Things have been rough recently. I’m not writing this post in order to share my private life, as much as I’m writing to show that yeah, we all have problems. It isn’t easy.
Most of our readers know that I have been a stay-at-home mom for nearly twenty-three years, not counting the two school years I worked part time in the office of the learning center my kids attended. It boggles my mind to think about how long it’s been since I worked full-time. Even then, it wasn’t a “career”, really — I worked as a staffing coordinator at a temporary employment service. Honestly, I felt more like a warm-body that filled a seat more than anything else, which made the decision to stay home very easy. My boss at the time had zero respect for things like childcare or traditional working hours, and with my husband’s very long hours back then, there was no way I could keep working. My pay rate was a joke, and so it just made sense for me to quit. I didn’t think twice about it, and practically skipped out to the car when my doctor told me I’d have to stop working and go on bedrest for the final six weeks of my pregnancy.
Little did I realize what I was going to be giving up. At first, I don’t think I noticed the differences. It didn’t bother me that we were down to one salary, nor did it bug me that I’d be the one cooking and cleaning. I did that even when I was working, although with one and then two kids, I started feeling less like an equal and more like the unpaid help. My schedule became completely dependent on his. What time was he coming home? When did he get paid next? Where was he going on his next business trip, and when?
Doesn’t have to be serious
Staying at home is incredibly isolating. Most of my college friends sunk their teeth into their careers, while I was folding a never-ending pile of laundry. My sister-in-laws both worked outside of the home even after they had children. In my family, they were both considered intelligent go-getters. Me? I’m wasn’t quite bright enough to have a real career. After all, I went to school for a “liberal arts” degree, not science or engineering, or even marketing! The horror!!! Then there are the snide, sideways comments from family members about how I use his money and “have all the fun” while he works so hard.
We’ve all had problems, right?? And then….
That’s about when I got back into Duran Duran, met new friends, and organized a convention. Truthfully, and I’ve said this before – I think it saved my life, and most certainly our marriage on some level. I had my own things to talk about, to plan for, and to do. At first, my husband didn’t mind so much. I think in a lot of ways it all amused him, at least up until I started traveling for shows. Then, I’ll admit it became a little more annoying to him, purely because it was inconvenient. Suddenly I was asking for him to take care of the house and kids once, maybe twice a year over a long weekend. He would grumble about it, but most of the time it didn’t cause trouble.
Then I started blogging, and Amanda and I started trying to write. We took longer trips – and although the blog doesn’t always take long to write, we have a goal of getting something published, and so far, we haven’t hit on just the right formula for a publisher. Much of this has to do with the fact that we’re writing non-fiction, which is even tougher to get published than fictional work. There are fewer publishers, and because the market is smaller, it is just tougher to find a home for work like that. There are some other nuances to it all, but basically – it’s a science, and we are working on finding the right formula!
Ain’t always black and white
My husband is at the point now where he’s asked me to stop. He’s tired of the traveling (in fact he imposed a “moratorium” on flying to Duran Duran shows, which is why I’ve only gone to shows that are within driving distance for the last few years), and he’s even more tired of the blog and the writing. On one hand, he says he wants me to be happy, but on the other, he says it’s time for me to quit.
In his head, he feels like we’ve tried getting something published a few times and it hasn’t worked. Therefore it must just be that our writing isn’t very good or that we’re just not meant to do it. He doesn’t understand that being an author means you’re turned down far more often than you are accepted…and when I’ve tried explaining that, I’ve gotten nowhere fast. That’s all part of being an author, and why would my husband, the one person who is supposed to support my dreams – want to take that from me? I don’t have the answers. And then of course, there’s the Duran Duran thing.
It’s a problem, as I’m sure many of you can imagine. He doesn’t understand it, despite being married to me for 24 years now. To be fair, he didn’t know how big of a fan I was when we met, or even after we were married. It wasn’t until 2003 that I really wanted to get involved in the fan community. For my part, I suppose I did expect that he would be OK with me having friends all over the country, or being willing to let me go for girls’ weekends or do road trips without him. We never really talked about that aspect—it just happened. I don’t think it occurred to him that having this extra stuff, or my own “thing”, gave me some fulfillment I was lacking. Then again, my husband is pretty black and white about things. To him, it’s not necessary, so it doesn’t matter.
That’s just the way it is
Relationships are about give and take. Fandom is something that you either understand and support, or you don’t. Finding that happy medium is always a struggle. Despite the flow of happiness that I strive to outwardly display through my blog posts, I think it’s good to admit that it doesn’t always come easily. It isn’t just YOU who has a hard time with your husband (or wife, or partner, or even your job!) understanding how you feel about the band or why you do the things you do. We all have that issue from time to time. I think that’s why when it does all work out on occasion, it’s worth celebrating.
Good morning! I trust that most everyone had a nice weekend and is ready to tackle this week head on! This is our “back to school” week, and while part of me wants to crawl back into bed and cover up my head, the other part is excited to see what the year brings. But yeah, I’m also not looking forward to the 6am alarm each morning.
What does it really mean?
As most probably know, Duran Duran Appreciation Day was on Saturday. I loved seeing pictures and posts from all of the various events going on – from Durandy’s rally in Washington to a DD party in Tennessee hosted by our friend Kim, it was wonderful to see people getting together in the name of Duran Duran. Amanda and I did our part by hosting an online video party. It was wildly entertaining for me, and I still feel as though I may have missed my calling as a VJ…except for the whole “you need to be on camera and not behind a computer screen” sort of thing.
As I chatted with people all day, I thought about the meaning of Duran Duran Appreciation Day. A fair amount of fans posted comments saying they really don’t get it, because they appreciate the band every day. Fair enough. I too, tend to appreciate this band each day. Hard not to with a blog name like “Daily Duranie”, am I right? But seriously, what does a day like Duran Duran Appreciation Day really mean, then?
Is it about taking time?
I am looking for responses here, but in the meantime, I’ll share my own experience. I write this blog Monday through Thursday most weeks. In the bit of time it takes me to write, I suppose I do think about what the band means to me, although some days more than others. Aside from that, the vast majority of my daytime hours are consumed with being a mom and doing all the things I need to do to keep my house going.
Cooking, cleaning, laundry…all things that I don’t really love doing, but have to do as my contribution to the household. I don’t really listen to music at home (this is probably going to shock people) because my husband works from home 3-4 days a week. He’s on video conferencing most of the day, which means I have to be quiet. Finding time to vacuum before 6pm is a challenge! I don’t sit and watch videos, and reading books – something I dearly love – is something I do after my chores are finished. Which sometimes means never. <insert grin here>
So, to me, Duran Duran Appreciation Day is about taking actual time to enjoy the band. I took real time on Saturday, setting aside all of my normal chores to sit, gab with friends, watch videos, and marvel about how much I still enjoy doing all of the above. Sometimes, I actually forget! In my head, it isn’t necessarily all about giving thanks to Duran Duran for being there – I mean, I do that already quite often!! I think it’s actually about taking time to enjoy them without having to set aside an entire weekend or more to travel away from my house to do it!
I love being reminded why this band is my favorite!
Maybe I’m alone, but one of the main reasons why I love traveling to concerts so much is so that I can seriously “talk Duran” all day, every day if I want, without feeling guilty about not getting the washing done, or being too loud. Those weekends are the few times where my own wants and needs come first. I get to see my friends, we sit and really TALK. It comes down to time, for me. Taking the time to enjoy them. That’s what makes those weekends special.
I don’t know that there’s really a wrong answer to what Duran Duran Appreciation Day might mean to a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing people post about the band all day. Smiling faces, holding up posters, pictures of band members with various fans, t-shirts of all colors and designs, all of those things are what make the day special each year. Chatting with friends, laughing over clothing choices, squeeing over guitar solos (Ok, so that might have been mostly me), swooning over nostalgic documentaries…Saturday was so much fun. I liked taking the time to be reminded of why I love this band. That’s what I believe Duran Duran Appreciation Day is really about.
Welcome to Thursday! Before we get too much farther into it, I apologize for not posting yesterday. It was school registration day for my youngest.
Yesterday was a big day. I had a nervous but very excited tween, and my attention for the better part of the morning needed to be with her. Next Wednesday is “back to school”. I think she’s excited and I’m still trying to understand how she could possibly be in 6th grade already.
By the time I got home, I had to get on a conference call, and then I had a meeting with Amanda about Duran Duran Appreciation Day plans that I’m about to share!
This year, celebrate Duran Duran Appreciation Day with Daily Duranie! We are hosting an online video party, complete with a “suggested” cocktail list!
When: SATURDAY, AUGUST 10TH. 11 am West Coast US, 1PM Central, 2PM East Coast US….please do the math from there to calculate the proper time for your area of the world. 🙂 This is a “Drop In” party, meaning that if you can’t make it at 11am, drop in whenever you’re able! We have a video viewing schedule that we’ll adhere to (see notes below!)
Where: ONLINE! We will be live tweeting throughout the day on Twitter, using the hashtag #DDAD19.
For ease of viewing, we compiled the videos into a single playlist, and I’ll tweet that out on Saturday. All you’ll need to do is hit “play”, then sit back, squee like a Duranie – and tweet with us! For now, here’s the general idea of what we’re watching and drinking.
Viewing Schedule with Progressive Cocktail Menu
Kennedy Space Center show (“Something Alien’s Happening” Pimms No. 1 Cup)
Behind The Music (“White Light Shining Bright” Gin &Tonic)
Off the Record from 1981
DD Talk Paper Gods (“High waters and neon” Green Screwdrivers)
Hollywood Bowl 2015 (“We drank all of the vodka” Vodka & Tonic)
Sing Blue Silver (“That’s what the band wants” Blue vodka lemonade)
Reunion documentary (“Why don’t we have decent glasses?” red or white wine of your choice)
Live from London
Diamond in the Mind (“If you made it this far, you’re probably drunk” Tequila shots to finish you off.)
No really, if you tried the entire menu, you’re done now. Go to bed and sleep it off. Trust us.
Cocktail Recipes and shopping list
Pimms No. 1 Cup
One part Pimms No. 1 base mix* (this is made with gin)
Two parts “fizzy lemonade”, or ginger-ale
Pour over ice in a tall highball glass. Garnish ideas: cucumber, mint, orange and/or lemon slices – whatever fruit you prefer.
*Simon’s recipe is to pour a “decent” measure of Pimms and top with ginger ale…. I’ll just remind everyone that the art of progressive drinking is a MARATHON, not a sprint.
Gin and Tonic
Does this really need a recipe? Just in case….
One part gin* of your choice, to two parts tonic in a glass over ice. Garnish with either lemon or lime, depending upon taste.
*Remember, it’s a marathon. 😀
Green Screwdrivers (there is a reason we went with a drink that is green in color for the corresponding videos. Maybe some of you will remember…) This drink has real measurements. A shot glass can be anywhere from 1.5-2 oz (or even more I guess. Good luck!!)
4 oz orange juice
1 oz vodka
1 oz Blue Curacao
2 oz lemon-lime soda
Pour over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a cherry, sit back and enjoy!
Blue Vodka Lemonade
The name sounds more complicated than it is, I promise!! (although by now – you may have difficulty measuring. Best. Of. Luck.)
One part vodka
One part blue curaçao
Two parts lemonade
Pour in a glass over ice. Garnish with a lovely maraschino cherry!
Vodka & Tonic
By now, maybe you’re cursing at Amanda and I, and perhaps we even deserve it. We’ve chosen to make it easy on everyone, and just throw in our own personal favorite!
One part vodka
Two parts tonic
Pour over ice. Garnish with lemon or lime. (we usually go with lime)
Simple. If you’re calorie conscious, you could always substitute club soda for the tonic. At this point though, who cares?!?
This should be self-explanatory. I’ll just say here that mixing alcohol can be regretful and leave it at that.
Open bottle of red or white wine – your choice.
Pour in glass.
Done. Could it really be any easier?!?
Last but not least….
We can’t imagine anyone making it this far….but if you did, pour yourself a shot of decent tequila, get yourself some salt and a lime. Steady yourself, and see ya on the other side!
Bottle of Pimms No. 1 Cup
Gin of your choice
Vodka of your choice
Blue Curacao liqueur
lemon-lime soda (like sprite)
We hope to see tweets from many of you on Saturday! Rock your fave DD t-shirt, listen to all of the music with abandon, and celebrate the sheer pleasure of Duran Duran’s music for the last FORTY YEARS. Even during these turbulent, screwed up times -we can take a day, or even just a few hours, to marvel in the music that as accompanied us along our way. Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day!!
I don’t know if Amanda or I have flat-out written the words here, but we’ve been working on a new project. Right now, it is not much more than a very basic outline – topics, basically – of a direction we’d like to take, but we’re both reading, and doing some researching, and reflecting. I don’t think either of us have quite given up the dream of having something published, but it has taken us quite a while to decide to try writing again.
So with that in mind, yesterday I was reading about teen fans of bands such as One Direction and The Beatles. While there are many, many things I could write about here – ways fans have been marginalized, or how pop was created for women (true story!), I’m going to stick to something a little more basic and easy-reading.
I’ve been reading, writing and studying fans now for as long as we’ve been writing this blog (longer, actually). I am continually learning new terms and angles to see things. Yesterday, I learned about “fan made” time, which applies directly to us as Duran Duran fans.
In this community, we have something called “Durantime”, which is a well-loved moniker we’ve applied to the wait-time in between albums, projects, tours, etc. In our case, “Durantime” not only describes the time, but it also has come to be known as the clock the band uses (which is unlike any clock or calendar I’ve ever known). In this sense, we hear things like “the album will be done when it is done” – which is Durantime for “it could take decades. Probably should go get yourself some sustenance and another hobby while you wait!” Or, “we hope to tour next year” which could easily mean, “we hope to travel to Mars.”
Yes, I’m exaggerating a little…and maybe poking a little bit of fun at the guys. Hey, at least I didn’t mention that one time when Roger announced that the album would be finished by year end and instead it took another couple of years!
Oh wait. I just mentioned it. Oops!
Regardless, “fan-made” time is the wait in between present and whatever anticipated event is coming next. That could be a show, a tour, a movie, interview, appearance, etc. The term is rather elastic and fits just about everything. In my opinion, the word “Durantime” is far catchier, but a lot less generic. What makes fan-made time such an interesting topic though, is that it is one way fans have taken back control.
What does that mean? Well, we have zero control over when the band tours or when the new album is coming out…or even when they plan…IF they plan…to do anything more to celebrate #DD40. So, fans do what they can with that downtime and “in-between” space. They control that piece but doing countdowns, having fan parties, creating whatever content they wish during that time. It is about the fans continuing the party without the guests of honor, so to speak.
The thing about fan-made time is that even while we’re sitting outside of a GA venue, or waiting in line at whatever event might be taking place, we’re creating that fan space. Talking to friends in line, organizing ourselves into a systematic group, even chatting about the set list, or taking surveys or citing our own fan stories are all ways we manage fan-made time. I would say it is THAT space where (and when) we go from being relative strangers to a community.
Fan-made time as Duran Duran fans in the same way that fangirls of other bands do. They might be two decades younger, or lived out their concert days in the 60s, but we all do the same things. Just a little something of interest from yesterday’s reading…
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.
It is Thursday morning, and I am currently sitting in my daughter’s apartment in Fullerton, California. It is about a zillion degrees in here, and the traffic from the street outside is enough to wake the dead
My kids and I arrived yesterday to go to Vidcon. We went to pick up our badges and things when we got to Anaheim, and then drove to where we’re staying with my oldest. I’ve only been gone from Southern California for six months, and I’ve decided that I can never come back here to live permanently. Too crowded, too frenetic…and just too everything. I apparently have slowed WAY down since moving, which is both good and bad, I suppose.
Til the colors bleed
So, Vidcon. It’s like all the internet fandoms poured into a confetti cannon along with rainbows, unicorns, and glitter. Then someone stood in the center of the convention center area with a firehose, and sprayed. Vidcon is both horrifyingly shallow, and incredibly inclusive. I can’t quite figure it out. I’ve never seen so many girls (and yes, I do mean girls – they’re way too young to be women) so worried about how they look. Nor have I seen SO many selfies being taken all at once. Upon first glance, I admit being concerned for my youngest, and youth in general. That said, I suspect there’s far more depth going on than meets the eye.
Yesterday afternoon, I stood in line to use the restroom, and a girl walked past in a micro mini skirt, tube (or bandeau) top, and platform sneakers that had to be at LEAST a foot high. Another very tiny young lady was with her mom as she was being herded towards the “Creator” area, wearing the smallest, most glittery, silver boots I’ve ever seen. Nick would have approved. I didn’t know who she was, but she was stopped more than once for selfies on the short walk to the roped off area set aside for talent, production, and other YouTube creator-types. (I suppose our few v-logs don’t really count!)
There is a lot of that at this convention. I’ll see kids swarming around someone like worker bees to a queen, and then they all move on to another one. All the while, I’m trying to see if I recognize the person they were surrounding, and so far, the answer has been “nope!” The trouble with YouTube, or at least as I see it – there are too many freaking YouTube channels with far too many pseudo-celebrities!
Everyone’s their own universe
Sure, there are some serious breakout YouTube stars. There are people pulling down far more per month or year than I’ll make in a lifetime. That said, there are far more kids that have YouTube channels and subscribers that aren’t exactly Sofie Dossi, Jake Paul, or Kasey Neistat…or even Pewdie Pie. (In full disclosure – I had to consult with Gavin on those names. I don’t know who in the heck these kids are, but I will say out of the four names he gave, only one is female. Fascinating.) There are many people who work very hard only to have a few thousand subscribers or even tens of thousands, and yet they’re not really stars in any other arena besides YouTube. It makes me wonder.
So today we’re headed out for a full day of programming. I’m looking forward to seeing these fandoms in their full glory and reporting back! Is it all that much different from Duran Duran?? We will see!
Today is a busy day. I had an appointment in the morning and then a meeting with Amanda. I leave for another appointment in a few minutes. Later, I’ll pack for a trip to SoCal with two of my kids (and we’re crashing at the apartment of the third).
I’m headed to Vidcon.
Those are words I never thought I’d be typing. So far in adulthood, I’ve learned that saying “never” almost insures the opposite happening. Going to Vidcon, with all of it’s teen influencer glory, is exactly the opposite of what I’d hoped this summer. Alas….
Looking for the real world
My youngest is 11. This year for her birthday, she begged for a ticket to Vidcon. This is basically a convention for YouTubers. I’m still struggling with the idea that my child watches YouTube like I would have watched television, or even music videos! Anybody ever heard of MTV??
As convention time has grown closer, I’ve considered the full enormity of what I agreed to do. The thought of wandering around a very crowded convention center, dealing with the tween+ crowd for four days…. Well, I’ve likely lost any good sense I had left, anyway. I look forward to bonding and trailing behind her – likely FAR behind her (she is, in fact, a tween!) this week. I’m also inwardly groaning a bit. I’ve caught myself thinking about how I was as a tween several times this week. While my girl seems to have idols that are creators (she loves animation), I was obviously into music. My parents had just as much interest in taking me to see Duran Duran, as I do Vidcon in some ways.
My plan is to really be on the lookout for obvious displays of fandom. I suspect I won’t have to look far. Also, Amanda and I have been tossing around an idea for a new writing project, and I’m curious to see how some of the themes we’ve discussed may manifest themselves. The fact is, pop culture in the day and age of YouTube is something that I haven’t had too much of an opportunity to study. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person. Is teenage fandom in 2019 all that different from what I experienced during the mid-1980s?
In this screen-lit room
The good news is that I’m not the only adult on this road trip. Her big brother has moved back home. As a veteran Blizzcon attendee, he had all sorts of thoughts and ideas for his little sister and her first “con”. Then a light bulb went on – I could just get another ticket and have the boy go along with us! After all, he’s been on YouTube since it’s infancy. While he might not spend as much time watching now as he once did, the kid knows his way around a convention. He understands the community far better than I do, and this seems like a great brother/sister bonding opportunity.
I’m lucky in this regard, because my son and youngest daughter are very close. He’s taught her, or tried to teach her, everything he knows about computers and gaming. While he tries to play it off as not caring too much about Vidcon, I have a feeling he’s going to enjoy being there.
My first concert was seeing Power Station at Irvine Meadows in 1985. My cousin and I couldn’t go alone, so somehow her older brother was put in charge and had to go along with us. I suspect that whatever adult made that decision probably thought that it would be good bonding for us too. All I remember about any bonding going on was being told to “stop screaming like a girl and sit down”. Sit down? At a concert???
If we can stay awake
So tomorrow is the day. We will leave early in the morning, and I would imagine it’s going to feel like the longest day ever. However, I’m sure the littlest Rivera (who isn’t really that little anymore) will have a great time. Me? Oh, I’m going to find the Parent Lounge and park myself for at least part of the time – and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and trying to find some sort of smart commentary to make with regard to fandom!
I love summer break. Extra time is giving me the chance to catch up on some movies I missed. For example, a couple of weeks ago I watched Crazy Rich Asians. I had read the series (I like escapism when I’m reading for fun, obviously) and was very curious as to how the movies would turn out. It was cute and I enjoyed it. This past weekend, I was able to catch A Star is Born.
Now, I know the rest of America has already seen the movie. Like many, I sat entranced watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing “Shallow” at the Oscars. The song didn’t thrill me, but their chemistry was undeniable. (I think that might be called “acting”. Apparently they’re both good at it!) I was channel surfing this weekend, I decided to give the movie a try.
Looking for a token
One teeny little scene keeps replaying itself in my head. For those who may not know, Bradley Cooper plays a rock star in the movie by the name of Jackson Maine. Gaga plays a singer named Ally who is nearly giving up on her dreams of being on stage. They meet by chance at a drag club. Jackson is entranced by her. At one point, they’re sitting down on a curb in a parking lot, talking. (as one does with a rock star, you know?) She mentions to him that people seem to treat him as though being a rock star or a celebrity means he’s not a real person. Maine deflects and changes the subject almost immediately.
The scene reminded me of a conversations I’ve had. Both with other fans, as well as with people who have worked with the band. The way people react to, or treat the band, is a real thing that we’ve written about here before. I suppose to some extent, some of the circus-like atmosphere that ensues is part of the deal when you’re a celebrity. Admittedly, this is the area I most enjoy studying when it comes to fandom, and seeing the topic barely being scratched at on screen immediately piqued my interest.
There are at least two issues here: putting a celebrity on a pedestal, and, possibly as a secondary response – not seeing that star as a real person. What it is about the relationship of fan to rock star that creates this dynamic?
Something to prove
For my part, I know I’ve done some of this. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine any member of Duran Duran as a real person. To me, they were enigmatic “beings”…purely existing on a stage, on my TV, on the radio, and of course, in my daydreams. It never occurred to me that one day I might actually occupy breathing space any closer than say, me in nosebleed seats while they were on stage. My brain couldn’t get past the idea that they were rock stars – pure fantasy.
As an adult, particularly back during the time of the reunion shows and even the Astronaut tour, I still didn’t quite equate them with being “real”. I mean, of course I knew they were real people – but those thoughts didn’t run through my head as I pranced down hotel corridors with friends gleefully yelling “Le Bon”! (Oh yes. Yes we did. Those of you with me here know who you are.) I didn’t think about how they might react to seeing signs and posters at shows that said “Roger, can I twirl your stick?!?” (I wince ever so slightly while typing that). Cognitively, yes I knew Roger might see it, and possibly even react…but my feeling at the time was “He doesn’t know me, he’ll never recognize me after this, so who cares?!?”
I actually do care, funny how that changes….
More than a flame
But when did that really all change? I suppose that if I had to nail it down to a moment, there were two. The first was when I went to the UK with Amanda in 2011, and the second was when I was in the front row in Biloxi, 2012.
Going to the UK permanently changed me, and as result, my fandom too. There is something about walking the same streets as the band once did, seeing entire tours canceled, and then actually seeing Simon standing directly in front of me, explaining what had happened to his voice. (without anybody else screaming, or begging for pictures, or autographs in the process) I’ll never, ever forget it.
I really think it was that day when I realized that yes, these are real people. They have problems like anyone else. They LIVE like anyone else. That day, Simon was just a normal man – standing in front of us wearing a flannel shirt and denim jeans. He mentioned that a few of us had come a long way to see them, which was true. I can remember being surprised he even noticed, given the situation at hand. Despite not actually seeing them perform, I don’t regret the trip. The best way to describe my feelings is that I saw Simon as a person for the first time. I continue to have trouble rationalizing that the man who seems to recognize me, and has waved to me on more than one occasion, is in fact the same person who is in all the videos. Yet, he really is the same guy, and my life has taken an incredibly odd turn.
Even if I wait a lifetime
Later, even after we’d returned to the UK in December of that same year – something else happened to change my thinking. Amanda and I had thrown caution to the wind and traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi in 2012. We were determined to do the one thing we hadn’t experienced yet, and that was front row. We waited in that GA line, and yes, we did get those front row spots. Standing there waiting at the rail was surreal, but I felt something else stir deep in my belly. Apprehension? Concern? Nerves? Probably all of the above. The only way I can really describe this, and even then many of you may not relate to my feelings that night – was that I knew with certainty that the band would see me, and in turn, I would see them. No trickery needed. It was happening.
I could no longer pretend that they were just these figures up on a stage. For whatever weird reason, being at the rail broke some sort of bizarre boundary for me. I went from thinking of Duran Duran as these fantasy-figures to seeing them as real people… who could in turn see me, too.
It took me months after that trip to come to grips with being so close to the stage. Think about when you’ve seen the band yourselves. It is easy to trick yourself into believing they looked right at you while you were singing the words to “Ordinary World” or when you were smiling along with Nick during “Pressure Off”, regardless of how far back you are. If they look in your general direction, it is obviously meant for you – am I right?? It is another thing entirely when you are directly in front of them – no one else in front of you – and you KNOW they’re looking at you. They see you. As a real person.
Ease the lost cause
I think those moments when a band member and I saw one another as actual people, are what changed the way I viewed them. Not only were they totally knocked off of the stories-high pedestal they’d been living on since 1981 or so, but I saw them as people like me. No better, no worse. I tend to respond to them in that way on social media. It makes no difference whether or not they truly read anything or not. I “converse” with them the same way I might any one else I’ve known for over half my life. Weird? Maybe.
My curiosity about other fans and their reactions remain, though. When I mention here about what fans do to be near them or have their time – I’m not doing so in judgment. I have been with people who have no issue – they run down hallways, jump over furniture, cut in line, interrupt private meals or conversations just to have their moment. In fairness, these are all things that the band expects, and they have reacted by putting up their own personal boundaries as to what they will or will not do for fans at any given time, and rightly so. On the other hand, I know of people who are more likely to give them wide berth, even if there are no other fans around. Maybe it is due to circumstance, or because these fans can see more value in allowing the band to decide for themselves whether or not to engage.
Leave a light on
I don’t know that there is truly a “right way”. The socially accepted behavior of fandom always seems to be up for debate, and perhaps that’s the core of the issue. What is remarkable though, is how differently each of us perceive the band, and the roles they occupy for ourselves. My fascination lies not only with how we see and/or perceive our idols, but the reasons behind our behavior. I need John, Simon, Nick and Roger to be real, and in turn see me not as a crazy fan. Someone else might need for them to be on a pedestal. They need them to occupy that space seen as “perfection”. I don’t know why that is, but I like theorizing possibilities!
How do you see Duran Duran? Are they meant to be the epitome of perfection? Do you find yourself forgetting that they’re human? Are you more of the type that wouldn’t approach? How do you feel about those front row spots? Join the conversation – tell me what you’re thinking!
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
IT IS FINALLY THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR MY YOUNGEST!!
I really can’t remember feeling quite this relieved and/or exuberant about the last day of school. This has been a rough year. Not only did we move, which alone could have created enough havoc, we had to switch schools three times (not counting the time we had to switch regions within a school). This was fifth grade, and while I think we really did get everything covered, I would be lying if I didn’t concede that the year didn’t go as smoothly as years past. She was less-than-interested, and I was less-than-patient a lot of the time. She needed “mom”, and I had to be “teacher” far too many times. These, along with plenty of other reasons, are why we decided to let her decide where to go to school next year. It wasn’t a shock to me when she announced “I’m going to be going to regular middle school”, although it was certainly a surprise when she announced it loudly five minutes into an Open House presentation we attended at the beginning of May.
I’m thrilled to be finished, and had to be half-dragged to the fifth grade finish line. I’m also a little sad because I will miss teaching. Homeschooling gave me the opportunity to relearn subjects I was a little fuzzy on before. Geometry no longer freaks me out. I learned a lot more about world history, particularly the world wars. Biology was far more fun the second time, and I found that yes, I still have a deep dislike for both physics AND algebra II. Teaching really did give me the opportunity to learn, share, and enjoy my children in a way that I never thought possible. Despite what others may say about homeschooling or even charter schools, our experience with the several we were a part of was nothing short of wonderful. Regardless, it is the end of an era for my family, and I’m ready for something new.
Long days are coming up
Amanda and I had a conference call yesterday, as we prepare to get back at writing again. After taking off more than a year, both of us are in a place where we can think clearly enough to write. Well, at least I am. Amanda should get to that point in another couple of weeks (she’s still in the classroom and grading for another week or so!)We’re not really going to work on a new project, instead we are going to be working to finish something we’ve already started. I’m excited to do some reading, research, and writing this summer on a subject I’ve spent nearly 40 years learning about. I think that for Amanda and I, we are ready to put the past in the past, and try something new for marketing this next project. We will see how far we get with it over this summer. Despite working on something that we’ve already started, I feel like it’s a new era for writing, too.
We also talked a lot about this blog and reaching out to potential new readers. I don’t know about other people, but I subscribe to a couple of different YouTube channels, as well as several blogs. My general cycle is that at first, I read or watch everything faithfully as it comes out. That could last for months, if not years. Eventually though, I start noticing that I’m not reading as often. Maybe I’m saving up several days or weeks worth of material. If it’s YouTube, maybe I end up binge watching a few episodes…and then I start picking and choosing the things I want to read or watch most. Inevitably though, I fall behind or stop keeping up altogether, and unsubscribe. The same can happen with this blog, even though Duran Duran is an obsession for many fans. We’ve gotten out of the promotion and marketing habit, and it’s time to renew that process. You might begin to see ads for us on Facebook or maybe even engaging tweets from us this summer.
Staying out and playing
Likewise, we know we need to do meet-ups. That isn’t to say that other people can’t do them well, it is just that Amanda and I enjoy hosting! (even though I am still far more likely to sit and peruse the situation from the bar….) Be on the lookout for Facebook Event pages, because we will be hosting TWO meet-ups while in Vegas. One on Saturday, one on Sunday. Both will be at the sports bar in the Cosmopolitan starting at 5pm and going up until it is time to leave for the show! I happen to know that we’ll have wristbands to hand out, and we are hoping to meet as many people as possible that weekend. Don’t miss it if you’re going to be in Vegas for the shows!!
After the conversation with Amanda, I feel rejuvenated. We all need that kick the pants once in a while, and it was good to trade new ideas and get back into the drivers seat when it comes to writing and this site. Having new goals and tasks to accomplish makes me think less about the time I will lose with my baby, and more about the things I can do while she’s busy making friends and learning at school.
Speaking of her, I am off to go and pick her up from the last day of her learning center classes! Happy Summer!!!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!