Déjà Vu Blogfest—Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day! (My fandom story)

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deja_vu-2016

DL Hammons is once again holding his annual Déjà Vu blogfest, wherein participants revisit a post from the past year which didn’t get the audience one expected, or that one wishes to run again. I chose a post I originally published on 10 August 2016, “Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day! (My fandom story).”

cropped-80s-albums-banner.jpg

Since taking this photo several years ago, I’ve added the lovely, underrated Big Thing (1988) and the spin-off The Power Station (1985) to my vinyl collection, but I didn’t feel like reshooting this picture!

To mark Duran Duran Appreciation Day (a fan-initiated holiday falling on the anniversary of Simon’s near-drowning experience in 1985), I decided to finally share my story of how I became a fan. It’s hard to believe this year makes it five years since I’ve been a Duranie. My path to fandom wasn’t the typical one, since it happened so many years after their greatest wave of popularity, I wasn’t some screaming teenybopper, and I’ve always most gravitated towards classic rock and pop.

To quote the lesser-known song “Beautiful Colours,” “Life isn’t standard-issue, it’s customised.” Not everyone has the same reasons for joining and staying in a fandom. I also like to discover bands, books, films, actors, writers, etc., long after the heyday has passed. I’m getting into them for my own reasons, not because of massive hype.

I’d actually bought Rio in July 2007, after finding it in the $2 stacks at a Northampton record store which has since gone out of business. At the time, I justified it to myself as indulging my Eighties nostalgia, a guilty pleasure I only had to part with $2 for. I listened to the album a few times, but it didn’t do much for me. It wasn’t the right time for me to become a fan.

IMG_2331

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this now, but for a long time, I dismissed the band because I thought they were just a bunch of prettyboys who were only around in the Eighties, just some talentless boygroup for mindless teenyboppers. It took awhile for me to realise they’re a real band, and just happened to be heavily marketed to teenyboppers the way my belovèd Monkees were a generation earlier. Real fans stuck around after their heyday, while the fairweather fans moved on to the next big thing pimped by the media.

As some readers might remember, in November 2010, I finally went back to my long-hiatused book Little Ragdoll from scratch and memory. Around this time, I seriously started using YouTube, and began making playlists to listen to while writing. One of those was my Hollies’ playlist, which was my majority soundtrack for writing the book. I also made soundtracks for The Four Seasons, The Monkees, several other bands and artists, and the Eighties.

IMG_2371

 Of course, I searched out several Duran Duran songs for the lattermost playlist, and ended up clicking on a lot of their other recommended videos. As 2010 turned into 2011, I found myself liking and listening to them more and more. I’d “liked” the band’s official Facebook page by early February 2011, since I remember there was a post celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Planet Earth” shortly after I joined.

Then on Valentine’s Day, the page asked about fans’ choices for most romantic songs. A number of people named “Come Undone” as super-romantic and babymaking music, and I looked up the video on YouTube. I ended up watching and listening to it over and over again, hooked. That’s the song that really threw the switch and made me realise I was a real, active fan, not just disinterestedly indulging Eighties nostalgia. I consider Valentine’s Day my anniversary of becoming a Duranie.

During this early period, while watching their videos and listening to their songs, I found myself thinking, “Wow, the blonde dude [Simon] is really handsome!” This was pretty noteworthy for me because I’m almost never physically attracted to blondes. I’ve always been all about the dark hair and eyes, and consider blonde hair and blue eyes a rather boring, cliché look. A guy with those features has to be really, really special for me to pay attention to him.

On 23 March 2011, the band did a YouTube-broadcast concert for American Express, with truly bizarre video work by David Lynch. I was getting more and more into them, and starting to feel really self-conscious about it. That summer, I began writing the first draft of The Twelfth Time, and often listened to them as my writing soundtrack. All the while, I felt weird when I caught myself listening to them too much. I didn’t want to admit to myself I’d become a real fan and fallen in love with them so deeply, since I was afraid of being made fun of.

IMG_0133

Then I remembered, I’ve always cared less when people trash my belovèd Monkees and accuse them of being only for shallow, brainless teenyboppers with poor taste in music. I know the real story behind their origins and evolution, and love their music no matter what. Sometimes good bands get famous really quickly, and are heavily marketed to teenyboppers. As a result, they develop a stigma it can take decades to shake, and many people don’t take them seriously as real bands. Why was I being such a hypocrite about loving a band with a similar story?

I finally admitted to my head what my heart already knew, and no longer felt ashamed or self-conscious about how much of their music I was watching and listening to. Five years later, I’m not embarrassed to admit I sleep under a vintage framed poster of the band or to go out with a vintage button on one of my purse straps. My fave rave is Roger, though my giant stuffed frog is named Simon because I already named my stuffed tiger after my first Roger, the handsome Roger Harry Daltrey.

I’ve used lines from some of their lyrics as inspiration for chapter and part titles in my books, and narrative lines in general. Favourite songs include “The Seventh Stranger,” “Secret Oktober,” “Out of My Mind,” “Lonely in Your Nightmare,” and “To the Shore.” My favourite music video is the long version of “Wild Boys” (so deliciously macabre!)

And, of course, “Come Undone,” the song that made me come undone.

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day! (My fandom story)

4

cropped-80s-albums-banner.jpg

Since taking this photo several years ago, I’ve added the lovely, underrated Big Thing (1988) and the spin-off The Power Station (1985) to my vinyl collection, but I didn’t feel like reshooting this picture!

To mark Duran Duran Appreciation Day (a fan-initiated holiday falling on the anniversary of Simon’s near-drowning experience in 1985), I decided to finally share my story of how I became a fan. It’s hard to believe this year makes it five years since I’ve been a Duranie. My path to fandom wasn’t the typical one, since it happened so many years after their greatest wave of popularity, I wasn’t some screaming teenybopper, and I’ve always most gravitated towards classic rock and pop.

To quote the lesser-known song “Beautiful Colours,” “Life isn’t standard-issue, it’s customised.” Not everyone has the same reasons for joining and staying in a fandom. I also like to discover bands, books, films, actors, writers, etc., long after the heyday has passed. I’m getting into them for my own reasons, not because of massive hype.

I’d actually bought Rio in July 2007, after finding it in the $2 stacks at a Northampton record store which has since gone out of business. At the time, I justified it to myself as indulging my Eighties nostalgia, a guilty pleasure I only had to part with $2 for. I listened to the album a few times, but it didn’t do much for me. It wasn’t the right time for me to become a fan.

IMG_2331

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this now, but for a long time, I dismissed the band because I thought they were just a bunch of prettyboys who were only around in the Eighties, just some talentless boygroup for mindless teenyboppers. It took awhile for me to realise they’re a real band, and just happened to be heavily marketed to teenyboppers the way my belovèd Monkees were a generation earlier. Real fans stuck around after their heyday, while the fairweather fans moved on to the next big thing pimped by the media.

As some readers might remember, in November 2010, I finally went back to my long-hiatused book Little Ragdoll from scratch and memory. Around this time, I seriously started using YouTube, and began making playlists to listen to while writing. One of those was my Hollies’ playlist, which was my majority soundtrack for writing the book. I also made soundtracks for The Four Seasons, The Monkees, several other bands and artists, and the Eighties.

IMG_2371

 Of course, I searched out several Duran Duran songs for the lattermost playlist, and ended up clicking on a lot of their other recommended videos. As 2010 turned into 2011, I found myself liking and listening to them more and more. I’d “liked” the band’s official Facebook page by early February 2011, since I remember there was a post celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Planet Earth” shortly after I joined.

Then on Valentine’s Day, the page asked about fans’ choices for most romantic songs. A number of people named “Come Undone” as super-romantic and babymaking music, and I looked up the video on YouTube. I ended up watching and listening to it over and over again, hooked. That’s the song that really threw the switch and made me realise I was a real, active fan, not just disinterestedly indulging Eighties nostalgia. I consider Valentine’s Day my anniversary of becoming a Duranie.

During this early period, while watching their videos and listening to their songs, I found myself thinking, “Wow, the blonde dude [Simon] is really handsome!” This was pretty noteworthy for me because I’m almost never physically attracted to blondes. I’ve always been all about the dark hair and eyes, and consider blonde hair and blue eyes a rather boring, cliché look. A guy with those features has to be really, really special for me to pay attention to him.

On 23 March 2011, the band did a YouTube-broadcast concert for American Express, with truly bizarre video work by David Lynch. I was getting more and more into them, and starting to feel really self-conscious about it. That summer, I began writing the first draft of The Twelfth Time, and often listened to them as my writing soundtrack. All the while, I felt weird when I caught myself listening to them too much. I didn’t want to admit to myself I’d become a real fan and fallen in love with them so deeply, since I was afraid of being made fun of.

IMG_0133

Then I remembered, I’ve always cared less when people trash my belovèd Monkees and accuse them of being only for shallow, brainless teenyboppers with poor taste in music. I know the real story behind their origins and evolution, and love their music no matter what. Sometimes good bands get famous really quickly, and are heavily marketed to teenyboppers. As a result, they develop a stigma it can take decades to shake, and many people don’t take them seriously as real bands. Why was I being such a hypocrite about loving a band with a similar story?

I finally admitted to my head what my heart already knew, and no longer felt ashamed or self-conscious about how much of their music I was watching and listening to. Five years later, I’m not embarrassed to admit I sleep under a vintage framed poster of the band or to go out with a vintage button on one of my purse straps. My fave rave is Roger, though my giant stuffed frog is named Simon because I already named my stuffed tiger after my first Roger, the handsome Roger Harry Daltrey.

I’ve used lines from some of their lyrics as inspiration for chapter and part titles in my books, and narrative lines in general. Favourite songs include “The Seventh Stranger,” “Secret Oktober,” “Out of My Mind,” “Lonely in Your Nightmare,” and “To the Shore.” My favourite music video is the long version of “Wild Boys” (so deliciously macabre!)

And, of course, “Come Undone,” the song that made me come undone.

Keith and Carolina

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In loving memory of Keith John Moon, 23 August 1946-7 September 1978, rock’s greatest drummer, who left the material world for his eternal home 34 years ago today. May your beautiful memory be for an eternal blessing, dear boy.

In honor of Keith’s Jahrzeit, I decided to do a little piece about his fictional namesake. This takes place during the future Saga VIII (the 2010s) of Cinnimin. I’ve had the love story of Cinni’s granddaughter Carolina Maria Kevorkian and Keith John Black (little Cora Ann Campbell’s grandson) memorized in my head for about 5 years now. They reconnect in the fall of 2015 at the University of Chicago, and over time their friendship turns into love.

Regular readers may remember Carolina as the baby who was abducted by psycho monkey Sunny in some past Six Sentence Sundays.

***

“I didn’t know you were a big Who fan,” Carolina said as she surveyed the poster on the back of the door. “You always seemed more into indie music.”

Keith shrugged. “It’s kinda a prerequisite when your mother named you after their drummer.”

“My cousin-in-law Daltrey doesn’t have a poster at her house, and her namesake is even more obvious than yours.” Carolina looked at the poster and back at Keith. “You kinda even look like him a little, the same dark hair and big brown eyes.”

“Thanks.  My mom always said one of the reasons why he’s her favorite is because she thinks he was the best-looking.  She always liked dark hair and eyes.” He looked away when he caught his gaze lingering too long on Carolina’s amethyst eyes.

“Does your mother like any contemporary music?”

“Of course.  She just likes the older stuff more.  Like she and Aunt Amber always explained it, it’s not that they didn’t like the popular music of their generation, just that they preferred music that stood the test of time.  Sure some of those popular Eighties bands are still around and well-known, but others are washed-up has-beens.  They couldn’t know who’d be who at the time.  So they went for classic rock.”

Carolina sat on Keith’s chair, trying her best not to look at him too intently. “At least you’ve got a well-known namesake.  Most people have never heard of Carolina Maria de Jesus.  I don’t know much about her either.  All I know is that she was a poor Brazilian who tried to help her country’s poor, and she had three kids out of wedlock by all different fathers.”

Keith grinned. “Your parents probably wouldn’t be happy to hear you know so little about the woman they admired enough to name a kid after.”

“Well, unlike you, I never took much of an interest in my namesake.” Carolina began daydreaming about running her hands through Keith’s thick chocolate-brown hair. “And I obviously look nothing like a Brazilian, unless there’s a tribe of Brazilians with red hair and purple eyes.”

“I like your looks just fine.  I mean, I think you look fine.  You’re my best friend’s kid sister.  I hope you didn’t take that the wrong way.” He wished Carolina weren’t only eighteen and almost two and a half years his junior.

“Of course not.” Carolina cursed herself for thinking Keith would ever think of her as anything but Mike’s little sister.

“Say, would you like me to order some pizza or calzones or something?  Unless you have more friends now and don’t have to sit alone at the dining hall.”

“No, don’t waste your money.  I don’t mind sitting alone again.”

“Then let me come with you.  I don’t think it’s beneath me to eat at the dining hall from time to time.” Keith pulled his jacket out of the closet. “Not all of us upperclasspeople are allergic to the dining hall.  It sure beats always making and paying for your own stuff.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“It’s not a big deal.  It’s my responsibility to look after you so far away from home.  I’d want people to do the same for Rael if she were at college.”

“I won’t bug you so much after I find more friends.  I know it must be embarrassing for you to be seen in public with a first-year student.”

“Like I said, no big deal.  It’s not like you’re a little kid.  Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a boyfriend outta this.  Other guys might see you with a junior and think you’re hot stuff.” He held out his hand. “You coming?”

Carolina picked her jacket up off the floor and shoved it on, then took Keith’s hand.  Even if he wasn’t her boyfriend, at least it felt good to hold hands with him and finally be seen as a friend instead of a little girl.  She hoped other boys would think she was off-limits when they saw her with this cute upperclassman, and wouldn’t even bother trying to ask her out.  Not that she would’ve said yes anyway.  The only guy she wanted was Keith, even if that meant waiting to be a little older, or at least to become closer friends first.