During the past several days, I have needed to completely switch gears as Amanda and I begin the process of a brand new (book) project.
While we continue to work on the fandom book – it has not been forgotten – we’ve decided to also work on another project that will require some study of the band itself, as opposed to fieldwork within the fan community.
For me, this has been welcome respite. I still very much enjoy studying fandom, in fact I just finished a book of academic essays on various aspects of music fandom. (Which is rather unusual as subject matter. Most books on fandom these days are written about television shows or on aspects of fandom such as fan fiction.) I still stand fascinated by what it means to really BE a fan. But, I’ll admit that the idea of getting back to basics with Duran Duran was very enticing!
So, the weekend and the past couple of days has consisted of pouring over videos, and some of the older books I own. As I read, I realized that in many cases it had been decades since I last opened some of these. Take The Book of Words, for instance. I don’t think I’ve actually opened that book to read since we moved into this house – and that was in January of 1998. I took time to read it this weekend, noting just how much has changed, and how much has really stayed the same overall. Then I watched The Wild Boys, a documentary on the band.
I’m not sure if I’ve just never seen that, or if I completely missed things I picked up on this time – like my friend Amy being onscreen for much of it! (That seems to happen quite a bit as I go back looking through various documentaries and interviews – I know a lot of Duranies who have been interviewed over the years!) But then I picked up on someone else I hadn’t ever really noticed – Paul Morely, Duran Duran’s harshest critic. (Aside from maybe Amanda and I, of course. Right???) Granted, I’ve picked up on the occasional comment from a band member or two about some particularly vicious critics out there, but I guess I never bothered to figure out who they meant. And, given that I live in the US….and grew up on a steady diet of teen mags such as Tiger Beat….I only knew of “the critics” in the most enigmatic, vaguest, sense. But that night, Paul Morely stood out to me, particularly as he commented that even though The Wedding Album proved the band’s staying power, he just couldn’t give them any credit. Well then. Biased much?? Live and learn.
(if anyone out there happens to have the 1982 interview that Paul Morely did with Duran Duran for NME…I would like to talk with you. Email me!!)
Today I poured over Duran Duran: Unseen… as I tried to reacquaint myself with the era of Duran Duran that immediately preceded my becoming a fan. The book is a collection of photographs and memories taken and gathered by Paul Edmond, who tragically died in a car accident while in Morocco recently. If you don’t have it, you should get yourself a copy because Paul really shares insight from a time back before many, if not most of us, ever became fans.
Next up for me is likely Sing Blue Silver (oh drat, I have to watch that again…it is so hard….)…and some more online searching for old magazine articles, particularly ones from critics. I’ve been enjoying the trip down memory lane to prepare me for writing this book from the point of view of a passionate fan and blogger, as opposed to that of a social scientist.
So if you’re wondering why the blogs have been later than usual this week…that’d be the reason, and given the pace Amanda and I want to be taking with this book, you may or may not notice a lull in timely blogs for the next few weeks. Rest assured, we’re just working, we haven’t escaped our real lives in favor of touring!
Not yet, anyway. July is coming!