This blog post is late, not in terms of time but date. I could use the excuse that I don’t blog on Wednesday, when it was Rhonda’s actual birthday, but that isn’t the complete story. I have been a little busy. (I would call working 70-80 hours a week more than busy but alas…) I could have probably done some sort of quick blog but I didn’t want to do that for Rhonda’s birthday. Nope. I wanted to make it something more meaningful or more fun or both. Therefore, I needed time and energy. Now that I’m starting to recover and feel more human, I can do a blog post worthy of a birthday blog for Rhonda!
In thinking about how I wanted to blog, I wanted it to be monumental because this week has felt pretty monumental. So, I figured a good way to wish her a happy birthday is to acknowledge, to remember, to celebrate the top 12 monumental moments (in no particular order) that we have shared together. Why 12?! Well, if you add up Rhonda’s age…you might get 12, which is a lot more than if you added up my age. Just pointing that out because I can. 😉
12. Surviving Voodoo
Rhonda just recently wrote about the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans in October 2006. The thing about that day is that I truly feel like we survived torture. After all, we stood for hours in the same space without any food or water. So, when Rhonda screamed at Simon that we had time for 50 more songs, the only thing I could do is laugh…at least until I had a few drinks (or ten). Of course, that night represented the first time that signs we brought were successful such as the one below:
11. Secret Oktober in Brighton
Sometimes, once in a blue moon, we are lucky. In this case, we were beyond fortunate to have seen the band perform Secret Oktober live. We saw the song in Brighton, England in November of 2011. This show was always questionable. We were not supposed to see the band there when we first bought tickets. Unfortunately, Simon lost his voice and the first set of tickets we had were no longer used. Thus, we decided to add the Brighton show after the Simon had recovered. Then, we worried that the public union strike in London would affect our ability to get to this show. Somehow, someway, it worked out. We got our cherry on top, though, once this song was played. I’ll never forget the moment when we realized what we were hearing and turned to each other to hug only to see Nick laughing at us behind his keyboards.
10. Walking through Birmingham
Speaking of the UK, we were lucky enough to go in 2011. The first trip did not turn out as we expected since the four shows we had gone for had to be canceled. At that news, we had some options. Do we sit around and complain? Do we ignore anything and everything Duran related or do we still experience our Duranie-ness. Rhonda and I opted for that last option as we walked around Birmingham, gaining a brand new insight into the band we thought we knew. It was not only eye-opening for us but certainly made Rhonda and I closer. Later in the year, we finally got to see Duran play in their hometown, which was a dream come true!
9. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon in New Orleans
Do you ever look back at life and are able to pinpoint a pivotal moment? This moment might be such that it points you in a significantly different path than you might have been on otherwise. I strongly recall sitting at the Howl at the Moon in New Orleans with drinks in hand right by Rhonda at the 2004 Friends of Mine convention. I didn’t know her super well at that point but I remember singing along to HLTW with her and thinking we could be friends. I wasn’t wrong.
8. Laughing during Tempo Cafe in Chicago
If Howl at the Moon made me think that Rhonda and I could be friends, laughing hysterically with her at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4 in the morning told me that I had found my touring buddy for life. This was for our first tour together, the spring Astronaut Tour in 2005. We realized that weekend that we could easily travel or go to shows together. The rest of the world, however, probably wish that we didn’t. I think the people with us probably wished that we didn’t get along so well when we couldn’t stop laughing, annoying them to death, I’m sure. I know that for me, this matters. I like being with people who make me laugh!
7. Running away during Durandemonium
In 2013, Rhonda and I decided to do something pretty crazy. We chose to organize a convention, Durandemonium. It took place in Chicago and by anyone’s standards it was successful. That said, it was a lot of work, a lot of stress so when we had an opportunity to relax a little, we did. After the Saturday night fun, dancing away at Late Bar, our favorite 80s club there, we sought quiet at a very late dinner or very early breakfast. I will never forget the pivot we took away from the doors of the hotel to walk at a brisk pace down the street.
6. Finishing two manuscripts
Some of our monumental moments are ones that no one was around for besides us. A good example of this is when we finished a manuscript or two. No matter what has happened with those drafts, I’m super proud to have written them. I still believe that we have something to say that would interest people. Someday, I hope we get back to writing like that. While it isn’t easy, I think it would be worth it. I feel very fortunate that we have a friendship that we can not only hang out and laugh together but can also work together, whether doing this blog, writing books or planning fan events.
5. Making fun of Simon in a bunch of ways (but always with love)
Oh, how we love to give Simon a hard time! It started as soon as the reunion took place as we enjoyed talking among our friends about some of Simon’s more interesting dance moves or his idea to crowd surf. Then, we saw new and better moves in 2009, which you can see below. By the time, Paper Gods rolled around, there was so many ways to tease, including trying to find bright colored but way too short pants or trying to paint shoes to match his lime green ones. I cannot wait to see what we can do next!!
Over the years, Rhonda and I have spent a lot of time traveling, both together and apart. Yet, my favorite way to travel with her is road tripping. On top of being able to just sit and talk, it also allows us to come up with new ideas or to create some of the best setlists the band has never played!
Like transportation, we have stayed in a number of different hotels over the years. Sometimes, those hotels become more than just a place to stay. We have found ourselves kicked out of hotel bars as “there are sleeping rooms” nearby. If that wasn’t enough, we have also answered the phone to hotel security. Most significantly, hotels have also been the scene of moments with the members of Duran. Maybe, it was taking pictures with John, Simon and Dom in Los Angeles in 2015, getting someone to wear one of our wristbands or toasting with Simon in Toronto. Good times, indeed!
2. Press conferences
Then, there are our videos that we lovingly refer to as press conferences in which we attempt (often badly) to capture a show or a tour. They speak for themselves!
1. The best is yet to come!
Over the years, we have learned a lot from Duran Duran. One big concept is to look forwards and not backwards. What does this mean? It means that the best is yet to come! I suspect that we will have some monumental moments in February! So on this birthday, I celebrate our friendship and some of our best moments! On that note, I wish my partner-in-crime an absolutely fabulous birthday!!!