Tag Archives: John Taylor

Time Machine…John Taylor Solo

On this date in 1986, John Taylor’s song, I Do What I Do, was released in the UK.  I like looking into Duran Duran history.  Maybe it is the history geek in me but I think that knowing what happened in Duran’s past makes now, the present day, more meaningful.  Plus, it creates a much needed personal perspective.

It is hard to believe that John Taylor’s first solo song was released 32 years ago.  32.  Looking back, this was the time that Duran was in that weird place.  After all, 1985 saw the two major side projects of Power Station and Arcadia.  It felt like there was a lot of guessing, speculation about whether or not Duran would really come back together to be a band again.  This solo song, I think, just fed that.  Interestingly enough, as a kid, I didn’t think about any of that.  I just thought that this was my chance, my moment to hear John Taylor!  As much as I loved the band and Simon’s singing, I was a John fan.  I soaked up each and every time I heard him or saw him in the spotlight.  I wasn’t worried about what was going to happen with the band.  I read and saw many interviews in which they said that everything was cool and that they were coming back together eventually.  The young me trusted that.

Of course, now, we all know that the band did get back together but things weren’t quite the same as Andy and Roger had left.  We also know that this song of John’s wasn’t his only one.  No, he would go on to write and record many more songs in various solo albums.  In fact, he has so many solo songs that I now am a little bit more discerning when it comes to his work.  I have songs that I love, love, love, others I like and some that don’t tend to get as much playtime.  I have the luxury of choosing among all of them.  In 1986, I didn’t.

You know what is funny.  On the surface in 1986, I was certain that Duran Duran would be fine.  I remember trying to convince others to hold on to their fandom a little while longer.  In thinking about that, I now recognize that part of it for me was the need to keep something consistent.  In 1985, my family moved.  While I only moved an hour or so away, it felt like I had moved to a different planet.  My old home had MTV and Top 40 radio along with a best friend whereas my new one did not.  Kids in the new town had no idea who Duran Duran was.  I desperately missed my best friend and the old life I had.  I guess I needed Duran Duran to be one of those consistent parts of life.  They were like the lifeline to the old world.

When I think about the song, I Do What I Do, I have strong memories of me listening to the song over and over again through newly acquired headphones.  I remember being bummed about this, that or the next thing, and turning up the volume to the maximum, hoping to shut out the world.  Looking back, I appreciate that John Taylor released this song then.  I didn’t know it then but I needed something to help me get through a challenging time in my childhood.

-A

Birmingham Music Awards

John Taylor fans, do not despair. I know it has been a tough year so far…given that it’s what….almost March and yet it feels like it should already be April at the very least! Winter will truly be over on May 2nd, when JT will appear at the Birmingham Music Awards to present the Rising Star Award.

The Birmingham Music Awards will celebrate young artists from the Midlands, according to expressandstar.com. Given that Birmingham was the birthplace of Duran Duran, having John present seems like a given.  We’ve all listened to Katy Kafes where John has mentioned a new artist or two that he’s listening to, and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that nine times out of ten, I will write down the name and go have a listen for myself.  Even Nick says he relies on John to keep him up to date (with musical preferences).

I’ve been to Birmingham a couple of times, and the city has a wonderful vibrance. Duran Duran is hugely representative of the importance that music brings to the culture of Birmingham and the Midlands area, something that I take pride in as a fan of both the band AND the city. If I could manage a trip there again, I would go in a heartbeat.

There are tickets available for the May 2nd event at the Glee Club, so those of you who are local and can go, definitely should! Send my best to Mr. Taylor, and take plenty of photos!

-R

The Joy of February

Anyone in Dubai today?

Dubai is approximately twelve hours ahead of California. So that means it’s 9pm there already. I would imagine that Duran Duran is about to take the stage for the only show they’ve announced for this year. The real question for many is whether or not there will be more, or if this will truly be a quiet year!

Other things have also occurred on this date – in 1981 Planet Earth hit #12 on the UK charts, and then in 1987 Skin Trade peaked at #22. In 1994, Extraordinary World was released – anyone who has a still-working copy of that one is indeed lucky because it’s not the easiest to find.

My friend Amanda wasn’t living in Madison, Wisconsin when Duran Duran played at the Dane County Coliseum on this date in 1984, and from what I can tell, it’s the only time Duran Duran has actually played in the city.

In 1993, the band played on an Italian TV show in Milan called “Buona Domenica”. In 2000, the band played at the Festival de Mina del Mer. In 2009, Simon and Yasmin attended the Qasimi show at London Fashion Week. Life can be rough when you’re in Duran Duran, right?

Overall, there are more years where it is quiet in February than when it is not.  When I think about it, February really is a sleepy little month. The weather varies from thinking it’s Spring to deciding to be in the depths of winter. We’re eating candy, and seeing pink and red hearts everywhere. It’s when we start looking at ourselves in the mirror with the realization that while it may currently feel like winter will last forever, the calendar will eventually flip to March and then April. Winter-weight must come off and it’s time to put the chocolate down and dust off the old treadmill.  Or not.  It’s when I start seeing daily posts from friends in the midwest that threaten Mother Nature with bodily harm if she dares send another snowstorm their way….along with screenshots of the next weather system destined to hit them within the week.

I have to wonder if it’s like that at all for the band, even this year. I mean yes, they’re playing today – probably right now – but have they started looking at their instruments, sitting somewhat dusty in the corner and thought “Hmm. Maybe we ought to get back in that studio?” Or maybe Simon has started humming some sort of little melody and thought, “You know, that might BE something there.”  Or maybe not. Maybe he is taking time with his soon-to-be-growing family. I can’t blame him, there. Then again, maybe Nick is planning his entire year around all of the art exhibits he will visit, or perhaps putting the final, final touches on that photography book he’mentioned.  Maybe John and Nick will get that musical properly funded and start on production? Perhaps they haven’t quite convinced John to stay in the UK long enough to spend time in the studio? Perhaps Roger will just be, well…Roger this year. (What DOES that man do in his spare time, anyway?)

I suspect that 2018 might be a bit quieter than many would prefer, and still eventful enough for the band to call it busy. Chances are, most of us will never know how they spent most of their year – so much of what they do is done behind the scenes without an audience present. They could be doing anything from preparing things for DD40, to sitting at home with family, and likely everything in between. Like so many of you, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the studio just once (preferably when they’re actually IN the studio, I might add!) We will sit and speculate based on the few bits and pieces that escape the walls of the studio and make it on to the internet, and will probably never really know the half of it.

Some incorrectly assume that because we write about missing Duran Duran or being anxious for them to return without making mention of whatever other bands we go see or things we do, it must mean we have nothing else in our lives. I’d like to direct you to the name of the blog, first of all.  So while I can attest to the fact that Amanda and I are busy and actually do have other things going on and things we enjoy doing, we also committed to writing about this band. Otherwise we might have called it Daily Fandom, or Daily Ramblings…or something else entirely. So yeah, that’s kind of why we mention them each day.

And yes, we will all complain about never seeing them, even though we just saw them last year.  They can’t win, nor will we ever get enough. That’s fandom!

-R

Losing Control: Where is it leading to?

If it hadn’t been for Amanda, I don’t think I would have remembered that Duran Duran,along with a fair amount of fans I recognize, are in Dubai this week.

Life has been a bit up in the air here lately. My husband has been interviewing by phone for a lot of companies all over the country, and for a while, every single day I’d get a text or two when I was at work suggesting the possibility of a new city to think about. “How do you feel about Philadelphia?”  Or “What about Chicago? Would you move back?” Today he has two more phone interviews. I have no idea how to plan, or what to plan for.  None of this is within my control right now. Should I start fixing up the house and thinking about packing away things I don’t need, or just start selling off personal items in order to keep paying bills. He’s been out of work since November, which in one sense has been a long time, but when you’re job hunting in his particular field with his particular job title, that’s not really so bad. My attention has been elsewhere, to say the least. Selfishly, I’m almost thankful we’re not talking tours right now.

Even with all that going on, and yes, it’s very stressful, I can’t help but notice a few photos from people I recognize and band members who don’t mind sharing their travels with us. Other than that, it’s hard to believe there’s #Duranlive happening anywhere right now. Dubai feels about as far away from California as the moon. (which I am well aware it is not!)

My own selfish needs aside, it is difficult to imagine that this may well be the only date for a live show this year. At one point, I was being told rumors of dates happening in spring. Obviously, that information was either wrong, or has been changed over the past several months. Either way, on one hand I’m relieved because I hate missing out (and I absolutely would have), and on the other – of course I always hope for something to happen. In some strange way, it helps to take my mind off of waiting for whatever is going to happen here at home. Those of you who have been in my situation know how difficult it is.

The one thing I’ve come to accept since November is that in this case, I have very little control over what might happen. I’ve told my husband over and over that I’ll move where ever we need to move. I’ve been very open and willing to consider every single place he’s suggested, and now we’re at a point where interviews are happening, although they’re just phone interviews right now – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m anxious. This isn’t the first time he’s had to look for work, and he’s at a point now where it’s not just menial “worker bee” type of positions – the interview process is LONG. Our bills, however, keep rolling in. It isn’t fun. It isn’t as though because Walt has had time off we’ve traveled or gone on vacation. I’d say it’s the opposite.

As I am sitting here writing, Walt comes downstairs to tell me that one of the interviews he had set for this morning ends up needing to be rescheduled. I just take a deep breath and try not to show my disappointment. This has happened more times than I can count this time around, and it doesn’t help. It will easily be another week before that company sets something up (because it always is), and I keep reminding myself that there’s nothing that can be done. I’m merely the sounding block, I have no control. I have to just sit back, try to remain calm and positive, and let it take its course. Chances are, it all happened for a reason.

I suppose in some weird way, I’ve learned that this is the way it is for the band, too. I don’t have any idea if they’ve even started with studio time, or if they’ve even got any plans for anything in the future. Right now, aside from this Dubai show, I don’t know their plans. What I do know, and 100% accept, is that they’re going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do. Or not do. And that’s fine. It is totally out of my control. I have zero expectations this time around, and I don’t even have time or energy to think about it past blogging each day. Every so often I’ll see a comment from a fellow fan about whether or not they’re working on plans for #DD40. Most fans who comment about it seem to post like it’s an absolute “MUST” for the band to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.

Is it really?

I mean, what if they didn’t? Would the world end? Would their career go up in smoke? What if they waited until year 45 to even tour again? What if they didn’t do a single thing other than put out a Facebook post? You know what would happen then?

Nothing. There would still be a sunrise. And a sunset. “Rio” would still get radio play, as would “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  The world would still know Duran Duran as that “MTV” band. We’d all still be fans. Or not. None of us have any control over what the band does. We don’t OWN them. They make the music. We buy it. For 99.9% of us, that’s as far as the relationship goes, whether we’ve been fans for 40 years or became a fan yesterday. Yes, it is hard to admit we’ve got no bearing, no skin in the game other than our loyalty – but that’s really all it is. We are not in control.

(You know who IS in control right now…along with the rest of his buddies? That’s right. You know the answer. Say it! The Controller. Aptly named, right??? And people wonder why we started calling him that. Gee I don’t know…)

So, I’m going to just sit back, wait, and be positive, because I really can’t do much else.

-R

February is out of focus

February is killing me this year. There are days when I can pretend that everything is nice and fine, and then there are other days where I just can’t.

Today, and really by “today” I mean the past few days, it is the latter. I don’t want to get into it all because to most people—what is happening at home is not blog-worthy. Everything really IS fine, just a little more stressful than a normal week might be, and I can’t focus. So I’m not going to try. When things are a little more settled, hopefully I will think clearly enough to be able to focus long enough to write more than two sentences.

I will say that early February is kind of, well…boring when it comes to Duran Duran. Take February 12, for instance. On this date, I actually have it on my calendar that John went to Fashion Week in 2012.  Not surprising. I mean, he IS John Taylor.  That said, Fashion Week? Really? Out of all the things we could commemorate on our calendar, we’ve got John going to Fashion Week up there?

Yep. I also have that the band played a show in Tampa at the Blue Line Theatre in 2005.  Like I said, February is a slow month. Painfully slow.

Interesting. On this same date in 2008, Playboy magazine featured Duran Duran. Definitely a deliberate move to reach out to more men, apparently…

because men read Playboy for the articles, right??

I could write an entire post on that one liner. Sometimes, this blog just writes itself.

Today is not that day.

-R

 

 

 

The Extraordinary Magic of Ordinary World

This month, DDHQ is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, or as most fans call it, The Wedding Album. 

I’ve struggled with a topic for this particular post, primarily because as much as I’d like to celebrate The Wedding Album, I don’t honestly remember a lot about that period of time. I was in college, and my mind was about as far away from Duran Duran as possible. So much so, that I was actually shocked the first time I heard “Ordinary World” on the radio. I didn’t even know they had been working on an album, although I suppose I must have assumed they would be. I just don’t remember.

It is an accurate statement that Duran Duran hit it out of the park with “Ordinary World”. That iconic guitar line, along with Simon’s voice, makes the song. Any fan could be just about anywhere—the grocery store, in the car, at a mall, just about anywhere—and with the first note we are awakened like a dog to Pavlov’s bell. It is THAT kind of melody, and yes, we have Warren Cuccurullo to thank for it. There is no arguing that at the time, he brought something new to the table for the band to feed from, and it worked. The song remains fairly permanent on set lists, despite constant complaints from Warren fans about whomever is playing guitar. No one plays it the same way as Warren, and no one ever could. I don’t know why that is. Another guitarist could play the exact notes in the same way, and still not have the feeling quite right. It is something that only the most passionate of fans pick up on, and yet, it makes all the difference. I can only explain it by describing it as magic.

While I don’t remember a lot from that time as a fan, I do remember hearing “Ordinary World” on the radio. I remember how well it did as a single, and how utterly surprised I was to see Duran Duran back on the charts. That wasn’t because I didn’t think they were capable, but because the time was so different. Yet, hearing “Ordinary World” on the radio didn’t energize or excite me in the same way it probably did for many of you reading. I felt wistful for a time that had passed. In 1993, I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had no real plan for what would come next. My father was out of work, my parents were in the process of losing their home, and I bounced around from friend to friend so that I wasn’t another burden on my parents. Anxiety was not ever a welcome, close, friend; but it sure seemed to be looming around every corner, chasing after me with every step. I missed the carefree days of youth, and this song reminded me of that every time I heard it.

There are many people who are huge fans of Warren in the same way many are of Andy, John, Roger, Nick, Simon and yes, even Dom. For those people, The Wedding Album might be the equivalent to Rio, or perhaps even more aptly, their Duran Duran. (given its name and all…)  I try very hard to remember that these days, because while this time period was not my personal favorite, for many of you—it was. I can appreciate that, and I’m trying my best to do it justice here.

In 2012, Duran Duran played a gig in Durham, North Carolina. I was there, and as Simon introduced “Ordinary World”, he explained the importance of the song for the band. The band had been at a fork in the road, basically. Either they were going to keep going, or they were going to hang it up. “Ordinary World” was the song that convinced them to keep going. I’m not doing any sort of justice to Simon’s eloquence that night, but his explanation convinced me – Ms. Doubter – of its permanence in the set list at the time.  The word “convince”, isn’t right. That word makes it sound as though I’m an owner of the band, when I am absolutely not. I think the right word is “respect”. I have deep respect for the song, and obviously the band, and yes, including Warren for writing it. How could I not?

In years since that gig, I’ve witnessed “Ordinary World” do extraordinary things to people. Regular people sob openly when it is played. I’ve watched it heal, and I’ve seen it bring people together. I have also seen the song give someone strength when they needed it most, and create the strongest of bonds between relative strangers. There is indeed something very special about that song, and there is no denying it’s magic, even 25 years later.

-R

 

What Happens Tomorrow on GMA, 2005

Did you know that on this day in 2005, Duran Duran performed “What Happens Tomorrow” on Good Morning America?

I’m sure many of you were there. I was not…but I remember racing home from dropping the kids at school in order to see the band perform!

I always say it, but I just can’t get over this being thirteen years ago. Are we sure?!? The band looks good, don’t they? I must admit, I liked them in suits onstage. They looked sharp…and I was a big fan of John’s dark hair, too. Then there’s Andy. I’d nearly forgotten that he was with them at this time. There’s this odd sense of wistfulness when I watch them perform, probably because I know what comes later, and I see people in the audience that are no longer around.

If you watch the whole performance, you’ll see at one point that Simon makes his way over to Andy to sing with him in the same way he does with John. Andy doesn’t even turn towards him, and Simon is kind of left hanging. I don’t think I ever noticed it until I watched today.  I don’t know if that was by accident, on purpose, or an indication of the turmoil within.

Then there is the audience. I see several people I recognize – and it’s not hard to remember that during this time, Duranies were still basking in the afterglow of the original line up being together and touring. I love seeing the joy on the faces of fans during this period of time. For those who, like me, never thought the “Fab Five” would reunite – the period of 2001 through 2005 went by like a flash. A perfect moment designed to give us what we’d wanted, what many of us never had the chance to experience before, but not meant to last.  I’m glad I savored each moment I had.

We’ve come a long way since 2005, and yet sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday. Life is crazy that way.

-R

A big announcement from John Taylor!

For the most part, January is a quiet month. Over the years, the band has toured sporadically during January, but for as many years as there have been shows, there have been many others that have not. January is a month used for getting back on track, adjusting to change, maybe it’s even a “dry” month for those who so choose. (certainly not me, but others who enjoy that sort of thing. I have a husband looking for a job and things are stressful, so believe me, this house is not a dry one!) I don’t know what Duran Duran is doing this month, but whatever it might be, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t equal studio time.

For example, John is here in LA. I know this, not because I was invited over for tea, or because I saw him at a party last week, but because he was with Richard Blade recently for an “appearance” on Richard’s radio program on Sirius XM. “A big announcement to be made”, Richard said on Monday afternoon.

I wondered what that announcement might be. Like a lot of fans, of course my mind went to the big, impossible things first. I don’t know why I do that, because in all seriousness,  it is NEVER something huge out of nowhere like that. What’s that saying about expectations?? No matter, I still went through the IMpossibilities, getting more and more outlandish with each thought to cross my mind. “His book is being made into a movie”….. “Duran Duran are already back in the studio”…..”They’re touring again”, “It’s the musical”….”He’s announcing an anthology for #DD40” (which I can’t even mention without the hashtag, even in a blog…)

On and on I went, full well knowing that my first instinct, the one that my gut bellowed as soon as I saw the “big announcement” mention, would be most likely the case. That the big announcement wouldn’t be THAT kind of huge. It would be a big deal to a select group of people, but if you were hoping for some sort of mind-blowing Duran Duran announcement, this was not that day. That’s called a “build-up”, and of course that kind of thing is used all the time. That’s how you get audiences to tune in, right?

I couldn’t listen. We don’t have Sirius XM these days, so I had to rely on the Power of Social Media to inform me. It did not disappoint. Within minutes (if not seconds) of John’s appearance on Richard’s show, I had the answer to my burning question.  I think that says plenty about social media, but that’s another topic for another day.

Richard Blade is recording the audiobook for his autobiography, World in My Eyes. John is going to record the first chapter, and do some additional recordings throughout the book. Those of us who have John’s autobiography on audiobook know that we’d even listen to him recite the phone book…so this is an easy sell, and yeah, its great news!  It’s also much cheaper than a tour, which for me this year, is a plus!

I know plenty of Duran Duran fans that scoffed about the whole build up and let down. Sure, even I laughed ruefully at the build up, because even as I texted Amanda about the “big announcement”, of course I knew that while the announcement might be exciting to some, it was not going to be monumental to many Duran fans. Expectations, right? The fact is, I loved Richard’s book. I’m looking forward to the audiobook version, and having John participate certainly doesn’t detract from that anticipation! So while I had already planned to buy it, now I’m going to make it a must.

Sure, January is fairly quiet. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that on the band front – it’s going to be that kind of year. So, I’m going to take what little excitement I can get and be thankful.

-R

 

 

Twenty-one years and counting.

On the 22nd of January, twenty-one years ago, I woke up at 6:30am and new something wasn’t quite right. I was having short little pains, but they were enough to wake me up out of a sound sleep. Smiling, I began to time them, and oddly – they were coming at fairly regular intervals. Ten days late and counting, I knew that I was finally, blessedly, in labor with my oldest.

After what I felt was many hours of waiting, I finally got the OK to go to the hospital at about 1pm. It was in the middle of a snow storm, but I barely remember the drive from our house to the hospital, except that my mom was with us and we really had no idea what we were about to be in for. I’ll save everyone the details except to say that what began that morning didn’t actually finish until 12:05am the following morning – which if you’re following along, meant the 23rd of January in 1997.

I always like to say that Heather Kathryn Rivera was born in the middle of a blizzard (this is true), she was ten days late (also true, and really eleven if we’re counting – which believe me, at that point, I was), and that to this very day, the child is still late. She runs by one clock: her own. She still prefers the cold weather to our ever-sunny days, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she ended up back in the Chicagoland area after college. (then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if we did as well!)

Today, she turns twenty-one.

I’m marveling about that, because it doesn’t seem possible. I still remember seeing the snow fall that day and night in the hospital, I still remember sitting up in bed the following day, looking at her wondering how on earth I was ever going to be able to handle caring for another human being.  They say that to have a baby is to agree to allow a part of your heart to walk around outside of your body forever. That’s so true. It is simultaneously the apex of joy and some of the worst pain imaginable at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the peace in the world. (Most of the time, anyway!)

I remember not long after Heather and I came home from the hospital, I was watching Rosie in the afternoon while trying to feed Heather. Guess who were her guests?  Simon, Nick and Warren. They were there promoting “Medazzaland”.  I remember watching them while Heather was crying, and I was so upset because I could barely hear the interview. I was already learning who came first, of course, and before long I was crying right along with Heather. As much as I loved being a mom, and I really did, I missed being me. I didn’t know how to be both a mom and Rhonda, the human. Life circumstances at the time didn’t help, either. The real “adjustment” didn’t come until later, when I finally figured out that in order to enjoy being a mom, I had to enjoy being ME, too.

Guess when that happened? I can tell you the exact date. March 28, 2001.  House of Blues, Anaheim CA. Duran Duran walked out on that stage, and something in me that had been dark for many, many years suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree.

I’ve written about it before, but finding myself again was really the key to being a good parent. After that concert, I started being ME. I found friends, I went to a convention, I brought my own personality to the table of parenting. My kids know exactly who I am. They’re not afraid to call me out for it sometimes, too.  

My Heather is a beautiful human being. She is so much better of a person than I could ever hope to be myself. She’s got a sharp tongue, a wicked sense of humor, and a very kind heart. She’s tenacious in a way that I never learned, and she has more talent in her pinky finger than I do in my entire body. She’s danced her way through life so far, and now she’s twenty-one. She’s grown. I don’t even know how it happened, because at some point on the way home from the hospital, through the snowy streets and freezing temperatures, I blinked. Now she’s an adult. Where does the time go?

I guess I feel similar with Duran Duran, really. At some point after New Moon on Monday, I blinked. The past thirty years went by in a single blink. The last 17 in particular FLEW by, and I can mark the moments in Heather’s life by songs, concerts and road trips I’ve taken along the way.  She still smiles widely at the memory of going with me to the Astronaut signing in Hollywood when she was just seven or eight. She remembers Simon quizzing her about her favorite song and how he asked about the book she was carrying (I think it was a Nancy Drew book). She also remembers how tan they all looked for not being from California (I laugh about that because she’s right) and how they all wore more makeup than I did. (also true!)

Heather and I at The Pearl 2009

We still laugh about how she went with Amanda and I to see Duran Duran at the Pearl in Las Vegas in 2009. She was twelve, although a tall twelve-year-old at the time, and she STILL laughs heartily over her reaction when John walked up to the microphone during the show and called us Mother F*kers. Heather turned around and looked at me with her eyes as wide as saucers. I doubled over laughing. Yep, I’m that kind of mom!

Amanda and I always talked about employing her to drive us from gig to gig after she turned 16 so that way we didn’t have to drive ourselves any longer, but we’ve never done it. Today, she’s old enough to belly up to the bar right along with us.

 

Somehow, that doesn’t seem quite right. AT ALL.

Heather taught me how to be a mom. She patiently waited for me to figure out how to manage feeding and caring for an infant and yet still being able to take a shower and get out of pj’s by noon. She would smile and sit next to me when it came time for me to learn how to do it all again when her brother Gavin was born – so all of that x2.  Then she taught me how not to be one of those “stage moms” and how to provide a stable environment for her when everything else in her life was chaos with dance and school. She forgave me for having yet another baby just as she was becoming a teenager, and even offered to help with her youngest sister. I will never ever forget going through that pregnancy because Heather was by my side nearly the entire time. She’s become a second mama in a lot of ways to the baby of the family – who isn’t a baby anymore (so she constantly reminds me).

Heather listened to me complain about life, growing older, losing a parent, learning how to be a better caregiver and spouse, and even how to be a better mom to her as she grew up and had her own ideas that may or may not have been completely opposite to her dad’s and mine. I daresay that parenting is toughest after the children have grown.

Through most of that, she also had to contend with this crazy blog, my writing, the road trips, conventions, and the ups and downs within. Duran Duran has been a near constant presence in her life even though she’s only met them from across a table (same, Heather, same here for the most part). I don’t think she can really hear Duran Duran without thinking of me immediately at this point, and I don’t know whether to apologize or applaud.

So today, as I watch the kids at recess and continue thinking about the journey I’ve taken over the last twenty-one years, I’m also thinking about how this is just the beginning for Heather.  I love that kid and I couldn’t be prouder. Today is bittersweet for this mama, but I am looking forward to taking her out tonight for her first (legal) margarita. It has been quite a journey.

(BTW John and Nick… if you need a choreographer for a musical….I know somebody…..)

Happy Birthday, Heather-Feather. (You can thank me for not printing your REAL nickname at any time.) Be careful, but not too careful – Love Mom.

-R

Niavete falls from our eyes

Prospective is an amazing, wondrous thing. Sometimes, a little time and distance shines just the right kind of light on things. Today, I drove my oldest – Heather – to the airport. She flew out to see my sister for about a week. I remember the last time Heather flew anywhere alone. It was also to go see my sister, and it was the first time she’d ever gone anywhere alone. I was a nervous wreck that day. Heather has changed a lot in the past several years. She’s dangerously close to turning 21. “It’s twenty days away, Mom…but who is counting?”  She is a junior in college, lives pretty much on her own, and is anxious to discover where she’s going after she graduates. When I think back on that first trip on her own now, I realize that she really was young then, but she still managed. I can remember her excitement about being with my sister, away from home, and feeling just a little more grown up when she got home. This time, she’s looking for the place she’s going to live after college. She’s wondering what is going to come next. She’s excited, but in a very different way this time. She knows what Chicago is like (Although I cannot wait to hear about how freaking cold my California kid thinks it is when she gets there!), and her entire perspective might change a bit.

As I drove home from the airport, thinking about all of that, I did something I haven’t done in probably eight or nine years. I put in the CD from the very first time the reunited Duran Duran played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. The year was of course 2003, and I was in the audience. It was not only the first time they played the Pacific Amphitheater, it was also the first time I ever saw all five original members.

The first thought that went through my head as I listened was that I wish I could bottle up the enthusiasm of the crowd from that night. The roar of fans up on their feet, cheering their hearts out for this band that most, if not everyone in the audience that night, grew up listening to, was like a tidal wave of sound. There was no way not to get caught up in it, and I did as I listened and relived that night.

So much has changed for me since that night. If memory serves, I was in the 16th row. I can remember that (oddly) because I stood there before the show began, watching all of the people in front of me as they would rush up to other fans, hugging, laughing, and yes, even some were crying and cheering as they bounced in the revelry. There was so much excitement and pure joy in the air, and yet I didn’t know a single soul in the amphitheater besides my husband. I wanted to know how they all knew one another, and most of all, I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of whatever group that was. Even though I had already found duranduran.com by then, I wasn’t a vocal member of the message board community. No one knew me, and I hadn’t quite found my place yet.

I thought about how excited I was to see Andy on stage that night. I haven’t allowed myself to even really think about his absence in the years since. I listened to his guitar as the sound washed over me in the car. All I can really say is that there was something certainly very special about the fab five. It was like this shining, perfect, moment that wasn’t ever really meant to last. I’d forgotten how differently he plays, the solo in White Lines coming to mind, but even Hungry Like the Wolf has a different feel in parts. It isn’t necessarily better, just different, and I’d forgotten.

Then there were the songs that we don’t hear much anymore. Friends of Mine, Nightboat, New Religion, What Happens Tomorrow, Virus… I know the band likes the backbone of their set list the way it is, but to hear some of those songs again just made me sit back and really listen. The way the crowd responded to every song blew me away, and yet I was a part of that audience.

In a lot of ways, I wish it could all be like it was then. I screamed and cheered no matter what they played because at the time, everything I heard was brand new, as though I’d never heard it live before.  I can remember feeling out of breath after every single song because I danced like crazy. I jumped, I screamed, I nearly felt faint, and when the concert was over, I felt completely spent. I have seen Duran Duran about fifty times since that fateful show in 2003. Sometimes, even I want to slap myself when I think about that. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for this band, and even the community that surrounds it.

I am so grateful, and moreover, my heart feels gratitude that I’ve experienced 95% of it as an adult. Sure, I was a petulant ten or eleven year old when I discovered the band. My walls were painted in a beautiful coat of Duran Duran posters and pinups, and I bled Seven and the Ragged Tiger just like most of the rest of you reading. But, it wasn’t until adulthood that I really began traveling, seeing the band, meeting friends, and of course—starting Daily Duranie. I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sometimes though, I do have moments where I wish I could go back to the beginning, forgetting what I’ve seen and what I know.  Instead,  draping myself with the innocent infatuation I once felt for them,  and allowing the music to fully wash over and consume me.  I want to feel that same wild abandon I once had, not a care in the world beyond that very note or measure.  Listening to this Encore CD in the car reminded me of both how wonderful, and how lonely that time was for me. I still wouldn’t want to go back.

-R