Why Duran Duran Never Needed Saving

Did you happen to see the article published today on Ultimate Classic Rock about “A View to a Kill”? Titled “35 Years Ago: Why ‘A View to a Kill’ Couldn’t Save Duran Duran, author Nick Deriso barely nicks (pun is absolutely intended) the surface in a piece that is supposed to answer the question why even a number-one hit in the US couldn’t keep the band together in 1985.

Dancing around factoids rather than just giving the band accolades they deserve—to this day there has still not been another Bond song to hit #1 (although this one-liner is included haphazardly in the details)— there always has to be another angle. When it comes to Duran Duran, that angle continues to be somewhere in the negative. Forty years in, and we’re still dealing with that nonsense? While he was certain to back up his tale with quotes taken directly from John and Andy’s autobiographies, he also quoted from an unauthorized biography written by someone whose own research came from indirect sources. Never mind that he never really even answered his own question – why couldn’t “A View to a Kill” save Duran Duran? Please, please, tell me now. (Yes, also a pun. I’m in a mood today.)

One of the things I love most about blogging is that I am afforded the opportunity to be honest and real. I don’t have to pretend that shoddy journalism is great, nor do I need to explain my bias, although for some of you in the back, I take a moment to yell it out upon occasion. So when I write that it is great the band is still getting press, but it is also ridiculous that much of the time, press is written with the just the slightest degrading tone, I don’t apologize. The band already has a payroll filled with people that cheerfully promote any press they get. My job, per se, is to be real. I am not paid salary to be here. I write because I want to. I’m here – as a fan – because my love for this band is as much of a part of me as my blue-green eyes, or sun-bleached, blonde hair.

Please save the obsequious, “But isn’t it great that the band still gets attention” and “You should write positively about press that the band gets”, for someone who gets paid to feel that way. Other comments such as, “You know the band won’t care about this. They’re happy to get press!” are similarly categorized with me. I don’t expect the members of Duran Duran to sit around lamenting over the way certain articles and interviews lean. The difference here, is that I am a fan and write a blog, not a newspaper. My outrage, if I really have any to spare these days, is organic!

It is true that “A View to a Kill” was released 35 years ago, and it is also true that it was a number-one hit in America. However, I specifically take issue with the way the article states that the song couldn’t “save” Duran Duran. Since 1985, the band has released eleven studio albums. They’ve toured countless times. They’ve played in front of audiences as large as 90,000 people, and as small as a handful. Duran Duran still has a loyal fan base, and even during a pandemic, I would argue that they’ve seized an opportunity to broaden the ways in which they connect with fans. Recording podcasts, in-depth discussions about how some of their songs come together, and video chats about their own musical tastes are just some of the ways they’ve blossomed, as many peers have faded. Yes, three band members once exited the stage, and others took their place, but Duran Duran lived on. Couldn’t be saved? Are you kidding? They’re still thriving.

-R

Intend to Understand

My family has spent a lot of time together, virtually, since this pandemic began. On Friday, I mentioned about how we have been completing a daily challenge on music, movies or TV. We have also had movie discussions. One person throws out a movie and we all watch it. Then, we plan a get together to discuss. Yes, we chat about what was good, bad, etc. on top of analyzing little details, much like what Rhonda and I have done with everything Duran related. This past week, we watched the movie, Juliet Naked. I looked forward to this one as I had read the book. In fact, I blogged about it here. To summarize the book and movie, it is about a woman whose boyfriend is a huge fan of singer, Tucker Crowe. He is such a mega fan that he runs a website about his fandom. (Can you imagine? How crazy are people like that?! 😉 ) Anyway, after hearing a copy of unreleased demos, the big fan’s girlfriend wrote an anonymous review on the website, arguing that the songs were terrible. Tucker, himself, responded to her, privately, leading to an email relationship between the two.

In the movie, the big fan is presented in a really horrible light. He is self-centered, obsessive and inconsiderate. His fandom is such that viewers are supposed to view it as strange, at best, and awful, at worst. I watched the movie with my parents and my mother could not hold back about how much she hated him. Yet, I recognized that he was fitting the fan stereotype, leading me to have a bit of sympathy for him. In the movie, it was clear that the girlfriend could not relate or understand his fandom. This led me to think about more than just the movie. How important is it to have people in your life that understands fandom, in general, and your fandom, specifically?

Almost every time that I have found myself diving deep into a fan community, I have sought out fellow fans. I think back to the late 90s when I could not get enough of the show, Roswell. I quickly found my way to message boards where I could talk to other fans about every element of the show. Soon enough, it wasn’t enough to just chat online. I longed to meet other fans in person and did. Then, of course, with Duran, I also sought out message boards as well, which led me to attend the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004 where I met Rhonda and others. In those situations, I sought out other fans. I wanted to have people in my life that *got* it. Fandom was such a big part of my existence that I needed people like me in my circle. Interestingly enough, I think my family, for the most part, gets fandom. My brother is a huge comic book fan and I was raised as a big White Sox fan due to my parents. They get what it is like to be a fan. Yet, with both Duran and Roswell, I needed more than just understanding. I needed fellow fans who felt like I did.

On the flip side, though, I didn’t cut anyone in my life who wasn’t a fan. I think, though, I have been lucky in that no one has rejected me due to my fandom. While I’m not sure that people really understand my love for Duran, for instance, I don’t feel like people judge me for it either. I, sometimes, get teased but no one accuses me of being weird or obsessive as a result. I’m not sure how I would feel or react if someone did express the idea that something was wrong with me for being a big fan. Would I need to cut people off if they did? Maybe. I think it is one thing to not have people totally get it and something much worse if they hated this aspect of myself. Overall, I feel pretty lucky.

What about the rest of you? First of all, do you have people in your life that totally get your fandom? Did you seek them out or were you lucky enough to have them in your life already? Do you have people in your life who maybe do not understand your specific fandom but understand fandom, in general? Do you have people who don’t really get it but appreciate that fandom matters to you? Do you have people surrounding you who don’t get it and think it is wrong that you are a big fan? How do you navigate it through this? How much does this all matter to you?

-A

Emotional Connections

For the last few months, my family has participated in daily challenges surrounding popular culture. It started out in May after I shared a 30 day challenge surrounding music. Each day, like the daily challenge we are doing now, asked a different question about music. Then, each family member would answer the question and share the song over a group text. Then, in June, we focused on a new challenge about movies. Now, it is all about TV shows. The rumor is that my niece is working on writing one for next month about books. Through these challenges, I have thought about the difference between TV, movie and music as far as my personal connection, fandom and why.

As my family has moved through these challenges, it is obvious that my brother is far more into movies than I ever knew. My youngest niece loves television. My sister seems to like them all the same without loving any of them. What have I noticed about myself? I can definitely say that I am the least into movies. This surprised me but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. As a kid, I watched a lot more movies than I do now. If I had to make a guess as to why, I think it is about the time. It is hard for me to take 2 hours out of my day to watch a movie. It feels like more of a commitment. I also don’t go to the movies much either. I hardly ever feel like it is worth the time and money. Beyond that, though, I know that a big part is that I don’t feel connected. Two hours isn’t long enough to develop a passion for the characters and their relationships. Interestingly enough, when I think about big movie fandoms like Harry Potter or Star Wars, I recognize that these are series. In the case of Harry Potter, it is based on books. Are there many fan communities surrounding individual movies? I doubt there are many. So, my inability to emotionally connect may not be super unique?

So what about television? This is a much more interesting medium for me. When I first graduated from college and moved to Madison, I turned to TV to keep me company. I quickly became addicted to the show, Roswell, and reached out to join that fan community. Like many others, I spent time on message boards talking about the plot, characters, relationships and more. I even got together with a few people nearby to enjoy the show and its fandom together. Those friendships have remained! While I never created in response to my fandom, I did read and discuss fanfic, appreciated fan art and watched the videos that other fans created. I ate up as much as I could, including the music played on the show. Then, my career took over and TV became a luxury that I didn’t partake in too much. I would turn it on, sometimes, for background noise. In most cases, the background info would be the news. In the last couple of years, I have found myself tuning into more and more TV. Part of it is that I start watching shows with my niece. We pick a show and agree to watch a few episodes per week then discuss either by email or phone. This made TV social. By watching the same characters and relationships over time, I have found myself having more of an emotional connection again. I like that it does not require as much time to watch a single episode while still providing an escape from reality.

Where does that leave music? Well, in many ways, music is the most interesting. I feel like music has been with me all along. While movies have never been a big part of my life and TV has come and gone, music is standard. Yet, within that, I recognize that I still need an emotional connection there. There is a lot of music that I can listen to that I like, that I think is quality. That said, I need some emotional reaction to move it beyond that category of good, to make it something that I want to listen to beyond background music. This is how it has always been for me, too. I remember as a kid hearing good reviews about Depeche Mode so I bought an album without having heard them. When it arrived in the mail, I put the cassette in my walkman (good memories here!) and listened. I thought it was interesting and cool sounding but it took many listens before I connected to People Are People. What if I never bonded with that song? Would I not have become a fan? Would it have happened eventually? Then, once I feel a song or an artist speaks to me, I cannot get enough.

I’m not sure that any of this is a revelation. Fandom takes passion. If you are going to spend a lot of time doing, thinking, speaking about something in pop culture, it has to matter to you. For me, it needs to speak to my soul, in a way. It must make me feel and feel deeply. Why does this work better for me with music and TV? I am not sure. Perhaps, it is as simple as time. I can spend more time with both. I think with music, lyrics might help that emotional bond. If I can see myself in the song, I tend to fall in love with it.

So what about the rest of you? Have you bonded with TV and movies as much as you have with music? Do you also need this emotional connection?

-A

Electric Barbarellas

When Rhonda asked me to switch blog days this week, I didn’t think much of it as I had planned to share some words on Live Aid since the anniversary falls this weekend. However, her post yesterday was so good that I wanted to pick up the thread. If you still fancy some words on Live Aid, you can read my post from last year at Hard Rock’s now-extinct music blog RPM on the women who rocked Live Aid. But today, I want to add a male perspective to how the band’s use of models in videos impacted us then and now.

If I had to point to two moments as a child when I felt the first stirrings of puberty, it would be the early Duran Duran videos and the cover of Madonna’s Like A Virgin album. And that is what both were designed to do. The patriarchal laws of commerce have always relied on using sex to sell. When you’re about to become a teenager, those forces are hard to resist. As you get older, you (hopefully) realize how dangerous and stupid this can be (if you don’t, re-read Rhonda’s blog from yesterday, I’ll wait). So, why does Duran Duran continue to use models? At this point, it won’t sell any more records and we are all a bit wiser.

The three in question: Electric Barbarella, Falling Down, and Girl Panic are all visually reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. There is a loose storyline and beautiful models. However, the band isn’t exploiting this so much as they are poking fun at themselves (and men in general). The most problematic for me will always be Falling Down because it seems to be a jaded commentary on how so many female celebrities end up in rehab when just as many, if not more, male celebrities are the ones who need the most help – something Duran Duran experienced themselves.

Like Rhonda, I don’t blame Duran Duran (really, their management) for casting beautiful women in videos to move product in the 80s. That is the sad reality of the business and one we are still struggling to move away from. As artists like Fiona Apple, Billie Eilish, Lorde and Lana Del Rey continue to release incredible music, perhaps real change will eventually reach the mainstream industry but that seems unlikely. However, we can continue to push for that change in the purchasing decisions we make.

Rhonda asked why it was important for the band to show their female audience that they were desired by other women. Well, apart from the male ego, that provides market validation and feeds itself. Sell yourself as desired and if the singles are hits, you become desired. It worked on us male fans as well. We saw these guys having adventures in Sri Lanka while being chased by beautiful women. Of course we wanted that!

Ironically, the common phrase thrown at male Duran Duran fans was “gay” because of the colorful outfits and make-up the band wore. So, as a kid just learning to process all of this, being “gay” seemed to lead to traveling the world with beautiful women. Straight or gay, it seemed like a pretty cool lifestyle. Don’t discount bands like Duran Duran helping shape a generation of male music fans who are far more open to different lifestyles. Had the band not helped shape me into an understanding and tolerant man willing to acknowledge the dangers of the patriarchy he benefits from, I doubt I would have ended up marrying a London girl beautiful enough to be in a Duran Duran video. So, yeah, I’ll defend the electric Barbarellas but I might not defend the machismo guitar player who left the party…..

Like A Hypnotic

Hey, everybody. Welcome to…Wednesday. This is Wednesday, right??

If you’re following along with our Daily Challenges, today’s is your favorite DD video. It has been fun seeing what people post! My own favorite DD video, for today, is Rio. Truth be told, there are a lot of DD videos I enjoy, but the one I tend to always come back to – chances are, it’s because it was one of the first I watched – is Rio. Whenever I think about Duran Duran, MTV and videos, Rio comes to mind, and specifically, the scene I think about most – for some odd reason – is when Simon is underwater and drinks that brightly colored neon pink cocktail. I have no idea why, only that I always think about that scene first. Silly, right?!

I do have a confession though, and that’s when I reposted this challenge yesterday, I quickly scrolled through the list of challenges and didn’t even bother updating them. I was in a hurry, and knew I’d have to schedule a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts to make the whole thing work for everyone, so I just copied, pasted and was done with it. In hindsight, as I was scheduling tweets, I realized that I could have easily revamped and reframed some of these questions to breathe a bit more life into them for 2020. Anyway, as I read over the list of challenges, I started thinking about their videos. If I had to come up with a short list of things that seem to pop up in Duran Duran videos again and again, I’d probably say things like: exotic locations, the band (duh), models, and storyboards (meaning video plots). I’m sure many of you could come up with other things, but those are the three things I notice right off the bat.

Out of those things, I come back to models. Why is it that Duran Duran used models so many times in their videos? It feels so overdone. Yet, here we are. Even Falling Down and Girl Panic used models. I suppose I partially expect them in any Duran Duran video these days, and I’m pleasantly surprised when they’re not included.

Amanda and I have written about the models in their videos before. We’ve touched on the subjects of sexism, and whether or not videos like Girls on Film infringe upon that boundary, or address the exploitation by the modeling industry. I know that many fans have their own opinions as well.

When I was a kid, especially in middle school, but even beyond into high school – I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I was a late bloomer when it came to boys, and part of that was because I just didn’t think I was worthy. Even now, when I see photos of myself from that time period from 6th to about 8th grade, I cringe. High school wasn’t a lot better, but I’ll give myself a little credit there, at least. I had frizzy, wavy hair that I had layered (badly), and it gave my entire head a sort of Q-tip type appeal. I had no idea how to dress, how to act, or how to do that thing the other girls did when boys paid attention to them and they acted dumb in response. I can remember proudly announcing to my friends that if that was how I needed to act in order to get a boyfriend, I didn’t need one.

That is when Duran Duran entered the picture. In 6th grade, when other girls my age were throwing themselves at any boy that would pay attention long enough to ask her to “go around”, (in my day that meant walking around campus holding hands, although I don’t remember PDA beyond that being discouraged, either), I found a favorite band. Posters to hang on walls. I could disappear into the fantasy world in my head where I could be myself and never be rejected. Duran Duran were my “boyfriends” before any boy knew I existed, outside of being that weird girl in class. It was WAY safer than dealing with actual, real-life boys.

That was all fine and good until videos came along (so basically, it wasn’t long before my dreams were crushed). In the videos, as we all know, there were models. From Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, to Girls on Film, The Chauffeur, and so on. Sure, I fawned over Roger, Nick, Simon and John. (no, I didn’t fawn over Andy. I just loved his guitar playing.) It was just very hard not to notice the girls. The women, I should say. I would sit and watch those videos, and somehow, I gleaned the message of “You’re not worthy”. The only women this band (or any band for that matter) would ever be interested in, would be supermodels or similar. l was never one of those teens that thought the women were being exploited. I didn’t think of Duran Duran as misogynists or sexist. Instead, I saw that they were attracted to women who were thin, beautiful and perfect, and I was, well, not any of the above.

At the time, seeing any of them date models, and of course Simon marrying one, did absolutely nothing to squash the feeling I had in my belly. People like me did not end up with men of their dreams. They settled for what they could get. Rockstars were ABLE to date models. Models were practically expected to date, and marry, rockstars. Girls like me were lucky to be paid attention. I was average, and maybe a bit below that given that I was a clarinet player in my high school marching band and a good student. Smart? Sure. Beautiful? Don’t make me laugh. On any given day I would think about the women in Duran Duran videos, and know that I was pretty much the polar opposite in every way.

As an adult, I think I still struggle with the same messaging. Let’s be honest, everywhere we – then teenage girls – looked in the 80s, there were leather mini-skirt clad girls, rolling around on cars or models of perfection in every single music video around. I don’t think I ever said the words “I’m nothing like them” to my friends back in the day—we didn’t discuss such things—but I know I felt them. I said the words to myself all the time. We grew up with the images of what we were supposed to aspire to look like all around us. I don’t think I ever got past it. It isn’t entirely a surprise when I still feel less-than. I think the difference now, is that I feel that way even with fellow fans.

I’ll be fine at a show, and I might even feel good about myself. But then, I’ll see something that immediately drags me back to how I felt in front of the television the first time I saw Hungry Like the Wolf. Maybe I’ll see the high-heeled glamour girls running after a band member who immediately turns and gives them his undivided attention for a photo. They giggle with glee and pose flirtatiously. I might try to tell myself that the women are trying too hard, or that they are “so sad” for chasing after the band member, but the TRUTH is—I immediately put myself back in the box marked “Not good enough”, and that’s without a single person saying a word to me. I inevitably want the floor to swallow me whole, because I know I don’t fit in. I don’t approach band members because, unlike posters on my wall, the guy in front of me is real, and the last thing I want is to be rejected. (and trust me, these days I’m not asking for anything more than a “hello!”) The fantasy is safer. I don’t have to worry about not being a model, or not being perfect.

I don’t actually blame Duran Duran here, although it likely seems that way. I just wanted to write about how messaging affected a woman – then a teenager – like me. They didn’t do anything different from anyone else back then, though. It just happens that the messaging from this band affected me most. I still adore them though, and quite frankly – I married the right guy anyway. Duran Duran, videos, and models go together. I never quite got why it was so important for them to prove—to a predominantly female audience—that they were worthy of the attention of females. We kind of already knew that, didn’t we? I mean…didn’t we?? I’ve had male fans say “Well, they were men. Of course they wanted models in their videos!” Yes, that does make sense. Except, that back in the 80s, it wasn’t men or even boys watching most of the time. It was girls, like me. Some of us not only watched Simon, John, Nick and Simon, but also paid attention to what was being communicated, too.

-R

Daily Duranie 30-Day Challenge, 2020 edition!

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone! In an attempt to find a archived blog worthy of reposting, I ran across a 30-Day Daily Duranie Challenge that Amanda and I organized back in 2011. Seeing the challenge made me wonder if anything has really changed for people during the nine years since we posted it! So, we’re going to do another! Read on for the original “rules” that I’ve kind of tweaked so that they better apply in 2020, and happy posting!!

Lately, we’ve seen (and possibly participated in) several daily challenges on Facebook.  We decided to come up with one of our own, and we hope many of you will go ahead and give it a whirl – we’ll be checking our Daily Duranie news feed on Facebook and Twitter to see your answers!

Here are the “rules”:  Each day starting RIGHT NOW, you post the challenge of the day as your status update on Facebook, Twitter, a favorite message board or where ever else you’d like and give your answer.  If you want to give a reason for your choice, fabulous.  If not, fine.  If you’d like to find and post a corresponding YouTube video – the more the merrier!   In order for us to find your answers (because that’s the fun of participating, so we can all read!) let’s use the hashtag, #DailyDuranieChallenge2020

Daily Challenges!

1. We’ll start off easy – name your favorite DD song!
2. Name your favorite DD video!
3. The one song off of an album that should have been a single but was not.
4. In your very humble opinion, the most underrated DD song.  (this can be off of any album or be any B-side, but it must be an “officially” released song.  No demos)
5. Demo that should have made it to an album.
6. Song that shouldn’t have made it past the editing room floor.
7. The most overrated Duran Duran song/video.  (come on, you KNOW there are a few!!)
8. The video/song with the best storyline.
9. The video/song with the worst storyline.
10. John’s best song/video
11. John’s worst song/video
12. Your least favorite video.
13. Fill in the blank: If I never heard __________________________, again, it would be too soon.
14. Your favorite DD performance video.
15. Your favorite DD YouTube clip – could be an interview, talk show appearance, or anything you’d like!
16. Favorite song you’ve never heard them play live.
17. Least favorite song you’ve never heard them play live.
18. Simon’s best song/video.
19. Simon’s worst song/video.
20. The video you always forget about, but then see again and say “Oh wow – I LOVE this video!”
21. The one song you hear that always brings a smile to your face and a memory of a show you’ve been seen.
22. Song or video that most quickly transports you back to your tween-age self when you first discovered the band and fell in love.  (and if you weren’t a tween, whatever age you were when you found them!)
23. Roger’s best song/video
24. Roger’s worst song/video
25. The song that makes you feel guilty…now whether it’s a guilty pleasure or a song that makes you think dirty thoughts is entirely up to you!
26. The video or a moment within a video that makes you laugh!
27. The DD song that describes you best.
28.  Nick’s best song/video.
29. Nick’s worst song/video.
30. The one song you will never tire of hearing live.

Happy thinking!!  We can’t wait to read your choices!!

Long Days are Coming Up

I am nearing that point in the summer where inevitably, I start realizing that school time is on the horizon. Yes, it’s only the 6th of July, but for my youngest, that gives her just a month before we go through registration, thus beginning the school year. It’ll be another week or so before I start the suggestions that maybe she and I should go shopping. I’ll hear groans and the deep sighs of “woe is me” for several days until she finally agrees to accompany me to some stores. At that point, as we enter store #1, she will inevitably argue that she really doesn’t need anything, and will eventually settle on buying a couple of shirts just to satisfy me before begging to return home. No, my youngest, at the age of 12, is still not a shopper. She tends to surprise me though, so we’ll see.

Along with school time approaching, I recognize that this summer has clearly not lived up to any sort of standard whatsoever. We’ve not gone anywhere other than the beach (and yes, it was easy to remain socially distanced, even on the Fourth of July). The only time we’ve taken off was, sadly, when my husband was in the hospital. The man was back at work, not quite full time but still pretty close, the very next Monday. It’s difficult to make vacation plans because our governor and county officials change the rules and ordinances at the very last second, and quite frankly, I’ve given up trying.

Just a note – I don’t know about the rest of you, but I will not look back on 2020 with much fondness, and we’re only halfway through the year! I realize that some say “Make the best of it, be happy, and thankful for what you have”. I am. My husband is alive and I had my entire family living under the same roof for three months. Grateful doesn’t even begin to cut it, but the losses have been equally strenuous to manage. Under any measure, this year has been rough, and is likely to get rougher for many.

Along with all of that, I recognize that this coming September – just a couple of months from now – mark a milestone for Daily Duranie. We’ve been at this for nearly ten years now. That isn’t something we set out to accomplish. In fact, I think Amanda and I have been the most successful with the blog when we’ve had no expectations whatsoever, which is where I sit today. I don’t anticipate rapid growth for our traffic on the site, nor do I worry about how many visitors we have. Daily Duranie continues to exist for the benefit of fans, otherwise interested parties, and those who wish to participate in some way, by reading, posting, or looking around. Everyone is always welcome and appreciated.

The trouble with having no expectations is that sometimes, things grow stale. In many ways, my comfort level with Daily Duranie is that it’s perhaps a bit too comfortable. Too easy. Too predictable. It’s difficult to address that while in between album projects – but maybe its best for me to take this time to overhaul the site and freshen the place up a bit. A remodel, perhaps?

I’m off to get started!

-R

Question of the Week: Which Song Best Represents the Rio Tour?

We are getting closer and closer to having this set of questions complete. As I’m sure you know, we have been attempting to determine a song that best represents each Duran Duran tour. We started with the most recent (Paper Gods) and have been moving backwards in time. What songs have been chosen so far? Here’s the list:

  • Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour – Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour – Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour – Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour – Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour – White Lines
  • No Ordinary Tour – Too Much Infomation
  • Big Live Thing – I Don’t Want Your Love
  • Strange Behavior Tour – Skin Trade
  • Sing Blue Silver Tour – The Reflex

This leads us to the Rio Tour of 1982. As always, the poll includes every song that the band played live in 1982. Which song best represents this tour?

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the Rio Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Rio Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Rio Tour?

July 2020 Katy Kafe with Nick

Last night I could not help but to notice when DDHQ tweeted out that there was a new kafe, one promised to have some album news. This was exactly what I needed after finding out that a former student had been shot and killed earlier in the week. I need a break from the horrible reality we live in. So, on that note, let me dive into what Nick and Katy discussed. As usual, this is not a transcript. It is just me talking about what caught my attention. To hear the whole thing, please go to duranduranmusic.com and get yourself a membership.

Swimming

Nick and Katy started the kafe with a brief discussion about swimming and whether or not they could survive if they fell off a boat. I won’t give their answers away but I related when Nick said that he did not like to swim in places where he cannot reach the bottom. I’m the exact same way.

Album News

Of course, this is what we all want to know about, right? I love that there wasn’t a lot of time wasted before they got to the good stuff! Nick mentioned that they have been able to move things along now that restrictions have let up in the UK. Several tracks have gone to get mixed. In fact, according to Nick, they have had 6 or 7 mixes back. For me, the best part of what he said is how they have started to watch the album come together. That sounds super positive to me. I wonder if the perspective on that might be unique this time around because of the forced break. Nick is hopeful that they will be able to finish the rest in the next coming months. While I love the sound of that, I would also encourage them to break from the idea that the entire album has to be done. Fans would love just a track or two. It would keep people interested and give us something to listen to/distract us. It would keep people going and it may even help them to get love and energy from the fans back to them, which could be helpful. Katy seemed to be channeling as me as she did ask about a single and Nick dismissed it, saying that he likes having the plan for whole thing. He would like to see how the fall goes. Ugh. Couldn’t the plan be for individual songs to be released? I’m certain that they could do this well and in a way that felt coherent.

Next Year

It sounds like most of the concerts and other plans for this year will be just pushed back to 2021. That would be great! I wonder what all they had planned.

The Process

Katy asked Nick what his favorite part of the album making process is his favorite. Not surprisingly, he loves going into the studio at the beginning of the day (afternoon–in Nick’s case) with nothing and having something created by the end. He also likes “fixing” or tweaking once something has been made. None of that surprises me at all. I bet he takes a ton of time with that fixing part!

Music Industry Assistance

It sounds to me that most industries in Britain have received some assistance from the government to survive during the pandemic. The music industry has not. Thus, the members of the band have signed on to a petition to get that changed. I think Nick explains it well that there are a lot of people in the industry that have not been able to work and that is a problem. I agree. Think about how many people are needed to put on a show (beyond the artists themselves!) and shows are not happening. A lot of people are struggling as a result of that. He is hopeful that people will be more grateful once shows are able to come back. I know that I will, for sure.

Book

Nick put together a book after the photography exhibit he did four or five years ago. He had started the book years ago but had to take breaks due to touring and more. Now, he had a chance to make any changes to complete it and he fully expects that it will be released this year. He is hopeful that it will be out in the next few months. If he had his way, it would be on Halloween. It will be a limited edition art book with a 7 inch vinyl single included with a vocal by his significant other, Nefer. It will be very limited but probably extremely beautiful. (My guess is that it will also be very expensive!) Still, I like something to look forward to!

So, what do the rest of you think? How do you feel about the album news?

-A

I Heard You Talking Softly

Last week, Rhonda and I had a brief conversation about lyrics. In the midst of the discussion, I mentioned that I viewed Simon’s lyrics very differently than John’s lyrics in his solo work. In thinking about this, I started to wonder about the reason behind these differences and if their purposes for writing was the cause.

Let’s start at the beginning. How would you describe Simon’s lyrics? I know as a kid in listening to songs like Union of the Snake, I might have said that they were nonsense. If they had a meaning, I had no idea. Of course, some songs seemed obvious in their meanings like Rio, which I would assumed was about a woman, or Girls on Film, which must be about models. Later, of course, I started to realize that all of these songs might be deeper than I originally thought. Union of the Snake, for instance, could be interpreted in a thousand different ways. I learned that Rio was more about the United States rather than just a woman. Even Girls on Film was deeper than just about models but about the exploitation of them.

So what does this mean when it comes to thinking about Simon’s lyrics? Obviously, it showed me that there was more to his lyrics than what appeared on the surface. There is a poetic element to many of them and others could be thought of as more of a metaphor or analogy. Then, I wondered if there were any songs that were more of a personal nature. A few came to mind. Come Undone is about his wife, Yasmin, and She’s Too Much is about his daughter. We know that Hold Back the Rain was written about John Taylor. Yet, the songs that directly relate to his life seem to be few and far between. Interesting.

Let’s compare to John Taylor. Now, I’m willing to bet that some of you out there aren’t as familiar with John’s solo work as you are Duran Duran’s work. So, I’ll share a couple examples/verses.

Spirit of the Times

and now that I’m in Hollywood
I feel that here I’m understood
there’s fifty minutes to the hour
and twelve steps to every ivory tower

spirit of the times
spirit of the times
spirit of the times
prefects from birmingham
chamberlain’s birmingham
christ wasn’t perfect
he could have been from birmingham
rotunda
new street
jasper carrot’s birmingham
tis-was

rum runner
swordfish up the alleyway
steel pulse
bob lamb’s
moseley inna birmingham
underworld in our world
minutes up the motorway

Anon

I’m good at relaxing, I like to kick back
When I go to the steamroom, I get my hampton out
I get plenty of love from all the kids I meet
I get a sense of fun from them, Just can’t be beatI know a man with problems, So self-absorbed
He couldn’t see nothing past the end of his world
His life was grey then, It was hard to see
But I got the number, I got the recipe

Okay, so it seems to me that John’s lyrics are way more about his life and what he was thinking and feeling at that given time. If you listen to his complete solo work, you can tell a lot about how he was trying to really get his life together in his new world of sobriety, post Duran Duran, after a divorce/new relationship, etc. John’s lyrics are almost always incredibly personal, like the exact opposite of Simon’s.

Does that mean one’s lyrics are better than the others? I don’t think so. I love them both for different reasons. With Simon’s, I get to make guesses about what they could be about. I can interpret them in various ways, some that might fit only to my life. In that sense, they can more universal. Yet, I admire the heck out of John’s. It takes a lot to be that open, that vulnerable, that raw, especially in front of other people. This, of course, takes me back to the original premise. What is the purpose for their lyrics?

I suppose that you can argue that the reason for writing songs is for people to listen, to enjoy, to love, etc. I’m pretty certain that all of these songs were written with the hopes of selling copies of albums and singles, to make money. Beyond that, though, John’s lyrics seem to represent a personal process that he was going through. I might conclude that he was writing, not just for all of the usual reasons for writing lyrics to songs but also to deal with his thoughts and emotions, to help him figure things out. Part of me definitely can relate to that. I feel like I have been using the blog for more and more of that as time as gone on. Writing does help me tremendously when processing what I think. It helps me to organize all of the random ideas floating around in my brain. It provides a coherence.

As I continue to process a lot of potential changes in my own personal life, I suspect that I will be doing a lot more writing in the coming weeks and months.

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!