Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, JT

Yesterday was Duran Duran bassist John Taylor's birthday. He turned forty-eight.
And I forgot until just now. Oh, the guilt.

You have to understand that John has been the love of my life since I was thirteen. We're talking twenty-five years! This is a long-term commitment.

Ok, so "love of my life" is a bit strong and makes me sound like Unbalanced Stalker Fan. Not true. But he's definitely been there for me, whether he knows it or not.

John is the same age as one of my brothers, give about four months (ten years older than me). I suppose that's one reason why I always imagined myself having these very down-to-earth conversations w/ the guys --especially musically. Because they're the same age as my brothers, and musicians to boot. I know how to talk to them. I've also read John's writing on the D2 blog -- it's pretty good, actually. I'm sure I could have a good conversation about that, too.
In fact, the aformentioned older brother did meet him at a show in California, when he was playing w/ drummer Matt Soren, a friend of my brother's. At the time, my brother called me and said, "I saw John Taylor last night."
"Cool," I replied.
Years later, I found out he did more than "see" him. Matt Soren introduced the two. They shook hands. Spoke a few words. Exchanged cordial remarks.
"And ya couldn't slip it in somewhere that your sister really digs him? Ya couldn't give him my email address or something?"
I was joking around, of course. Sort of. Make no mistake, I was jealous as hell. To come so close, yet so far away? Argh! My brother used to have an independent record label, and when John was doing a lot of solo projects, I begged my brother to court him, sign him up, give me a chance to pitch the idea of my writing his biography, or something like that.
And yet, there's something really intimidating about meeting someone with whom you've had a one-sided relationship for more than half your life. There's a real fear of fucking up when you finally do have a chance to meet and say something normal and interesting. What would I do in such a moment?

When my best friend and I were fourteen, at the dizzying height of D2's popularity in the mid-80s, we sent birthday cards to John and Nick (keyboardist, also a Gemini). We took our time to make careful selections of the cards, to write something witty in them (god knows what that was), to make the outside envelope as professional as possible (I think we mailed them to the Power Station studio in NY, where John was recording at the time). And I used to dream of actually getting a response from him, a thank you. That somehow he'd see through the fan facade: here's a girl who's not just a teenybopper. Here's someone I could actually talk to. The whole thing sounds silly and perhaps even a tad embarrassing now; and yet, there's something wonderfully young and innocent and imaginative about it. I believed in such possibilities. I still do, actually. Who's to say he couldn't stumble upon my blog today and see something worth responding to?

Anyhoo, the point is that John Taylor is one of the reasons I write. He's one of the inspirations. I wrote about that last month following the Duran Duran concert, but it's worth repeating again. Inspiration is such a key part of why and what we write. We need our muses, our sunny days, our peaceful mornings. We need our quirky characters, our funny stories, our broken hearts. We need the creations and creativity of others to fan the flame of our own. We need the John Taylors of the world, the ones who made our hearts flutter when we were teenage girls, who gave us a portal to escape through, who gave us someone to think about when we had no one else, who makes music and art and writing for us to be a part of, to witness.

And heck, at forty-eight, the guy's still cute as hell.

Happy one-day-belated Birthday, John. Keep making the music.

No comments: