Tag Archives: Simon Le Bon

Never Mind the Buzzcocks – we’ve got Simon!

My “Day in Duran History” calendar tells me that on this date in 1999, Simon videotaped an appearance on a UK show called “Never Mind the Buzzcocks”.

Being American, I’m somewhat at a loss because up until today when I researched the show, I didn’t know what it was. That’s one thing about doing this blog – it has exposed me to a lot of things I’d never heard of prior!  It was basically a comedy panel game, based on pop music.  I marvel at the idea. (Does anyone else feel like American game shows could learn a little something from our overseas friends??) The show lasted 18 years, and was cancelled back in 2015.

Simon on a game show. Huh. I feel like there must be video of this somewhere. If not, there should be.

You know as well as I do that I went to YouTube in search of such treasures…and I found a little something to share. It’s only a short clip, and I have no way of knowing if there’s more out there…but it’s something!

I will say this: the look of complete and utter disdain in JUST the thumbnail you see below is enough to send me into hysterics.  I may have had a bit too much caffeine to begin the day…

Oh yes. This is GOLDEN. It is worthy of a morning break, and it IS funny with genuine laugh out loud moments (and I am somewhat sad to say that I’m not even laughing AT Simon but at the rest of the panel and the host). Check it out if you haven’t seen it or need a chuckle this Thursday morning.  I’m sure my UK readers could tell me a thing or two about this show, so forgive me if I’ve completely messed up the description!

Oh, and yes, I wish American TV would get a clue and try a game show like Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Instead, our entertainment industry is in this “Let’s reboot some of the best and worst shows and movies we’ve ever made” phase. It is like they’ve run out of original ideas….

moving on…

Cheers!

-R

Expectations are just future resentments: 2018 and DD40

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m still trying to settle into the expectations of 2018. I went to work yesterday and survived. I’ve got to say, I’d be way happier about that if the day didn’t hadn’t begun at 5am. I also found out that I’ll still have a job next year.

It’s a long story, but in short, my school has secured it’s charter. There are going to be a lot of changes, one of which is that my particular region, or campus, will be expanding. The powers that be are looking at the possibility of my role being full-time. On one hand I’m thrilled because it’s touring money. I need that! On the other, I’m considering the expectations for this blog and writing in general. Time is of the essence, and I have had none lately. With the added wrench of my husband’s continued job search, who knows what will happen! We will see in the coming months.

Situations and plans change all of the time. One of the worst things to do is attempt to make plans, so I’m finding. One day I’ll blog about something I’m hoping to do, and the very next, the earth beneath me explodes, and I’m realizing that nothing is going to work as I’d written. Expectations are future resentments, so I heard once upon a time.

It is not a big shocker to read or hear that Duran’s plans for #DD40 are changing. But are they really changing?  Or, is it just that fans had huge, unverified expectations for what 2018 might bring? The supposed “build up” for the 40th anniversary seems to have been something that fans invented on their own.  While it was mentioned a few times over the course of the past year or two, the band itself never focused on it the way the fan base seemed. Perhaps fans let their imaginations run wild with anticipation over what might come.

I don’t think it’s very surprising that Duran Duran is not giving us a firm idea of when or how they plan to commemorate the occasion. The fact that there are only going to be limited dates in 2018 shouldn’t be a concern. No, it’s not a full tour. Why did anyone jump to the conclusion that it would be?

In listening to the end-of-year Katy Kafes,  the band tried to readjust  expectations. Not only was that fair, but wise. There have been some pretty amazing things mentioned about what the band is going to be doing to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The trouble is, none of that information came directly from the band. It was all assumption, rumor, and flat-out wishful thinking on the part of fans. The band never actually said they were going to tour non-stop for the next three years, for instance. Just because John Taylor said they’d probably celebrate beginning in 2018 and culminating in 2020 never meant they were going to be on the road the entire time. John didn’t elaborate publicly,  so any assumptions made based on that comment were simply that – assumptions.  Furthermore, there have been no press releases saying they were going to release Reportage, invite Warren back, sing Kumbaya with Andy, or release an anthology.  In truth, the band itself has said very precious little, at least publicly. Given the voracity of this particular fan base, I don’t blame them one bit.

The band didn’t cancel #DD40. 1978 happened whether the band acknowledges that specific timeframe of the inception of the band or not, and it isn’t as though a huge celebration was planned.  Simon simply mentioned that this year was only the beginning – and he did use the word “only”, should probably clue overzealous fans in. Yes, 2018 is the beginning, just as 1978 was just the beginning. Duran Duran went through a few alliterations before coming to be the Fab Five as we knew them in the 80s. It isn’t a surprise that for their 40th, they are going with 2020 as the “official” date. It’s called business.

Let’s just think back on 78-03, or as we all call it – The Reunion. Naming that tour as 78-03 was convenient. With the press that the band reunited and that it was the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, it was a golden marketing moment. They needed to get out and play live, and there was the reasoning for doing it. Simple, and the crowds went wild.

This time though, timing is likely different. Duran Duran likes to tour  with new music. Simon didn’t join the band until later on anyway. Since they’ve been saying for a year or more now that the celebration would begin in 2018 and culminate in 2020, it would seem to me that not much has changed, and rest assured nothing has been “canceled”. Once again, the band never said there would be a gigantic tour, that is something that only fans have said. It is easy to make the assumption that the band would tour their 40th anniversary, but it is still just an assumption. Expectations are indeed only future resentments. Watch your footing.

While many are lauding their plan to write and go into the studio this year, Daily Duranie sits here applauding it. How many of your favorite bands are still writing?!? How many are still recording forty years in? Not many. Why are people finding fault with that?

I have even seen groups surveying the fan base about what they want, and then making incredibly leading statements that perhaps the band is actually going to listen.  If only the world actually worked that way. There is far more involved with merchandising than simply what diehard fans may want. If the world worked according to diehards, the set list would change for each show. Talk about setting someone up for a big fall! It is no wonder that John, Nick, Simon and Roger never go into great detail about their plans, and that most of them even mentioned that there would be limited dates next year. Dialing back the expectations seems to be the right way to go because the high level of expectation is palatable. Even as we wrote Daily Duranie over the course of the past year or so, Amanda and I wondered how it would be possible for the band to meet fan expectations for the 40th. In reality, they couldn’t.

It is entirely possible that fans are putting an awful lot more pressure and stock into this 40th anniversary than the band might. This is not a band rooted in nostalgia, no matter what the rest of the world may believe. Duran Duran continues to look forward, not back. This is why they are going back into the studio and creating  more music, whether it’s a full album or even a few songs. I don’t care how long that takes.

Not that long ago, someone mentioned to me that the band has nothing left to prove, that they write and perform for the sheer love of doing so. I’ve thought a lot about that, and damn, we’re lucky they do. Forty years and counting.

-R

Year End Kafe with Simon

My Lyric Day Friday has been postponed!  Why?  Someone was a trouble maker.  Who?  Of course, it is Simon as his year end Katy Kafe has been released!  I’m kidding…at least about blaming him.  I’m glad that the year end kafes have started.  I look forward to all the Kafes, including the year end ones and I’m thrilled that I get to blog about one, at least.  As always, this little blog post simply captures some of the Kafe, but it is in no way, shape or form a complete review.  If you want to hear it all, go to DuranDuranMusic and listen for yourself.  If you are not a member, go and get yourself a membership.  Treat yourself.

Holiday Prep:

Simon discussed the upcoming holidays a little bit, including his three Christmas trees, how they are decorated and what drinks put him in the holiday frame-of-mind.  He mentioned two drinks, in particular:  mulled wine (basically heated wine with spices) and sloe gin.  After Simon described how to create mulled wine, Katy declared that he would win at Survivor.  There was no immediate agreement, but Simon did explain how to remove red wine strains from white carpet and how to get water in the desert.  Well then…

2017 In Review:

For the rest of the Kafe, Simon provided answers to his 2017 highlights, favorites, etc.

Event:  The big event for Simon?  He mentioned Duran playing Lollalapooza in Buenos Aires along with Middle East politics, the engagement of Prince Harry, and Donald Trump.  In reality, though, the big event was the passing of his mother, which made 2017 really tough.

Movie:  He liked the new Blade Runner (visually impressive) but wished he had seen Dunkirk.  On the other hand, he saw Nocturnal Animals but wished he hadn’t since it was so depressing (but good).  Personally, I haven’t seen any of them, but should probably see Dunkirk since I teach about that not-so-little war.

Book:  The book Simon mentioned was The Essex Serpent.  He even mentioned doing a Simon’s Reader on it.  I had not heard of it so I looked it up.  Here’s the description on Amazon.com about it from the New York Times:  “A novel of almost insolent ambition–lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate…it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.”  It sounds fascinating.

TV Show:  His favorite from this year was Peaky Blinders, which apparently takes place in Birmingham.  Beyond that, he did enjoy Game of Thrones.  Katy and Simon mentioned the use of Duran in the second season of Stranger Things, too.

Music:  As far as music goes, Simon mentioned Leon Bridges (good) and Depeche Mode (okay).  There was some discussion about genres, including hip hop, pop, and folk.

Personal Highlight:  In this section, Simon focused mostly on Duran, discussing how much he loved the tour, including Hawaii, Japan and South America.  In fact he said, “All the really good things in my life have been on tour.”  He also stated that he might have good news next year, which really makes me wonder!

Next Year:  Simon is looking forward to starting on the next project and the beginning of the anniversary.  I think it goes without saying that he is not the only one!

Overall, Simon’s year end Katy Kafe was entertaining as heck.  I didn’t learn a ton of new Duran news, but I laughed a lot and found myself smiling throughout.

-A

Atlantic City – 2008: Prides gone out the window

On this date in 2008, I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was my very first (and only) time there. In fact, I’d never really spent a lot of time in New Jersey, even though my father was born and raised there in a tiny town called Franklin. I’d been in New Jersey just once prior, for only a couple of hours – long enough to drive by the home where my dad was born, as well as the gravesite of my grandparents. For me, going to Atlantic City was exciting. I don’t even think I’d ever looked at photos from there, so I had no expectations. I kept picturing in my head the glitz, over-the-top glam, tripping the light fantastic of Las Vegas, with an ocean in the background.

Without being rude to those who love Atlantic City, it was very different from the picture I had in my head.

First of all, to be fair, we got to the hotel just hours before the show, and it was daylight. I suppose that yes, there were lights, but it was nothing like Las Vegas. I can’t really describe what was so different, maybe it’s just a little more down to earth? Seedy, even? I’m not really sure. In full disclosure, once you depart from the actual “Strip” in Vegas, there is plenty of seediness to be found. Turn down the wrong street, and you are liable to see plenty of after-effects from a little too much “sin” in the city! For that matter, look a little too closely at the Strip itself, and you’ll see plenty more than you may have bargained for. But somehow, that day in Atlantic City was bright enough to where I didn’t have to look to hard to find the grit. It was December, unseasonably warm (I am not kidding about that – it was warmer on that day in New Jersey than it was in many parts of Southern California!), and yet the crowds had gone away for the winter. I can remember eating lunch somewhere with Amanda and the restaurant was eerily quiet.

Even though we were short on time, I was excited about being there. We had a weekend membership and reservations to eat in the restaurant up in the Foundation Room – which was a splurge at the time. And of course, the reason for our visit? To see Duran Duran.

2008 was one of the toughest years of my life. Not only was I pregnant for part of the year (it was the roughest of my three, naturally), I gave birth three weeks early, which set off a string of events and mishaps that I still take medication to circumvent even today, and my dad died two weeks after my youngest was born. I suppose we could say the year was bittersweet, because I want to be fair to my youngest, but when I think back – I mostly remember the year as being horrific. My little one was the brightest spot. (and continues to be that way even though she drives me crazy sometimes!) So the trip I took to see shows in the east that year was welcome, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the album they were touring.  That’s probably putting it lightly.  I remember that tour as the one where I was the most cynical, and very unfair to the band. I’d also had one hell of a horrible year.

When I share that I stood off to the side for the show at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, and that during the show I actually left the crowd to sit on a couch area in the back of the venue because I felt sick, and that I barely remember anything about being there other than John Taylor correcting me on the clapping rhythm for Red Carpet Massacre, I suppose that says something about me at the time. My head just wasn’t in the game. Or the show.  I don’t even remember much about the after party, other than Roger Taylor DJing while I danced on the small dance floor up in the Foundation Room. I didn’t even know until much later that the rest of the band was there as well, sitting behind some sort of roped off area. Where was Dom, you ask? (just pretend you’re asking!) I honestly don’t know. I don’t even have a clear memory of noticing him onstage at the House of Blues. THAT was how out of it I was at the time, and I think the entire year was like that for me. I think back on how much of a zombie I must have been, and its a miracle that my friends still speak to me.

I was only in Atlantic City for less than 24 hours, because we left early the next morning to make our way to Montclair for the final show on the tour.  I hope to make it back someday, maybe in the summer, so I can see the full-effect.

Oddly, that road trip in 2008 is also the time when Amanda and I decided to embark on the book writing process. I don’t know what that says…but it says something.

Whenever these days come around on my calendar, I think back on 2008. I am a lot different of a person now than I was then. I hate equating that year with so much unhappiness, but it is difficult because the grief was so overwhelming. I was so harsh, angry and judgmental as a fan, and even as a person – I don’t think I realized how much the grief affected me. Yet, I bonded much more closely with my youngest. It was the one thing keeping me afloat, I think.

As I sit here I’m also thinking that it was the first holiday season without my dad, too…and yes, I know that Simon is going through similar this year. I think about that a lot because I know that pain all too well. It is the club nobody wants to join, and I wouldn’t want it for anyone else. In some ways, I think it’s great that Simon is getting out there for shows during this season, because he probably needs to feel that love and affection we have for him. I get that and believe me, when I was really feeling that pain, I wished I’d reached out for more help. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.  In other ways,  I just feel for him, period. There’s absolutely no hiding from the reality and finality. I wish there were.

I always wondered if I was weird, that having so much grief was unusual, probably because when my dad’s parents (my grandparents) died, I don’t remember my dad saying much. I mean, he was sad at first, but after the funerals, he just stopped talking about them. He’d mention them occasionally, but I don’t remember him being sad. Maybe more with my grandma than my grandfather, but I was so young then (I was about nine).  I assumed that once you’re grown, you just come to expect that your parens will die someday and that’s OK. As my friends have also had parents pass on, including Simon, seeing how he reacted to his grief, along with my friends, made me see that it’s OK. I’m not so different to miss him, and I still do. Even nine years on.

As you can read, I can’t really separate the tour of 2008 from what was going on in my own life. I think that’s probably normal for most of us. The tours and things are sort of like the points of interest along the way in our lives. This blog post turned out to be something a lot different from the “short post” I had planned to write, so thanks for sticking with it until the end!

Were you at the Atlantic City show in 2008? Let me know!

-R

Play the F*cking Bass, John!

Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….

I think most everyone has heard that familiar chant as Simon goes through the intros to the band during Girls on Film, but where did it first start?  Have we always done it?

Strangely, I really thought this was something that had been around forever, or at least for as long as I can remember.  It has become so iconic that I don’t think I ever considered when it might have started. I just assumed it had always been a part of the show. Turns out that no, we haven’t always been chanting that at John. On this date in 2003, Duran Duran played the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia…and THIS was the first time the audience ever exuberantly cheered those words.  Thank you, Australia.

So the next time you’re at a show and Simon starts in with “Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….” cheer along and just think, some of the best traditions we have as fans got started fairly recently. Fourteen years and counting.

You never know when or where the next tradition may begin!

-R

Hammersmith 1982 – So much has changed, yet stays the same.

It used to be that I enjoyed watching concert videos of Duran Duran because I wasn’t able to see many shows, particularly those from the 80s. I didn’t go to my first Duran Duran concert until 1989, so these concert videos represented a world that I was not involved with, and I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. Even so, I would watch whatever I could find, over and over again in fascination.

Nowadays, I watch them almost incredulously. It is difficult for me to make sense of who they were then versus who they are now. I don’t know if that will make sense to many of you. I suppose in some small way I see them differently now? They’re not on quite as high of a pedestal (assuming they are in fact on any sort of pedestal at all). I see Simon in these videos, for instance – and I see this untouchable, unattainable, enigmatic, person. I didn’t know him, I never met him, and he may as well could have been in a dream rather than reality. That’s how Duran Duran was for me as a child. I still don’t know Simon, but I’ve stood with him in a picture. I’ve waved to him. He’s REAL now in a way he wasn’t then. The band is just a little more real to me as a whole. Even so, I still have a hard time watching these videos and reconciling the fact that the people in this video are the same people I go to see perform now.  It isn’t that the band has changed, it is that I see them differently, I think.

I am the first to admit that when I was ten, the hero-worshipping going on in my head and heart was huge. They may as well have been knights in shining armor. I proudly hung their posters on my wall, and believed they could do no wrong, even when I was presented with evidence that may have proven otherwise. At the time, they were exactly what I needed them to be, because I was a child. I needed and wanted that fairy-tale existence, and although sometimes I will slip and say that I wished I had met them in the 80s, I realize that it would have completely destroyed me to have done so. The unfair expectations that I would have placed upon them would have been enormous. No one could have possibly lived up. When I watch old performance videos like Sing Blue Silver, those old feelings are stirred up a bit. Those memories and feelings behave more as childhood nostalgia than pure hero worship these days, but to be fair there’s still some gushing going on. I mean, I am still a fan.

On the other hand, in adulthood, I think my feelings now are more along the lines of fondness and deep respect. How can I help but not respect Simon, John, Nick and Roger? They’ve stood the test of time, not only with me, but with millions of people worldwide. That’s mind-blowing in this day and age. I don’t giggle when I see them, unless of course I’m about to be hosed down with Simon-spit (and I’m not really sure I giggle about that at the time…I’m too busy ducking for safety!). I think that might be a side-effect from writing the blog, but I’m really not sure. I just know it is hard to see the John Taylor in Sing Blue Silver or even in videos like “The Reflex” and make sense of the fact that yeah, that’s the same John Taylor that I see onstage now. The struggle is real and my brain does not compute.

So much has changed, yet so much really is the same, I suppose!

In 2009, EMI released videos of these early shows, including Hammersmith 1982. I thought it would be fun to watch some of the clips again today. I couldn’t find the concert in entirety so I just chose several to watch. Enjoy!

 

-R

I’ll Hold On To the Memory

This morning, good ole Facebook reminded me of what I was doing and where I was six years ago today through the following picture:

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Tweet
Our infamous tweet before the show in Brume

Yes, six years ago today, Rhonda and I were seeing Duran Duran play at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.  Funny enough, every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself to remind me that this really did, indeed, happen.  Looking back at that show and that tour, two big ideas come to mind.  First, the phrase “all you need is now” pops up, the idea of just living in the moment.  Then, there is the significance of that trip and place for my personal fandom.

In 2011, we went to the UK twice.  Of course, the first trip, in May, did not go as planned to say the least.  Simon lost his voice and the shows we held tickets for were canceled.  We pushed through, made the best of the situation, and ignored the worry that we had seen the end of Duran.  Thus, when the shows were rescheduled, we didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to go back.  Looking back on that decision, I cannot remember pondering the decision very long.  I  didn’t debate the pros and cons of doing another UK trip.  Normally, when shows are announced, I go through the internal checklist.  Is the date one in which I can attend?  If it is during the school year, can I take off?  Do I have the money to go?  Will someone be around to check in on the cat?  That time, though, those questions weren’t really even asked.  We leaped before we looked, definitely.

Was that wise of us?  Probably not.  After all, I had struggled with work to be able to go the first time.  Then, during the same month of the trip, I had the chance to go to an Obama White House holiday party.  Would I be able to do both?  I assumed that I would for some crazy reason.  In hindsight, everything worked out and worked out easily.  It wasn’t anything like the struggle I had in May to be able to go.  Was I lucky?  Beyond.  It almost felt like it was meant to be.

What lesson did I learn from this trip?  The message I received, I think, is that, at times, I just have to go with my gut.  I shouldn’t think everything to death or assume that it cannot or should not happen.  When there is an opportunity for something amazing, I gotta go with it.  I am all for having responsibilities and being responsible, but…  (Seriously, people who know me know that I’m hyper responsible.  Is that from teaching for over 20 years?  Maybe.  Campaigning for political candidates?  Possibly.)  Was it super weird for me not to think about my obligations?  Yes, but it is good for me–not only to be able to enjoy some crazy good times but also to let myself live a little.

Both trips meant a great deal to me.  On the first trip with the canceled shows, I gained an insight into the band and my fandom that I would not have had otherwise.  Rhonda and I had to make the best out of an extremely disappointing situation.  While I don’t know that I would say that it was the most fun, it was the most eye-opening.  The extra time meant that we could walk around Birmingham and get a real sense of where the band came from.  That humanized them in a way that I didn’t think possible.  They were no longer just celebrities but people, humans.  This idea was reinforced by seeing them outside of their studio when they were open about the situation and how they were feeling about it.  I felt honored to have been there.

Fast forward almost 7 months later and the dream was finally fulfilled.  We got to see the band play in their hometown.  I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.  While the show was not the best I had ever been to, it was monumental to me.  As a kid, I remember thinking about how exotic Birmingham sounded to me.  My family was not well off and any vacations we took typically took us to a nearby state, if that.  We never traveled by plane (I took my first flight at 17!) and I didn’t know anyone who went overseas.  So Birmingham sounded so unusual to me.  I couldn’t even imagine what it was like and I never expected to find myself there once, forget about more than once.  What did I discover about the city?  It really felt like a lot of the industrial northern cities here do.  As someone who grew up in the south side of Chicago, it felt almost familiar.  I realized that I actually liked it and would love to spend more time there, which is not what I expected at all.

Six years have gone by.  My fandom grew stronger from those trips.  One thing is certain.  I’ll hold on to those memories for the rest of my life.

-A

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

I know that it is only the US that celebrates Thanksgiving on this day, but for those of us who live in the USA – it is one of our major holidays. I wish everyone celebrating a very happy one.

At this moment while you are reading, I can guarantee that I am cooking. (I’m writing this a bit early to accommodate my schedule!) Our holiday is not incredibly fancy, and we don’t have a lot of people over – just the kids and my mom, but it is nice. We watch the Macy Thanksgiving Day parade and then the Westminster Dog Show (no, I’m not kidding).  We are not a football family (American football), so we avoid it like the plague! Today we’re eating a late lunch rather than a dinner because after this insanity is over, we have to pack up our trailer for camping. We leave early tomorrow morning.

That’s right, I’m the crazy person who suggested that we go camping this weekend after I cooked. 6 AM Friday, we are on the road.  (Who thinks that is really going to happen? Anyone???) Someday, I’m going to learn to keep my crazy thoughts to myself. This, my friends, is not that year. In all seriousness, I don’t think we would have gone except that the other side of our family – Walt’s side – is going, and we wanted to be able to spend time with them. So, I’m looking forward to getting packed and on our way tomorrow morning.

This brings me to the section of the blog where I share what I am most thankful for this year, because it IS Thanksgiving, and that is what the holiday has come to mean for my family, particularly this year. Sorry for the sap.

I am grateful for learning how to take time to breathe, center myself, and focus on the things that matter. I’m still working on living my life in gratitude, but I’ll accept the baby steps and learn from them.

My family. When I get overwhelmed, they are always here. I love having my two older kids out in the world, even though I miss them at home. I love that they share their successes, and even their hardships and failures with me. I’m also really thankful to have a lot of time with my youngest. I have learned so much about her this year. I can’t parent her the same way I did my older two – she is so different, and I love her uniqueness. She doesn’t let me get away with a single thing!

I am so humbled by the way my brother has handled his illness. I could not say and do the things he has in the past year. He says it is because of his faith, and maybe that is true for him. I just know that I don’t have his grace OR his strength. The same holds true for his wife, my husband’s sister. I am not half the person either of them are, that is for certain.

Now for the fun part:

This band. This crazy, silly, ridiculous BAND. Like it or not, I’m still writing about them, contemplating their antics, and having fun. They remind me to keep living my life and to enjoy the journey, which I am.  I also am thankful for them as people. They make me laugh, and I love that. Pure joy. I’ll take it every single time. I think they know we adore them…spit zone, eye rolling, winks, brightly colored flood pants and all.

Oh and Simon? Sixth row in Vegas, December 30th. You’re REALLY gonna need to spit for distance, and I wish you luck. You didn’t quite make it in San Francisco. I’d probably get some practice in beforehand, my friend.  BRING IT.

Can’t hit me, Simon!!!

I will never forget “Ordinary World” in both Oakland and San Francisco. Raw human emotion, undisguised by a stage name or “rock star” imagery. Simon showed us a bit of himself those nights. I know the pain of losing a parent, as many probably do. I know what it is like to have to pick up the pieces, move on and find whatever “normal” is going to look like from then on. Those nights, I felt that same pain rushing right back. Grief is just an incredibly deep hole. Sometimes I feel like I’ve climbed out of it, only to fall back in. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, yet there was something about having him share that on stage with all of us…I don’t know what it was, I’m not quite sure it is appropriate to say I was thankful being there to share it…I just know I felt it.

This blog is special to me, otherwise I simply wouldn’t take time to write each day. I know it isn’t perfect, and there are a good many things I could do to improve the site, our branding, my tone, my writing, etc. I appreciate the opportunity I give myself to write, even when my darling husband says, “You blog today? Again??” (Yes, again Walt. It’s DAILY!!!) It is cleansing at times, and entirely too much fun to ever consider giving up in others. Thank you for reading and supporting Daily Duranie. 

I’m also so thrilled to have a new friend brought into my life by none other than Dom. Writing about a song he was featured in led me to a new friend in Michael Kratz. Cannot wait to see what 2018 brings for each of them. All good things, I hope!

Thank you to Lori & Suzie, our touring buddies. A trip would not be the same without either of you, and I am hoping we get to do some more of that next year! Thank you also for getting those tickets to the Vegas show, girls – otherwise Amanda and I would have been sitting at the BAR!!!  A thousand thank you’s to Suzie, who is my spirit animal in ways I cannot explain here. 😀

Lastly, of course I am thankful for my good friend Amanda. She puts me in check when necessary, gives me encouragement and plenty of grace. I am not even remotely close to being as selfless as she is, but she gives me hope in humanity when I’ve just about given up. (BTW – have you written anything for our project?? Me neither. I need to get that done! EEK!)

Moving on…I’m sure it’s gotta turkey carving time by now, so I must go. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and to those who do not – have a lovely weekend ahead!

-R

 

Examining the Promise

This week’s lyric day search landed me on Arcadia’s song, The Promise.  As I looked over the lyrics, I realized that instead of analyzing just one line in relationship to myself or my life, I should look at the entire song.

First, let’s take a look at the lyrics:

Whose tears on a gaping voice
Who’s stretching arms match
The hunger of mine
There lips will they never join
But always draw me closer
And further entwined
With a promise dealer understand
All freedoms fade away
To a point of view
Where many different pathways meet
And we’re standing on this precipice
With nothing much to gain save
But the deep blue screams
Of falling dreams
With our next move
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry
The shades of a thousand steel
Come flashing by my face
In the fury of war
In desolation and abandoned fields
The hungry make their stand
When they’ll stand for no more
Hear the passion in their voices
See the heaven in their eyes
Their hopes and schemes are waiting
Dreams of less than paradise
And sometimes we make promises
We never mean to keep
For blackmail is the only deal
A promise dealer sees
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry

Hmm…as soon as I read those lyrics, I think about what I teach each and every day.  As I’m sure that most of you reading this blog know, outside of my life as a Duranie, I teach high school.  Specifically, I teach United States History from Reconstruction through World War II (1865-1945).  To me, this song could be about teaching history, any country’s  history as there are many moments of grief, anger as well as hope.  Just yesterday, I taught my students about the Wounded Knee massacre that took place on December 29, 1890, in which about 250 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe were killed by the United States army.  There is a great and famous quote by a member of that tribe stating the Wounded Knee was the end of a people’s dream (Native Americans).  The lyrics definitely could fit that event.

If you spend any time at all looking at human history, many tears can be shed as the history of humanity is filled with horrors, tragedies and loss.  Of course, history also has moments of greatness, progress, hope.  There are so many lines from this Arcadia song that captures the feeling well, including “Heaven’s eyes will never dry,” “in the fury of war,” “the hungry make their stand when they’ll stand for no more,” and so much more.  The video, I think also, fits this theme, which you can see here.

When I look further into this song, I found an Ask Katy question on the band’s official website:

January 12th, 2001

Hello Katy, I was wondering, who wrote the lyrics to the song, “The Promise” on the Arcadia album? Also, what was the inspiration for the songwriter? Thank you for your time!

SIMON WROTE IT. “I DID. IT’S ABOUT THE WESTERN WORLD’S BETRAYAL OF THE THIRD WORLD. s”

According to the Song Meanings website, there was another Ask Katy question about this song in which case Simon supposedly responded with, “The Promise is about all that’s worst and all that’s best about humanity.”  My response to both of these quotes is fascination.  If this is the case, Simon views history similarly to how I not only view it but teach it.  This will make me listen to the song in a very different way now.

Speaking of history, Arcadia came out in 1985 at the time that a lot of people, including many fans and members of the press thought of Duran as nothing more than pretty party boys.  Some people saw them as superficial and only looking for a good time.  The lyrics to this song, in particular, really calls into question that assumption.  Clearly, Simon was not just about having fun.  He did think about the world around him and even wrote about it.  This makes the negative assumptions about the band even more infuriating to me.  Obviously, a lot of critics and a lot of the public missed that Simon and the rest were a lot smarter and more aware than what they assumed.

-A

 

November 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Not much makes me happier during a lull than an invitation to listen to a shiny brand new Katy Kafe pop up in my news feed! This month, John takes a quick time out to chat with Katy, and I’ve got the highlights from the November 2017 Katy Kafe for you. Keep in mind, this is purely what I picked out, and with DD40 coming up – it might be time to get a membership to DDM so that you can stay up with all of the news that is sure to come!

What’s happening?

John comes to us from “the studio” in London, where he is working with Nick on a side project. Now whether this side project is the musical they’ve mentioned before, or something else, I’m not sure. John just says “it’s very different from what they’ve done in Duran Duran”…and I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more about it.

He mentions that they are going to be in Moscow (which they were earlier in the week) for the BRAVO award announcements where the band got back together and performed.

Ring in the New Year, Vegas-style

Katy also mentioned the upcoming Eve before New Years Eve show in Las Vegas, and asked John if he likes performing on New Years Eve. Emphatically, John answers with a quick, “YES” saying that he likes not having to worry about what he is going to do to entertain himself that night, and then almost just as quickly he adds a hasty, “but this is not on New Years Eve, it is the 30th, which means New Years Eve is still a problem that will have to be worked out.” Katy asks the question I was wondering myself, and that was whether or not John would stay in Vegas for New Years, to which he said he doesn’t know yet.

Apparently, Duran Duran has played on New Years Eve quite a bit over the years, citing the Savoy show in ’82 or ’83, and then the shows they did just outside of Washington DC last year in National Harbor. The band likes being on stage for New Years, and well….we really kind of like having them there, too!

There was a quick mention of whether this was really a final, final, Paper Gods date and John corrects Katy, saying that no, Paper Gods is finished. This is a standalone date. That leads to the obvious (Well, it’s obvious to me, anyway) follow-up about the set list. Will it change? John contends that they have to “err on the side of crowd favorites”. So, if you went to any of the Paper Gods shows and enjoyed hearing songs like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, and any of the rest of those hits that have been in previous set lists, there is good news: you’re gonna love this one too! He does say that it might be less interesting for diehard fans – and while I can’t disagree, I can say this: most of us already know this, and guess what? WE BUY TICKETS ANYWAY.  Why? Because it is exactly the type of party we all want to be at, and the party is what we make it!

Just imagine what we’d do when/if one of them came out and said it would be a show that no diehard should miss?!?

I shudder to consider the stampede…or how Ticketmaster might “handle” the demand.  Moving on…

What about 2018?

Here is what I find most interesting about this band: every single band member has a different story about the studio, and it’s comical! Since August, I have heard they’re going into the studio at the end of the year for something “fun” from Roger, something about going in after the new year from Simon, and now John says they’re “hoping” to go back in…with no real time specified.

So I don’t think anyone really knows. And that’s fine. Odd, but fine.

John does say that an album next year is unlikely. Given my experience as a fan of this band, I’d go one farther and say it’s nearly impossible. I’d be shocked, probably to the point of needing oxygen, if the band actually came out with even ONE SONG this year, much less an entire album.

In the meantime, John says they’re talking about the possibilities for recording a new album, including who they might be looking to collaborate with, or where they will record – insinuating that perhaps London might not be the birthplace for the next one.

This led to a question from Katy who asked if the band were to stumble upon that perfect song right away, would they release a stand-alone single or just wait for the album. Speaking purely for himself, John said maybe – citing that the marketing isn’t very good for one song. You don’t get TV or magazines for a single song, typically, so the promotion isn’t quite there. He surmises that they just have to be open to whatever happens.

Paper Gods

Looking back over Paper Gods, Katy wants to know if there are any songs that John wishes they had played. He mentions two that he wishes they had played more: “Universe Alone”, which they played towards the very end of the tour (and I have often wondered why they waited so long), and “You Kill Me with Silence”, which they only played once, at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles.  He says that it is hard to find a spot for mid tempo songs in the live show because you only want 2 or 3 of them.  I get that, although I think YKMWS was overall a difficult song for Simon because of the wide vocal range it requires.

John says that he still feels the album was the best since their reunion, but quickly says that he knows they always say that. (and they do, but I get it. Besides, if you didn’t think you were improving as a band, wouldn’t you have quit by now?? Funny how clearly it all makes sense now as opposed when I first asked about why they say that!)

I know there are fans out there that completely disagree, and some that herald Paper Gods as being the best the band has ever done. There is no accounting for personal taste, I suppose. John adds that he doesn’t want to put down the others, citing both AYNIN and of course, RCM. I’ll just say that we all have our favorites, and from the outside looking in, I think the band learned a lot from Paper Gods. They grew professionally, and perhaps personally. That’s not a bad thing after thirty-five years in the industry. John ends by saying that while the album “took some doing”, they’re all “quite proud” of something that is definitely a “Duran Duran album”.  A thought that is neither stupid, nor self-indulging. John is right when he says it ticks off all of the boxes of what one would expect from Duran Duran, whether it is your favorite album or a little less-than. It’s quintessentially Duran, and we like that!

Simple, short and sweet – John bids his farewell until the year-end Kafe, which we are rapidly approaching. Does not seem possible!

-R