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When My Ex Died…

I just read an interesting blog entry; a woman’s ex-husband died.  They were not amicable towards each other after their divorce, even though they shared custody of 2 children.  She didn’t know where she stood or how to grieve.  I guess I am lucky.

I have a son who is now 25 years old.  His dad, Don, and I separated in 2005, and our divorce was final in 2007.  I will be 50 years old next month.  Don and I have known each other for over half of my life…literally.  In late October of 2016, our son, Tim, called me, telling me that his dad had had a heart attack and was now in the hospital in Texas.  He had gone done there to visit his mother.  Both fear and worry gripped my heart as I waited for my son’s updates as he had immediately decided to go down there.  The day after he arrived, my son called me at work; after surgery to put stents in, he was put into a drug-induced coma as his kidneys were starting to shut down.  A few hours later, he called again; there was no brain activity and his organs were shutting down.  My son and his grandma made the decision together to let him go.

I started crying.  Even though we divorced due to arguments and infidelity (on his end), we still remained friends.  We talked on the phone all the time, we texted and tagged each other on silly posts on Facebook.  We saw each other when we could.  I would still call him every holiday.  He vented to me about things going on in his life.  I vented to him.  We talked about stuff having to do with our son.  And now…he was gone.  There was a gaping hole in my heart.  Why was I so upset?  We were divorced.  I wasn’t his wife anymore.  But, we had a son together and shared a lot of good times.  The good times outnumbered the bad.  Despite everything, he was still a part of my life.  And losing anyone you cared about hurts.

I never remarried and neither did Don; although he had a girlfriend with whom he had another baby with.  He loved his youngest…  Hell.  He loved all of his kids.  So even though I was no longer “family,” they all still considered me part of the family.

I talked to Don’s mom in Texas, and she had nothing but praise for Tim, who unexpectedly showed up at the hospital with his friend Ashley after driving 10 straight hours to get there.  She told me that the first thing Don did when he arrived was whip out his wallet and show him the latest picture of Tim that he had.  He was fiercely proud of him!  We talked about Don’s personal items and other things.  I talked to Don’s step-mom, offering help in any way that I could.  I wrote a short bio about Don that was to be used at a memorial service (he was cremated in Texas then laid to rest in Missouri).  It was more about Don and what he liked than a bio.  I cried as I wrote it, but it was something that came easily to me.

Don’s brother put together a memorial gathering in the town they lived in.  As I drove into the once familiar town, I saw things I hadn’t seen in many years, and memories flooded my mind.  I tried not to cry, but I couldn’t help it.  It was very nice to see people I hadn’t seen in years…as well as meeting those that I had only known by name.  I started crying during the reciting of the 23rd Psalm.

The day before the service, I picked up a bunch of carnations from the florist and kept them in water overnight.  The next morning, I left for the church cemetery.  I loved seeing his family members again…and I was part of the group.  Even my parents showed up.  After a prayer and all the flowers had been laid down by everyone, I stepped forward and pulled a Blue Angel die-cast metal replica from my tote bag and set it by Don’s urn.  It was his favorite jet and loved watching them perform at air shows.  For me, that was a fitting tribute…from me to him.

After the graveside service, we went to a senior center where Don’s dad was a resident because of Parkinson’s.  We had lunch.  We talked.  I was happy to see more people show up.  Tim’s friends came to support him.  Tim’s first babysitter and her mom came.  Probably Tim’s oldest friend came, too…a girl that was born 9 months earlier than him and a friend he grew up with.  I cried during the service again.  I wasn’t in the obituary…but neither was his girlfriend.  His children were listed as well as his parents, brother and sister.  It was done correctly as I didn’t have a place in it as we were divorced, and that was perfectly fine with me.

I live the closest to the cemetery.  Everyone should have a turkey for Thanksgiving, and I made sure Don had one.  For Christmas, I laid down a Christmas light necklace, a clip-on poinsettia, and a real Christmas tree in a little pot.  For New Years, I put down a marti gras-type bead necklace that said Happy New Year, a goofy pair of 2017 glasses, and a picture of a bottle of Jack Daniels in a plastic cup as his favorite drink was always Jack and Diet Coke.  In a few days, I’ll visit again and pick them up.

We talk.  We agreed that I will take care of Tim from here on Planet Earth, and he would watch after him from up in Heaven.

I guess I am lucky.  Don and I still remained friends after the separation and divorce, and it wasn’t just for Tim’s sake.  It was a friendship that started back in 1990.  That meant something to me then and still does today.  Some members of his family told me they always thought that he was holding me back (as I have since gotten my Associates in Mass Media Communications, my Bachelors in Media Communications and am working on my Masters degree now).  His mom wrote to me that I was Don’s one and only true love.  I don’t know if that is true…or maybe Don was mine as well.  I don’t know.  I’m not interested in having a relationship now…or ever, really.  I’m enjoying the empty nest time of my life.

I didn’t have to grieve in private or have to stand at the back the room.  I was able to grieve with my son, my parents, Don’s family and friends.  Three months later, I still grieve, but now it’s a personal thing and sometimes, I can’t help it.  And I grieve with Don because although he is without pain now and free from dialysis due to juvenile onset diabetes, I know he misses us…even though he is always in our hearts.

Rest In Peace, Don…  I do love you.

Does anyone else have an experience in losing an ex-spouse?

With or Without Nick Rhodes, It’s Still a Duran Duran Summer!

Back in February of this year (2016), I decided that this was going to be the year for me to see Duran Duran more than once during their Paper Gods tour.  During past tours, I had only seen them once; the Seven and the Ragged Tiger (St. Louis, 1984), Pop Trash (St. Louis, 2000), Red Carpet Massacre (Chicago, 2008), and All You Need is Now (Cleveland, 2011) tours.  The Astronaut/Reunion tour I did see them twice only because I won tickets from a radio station call in contest (Chicago and St. Louis, 2005).

Presale for the Paper Gods tour was back in December 2015 for most all of the dates.  I was unable to purchase anything until February.  And then, I bought tickets!  I bought a 2-ticket package for Austin, TX on April 22nd.  Austin Tour PosterMy cousin lives there, and so it was a twofer…I got to see my cousin that I hadn’t seen since 1997 (we think, to the best of both our memories), AND see Duran Duran from the front row with my cousin!  Since the last tour in 2011, I have made it a point to see Duran Duran somewhere near Cincinnati so I could visit my aunt and cousins.  Nashville was still TBA so I waited…and waited…then nabbed Nashville Tour PosterVIP tickets during the first few moments of the presale date!  Second row center on July 6th.  Yes, I think I could handle that!  I am a proud, card-carrying member of the Duran Duran Fan Club, and I enjoy the perks!

As I flew into Austin, I looked out my window and saw a race track and amphitheater.  Something clicked in my head, and I realized I was going to be there the next night!  Of course I snapped some pictures!DSCN0024  The show the next night was amazing! It was my first time in the front row and it was truly an experience!  Chic with Nile Rodgers was a dance party from note one.  After that set, while waiting for Duran Duran to come on, I actually met Nile!  He is truly a humble, very sweet man.  Duran Duran dedicated the show that night to Prince, who had passed away the day before.20160422_210619  My guys killed it that night!  I heard old songs, new songs, and songs I had never heard live before (i.e. “I Don’t Want Your Love,” “White Lines,” “Too Much Information”) as well as “New Moon on Monday,” a song I haven’t heard live since the 7ATRT tour back in 1984.  Yes, I hardly had a voice for the following week, but SO worth it!  My cousin, aunt and a second cousin showed me around the city of Austin the next day, and it truly is not like the rest of Texas!. Beautiful city!

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Nashville was memorable in its own way.  My only issue with Nashville is that it is very country music driven and that really isn’t my thing.  I got there the day before the show and met up with two Duranies.  We walked around, ate and did some touristy things.  The following day, I had a blast going through Cooter’s, the Dukes of Hazzard Museum!  For $5, I got pictures taken of me sitting inside the real General Lee.  Now that was something I couldn’t pass up!  The weather was terribly humid that day, and after walking around downtown for a bit, I just had to return to my hotel room to cool off and shower before the concert. Arrival Thankfully, I could park at the Nissan Stadium across the Cumberland River (where the Tennessee Titans play) for $5 because you could for an event at Ascend Amphitheater.  The storm was rolling in quick, and I still had to make it across the pedestrian bridge to downtown then to the Hard Rock Cafe.  Didn’t make it.  I had an umbrella and a rain jacket, so I was only slightly damp upon arrival.  I met two Duranies at the bar then more started arriving so we moved to some tables and continued to eat, drink and be merry!  The show was supposed to start at 7pm, but when we got there about 6:35, there was a huge, long line.  This particular amphitheater has an open back to the stage so when the storm blew threw, they had to move all of the intruments and equipment off the stage.   After the storm, they had to move everything back onto the stage, set it up and sound check it again.  Once inside, after confiscating everyone’s umbrellas, I found that I was sitting next to one of the girls I’d met at the Hard Rock Cafe so that was really cool!  The show started late.  Chic, once again, set the tone for the night, and Duran Duran did not disappoint!  The set list changed slightly, taking off “Too Much Information” and “Dancephobia” and adding “The Reflex” back to the list, which was definitely a crowd favorite!  The encore was only one song.  Disappointed that there was no confetti during “Pressure Off.”  In hindsight, the wet ground and confetti would have made a horrible mix to try and clean up.  Because they got a late start, I’m sure they decided before they went on for the encore to leave off “Save a Prayer.”

It was a different point of view for me sitting center stage from my usual right or “Nick” side.  I was more head-on so the pictures I took of Simon, John and Dom were better than Nick and Roger.  I think I’ll go back to Nick’s side.

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After the show that night, I scored one of my now most prized possessions.  I stood at the railing hoping to get at least Dom’s set list, but a security guy already grabbed it for someone else.  I waited patiently and watched in fascination as the crew broke everything down so quickly.20160706_225613 I saw one guy take Nick’s set list from the keyboard area and start to fold it up as to throw it away.  I yelled (with all the voice I could muster up because I was very hoarse), “Set list, please!”  He looked at me, smiled, walked to the edge of the stage and tossed it to me.  I unfolded it, in complete heaven as my eyes fell upon Nick’s set list.  This was a true OMG moment!

 

Speaking of which, the next night, the announcement came that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour temporarily.  He was returning to London to take care of “urgent family matter,” and leaving his long time friend and collaborator MNDR to take his place.  This set off a huge spark in the Duran Duran community.  The majority of people said they would still go to the shows even though Nick wouldn’t be onstage.  There were a few people that cried “NO FAIR!” and vowed not to go.  His reasons for leaving have been very hush-hush.  It is obviously his business, and urgent enough that he return to London could not be put off.  On top of it all, his band mates supported his decision.  My opinion is that Nick cared enough to not cancel the shows and let the fans be out a ton of money on tickets, hotels, transportation, etc.  He trusted his friend enough to ask her to take his place…and she was honored to do it!    They have dedicated “Save a Prayer” to Nick every night he has been absent thus far.  Nick will return when he can because even he said he hates disappointing the fans.  I mean, it happened the several times when Andy Taylor left.  We were introduced Warren Cuccurullo who became a member of Duran Duran then to Dom Brown, who is now their current guitarist, albeit not an “official” member.  Roger Taylor was replaced when he left by several drummers.  The same with bassist John Taylor.  Now it’s Nick’s turn.  This is temporary and he is returning soon.  He started this band and is the only member that has remained since Duran Duran’s conception.  Nick is not walking away from his baby.  I, like most fans, am behind him, supporting MNDR, and saying prayers for Nick for whatever his emergency is.

 

 

 

Happy Christmas!

960181_10205672483960637_9146703961265384609_n As you know if you follow me, I am a Duran Duran devotee of over 30 years.  549c1503c20ba9.36191160_rUnfortunately, my school and work schedule have kept me from writing more often.  For that, I’m sorry.

I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and a safe and prosperous 2015!

 

 

Photo Exhibit by Nick Rhodes

For anyone that lives in or around London, there is going to be a what should be a spectacular photography exhibit at The Vinyl Factory Chelsea from March 8th-April 5th.  Nick Rhodes, keyboardist and co-founder of Duran Duran is having an exhibition of his Polaroids and photos that coincides with the release of the album Bored with Prozac and the Internet? by TV Mania (made up of Rhodes and former Duran Duran member and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo).  This should be an awesome exhibition, and hope other photos of the Polaroids are released for viewing!

Nick Rhodes is no stranger to photography.  In 1984, he released a book of abstract Polaroids that he took from various televisions throughout the world.  He adjusted the tv’s setting until they distorted the photo then took a Polaroid of the screen.  As one that loves photography, I really enjoyed his book.  It was something new and exciting!

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I bought a copy when it was released in 1984 and after 26 years, finally had the opportunity to have Nick autograph it.  It was worth the wait!

Fast forward to 2013.  If anyone has been following the TV Mania tweets that I’ve posted on here, you’ve gotten a taste of the Polaroid photos that Rhodes has included as part of this exhibition and the project.  These are a few examples:

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Nick Rhodes always has his camera with him, even on-stage during a concert.  It is very rare that he shares his photography with the world.  The concert photos are used on Duran Duran’s official website.  He is always taking photos of all kinds of things from all around the world.  He once said that during this break (before they go back in the studio to record studio album #14) he’d like to go through his photographs and maybe put them up on his website.  **Just a note here:  He’s owned nickrhodes.com since the dawning of the internet, I believe.  But honestly, it’s been decades.**   Rhodes says that Polaroids are a one shot photo and they aren’t digitally enhanced afterwards.  That’s what I think is awesome.  With all the photo editing software out there, it’s easy to fix a flaw.  But why?  It was already there to begin with and is part of the photo.  I could go off on a tangent, but I’ll save it for another time…

For more information, go to the revealing article on Duran’s official website:  http://www.duranduran.com/wordpress/2013/bei-incubi-beautiful-nightmares-to-celebrate-the-launch-of-tv-manias-new-album-bored-with-prozac-and-the-internet-london-march-7-2013/

Disappointing James Bond Tribute as Oscars!

I am not a person to sit and watch awards shows.  However, I was interested in the 50th anniversary tribute to the James Bond films on the Oscars tonight.bondlogo01  From my understanding, it was supposed to be a musical tribute, and to my understanding, that should include a mix of all of the Bond themes.  Right??  Well, The Academy blew it.  Big time.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

Shirley Bassey

There are two other things associated with James Bond movies; the first are the beautiful and sexy Bond girls that have tempted and seduced 007, and the second are the accompanying movie themes.  It all started with the great Shirley Bassey singing the theme for Goldfinger in 1965, the third movie in the series but the first to incorporate a vocal theme instead of strictly instrumental.  Bassey came back to sing the title tracks to Moonraker and Diamonds Are Forever.  I love Shirley Bassey, and I enjoyed watching the videos of her performance tonight.

Bassey was the first of many, many great performers to join the elite group of those that can list having   James Bond movie theme on their resume.  This collection of all-stars includes Carly Simon, Paul McCartney, Nancy Sinatra, Rita Coolidge, Madonna, Tina Turner, Sheena Easton, Moby, Alicia Keys and Jack White, and most recently Adele, just to name a few.  Now there is yet another tier to this elite group of musicians to which only one name is on the membership roll.  Why?  Only one theme has ever reached #1 on the Billboard Music Charts in the United States.  No, Paul McCartney and Carly Simon only got as far as the #2 spot.  Adele is at #8 currently.  Duran Duran sang the title track to A View to a Kill in 1985 and it went to #1.  That’s something to be proud of!  They not only got the chance to do a Bond theme, but they took it to where no one has yet to take it…past or present. bondddavtok Okay, A View to a Kill was not the most memorable of the Bond movies, however Grace Jones was outstanding as May Day, villan Zorin’s bodyguard (played by Christopher Walken).  And it had a great chase scene between Bond (Roger Moore) and May Day on the Eiffel Tower.  Duran Duran used the same landmark to make Bond their video for their #1 theme, which is one of my favorites!

Duran Duran on location 1985

Duran Duran on location 1985

So this was supposed to be a big musical tribute to 50 years of James Bond. bondlogo02 Where was the collection of memorable Bond themes?  They stand out in the music world.  They are instantly recognizable.  So why weren’t they given their due?  And Duran Duran could’ve shown the world why they have the distinctive honor of having the only #1 James Bond ever.  With all of the amazing possibilities that the Academy could have done with this tribute, they bombed.  Two thumbs down!!

 

Watch Duran Duran’s awesome video with “Bon.  Simon Le Bon,” Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor:

Happy Anniversary, “The Wedding Album”

Twenty years ago, Duran Duran put out an album (CD…sorry!) entitled Duran Duran.  It was their second self-titled album but quickly became known as, affectionately, The Wedding Album.  It was an idea of Nick Rhodes, keyboardist and co-founder, to have the members’ parents wedding photos on the cover, hence where the adopted titled came.twacover

This album put Duran Duran back on the charts with two outstanding songs that are still favorites today of not just the fans but of the music world in general; “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone.”  I can listen to the album from beginning to end and still, to this day, love every single song for one reason or another.  On this anniversary, those involved with the album (members and non-members) spoke about The Wedding Album and recalled their memories of making it on duranduran.com, the official Duran Duran public website.

Reflections on Duran Duran’s Wedding Album

I’ll never forget when the album came out because of my now ex-husband.  He was out shopping while I was home with our son.  He came bounding into the apartment all excited.  “I’ve got to find out who does this great new song I just heard!!”  “Oh yeah?  What’s it called?” I asked.  “’Ordinary World’.”  I burst into laughter.  “It’s Duran Duran.”  I told him, smiling.  “No way!  Really?”  He was in disbelief.  It was then he became a fan of Duran outside of their 80s hits from Rio.  He was just as much in love with “Come Undone” when it was released.  That album ushered in a new generation, per say, of fans.

I’ve said many times that “Ordinary World” became my theme song in later years, as it has to many fans.  Whether the song represents a country at war or a personal conflict, it has stood the test of time and has become one of the most popular songs of Duran Duran to be covered.  I’ve heard versions from Red to Paul Anka, and it was even sung as a duet by Simon Le Bon and Luciano Pavorotti in both English and Italian during a live charity performance.  When a song is covered so much, that really says something about the song.

So this is my simple message:

Happy Anniversary, The Wedding Album!

With much love and gratitude,

This Devoted Duranie

P.S.  For those that read the reflections from the link above, you can see, for the first time ever, those photo booth photo strips that the band did:

Nick Rhodes

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Simon Le Bon

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John Taylor

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Warren Cuccurullo

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Nick Rhodes & Simon Le Bon

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Nick Rhodes: World’s First Metrosexual?

The last subject to touch upon in class this semester was sexuality. It’s one of my favorite topics, also. Lesbian portrayal in the media is 2 hot women. Most gay men are portrayed as over the top and flamboyant. The word “transvestite” brings about visions of Rocky Horror. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bi-sexual in the media that I’ve taken in, interesting enough. A word has come out within the last decade, gaining popularity, and in fact, has been attached to the music group Duran Duran, and more specifically, the co-founder and keyboardist, Nick Rhodes. Metrosexual. When I first heard it, I had no clue what it was and had to look it up. According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition is “Males who are concerned with their looks more than the average female. A metrosexual generally takes a significant amount of time in the bathroom “grooming” themselves before going out. They often get quite upset or even aggressive when their hair is touched, and refuse to go outside in the rain. Spiked bleached hair and tan skin is common among metrosexuals, but it is not necessary. A metrosexual can be gay, but they often are not.

Ever since Duran Duran started in 1978, Nick has worn make-up. But of course everyone of that time period involved in the music movement of the time wore make-up; females and males, and especially in the UK. As the group grew in popularity, their styles changed. Rhodes never stopped wearing make-up, though. He has always loved fashionable clothes, designer suits and make-up. His hair color used to change frequently. The only thing that has changed today is his hair is blonde and he has stayed with that color for over a decade now. In fact, his original hair color hasn’t been seen since he was 16 years old, when he and friend John Taylor started the group. He has been called gay, although he is very much straight. He has been married once and has a beautiful daughter.

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Like the majority of Duranies in the 80s, I had my favorite member, and that was…surprise, surprise…Nick Rhodes. Why? Honestly, his eyes were the first draw. Those green eyes were just amazing! After that, it was because he played keyboards (I play piano) then I was attracted to the fact that he did were make-up and didn’t really care what others thought. He was a standout individual…and has remained that way through his career spanning over 3 decades. When he married Julie Anne Friedman in 1986, their wedding drew worldwide attention because it was such a lavish, outrageous affair, where the groom wore just as much make-up as the bride, and both wore matching pink lipstick.

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Andy Warhol had been quoted publicly by several sources as having a crush on Rhodes. The two met in New York City in the 80s when Duran Duran visited. Andy took them to the infamous “Factory.” Nick and Andy were very close friends and shared the same interests in fashion, art and music.

Metrosexual today includes many males in the entertainment industry, although many of them are uncomfortable with that label. So what if a man likes to take care of his skin, wear make-up and is fashion conscience? In my humble opinion, it takes a real man to release their feminine side and be proud of it. Being a metrosexual is an attractive quality and by no means is it a bad quality to have.

Below I’ve taken a few excerpts from articles about Nick, Duran Duran and Metrosexuality. The following photos are Nick Rhodes and his changes over the decades.

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Excerpts from “20 Odd Questions with Nick Rhodes:

Today I’m wearing a black Armani suit. I don’t do casual. I never wear jeans. Tomorrow I might put on a waistcoat, tie and smart pair of trousers with black lace-up shoes to go food shopping. I’m a little like Diana Vreeland in that respect.

Women’s fashion is more interesting than men’s. Funny enough, I’m better at choosing something for my girlfriend than for myself. Marc Jacobs is incredibly clever. I’ve seen many of his shows and have never been let down.

Britain’s best-kept secret is Antony Price. I’ve worked with him for over 20 years. He’s got the taste of Tom Ford, the ability of Saint Laurent and the edginess of the British Invasion. His clothing is beyond any couture I’ve ever seen—it belongs in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I’ve always focused on tailoring. Ozwald Boateng makes the sharpest suit in town and Costume National has beautiful black jackets. Helmut Lang made unbelievable menswear through the ’90s. I miss his clothes the most.

My least favorite trend is grunge. That look of slightly unwashed layers of T-shirts is not appealing to me. I hedge towards things that shine.

I like to encourage new talent. Some of the young British designers like Christopher Kane and Gareth Pugh have shown creative ability from the days of Vivienne Westwood and McQueen. Their clothes are sharp and modern. Bigger designers are often more sanitized.

The ultimate rock star accessory is a nice pair of shades. Cutler & Gross are consistently very good. I have a pair from Chrome Hearts that make you look like a bug. I don’t mind that look.

With musicians today, I prefer people who stand out. Brandon Flowers from The Killers has great style. He’s not afraid of feathers. I always love a man who is not afraid of feathers.

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An excerpt from The Roving Stove, a blog by Julie Anne Rhodes who is now a celebrated personal chef:

“Mommy, Mommy…you’ll never guess what color Daddy’s hair is now!” my 7 year old daughter excitedly reported over the telephone one day (while she was on tour with Duran Duran.)

“What color Tatjana?” I replied a bit blasé…after all, how many wives can say their husband wore the same shade of pink Yves St. Laurent lipstick as they did at their wedding? Nick changed his hair color so often during the years we spent together it was hardly front page news…

“It’s PURPLE!” she shouted, and then I heard Nick in the background correcting her “it’s lilac Tatjana, lilac!” ….A great example of one of the qualities I loved most about Nick…his tendency towards eccentricity.

Note: a photo of the lilac hair is in the set above for the curious.

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Excerpts from “Who’s A Pretty Boy, Then?” Tatler June 2003:

While Simon Le Bon and John Taylor sent their teenage fans into romantic tailspins, it was Nick Rhodes, head bobbing at the keyboard, a geisha-face full of make-up, that is the band’s most enduring image. “News presenters cover themselves in pan stick – why shouldn’t he?” asks his friend Antony Price, the fashion designer. “He’s never done it to look like a woman but to be a better-looking man. It doesn’t make him gay, does it?” Thank God someone’s brought that up because, frankly, he’s got to be, hasn’t he? All that slap, the fancy wardrobe, the female side so strong it wreaks. But, face-to-face, my gaydar doesn’t even twitch – he’s both masculine and sexual. “He’s always been able to pull fabulous birds,” confirms a begrudging Le Bon. “Almost better than… well, I haven’t done so badly, have I?”

Most of all, Nick Rhodes likes to confound all our preconceptions of how a straight man should behave. You could meet him 20 times and still not get the measure of him. That’s because you think you know who he is – an effeminate pop star pretending to be straight. You think that because he comes from the concrete soullessness of Birmingham he’s a little rough round the edges, someone who keeps his famous flame burning by sticking to his Eighties androgynous look. You should be right about all of the above. But you’re not.

As it turned out, Nick Rhodes’s friends were a little more forthcoming than he was at first. “There’s no one quite like Nick,” says Antony Price. “His idea of Heaven is being in a top restaurant surrounded by 10 supermodels, discussing make-up. He’s a girl with male genitals.” The feminine side of him possesses a collection of Vogue magazines, dating back to 1912; it makes him answer “the camp ones, of course” when I ask him what artist he prefers, and also why he enjoys going to fashion shows. Nothing to do with front row seats, apparently – he just loves fashion.

”His ex, Madeleine Farley, tells me.” He taught me how to wear make-up, how to dress. He’s the closest link between gay men and straight women. He was the woman in our relationship…”

Madeleine relished recounting every last detail of her ‘darling Nicholas’. Did his habits drive her mad? “Are you mad?” she says. “It endeared one to him.”

And you can see why. He firmly believes that the female species is superior to the male, which will one day die out. “Like me, he suffers from only-child syndrome,” says Galitzine. “We speak to our mothers every day. It’s part of his character that he believes that he’s the centre of his world, that he can do anything he wants.”

Nick once said to Andy Warhol: “Duran is something I enjoy doing, but I have a bigger world out there.” He doesn’t crave the plaudits and he certainly doesn’t need the money. He possess a Diana Vreelandish quality in that he is able to be himself, make grand pronouncements (“I prefer champagne in chocolate than having to drink it” and “Tony Blair is Margaret Thatcher in drag”), put himself together peculiarly and still be admired. He doesn’t fit into any box, a factor that may find irritating in others, but with Rhodes it somehow works. He’s worked out how to do and live life well. He’s the pretty boy with brains who, even though the jokes on him, gets it, as always, before everybody else.

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Excerpts from The ORIGINAL Fab Five – Duran Duran Are Back”:

The Fab Five are back to make peoples lives better, more groovy, and of course metrosexual.

The ORIGINAL Fab Five Duran Duran – that is. “Someone told us one day that these five queens had stolen our moniker,” recalls keyboardist Nick Rhodes, pointing out that Duran Duran had been lovingly dubbed The Fab Five some 20 years before Queer Eye’s fairy dust-sprinkling cast. “So we were properly cross with them, right, we’ll getcha.”

The infectiously danceable, driving single, “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise,” is already familiar to many gay ears thanks to Jason Nevins club-ready remix on the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” soundtrack. Of course Rhodes was joking about a potential catfight and besides, the Queer Eyes Fab Five wouldn’t dare lay a hand on Duran Duran. ”Because we’re already perfect,” Rhodes says. “That’s absolutely true, that’s what one of them said. Somebody accused us when I was in New York of being wholly responsible for Metrosexuality. And I asked, is that an accusation or a compliment? We’re all for male grooming, honey. Anything that can make life just that little bit more beautiful, that doesn’t take up that much time or money, everyone should do it. The world would be a better place.”

Sexuality is one thing the band members have no hang-ups discussing. The pro-gay LeBon and Rhodes are certainly no strangers to sexual rumors and tabloid scandals, which tickle them more than anything. “Marc Almond once said I was a male prostitute. I thought that was fantastic,” LeBon laughs. “I could make a lot of extra money doing that.”

Excerpts from “86 Minutes with Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes”:

I finally dare to ask: Did they realize back then that a lot of American guys called them fags?

“Did we give a fuck?” says Le Bon, toasty-fun from the whiskey. “No!”

“I’m not sure it was any worse here,” says Rhodes, meaning the U.S., “than anywhere else.”

“Yes, it was,” says Le Bon.

Certainly Duran Duran’s look was of their own choosing. The band picked their own clothes and did their own makeup, eyeliner and all. “Girlfriends taught us,” Le Bon says.

“I taught my girlfriends,” says Rhodes.

“You were always the different one.”

“We’ve been accused of creating metrosexuality,” says Rhodes, now texting friends to try to make dinner plans. “If that’s what you think, then fine. We’re not that different from a lot of English guys who are perhaps a little more … flexible about the way they are.”

“What you’re seeing now,” says Le Bon, quite grand through his drink, “is a result of people like us who pioneered it in the face of adversity.”

Misc. Quotes from Nick Rhodes:

“People used to say that Duran Duran had gay overtones and must therefore have an enormous gay following. But they discovered that we had more of a girl following than a gay one. I suppose we have adopted a certain flamboyance which for some reason has always been associated with gays and not everybody finds that easy to accept…this is just an example of people’s attempts to separate everything into categories…it seems silly to me because gay people are exactly the same as everybody else except for their sexual habits.” early 80s – Nick

“There’s nothing strange about it. Men want to look good as much as women do.” 1997, on men wearing makeup

“When I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror, see what the damage is, then take from there [chuckles]. What a lot of people don’t realize, is all men who are on television or stage (even newscasters) wear makeup. I believe it’s a tool to be utilized if you wish.” 1998

“I didn’t mind either way. I’m sure a lot of people still think I am. I never thought things like that mattered. It’s like, why?” 1998, on how people assumed he was homosexual in the 80s

“I started wearing makeup when I was a bit older. I would’ve used my mum’s makeup box, but she probably didn’t have the colours I was after. So I always used my girlfriend’s makeup instead. I wore anything that glittered and shone.” 1998

“One of my gay friends calls me a lesbian, actually – she says, ‘You’re just a girl who likes girls.’ I’ve got a lot of empathy for the gay world, always have had, I think a lot of the most creative people are gay. And a lot of my dear, dear friends, but as for my own tastes, it just doesn’t work like that. Genetically it didn’t go that way.” 2000

“I Will Learn To Survive…”

For the final weekly link reflections, we were to look through a list of articles and choose two.  I didn’t realize that both articles I chose were by the same author, Thomas Huang.

The first one I read was called Reflections in the DarkIt was mainly about disorientation in life, including jobs and general outlooks.

The uncertainty, laced with anger and anxiety, disorients us. Fear can make us leave, and fear can make us stay.
How can we find our focus? How can we come to understand who we are, and what is important to us?

As I reflect on the disorientation, I consider it in another context: It is the key to embracing diversity. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to incorporate diversity into our journalism. As journalists, we are driven to make sense of things, to explain them.

We pursue clarity.

We try to divine the simple within the complex. So it’s often safer to stick with topics, events and people familiar to us. Reporting on people who are different from us, writing about cultures that lie outside our personal experience — all of this demands our disorientation. There is that moment when you approach the person whom you have, for so long, perceived as the Other. Will he understand what you’re saying? What could you possibly have in common? Will he come to trust you? Will you trust him?

You have to take a leap of faith. But even as you do, the disorientation comes. Some of his attitudes and ways of life will mystify you. A part of him will remain unknowable. You won’t have any cultural reference points. You are now out of your comfort zone. To stay there, you will have to find some comfort in being uncomfortable.

The second article is entitled Finding Ourselves as They Walk out the Door. Mr. Huang never really knew some colleagues until a gathering at a quiet bar to say goodbye to those that chose to leave the Dallas newspaper.  He finds out that Bryan lived in the city Cambridge, MS the year he was born.  He suddenly pictured him exploring the streets of Cambridge, passing a couple of Chinese graduate students out for a walk while pushing a baby carriage.

                Could it be that Bryan’s soul and mine had crossed paths several times before we ever knew each other? Could it be that the love of journalism and storytelling had descended upon us in those moments, shaping our identities, becoming something we shared despite our different paths
and backgrounds?

            …One of my biggest fears was that I would lose my identity if I ever left the newsroom or
was forced to leave. For many of us, being a journalist is more than pulling a paycheck. It’s who we are. Our passion to tell stories, to search for whatever truths are out there — all of that is ingrained in us.

At the same time, I was worried that my fears would imprison me. I didn’t want to be paralyzed
by the fact that I couldn’t imagine who I would be if I weren’t a journalist. I also didn’t want to be naïve. In the corporate culture that has enveloped our industry, what sense was it to hold onto some sentimental notion of journalism?

We never know from one day to the next what is going to happen.  As Duran Duran did a song called “What Happens Tomorrow” from which the chorus tells us:  “…but nobody knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow.  We try not to show how frightened we are…  You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end.  You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright again…”  If you lost your job today, what would you do?  Where would you go?  Through our fears and disorientation we find ourselves…find out who we are.  A journalist can go on to do many things.

You just have to find the courage and have the willingness to look inside and bring out the happiness to face a new day and make the most of it.

50 Shades of Pure Escapism

50ShadesGreyIt started with a case study for class.  I got curious and researched more about it.  Then I had to read it for myself.  I read 50 Shades of Grey in a few days and was so impressed that I had to go back to Barnes & Noble and get the other 2 books in the trilogy.  And I still don’t understand what the big fuss is all about!

50 Shades of Grey is a great romance novel by E.L. James.  I honestly believe that people are criticizing the book because they think it’s not an accurate of a taboo sexual subject:  BDSM.  I don’t believe it was supposed to be.  I will be the first to say that it isn’t entirely accurate but has some good factual evidence about this kind of relationship and sexual activity.

A Dominate and a submissive have to trust each other…and not just sexually but as people.  It is an understanding of the other and what they do.  A Dom is to help their sub free themselves from the mental restraints placed on them by society.  A Dom pushes the sub to understand their bodies, the feelings within and open their curiosity for further exploration.  It’s not one whipping the other to shreds.  That is the idea that the mainstream culture puts out there for people to believe.

The relationship starts by setting the limits of the sub 50ShadesGrey2and those limits being respected by the Dom.  The trust is there that they won’t cross that line.  A safe word is set and respected if used.  The limits are revised from time to time to accommodate curiosity and growing desire for more.  Bondage is used for control and restraint.  S&M is used to explore pain, to stretch tolerance, and to discover and explore new feelings.  It is not a bad thing.  It’s actually a strong relationship between two people with much trust and respect for each other.

50 Shades of Grey is simple an escape book.  Many things in it are true.  But it is just a story…and extremely tantalizing, might I add.  I don’t want to delve further into the book because I don’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t read it yet and want to.

I didn’t come by this from research.  I am a submissive.

I Was a Princess but now I’m a Queen!

We were shown a video in class and ran out of time to discuss our thoughts.  So I’m using one of my entries this week to talk a little about it.

LittleGirlsI Am a Princess

This was put out by Disney with good intentions.  I believe in the message that it is giving young girls…and it’s a message that should be carried on through adulthood.  It is telling us to believe in friendship, loyalty, kindness and compassion…that it’s okay to be scared and afraid.  It should be because life is a scary creature!  The only complaints are that they show healthy, active and “thin” girls.  What about girls that have disabilities and can’t be as active and those that are overweight?tiara  There is a princess inside of them, also…probably more so.  The second is that they need to have one for boys:  “I Am a Prince!”

When I was young, I never wore jeans.  I wore “dress” pants, shorts and skirts/dresses.  I really didn’t care because that didn’t stop me from playing Barbie with my girlfriend down the street, joining the neighborhood boys in the pine tree forest, climbing them and playing games, or sledding down the steep hill in our neighbor’s yard that was just on the other side of our backyard fence.  When we moved to Missouri when I was 10 years old, it didn’t change anything.  As a matter of fact, all the way through my senior year things didn’t change much; however I was wearing jeans once in a while in high school.  Today, I wear jeans and t-shirts but feel most comfortable in sundresses, and casual slacks, like when I go to work.  I still consider myself a “girly” girl.  I love having my nails done.  I love ruffles on shirts.  I hate to sweat.

My best friend is my total opposite.  She is a tomboy through and through and has been since she was born, I suspect.  She wears jeans and t-shirts and shorts most of the time, only dresses up when she has to…and even then it’s dress pants and a nice shirt with comfortable heels.  No dresses!  She does get manicures, hates ruffles and loves to sweat.

Now compare me and my friend to each other.  Does that make me more of a princess than her?   No.  We’ve grown up learning and practicing loyalty, kindness and compassion.  We both have a conscience…which has created more stress for us at past places of employment.  We share a friendship that is rare and has spanned the test of time (a 20 year span of not talking to each other because of the way our lives went).

I am a queen now, all grown up. Crown As a former princess, it is my duty to pass on the exact qualities to the younger generations of girls and boys.LittleBoys  Our youth is a magical time.  It is the time to teach our children so that they all can be princesses and princes.