Saturday, December 2, 2017

Safety Duran Duran Buttons

In the past couple of years, people have started to wear safety pins as a social statement to raise awareness of safety for minorities and others who are often found in unsafe situations in society. One could say that I have jumped into that bandwagon, which I suppose in a way I have, but it's with my own personal twist.

My "safety pins" are Duran Duran buttons.

Yes, I am completely serious and not making light of the social statement at hand. I am standing for the safety of those who are made to feel shame or fear for loving the music that they love.

And this is why:

When Duran Duran graced the airwaves with songs from their Seven and the Ragged Tiger album in the mid 80s, I became a Duranie. I was enchanted with the band as their music became my safe place during my tumultuous adolescence. In the same way that a blanket fort can be a safe place in the physical world, my music was where I could find peace in myself, as if it was something tangible that I could wrap around me like a cloak. It kept me together when everything else would come apart.

When I was 20, I got married... to a nightmare. My world, and everything in it, was no longer safe, largely because anything that made me happy that didn't involve him made him jealous. My music was one of the first things he made to go away. Bit by bit, over time, he forced me to convince myself that I really didn't like Duran Duran anymore, that it was childish junk. It was engrained into me that disagreeing with him and liking Duran Duran anyway would land me in physical, perhaps even mortal, danger.

Several years later, I got out of that marriage, though the wounds, both physical and emotional, remained raw for a long time. I became involved with a very supportive man who encouraged me to be the person I am meant to be and to enjoy the things that I like, including my music. He soon became my husband and has been my rock ever since.

When Duran Duran was coming to Seattle in 2008, he asked me if I wanted to go to their concert. At first I said no. Even though I was safe now, even though it was ok for me to enjoy the music that made me come alive, the scars were still there, convincing me that I didn't really like Duran Duran very much and something really bad might happen to me if I showed too much enthusiasm. I even feared I might die. The fear was that deep. I mean, I was healed enough at that point that Icould listen to their CDs, and I was intrigued by a super-Duranie I heard on the radio who called himself Durandy, yet my going to a concert and doing the whole Duranie thing at the time seemed almost foreign to me and was still well beyond my comfort zone. 

But my husband knew me better and he refused to allow my inhibitions to speak for me. He bothered and pestered me until I admitted that I wanted to go see them. And I am so glad he did. At the concert, I was able to break through so many layers of scars and terror and, for the first time in nearly two decades I allowed myself to be cloaked in the safety of their music.

Not entirely at first, of course. That took some years and gentle encouragement from the local Duran community, including the lovely and zany Durandy, who has been a valuable friend for the past several years to me, but I can now, without fear or hesitation, call myself a devoted Duranie. I even got a Duran-related tattoo as a personal testimony that I will never again give anyone the power to dictate what music I am allowed to love.

And that is why I wear Duran Duran buttons instead of safety pins. When people are drawn to music that resonates with them, it is their right to be able to listen to it and enjoy it without fear, Duran Duran or otherwise! Who cares if other people don't like what you like? Who cares if it's not popular? If you love your music and it puts you in a place of joy, embrace it! Plus, if someone likes something that you don't, DON'T ruin it for them! Don't be the one who makes them feel ashamed or afraid to take comfort in the art that resonates with them! Music is the universal safe place and it comes in millions of forms. It's completely fine if yours doesn't match those around you.

That is what my Duran Duran buttons say when I wear them. I am a proud Duranie. Be proud of your music!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Face For Today

Several months back, before I embarked on my amazing trip to Zagreb to see Duran Duran, I gave my face to them. For the Japanese part of their tour, their Facebook page asked fans for pictures of themselves to be used during the song, Face For Today. Of course, I submitted an image of myself, which is the same one I used as my author picture on the back cover of Speaking in Feline.

However, due to some technical difficulties, the images were not used at the concerts in Japan as planned. Of course, I was disappointed, but since it seemed that this was the biggest problem they faced in Japan, I considered it a minor thing and my life went on.

Then, something exciting happened: Not wanting the images or the love behind them to go to waste, a video was made out of the images. Yes, mine made it in! As it is, there is much discussion among the fans about whether this is an official Duran Duran video or not. While some claim that it's not, I agree with others that since Face For Today has no official video, that we might as well call this video as such.

So here is the video that features not only my face, but the faces of dozens of devoted Duranies. Mine appears at 2:39.

Monday, October 9, 2017

My Duran Moment

 It did indeed happen!

 I went to Zagreb Croatia at the end of August and not only did I see a fabulous Duran Duran concert,  not only did I walk away from the concert with a three foot beach ball that was bounced around the audience during the finale, not only was I honored to meet three band members, but I handed those three members each a copy of Speaking in Feline!

 Since I was 12, I had very much wanted to meet one or more band members, mainly the bass god, John Taylor. Over 30 years later, I was becoming very discouraged that this would ever happen. After I was given some excellent pointers from my dear friend, Durandy, my husband and I embarked on a journey to Europe to catch a show and, most hopefully, a Duran moment.

 We were given a tip on which hotel they were staying at, so that's where we went and spent the day, becoming increasingly aware that the lobby was filling up with middle-aged schoolgirls, like me, ready to pounce.

 After several hours of waiting, there was a stir among the patient Durianies, and suddenly, there they were, Duran Duran, coming into the lobby from their limo! The Duranies soon surrounded Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes. I didn't have a chance at getting their attention because I was too slow. So I looked around. Roger Taylor was about ten feet away from me. I was about to approach him when, at the corner of my eye, I found that John Taylor was almost right next to me! So, of course you wonder, what did I do? What did I say?

 I froze. He stepped away, back to the front door of the lobby. My husband nudged me and urged me to, "Go! Go after him!" So I went and caught back up with him. He was peering outside the door, clearly looking for someone from his entourage.

 Eager for his attention, I yelled, "John! John!"

 He looked at me. HE LOOKED AT ME!

 He was looking at me and I said, "..................................................."

 Yeah, that was smooth. I'm a dork.

 Clearly, he's had that conversation before with countless starstruck Duranies and asked kindly, "Do you want a photograph?"

 My husband took over at that point and said "Yes" for me. When the picture was taken, he was gone! Zip, just like that. A little braver now, I chased after him and handed him a copy of my book. Through stuttering and stumbling words of it being about Duranies in 1985, he remarked, "Isn't that interesting!" He made this starstruck middle-aged schoolgirl very happy!

 (Here is a picture of him with Speaking in Feline in his hand:)

 The Wild Boys then disappeared in the lift and us Duranies were left to talk about our experiences, both what had just happened and previous Duran moments, and I made a bunch of new friends. Absolutely delightful people! Even without that amazing Duran moment, they would have made it all worth my while!

 The next morning, day of the concert, we were again parked in the lobby, waiting for a glimpse... or more. Suddenly, Simon breezed through, very close to where I was sitting. I stood up and (just as intelligently as I did for John) I yelled, "Simon! Simon!"

 He did not slow his pace towards the hotel restaurant, and his face clearly showed that he was not quite ready for fan adoration, but he looked over at me and gave me a wave. Ok, that's cool. I can respect that he's not a morning person. Neither am I. I did not chase after him as I did with John.

 A while later, presumably after he had some breakfast, he came breezing back in the opposite direction. This time, there were a few women waiting for him with gifts. Being last in this informal line, I handed him a copy of my book, eloquently saying, "I wrote it, and you're in it."

 Yes, I'm a dork. But I'm a dork who had just hand delivered a second book to Duran Duran band members!

 (Here is Simon with the gifts in his hands. You can see the red spine of the book among the other gifts in his arms. That's me in front of him!)

 The concert was amazing. I was at the very front, in the fan pit, and on John's side. At the end of most Duran Duran concerts, they play Rio as a finale, and during that time, there is confetti and huge beach balls thrown about the audience. There was a large space in between the stage and the fan pit and the balls kept getting stuck there. I kept bugging the security guard and pointing at the balls so he would go and throw them back into play. After I kept bothering him, he simply handed me one! Then the band grouped together for a bow. Dom Brown, the fill-in guitarist, gave me a smile and did a "rock-on" hand gesture at me. Seems like having a beach ball gives a person leverage!

 The next day saw me in the lobby once more. I managed another selfie with John, this time I was able to use my own words to ask for it. Then I was in a group selfie with Simon. My arm was around his shoulders.

 Then came the coolest moment. I had thought that all my Duran moments thus far was adequate, but the divine spirits had saved the best for last.

 I was waiting at the lifts. Nick had not yet come down and he had to come down sometime, right? Suddenly, there he was, speed-walking through the lobby and out the doors. Again, my husband nudged me, "Go! Go!" All the other Duranies respectfully held back and did not bother him on his power walk... but I was on a mission!

 Book in hand, I sped down the street, shouting, "Nick! Nick!" He didn't slow down. That dude can ZOOM!

 I caught up to him and called out his name a few times.

 Without slowing down, he turned to me and said, not unkindly, "Be quick."

 I handed him the book.

 He slowed way down and looked at the cover. Then he pointed to the cover and said, "Oh! Poosie-cat!" in his lovely British accent.

 "I wrote it!" I told him.

 "Did you?" he said very kindly.

 "It's about Duranies in 1985," I went on.

 He smiled at that.

 Then I added, "And cats from outer space!"

 At that, he stopped walking, threw his head back, and laughed.

 In a moment, he resumed his power walk, though he turned back to tell me, very warmly, "Thank you!"

 "Thank you!" I called after him.

 (Here he is below. I was not able to get a selfie in that moment, but he is the fair-haired one looking over at me, the one in the hat. That's when he slowed down but I still had to move fast to keep up.)

 That was my finale. I could have stuck around to see if I could have more Duran moments, but I wanted the finale as it was. Although Roger was most elusive and I did not get to meet him, I am satisfied with the encounters that I did manage to have.

 I might have more Duran moments in the future. I might have other cool moments concerning my book. But this was the best ending of a 32 year old wait that this author could hope for.

 Thank you, Duran Duran, for an amazing moment in Zagreb, for your amazing music, and for... everything!

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Duran Duran Dolled Up

 I collect matryoshka dolls, more commonly known as Russian nesting dolls. I love the little ladies, I always have, ever since I've watched the stop-and-go-animation shorts on Sesame Street depicting nesting dolls counting up to ten and back down to one.

 I am also a fan of mixing good things. When you have two things that bring you joy, life can only get better when you can mix the two together somehow. And so I did.

 A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of mixing nesting dolls with Duran Duran. I looked in several places that sell nesting dolls, both traditional and modern pop culture styles, but I never saw a Duran Duran matryoshka. I needed to change that. So, I looked online for someone who makes custom-made nesting dolls. After looking at several, I decided on an Etsy site called The Attic Studio WV. I liked the artist's style because rather than focusing mainly on the face of the doll, she does an amazing job at getting the image of the whole person on the doll, all the way around!

 I had a wonderful time going back and forth with her, discussing details and her sending me images of her daily progress. I think she had as much fun as I did! The end result is an absolute delight! The era I chose for their look was from the Seven and the Ragged Tiger album. The set came with six dolls so I chose the five larger dolls as band members and the tiniest bears two symbols from the album cover.

 And here are my gorgeous guys:

Here is the page for The Attic Studio WV:

Life Glitch

I am and always have been a believer in various things that cannot be explained by logic or science, such as the paranormal, or clairvoyance, largely because I have experienced such things myself. Believe what you will. I'm not interested in arguing or proving anything. You may believe with me or choose not to.

In the past year or so, I have become aware of a phenomena called a "life glitch" or as many like to call it a "glitch in the matrix." For those who don't know what it is, it seems that some people experience what one could call a hiccup in reality, such as experiencing one thing, while everyone around you insists that something else happened. Some people believe that there are countless realities just like the one we're in with minor differences and sometimes someone would slide over to another reality where things aren't quite as they remember it. Sometimes the slide is temporary, sometimes it is not.

It turns out that I have been experiencing such things but only recently knew that there was a name for it. Since then, I have been reading stories from others who have lived through some kind of life glitch. One of my favorite sources is a on a YouTube channel called Hellfreezer, where various true stories, such as Glitch in the Matrix, Paranormal, Scary, and other stories are narrated out loud.

A while back, I submitted an experience of my own, about a childhood book, to Hellfreezer, who did a lovely job at narrating it. Here it is in the video below. My entry starts at the 11:57 mark.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

1 to 3 Rule of Classic Hits

There's a phenomenon among radio stations, who play classic hits, that I call the "1 and 3 Rule." Apparently, it's considered taboo for radio stations to acknowledge when an artist or band has had several hits. After a certain amount of time after a band has had some hits, radio stations will cling to one of those songs and play it to death for eternity and that band is doomed to be known for that one song and history is left to forget their other songs. Such bands can easily be mistaken as one-hit-wonders.
For instance, OMD have had some delightful songs that had some airplay once upon a time, but the only song that radio stations seem to play is "If You Leave." Every radio station that plays classic hits plays that to death. Did you miss it? Just wait ten minutes. They'll play it again. Also, remember a time when Culture Club was known for more than Karma Chameleon? None of the radio stations seem to.
Super-famous bands, however, are granted a whopping three songs from their vast selection of hits to be remembered for... and rotten little else. Duran Duran, which dominated the airwaves in the 80s are reduced to Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Ordinary world. Van Halen, despite insanely popular hits with David Lee Roth and then Sammy Hagar, are whittled down to Jump, Panama, and Love Walks In. David Bowie, whose music spanned over 5 decades, is now mainly known for Fame, Let's Dance, and Modern Love. The near absence of his other songs on the airwaves is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Now, one could argue that they are just playing what the listeners want to hear, but is everyone in every city really calling in with the same same same same songs every day when they can upload those songs on their own personal electronic devices themselves?
Please, radio stations who plays classic hits, these bands have put a lot of variety into their history. Stop reducing them to 1 or 3 songs. They deserve better and so do your listeners!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Live Reading of Speaking in Feline

I have recently been given the grand opportunity to do a live feed reading, generously recorded and provided by a superfan of Duran Duran, Andy Golub (aka Durandy.) It was incredibly fun and I hope to do something similar in the near future!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Dearest Hopes

Those who know me know that I am a huge fan of Duran Duran. Because of this, and because I have been in a good place in my life when I wrote Speaking in Feline and included many things in it that make me happy, Duran Duran and Duranies play an important role in the story.

Later this summer I will be going to Europe to see a (surprise surprise) Duran Duran concert. I have high hopes that I will have the opportunity to meet the band. A huge bonus would be for me to present them with a copy of Speaking in Feline! Even better, I am hopeful that they might have at least heard about it by then!

Wish me luck, dear readers!

Friday, July 7, 2017

So far, I have received very good feedback from those who have read Speaking in Feline. In a few days, I will be making a video book reading. I very much enjoy public reading but this will be my first video reading and I'm very excited to see how this will turn out!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It's here! For those of you who like to read books electronically, Speaking in Feline is now available in Kindle!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Kindle version of Speaking in Feline will be up and running within the next few days. I am thrilled that so far, news of the novel is receiving very good feedback on Duran Duran Facebook pages. It would be the biggest thrill for me for it to reach the band itself. Let's see where this goes...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Speaking in Feline now available

Welcome to my web page! My book, Speaking in Feline, is finally available and I will be posting my thoughts and updates frequently. Are you ready to journey with me?