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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hero worship has its perks

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yesterday was Andy Taylor's birthday. He turned 49.

Now, how many of you can tell me who Andy Taylor is? Take a second. Those of you who were children of the 1980s like I was will probably get it pretty quickly (or you should, if you knew what was cool). I'll give the rest of you a second to run over, bring up Wikipedia on your computers and look it up.

OK, everybody ready?

Andy Taylor was the lead guitarist for the greatest band of the 1980s and 1990s, Duran Duran. He also played for Powerstation and had a really fantastic solo album (although it sold poorly and was critically panned ... I may well be the only person who bought it on cassette when it first came out and then bought it on CD years later).

There were five members in the original -- and undeniably best -- Duran Duran lineup. I can tell you all of their birthdays, and I'd be willing to bet most of my girlfriends from high school could, too.

Andy's birthday always brings back very fond memories, though, because he was my sister Jodi's Duran Duran member (there were five of us; we all "had" a member), and one year she threw him a birthday party. We decorated the entire house in pin-ups, and she baked him a cake.

Back in my day, when we didn't have instant access to everything, hero worship was special. I had to wait each month for my Bop! magazine to show up in my mailbox so I could ogle the newest photos and read the latest news about the members of Duran Duran (and yes, I also went through a Menudo thing ... sue me).

We didn't have cable. We didn't have the Internet.

New music videos debuted each week on "Friday Night Videos," and when they did, it was an event. My sister and I would look in TV Guide to see what videos we'd be treated to that week. We'd prepare snacks and lie on the floor on our stomachs in front of our console television set.

Sometimes we couldn't get the TV tower pointed exactly the right way and the videos were a little fuzzy, but we made do and were thrilled anyway.

My co-worker admitted to me that she has watched a couple of movies because they were mentioned on "Sex and the City."

In turn, this made me admit that I discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald, who has long been my favorite author, by way of Duran Duran's bassist John Taylor.

How's that now?

Well, I was reading an in-depth interview with John on Tiger Beat magazine round about 1986 or so, and he mentioned that "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald was his favorite tome.

Well, I thought to myself, if John thinks it's cool, it must be.

When my mother, sister and I took our weekly trip to the town library that Saturday, I looked up "This Side of Paradise" in the card catalog. I went to find it, only to discover this Fitzgerald guy had actually written other books, too.

I grabbed "This Side of Paradise," "The Last Tycoon," "Tender is the Night" and "The Great Gatsby."

As an adult, I can say with some assuredness that John Taylor probably never read "This Side of Paradise" ... after all, a 20-something rock star probably occupied his time with other things besides reading classic literature.

But I still credit him for the discovery.

We all knew what our members' favorite colors were, and everything we bought had to be that color. I had Simon leBon. Even though my favorite color was and always has been yellow, his was blue (according to Bop!, anyway), so I had lots of blue things.

Yes, kids today are fans. But I don't think it's nearly as special as it was when I was a teenager.

Ask some high school student today if they know when that kid from "Twilight's" birthday is. Ask if they know his favorite color.

Ask if they've ever thrown a party for him.

We did it so much better back in the day.

Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. Her e-mail is jbarrand@bannergraphic.com.