Tag Archives: Simon Le Bon

Simon at the 2019 BCA Cultural Summit

(Obviously, Amanda and I cannot be everywhere, so in this case, we called out to the internet for help in covering such a wonderful event! Lucky for us, we had a couple of wonderful Duran fans willing to be our special “on the scene” correspondents! We are featuring Kathy’s today, and hopefully another later in the week. THANK YOU!!) -R

By Kathy Diaz

Thursday, May 23 was here! For me, this meant missing one day of work and driving two-and-a-half hours to Melbourne, Florida to see Simon give a talk at a luncheon for the Cultural Summit.  For some reason I wasn’t as excited for this as I was for the Duran Duran show in Miami.

 I mean, it was Simon! If you don’t know me, you must know that I’m completely obsessed with this man, so when I heard the news that he was coming to Florida I was ready to leave everything behind and go see him.

I woke up that day at 7AM and for me, this was too early. So, I took my time getting ready. Before I knew it, it was already 9AM and I was expecting to leave at 8:30AM. So, I got there a bit later than I’d planned. Thankfully, I had no problem finding the ballroom where the luncheon was taking place. I walked in and found a decent seat where I would see Simon clearly.

I was pleased to find out that the place was smaller than I thought, so even if you were all the way on the back, you were going to be able to see Simon. At 12:00PM, they started serving the lunch: for me it was chicken breast, mashed potatoes and vegetables…oh, and carrot cake, which was delicious.

Someone spoke before Simon, but he promised to be brief as he knew we were all there for Mr. Le Bon. He kept his promise and only talked for about 15 minutes. Just before 1PM, Simon made his entrance. That’s when the excitement hit me! Seeing Simon making his entrance to the same room where I sat felt surreal.

The man that I am used to seeing on the screen of my computer was there in the same room! He probably even looked at me! I’m going to sound like a naive teenage girl but, when Simon was talking, I felt he was looking directly at me. Please, let me live my dream.

The interview couldn’t have been better. Simon—as always—was very funny and humble. There was even a chance for the fans to ask him questions, which I didn’t expect. A lot of people kept raising their hands to ask questions, and I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t. I’m way too shy, and I would have to stand up and ask my question in front of him and other 400 people. Nope, I just couldn’t do it. Regardless, I am very happy for the brave ones who stood up and asked their questions.

Some of my favorites were the fan who told Simon she met him and Yasmin in 1987, and she still had the photos of that amazing experience. Simon even had her join him on stage and show the pictures to him.

There was a guy who also showed Simon his DD tattoos, which Simon thought was a rarity. 

Additionally, Greg Pallone, the reporter who was doing the interview, asked the audience who was the youngest fan. For a moment, I thought it could have been me (I’m 32) and the everyone around me seemed to be in their late 40’s or early 50’s. However, there was actually a 9-year-old girl in the audience named Rio. She was the luckiest fan that day. Not only did she have the chance to ask Simon a about his inspiration for the song, but she also got a picture with him, which is now all over the internet.

In total, the conversation lasted for about an hour. Simon talked about fashion, music, and even his family.  One of the things I learned is that Simon recently showed his daughters the documentary of Sing Blue Silver, and they thought he was annoying. 

Even though my excitement in the hours prior to Simon’s appearance wasn’t quite as intense as it might be before a gig, this was still an experience that I will never forget.  A live show is fun and exciting, but in these types of events, you can see more of the real person behind the artist. The conversation tends to be more intimate, and overall it is a great way for the artist to connect with fans on a personal level.

I wanted to meet Simon after the event and even waited for him outside, but I didn’t get lucky this time. However, being there in that room listening to him talk to us was more than enough for me. It was well-worth the money, lost wages, and long drive. I really hope they keep doing events like this!

Kathy Diaz is a fairly new Duranie, just discovering her obsession last year! She recently moved to Miami from Puerto Rico. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86. We invite you to check out her own Duran Duran blog at theretroarena.blogspot.com.

Simon at BCA Luncheon

Teaching is an interesting gig in that some aspects of the job that I like are also the ones that can frustrate the heck out of me. I was reminded of one of those this week. My job is an intense one in that I’m always busy and there is always way more than needs to get done. This allows for days to fly by. At the same token, it rarely allows me to check in with the rest of the world and when I do, it involves quick glances or short replies. I don’t have the time or the focus to dive into something happening in the world or in Duranland. While I’m glad that my work days don’t drag, I am sad that I miss out on things, particularly when it comes to fandom.

This week, Simon participated in a luncheon as part of the 2019 Cultural Summit, an event put on by the Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA), which is ” the professional organization representing the arts and cultural sector on Florida’s Space Coast.” The goal of the organization is as follows: Brevard Cultural Alliance provides artist residencies in numerous public schools, has a thriving Art in Public Places temporary exhibitions program, helps buildcollaborative working groups on issues of importance to the sector, supports the development of cultural destination, and holds capacity-building workshops for artists and cultural organizations. BCA administers the County Community Cultural Grant program on behalf of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. BCA and the Space Coast Office of Tourism coordinate promotion of events for participating organizations through the Cultural Marketing Initiative. BCA promotes area artists, arts organizations and arts and cultural events to our residents and our visitors.” Simon’s luncheon was a live interview where they advertised that “he’ll reflect on the past, present, and future of Duran Duran, of the music industry, and what success as an artist means.”

This all sounds fascinating to me, especially since people could buy tickets to attend. The idea reminds me a bit of John’s book talks and readings in which fans could buy tickets to hear him read parts of the book and then to also ask questions. I was lucky enough to attend one of those so I can imagine how awesome it must have been for those fans who attended this. (I know Rhonda said something on Twitter about how much we would love anyone who actually attended share their experience via a guest blog. Let me repeat the offer. We would love to from someone there what it was really like!) So, what have I seen about this event? Since I’m playing catch up here, I’ll do my best to share what I could find out about it.

In my search, the first place I looked was at the band’s social media. Both Facebook and Twitter had some photos and video clips. In one of the clips, Simon shared one experience on MTV in which they were joined by Keith Haring, a famous artist in the 1980s. I remember seeing that clip somewhere, sometime. I tried to find it on YouTube with no luck. That said, I remember the first time I saw it how cool I thought it was that this artist was working at the same time that Simon (and I think Nick) were talking. I loved how Duran always had connections to visual artists like Keith, Andy Warhol and more. Simon’s appearance at BCA reminds me that the band’s love of art and connection to it remains strong.

Another video clip focused on how songs really help to connect to other people. In some cases, it might let people know that they are not alone and in others it sheds light into something that others might be going through. I know that this connection that Simon spoke to is what really matters to me. I fall in love with songs when I find a connection to them. Maybe I’m a Duranie for this reason–maybe I have felt a personal, emotional connection to more of their songs than anyone else or the connection is simply stronger with Duran’s music. I think back to the first few listens of Paper Gods. It wasn’t until I found myself relating to some of the lyrics that I really liked the album.

Of course, there was some other press about this luncheon besides what was shared by DDHQ. One article was in Florida Today, which you can read for yourself here. It mentioned a few fans, including ones who met Simon decades ago, named a daughter Rio, held up lots of Rio album covers and more. Simon touched on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, studio work and that he hopes that Duran’s music will just be there. (I think it is safe to say that for many of us it will be. Always.) I appreciated both the recognition of the fans as I always believe that we are a big part of the story but I loved what Simon said about the music.

From what I saw, heard and read, this was a pretty magical experience for those in attendance. Simon seemed charming, personable and open from the video clips I saw. I recommend seeking out the band’s social media as well as people who attended social media. It seems to me that when band members do this type of thing the fans just eat it up. We want to see the band members in a different setting. People would like to ask questions directly. The band members don’t seem untouchable then but relatable, human. More importantly, it works to bring a stronger connection with the fans to the band member but also between fans as I saw lots of fans talking and connecting afterwards on social media. This is the type of thing that keeps fandom going, in my opinion. Good for Simon for participating and good for the fans who attended.

-A

I’ve Been Waiting For You

It’ll take a little time

I apologize for my tardiness today. I’m currently taking a break from a morning filled with online car shopping to write a few words here. My poor Lexus died a sudden death last week, despite my insistence that it could be fixed. (actually, it *can* be fixed…but it will cost me more than the car is worth. *sigh*) So, onward and upward, right?

The funny, and probably very sad, thing about me and that car is that we were pretty attached. Or I was to IT…rather. It was my dream car, and I fell in love with her (yes, it’s a she) immediately. I thought she was perfect, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every single minute of the thirteen years (nearly to the day) that she ran. That car was the most reliable vehicle I have ever had. In fact, the current oil leak and transmission issue (or death, rather) are the ONLY two problems the car has ever had that weren’t entirely man-made. (I did crack the oil pan once in a smallish accident that we won’t go into here.) No joke – Lexus makes a reliable car, and if they want to give me a new one, I’ll gladly take it as payment for my remarks. <wink, wink>

Stay wilder than the wind

Out with the old and in with the new, I guess. That’s kind of the way it is, isn’t it? I’ve had my Lexus long enough to where I am familiar with every subtle nuance, but it wasn’t always that way. For example, when I first got the car, on Mothers Day in 2006, I spent the first year or two marveling over the idea that I was driving my dream car. Fangirl mode, anyone? I knew next to nothing about the car at the time, but I knew I liked it.

However, as the years went by, I stopped being starry-eyed over driving a new car. I learned when things didn’t sound quite right, or when it was time for an oil change. I knew something cataclysmic was happening well before my husband ever listened to my worries. I’d poke at him when we’d be driving and say “Do you hear that little hum? That’s not right.” He’d listen and say “It’s FINE, Rhonda.” I’d sit back in my seat, full-well knowing the end was nigh. As much as I loved that “new car” feeling, there is something very satisfying about knowing my vehicle well. Good, and bad.

Words, playing me deja vu

Oddly, I think the same holds true with Duran Duran. I’ve been a fan of this band since the early 80s, and I was probably ten or maybe eleven when I first heard them. Very quickly after that, they became my obsession. I definitely fawned over photos, pretended to pass out when they’d come on the television. My bedroom walls, along with my school locker and folders for class, were decorated, and I absolutely had a favorite band member (Hello, Roger….I say in my most sultry voice…which isn’t sultry at all. *sigh*). I was absolutely a fan girl in every sense. Theband could do no wrong. It didn’t even occur to me that they could have opinions I wouldn’t like! The idea of not agreeing with them on one thing or another never even crossed my mind.

The weird thing is I’m 48 now. I don’t want to count the years – but there’s been a quite a few since those first days of staring deeply into Roger Taylor’s eyes….on the pinup pages of my Tiger Beat magazine! I doubt I know everything there is to know about Duran Duran, although I’ve certainly tried. Their history is well-known – I’ve studied them so long now, it feels like my story too. Their songs, music and videos have been the soundtrack for most of my life. I think I know the band itself rather well now. But do I know the people?

Is it something real

Definitely not. Sure, I can pick them out of a lineup, but I don’t know them as a true friend might, and that’s OK (and not the point I’m trying to make here at all). I appreciate the Katy Kafe’s that go beyond the surface “Duran Duran” stuff. Finding out a little bit about them as people, such as listening to John explain his interest in visual art, or what photography exhibits Nick has been to lately makes them seem a lot less enigmatic. I actually enjoyed hearing what Simon thought of our presidential elections, or even what type of food Roger likes to eat. While I recognize it’s not even remotely possible for them to have reciprocal relationships with 99% of the fans out there, I do like hearing and learning more about them as people. I’d have to imagine that while they realize talking and selling the brand is important – they probably like discussing something other than what they’re working on in studio too. (Not gonna lie here, if I were them, I’d be sick of it by now. I can almost hear them stiffen or shift position in their chairs just before Katy asks about the studio!)

The chances of getting to know John, Roger, Nick or Simon to the point when I can immediately recognize when something is “off” is highly unlikely for me, or most fans, I am sure. Even so, I appreciate having the chance to get even the tiniest of peeks into their “real lives”. I don’t feel slighted when I hear that one of them doesn’t like the same sort of food I do, for example. I’m not offended that maybe John has a real interest in politics. I love that he’s different from me in exactly the same way that I adore Amanda. Thank goodness there are people who are unlike me and have different joys! For me, learning about the band as actual, real, people isn’t about validating my own self though their likes and dislikes. I appreciate our differences, smile at the similarities, and today— I’m particularly grateful they don’t have failing transmissions!

-R

Hold On To The Memory

Welcome to Wednesday! I don’t have a lot to chat about today, so I’m just going to cover a couple of quickies before closing shop to do some chores around the house. Not fun, but necessary!

Do You Believe In Shame is 30 years old! Stop the madness!!!

On this day in 1989, Do You Believe in Shame was released. This is a song that I never really thought I’d hear live, but it was played in 2009 at The Pearl (Palms Hotel) in Las Vegas. As Simon introduced the song, I remember he mentioned the passing of Michael Jackson.

The song was the third and final single off of Big Thing. The meanings behind the song are fairly universal – meaning just about anyone can understand the place it comes from. At the time Simon wrote it, however, he attributed the meaning to the loss of three friends: Alex Sadkin, Andy Warhol and David Miles. 30 years, really???

As the Lights Go Down on vinyl – get yours this Saturday!

Next up, Record Store Day! Don’t forget that is this Saturday! We Duran fans have a special “hunt” going on – and that is for the vinyl edition of As the Lights Go Down. I don’t think it will be difficult to spot with its pink and blue cover! (although there are only 5500 copies available. Worldwide!) This is a 3-sided pink and blue LP, which admittedly – I’m a sucker for the colored vinyl – the 4th side is etched. The recording is from way back on the Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984. Happy hunting!!

That’s it from me today!

-R

Repost: Paper Gods, The Book

Today, I’m taking a self-imposed break. I saw that DDHQ had asked fans for their favorite tour book, and remembered how much I loved the one for Paper Gods. As you can see below, it is far more than just your average picture book commemorating a tour!

Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll be back tomorrow!

-R

**************************************************************************

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

If You Want To Stay With Me

Something to let you understand the way I feel

Today is March 28. On this date back in 2001, I went to see Duran Duran in Anaheim. Granted, it probably wasn’t a monumental show to anyone but me. Regardless, every single year I think about that night, and how it completely changed me.

I know that for many of you reading – you’ve seen this story and are sick of it. I get it. The reason I take the time to write about it each year though, is because I think it illustrates just how one single show, event, etc, can change your life. (So buy the tickets!)

Had I not been in the audience at the House of Blues that night, there’s no way this blog would exist. I would have never met Amanda, Jessica, Lisa, Suzie, or Lori. Prior to that night, I’d tucked away memories of being a Duranie right along next to those marked “high school” or “middle school”. Sure, I still loved their music, but rather than having the songs be a vibrant part of my life – they were special memories.

To feel it once again

I still loved them. I mean, whenever I’d hear they were going to be on a talk show in support of an album, I’d be sure to tune in. Most of those shows were during the day, and I was a stay-at-home mom anyway so it worked well. I didn’t deliberately keep Duran Duran a secret, but I also didn’t think to talk about them much. My knowledge of them was rather limited to whatever I’d heard on the radio or read in a book or magazine. It was the kind of thing where I’d say “Yeah, I really loved them back in junior high and high school.” No more, no less.

But then Walt insisted on buying these tickets to see them at the House of Blues. I thought they were a fortune at $65.00 a piece. (Seriously? Someone slap me!) To say I wasn’t excited was an understatement. I tried to talk him out of going several times, even complaining about how we didn’t have a sitter. (Obviously we found one) But the night arrived, and my husband was hell bent that we were going.

It’s just Duran Duran…

I can remember arriving at the venue. It was in Downtown Disney at the time, and we walked up to see a line of people waiting to get in. It was only about 5pm, maybe 6 at the latest, and I was appalled.

“Waiting to get in as though it’s still 1985??? REALLY?!? There’s no way I’m waiting in that. I don’t care how far back we are. How dumb!!”

We went and had dinner at the House of Blues. We found out through our waitress that since we ate there, we’d get in early. I waved her off, laughing.

“It’s just Duran Duran!”

(Famous last words)

We finished dinner and walked right into the music hall, where I announced that we would just stand by the bar. Walt was floored.

“Really? Are you sure??” He shrugged and went to go get us drinks.

Thank you for the fine times

I stood there for a while and surveyed the scene. The floor continued to fill up steadily, but I was insistent that I didn’t need to be in that mess. I could hear them just fine from the back. My thinking was that John, Roger and Andy weren’t even in the band, and I had no idea who in the heck was even playing drums or bass these days. Simon and Nick? Warren? I shrugged to myself. They weren’t my favorites, who cares?!? I just hoped that they’d sound like what I remembered.

I’m not exactly sure when I finally made my way over to about the top of the stairs (going down to the floor), but I suspect it was because Walt insisted. I don’t remember much about him being beside me after that, either – which is pretty funny, and telling.

The band took the stage (although if I remember right, they were way late to do so), and from the second Simon opened his mouth to sing – I was lost to the rest of the world. I was there. In the same room. With Simon! Breathing the same freaking AIR.

Do you remember

Not going to lie, aside from Simon introducing a song at one point by saying it was off of their Pop Trash album (I couldn’t even tell you what song it was – and I didn’t even OWN the album), I have no idea what they played that night. I just know that I was transported somewhere else. I felt like I’d stepped back in time and was reintroduced to someone I’d left behind many years back—me.

Junior high, or middle school, were tough years. Puberty, hormones, just an overall feeling that wavered between being thankful I had friends to feeling awkward and completely alone. Duran Duran had been my saving grace, then. It was the one thing that made me feel “cool” (and I definitely was not). I was included in a group of friends who loved the band as much as I did, and that’s how I managed middle school.

While I hadn’t really discovered boys yet – I discovered Duran Duran. They were safe. They couldn’t reject me, and they didn’t know I was a nerdy kid with frizzy hair that didn’t know the first thing about fashion. I could put posters all over my room, retreat into the safety and warmth of my room, and daydream about meeting them. I was convinced that Roger would fall for me, and that I’d become best friends with the rest of them. Ah, the innocence and naivety of the tween years.

Would never seem to end

High school began much of the same way. I was still a total nerd with frizzy hair, but I’d gotten into marching band. In high school, marching band became my haven (although even there, I was one of the nerdy ones). I had no idea how to flirt with the boys, was disgusted by the girls who did, and instead of learning – I did the opposite by befriending them all. One of my friends would giggle and act like an idiot at our local pizza parlor hangout, whispering about her then-boyfriend with our other friends in a corner. Me? I’d sit with him and the other guys at a table, and we’d talk like normal people. I couldn’t ever understand why the boys would always fall for girls like my friend, and never ones like me, though.

Naturally, that changed during my high school years. I had boyfriends. I suppose I finally learned how to flirt without feeling like I’d lost IQ points in the process. My hair stopped being so frizzy. While I never quite became a fashionista, I did settle into my own style and owned it. Sort of.

College was more of the same. I gained and lost friends, all the while learning who I really was. I changed a lot, and not necessarily for the better. By then, Duran Duran had been all but completely shelved. My posters gone, my childhood bedroom became someone else’s as my parents moved out of the area and I lived at school. I just don’t think I ever noticed just how much of myself I was leaving behind in the process.

To feel it once again

I didn’t recognize how different I was until I saw Duran Duran that night in 2001. I’d been functioning for so long, I didn’t see it.

That’s just it though. I functioned. Something was always missing. I lived, but not fully. I loved being a mom, but secretly I wondered if that was really all there was left for me. Rather than search or start asking questions, I just settled into what I had. This reads so pathetically as I’m typing it – but it’s exactly how I felt at the time.

Going to that show on March 28, 2001 opened up a door. In some ways, it feels a little like an escape hatch! I became reacquainted with this inner-Duranie that I thought was gone forever. I really like her, too. There’s a fierceness, a sense of bravery, and even a bit of fiery independence somewhere inside of me that peeks out every now and then, at her insistence. She’s not willing to just settle, no matter how often I try to stuff her back into the box and explain that I can’t just restart my entire adult life over again to suit her.

At your liberty

I think that’s a lot of the reason why I keep writing this blog. Sure, sometimes finding topics of interest is tough. I’ve been writing for eight years, and the words don’t always just float ever so gracefully to the surface. While this blog serves as a sort of tribute to being a fan, it also gives a little justice to the inner-Duranie each day.

…as if I could ever really forget her.

-R

South Africa Interview from 1982

Life sure has a way to swing from one extreme to the next, doesn’t it? Last week at this time, I was finishing up my second winter break of sorts as I had four snow days in a row. Those days were pretty chill. While I checked off some items on my to do list, it was done with minimal stress. Since returning to school/work, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off with campaign work taking up just as much time as my teaching job. This means that by Thursday night, I’m beat. I was even supposed to go to a meeting last night but opted not to due to slick roads and exhaustion. The results for this blog means that I cannot be super creative or even probably decently articulate. I’m settling with a “good enough” attitude. I apologize in advance. I hope to be on my game more tomorrow.

Rather than attempt a topic that is super thought-provoking or funny that would not go so well in my current state, I figured it might be better to check out an interview. By interview, I mean a Duran Duran interview. Yes, it will be random because that will be fun. I’ll share the interview in a second and then share my thoughts about it. I’m sure those conclusions will be amazingly uninterestingly but what the heck. If I haven’t alienated you yet, maybe you will put up with just a little bit more.

Somehow, I managed to find an interview that I haven’t seen and I don’t think I have shared on here before. According to the video description, this is from South Africa in 1982. Fascinating.

Ignoring the very quiet audio, I’m not surprised that the first real question had to do with video. Simon’s statement about how they had to do something new to get attention and how they are going to be the first video band made me think. While I totally get why he said that as they were getting lots of attention because of their videos, I wonder how long it was until he wished that he had answered differently. I remember countless interviews where they talk about how much longer it takes to make a song vs. a video and that they wished that people focused on their music more. Sometimes, saying something that seems good at one time ends up coming back to bite you in the butt.

Interestingly enough, the next time Simon speaks he gives an answer that does not sound dated in that they are trying to broaden their audience. Heck, he could say the very same thing today. After all, I’m sure that there are a lot of women in the front these days with lots of guys further back.

The last part that caught my attention was the discussion about America’s musical tastes. Simon talked about how America just seems bored of the “rubbish” music that is out. (In 1982, I don’t know that I would disagree with him especially when it comes to mainstream, Top 40 radio.) The funny part is that Simon said something along the line of how once the U.S. hears the new music coming out of the UK, that it will catch on quickly. He really wasn’t wrong. I wonder how he knew that. How could he tell?

This was not my favorite video (mostly due to the poor volume) but I enjoyed it, nonetheless. I thought it was cool to see Roger looking about as relaxed in an interview from that time period that I have ever seen. It is fascinating about how many of these questions might be asked today and how they might respond exactly as they did then for some questions but not for others. What did the rest of you think?

-A

And We Swayed: a Look Back at Daybreak in 2011

On this date in 2011, Roger and Simon did a brief interview on Daybreak – a morning talk show in the UK.

I rewatched the interview (linked here), thinking about how different things are now from when the interview was done. One of the interviewers had asked them if they thought All You Need is Now was an album they could have seen themselves making thirty years earlier.

It was an odd question to ask, really. I mean, thirty years prior to All You Need is Now, they were practically kids, just barely scratching at the surface of their career. Who really thinks that far down the line? Simon answered as I would have suspected, by saying that they never really thought more than two or three weeks ahead back then.

What *was* interesting though, especially in hindsight, was how Simon characterized their working experience with Mark Ronson. He said that Mark was charming, and that he had a way of getting you to do things that you didn’t want to do. I don’t know why I never quite picked up on that vibe before. The comment was made in reference to recording All You Need is Now, as though maybe the band wasn’t quite 100% on board with making an album that was such a step back to the band’s earlier days, musically.

I have to wonder if the band’s opinion of the album evolved at all after it’s release and seeing the reception from fans. The band always seemed to like the album, or so I assumed. However, seeing these interviews now, eight years later, I have to wonder if they really did like it as much as we did. AYNIN came directly after Red Carpet Massacre, which did not receive such a warm welcome at the time. Did the recording of AYNIN felt too much like a giant step backward?

Ah well, something to think about, I suppose. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got up their sleeves for this next round!

-R

Bowie and Time

Am I sitting in a tin can

It’s hard to imagine, but we’ve already been surviving on this planet without David Bowie for three years. Some say that’s when it all really went to hell….

I’m not so sure I’d go as far to make that claim. However, I know a good many of my friends – including those in that band I tend to talk about here and there – that might! I don’t know where those three years went so fast, but they did.

And here we are.

Find yourself in the moment

Also on this date, but in 2011, Time Magazine published a short Q&A with Simon and Nick, on the heels of the release of All You Need is Now. Here, by the grace of the internet, is the link!

Time Magazine Q&A with Simon and Nick

I read through it as there’s only a few questions. I just have to take a second to marvel at how much my own prospective has changed between 2011 and now. The very first question is in regard to the vision of AYNIN as the “imaginary follow-up to Rio“.
Simon explains that Mark Ronson comes from a fan perspective. Mark guided them to create something that truly was the follow up to their second album. Apparently the third album (SATRT) disappointed Mark as a kid.

I remember hearing all about this over and over during the interviews/press junket for AYNIN. It was all about the “follow-up to Rio” back then. What I didn’t pick up on though, was how artfully the band would put that characterization in Mark’s corner. Rather than accept ownership and say that they wanted to make their own imaginary follow-up, they really hand that over to Mark. I’m not saying that wasn’t indeed the case, but in hindsight – I think the wording may have been very telling.

Like a diamond in the mind

In subsequent interviews since then, particularly during the release of Paper Gods, the band has always been careful to say that they already went “back” for AYNIN, and they wouldn’t want to do that again. I think they know that the album was a fan favorite, but I have often wondered if they felt that it was a bit TOO contrived in parts. I’m thinking of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” or as I think of it – “The Chauffeur, with Different Lyrics”. I like the song, mind you, but it is VERY close, musically, to “The Chauffeur”. Then again, there are other songs on the album, like “Safe”, or even the title track, that definitely hold up on their own and don’t even need to be characterized as a follow-up to Rio.

I’m still tickled I was able to find the the Q&A online, because if nothing else, it gets me thinking about what they could possibly be cooking up for the next one. Obviously, it is incredibly early in the journey. I can’t imagine they’ve had too much time in the studio to do much – but I still enjoy the wide open feeling of possibilities ahead. It is a good way to begin my weekend, which starts NOW.

Until Monday for me…

-R


Year End Katy Kafe 2018 with Simon

This is it, the final year end Katy Kafe. This one focuses on Simon and his list of the top moments of the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these and Simon’s does not disappoint. Before I dive into the usual highlights, I recommend going to listen to the Kafe yourself over at DuranDuranMusic.com. Then, you can enjoy it as much as me.

As soon as the kafe began, I could tell that this was going to be a fascinating kafe as Simon explained about slow fruit, which is like a plum but lots smaller. It grows in the UK, which of course is connected to his drink of choice, slow gin. My only reaction to this is that I learn something new everyday. After a few minutes of this, Katy asked about the event of the year. Simon’s reacted by singing a song, a vaudeville song. Well, then. Nope. This kafe was not disappointing. I’m not sure how this is connected to world events but okay. Of course, Simon’s personal event of the year was the birth of his grandson. It is clear that Simon loves, loves, loves taking care of his grandson who is now 6 months old and starting to utter lots of sounds and noise. Now, he would like more grandchildren! Simon also mentioned that the band is back in the studio as a big event. (Yes! Agreed!)

Simon’s movie, “All the Money in the World” was one that he thought was great. (I hadn’t heard of it but it sounds interesting. It is the story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty and trying to get the family to pay the ransom.) Apparently, there is also a TV version. Interestingly enough, he has not seen Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star is Born. As far as TV goes, he mentioned “A Very British Scandal.” I remember hearing about this, which is about a political leader’s gay affair. Simon says that it is a “must be seen”. He also liked a series called, “Killing Eve.” Currently, he is watching “The Little Drummer Girl.”

As far as books goes, he liked “The Stocking Places,” about a guy from a gypsy family who goes on a journey to understand his culture as well as the negative stereotypes about them. The book helped Simon realize that he had prejudice, too, which is helping him to overcome it. To me, that is a major win. He doesn’t typically read non-fiction but this was one that really made him think. A book of fiction that he liked was Reamde by Neal Stephenson. Apparently, he plans on doing a Simon’s Reader about one of the audiobooks that he has listened to/read. Based on some of the books he talked about, I suspect that the next Simon’s Reader will be very interesting.

Simon’s favorite Duran event of the year was watching the BBC4 Takeover Documentary as much as he loved the perfumes. He enjoyed looking back at the band’s history especially since they don’t get that opportunity much as they are too busy in the moment. In 2019, he is looking forward to the next season of Game of Thrones and the shows in February. Before Katy let Simon go, she asked him the same question she asked everyone about when the album…I mean project will be done. He said that they had a great start with a great team but he cannot predict when it will get done. Fair enough.

Like all the rest of these year end kafes, I enjoyed this one as well. 🙂

-A