Tag Archives: Nick Rhodes

Is it Congratulations, Happy Birthday, or both?

Over the weekend, the A-list of who’s who amongst friends and family of Nefer Suvio (Nick’s significant other) gathered in Venice to celebrate her birthday, complete with what can only be characterized as the reuniting of Arcadia. (I’m not posting other people’s photos here because I don’t have permission to do so, but there is a photo of Simon, Nick & Roger floating around in full gothic glamour that is rather stunning.)

A very happy birthday to Nefer, by the way! She is someone I’ve never met but did stand next to in Berkeley as she took photos of the band on her iPad. I didn’t say a word to her, but offered a shy grin and went right back to my business of cheering and dancing.

The celebration was a dramatic, gothic-glamour-themed night, complete with a stunning black layer cake topped with a skull, cascading with blood-red roses down the side, and a giant white tapered candle (because dammit, goth-themed or not, it’s a birthday and you gotta have candles).

Like many fans, I’ve seen a good many photos of Nick and Nefer over the years. She’s a part of the Duran Duran family, and as such she’s no stranger to the cameras that typically follow. There seemed to be quite a bit of paparazzi surrounding her party this weekend, including some posed photos through Getty Images, and those photos have ended up on various news media (Evening Standard included as well as a few instagram accounts of their friends who were there) In most cases, Nick is referred to as her husband, and Nefer as his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t really even respond. The rumor mill is quick, creative, and typically way off base. We haven’t had any sort of statement from the band, or from Nick & Nefer themselves for that matter.  It is just that this time, I’m seeing the words “husband and wife” in nearly every blurb about the party. Is it possible?  Sure, I suppose it is.  Why not?

Does it matter? Well, it matters in that I’m happy for them. I would expect as much from most, if not all fans. She and Nick have been together for quite a while. I never really thought about whether or not they’d marry – that’s their business, which is probably why if it IS true, they haven’t put out a statement, and I get it. But, I’m happy to see good things happen to good people. Will it change how I feel about Nick?  Absolutely not. He is still that crazy alien who never breaks a sweat, complete with that knowing grin, peering down from the top of his keyboard riser.  My friends and I have called him “The Controller” for as long as I can remember, and that will continue just as it always has, married or not!

I know that a certain percentage of fans tend to lose it when we hear rumors and aren’t told things. We all love to pretend we’re on the inside track when it comes to information, don’t we?  Like it or not, fans are on a need-to-know basis, and we may never “need-to-know”.

Lately I’ve noticed cameras getting more and more of those natural, toothy-grins from Nefer. I must say, for someone who seems to love that deep, dark, gothic glamour, nothing brightens her whole look more than those big smiles. She is lovely and it is nice to see warmth and joy on her face.  Married or not – and for our purposes as fans I’m not really sure it matters – Nick and Nefer seem very happy, and it is wonderfully nice to be a very-extended witness to that.

Happy birthday, Nefer, much health and happiness to you!

-R

 

Spring Break and Songbook!

Happy Spring Break to anyone is lucky enough to have this week off, and that includes Amanda and I! I’ve decided to take some time for myself this week, in which case my posts are likely to be shorter than normal.

With that in mind, do you know what was aired on Sky Works on this date in 2009? Anyone?  Songbook!  I didn’t see this until well-after its airing…but since it has been seven years since it aired, so let’s watch again!

In full-disclosure, I did not have time to watch both of these clips before posting. They were uploaded by two different people but one seems to have more the interview and the other looks to be more of the performances. That said, I can’t be sure they don’t overlap. So, my apologies if they’re not perfect. I’m going to watch now, and you know – if I have to see Duran Duran perform with Dom twice, I suppose I’ll manage. Somehow.  😀

In any case, enjoy!!

-R

All You Need is Now, out on CD in 2011

On this date in 2011, All You Need is Now came out on CD…for those of us who still like actual, physical, music to have and hold.

I’m having a difficult time with the idea of that happening seven years ago today. Is that even possible?

I can remember driving down to Best Buy that day. Originally, I wasn’t going to get a copy. I’d already heard the album, I’d already reviewed it, and I didn’t see a point. But the night before, something stirred in me. I had to have that CD! So, I got up in the morning, took my kids to school and made a quick trip down to our local Best Buy.

I searched the shelves, hoping to find the treasure. It was the Best Buy “Exclusive” edition I wanted, and I looked to no avail. There was no way they could have already sold out, so I asked a sales associate to look it up. Sure enough, they’d gotten a whopping three copies in stock. Ok then, where were they, I wondered?  I had two sales people crawling on their hands and knees, going through shipment cases before finally one of them sat back triumphantly with a copy in hand.

I marched over to the cashier and walked out of the store with the last CD I ever purchased at a Best Buy. (I just order off of Amazon now and have it sent to my house if I really want a CD! Yes, I could truly come a hermit if I wanted.)

I know that a great deal has been said about All You Need is Now. Those who once proclaimed its greatness now talk about it as though it was “just” a Rio reboot. I have a tough time seeing it quite so simply. Regardless of what the band and others might say, I love the album. I like that they tried to provide an answer to what Rio or a follow-up might sound like in 2011 – in some sense. I still believe it was the perfect bridge between Red Carpet Massacre and Paper Gods.  And, since I’ve already spent some of my week being unabashedly biased – I like that Dom received writing credit for a lot of it.  So there.

I fell in love with All You Need is Now from the very first listen.  It is an easy album to like, and there are times when I miss that easiness. Sure, technically speaking, Paper Gods is probably a more superior album. I can admit that. However, when it comes to me and my moods – sometimes I just need a little All You Need is Now.

And by the way – there is NOTHING that makes me smile more than when I watch this video. That alone is worth its weight (and mine) in gold.

-R

Denying the reunion of the original five, 2001.

I think I must be on the topic of rumor this week or something…

As I was looking at our Day in Duran History spreadsheet (yes, we actually have one!), I noticed that on this date in 2001 – there’s an entry that says “dd.com denied a tour with the original five on this date”.

I laughed.

The real story is that the day prior –  March 19, 2001 – allstarnews.net broke a story about the original five (Simon, Nick, John, Roger & Andy…in case you forgot!) touring together. DDHQ, or duranduran.com, was quick to announce on this date in 2001 that such rumors were completely untrue.

Except of course they weren’t.

Turns out, timing is everything. Now, I don’t know how allstarnews.net found out the news before DDHQ was ready to make the big announcement, but I suspect it went a little something like this:

Management calls a promoter, perhaps forgetting to have them sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before getting them under contract to put together a tour for Duran Duran.  It could have been that they actually did have them sign one, but as the promoter contacts venues who may be interested in contracting a gig with the original five members of Duran Duran, who haven’t performed together since the 80’s – the news was expertly leaked to a news site. After all, HELLO, this story was huge!

Hell, I’d have taken out a full-page ad in a newspaper at the time.  (note to DDHQ – I’m much better at keeping secrets now, I promise!)

Moving on…

Said news site does their job and broadcasts the news on the ‘net. Even without social media, it takes almost no time before this headline reaches Duranies around the planet, who begin to fall off of  chairs while typing the word thud on message boards and forums around the world. Meanwhile, DDHQ is found taking Advil, Tylenol and/or Paracetamol, while needing a lie down with a cool compress.

It is decided that, rather than admit to the Fab Five reuniting and losing full control of the narrative, and how it will be unfolded to the world, it is best to deny the story completely.  The words saying as much are posted on dd.com for all to see.

Meanwhile (most) Duranies skip the Tylenol, Advil and Paracetamol and go straight for shots of whatever hard liquor is available. Vodka shots, anyone??

Or maybe that’s just MY version of the story.

Of course, we all know how this turned out, don’t we?  It would be two years before the band actually started to do shows together, but yes – the original five DID reunite – and it was a bright and beautiful time to be a fan.

This story is also why, even when DDHQ denies, or even better, full-well ignores rumors and questions about rumors, fans don’t necessarily listen – in fact I’d argue that it just forces fans to do more sleuthing and investigating on their own. I suspect that this might where the “relationship” between DDHQ and fans started to go really wonky, although there were certainly signs of that prior to 2001.

While it is really neither side’s fault – DDHQ did need to protect their ownership of such a huge breaking story, and fans had the right to be excited by such a bombshell announcement – I think it makes it difficult to work together at times, and perhaps that alone is part of the problem.  Are we (fans) really just a problem that needs to be handled, or are we people who can be trusted to be there when it counts? I’m not quite sure. Regardless, the distrust is palatable, and pretty unfair, both ways.

-R

Duran Duran at the Rum Runner, 1980

There are mornings that I sit down to this laptop and don’t really know where to begin. I’m feeling that way right now. Beginnings are simply just a starting point. It is what happens after that decision to begin that matters most. Sometimes, those auspicious beginnings aren’t even noticed at the time. The notice comes much later.

Today, very much in hindsight, we celebrate one of those beginnings, although I’m not sure we should really call it a beginning.  On this day in 1980, Duran Duran opened for a band named Fashion at the Rum Runner in Birmingham.

There does seem to be some confusion on social media about what this day actually represents. It was not the first gig Duran Duran played with the classic lineup, for example.  That came a bit later, in July of 1980. (see the timeline on duranduran.com)

This was also not the first gig Duran Duran played. Their first show was nearly a year earlier, at Birmingham Polytechnic, on April 5, 1979. The band formed during the year prior – in 1978 – although as we all know, it was not yet with the lineup we all recognize.

What this day does represent, however; was the first Duran Duran gig at the Rum Runner, at least to the best knowledge of those who painstakingly compiled the full Duran Duran tour list on dd.com. We know that John, Nick and Roger were there that night, along with Jeff Thomas singing (Simon didn’t audition until May), and Alan Curtis on guitar (Andy didn’t answer the Melody Maker ad until April). They opened for Fashion, a band we don’t often hear about, who also rehearsed at the Rum Runner. It’s kind of wild to think that at one point, Duran Duran was opening for other club bands. Yet as time wore on, Duran Duran became the band to be remembered.

It is somewhat apropos that a picture of Roger visiting the site was posted and tweeted recently. It is difficult to think about that area of Birmingham and not smile. I’m sure that has got to be the same reaction that many of you have, and I’m thankful we can all share those kinds of “memories”, even if we weren’t all there in person. I think of the Rum Runner as a special place in my own history, yet I really didn’t know anything of it other than what I read until much later in life.

When I think about places I wished I’d experienced, the Rum Runner comes to mind every time. Yeah, I would have loved being in that club and part of that scene (although I think in reality we all know just from looking at me that I’d have never quite fit in). I would have loved every second of watching the band grow and come into their own. Of course, I write that full-well knowing that the appreciation of such things only comes with hindsight. Even so, I find myself wishing I could have been there to have been a part of it all from the start.

Was this show really a beginning? I’m not really sure. As I’m writing this, I can certainly see why the band hasn’t announced an exact date of anniversary to celebrate DD40. Do they celebrate the moment John and Nick decided to start a band? What about the first gig – and if they do, is it really the “beginning” when more than half of the members weren’t even a part of it yet? What about the first gig at the Rum Runner?  How about the first gig that the classic lineup we all know and recognize played together?  It is all very vague, yet—at least in my opinion—all worthy of celebration.

Then again, maybe I’m just in the mood for a party.

To me, this date marks the beginning of the Rum Runner era for Duran Duran, and provides a perfectly good reason to post this video of Planet Earth filmed at the Rum Runner. I love this video because up until the DVD for Greatest was released, I’d never seen it – so it was a complete surprise (and an Easter Egg on the DVD)! I don’t think I had seen many pictures of what the Rum Runner looked like on the inside before I saw this, so when I watch the video, I really try to absorb the vibe. In a weird way, it is a little reminiscent of the club I used to go to on the Redondo Beach pier while I was in college, called Fashions. I love it!

I’m sure most Duranies have seen this video by now, but it’s still one of my favorites. I love the idea of watching the video, imagining what it was like in the club on any given night while the band played. I don’t know very many fans who were Rum Runner regulars back in the day, but can you imagine being one of them, watching Duran Duran skyrocket to fame?  If you haven’t seen the video, what better day to watch?!?

-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

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

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