Do you listen to a lot of podcasts? I don’t but I have many friends who love them. That said, I’m always open to listening to one if it features members of Duran Duran. Last week, the BBC Podcast called, Front Row, included a ten minute (or so) segment with John and Roger Taylor. Of course, the purpose was to advertise the two TV specials, Something You Should Know and Boys on Film, that aired on Friday. Whenever something airs outside of the U.S., I always worry that I won’t be able to see/hear it. Luckily, though, a friend ensured that Rhonda and I could!
The Front Row podcast began by sharing the fact that the famous author, Neil Gaiman, first published work was, indeed, a biography of Duran Duran. (That book costs a lot of money to buy, BTW. Right now, you could buy a copy on Amazon for a cheap $157.) Anyway, the podcast continued by discussing some of the highlights and lowlights of Duran’s career to introduce Roger and John. The conversation, much like the documentary, runs in chronological order of the band’s career, obviously starting in the 1970s. Interestingly enough, in describing punk, John talked about how the youth of that time were rebelling against their parents, the war generation. That sort of made me sad as the World War II generation accomplished a lot like defeating fascism. Nonetheless, I understood what he was saying. Roger followed up talking about how all the family in his family held manual labor jobs. In looking at his life, he acknowledged that just a couple of changes in his life or the band’s and he, too, could have been a manual laborer. He’s really right. Little moments and choices add to one’s life and any changes could make a big difference.
From there, they go on to discuss other topics, including the influence of glam and technology, the affects of having female teen fans, creating the James Bond theme song for A View to a Kill, the split in the mid-1980s, and advice for the young. Which topic do you think caught most of my attention? Yep. I was most interested in what they would have to say about having female teen fans. The interviewer directly asked if having female teen fans hurt the band when it came to the critics? Roger acknowledged that it did. He commented that it put them in a box with critics which resulted in having the music overlooked. I don’t disagree with him at all. That said, I wanted more. Maybe I felt compelled to go deeper so I yelled out in my living room the following (like Roger could hear me): “Why is that Roger? Why does having female teen fans mean that the music would be overlooked? What would critics assume?” So, what did I mean about all of that? Simple. If a band has a lot of female teen fans, the assumption was that the band could not really play. The only reason that female teens would like a band is because they were cute, not that they were talented musicians. The implication, of course, was that female teens couldn’t judge music. They weren’t smart enough, according to (probably) male critics. Obviously, I think those assumptions are a bunch of bull. I’m not sorry that I was a part of that group of fans, but I am sorry that sexism towards their female following hurt the band with the critics.
Overall, I enjoyed the podcast even though I wished it was longer and that I might have chosen a few different questions. For example, I don’t think I would have asked about A View to a Kill because I have heard/read a lot about that. I appreciate the discussion of the band’s origins but I would love to hear them analyze the reunion, for example, or the music industry. All of that said, I completely appreciate our friend, Debbie, sending the podcast to us. It means the world to us to know that there are people who know/understand how much we love Duran and want to be able to enjoy all media about the band. It reminds me of what is really great about fandom when fans look out for each other. Thanks again, Debbie, for both the podcast as well as the reminder.
I loved having new Duran stuff to write and talk about this weekend. Definitely added some joy when it was most needed.