Tag Archives: Hungry Like the Wolf

DD on TV – 36 years ago today!

Did you know that on this date in 1982, Duran Duran made their first appearance on American television?!?

It’s true. They appeared on a popular Philadelphia show called “Dancin’ On Air”, where they lip synched “Rio” along with the song that will outlive us all…”Hungry Like the Wolf”!

I wasn’t even twelve when this happened, but then again, I simply refuse to believe that we’re really starting to celebrate their 40th anniversary. That can’t be possible!

I know the band claims to not be fond of looking back. If I’m going to be honest – I don’t necessarily enjoy counting the amount of years we’re looking back either. I know I’m not alone when I say that I can barely remember a time when Duran Duran wasn’t in my life. I can’t even say that about my own husband! It’s bizarre and strangely comforting all at once.

All of that is even more heartwarming when I consider that tomorrow night, I expect that nearly every Duran-fan in the UK will be sitting in front of their televisions as the band takes over BBC4 for the evening. I’m envious, and only a little annoyed that the entire world can’t participate. Licensing fees, country boundaries…too much red-tape for this girl. I hope everyone who is able to see the programs enjoys them.

On a similar note, I’ve noticed that in the lead-up for tomorrow night, the hashtag #DD40 has begun to be seen and used by folks other than the Duranies who started it. This is exciting!  While I know the band is somewhat reluctant about the whole thing—those of us who will use any excuse to turn something into a massive extended party are thrilled to see it. May the festivities continue!

I also wanted to once again mention that due to family circumstances beyond my immediate control, I can’t commit to Durandemonium in August. A few people have asked and I wanted to make sure everyone understands. It is a huge undertaking to coordinate a successful convention, and I’m finding that it is equally stressful and time-consuming to prepare for a move. I just can’t manage both, and it turns out that my husband really is expecting us to move north with him. Imagine that! The good news is that after a week of house hunting, we have a good idea of where we want to move. We’re going to be trading the OC beaches, traffic, and small backyards for acreage, cleaner air and trees!  If all turns out as we hope, I won’t be more than ten minutes down the road from the California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles, where Duran performed a couple of years ago. Amanda remembers it for cows alongside the amphitheater. I remember because it was where Simon came to the front of the stage pretending to have a big mouthful of water to spit on us, and then didn’t (the first time anyway). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at a show.

Anyway, once this crazy move is done, then I can go back to planning a big Duranie party to celebrate the 40th. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy your night of television tomorrow, UK Duranies!

-R

Guest Blog: How I Discovered Duran Duran in 2018!

Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R

by Kathy Diaz

Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band.  Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory. My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015.  No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan. 

I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before.  Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”.  I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists.  I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across  “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed.  The song, video, and  lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.  A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it.  Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again.  After I finished watching it,  I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight. 

I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,  “Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.

During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling. I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.

I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.

Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.  I am thankful that they are still together and making music,  but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?

All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all. 

I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.

Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86 

My biggest personal moment (2018 edition)

DDHQ asked a very interesting question this morning. “What is your biggest personal moment with Duran Duran?”

Rather than try to think about the most mindblowingly huge moment I’ve ever had with Duran Duran, I decided to read through the responses. I wasn’t quite sure what I would read, but I was curious.

So many people attribute things like marriages, births and yes, even divorces to the band. Others wrote about meeting their best friend, or seeing the band live for the very first time. Quite a few wrote about meeting the band, and some have even had opportunities to interview one or more of them. Still others recalled career changes, or major directional changes in life. I sat back, kind of overwhelmed, really.

What would be my own answer?

I’m not exactly sure I have one. I mean, there was that time I regained consciousness hearing Hungry Like the Wolf in the background. That memory always comes to mind first with questions like this because I was giving birth to my youngest, and I’d flatlined on the table – which is absolutely RIDICULOUS (but it’s a true story), and that damn song, combined with a baby – MY baby – crying, is what I first heard when the medicine they’d given me to counteract whatever the hell was going on with my heart at the time finally took hold. No, I can’t even have a baby without a little drama.  But really, was that a huge moment?

Yeah, I guess it was. For me, anyway. (I have a very dry, slightly inappropriate, and always sarcastic sense of humor that doesn’t always come across well in print unless you know me personally. Read that here.)  But the band wasn’t even there!! (Thank goodness, actually.)

What else do I have? I did meet Amanda because of Duran Duran. There’s that. She’s very important to me, obviously. I can honestly and truly say that if it weren’t for her, and my loyalty to her, this blog wouldn’t still exist, not to mention that our friendship keeps me going. She and I met at the Duran Duran fans convention in New Orleans back in 2004. I’ve known her for nearly fourteen years now!

I saw the original lineup for the first time back in 2003. You’d think that seeing all five of them together would have completely changed me – I mean, they were a huge part of my childhood, and apparently much of my adulthood, as it turns out. But in those moments as I stood back in like, the 16th row or something, all I could think about was how “out of it” I really was. I saw all of these people hugging one another and talking before the show. It was the first time I’d ever really paid attention or seen anything like that. I wanted to know how they knew one another. “Do fan clubs still exist?” I thought to myself as I waited for the band to take the stage.  I wanted to be a part of something like that. Even so, was this one of my biggest moments? Probably not.

No, if I really had to pinpoint a moment – it would have to be the show I saw at the House of Blues a couple of years prior. I know that Amanda and I have written about our biggest moments before, and perhaps my answers have been different each time (would not surprise me), but as I answer this now with a bit more wisdom and history behind me – it was that show which changed everything.

I’d gone about ten years in between Duran Duran shows, I believe. I’d graduated college, gotten married, moved to and from Illinois, and had two children during that time. (I’m tired just from writing all of that!) My ears would perk up any time I’d hear their name, or a song came on the radio – but in a lot of ways I felt like I’d moved on. Also – becoming a wife and mom changed me. I’d kind of forgotten who I was in all of that, and instead, I was just a shell of a person.

I really can’t remember what I was like back when my two oldest were very small, but I think about myself as though I must have been on autopilot. I fed them, clothed them, cleaned the house, and made dinner. I drove them to and from school, did my chores, and in some sort of a last-ditch effort to find some sort of fun out of all of the drudgery (and yes, with parenting there can be a lot of drudgery, particularly if you’re isolated as a stay-at-home parent. Not everyone is cut out for that, even if you WANT to be), I joined the MOMS Club.

I feel like maybe a lot of people are not familiar with MOMS Club, so let me explain. It is an international support group for moms, specifically stay-at-home moms, particularly due to the isolation thing I mentioned above. The idea is that a lot of clubs or groups don’t allow moms to bring their kids along – which makes being involved very difficult. So the MOMS Club solves that by insisting that every single event on the calendar (planned by local chapters) be kid friendly.

That’s all fine and good, but sometimes, moms just want to get out. Where’s THAT group??

After a while, not even MOMS Club sufficed. I think it boiled down to the fact that I wasn’t necessarily very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my kids. I loved being a mom…it just wasn’t enough. But, if you talk to me (even now) for any length of time, it will become very apparent that I wish that I’d given myself the chance to have a real career. I still do – and that’s one of my deepest, darkest secrets.

Now, if you’re wondering how that has anything to do with Duran Duran, stay with me.

It was during this period of time that I went to that Duran Duran show at the House of Blues in 2001. I didn’t even want to go at first, but my husband convinced me. (I didn’t want to spend the $65 a ticket. I laugh about that now. If only I knew what I would spend on tickets several years later….)  I didn’t even want to stand in line for a good spot that night, opting to go eat before the show. I stood near the steps in the back, figuring that I’d head to the bar during the show. I mean, it was just Simon and Nick at the time, with Warren I guess, but I didn’t care. I figured I’d see them, lament over how they weren’t the same, and then go home.

Instead, something very bizarre happened to me that night. Simon came out on stage, grabbed the microphone, and I had an out-of-body experience. It was like something woke up in me and I was getting a glimpse of myself back at 13. I liked it. I can barely remember much of the show, but I can tell you that I have never felt anything like it. I came home, found duranduran.com, read the message boards, and never looked back.

I met Amanda in 2004. We immediately joked about writing a book. We’ve written a few manuscripts and we haven’t stopped – someday, something will get published, or we’ll die trying. I do have a job now – one that I love, but it’s not really a true “career” since it’s just part-time. I also have this blog, which has kept me alive (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word).  I’m still working on the career thing, but I feel like I actually have a life now, which is a start.

Yes, I’ve met the band. I’ve gone places, seen great shows, done amazing things, and have great friends and memories. But none of that would have happened without that show in 2001 at the House of Blues in Anaheim. I am forever grateful.

-R

March 2018 Katy Kafe with Simon

Before I dive into the highlights and my thoughts regarding this month’s Katy Kafe, I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and well-wishes for my dad.  All of the comments have helped me to keep going in order to be there for him and my mom.  Again, I thank you.  Now, on to the Katy Kafe…

This particular one features Simon answering fan questions, twenty of them in fact!  As always, this is not a word-for-transcript.  Instead, I’m just sharing the highlights along with some of my commentary.  If you want it all (and I know you do), get yourself over to DuranDuranMusic to listen for yourself!  This means that I am not going to cover every question but  will pick out the most interesting to me.  I’m also going to divide them into band related questions and Simon only questions.

Duran Related Questions:

Question:  Does Simon write lyrics all the time or just when an album is coming up?

Simon stated that he does often write down phrases that could work as song lyrics all the time but tends to do more when an album is coming up.  It just happens naturally.  One aspect of songwriting that he focused on was on titles.  He mentioned an artist who had a friend name one of his pieces, which he thought was so fascinating.  At times, being given a title has worked for him like Rio, A View to a Kill, Girl Panic, and Electric Barbarella.  (Note to self:  That could make for an interesting daily question. Which title is better?  Or what is a title that would make for an interesting Duran song.)

Question:  Why is Last Chance on the Stairway not played live?

Simon focused on the middle part of the song that features a vibraphone that he would have to relearn.  I suspect some fans would love for him to do just that in order to hear it live!

Question:  Which DD song from the 80s should get a 2018 make-over?

He suggested Late Bar or My Own Way but commented about how fans really aren’t that keen with changing songs.  (I have to admit that is true.  I remember freaking out a little with the changes done to Too Much Information live in 2015.  To my credit, I actually liked it a lot once I got used to it.)  Katy and Simon focused on changes to Hungry Like the Wolf in 1993.  Simon wants to know which is better:  album version or the live 1993 version of that song.  Answer on Twitter via #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  What was Simon’s favorite DD video to shoot?

Simon really like the ones filmed in Sri Lanka because it was so amazing being there.  He enjoyed the action shots from Hungry but loved the relaxed feel of Save a Prayer and how there was more band in that one.

Question:  What was the inspiration for Cinderella Ride?

Simon talked about someone who helps the sick and the poor, especially in the back streets of London.  (Now I’ll have to relisten to it through that lens!)

Question:  When does the band celebrate the 40th anniversary?

Simon thinks that July 16, 2020 would be a good day as it will be the 40th anniversary of him being on stage with the band for the first time!  (NOTED!  I will keep that date open!)

Question:  Which song would you never get tired of performing?

Simon said that the song has to be something that he could sing in a wheelchair like Come Undone or Secret Oktober. (!!!)

Question:  What does it feel like to be a band that is so loved by many for so long?

Simon loves the music and the guys in the band.  “We look out for each other,” he stated.  Being a part of Duran has made him feel “useful.”  (I get that.)

Simon Only Questions:

Question:  Has the SYN track, “Closer to Your Bed” ever been released?  If so, where can people hear it?

Simon does not think that it has but maybe it should be.  He went on to share that when he was 12, he made a 4 track record when he was part of the church choir.  His old choir master has a clean copy and thinks it should be released.  Simon is considering doing that as a fundraiser in which the proceeds would go to the church choir.  Would people be interested in buying a copy?  If so, tell him again on Twitter with the hashtag #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  Who should play him in a movie?

Simon suggested Aaron Johnson, Ryan Gosling, or even Margot Robbie.

Question:  If he could take out a giant billboard, what would it say?

Be nice.  (Aww…)

Katy must have said a number of times that this is one of the best Kafes they have ever done.  I cannot disagree.  As I stated earlier, I didn’t include everything because there was so much.  Some of the questions I didn’t cover here:  One thing Simon has tried but wouldn’t do again, which 80s peer is he still in contact with, whether or not the duet with Isabelle Adjani would ever be released, who should cover a Duran song and which song, and more.  I, for one, applaud the questions as they were super interesting and loved hearing Simon’s responses.  I look forward to more Kafes like this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-A

Rio goes gold, 1983

Do you know what happened on this date in 1983?

Rio went Gold.

That means by this date in 1983, that little album with the recognizably Nagel cover had sold 500,000 copies. 500,000 people or so, snatched up that vinyl, or cassette. (did they have 8-track too??) I still have my original copy and remember buying it. Do you?

I’m a little surprised that my copy still works. I would have thought that with the number of times I played it – over and over again – that by now the grooves would have widened and been completely worn out. I loved that album from the very moment I heard the opening “backwards sounding” rush of notes all coming together to transport me away to a completely different world. Escapism at its best.

To this day, some of my favorite songs and videos are from that album. So for this Throwback Thursday, I’m going to spend some time gleefully skipping down a memory lane dipped in gold!

I couldn’t find a full-length clip of Last Chance on the Stairway (dammit, why hasn’t someone else done it for me?!) but I did find a couple of the electroset version they did….and this is the longest:

Happy listening and viewing!

-R

 

PS – Happy March!!!

 

 

When all around you earth turns to fire

When it rains, sometimes, it pours.

Last week was a rough week here. First, this very website went down – and not even with a blaze of glory, but with a White Screen of Death (for those unfamiliar). As that was being fixed (no seriously, AS it was being sorted through a flurry of texts), the family truck dies. That was a little closer to a blaze of glory. In fact, it’s still being worked on, and if you’re at all familiar with how much mechanics charge per hour, your jaw has hit your desk or floor. Mine did too when they gave us the estimate.Those two things happened on Sunday. (It was a long week!)

On Monday, our trailer, which was being towed at the time by our now “out-of-commission” truck, had to be retrieved. Another day, another rental car, or truck in this case. I think that was the day we found out just how far this little fix-it job was going to set us back.

On Tuesday night, our microwave died. I don’t know about the rest of you – but we rely on that little appliance a lot. I can deal without a truck (sort of), but the microwave? Come on now.

On Wednesday morning, I came downstairs to find a small mess around and near my coffee maker. I assumed that when I poured the water in to the machine the night before, I missed and didn’t notice. Nope. The coffee maker has a leak. Seriously???

Later on that day, I also found out that my last living uncle on my dad’s side passed away. My uncle Joe was 92 and had lived a long, full life. Like my father, he was Sicilian, and the family tales of his possible-Mafia involvement were semi-legendary. We never knew for sure, because he kept those cards very close to his chest (and I appreciate that simply because I didn’t want to be involved). However, I will say one thing about my uncle: he was the one person (after my dad died), I could call if I needed help. I knew and trusted that about him, even if I did not see him regularly. He lived in Florida and each year we exchanged Christmas cards. He’d tell me he was coming out that summer, and I’d smile, knowing that there was no way he’d make it. He meant well, and most of all – he was the last vestige of family I had left on my dad’s side. I will miss having that little bit of comfort. I think I’m still coming to terms with what it means and how I feel, particularly because I didn’t have time to really process it because of what I’m about to share next.

Next was Thursday. The piece de resistance to the week was coming home to find Walt’s rental car sitting next to the curb. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew. I always do. I gathered my things, took a deep breath, ushered my youngest into the house and asked, “Were you laid off?”, already knowing what the answer would be.  “Yep.” , was the reply, coming from the kitchen.

Awesome

In the US – we say “laid off”, elsewhere you might call it “being made redundant.” In other words, he is now unemployed, which is a disaster with two kids in college who both need their tuitions paid this month.

What a WEEK.

So forgive me again for waxing nostalgic, as I take a minute or more to remember back to a much happier time. On this date in 2011, I saw Duran Duran in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve done a lot of traveling outside of the US. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve done a little, that trip to Glasgow being a highlight. Many American people that I know or grew up with have never been outside of the country at all. To give the tiniest bit of insight, I think my parents were pretty average people. My dad had a white-collar job, but it wasn’t terribly high paying, and my mom was a secretary once she went back to work when I was about ten. We had most things we needed, but very few things that we really wanted, I think.

Vacations were a luxury, and the most we ever did for a family vacation was go camping – and that didn’t happen until I was in high school. Until then, my parents would take a two-week vacation from work each summer, but we didn’t really go anywhere, and that was not unusual for the parents of my friends, either. I flew on a plane with my parents exactly once, and that was to go up to the bay area to see family one Thanksgiving.  My dad considered flying to be a luxury, and not one we could readily afford. I had aunts, uncles and cousins – siblings of my father and their children, as well as the same on my mom’s side – that I never met because they lived across the country from us. I didn’t travel outside of California until I took a special trip to Washington DC in 8th grade, and after that I didn’t go on a plane again until I was well into college.

The idea of traveling to see a band is still pretty “out there” to many people, I guess. My friends from high school are surprised when they see my posts, not because I go to see a band (they’re used to that part now!) but because I’ve gone some crazy places to do it. One of my friends commented that the farthest she’s gone from home has been to Arizona, which is where she lives now. That’s pretty shocking to ME. There’s an entire world out there to explore, and yet a lot of the people I know would be satisfied to just see the capital of our country. That is why when I say the US is a big place and many people don’t travel outside of their general area, I say it with confidence.

So for more, one of the shows I’m most excited to be able to say I attended, was Glasgow. We weren’t even really supposed to be there! It wasn’t a part of our original plan at all, but when these tickets came up, Amanda and I agreed we should just do it. We took a train from Birmingham into Glasgow, which in and of itself was a fantastic trip. Then we stayed with Amanda’s friend in Edinburgh, and even spent time in that city before going to Glasgow for the show. I loved every minute of it. The winter markets, seeing ice and snow on the ground (yes, I’m from California and to me that’s a novelty!), going to a Scotch club and just walking around – memories I will keep forever.

And then there was the show.

It was our last show on that little mini-tour, and while I know the band likely had no idea who we were (Except for Dom – by then he was probably concerned I’d never go home!), I would swear they played with extra energy that night. Hungry Like the Wolf was ridiculous, as John and Dom came right to center stage and played off of one another. Amanda and I nearly had strokes! I reveled in the show, turning around to watch the crowd clap and respond. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top the experience I had at that Glasgow show.

So, when things are down, like right now, I tend to think about those moments. I don’t know if anything like that can ever happen again. I’d like to think so because otherwise, it’s all pretty hopeless, but you never know. I treasure the memories.

The other day I was chatting with someone online, and they mentioned that the nicest people they knew from the US were those who had traveled abroad. I understand what they meant by this. It is very easy to remain complacent and somewhat naive about the world we live in when we aren’t able to see HOW one another actually lives, There are a plethora of reasons for this, but I think when we rely solely on media for our information, it is very easy to make assumptions without verifying using our own eyes and experiences. My own eyes were opened much wider after my first visit abroad, and every time I get the chance to go somewhere new, I learn more.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping for a better week!

-R

My ten moments of joy

Amanda asked that I share ten fandom moments. So far, I’ve written down nine. Number ten is harder for me to put a finger on, but I’m going with what I’ve got for now!

These are moments of complete inner-joy. Oddly, they aren’t necessarily times directly in front of a single band member or anything like that.  Flittering seconds of sheer happiness, in a very uncertain world.

Childhood

I don’t have many vivid memories I can share as a preteen Duranie, but there is one that sticks out. It was the very first time I saw a Duran Duran video, and it was at my friend’s house. I am pretty sure it was during Friday Night Videos, on the ABC network. I don’t know if “Hungry Like the Wolf” had been out a while, or if this was really the premier (I doubt it?), but I can remember sitting on my knees on the floor, in front of her TV set that night. It seemed like forever before they announced that video was coming up next, but I can remember squealing and wiggling, as if to settle in. I could barely sit still, and then it started. I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open as soon as it began. It was so hard to catch every last detail. I wanted to watch it over and over again, but of course I couldn’t—she didn’t have a VCR then (only one of those huge laser disc players). We screamed, in excitement and in frustration when it was over. Although I’d already seen the band in pictures, there was something so unique and special about seeing a video. For a long time, I wanted to believe that the people in the video were just as they were in person. I suppose that’s where the whole idea of putting the band on a pedestal developed. Even so, those videos helped to fuel my fandom for many years—I didn’t see the band live until 1989—so videos were easily even MORE important to me than the live shows, back then.

Anaheim House of Blues, March 2001

I can remember the exact moment my fandom took a complete 180 degree turn back towards the band, and it was at this very show. Up until then, I falsely believed fandom was a thing for pre-teens. The band took the stage, and I recognized I was sharing actual breathing space with Simon Le Bon. Once that happens, there’s really no hope, is there? 😀

Sharing my fandom story at the Friends of Mine Convention

I have never been quite as proud as I was the evening I stood up, took the microphone, and shared my own fandom “truth”. It was a little bit speech, a whole lot of heart and soul shared that night. Never before had I felt like part of a group. That feeling fueled me for months, if not years after.

A little walk around Cheapside, Brighton, UK.

Some people go to England for vacation. Others, to follow a rock band on tour. Me? I go so that a rock band cancels their entire tour and I’m left to figure it all out.  Amanda and I suddenly found ourselves with nine days to fill in a country we had never been to before, in a city that we’d already been warned was “the pit” of England by the lovely man at Heathrow who inspected our passports. What do you think we did? We walked as much of Birmingham as we could! Our walk included the Cheapside area, which most fans know as the austere, initial “home”, of Duran Duran.  Seeing where the band began provided me with an entirely different view of where they sit now.  “Joyful” doesn’t quite cover my feeling that day. I will never be sorry I boarded that plane, no matter how many shows were canceled.

Valley Center, CA

This was the first show I attended when the band resumed touring that year. It was hard not to burst into tears the moment the band took the stage that night, but I didn’t. Instead I stared at the floor while “Before the Rain” played. I didn’t dare even sneak a peek at Simon. I had gone to the show with my husband, who thinks he gets my fandom, but he doesn’t. He would have half-dragged me out of there had I broken down in tears, and yet I could feel them all in my throat as I heard him sing each note. Eventually, I dared myself to look up, because really—what was I going to do, stare at the floor the whole night? I looked up and met the gaze of not only Dom, but Simon too. It was simultaneously awful and kind of beautiful because I think they knew what I was feeling. Maybe.

Later that same year…

Not quite seven months later, Amanda and I went to Brighton. In and of itself that’s a story, but the moment of pure joy came for me when Nick played the opening chords to my favorite B-side, “Secret Oktober”.  If I hadn’t been so firm on my rule of no crying, the flood gates would have opened that night for sure. The culmination of thirty some-odd years of fandom, flooding to the surface.

Later, in Birmingham

In my opinion, this wasn’t the best show of the four I attended in England 2011, but to be standing in DD’s hometown watching them was simply amazing. I’ll never forget. Pure, unadulterated joy.

And still later in Glasgow!

Yes, a lot of my pure joy was found in England. In Glasgow, I ended up in second row at the front of the stage. The show blew my mind, but turning around at the beginning of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” and watching the entire arena clap their hands overhead made me see how significantly SMALL of a part I play in this fandom. We all do. My heart still swells at the thought.

Durandemonium

I really enjoy seeing our community come together.  I especially enjoy seeing the community come together and thoroughly enjoy themselves, knowing that I played a tiny part in making it happen. Durandemonium was that for me. I still think about the committee of people who helped make it happen, mistakes I made, and things I would do better if possible. I also think about the successes of that weekend, and I’m proud of just having the audacity to even try.  Seeing everyone that weekend – well, that WAS pure joy.

And then there’s the bit where, after the last shuttle bus picked up the final revelers at the Late Bar and dropped everyone at the Amalfi Hotel, Amanda and I locked arms, and ran in the other direction away from the hotel! We went and got a very late-night breakfast.  Sometimes, even fandom needs a break.

Agua Caliente, March 2017

I’m not going to exaggerate – my “journey” with this band has been weird. I didn’t even think I would go to shows this year, much less see  four. I think because of that reason, I had no expectations beyond getting some sun and having fun with my friends. As a rule, I’m uptight and I know it. Stress is always just below the surface, and I let dumb things get to me and STAY with me. So, my plan was just to have fun. I did. Standing in front of the band that night made me see just how much fun I really have with them. They make me happy, and no one should ever be able to take your bliss away.

So those are my ten. I threw the last one in there just under the wire because when it comes down to it, Duran Duran is my bliss. Every time I see them, there is joy. I’m learning not to let the small things take that away.

-R

 

 

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!!

So, there are some blogs I feel woefully unqualified to write. A birthday blog for this particular person slides in that general direction from time to time.

First of all, Amanda is the “John-girl” around here. Not that I don’t admire John, but it seems unfair that I get to write for Roger, Dom AND John, you know?  The idea of writing a birthday blog for each member seemed great in year one of the blog. Even years two through five were good. I still had things to say and memories to replay.  But now, I think this is what, year six? I’m going to be honest: I don’t think I know John very well.

Yes, there’s his book. Some might say he wrote a lot in there. (I’m actually one of those people) I felt he exposed himself pretty selflessly.  Even so, I’ve had almost no interactions with him over the years, so I can’t write from personal experience.

I mean, unless you count shows.  John amazes me at shows sometimes, because there I am, one little face in a crowd of thousands, and even when I’ve been back a few rows, sometimes he’ll make eye contact. Unlike with other members of the band – when John is looking at you, you know he’s looking at you.  There was this one time Amanda and I were at the House of Blues in Atlantic City (I hope that’s right. I get this stuff screwed up a lot) and it was during the last leg of Red Carpet Massacre shows here in the US. They were just starting the song Red Carpet Massacre, which happens to be my favorite off of that album. John gets the crowd clapping along, and I started to clap and happened to look up. He caught my eye, and slightly shook his head because, wouldn’t you know it – I was clapping wrong. (I know there’s a lesson for fans in here about paying proper attention at shows…) I watched carefully and started clapping appropriately and received a big grin. It was only later that I was mortified that I had to be taught correctly by John….

There’s that other time at the Sears Center when I tested the line of sight from the stage because I wasn’t quite convinced John could really see all the way to the ninth row. Amanda and I were having the time of our lives that night, dancing and singing to every song as though we’d never gone to a Duran Duran concert before. We were having a blast. I think the band began Electric Barbarella, and I pulled a face. In fairness, it isn’t my favorite song and hey, who can really see us in the ninth row anyway??

Well, I look up, and John Taylor is laughing and looking our way. I don’t think much of it because, seriously, there are eight rows of wonderful people in front of me. He wasn’t looking at us. But then he kind of kept looking and seemed to be at least chuckling, so I did what any normal fan would not do, and stuck my tongue out playfully. I figured that no response would tell me that of course he wasn’t looking at us. Well, he returned the favor.  I laughed. Because really, what could I do?? He caught me fair and square!

Oh, and then there’s Valley Center in 2011. This was just as they were getting themselves back into touring mode after having canceled their UK tour that spring. It was the first show I was going to see them at, and I was pretty emotional that night because for a while there, I really had my doubts about whether Simon would ever really be able to sing the same again. I was worried. Nothing more, nothing less. So that night was different because of my emotions, because Amanda wasn’t with me…and because I also had my less-than-emotional husband with me, and we were in the second row.

By that time, I am pretty sure everyone knew I didn’t love Hungry Like the Wolf…but when they started playing it that night, I know I rolled my eyes, and didn’t really dance much. Well, I was right there in row TWO, and who should come bounding over to Dom’s side of the stage but John. AND Dom. AND Simon. Yes, it was choreographed that way at the time, but during the “Do do do” section of the song (you all know what I mean), John looks down at me, grins like a damn Cheshire cat and sings the line right at me, grinning the entire time.

Ok then, John. Even my husband, who typically doesn’t notice much, noticed. And so did Dom, who openly laughed. There was no way I was going to get away without singing. And let’s face it, John didn’t know that I was sick to death of that song at the time. I’m sure he doesn’t read the blog. He just knew that I was at his show and wasn’t singing along…and he was going to fix it. So he did.

I make sure to sing EVERY song (and clap correctly) when I go to shows now. Lesson learned, point taken.

I don’t know. Fans have often said to me that John doesn’t seem to interact much from the stage. Pretty much everyone complains about his absence from social media, although everyone and their brother seems to think they know exactly why he left. Even with his book, and his book tour, the shows and the things he goes out of his way to do for various charities – and the meet and greets he does for those types of organizations, people say he doesn’t interact. I’ve even said I don’t know him.

The thing is, I think with John, we really do kind of know who he wants us to know. Not everyone is comfortable with that “in your face” constantly kind of atmosphere that goes along with celebrity. John reminds me just a little of myself, in that when I go “on tour” with Amanda, by the time we’ve had a meet up or hung out with people all weekend, or even just all night, I’m ready for some downtime. By the end of a weekend with friends, I’m happy to retreat back into obscurity. It is hard to be “ON” all of the time, and I’m no celebrity. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in the band and never get away from it.

I think that’s why the boundaries are there, and why someone like John has learned to keep them rock solid. Sure, I miss him on social media, so much so that when DDHQ does tweet a picture or a video or something from him, I love it. It’s not the same as when he’d tweet us directly or whatever, but it’s probably healthier for him, and I respect that.

I look forward to seeing him onstage in a few weeks. Hopefully I will have my clapping and singing up to snuff!  Happy birthday John!!

-R

Happy Birthday Nick!

Happy Birthday to Nick – our favorite keyboardist!

The word “rapid” comes to mind today.  “The years fly by, in rapid succession.”  I would swear I just wrote a birthday blog for him, and here I am, writing another!

Every year, I try to come up with some sort of personal anecdote when I’m writing a birthday message. It isn’t always easy because I don’t see the band every year (although it’s fantastic when I do!). This year though, I think I might have one!

My favorite “Nick” moment as of late has been at the shows. Since the most recent (for me) was the second show at Agua Caliente in March, I’ll go with that one. In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to get good seats at the shows. By “good” I mean that we’re in the first few rows, and I have a decent line of sight to the band. In March though, I was up front and center which afforded me the opportunity to really be able to see every band member and watch their expressions at various times during the show.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but “Hungry Like the Wolf” is not my favorite song.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it….given that the band plays it at EVERY SINGLE SHOW.  Well, as the opening chords begin, I have a difficult time of not rolling my eyes. I can’t swear to it, but I think the band might know this, because there have been moments when I would swear upon a stack of bibles that some members look my way when it starts just to see my reaction. Typically, I hang my head in defeat for a brief second, then remember that – oh yes, they can see me (whether or not they really do isn’t the point) – and I try to get back in the program. I’ll look up, and invariably, Nick is peering down over his keyboards with the most amused expression on his face.

(I almost hate to let him down by not having a reaction….even though I think he knows that yes, of course I expect them to play it. And sometimes, they even play it TWICE because they have to start over. Really?? Is that even necessary????)

Truthfully, I don’t even know if he’s looking at me. It seems like he might be, but I don’t know. I’ve never asked!  So, I go about the business of singing and dancing along because really, what am I going to do, just stand there?!?

Then there’s later in the show, when “White Lines” comes on. Now this song has always been one of my favorites when they play it live. There’s just something about it, and that “something” is the hard-driving guitar. (and the guy playing it isn’t bad either…but that’s another story for another blog later in the month) In ANY case, over the past couple of years, and remarkably coinciding with the closer seating that Amanda and I have paid an outstanding amount of money to be in, the song has taken on a little different of a meaning.

Basically, it marks the point in the performance where I grow increasingly worried about how close my seats may or may not be to “the spit zone”.  Several years back, I’d rock out with out much care. I’d see Simon spit the water up into the audience and think “eww” glad I’m not up there. Well, lately, I have been up there, and I gotta tell you – I am semi-convinced that sometimes – there’s been a little bit more “aim” placed on the spitting!

However, this most recent time at Agua Caliente, we were right there. I didn’t give that much of a thought until “White Lines” began. All of the sudden, I realized what was about to happen. I couldn’t stop the look of shock and horror that went across my face, and again, I happened to look Nick’s way. I didn’t even know he could still smile that wide….

Even so, I tried to brush the thought aside while in my head I was thinking “Did Nick seriously just nearly CACKLE onstage while looking my way? Nahhhh….Couldn’t be.” Instead, I lost myself in the song and in a particular fangirl moment involving a guitar player.  Before I knew it, I was watching Simon head toward the drum riser to grab a bottle of water and take a drink. I knew what was coming, so I did what any sane person would have done and just looked down.

I felt the deluge hit the back of my head and run down my back as I winced and laughed. I mean, I didn’t see Simon spit, but he had to have aimed right for us. Come on now! I looked up, and Nick was laughing while looking right at the front. I laughed too, because it was FUNNY! I remember how horrified I was the first time – way back in Biloxi during the All You Need is Now tour, and how disgusted I was by the whole thing. I don’t know why, I don’t know how – but I don’t care so much anymore. After all, I’ve been “baptized” a few times now. The shock has worn off, but my reaction probably won’t change much. It’s still funny. And really weird. But whatever. It’s a thing, and while Amanda and I still hate it, I’ll admit I’m amused, and Nick’s reaction is priceless, whether or not he’s really looking my way or not.

All of this reminds me of a time not so long ago when Nick was missing from the shows. It’s true that MNDR did an outstanding job and musically, I didn’t notice much of a difference without Nick there. That said, to look up and see someone manning the keyboards during that time was just wrong – and I’m glad Nick is back touring with the band again. I can’t help but smile when I see his 10,000 watt grin. We don’t see it often enough.

Happy birthday, Nicholas. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see YOU in about a month!

-R