To me, John Taylor is the Magical Unicorn of Duran Duran. I have been incredibly lucky to have met Nick and Simon several times (that’s another story), but I have only met John at fast-paced meet and greets. For this reason, John Taylor is still the only guy in Duran Duran that gives me butterflies and makes me a nervous wreck. In other words, the Magical Unicorn.
The first time I met JT was when he was touring with the Neurotic Boy Outsiders (Steve Jones, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum). After the show, the band did a quick meet and greet in the backstage area for the fans that were waiting by the bus. I think we waited for at least an hour, hoping to see our heroes. Patience paid off and I got in line to meet him.
The closer I got to the table where the band was sitting, the more nervous I felt. John was at the end of the table, and I could see him in the FLESH. Before that moment, he seemed like a mannequin or a painting – he didn’t seem real. For years I had watched him on TV and stared at photos in magazines, and imagined how it would be to see him for real. Even watching him perform on stage was not real, it was a persona. This was the first time I had seen him off stage, just being himself, as an actual human being.
I’m embarrassed to say that I sailed right past the rest of the band (I snubbed Steve Jones! What is wrong with me?), and stood in front of John. He looked up at me, smiled, and asked my name. I noticed how his eyes crinkled up just like they did when he smiled in interviews. I whispered my name and my throat tightened. My eyes were burning, and I felt fat, salty tears rolling down my cheeks. John looked alarmed as I started sobbing. I managed to croak, “Thank you for the music!” as he handed me a signed flyer.
My ex (boyfriend at the time) was right behind me in line, and he apologized for my outburst. Then he and John discussed the intricacies of graphic design (I heard the phrase “72 dpi”). I wandered off and saw Bev, who ran the B5 message boards for John. I had calmed down by then. I revealed to her that I was the girl who was having flame wars on AOL with John’s then-wife, Amanda DeCadenet (or as I liked to call her, Amanda DeCuntenet…more on this another day…Courtney Love was also involved…). Bev thought this was the funniest thing in the world, and she wanted John to know.
I told Bev about my embarrassing outburst but she dragged me over to John again, and told him that I was the infamous “NRhodie”, or as Amanda called me, “NRhodent”. John laughed and said that he was enjoying the drama, and he thought it was hilarious how angry Amanda would get. I should have realized then that this was a bad sign for their future together (thank goodness). At least my final impression was that of an evil online troll instead of a crying fan, right? I’m not sure which is worse.
I should add I’m not a total wife-of-Duran-hater, because I love me some Yasmin and Gela, okay?
The second time I got an autograph from JT was in 1998, when he was touring with the unfortunately named John Taylor Terroristen. In his defense, this was pre-911.
I had brought the tour program from the 1983 charity concert that the band did with Aston Villa (John’s favorite football team). John asked if he could keep it. During this time, John was not in Duran Duran anymore, but he was very nostalgic and was collecting all sorts of memorabilia of the band’s history. He would post about them on the B5 message boards. I thought for a moment about giving it to John, but I really wanted it for my own collection, so I said no.
As the years passed, my love for Duran Duran waned, mostly because of horrible experiences I had with fans. I ended up giving away most of my collection to my friends. I regret letting some items go, but it is fun to look for them again. I did end up keeping anything that was autographed, including that Aston Villa tour program.
Cut to the present day – John Taylor did a book signing in Austin last Friday. I hadn’t been in the same room with JT since that day in 1998, because I had stopped going to see Duran Duran in concert before the reunion. Writing this blog has rekindled some of those old fangirl feelings, so I knew I had to go to this book signing. I definitely wanted to give John that tour program he wanted years ago.
I went to the signing by myself, because I didn’t know any other Duran Duran fans in Austin. I made a few friends while standing in line, which is always nice. I think I’ve learned to smell the crazy on the fans so I know who to avoid. To be honest, I probably came across as the crazy one, because I was excited to have someone to talk to about my stupid Duran adventures. My new friends and I giggled over the thought of meeting Mr. Taylor.
John was his usual charming self, and did some readings and a Q&A for the crowd, which consisted mainly of forty-something ladies. The shrieking was pretty loud. I felt like I was at a Thunder Down Under strip show (not that I frequent such establishments). Someone actually shouted for John to take his shirt off.
Finally it was time to get in line and meet the man himself. I barked like a drill sergeant at my new pals to get them in line before the other fans trampled us. My old cutthroat Duranie instincts emerged. The Magical Unicorn has this effect on me.
I started to have that same feeling I got when I first met him. I thought I might pass out at one point, but I made it. I had a purpose. I wanted nothing more than to clear my karmic slate by giving JT that tour program he had asked for so many years before.
I approached the table. John looked up. His eyes crinkled. I flashed back to that day but kept it together. I handed over the tour program and said, “John, many years ago you signed this for me, and asked if you could keep it. At the time, I said no, but now I would like you to have it.” He looked surprised; I’m sure he thought I was going to ask for him to sign it. John paged through the program and said delightedly, “Wow! I don’t have this one! Thank you!” I smiled and said, “Well, now you do.” That was pretty much the extent of our discussion, but it made me feel good.
John will always be the Magical Unicorn to me, and he will always be a mullet I have loved.
Of course I scanned that motherfucker before I gave it to JT. I’m not THAT crazy!
Here’s a link to my tumblr posts with the scan of every page. The paper was bigger than my scanner but I think it came out all right. There are 3 tumblr links due to limits on uploading more than 10 pictures per post: