Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – In The Pleasure Groove By John Taylor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay it would be really easy for me to just give this full marks based on the grounds that the guy is a god but I won’t.  I shall be good and review it the same way I would any other book so here goes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First lety me say that if anyone picks this up looking for juicy gossip about Duran Duran or the 80’s pop scene they will be sadly disappointed.  In The Pleasure Groove tells the story of Duran Duran’s creation and early days, the struggle to cope with the pressure that becoming an overnight success and pop pin up creates.  It has been well documented that John Taylor had demons to overcome and he talks very frankly about what he believes caused his spiral into addiction as well as the steps he has taken to recovery.  Before I really get stuck in here is a clip of the man himself reading from his book.

Okay time to dissect a little further, the first part of this book is amazing, you really get a feel for the boy who didn’t quite fit in who grew up to be a star.  The book deals with the meteoric rise to fame brilliantly and while giving you a feel for the lifestyle he does not glamorise it nor does he divulge the intimate details of those who succumbed to his charms.  All sounds great I hear you say but I know you are all waiting for the but and sadly there is one.  John Taylor has had a career spanning over thirty years, who honestly believed that it could all be crammed into one book?  My only hope is that the speed which this book spans over the last two decades is an indication that a sequel will be forth coming.  While I fully respect the fact that he wishes to respect his personal relationships, his discussion of his marriages is minimal to say the least.  I have been a Duranie for thirty years and remember the outpourings of bitterness towards his first wife, while I do not expect him to discuss what happened between them it would have been interesting to know how he felt about that, how he felt about the way she and their relationship was portrayed in the media.  The reason for not discussing this may be due to his addiction which was heading to its height around that time but from that point on the book feels rushed and as if he just wants to get it over with.  Descriptions of the latest phase in Duran’s amazing career are fleeting compared to those of the early days, one hopes that he still feels the same excitement and is planning to explore this Renaissance in their careers more fully at a later date.

If I could give this a mark based on the first half it would merit 5 out of 5 but if I am being impartial the second half spoils it and if it were written by anyone else I would give it 3.5 out of 5

Blog Challenges · Music Challenge

Day 20 – A song from a new album you are waiting for to come out

These are actually from albums already out I just haven’t got round to getting them yet the first is one I want the second is one the other half wants which I am really unsure about.  So my choice is Pink..

Now the next is the other halves choice, he wants the Adam Ant album now I am not sure if it is the music that puts me off or whether I am just really shallow and cannot forgive him for aging and no longer being the dashing highwayman.

Now for anyone who prefers their Ant a little on the less mature side a chance to remember just how beautiful he was as a bonus and also a glimpse of the gorgeous Diana Dors

The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Fulfilling A Dream

I was going to do this blog over the weekend but todays announcement that the Olympics would be opened with a concert made me decide to bring it forward.  The four home nations will be represented by various bands with Duran Duran leading the English contingent.  There has been uproar from a few suggesting that the still popular and much-loved band are past it and should not have been awarded this honour but I strongly disagree I couldn’t think of anyone more suited.

My first introduction to the band was thanks to Top of the Pops, it took only one song and I was hooked.  All pocket-money went on saving up for those precious albums, as soon as they came out I would be there at HMV coming away clutching that precious cassette (for younger readers they were what existed before CDs) I remember the tears when my stupid cassette player chewed up Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  The of course there were all the magazines and posters.  Not to mention the badges, mirrors, scarves and all the other merchandise that no self-respecting Duranie could ever live without. Of course as with any band everyone has their favourites and as some of you will know from a previous blog mine was the base player John Taylor.  This picture of him wearing ‘the hat’ has special significance and if you bear with me you will understand.  This was the picture that I had posted on the ceiling above my bed until that fateful night when it fell down and got torn (yes more tears).  The point was this was what sparked my dreams at the time, I would dream about the books I had been reading and replace myself obviously as the damsel in distress and JT as the hero (sad I know but I was only thirteen.)  But that’s the point the Olympics is about dreams and who better than a band that throughout the decades has inspired millions of dreams to be part of it.

I longed to see them live but they were everything my dad couldn’t understand.  They wore frilly shirts, had long hair, wore make up, the list of reasons for my dads disapproval goes on.  And then came the fracturing of the band, members leaving, different projects and I thought I had missed my chance.

Until last year!

With the release of All You Need Is Now came a new tour, could it be possible I could finally fulfil a life long dream.  With trepidation I typed into google and looked at the dates.  Yes there was one I could get time off work for and there were tickets available.  After a few pleading looks towards the other half and a few clicks my dream was coming true.

So May comes round and the time draws nearer for my dream when it is postponed due to SLB’s laryngitis, nerves tear at my insides as I first await a new date then wait to see if I can change my week off to accommodate it ( I think my boss knew if I couldn’t I would quite probably be off sick anyway).

Roll on December and party time.  I was lucky enough to see them at their home town concert and they did not disappoint.  Unlike many bands they filled the venue I know this as I have a friend who works there and he commented on it at the time.  The majority of people there were like myself, people who had fallen in love with them in their teens, we had grown up to their music. Cried over broken hearts listening to their lyrics, but many like myself had never had the chance to see them live before.  That night they made dreams come true, well most, some we will hold onto as memories of our teenage selves the adult recognising how unrealistic they were.

From the first chords the almost the whole auditorium were on their feet dancing and singing along I say almost. The mixed the old and the new seamlessly they looked every bit as youthful and energetic as they did back in the day. This is a band that embrace new technology and are innovative as they always were exemplified by the big screen showing a backdrop of tweets during the concert. My long-suffering other half was one of a hand full of other halves dragged along but even though he would not dance I did catch him singing along and he thorough enjoyed the concert so much so that when I suggested the DDUK convention to him he automatically agreed to going. And that is another testament to their ongoing popularity demand for convention tickets proved so great that a lottery system was required and guess who was lucky enough to get a pair.  Yup come December I will have an excuse for writing another blog about them.The Other half

If a band that has inspired a generation of new musicians and fulfilled the dreams of so many people over a sustained period does not represent everything the Olympics stands for then who does.  The fact that their last album has been globally acclaimed shows they are still as relevant as popular as thirty years ago when they burst into our hearts and changed the music industry for ever.  If we truly want to embrace the Olympic spirit then who better than a band who has burned brighter than the Olympic torch and has a consistant Gold ranking.

Highs and Lows · Thoughts on thursday

I Admit it I Love the 80’s

It’s 1am and I can’t sleep which is a real pain as I have to be up in a few hours for work.  I will probably post this once I get home and have time to read through it (and see straight enough to spell properly).  I guess everyone has an era they are nostalgic for, mine is the 80’s. I grew up through them, had my first boyfriend, experienced heartbreak for the first time. Of course it was not real heartbreak but at the time I was devasted for a whole week.  Life was so much simpler then even though as a teenager we manage to make a drama out of everything.

As I have just fugured out how to embed videos (Yay me beating the technology pixie again!!!) I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that make me smile when I think of the 80’s and also it gives me an excuse to drool over a certain base player.

So where to start with the 80’s well I suppose with what I am watching as I sit writing.

It has been a long time since I watched this and I think I had forgotten how dark some of it is.  Yes there is the great soundtrack and comedic moments but it was probably the first time (watching as a teenager) that the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ Before the invention of the internet and social networking so much of what happened behind doors stayed there.  We might have know one or two people that we knew had problems at home but did we ever really question it. The idea that a group of diverse people all shared common ground rarely if ever would have crossed our minds.  But if we are honest we still thought out own problems where far more important even if they were just how to get the cute guy to realise you existed.

One of my favourite films I still love now is still Pretty in Pink I guess that is partly due to the fact for us brits there was nothing as glamourous as proms it was a disco in the school hall in the afternoon last day of term or if you were really lucky there might have been a local youth club to show off your moves in but the clothing was far less impressive.

 

Staying with 80’s viewing of course you cannot miss out Fame the film that had us all wanting to dance on taxi’s and believing we could all sing and dance.  Okay I could dance but the singing trust me you would rather hear a catfight in your yard at 2am rather than hear me sing.  I wanted to be Lori Singer and play the cello, unfortunately being tone deaf is a slight hinderance to this ambition the only instrument I ever mastered was the triangle.  By no means was this the only film to have me prancing round my bedroom Footloose (turns out dad’s get upset by you jumping off the bed Kevin Bacon style), Flashdance (wish I had realised she used a double before attempting the sumersault).  There was one common theme apart from the dancing and music here can you guess….yes its the legwarmers.  No self respecting 80’s girl did not possess at least two pairs of these strange woolly articles, depending on what you had been watching depended if you wore them as a pair or wore odd ones preferably in bright neon colours.

Now I did debate how much I should discuss the fashion but decided that is one closet door I will leave closed for now.  After all if you were there I need only say a few words and you will collectively cringe in rememberance. If you weren’t well it’s better you are left unscarred.  Here we go….big hair, big shoulder pads, chinos, peddlepushers, rahrah skirts, puffleball skirts, bolero jackets, bangles so far up your arm you couldn’t bend it.  Doc martins with Grolsch bottle tops, tank tops, batwing jumpers, eyeliner for the guys.  I know I will have missed loads but I am traumatised enough by those memories.

But what really made the music was the soundtrack.  The music that even today has me singing along and my daughter screaming for me to shut up.  Last year I finally fulfilled one of my lifes ambitions and saw Duran Duran live. I was transformed to a screaming teenager again and hell those guys are still damn sexy especially a certain base player.There are so many great songs, groups and singers I loved in the 80’s it would be impossible to list them all, but think Madonna, Michael Jackson (before we realised just how strange he was) Prince, Guns and Roses (I love Sweet Child of Mine) Bon Jovi, Aerosmith teaming with Run DMC.  And so many others but the highlight in many ways musically of the 80’s has to be Live Aid. The combinations that appeared on the stages across the globe still make me smile Madonna being a backing singer for the Thompson twins was something than given there future careers seems amazing.

It is now sunday as I didn’t get chance to finish this blog before and I posted a question on fb asking about the 80’s here are a few things that others remember some of course may only apply to people reading from the UK

LIVE AID! Nik Kershaw the birth of Eastenders. Cabbage patch dolls,Care Bears, GOING LIVE!

Madonna, Kajagoogoo, Tiswas, spit the dog, Top of the Pops, Five Star, leg warmers, fluorescent socks! Those were the days

Gordon T Gopher!! nuff said

the first thing that comes to mind when I think 80’s is “Dancing on the Ceiling”. And since Gary Richrath is from Peoria, I always liked REO Speedwagon, and Cheap Trick is from a town about 100 or so miles north – so liked them too.

So what was you decade? If you were an 80’s Kid did I miss you favorite memory I will leave you with a song from my favorite band