Neon lights are bright on Broadway
There are many consequences of Getting Older, and I have refused to whine about most of them.
It is boring to talk about gray hairs. (Being blonde and a dyer this isn't an issue yet.) About not moving as fast as you once did. About having to buy creams to cover things that never needed covering. To talk about how odd it is that you now are older than most of the folks you work with (and sometimes for). I mean, it happens. Everyone's fingerprints are different and fascinating and maybe that's why we have blogs, to talk about whorls and loops and such, but: It. Is. Boring.
Then there are the exceptions.
So I went to see Duran Duran play on Broadway on Friday night, having done a nice little article on the shows (they're doing ten of them to promote their new album, "Red Carpet Massacre") for work, a version of which will appear in Billboard later this week. That is the sort of sentence which, when I was 15, I'd have literally wet myself to imagine I'd be saying some 27 years later. If I could have imagined 27 years later. And there still is a 15 year old in the upper left side of my brain going "holy shit! holy fucking shit!"
Because of this article, I got to get a very nice fourth row ticket to the show. And because of this article I got to go to an after-party in a hotel private balcony. (Not private enough, there were about 100 or so of other special people in there, too.)
As to the ticket and the show, I'd like to bring out the adolescent and say, "Holy Crap! I mean, oh my fucking God."
Not the kind of nutcase who throws bras on the stage but a really bad dancer who acts out the songs. I am Elaine. Yes, that's me. And proud of it.
After the show I headed over to the after-event. I'm not a huge fan of these, because after you've been to 37, you've been to them all. They're packed and loud and it's hard to get even near anybody who matters, and if you're not someone who matters they will determinedly not see you even if you stand there for a half hour, so really — who cares? I go for the view and a drink and maybe a nosh and try to do the job, but it's not something I stay and end up with a lampshade on my head at. I leave that to Mary-Kate.
But at this one, I had an accommodating PR woman who made sure to pull Nick over my way. So we could talk for the second article. So there I am and there he is. We have met before, once at another after-event and had a lovely conversation. He's definitely the brains of the outfit. So we talked and he's sincere and I'm absorbing about eight things at once while this is happening: a) we're talking b) he's really quite short c) yes, Lori is right he is combing over d) he has delicate white makeup and careful eyeliner e) It's Nick Fucking Rhodes aaaaah! f) etc. Also, after a moment or two John becomes available and so we are cut loose and then John Taylor, who I've met and never had more than a moment's conversation with is there and All Mine. The best cheekbones in the business are there and we start talking about the show. I can slip into some of the same questions because I'm now concentrating on about ten things at once here, including a) boy, he's tall b) why does he lean forward when he talks to you and contract his face in a pinched way like that? That was what gave me this disconcerting image of what John Taylor will be like when he's a crotchety old man. It was that kind of a stance. Then c) I became aware of how we were being observed by about 8 other women who had no idea why he was giving me the time of day, including d) a very large shiny woman who sat behind me at the show and was insisting on being heard now.
Midsentence, we were done, and off to the next lot. And that's when I cottoned: I was going to talk to each of them. Individually. My adolescent's head had now exploded. And I began to remember I had a camera with me, so just how goony was I going to let myself be?
So then I was talking to Simon. Always my favorite. Had to be: Fellow Scorpio, fellow struggler with weight. He was standing next to his model wife Yasmine, who was in a fur coat and had her back to me (as it should be). And if I was focusing on 8 things with Nick and 10 things with John the Crotchety talker, I've got about 23 going on with Simon but the main thing is this: We have nothing to talk about. I mean, yeah, fine, talk about the show. Talk about the show in London getting cancelled and the video for "Falling Down" getting banned over there. And there was one Major Moment when he put his hand on my shoulder (I can hear Lynda squeeing, "He's touching you!") and saying, "We'll have to stand closer to talk" (of course there's a BUT) "because I have to protect my voice." But as with the others … once you're done with the basics, you're done.
And that's the thing about getting older that nobody tells you. Should you get older, old enough not to wet yourself in front of these people you used to wallpaper your room with, who you wrote fan fiction about, and to the stage where that 15 year old can sit in the back of your head and tap her feet quietly — should you get to that age and meet them, there's nothing to say. Well, there is: You can blither about their band and be like every other gooberhead fan (of which I am, naturally), and you can stretch out the business-related questions a bit more, but after that — it's not as though they're going to ask how work's going, or is mom all right, or about those cupcakes you were making. These people are not your friends. They're not going to be. And not that you really thought they would be, but — the meeting of them serves only to show the lines and the creases and the in-betweens. They aren't who you think they are. They're just people.
So the No. 23 thing I was thinking as I disengaged from Simon and told him thanks and didn't get a picture was this: This is not someone I would have gone out with. This is not someone who, were he just a regular normal guy I met, that I would have ever, ever had a relationship with. He's like air, it's like talking to someone who really isn't even there. And he's going to be 50 next year and up close … ah well. I know this sounds completely ridiculous: Who do you think you are? And yet that's not the point.
There is a certain level of every fantasy that says were the circumstances correct, you could go through with that fantasy. Even if you had to do it on another dimension. Making some element of it happen in real life makes you realize that there is no dimension on which the full fantasy could possibly happen. At all. And that's … okay. Really. It's just one of those things I hadn't considered before.
So, I didn't get a picture with Simon. We moved on to Roger. And as I did before at the other event, I had a lovely conversation with him; he's probably the most personable and least … air-like. Also the one who occupies the least amount of space in that fantastical dimension, which gives him more space to exist in the here and now. So I felt perfectly fine about pulling out the camera and getting a photo. At which the PR woman told him, "She's spoken to every one tonight, and you're the only one she asked to get a photo with!"
So here we are, the aging fan and the aging rock star drummer (with the air-like Simon behind him). We have both Gotten Older, and somehow did it together.
Make of that what you will.
[this is good] FAN-tastic post!
[this is good] Suhweet!!!
Thank you! Roger is a sweetheart.
Yeah… you made TIG/Explore page today!!
Hurrah!! Thanks for the tip.
[this is good] What a great story!
[this is good]
Lovely… And fantabulous story!
[this is good] Fab writing.
Aw, that’s lovely and despite my 35 year old self agreeing that they’re just people, like everyone else, my 14 year old self is going OH MY GOD YOU MET JOHN TAYLOR!!
You’re too kind! Many thanks!
I know, I know! The squee factor is hard to suppress. (And really, not that you want to.)
roger was my favorite. this was my all-time favorite band when I was growing up and I am not, by nature, a fan of anything.
I love this post. 🙂 thank you.
This was a really great read. I had my own fantasies about them when I was 15, and it’s nice to hear this perspective.
[das ist gut]
Hey… really good … really good… especially this part. 🙂
That is a wonderful post, it nearly matches to everyone’s own (former) fantasies.
[this is good]
This is such a great post.
[this is good] I am so totally jealous, but I can completely understadn the whoel “what on earth do we talk about” thing. it is something I have often pondered myself. what do you say – especially to someone like that (and I’m talking Simon here) who was so completely meaningful and the centre of the universe at one point in your life.
Duran Duran will always be the first band I ever saw live!
[this is good] I saw them for the first time on my 30th birthday a few years ago. At the time, I was impressed that they not only played the new stuff, but recognized that most of us were there to hear the old stuff as well, and they played many “B Sides”, including “Night Boat”. This was a great post…I’m glad to hear that they are still performing concerts that showcase the new and old stuff. Great picture of you and Roger!
I love hearing the old stuff, particularly the stuff you don’t get to hear much. Kudos to you for going for the first time at 30! Glad you had a good time. They are a great live band.
Kind of humbling, too.
I’ve had chats with bands before, and it is possible to maintain a discussion, but in that environment when it’s so clearly a momentary stop off and not anything that’s meant to turn into a proper conversation the Awkward Factor is put up to 10. Or 11, if you’re a Spinal Tap fan.
Hi. Great post. In fact, it’s so good that it’s just been announced as this week’s Post of the Week.
I’m afraid there isn’t much of a prize except any kudos you might get… but we’d love to have you join us as a Guest Judge next week (or whenever you can make it). If you’re interested, see here for details.
(apologies if I end up double posting this…)
[this is good]
…and I’m here via Post of The Week…
well, my 12 year old self is here via Post of the Week, agreeing with
Neat! I’ve never seen Post of the Week. I’ll jump in on the judging after Thanksgiving, and thanks for putting it up there!
ha ha, funny that you finally got ‘closure’ on the fact that Simon was not someone you could have gone out with. I never had crushes on pop stars, except for David Bowie and I’m pretty sure he IS someone I would have wanted to go out with and not just ‘air’
[this is good] Not spending superfluous words.