getting there.
What happens when there’s a power outage and I’m still sleeping?
Basically, I slept in far too late, and now I’ve got a blog to write and publish in record time before a meeting with Amanda.
They get me
Many fans responded to my question about fandom. What keeps you interested as a Duran Duran fan? Handfuls of fans responded, from incredulous sounding “The music, of course!” to the slightly more introspective, “Because they get me.” Several others feel that it is a combination of the music and the friendships they’ve made along the way.
I feel as though I need to clarify that Amanda and I weren’t fishing for specific answers. There’s no one “right” answer that we were hoping someone would type and send. Our creative juices needed a jump start. I think we needed reminding as to why we’rehere to begin with. I call this, “getting stuck in our own head(s)”.
That said, of course we assumed that most were still here because of the music. I think though, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of what about their music it really IS that keeps us all anxious and waiting for whatever project comes next. When I think about why I’m still a fan, it all feels fairly overwhelming. Where do I even start?!? I suspect many of you might feel the same.
The push and pull
Does anyone think that their feelings about Duran Duran have changed since they first became a fan? Maybe their videos intrigued you, initially. Perhaps like me, you loved the idea of a synths paired with a rocking electric guitar. As the decades flew by, you can see that your interests in them have changed.
So in my case as I became a fan back in the 80s, I felt that other bands that relied more heavily on keyboards and synthesizers. While I can name many I liked, it always felt a bit shallow, or thin in sound to me. Duran Duran had this push and pull of balance, the sound was layered and deep, and I liked that. As the years have gone by, though, I feel as though the band has changed a little in that regard. I don’t think there’s that same constant struggle for equilibrium, although the depth of sound has always been there.
No fast food
I’m not going to rehash the band’s career because that’s not really my point – but I’ve found that my interests in their music have evolved a bit. I find myself listening to the words, recognizing how the music may drive the lyrics (or vice-versa). I love the way each one of their songs is a full-package. No two are the same, just as no two albums are the same. Speaking of albums, the one thing I appreciate most about Duran Duran is that their albums are typically meant to be listened to from start to finish. It is a full, complete story. There’s no “fast food music” delivery here, where you can buy a song or two on iTunes and feel like you’ve gotten the complete meal. No, with Duran Duran – sitting down and committing the full-45 minutes to an hour to really absorb the entire message is key. I felt that with Paper Gods, with All You Need is Now, and yes, even with Red Carpet Massacre, believe it or not!
If anyone has more to add on this subject, I am always ready and willing to share ideas. I love reading what everyone has to say about what continues driving their fandom. So much has changed during the four decades the band has been in existence – I want to hear from you. What keeps you going?
I have an actual writing assignment that I’m supposed to be doing today. I’ll get to that—but it would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Duran Duran has announced yet another west coast date for September. This time, they’ll be making a return visit to Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California on September 5th!
Thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend, I was alerted to the new date yesterday. My habitual procrastination has finally paid off. I put off purchasing plane tickets because I didn’t like the cost of flights to Vegas. I debated over driving. Lo and behold – it turns out driving IS the better option after all! I’m making a pit stop in the Palm Springs area along the way to Vegas, assuming of course, that I’m able to get a ticket to the show.
Agua Caliente is one of the best venues I’ve seen the band perform. The theater is small, the sound is pretty great, and there’s really not a bad seat in the house. This time, however, is going to be a little different. According to Agua Caliente’s website, the DD show this time around includes GA pit. For those of us not happy with that, there are still seats in the loge, mezzanine and balcony areas. Pricing is as follows, courtesy of hotwatercasino.com:
$115.00 – STANDING ROOM ONLY | GA PIT | NO SEATS $115.00 – LOGE $95.00 – MEZZANINE $85.00 – BALCONY
6 ticket limit.
Public ticket sale begins July 6th at 8am local time. This is not the same information as for the DDM member pre-sale. That will begin on July 3rd at 10am local time.
Keep in mind that the pricing above is only for the public sale. DDM pricing will likely be different if they offer VIP tickets.
It would appear that I am headed to the show alone. Amanda cannot take an additional day off of teaching, and the rest of the usual suspects I know are also struggling with their work/life schedules. I’ve never gone to a Duran Duran concert alone (although I did go to their mini-concert for Jimmy Kimmel on my own!). This will be a new experience for me! Let me know if you’re going to the concert and we can meet up for pre-show drinks or food before the gig!
On to that writing assignment of mine.
Readers and active participants on our social media may have noticed that Amanda and I have been asking questions about being a fan. We wanted to know what first drew fans to Duran Duran. Then as a follow up, I asked what kept people as fans after all this time. Sure, Amanda and I have our own answers that we’ll share at some point. For now, we want to know yours!
What drew you to Duran Duran and what keeps you interested?
There were certainly mentions of nostalgia and even their ever-present pinup-able looks. However, by and large, most people say it is the music that keeps them fans. I am not surprised by that answer. Although I do wonder if any of us can really put our finger on exactly WHAT it is about their music that keeps us interested.
Don’t be surprised when you see more questions popping up from our Daily Duranie social media accounts. We are always curious about what makes fans tick. Part of that is understanding what brought us here to begin with. Thanks for playing along with us!
Last week, a friend of mine asked if I thought one could even be considered a die hard fan if they weren’t upset about John leaving the band back in the late 1990s.
Granted, the comment, or rather, the question, was said in jest. At the time, I said I wouldn’t touch the subject with a ten-foot pole.
Maybe what I should have said was that I wouldn’t touch the subject unless I were planning on writing a blog in advance, knowing I wouldn’t be around to manage the aftermath!!
Is there something I should know?
Seriously though – in answering that question, I think one has to have an idea of what “die-hard” even means. Funnily enough, I think we all have an image of what that might entail in our own heads. Maybe you think a die-hard is someone who doesn’t miss a tour. Perhaps you believe a die-hard fan travels to all the shows, or maybe they’re someone that many within the fan community know and recognize.
Truth be told, I don’t think there’s one set definition, and as I explained last week – I’m definitely not going to be the person to start defining it. At the very least…… I won’t be doing that while I’m sober! We all have our own ideas of what a die hard fan is. Chances are, we either think we fit that definition and are proud of it, or we work very hard to tell ourselves that we’re not…THAT kind of fan.
For many fans, the day John left the band was one of the saddest days of their lives. Others felt that way when it was Roger, or Andy…either time. For still many others though, they didn’t notice the absence all that much. Maybe John wasn’t a favorite, or maybe their attitude was simply that as long as Simon is singing, it’s Duran Duran. I can remember going to see Duran Duran at the House of Blues in 2001. I purposefully kept my eyes on Simon and Nick, willing myself to believe I was seeing all five original members, ignoring Warren and the others onstage. It was utterly ridiculous now that I think back on it, but I was a young(er) pup then. What about you?
People stare and cross the road from me
Opinions and loyalties are often the spark applied to the powder keg of arguments when it comes to fandom. None of us are unbiased. If we were, chances are, we wouldn’t be fans at all – much less hold that super special, “die-hard” label. My own personal opinion is that if you’re a fan of Duran Duran – then you’re a fan of the band. Die-hard, casual fan, or blogger! It shouldn’t matter whether or not you were upset that John left. Others might believe that only the die-hardest (that’s a word, right?!?) of them all would feel as though John’s absence was like missing part of your heart.
Quite frankly, it is all pretty dramatic for me on a Monday (because that’s when I’m writing this) afternoon. It isn’t even wine-o’clock yet!
Someday, when I least expect it, someone will hand me many vodka tonics and then ask the fateful question, “What is the definition of a die-hard fan, Rhonda?”
This is a true statement, and I think it’s kind of funny! I know I fantasized for years about marrying Roger, and I even thought about Nick for a time or two, but never John. (We’re not even going to talk about my fellow scorpio – Simon.)
It is John Taylor’s birthday. For many, it may as well be an international holiday, judging from the looks of my social media this morning. I had no idea that so many have been less than arms length away from the man!!
In full disclosure, I am not one of those people. I would almost say I have no business writing a happy birthday post for John. Aside from loudly announcing “The album is beautiful, John!” across a very crowded table at a signing for Astronaut, I don’t think I’ve even spoken to him…or even yelled words his way. (unless you count “Play the Fucking Bass, John” at a concert. I’m not really sure I do.)
That isn’t to say I don’t greatly admire him. Of course I do. I just never thought I was going to marry him. (and it turns out, I was 100% correct!) Even Amanda has met and exchanged words (along with a Daily Duranie wristband!) with him before…and there was that picture as he was leaving the Ace hotel in Los Angeles. I was there for that!
Funny story – that night at the Ace hotel, I was right beside Amanda and a few others as John left the hotel with Gela (and I honestly can’t remember who else). I was standing there eating some of the worst crackers I’ve ever had, all because I’d missed dinner. I was starving though, so as lousy as those crackers might have been, I was eating them, Just as I’d shoved some in my mouth – of course – out pops John Taylor from the hotel. My mouth was completely dry at the time, and I was trying to eat these stupid crackers that seemed to make my mouth even drier with every chew. I couldn’t get them down fast enough.
So my friends were yelling for Amanda and I to run up and stand with John for a picture. He was clearly in a hurry, and his wife was not amused by our fan antics one single bit. In all fairness, I am pretty much the same way when Walt and I are leaving one of his work parties. I don’t care that so-and-so wants to get one last word in about a product they’re working on. It’s actually NOT lovely that his boss wants us to meet gorgeous wife #6, or talk to my husband about the upcoming trade show. Do it at work! Do not get in my way, people – I’m going HOME now.
Say what you will about wives buying into the dream when they marry a rock star. When it all comes down to it, at the end of the day, all wives want to do is go home, get into comfy clothes, and have their guy take out the damn trash…and maybe grab them a bowl of ice cream while they’re in the kitchen. Gela doesn’t strike me as an ice cream person, but you get the idea. Maybe she wants a nice kale salad before bed, or something, who knows?!? All I really know for sure is that a husband, is a husband, is a husband, John Taylor or not! They’re all men, and we’re all women, when it comes to life at home, people!
Anyway, as I took a quick once-over at the entire situation there in front of the hotel. John stopped long enough to allow a picture, and I saw Gela standing in front of their car, ready to go…and I was still chewing. I realized there was no way I’m was doing it. Nope. Instead, I casually took about three giant steps backward, cheered Amanda on, and congratulated myself on once again, avoiding a super awkward situation with one of my idols.
I’m so good.
<you should in fact read sarcasm, and imagine an eye roll right here>
As I stood there, I was able to really see the insanity in all of it’s glory. I was thrilled for Amanda, no doubt about it – I mean, that was her favorite, right there beside her! No part of me was jealous because that’s dumb, and I’m the one who refused to take part. As I was finally getting the last of the mouthful of crackers down my gullet, narrowly avoiding choking on them, I heard my friend Katie loudly say, “Smile, John!” He snapped into full rock star mode, breaking into a toothy grin. I would have sworn the words were like Pavlov’s Bell.
I chuckled as I leaned against a pole. All I could think about was how well-trained John was to the whole picture-taking, fan-paparazzi thing. I decided in that one millisecond that it would drive me crazy if I were famous. I glanced over at the Escalades lined up in the street. Gela was crossing her arms at this point, and my friends had the nerve to ask John to smile on top of just having him stand there. God, I love Duranies. There were people milling all over the place, and I was starting to see (and hear) other Duranies crooning for his attention as he dashed off to the car. I can only imagine what Gela must have said to John as he got to her side and into their vehicle that night. I stood there and said nothing. It all happened so fast that I could have blinked…or chewed some crackers…and missed it. Instead, those few seconds seemed to drag on, probably so that I’d be able to commit them to memory forever.
Several years later—like just this past February—I had the opportunity to ask a mutual friend if it drove John crazy to be stopped every few feet, or if they think it’s crazy to have people want 50,000 photos, or to see people practically living in their hotel lobby. She said that it doesn’t bother him most of the time, and that he gets it.
(I’m still not entirely sure I’m buying that he’s on board with the lobby situation, but whatever floats your boat.)
Of course he gets being a fan, though. I’m equal parts not surprised, and genuinely shocked at the same time. I suppose a part of me always figured that human nature would dictate annoyance. I mean, who really freaking wants to be stopped every few feet? I don’t care if you are a living rock GOD, or if you’re John Taylor and owe your success to fans like me (which I find to be a pretty repugnant statement that entitled fans like to throw out whenever they please) – you also sometimes just want to go up to your room in peace. By the same token, John has spoken about his own idols and his own fandom enough to where I realize that out of everyone in this band – if anyone does get it – it’s him.
I think that’s probably what I admire most about John…at least from afar. He is pretty normal. I mean, for somebody who has been a rock star for most of his life, anyway. Upon first glance, you look at him and think he’s got to be just about perfect. Right?!? But then, you realize he’s worn glasses that were probably thicker than yours, and you see him dance on stage, and you’re like – Oh yeah. You ARE still human! Thank goodness!!
It’s true, I’ve never met the guy. I am friends with some of his closest friends (true story!!), but I’ve never met him. Yet. (who knows??) I just know the same things that the rest of you do about him. I like that he gives back. He continues daily work on a serious, life threatening illness – addiction – and used what he has learned from it to help other people. I just don’t believe people give back in that way unless they mean it. That matters to me. He also wears what I would call high-water track pants on stage, and has a sense of fashion that quite frankly, makes me laugh. I’m thinking of that sequined jacket of Gela’s he stole for a photo in Vegas, and of course – the neon pants he (and Simon – in different colors) wore to an interview in Toronto a few years back. Awesome. I love it. Then again, I live in denim jeans. So, there you go.
Once upon a time, John was pretty active on social media. One of the things I remember most was that he had followed a couple fans (not me, but others). I remember wrangling the idea in my head because on one hand – he should be able to follow, befriend, and converse, with whomever he wants. On the other hand – it meant certain disaster. Fans compete for that sort of thing, and I felt it might get ugly. Even so, I encouraged it because I really believed (and still do believe) that fan engagement matters. One day – not long before he quit social media altogether – he tweeted something about how people can get their feelings hurt once he followed and then unfollowed them. I’d not thought about that. I’ve been followed and unfollowed thousands of times now. I don’t even pay attention anymore because it doesn’t matter to me personally. It’s just Twitter. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d notice if someone important to me followed me, and then unfollowed me. I felt awful, because he was right. I think John understood being a fan better than I even did.
John is one of the most knowledgable music people I (don’t) know. I still thoroughly enjoy hearing about his music recommendations when he is a guest in the Katy Kafe. I appreciate that he wants to learn how to paint someday, maybe. I can’t even draw much, beyond doing a pretty good freehand copy of Pikachu. (It’s a Pokemon. I did learn a few things from being a mom, I guess.) Weirdly, I like that he’ll even mention what he might want to do when he retires from Duran Duran. I guess that does sound funny, and I’m sure many fans recoil in horror at the idea. I just like the idea that in some super small way, we can get past Duran Duran and just be people. Is that strange? Probably.
I may not be normal, and I may not have ever said I was going to marry John…but I DO wish him a very happy birthday! As I said on social media: Thank you for continuing to inspire (and teach) me. See you in September!!
I’m sorry I’m late today. I’ve been wrestling with Google and WordPress all morning. I want to make sure to get writing before the day gets away from me.
I don’t suppose anyone has noticed the “Where in the world is _________” pictures this morning? Simon seems to be missing so far, so we should all stay tuned. Obviously though, the band is in Russia! I had to check the calendar – I’ve lost track of when they were due in Iceland and Denmark – but it appears they have several days before heading to those places.
While the thought of the band vacationing together makes me laugh, I’m pretty sure they must be there for a private gig. Wealthy Russians sure seem to know how to throw a good party!
I’m envious of those who are making the trek to Iceland. Aside from a quick run down to Anaheim with my youngest for Vidcon, and to Vegas in September for this crazy band, my vacation destination for this year is our back patio. I’ll be spending warm summer nights barbecuing, building more fenced areas for our future livestock, possibly laying some concrete, and dreaming about the pool I’d really love to have put in. As my husband puts it, “You live here. This is your vacation every single day.” Yeah…..not exactly, but OK.
With the band out and about for the next week or two, hopefully there will be pictures and things to share, along with plenty of photos from those of you going. Safe travels and happy times ahead for all of you! Also, if you’re traveling to any of the upcoming shows and would like to be our special correspondents in the field, we would be thrilled to publish you! We’d obviously credit you with whatever you’d like to share – pictorials, reviews, diaries, etc. Send me a note to our gmail (dailyduranie at gmail dot com)!
This humorous Paris conversation atop the Eiffel Tower marked the end to the cinematic music video for the 1985 MTV anthem, “A View To A Kill”. The film theme marked a crossroads for Duran Duran, and for global pop culture itself. Why?
“A View To A Kill” became the FIRST single from the (decades old) James Bond motion picture series to reach # 1 in America.
“A View To A Kill” remains the ONLY Bond anthem to reach #1 in America.
LIVE AID became the concert event of the decade in the 1980s. In the “Woodstock” of its era, the one-day charity stadium mega concert spanning the Atlantic Ocean in both London (UK) and Philadelphia (America) simultaneously played host to a wealth of music legends: Queen, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, U2, Madonna, George Michael, Adam Ant, Phil Collins, Sting… with reunions by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. (Only one band, however, marked the zeitgeist of the moment with the NUMBER ONE single on the Billboard Hot 100 that week: “A View To A Kill” by LIVE AID’s ABC and MTV prime-time headliner: Duran Duran.)
“A View To A Kill” came to mark the summit of Duran Duran’s commercial blaze as well. As guitarist Andy Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor soon departed, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bass guitarist John Taylor forged ahead as a trio with singer Simon Le Bon.
Styles change. Style doesn’t.
This promotional manifesto emerged from Capitol-EMI Records in the 1990s, serving as the catalyst for a return to form for Duran Duran. New Wave was out. Glam Metal was out. Hip-Hop was in. Grunge was in. Was there room for the unflagging vision of Duran Duran? Yes.
“Comeback” is a tricky word for Duran Duran and their fans… this omnipresent dance-rock band has seen the top, the bottom, and the middle of the mountain creatively and commercially for 40 years since their 1978 formation.
(FOR THE RECORD: Duran Duran have never broken up… there has never “not been” a Duran Duran in existence since they dominated radio, MTV, poster and magazine sales, and sold out sports arenas in the 1980s.)
Billboard interviewed the band in the studio with producer Chris Kimsey in 1990 for the making of LIBERTY. Remarkably self-aware, singer Simon Le Bon stated defiantly: “We’re aware of the struggle we’re involved in. We will not be killed off.”
2019: A Space Coast Odyssey
In this spirit, I could hardly wait to be part of the 2019 Cultural Summit presented by the BCA (Brevard Cultural Alliance) in Melbourne, Florida. As a devout fan of Duran Duran since 1983 (at age 10!), I had seen many interviews with this band – in writing, on MTV and VH1, and later online. I have been fortunate to personally see Duran Duran live nearly 30 times since 1989, and met each founding member.
Was there anything left to “learn”? I wondered to myself.
I did know that I was delighted to be invited to this rare event. In 2000, while watching Duran Duran “Storytellers” on VH-1, I marvelled at the intimate British audience allowed into that “inner circle”… I observed how keenly these fans listened to the band members as they shared anecdotes of their culture-shifting history.
Nineteen years LATER… I was surprised to receive an e-mail from the BCA asking me if I had a question I would like considered for inclusion in the Q&A with Simon Le Bon. (My inner voice’s response: “WHOA….ME?”)
IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?
May 23rd, 2019. Award-winning Orlando/Melbourne journalist Greg Pallone (Spectrum News 13) was appointed to moderate the onstage exchange: “In Conversation With Simon Le Bon.”
“Hundreds of artists, creative professionals, business and political leaders from Brevard County and beyond” were welcomed by the arts and cultural nonprofit organization BCA in their event handbill. A full day conference of morning and evening workshops were scheduled for paying attendees in the business-related fields of arts, culture, and the music industry. Wendy Laister, CEO of Magus Entertainment (and long-time Duran Duran band manager), was one of many notable presenters who spoke during the day’s breakout sessions.
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM was reserved for the luncheon, prior to which hundreds of animated Duran Duran fans swelled the ample hallways of the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place. The Florida resort and the BCA Team were well-prepared for the “Sold Out” 420-seat capacity marquee event. Fans relished reliving key DD fan moments in the resort hallways. A table of BCA volunteers cheerfully logged in each guest, and handed the “Golden Ticket”-like wristband to each pre-paid attendee. And then the ballroom doors opened…
Is Anybody… HUNGRY?!
The choice of entree was yours upon reserving your tickets online. My food was delicious – better than the catered hotel fare typically experienced at such events. The lunch I was served:
Flank Steak (with feta cheese, garden herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes)
Garden Vegetables (steamed green beans, carrots, broccoli)
Mashed Potatoes (whipped in butter)
Coffee / Water / Tea
Key Lime Pie (w/fresh whipped cream)
My good friend Mike McCoy drove across the state from Tampa Bay for this event. We grew up together in the 1980s listening to Duran Duran’s hits when they were NEW songs – so our history as friends just added to the fun of the luncheon for each of us. Summoning the spirit of “Hungry Like The Wolf”, Mike says during our proper meal: “Wouldn’t it be AWESOME when Simon comes out, if we just ‘THREW’ the table over…??!”
(…as Mike gestures his arms upward, in a slow ‘throwing’ motion…)
Mike clearly knew we would obviously NEVER misbehave in such a way. But oh, the laugh. I’ll never forget that line. It was one of MANY great “Duran moments” from this day.
MY line at lunch: When the server places the china before me, I look upon my juicy flank steak and say aloud to our tablemates: “Is anybody… HUNGRY?!”
We all laughed. Among this crowd – we all know the lines, the cues, the nuances, the looks – and there is never a need to explain ourselves. We’re about to have lunch with ‘SIMON LE BON’. Just a PERFECT DAY…
While we dined, Neil Levine (BCA Executive Director) lead a powerpoint presentation revealing the findings of the “2019 Economic Contribution of Arts & Culture to the Space Coast. Levine made the case of how the creative community made the area a desirable locale for residents and for tourism alike. Then, Greg Pallone of Spectrum News 13 was introduced and welcomed to the stage. The audience excitement was palpable – and to the sound of forks and knives clanging chinaware, Greg enthusiastically profiled our conference’s special luncheon guest…
All You Need Is NOW…
Entering from stage right: The singer of Duran Duran – SIMON LE BON. The applause and cheers evoke a Duran Duran concert. Simon looks calm and relaxed… to describe his look in 3 words? “MIAMI VICE. HAVANA.”
White, long-sleeved button-down collar casual dress shirt. A few buttons undone, he looks ready to sail into Florida’s cool coastal breezes…
Off-white, low-top deck shoes. (No socks, that I could tell?)
A small gold, hoop earring in his left ear. (It’s BACK! LOL)
Fresh haircut: short on the sides, lightly spiky length on top. Sun-bleached brown. (Think: “Last Night In The City” video.)
…Greg notes that many WOMEN are here in today’s audience. As the crowd calls out to him, Simon relishes the moment – yet with good-nature, defers to his interviewer and bellows into his microphone: “Let’s hear it for GREG!!”
The light banter introductions segue into about 10 minutes of Greg asking Simon to share some of his music stories. Simon speaks of the early days starting out with Duran Duran in working class Birmingham, England. He speaks of how when the band toured in America early on, radio wouldn’t play their music – yet the risque music video for “Girls On Film” gained them airplay and underground credibility in American dance clubs. During this time in their young life (“Nick was only 19!”), they were very excited to play in New York City. Dancing in Studio 54, and meeting legendary artist Andy Warhol, were quite exciting bucket list moments for them.
After playing clubs around the world, the band finally got a mainstream break in America: MTV. Simon said that MTV brought the music of Duran Duran straight into people’s homes in America. He talked of the relationship they built with the fledgling music video network – especially “the VJ’s on MTV… when they actually PLAYED ‘music’!”
Greg asked Simon to highlight his childhood inspiration to make or perform music. Simon responded by singing: “She loves you / YEAH, yeah, yeah! / She loves you / YEAH, yeah, yeah!” as he namechecks “The Beatles… Stones… classical… T-Rex… David Bowie!”
As the crowd cheers and hangs on to every name cited, the interviewer cites the similar effect that Duran Duran had upon a generation of young people, particularly in the 1980s. Simon good naturedly interrupts, to a roar of laughing approval: “…***I’M*** stuck in the Eighties!!”
Simon talks about his relationship with his fans, stating how it is special “…to be a PART of their conscience – be a PART of their wallpaper.”
Shortly after, Greg announces that a few fans in attendance have been invited to submit questions for today’s event. As the host lifts a small stack of index cards, he announces that when your name is called, you will be invited to stand up and ask Simon your question… or Greg will read it for you, if preferred. Making eye contact with his fans in the eager audience, Simon grins widely: he knows it’s TIME to leave you…
…ANSWERED WITH A QUESTION MARK
Simon is asked how it feels to have recently become a grandfather. He notes that he recently turned 60 years old – and he loves family, and loves having a newborn child in his life again.
Simon talks about the effect of his fame upon his children. He namechecks the SING BLUE SILVER 1984 tour DVD (to enthusiastic audience cheers). “I recently showed it to my CHILDREN for the first time. They were VERY surprised……. (with a look of being awestruck, the audience laughs loudly with him).”
A fan says “You are a HEALER…” and tells Simon how his music has given hope to so many fans through the years, and asks how he feels about that. Simon thanks the fans, who have sent him so many letters detailing how his songs saved them. He says “Save A Prayer” may be the one that fans give him the most feedback on in helping them out of dark times…
A woman stands up and tells Simon that she was the person who introduced him to the modelling photos of (his now wife) YASMIN in the 80s, backstage at Madison Square Garden in New York. Simon is completely floored… “Do you have the pictures WITH you?” he asks. She says yes, and holds up the portfolio. Simon motions to her, to come join him onstage. Standing up, Simon and this young woman leaf purposefully through the book of glossy photos. Slowing down the present with his own eyes – Simon indulges his PAST, recalling how falling in love with the face of a girl forever changed his FUTURE.
Another fan asks if DD will be making any new music together again… Simon confirms that in the 40th year of the band, they have been. “We’re writing a new Duran Duran studio album in London with new dance producer Erol Alkan – and in L.A. with Mark Ronson. We’ll be celebrating (DD 40) all year… and for the NEXT 10 years…!”
“You know what your music has done for US…” the next fan is called upon to ask. “What has it done for YOU?” Simon answers: “It… has kept me OCCUPIED. It has given me the SCRIPT for my LIFE, really. Time FLIES, when you’re having FUN… It’s given me a reason to wake up in the morning, to wake up with these guys (his bandmates).”
Host Greg Pallone takes up the subject of sailing (close to the heart of Melbourne locals and many Floridians)… calling upon the fan who submitted that question. Simon waxes poetic, tying in his draw towards the ocean and being a member of a sailing crew, into his love of the give-and-take process of creating music in a band. “You learn to RELY on other people…”
Somebody asks Simon what music he enjoys today. He loses me personally with some names I am unfamiliar with. He mentions relishing the music of Fela Kuti, a frequent fallback for him. And Tame Impala is one of many new bands he thinks is great.
“We’ve heard from a lot of female fans today,” host Greg says, “now let’s hear from some of the MEN. Where’s Douglas Armstrong…” “RIGHT HERE! Hi!” I enthusiastically reply, standing up. I roll up my left sleeve, showing the skin of my upper arm, declaring, “I just want to represent – ‘MAN’ with a Duran Duran TATTOO!” Our spirited ballroom of Duran fans cheered my ‘ink reveal’ to the singer approvingly. What could feel better! Simon responds: “It’s quite a rare BREED, you know…!”
My question: “I just wanted to welcome you today to Melbourne, Florida. It is the birthplace of Jim Morrison. I know in 1995, The Doors’ ‘Crystal Ship’ was a song that Duran Duran covered. So I just want to ask: A lot of us know the ‘MUSIC’ – but part of what always captivated me about Duran Duran was a ‘POETIC’ aspect… it wasn’t just literal. It didn’t ‘TELL’ you where to go… it was open to interpretation. I get a lot of that listening to The Doors as well. So I just want you to go into that a little.”
“Yeah, I think it’s a very valid point,” Simon replied. “I think it’s something in works with a lot of lyrics – AND poetry as well. A lot of songs are not ‘specific’. And they leave a lot to the imagination. I think there’s a very good REASON for that. I know there is in my songwriting. And that is because I want to leave room for you, and you, and you, and YOU to insert your own experiences, and points-of-view, into the song – so you can make it your OWN. Because for whatever happens – the songs that come back, the way that people interpret them into their own way, are WAY more important than the ones that convey a ‘message’. Because it’s when you get that FEEDBACK from people… You say ‘I understand this song, I know what it’s all about’ – and its NOTHING that you intended. But it means SUCH a lot to THEM. And suddenly, it speaks to the audience about their OWN lives. And I think that’s a really wonderful thing.” (Crowd applauses… Simon breaks back in, to close.) “And I think – that’s a really IMPORTANT part – of what makes ‘poetry’, poetry.”
“In the Eighties, NOTHING was more important than music to people…” Today, Simon notes the most unifying passion across generational and cultural lines “seems to be sports.”
Host Greg asks aloud to know who is the “youngest” fan of Duran Duran in the audience (a mother speaks aloud for her daughter, named Rio(!) – aged 9! The mother of Rio asks: “Why did you name the song “Rio”? Simon replies, “I LOVE that name! I was just BLOWN AWAY by this beautiful country (America). I felt that ‘Rio’ could be about something much MORE than a girl. I wrote ‘Rio’ about your country. I wrote ‘Rio’ about the United States of America!!”
Greg turns back to ask the crowd who is the “oldest” person in the audience… “ME!” Simon cheekily says into the mic. The crowd loves it, rewarding him with hearty laughter at his self-effacing British humor. A young woman arises and introduces her elderly mother (I couldn’t discern her age), who smiles and waves back while remaining comfortably seated at her table. Her daughter then asks Simon who his biggest influence was in pursuing the arts? Immediately he answers: “My MOTHER, Anne Le Bon.” He goes into some detailed recollection about all the ways she encouraged him in his creative life. He was pursuing academics in university, only to find himself at an impasse after joining a local Birmingham, England band… “SHE said I should go for the band. I MISS her, everyday.”
He then adds “My choirmaster…” as a mentor who figured heavily into his musical development. Simon wraps up his answer by encouraging us to watch the recent BBC documentary “There’s Something You Should Know”, adding that the career retrospective “…really showed great footage when we were young.”
Will Simon ever write a published BIOGRAPHY about his life and career? The question came from an inquiring mind, pointing out that John Taylor has written his bio about Duran, and Andy Taylor has as well… the singer’s response? “I don’t have any particular ambition to write a book.”
“Did you read John or Andy’s book?”
Simon just let that one ‘hang’ out there… and the one-word response grew funnier to the laughing crowd, as he deliberately resisted elaboration. “I LIVED with them!” he finally pleads. “Why should I READ it?” (Again, the crowd laughter has not abated, as Simon holds his mic waiting for the next comic line to arrive from the ether like the 5:30 train…)
“You SHOULD read Andy Taylor’s book. You SHOULD read John’s book. I… ‘HIIIIGHLY recommend’, that you read them. Have ‘I’ read them? ‘NO’.”
Once the audience’s amused laughs tapered, Greg deferred to the next audience pre-screened question. How does Simon feel, about a possible induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame one day? He shared how honored he was to be asked by the organization (along with John) to present Roxy Music with their induction to the Class Of 2019 this year. Simon elaborated by saying how astonishing it felt to be considered for that honor – and what it was like to be backstage and onstage with Bryan Ferry and his heroes who he admired as a young lad growing up. He then stated in earnest that if there were NO Roxy Music in the world – there would be no Duran Duran. But yielding slightly to the nature of the original question, Simon said of a Duran Duran induction to the Rock Hall: “We would be grateful. We would WELCOME it, with open arms.”
Greg directed another audience member to ask Simon about his favorite “football club” (I.E. American soccer). As I personally follow American NFL football and NBA basketball – I honestly didn’t pay much attention to this answer. (Sorry, soccer fans! LOL)
A GREAT question emerged from the audience, asking: “How would you like Duran Duran to be ‘remembered’?”
Simon looked thoughtful. He elaborated that it didn’t matter what he thought or preferred – he just wanted the band’s life work to continue to be soundtracks to people’s lives. “I would like my ‘MUSIC’ to be remembered. I would like people to JUST, STILL, PLAY – DURAN DURAN music.”
The last question asked of Simon was for… his autograph. (Hey, who doesn’t want that, right?!) Simon smiled, but explained why it truly wasn’t practical due to the scale of audience in attendance here today. There were music industry workshops still scheduled for the afternoon session of BCA Cultural Summit, and he did not want to impede upon their times. Yet, as Simon talked himself OUT of autographs for 420 giddy Duran fans – he cracked open the window for ONE lucky fan… “If I do ONE, I’ll have to do it for all… (sigh) I’ll do ONE. Where is ‘RIO’…….?”
The young girl of 9 was brought to the stage by her mother. Simon revealed his sweet, paternal instincts – lifting the joyous child into the air. It was near OLYMPIAN in pose… delivering on the promise of an icon who adorned school lockers, Trapper Keepers, bedroom walls, and even the daily TV or VCR rituals of the 1980s “MTV Generation.” The frontman of Duran Duran was a music video “god” to teenagers of a different era – yet today’s Simon Le Bon is a 60-year old grandfather. Simon lifting the living embodiment of his band’s legacy into the air onstage was the perfect ending for our private “Storytellers” Q&A luncheon today with this pleasant and engaged music legend. Our luncheon ended with a NEW iconic image for Simon Le Bon and Duran Duran fans.
“HER NAME IS ‘RIO’…….”
Douglas Armstrong is from The Palm Beaches, Florida. He has been an ardent Duran Duran fan since the days of MTV, Martha Quinn and Union of the Snake. He loves music, dreaming, and traveling with his wife and three children. You can reach him on Twitter: @TravelAgentA
Until about thirty seconds ago, this morning was shaping up to be one of those days when blogging was going to be like pulling teeth. I had no ideas coming to me, and I was toying with the idea of just saying forget it and taking the day off. But then I remembered what I did yesterday afternoon!
I think most everyone knows we moved from Rancho Santa Margarita, California up to the central coast – we live in a smaller town now, and kind of went from typical “OC suburban” living to country living. For example, I now have twelve chickens and we just spent the past month or so clearing annual brush because we live in a high fire danger area. In any case, it has been a life-changing exercise for the past five months. While we’ve unpacked a lot, we still have a lot of yellow and black plastic bins in our garage that have yet to be opened. I look at them nearly every day, think “Oh, I should probably grab a couple and get it done.” Then I skip back into the house and find something far more fun to do, like binging on TV, reading a book, or blogging!
Details make you shiver
This plan went well up until yesterday. My well-meaning husband decided the day had come to get my car into the garage. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that after years of no car payments, we had no choice but to buy a new (gently used, but new to me) vehicle last weekend. We’ll just call that “motivation”. That meant moving bins around, getting rid of some of the extra things we don’t need, and insisting that I unpack some of those yellow and black boxes that have grown to be the bane of my existence over the past year.
In addition to the bins in the garage, there were two, very heavy, very full bins in our bedroom that I’d been ignoring. Quite literally, they were beginning to feel like furniture themselves, as I’d use them as a sort of resting place for things I needed to put away – like clothes, or maybe my purse, or even books and magazines. In my defense, the reason I hadn’t unpacked these two (actually three) bins away is because they contained a good portion of my Duran Duran memorabilia, and I had nowhere to put it all.
One of the bins contained music. All of the band’s CD’s, and a ridiculous number of gig bootlegs. I don’t know how many I have – but there are a lot. Another bin contained DVD’s. Again, I feel like maybe it’s out of hand at this point. Then the last bin contained print articles I’ve collected. Magazines, newspapers, a few posters, notes I’ve gotten from a couple of special friends, packets from conventions I’ve both attended and helped organize, and even a couple of tour books that somehow found their way into this bin rather than the one I already unpacked containing all of my fandom and Duran Duran books.
It’s hard to escape
I didn’t know what to do with all of this…STUFF. I felt overwhelmed just looking at all of it. No, it didn’t really spark JOY (thank you Marie Kondo) it mostly stoked a fire of anxiety over not having my own space. The thing is, my youngest has her own space. My husband has HIS own space. I have my closet, which is significantly smaller than the one I had before. We do have a guest room, but for reasons I can’t get into at the moment, I don’t dare claim it as my own just yet. I stared at the boxes and piles of music. I thought about putting all of the music on a hard drive. That would take a long time. I considered shoving the entire thing up into the attic. That goes against the rules I self-imposed. We’re not storing crap for the sake of storing it. I took a deep breath, knowing what would have to happen.
I had my husband haul our old armoire back into the house.
We’d agreed to get rid of some old furniture when we moved. We haven’t done much of that yet, though. So, back in with the old. I needed a cabinet, and the armoire was going to serve the purpose well. As I unpacked the bins and put everything into it’s new home, I wondered what other fans did. Do people still collect things? Not everyone can be Durandy and just rent a storage unit, am I right?
So, while I pondered, I unpacked. Everything fit into the newly designated “Duran Duran Armoire”. It’s not that pretty, but it works, I guess. I can access everything pretty easily, which is an improvement from our old house. Seriously though, what does everyone else do with their stuff??
When your head is stuck in vice
I think it’s one thing when you live alone and can designate a closet or room – but I’ve been lucky to even have a desk (which I don’t right now). I had an office in our old house for about four months one time over the twenty-one years we lived there. It was great, but obviously short lived. Once my husband lost his job and needed space for a serious job search, me, my memorabilia, and my Duran Duran posters were unceremoniously kicked out. Back to the kitchen table I went, laptop in arms.
It is a problem that has continued with this house for sure. We have one extra room for an office, and since he works from home – it has to be his. I even tried arguing that since the garage is well-insulated, (his words when we bought the house, which I cleverly stored away in my brain for later use!)we could easily turn part of it into a lovely office space for him. Oddly, he wasn’t having any part of that. I cannot imagine why!
We do have a small area upstairs that could be turned into an office “area”, but I wouldn’t have wall space for posters or anything like that – it’s too out in the open. Last night I tried convincing him to turn part of our attic into an office for me, but we can’t really stand up in there, and the whole “no ventilation” thing is a problem too. Go figure, I do need to be able to breathe, darn it. So me, and my nearly lifelong obsession don’t really have a good home. Until I figure it out, I’m here at one end of our kitchen island, attempting to write.
Is it just me lugging boxes and boxes of Duran Duran-everything around?? What does one do with all of this stuff?? First world problem?! Of course. I mean, the whole thing about having a favorite band at all is kind of several feet in that direction anyway, isn’t it?
Perhaps I should have taken him up on using the chicken coop as my office back when I had the chance. Dang it.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!