Tag Archives: Paper Gods Book

How Beautiful the Closing Down

This week is sucking, gotta say. I am already in a mad hurry today because I have to take Heather, my oldest, to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Why? Today she FINALLY takes her drivers test. She will be 19 next week. I pray she passes. (and no, we were NOT insisting she wait this long to get her license. That, my friends, is a long story from which I have since learned the lesson. Gavin goes for his permit test TOMORROW!)

Anyway, I’m in a rush. Today is crazy. Dropped two younger kids off, ran home, and as I came in the door I said out loud to absolutely no one, “No one had better have died today because I need to write this blog quickly!”  Opened the laptop, jumped online and found that Alan Rickman – aka Severus Snape amongst many other characters over the years – has passed away. Also aged 69, also from cancer.

My fandoms are taking a severe beating this week. Unbeknownst to many, I’m a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books, own the movies in two different formats, been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, read MuggleNet as often as possible…I just love that whole world. I share this fandom with my youngest. She was tiny when her big brother was given the movies as a gift, and it was she that insisted we play the movies over and over and over yet again. She is a huge fan and she’s yet to actually read the books (she’s only 7)! I am not looking forward to explaining this loss to her, whether now or at a later date.  So once again, it’s a sad day for many.

It wasn’t my intention to begin AND end this week with a sad blog, of course. I had thought about what I’d write today – not coming up with much other than I’ve been listening to Paper Gods again.  I think that album is going to end up being one of my very treasured favorites. It took me so long to come to terms with it, and that bothered me.  Truth is, most of my very favorite art is that way. I have to sit with it a very long time and let whatever is bothering me about it sort of sink in. Percolate. Make sense of it.

That’s kind of how my journey with Paper Gods has been, and it’s not over yet. Reading the tour book has really helped. The one word that comes to mind over and over as I consider the book and the album is “committed.” This isn’t my first rodeo with Duran Duran, of course. I’ve been around a long time. There have been many albums at this point, some of which I’ve connected with better than others of course – and that’s natural. The difference between Paper Gods and many others is that word, “committed.”  I see it. I FEEL it when I’ve seen them live. This isn’t a band that put out an album and stood back tentatively, hiding their faces and wondering what would happen. This is a band that continues to be incredibly proud of their work, and have a genuine sense of drive to get it heard. I think that is what was missing from Red Carpet Massacre, to be honest. Even if the band was totally committed and ready to sell it to us – they certainly didn’t convey with the same sort of confidence and positivity.  I know for me, that is very much an influence.  I’ll take Danceophobia for an example: I don’t mind saying that I couldn’t stand the song when I first heard it. I really couldn’t, and sure, that had PLENTY to do with Lindsay. I can’t help it, I had real issues with her being on the album and for the most part – that hasn’t changed. However, I have also seen them do this song live. John Taylor OWNS it, so does Dom and Simon. I’m sure Nick and Roger do as well – but they don’t move around the stage so there’s that. There’s no standing around, no hiding in a corner, no looking like they’d like the floor to open and swallow them. They play, and they work damn hard to get the audience going. John is even behind the keyboard and STILL moves. I can’t help but love that. They’re completely committed to selling the song to the audience, to making us love it…and I daresay they’re committed to making me eat my words and say I love the song.  Kudos on that commitment. It works.

It’s been a tough week. The silver lining for me has been the music, of course. I’ve listened to quite a bit of Bowie, and a lot of Paper Gods this week. It’s helped. Even reading the tour book has brought a smile to my face and a longing for July to come. One thing is certain: I live for music. I have the score to Harry Potter upstairs – it’s the entire soundtrack, and I may just drag out my clarinet and play a little. It’s how I manage.  I hope you’ve all been able to find the necessary diversions and ways to escape this week.

RIP Alan Rickman. Thank you for bringing Professor Snape to life.

-R

Paper Gods, The Book

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

cover

When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

bookwidth

There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

stickers

As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R