Tag Archives: Duran Duran radio

Deep Listening

How often do you completely unplug from the world, even for a single hour, put on an album and just listen?

Recently, I read an article sent to me by a friend (shout-out to David O) about deep listening to albums. In this case, the article posed a challenge to the reader. Turn off your phone, shut off the voices in your head, and give full attention to not one, but three albums of your choice.

I’m about to get real with y’all on this Monday morning. I struggle with giving anything my full attention these days. I mean, I really and truly grapple with it. The idea of trying to do this for three hours while listening to albums feels very much like challenging myself to run a marathon. My brain can’t do it, much less my body! When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie, I’m playing with my phone. If I’m not playing some sort of game, I’m crocheting. If I’m outside listening to music, I’m also reading emails, or reading a book. While I’m attempting to sit and listen to music, even on Spotify, my mind is racing in the background, thinking about whatever I should be doing (instead of listening). And those situations are just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

Some of this, I believe, is training. In today’s world, we don’t allow ourselves any sort of time to just be still, unless of course we’re sleeping. (Which, by the way – I often wake up in the middle of the night, immediately thinking of the things I need to do, forgot to do, or don’t want to do) During the day, it’s a constant series of multitasking. What can I take to the laundry room with me as I drop off the clothes into the washer? While coffee is being made, do I have time to clean the chicken coop or collect eggs and get back up to the garage before it is finished? If I sit and listen to an album from a new band for 45 minutes, maybe I can read from a book I’ve been working on at the same time. “Whoosh” on Duran Duran Radio? I’ll listen to that while I’m pulling weeds. Can I run to the grocery store and still make it to school in time for pickup? It was, and still is, a constant series of tasks and time management. Sitting down, doing nothing and listening to music, or watching a movie, for an hour or more? ARE YOU NUTS?

My brain has grown very used to never focusing on one single thing at a time, but at least a few, if not tens of things. In some ways, it’s great, and in others, it’s horrible. Not one single thing ever gets my complete focus…unless I’m at band rehearsal. Oddly, as I was sitting here writing, I realized the one thing that still gets my complete focus is playing music. More on that later.

One might think that in times of a pandemic, I’d learn how to settle down and recenter myself. Maybe I’d slow down and take my time. I’d argue it’s been the opposite. Funny, I thought having my entire family home would be of great relief to me, and I suppose it is in some ways, but in others – there’s never a spare moment until the time my head hits the pillow each night. Having adult children at home doesn’t mean more help. In fact, I’d argue it means having them revert back to being teenagers in a lot of ways – with animals in tow. (I know it could be their own babies, and for my kids and their current situations – I am thankful it is not. They’re not ready. *I* am not ready, for that matter.)

The article couldn’t really have come at a better time for me. I needed the reminder that life can wait, at least occasionally. As I mentioned last week, I’ve begun challenging myself with the prospect of finding new music. I am forcing myself out of the box, I bought the premium Spotify subscription, and the search has begun.

What I’m finding is that while some music belongs in the background, other music takes my full attention. Things I may have written off as pure pop last week or last month may actually have a deeper message. You’d think I would have learned that from our own Paper Gods, but no. No I didn’t. My education continues.

As I wrote a bit earlier, the one thing that I have no trouble giving my full-self to is playing music. I think that is why I found band practice to be such a joy. For two full hours, I thought of nothing but the music on the page. In hindsight, I can remember that blissful feeling I’d have during rehearsal. Never once did I reach for my phone while in that rehearsal space. My full attention would be on playing clarinet. I’d leave the band room feeling completely calm and satiated, almost dreading walking back in the door at home because I knew that all of the same tasks I left (dishes in the sink, cleaning up from dinner, making sure the youngest was on her way to bed) would still be there waiting. Band rehearsal, and of course, practicing when possible, was the one thing I gave myself, and allowed myself to get completely caught up in.

Even when I had to force myself not to give into the urge to stay at home (those first few initial rehearsal sessions were brutal, and it was only the last rehearsal when I really hit my stride, naturally), once I got to the band room and dug in, it was total peace. When I think about it, even though practice was difficult – I felt completely centered, calm, and more “myself” than ever. I didn’t have to think about anything else other than playing the right keys, hitting the correct notes, my timing, counting the measures correctly, listening to the people around me, watching our director, and performing as part of an ensemble. Compared to the daily rigors of life, for me anyway, it was simple. I miss that.

I have yet to take up the full three-hour listening challenge as described in the LA Times article, but I might -just as soon as I find the three empty hours in my daily schedule. Maybe it is better to just take an hour. A single album, even! Could you do it? If you try it, let me know how it goes, and what you listened to!

-R

We Walk the Mile

I have really been enjoying the extra content lately. The bass tutorials, the instagram chats, lengthy interviews, and of course Duran Duran radio, have all been fantastic. I want to make sure to yell that out to the world, and to thank all those involved. All of it has helped to keep me entertained, engaged, and interested, and I’m positive I’m not the only one feeling that way.

This pandemic has kind of forced all of us to see things differently, and I’m not just talking about the issues at hand. Specifically, I mean life. Friendship. Family. Learning. The list goes on and on. We have all had to find our way. Some of us are better about it than others, and that’s not really a surprise. I’ve chatted with family via text and email, Zoomed with a couple of friends, and spent more time with my three kids at home than I have in years. My husband and I have grown closer, and we’ve learned to rely on one another. I’ve cooked more at home meals over the past eight weeks than I have in YEARS. (I can’t say I’m loving that, but I’ve grown used to it, albeit begrudgingly. I even prepared food yesterday for Mother’s Day!)

We’ve slowed down a little. I think my family spends a little more time talking, a little less time rushing about. As a household, we’ve agreed to become even more self-reliant, pushing forward with our plans to become more of a homestead where we grow our own food and start our own cidery. (Think winery but with hard cider and mead. Mead is essentially wine made from honey.) We’re seeing how the world is changing and trying to adapt so that we can be happy, fulfilled, along with exercising some control over our own destiny.

I don’t think we’re all that different from Duran Duran, or anybody else really. None of us asked for this set of circumstances to be dropped like a lead weight in the middle of our lives. It is doubtful anyone really knows how long this is likely to go on. I’ve sat in on a lot of webinars lately, both those inside and outside of the entertainment industry. Concerts aren’t coming back as soon as we might hope, and even if they do – it’s hard to guess how they’ll look. It appears that the band recognizes that too. I mean, how could they not? They’ve decided to wait on releasing the album until 2021, which isn’t a surprise. I can be sad, but I don’t blame them. In the meantime, they’re doing what we’re all hopefully trying to do: exploring alternatives!

Simon discovered that he doesn’t mind doing a recorded radio show, or podcast. Katy seems to like that too, which I think is great! Nick took time to do a lengthy interview that I can’t imagine he’d have done normally. I mean, two and a half hours is a long time! John seemed to really enjoy his bass tutorial last week, along with the chat he had with Dave from Chromeo. (A band that I am going to check out this week. I know, I know…I’m slow, but I’m trying!!) While Duran Duran might not be a band that performs to an empty audience, or films a song during zoom calls, editing and then sharing it with fans, they are finding ways to engage and share parts of themselves in ways that many of us have wanted for years.

Personally, I love what they’re doing. I don’t need another Twitter Q&A, circa 2012 to remind me that there are 50,000 other fans out there, each vying for their two and a half seconds of attention with <insert band member name here>. What I do appreciate though, is getting past that nonsense, and hearing real discussions about music, their experience, or whatever they’re willing to share about themselves and Duran Duran. I feel far more connected to them now than I have in, well, a very long time, and I haven’t even left my house. Maybe it’s just me, and I can accept that some might disagree, but I think the content they’ve been creating has been golden. I look forward to whatever comes next.

As I said weeks ago, it is going to be the bands who figure out how to continue engaging their fan bases in some way that make it through this crisis, particularly if the lack of live shows continues into 2021. It is the people who find some way to make lemonade from lemons that will thrive in the future. Sure, my life looks different in 2020, as I’m sure yours does, dear reader, but it isn’t all bad. While I have my bad days and I worry about things from time to time, as does everyone, I also see that the only way through this is to keep evolving and finding the good. I’m going to keep working on that.

-R

Duran Duran Radio!

Last Friday, Simon and Katy embarked upon a new adventure with their first installment of what I feel may become my newest favorite thing – Duran Duran Radio! It’s been a few days since it was posted, but I thought it might be time to cover it a bit for those who may not have had the opportunity to give it a listen yet.

There is much to love about Duran Duran radio, and not just it’s name. This particular episode is similar to a podcast because it was pre-recorded. I appreciated that I could hit “pause” (With my entire family here…I’m interrupted a lot), and then there was that moment when my stupid WiFi router decided to restart out of nowhere I love rural life, I really do, but the technology can *sometimes* be a problem.

I love the banter between Katy and Simon in between all of the songs. I also appreciate their song choices. “Horse with No Name” by America started off the show, which is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. I loved hearing that it was the very first album Simon ever went into a record store to purchase on his own. (Mine? Duran Duran’s debut album!!) Katy said it was a song she’d hear while camping and sitting by the campfire. I can remember riding in my parents car when I was very young – some sort of Pontiac if I remember right – and I have the distinct memory of hot vinyl seats, the window down, and that song on the radio!

While I wasn’t familiar with all of the music choices, I am 100% familiar with their third pick of the show – “The Man” by The Killers. I was thrilled to see it on the list, and listening to Simon explain how Erol Alkan changed the song from one that he (Simon) really didn’t “get” as he first heard the demo into one that become the biggest bonafide hit from Wonderful, Wonderful certainly made me even more excited to hear Duran Duran’s next album since Alkan is listed as one of the producers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minutes, and learned more about Simon during that time than I did while he sat on the “firing line” of Twitter answering questions. No, it’s not the same thing as sitting in a room with him chatting, but at the same time – I’m not sure I need that in order to feel like I’ve gotten to know more about him. Does that make sense? I like hearing his thoughts on music, or anything else really. It has nothing to do with Duran Duran, yet it’s everything. I just really enjoyed getting past the same topics and hearing about something else entirely for a change.

Wow, I probably don’t sound like a fan at all, and that’s really not it. Couldn’t be farther from reality. The way I’d explain it is simply that everyone has their own “thing”. Some fans insist on pictures every time they see them. Some really want Simon to give a shout out on Twitter or where ever. They just want him to say “hi”. Others need to know when they’re coming to tour (and maybe some people want all of that). For me, I’m at a point where I’ve been a fan for a very long time now, enough to where I know Simon doesn’t necessarily want to talk about the album, he gets asked the same basic questions every time he’s interviewed, and while I can’t think of anything specific to ask – I like talking about everything BUT Duran Duran. I like hearing about other music, and other topics in general from him. Fair enough?

The one constructive criticism I’ll make about the program is the inconsistency of the volume. The segue from “The Man” into another favorite of mine, “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer was abrupt (“The Man” ends abruptly, which is just the way it is!), but the volume change is pretty drastic. I had to turn down my volume for “The Man” and then turn it right back up for “Sleeping Satellite”. It’s not a big deal, just something I noticed. A slightly bigger problem is the volume difference between Simon and Katy. I don’t know what can be done about that without some sort of mixing (and I’m not sure they want this to become that much of a production) but I would highly suggest that both of them get external microphones with pop filters. They don’t have to be expensive (even my youngest has one!), and they’ll cut out a lot of that background “shhh” noise that you hear. But Katy’s volume is especially problematic, at least for me. I could barely hear her at times, and I didn’t want to miss anything.

Overall, the first episode of Duran Duran Radio was very enjoyable. Even more so than I would have thought. It is very difficult for me to sit down long enough to listen to the radio without being interrupted 45,000 times right now, and yet for this – I’d make the time. At under an hour, it’s the perfect length, and the song choices were great!

Loved it!! Definitely check it out if you haven’t given it a listen yet. Looking forward to the next one!

-R

Spinning Tunes and Dancing away

I have two things to share today. Just two, and so this post will be short.

Get your eyeliner ready because our favorite online DJ is having another dance party! That’s right, VelvetRebel will be back on Twitch this Saturday night, spinning tunes that will bring back the sweet scent of cloves mingling with the faintest hint of hairspray and kamikaze shots. Jason has his own Twitch channel, so you’ll tune in there for the party. http://twitch.tv/velvetrebel1984

Hmm…maybe that’s just my memory of the late 80s, then. Moving on….

Second, have you seen Duran Duran’s tweet from earlier today?? If not, run, don’t walk, to Twitter right now and check it out! #DuranDuranRadio, is that a thing?? It is now…or soon will be…on Duranduran.com! The possibilities are endless, and the music…well, that’s a given, isn’t it? Love the idea, looking forward to tuning in as soon as they get it up and running! If they can’t play live in front of thousands, MAYBE…just maybe…they can play DJ!

I’m off to do mom things. Have a great day!

-R