Secret Pop

Dec 1, 2003

Come to find out I AM susceptible to life-altering experiences. That beats all.

The anticipation nearly killed it, but it survived in the end. Seeing Duran Duran, that is. My first favorite band. My first celebrity crush. My first little girl fantasies of romance and trans-continental love affairs. It's all them. I took my sister to see Duran Duran tonight, having joined the fan club specifically to be able to get tickets in the presale and make sure we got up close and personal with the only five men in history who ever mattered that much to us both at the same time. I began my quest to buy the tickets so many months ago that I began to think it wouldn't be that great once I got there. I thought about seeing them in Orange County when they performed for the first time in the U.S. together. But it was the day before Comic-Con, and even with the presale code, I would have been stuck in crap terrace seating. And I wasn't on the inside enough to know about the secret Roxy show they did. Because of course if I had known about it, I would have razed the city rather than miss it. Instead, I missed it and was completely unaware of it until much too late.

I finally saw Duran Duran live. I had Hungry Like the Wolf on tape as a kid. I think we recorded it from Friday Night Videos. On Beta. And I used to slo-mo that scene where John Taylor frantically runs through the streets of Sri Lanka, bare-chested and mesmerizing. I could not have wanted a man more. I had a poster of him over my bed, and I kissed it more times than I like to admit. (It turns out, my younger sister Beulah also kissed it frequently, which means we were kissing each other before I was even in high school. Gross.) A magazine need only have mentioned the band name to get me to buy it. Even if it was a single line of text on newsprint. I had to have it. I had seen pictures of John with his parents in teen magazines and had talked at length with my sister about how cute his father was, and we would consider what we had learned in genetics as we predicted that he would probably never lose his hair, the angel. I was smitten.

I am occasionally asked what my type is, and I am usually diplomatic and unshallow and reluctant to specify anything that would make me sound superficial. But the truth is this: it's John. A tall, slim English man who is talented and stylish, wanted by everyone and impossibly out of reach. And when he smiles, the lines at his eyes -- the sweet, sweet manly lines -- remind me of Hugh Grant (which solves that additional mystery and explains Hugh's high rank on my list, as well). Tonight, now something on the order of twenty years after the first time I saw him and knew he was the one for me, John Taylor still looks amazing. Cool as fuck and very chic. With great hair and that gorgeous face and a keen fashion sense. I never listened more attentively to a bass line. I never sang louder to White Lines. I never wanted so much for a show to last forever. That's palpable attraction for you. Someone smart and interesting and sophisticated and accomplished standing just a few feet away. If it weren't for all these jerks in front of you, you might just make your way up to him and say hello.

I should add that they all looked great. Simon gets a little dramatic on stage, but he's a looker, make no mistake. And Nick was quietly cute as ever he was. Roger used to be Sarah's favorite. These days, she's all over the John action, despite my prior claim to the territory. I shouldn't be surprised. A few years ago, she started wearing my perfume, too. Andy had a quintessential rock star quality. Maybe cribbing from Keith Richards a bit. But the cigarette hanging from his lip was one of those anomalous cigarettes that actually does make one look cooler -- unlike the garden variety cigarettes that make most people look like they are headed for Cancer Town. So, yeah, they all looked atomic hot. And I appreciate their sex appeal considerably more today than I might have as an adolescent. A glimpse of John's chest hair might have confused me back then. But tonight...

Yes, I have a list. I don't deny it. I don't actively pursue anyone on it, but the list is maintained and enforced and updated on a near-daily basis. This might make some men fearful or bitter. I don't care.

So, I saw this band play at long last. This band whose memorabilia my sister Sarah and I bought to the dismay of my mother who assured us we would outgrow this fancy and be very very sorry for having tossed our money on so much crap. In a way, she was right. I did outgrow the infatuation. And I did stop collecting the memorabilia. But I never stopped liking the band. And I never stopped feeling my heart race whenever John Taylor was the topic. When I worked at, one of my co-workers got a phone call from John Taylor on her answering machine at home, and she saved it for months. Not only did I not blame her, I was slightly tempted to break into her house and steal the answering machine for myself.

I saw this band play, and it was truly something. Really. I think I felt a euphoria that I have never ever felt before. A sort of splendid reminder of being a teenager and believing that anything was possible. Believing that John Taylor would see me on the street one day and be so stunned by my perfection that he would move mountains to get to me. And we would be so happy in our perfect future. Believing that I would one day be someone noteworthy. That I would make it. That I would be magnificent. I heard this music that used to make me tremble, and it was like this giant refreshing dunk in a great pool. I was a child again. But this time a child who can afford to spend thirty bucks on a tour program. And of course I spent it. I couldn't leave the show without my merch. Without some memento of it all. When they finally came out on stage, so close I could barely believe it, I actually thought I might cry, and I am really uncomfortable admitting that. I felt this altogether unfamiliar optimism, and I loved it. And some songs that hadn't meant much to me before tonight suddenly did. And I danced the whole time. And sang the whole time. And laughed and cheered. And took photos and couldn't believe it.

Tonight stopped me in my tracks. Took me back a ways. Reminded me that I was once open to the possibility of everything being wonderful. That I, in fact, insisted on it. That I believed once that I was beautiful and worthy and unique and impossible to pass over. I had forgotten that me. She was so far away. It was nice to be reminded. And to stay up late with Sarah, milking the new sensation.

During Rio, while I was singing and dancing and spilling joy like a giant martini, John smiled at me. I don't care if it's true or not. I don't care if he might actually have been laughing at me. Or looking at a girl in front of me that I couldn't see. I believe he was smiling at me, and I will never ever forget it. I'm thinking of putting his poster back up. At least then my mom will feel like I got my money's worth. Of course, if this optimistic fervor lasts, I suppose I will have to keep the poster in the cupboard, lest John Taylor actually sweep me off my feet one day and come over to my place and be creeped to freaking pieces over it. If this optimism keeps up, I might not publish this post at all.

I know this all sounds like giddy, goony, girlish nonsense. And maybe it is. But there is also the underlying truth that I had my spirits raised straight to the heavens by MUSIC. That's all it took. I've danced more in the last few days than I had in the last year. And it felt good. If you can feel like the hot ticket sometime before the year is out, do it. It's made entirely of good.

No comments: