Tag Archives: Simon Le Bon

Eight Years of Daily Duranie!!

On September 13 of 2010, I sat down and wrote my first blog. I can remember taking a deep breath before hitting “publish”. I had no idea what I was doing, and no real concern about the quality of my work. Ignorance is bliss!

Eight year later, I’m still writing. I try not to compare my work to others and just let the words speak for themselves. I don’t live with a thesaurus at my fingertips, and while my writing might not be the most technically sound – the feeling is all there. I still love blogging, and it gives my life direction when I don’t know what way I am headed. (Kind of like right now!)

Blogging also gives me a few moments each day to take stock in my own thoughts and feelings. Lately, I have put a lot of my own dreams and desires on the back burner. My family needs most of my support and attention, and that will probably continue for a while longer as we sell this house (anyone want to move to Orange County??) and move to the next yet-to-be-determined place. The process is exhausting, and I really do feel like I’ve had to put everything I want to do aside. I never expected it would take this long, but here we are. Life has its own idea of the way things are going to go, I guess. Blogging keeps me semi-connected, at least. I haven’t even talked to Amanda since the beginning of summer, but I feel like I at least have some vague idea of what is going on with her because I read her blogs. I don’t love that I feel so removed and remote, but I believe that our friendship will bridge the gap and we’ll catch back up again.

I wish I could say that after eight years, I’ve had some huge epiphany, or that I have amazing stories to share. Instead, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I started blogging because wanted to be liked. I wanted to feel like I was part of a group. I wanted to be one of those people that others would come up to and say hello when we saw one another at gigs. Simple things, really. For a self-admitted outcast, it has been really cool.

I know that I don’t have amazing Duran Duran stories. Aside from a couple of things I’ve already shared too many times, I’m just your average fan. I don’t know more than anybody else and I’ve certainly not done more than most of you reading. Once in a while something will happen and I’ll be reminded that maybe, just maybe, the band recognizes me from somewhere – and that’s pretty neat. I don’t need to confirm that the reason they might recognize my face is because I’ve been to an obscene amount of shows during the past eight years (my husband reminds me about that all the time anyway).  I can pretend it MUST be due to this blog, right?  I don’t go backstage or hang out with anyone exciting on a regular basis.  I go to the shows I’m able, and then afterward, Amanda and I scramble to find something to do. We’re always better when we’ve got a plan, right Amanda? We spend a lot of time making ourselves laugh and being idiots when we’re together. It’s not a bad gig, really, despite the lack of pay. I don’t mind that I’m not personal friends with band members, although any time they’re ready to hang with the commoners, they can drop us a line. I really do thank them for being such an effective muse over the years. I have no doubt that it will continue.

I don’t know offhand when the band will tour again. I only know that we’re going to keep blogging, and we’re going to keep laughing.

I really do wish Amanda and I were together to toast to our eight years of insanity, but we’re not so I have a message for my partner-in-crime: We did this together, and I hope you are as proud of it as I am. As I head out to drop my girl off at school, I’m going to be thinking about Daily Duranie, and everything we’ve done together, Amanda. It has been a wild ride, and I’m so thankful I’ve had you to bounce things off of along the way. I am hoping we can get back to that very soon. In the meantime, I know you are doing what you feel you must, I support you 100%, and I’m doing what I have to do to get my family settled again. Love you lots!

Eight years and counting!!

-R

Have you watched the 360 Lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet?

I don’t really understand lyric videos.

I mean, I get why they’re done. Learning the words to a new favorite song is pretty important to those of us who are fans. I can remember listening to the same song over and over, and the feeling of triumph when I’d finally be able to sing each word. I can even remember hitting rewind and play for what felt like hours on end, just so I could hear a specific word. Sitting with a lyric sheet in front of my stereo was commonplace for me in the 80s.

A lot of that still holds true today. I like knowing the words. If a lyric sheet isn’t included with an album, I’ll go find lyrics online and learn them. God forbid I go to a show and not be able to sing along!

I’m confused about lyric videos because honestly, they seem like a gimmicky waste of money. Do people really watch them over and over? I ask because on this date in 2015, Duran Duran released a lyric video to “Pressure Off”.

This isn’t your average lyric video, though. “Pressure Off” is done in 360-vision. The way it works best is if you watch on your mobile phone. Hold up your mobile phone, making sure it is in full screen mode, as you turn around, the video gives the feeling that you are in the center of the video. It is interactive, and the effect is kind of cool. The lyrics slide by thanks to computerized animation, and the viewer is treated to seeing still shots of the band alongside the iconic “stickers” from the front of Paper Gods.

It took me a long time after it was released to get the full effect because I didn’t stop to check it out on my phone (although I understood the point).  When I finally remembered to do it, I thought the video was cute and worth a view, but it seems like a lot of work to put something like that together all for the sake of putting the lyrics out there.

Obviously, there must be more to these videos than just “Hey, watch this and learn the words!” I’m guessing somehow, they make the band money. Why only have one video for a single when you can have two? I still don’t really get it, but I suspect I’m on the right track. Having two videos up for viewing might boost chart progress and get the song “out there”.

So, if you haven’t watched the 360 lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet, why not watch it?  Take a gander. Spin in circles. Follow Simon, John, Nick & Roger and get a little dizzy in the process! Remember that to see it in 360, you’ve got to watch it on your mobile phone using the YouTube app. (Link is above)

-R

 

End of the Week Recap

I’m so sorry that I did not get a blog written yesterday.  I thought that I would have time but other duties got in the way.  Typically, if I know that Fridays will be difficult to find time, I write the blog post on Thursday night.  This week, I didn’t think I would need to do that because I did not have to go to work on Friday.  This led me to sleep in, believing that the afternoon would be open.  Unfortunately, a campaign task that I figured would be easy to get done literally sucked up my entire afternoon.  I was not pleased.  By the time I could blog, it was late and I was seriously crabby.  Not a good mood to blog.  Today, though, I’m here with a better frame of mind. (I hope! Ha!)

As I suffered through my week’s long “professional development” at work, I noticed that there were quite a few little Duran alerts that I wanted to acknowledge.

Cold War Premiere:

This week, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, attended the premiere of the film, Cold War, in London, according to Duran’s Twitter.  While I love knowing what they are up to, I also appreciate that by sharing this I learn about an upcoming film.  People should feel free to ask me about the latest political moves and people in the U.S.  I’m feel like I pay enough attention to be good on that front!  I also feel pretty solid with my knowledge on Duran but the latest pop culture like movies or TV shows?  Not so much but I do like when someone sharing something about a upcoming movie that interests me.  According to IMDB, the plot is as follows:  “A passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched, set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris.”  It sounds fascinating to me, mostly because of the historical context.

Simon and Sunseeker:

Simon will be a special guest at the Soton Boat Show on Friday, September 14th, according to a tweet from Sunseeker International.  What is this, you might ask.  (I did.)  This is what I learned.  According to the website, “TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, Britain’s biggest and best festival of boating, showcases a plethora of beautifully designed boats and products from over 600 global marine brands.”  Its purpose is to celebrate boating in Britain.  I am not surprised that Simon will be attending.  It sounds like something right up his alley!

In2ruders:

Nick has been involved with another movie beyond attending premieres with John.  According to the tweet, Nick scored the soundtrack to the movie, In2ruders.  If that was not enough to catch your attention, his daughter, Tatjana, edited it and it stars the Bloom Twins.  Want to see the first teaser?!  You know you do!

After watching the teaser, I have to admit that I’m more intrigued with the idea of it being about the “dark side of the music industry”.  Fascinating!

Pressure Off Remixes:

If all that was not enough, Rhonda alerted me to some Pressure Off Remixes that are out there.  According to the thread, which you can read here, they were commissioned and never used.  I have to wonder why they were not used.  A lot of people really dig remixes.  Here they are:

What do you think of these remixes?  Do you have a favorite?  How do they compare to the original/album version?

-A

Keeping the Rhythm Going 28 Years and Counting: Liberty

Liberty was released on this date in 1990. My excellent math skills tell me that adds up to birthday #28 for this album. Back on the 25th anniversary, Simon posted some thoughts about Liberty on dd.com.  If you haven’t read it yet, you really should.

Liberty is one of those albums that feels like a guilty pleasure. I have been known to blast “Violence of Summer” on long drives, some of which may or may not have taken place at like 2am on the way home from gigs at the Key Club in Los Angeles. The word “overproduced” has been used in tandem with this album frequently over the years. At one point, I suppose I might have agreed. I tried to be one of those critical listeners that might be taken seriously. These days, however, I’m far more apt to say “So what??? I think it’s fun and I like it!”, than anything else. Life is far too short to worry about explaining why a song or two makes my heart sing.

The album is 28 years old. I think it might be fair to put the criticisms aside and just love the music. Frivolity and fun are not bad qualities. I happen to agree with Simon on “Serious”. It is by far one of the best Duran Duran songs ever recorded. It ranks right up with “Ordinary World”, and I applaud its simple beauty. “My Antarctica” is another stunning example of the band’s songwriting genius.  I don’t know what Simon meant by the lyrics, but when I think about them, they remind me of the saying “life happens when you’re making other plans”.  Simon seems to call out a relationship with someone who is set to have the public see his/her life one way when in fact it is completely another. I love the vagueness and how the words allow themselves to tell your own story. It is absolutely some of Duran Duran’s best work, and hits home with me far more than some of their major hits. It is a song I wish they’d play live.

There is plenty on the album to love. While Simon wasn’t fond of “All Along the Water”, I adore the song, even with its fair amount of cheek. Again – it’s FUN. It keeps me moving, and I’m certainly smiling. Is it lyrically captivating? Probably not as much as others, but not every song needs to punch me in the gut with emotion. I love it.

When I think about Liberty and this period of time, it makes sense to me when Simon says it felt like part of The Wedding Album. On my own Duran Duran timeline in my head – there’s not really much I remember about the time period for Liberty, only that it was released, and before I knew it the band was on to something else. Maybe they needed that album as a creative precursor to what came next, but I believe it is worthy of standing on its own and not be known as the “also appearing” album of the 1990’s. In fact, I’m going to give it a listen today!

-R

 

Lovebox Festival, 2010 with Mark Ronson

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. During my spare time, I have been on YouTube, watching snippets of video from DD shows I went to, or videos I haven’t seen in a while, like “Nightboat”, “Careless Memories”, or even “Falling Down”.  Nearly every day I check our history spreadsheet to see if anything noteworthy pops up that I should share, but it is rare that I’ll sit down and watch videos, much less go in search of them. I guess for me, they might be a needed source of comfort. Or else, I’m just super bored with packing and cleaning. There might be a bit of that, too!

Today I noticed that on this date in history, back in 2010, Mark Ronson played the Lovebox Festival. I realize that might not be so special, but his guests definitely were!  Mark invited Simon and Nick on stage to perform “Record Collection” from Mark’s album with Business Int’l, and then John and Roger crashed the party to play “Planet Earth”.

I am one of those pesky Duran Duran fans that loves Mark Ronson, and I especially adore Record Collection. It is an album that I have to be in the right mood to play, but when I put it on, I’m never disappointed.  I was thrilled to see Simon and Nick performing it with him and yeah, it was another one of those times where I kicked myself for not being there in person.

Sorry for the video quality – I didn’t take it!  I recognized the video owner’s name, and she is a huge DD fan. I can understand her jubilance!  Check out Mark, who can be seen in the back sporting what I believe should be a very recognizable outfit to any Duran Duran fan who has spent any kind of time watching old music videos lately!

The next video, of course, is “Planet Earth”. You may have heard that one before.

Now, this video isn’t necessarily the greatest either, some of it taken from the audience with hands and arms in the way. I love that the camera scans the stage, and if you look closely, you may just see MNDR on stage – she too was involved as part of The Business Int’l for the Record Collection album.

I loved watching these again. It is difficult to believe this happened eight years ago today. I don’t know about anyone else but it only feels like a few years ago at most. Crazy, right?

-R

A Feeling That Runs So Deep That It Scares Me, Too

This past week, month, and year I have been thinking a lot about safety.  As a teacher, I’m very familiar with the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  If you don’t know about this psychological theory, it is pretty simple.  People have a hierarchy of needs that include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence.  Basically, people need to have their physiological needs met first.  This makes sense, right?  People require air, food, water, etc.  If they don’t have those things, the rest of needs cannot happen.  If people have food, water, etc, then they can worry about safety, which includes both physical and emotional safety.

This week featured a test to Duranies sense of emotional safety.  Everything fans believed about Duran was called into question with this accusation of sexual assault.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll refer you to this blog post here.)  I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that Duran has provided me with an emotional safety net of sorts.  It is the “place” I go when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or whatever.  The examples that immediately pop into my head are numerous.  I remember listening to Ordinary World over and over again to deal with my overwhelming loneliness when I first moved to my city over 20 years ago.  Before the Rain played in the background as I hugged my mother as we waited for my grandma to take her last breath at Christmas in 2010.  For years, Duran has provided the catalyst to countless friendships, parties and trips.  I felt confident in my fandom as I knew that the band members, while human and imperfect, are also good guys.  They do the right thing when it counts.  So, when something comes out that questions that assumption, it hurts.  It causes pain and confusion.  It makes my emotional safety net feel a little less strong, a little less secure.

Since the allegation came out and statements were made both by Simon and Katy, that emotional safety net has been slowly repairing itself.  It is easy to begin to assume that this woman, for whatever reason, got it wrong.  I want to believe that.  In many ways, I need to believe that.  Yet, something has been eating at me that calls into question my emotional safety.

When the articles first appeared, many fans responded as Rhonda and I did with a complex mix of emotions.  While we wanted to simply  side with Simon, we understood that issues like this are inherently more complex than this even when the allegation is false or appears false.  Emotions tend to ride way higher than an accusation of verbal abuse, for example.  Sexual assault is one that is wrapped around centuries of mistreatment of women as well as individuals’ sense of self-worth on such a fundamental level that there are no words to adequately describe it.  To say that it is a dicey topic is an understatement.

Some fans, though, immediately began to lash out from what I saw.  They didn’t strike out against the situation, the circumstance, the fact that our happy place was violated.  No, some seemed to focus their anger on the woman, the accuser.  Now, I understand why.  These fans love Simon and want to stick up for him, no matter what.  They wanted her to know that they believe him to be a stand-up, honorable guy.  I get that.  I really do.  We have often talked about Duranland feels like a family in that we don’t always get along but we always have each other’s backs and definitely have the band’s back.  It is the idea that Duranies can criticize the band because of our extra special Duranie card but others without that card cannot.  They are simply not allowed.

While I understand the psychological need to stand up for one’s family member, one’s hero, in this case, I struggle with some of what I saw.  It wasn’t always just, “I’m sorry, woman, but I think you misinterpreted what happened or I don’t think your story is true because Simon is a great guy,” I saw insults.  Name calling.  Harassment.  It was just defending as it sure felt like attacking.  Yes, I’m sure many of you say that she deserved it.  But does she?  Assuming that she made up this story for whatever reason, what purpose does it serve to say these things?  Let’s say that she did it for money.  Would people harassing her, calling her names, or trying to prove that she is a terrible person really stop that?  If she did it for attention, wouldn’t/couldn’t these types of reactions reinforce that?  What’s the goal?  Hoping that she would take it back?  Even if she did, would that be the same thing has having a time machine to go back to before it even came out.  I don’t think so.  Okay.  Maybe you still think that this particular woman still deserved each and every negative statement to or about her.  I wonder, though, what it does for others.

What message does it send to (real) victims?  To me, it sends tells them that it is best not to come forward.  Why?  It reminds them that this could and probably would happen to them.  Why would anyone want that?

Then, I think about the message it sends to me about my emotional safety net.  There have been times when individual fans or people have done or said something against Rhonda and/or myself that have made this fan community feel a little less safe to me.  Yet, I could always dismiss those moments to a few individual people.  I could remind myself that the majority of fans in the community don’t act like this or feel like that.  Now, I’m not so sure.  This situation has left me feel shaken.  It isn’t just because someone I admire was accused of doing something really awful.  No, I can dismiss that as one woman making a ridiculous allegation.  What is harder to dismiss is the venom I saw from fellow fans.  It made me fear for my emotional safety in this community as well as others.  Could fans turn that rage on me?  On other people?  Yes, I know that people could argue that this woman’s crime was so bad and that I would never do something like that.  While that is true, where is the line of what is deserving of that treatment?  Who decides it?

Maybe my internal make up is different than others.  Yes, maybe I am “soft” or that I feel too much.  I can acknowledge that.  To me, though, two wrongs don’t make a right.  It didn’t take back the accusation or make the situation better.  Not really.  Maybe typing an insult or calling her name made some feel better at the moment but it only made me feel worse.  Support Simon.  Love him up.  I’m down with that.  Send him tweets or messages.  Thank Katy for her defense.  It just seems to be the more productive and healing way to go.

-A

Katy Kafe with Simon: July 2018

Throughout my teaching career, I have had to help students of various ages deal with crises.  Those crises came in various forms from having a classmate critically injured to having a teacher die in front of the building to national situations like the terrorist attack on September 11th.  No matter the size of the crisis or scope, many experts agreed that it is important to maintain structure after addressing the current crisis when possible, to keep things normal while students process.  The ordinary provides comfort.  At first, I questioned this.  Was this really the right way to go?  Then, I discovered that it not only helped them but assisted the adults, too.  It provided the necessary push for us to keep moving forward, one day, one activity at a time.

The last few days have been hard in Duranland.  I know that I’m still processing.  On top of that, I had a terrible scare in my own life.  I went with my mother for a routine medical procedure yesterday when all of a sudden, she reported “feeling funny” before having her eyes roll in the back of her head, mouth go slack, her heart rate and blood pressure drop as she passed out.  This resulted in calls for help from the medical staff present to other medical staff in the hospital as well as calls on the intercom for assistance in a “medical emergency.”  Thankfully, she came to within minutes and her vitals returned to normal.  The culprit appeared to be some sort of reaction to the medication given or the procedure itself.  Today, she is home and feeling good.  Still, it is moment that has replaying itself in my mind since then.  In response to both this terrifying experience with my mother and the reports in which someone accused Simon of sexual assault, I am left feeling shaken.  This is when I turn back to my training, my experiences as a teacher.  I attempt to keep that structure to provide me a little comfort.  To that end, instead of giving my two cents about this upsetting news in Duranland, I will instead take a listen to this month’s Katy Kafe, giving my reaction to some of the highlights.  As always, I’m sharing what stuck out to me.  For the full blown kafe, I would head to DuranDuranMusic to listen for yourself.

World Cup and Being a “Glamfather”:

Of course, the kafe opens with Simon talking about how he was looking forward to the football (soccer) match between England and Croatia.  Apparently, he was having friends over to watch.  (For the record, so sorry to my friends across the pond for England’s loss.  Big bummer.)  I’m slightly amused that Simon went on and on about his new TV and its wall mount.  Without much of a pause, he brings up both tennis and his new grandson, Taro.  Simon says that he is “absolutely beautiful.”  He describes him as quiet until he is hungry then he is loud.  Simon says that he can see himself in him.  It sounds like he is enjoying this experience immensely.  I, for one, am thrilled for Simon and the rest of his family.

Duran Duran Take Over BBC Night:

Simon thought the documentary was “brilliant”.  Katy zeroed in on Simon’s choir teacher at his church and whether or not Simon had been in contact before this.  Simon said that he had been a little bit and that his teacher is proud of Duran Duran.  Aww…as a teacher I know how proud one can be from seeing a student succeed.  Beyond that, Simon brought up this idea of putting those early songs out to raise money for the church.  (I hope this happens.  That would be cool.)

The other piece of the documentary that Katy brought up was the time when the band squeezed into the Citroen car and how difficult it was from Simon to drive.  Like much of the rest of the kafe, Simon quickly brought up the other cars that the band members drove throughout the documentary.  (This part of the conversation is much like the TV discussion in the beginning.)

Sadly enough, Simon did not see the Night In part of the programming when the band members talked about their media influences.  Katy said that she enjoyed that part better than the documentary.  (Again, I think about how I had little expectations for this program but it was so entertaining.  I loved seeing them interact in just a simple conversation between friends.)  Interestingly enough, the band got a bunch more followers on Twitter on the day those shows aired.  I have to wonder where those fans were before this!?!

Studio This Year???

Katy asked the question that a lot of fans want to know–will the band return to the studio this year.  Simon said that they were.  It just depends on logistics.  Of course, he also acknowledged all the work that went into the Paper Gods project and how they all want to enjoy themselves this summer.  So, Simon says later this year for the studio.  Interestingly enough, Simon mentioned that they would also consider show possibilities for the end of the year or next summer.  Hmm…

You know what is funny?  In the past, when I listened to a new kafe, I would always root for some big scoop.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still love when a band member shares something new, but I didn’t find myself fixated by that idea this time.  No, I found myself appreciating the way that Simon bounces from topic to topic (perhaps that was the caffeine talking) and the easy conversational flow between Simon and Katy.  Like the show with the band talking about what their influences were, I like that this kafe felt like hearing two friends just talk, catch up.  It felt easy and relaxed.  Happy.  It was just what I needed today.

-A

I don’t really want to even talk about it

There are some days when it is just tough to be a fan. Yesterday, I was in the middle of blogging when a news story broke. I didn’t pay much attention and went right on writing. I was in a hurry, and didn’t have time for distractions. Then the news story was sent to me two or three times. I glanced at the headline and thought it was either a scam, clickbait, or a virus waiting to happen. So I just went on about my day until an hour or so later when a friend sent me the article and asked what I thought.  This time, I read it.

I wished I hadn’t, to be honest. I need for this – my fandom – to be my happy place. I don’t ask for much. Some smiles, maybe a laugh or two, some good friends, decent vodka, maybe even a lime and some tonic. Not much. I just need it to be happy.  But now, the Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it is really difficult to know what to say.

My comment to someone who messaged Daily Duranie directly about the news story was fairly straightforward and simple: We have chosen not to comment on something that may have happened 23 years ago. Amanda and I continue to agree on that point.

The Daily Duranie is almost an oral history of what it is like to be a fan on any given day. In the past we’ve called it a State of the Union (of Duranies), and that still kind of holds true. Today, our union is a bit tumbled and fractured. It’s been a rough 24 hours.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to turn the clock back about 30 hours. I hate this.

I love Simon. I really do. He has been nothing but nice (well, nice in that sort of “I’m going to spit on the two of you and then pretend I don’t know who you are later on when we hang out at a bar together” sort of way.)  to us. I care about him and his family. I think about him, and how he’s handling the loss of his mom, and what it must be like for him to be a grandfather now.  Um, I mean glamfather, of course. I think about how it’s gotten to the point at shows where he recognizes Amanda and I, and how he will wave to us if he sees us out and about. It’s nice, and to be fair – Amanda and I aren’t looking for any more than that. We’re not really “looking” for anything at all, it’s just that I appreciate being like normal people around one another. I think he knows we’re not going to launch ourselves in his direction because that’s super weird, and he should also know that if he ever wants to sit and have a drink with us, we’ll save a spot for him at the bar.

I don’t want any of that to end.

He is the crazy uncle of our huge dysfunctional family, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for him, as I don my neon green shoes or wear unsightly pajamas so that Amanda and I can continue making fun of him. It is what we do. I don’t want those things to stop, which is why this kind of news is so hard to take, regardless of whether it’s true or false – it is hard to handle.

I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, and my bet is that I’m not alone.

I feel like crap, to be honest.  Duran Duran is my happy place. Even when my regular, normal life has been horrible (and there have been many of those times), the band and this fan community have been my constant. While right now my marriage is really good, in the past it hasn’t always been. Duran Duran was kind of my refuge from all of that. I sort of feel like this was the place where the bad things weren’t supposed to follow, you know? The outside lunacy wasn’t supposed to get in the front door, and now here it is – running around our living room, tossing over the furniture and creating havoc.

I chose not to talk about any of this on open social media yesterday.  I did chat with a couple of trusted friends. I wish I could say I felt better. I still don’t know what to say.

The Daily Duranie also looks at fan behavior. Oh, I’ve seen some of that in the past 24 hours. To copy my friend Jennifer – I’m at a loss for words.

First of all, I’d like to just point out that we’re all fans. That means we like Simon. As such, we’re biased. The fan thing taints our perception.   Goodness knows that I’m having a very hard time writing this blog today as a result. Emotions are running high, and fans are reacting in the only way they know how – by calling out one another.

If you don’t use a hashtag #IStandWithSimon, or #TeamSimon, you’re obviously convinced he’s guilty and you should be banished from the kingdom. If you post the news story on your page, you’re a bad fan because you’re being negative and besides – everyone has already seen the story so you’re beating a dead horse. Posting anything that could possibly be taken to be questioning Simon’s complete innocence means you’re a hater. Should you decide to remain quiet, you clearly don’t love Duran Duran enough to stick your neck out for them.

Then there are the folks who, in direct response to the accuser’s story, say they’d like for Simon to grope or assault them. Hell, I saw one person say that all fans want Simon to grab their ass and that if you don’t, you’re lying.

I don’t even know where to begin with that, except to say that I really don’t want him to grab my ass. Ever.  Hugs are fine. Waving to me across a room, fabulous. Grabbing my hand to give it a friendly squeeze, wonderful. Grabbing my butt though? Not unless you want to lose that hand, and I’m not lying, thanks.

And then there is giving permission for someone to grope you. That’s different. I see it as trying to add a little humor into something that isn’t funny at all. I also think it is one of the more tone-deaf things anyone could say in response to something like this, regardless of whether or not you believe the victim’s story. Sexual assault isn’t about the sex. It’s not about making someone feel good. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about taking something that isn’t yours to take, simply because you think you can. Why anyone would want that to happen to them is beyond me and I’m completely disgusted that fans would say such a thing. It is one thing to say that you want Simon to touch you – and while I don’t share that feeling, I get it….but to use the words “grope” or “please assault me any time” …. have you lost what is left of your damn mind???

Let me let you all in on a little secret: I am a victim of sexual assault. I couldn’t move when it happened. I froze. I felt paralyzed, and I just let it happen because I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I got up, and didn’t talk about it again for many years. I don’t remember the exact details of where he was and where I was. I can’t remember if I was laying down or sitting up. (it happened on a date, and no, it wasn’t quite date rape)  I can’t remember what side he was on, or how it started or ended. Those kinds of things aren’t burned into my memory. What IS in my memory though is the way my clothes felt on my body at the time, the way the fabric of his shirt felt, and the smell of the air around me. I can remember how stuffy the room seemed at the time, and that I stared at the digital clock on his desk. I remember exactly how frozen I felt, or how I clenched my fists to the point where my short nails left imprints into the palms of my hand. I remember how when it was over, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have run? Should I have gone and told someone? I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I did eventually talk to with the person who did it though. Yes, we had a face to face conversation. I didn’t sue him. I didn’t even report him. I just wanted to talk with him. Turns out, his perception of the events in question was very, very different from mine.

I don’t know what happened with Simon and this woman, if anything. I don’t want to talk about it. That’s really the bottom line. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I barely know how to put my feelings about being a fan into words.

So how do I feel today? Not good. The one thing I know for sure today is that I’m a fan of Duran Duran. I’m here because of the music.  That music is what unites all of us, first and foremost.

-R

What is definitive Duran Duran?

Happy Wednesday! I’m sorry for my unexpected absence yesterday. We were having carpeting installed, and we had to disconnect the octopus of wires behind a desk. Unfortunately, that also disconnected our WiFi and disrupted our internet connection until it was far too late in the day for blogging.

I’m also late today, because of a meaningful, deep, philosophical discussion regarding the merits of the song “Drive By”.

Only a fellow Duran fan understands enough to talk about the space a specific song or album occupies. It is rare to find someone who understands and is able to relate such a song to the bigger picture is a gift.

The conversation was simply about why I believe “Drive By” is a definitive Duran Duran song of the Simon-Nick-John-Warren period. Actually, I think its one of the more definitive songs of their career. “Drive By” is definitive of their career during the mid-90s, but does it’s statement go even farther than that?

Let’s consider the period of time. John, Simon, Nick and Warren were defining themselves as another iteration of Duran Duran. This was an era of rediscovery, reinvention, and to some extent – forgetting who and what they once were (as a group). So “Drive By”, a deconstructed, even “now separated, once-conjoined twin” of “The Chauffeur”, is a spectacular example of this period of Duran’s career.

I can point to the cover of “Medazzaland” as another example, granted in a slightly different period. The graffiti-laden image of “Rio” weighs heavily in my mind. I often wonder if they weren’t really trying to bury that bright and glossy 80s magazine pin-up image of the fab five. Let’s face it, there was quite a bit to run from at that point. Maybe they were really over the idea of fans swarming their limos, even if by necessity. Perhaps they were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians. Maybe they were  over being the pin-up dreams of fresh-faced, dewy-eyed teenage girls?  Maybe they saw this new iteration of Duran Duran as being the “anti”1980s Duran Duran?  It isn’t difficult to imagine what they might have been thinking of when picking a cover for “Medazzaland”.

Rather than examining the song, or any one song, under the Duran Duran microscope, lately I’ve been thinking about the broader context. I’ve considered the changes in their sound over the years,  such as the rearranged, heavy jazz sounding brass and horn version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Burning the Ground” – the remix to put a final period on 80s era Duran Duran.  I’ve pondered the more obvious, recent style changes, like the full, production-heavy pop sound on Astronaut compared to the deep urban groove of Red Carpet Massacre, or retro sounding All You Need is Now, along with Paper Gods.  Individually, each seeming to be a stroll down a different musical lane, but collectively – what do they really say about this band?

To some extent, I tend to believe the band has spent a great deal of time and energy running from what they (and critics) believed they were in 1984. We can say they’re not comfortable sitting upon their laurels, and we can claim that they are not easily satiated, creativity speaking, and I don’t think we’d be wrong. However,  I don’t think it hurts anyone to examine the deeper motivation of what might drive them.

Recently, during the BBC takeover night of DD television a couple of weeks back, John admitted that the critical comments from music journalists back in the day have bothered him up until very recently. This was not a surprise to me, other than being shocked at his utterance of the words out loud for all to hear. Amanda and I have been talking about that for years now – we’ve written about it many times on the blog, and I think we both cheered when we heard John say the words. Of course it bothered them. I get it! I very much appreciate his honesty and vulnerability. Accepting, and even respecting that one nugget of truth gave me such a different perspective on their career. It is like finally having the big picture come into focus. I just love them.

This is a band with an image based on the proverbial double-edged sword. On one side, they were incredibly successful because they appealed to teenage girls. They never said no to being the – poster boys of the 1980’s. In fact, they welcomed it, and we welcomed them! On the other side of that sword though, somewhere down deep, they secretly aspired to reach the recognition, acclaim and respect that comes from critics and other musicians. Screaming girls are wonderful, but perhaps having respect mattered too. Could we really blame them?

That isn’t to say the band’s career has been a giant folly, or that they were wrong to explore. Not in the least, and I want to be clear on that. In my mind, the fans are the ones who have made out the best on this deal. This band is still hungry. They are still in search of whatever is out there. With each new album comes a newly discovered Duran Duran. I just happen to believe the motivation to do so comes from something a bit more definitive.

-R

Duran Duran performs at Cannes Lions

Where in the world is Duran Duran?

Well, I can’t tell you where they are at this very minute – but I can tell you where they were last night! That lucky band performed in Cannes, France at the International Festival of Creativity for the Cannes Lions.

According to their website, the Cannes Lions are the most established and coveted awards for the creative and marketing communications industry. There’s an entire festival built around the awards, including performances and appearances by bands, artists and notable figures.   So, last night Duran Duran performed, apparently intended to be a secret for the attendees until the last possible minute, and today Simon appeared on a panel about saving the worlds oceans.

It wasn’t until Anna had posted something about performing in Cannes that I wondered about the band being there, and sure enough – pictures started showing up on social media this morning. Sometimes, I feel so far removed from the happenings with this band, it just makes it tough to stay engaged. I can’t imagine I’m the only one feeling that way…and I don’t mean that because I live in California and these things are taking place elsewhere I don’t pay attention. I mean that because I really don’t know what they’re working on, and so much of it is kept quiet, I tend to drift off and not always pay rapt attention, figuring they’re not doing much of anything (at least that I’m able to write about!).

I love that John and Simon do these panels, I really do. It is wonderful to see their passions beyond Duran Duran, and in both cases – I wish I’d been able to be there.

If all of that weren’t enough Duran-love for you, John left us all a gift of his own on Spotify. It is the JT “All love” playlist, and I really think it’s worth the time to download Spotify if you don’t already have it. He added more to it today, after he spent time wandering around the Christian Marclay exhibit in Cannes. Check out the playlist here!

Well, that’s a wrap for me this week! I’m off to do some more driving around and house hunting!

-R