30 June 2011

Simon Le Sphinx

He's always been an enigma, hasn't he? This is one of the many reasons that I've loved Duran Duran's frontman Simon Le Bon since 1983. Sure, I could gush over his devilish good looks or rave about his distinctive and mesmerising voice or go on and on about his charismatic stage presence, but today I would like to discuss my favourite part of Simon Le Bon: his mind.

I'm not just talking about the creative mind that has been delivering poetic, thought-provoking lyrics for over 30 years. He has a razor sharp wit that has been making me laugh out loud since I was 13 years old. He reveals his soul when telling us how a former choirboy became an atheist. He has an online Book Club. He ponders the absurdity of collective nouns for birds. Let's face it, he's not your average pop star.

Believe it or not, I'm not calling him an enigma because I don't understand him. On the contrary, it scares me just how much I do understand him. Or at least, what I know of him, after years of meticulously studying performances, interviews, articles and now... Twitter.

I swear, I didn't believe that he really was on Twitter. I'd had an account since 2009, but had never really used it. I was satisfied with Facebook. I'll admit that I didn't bother to "get to know" Twitter. That was, until I finally realised that @SimonJCLeBon and @thisistherealJT really were on there! Duran Duran brought me there, and now I can't get enough of the place!

Normally, I am a learned person. I am well-educated. I have diverse interests. I'm well-travelled. I can keep up with most of the subjects that Simon tackles on Twitter because we share similar interests. Of course, he kind of loses me when he starts talking about reality TV or sports, but you know what I mean. When it comes to anything related to the arts; whether it's pop-culture or high-culture, in my regular life, I can keep up my end of the conversation. I actually like talking about psychology and philosophy. When someone is sarcastic or uses innuendo, I get it. As an English teacher, I am especially fond of wordplay. I thrive on that shit. So... why is it that when Simon tweets I turn into a bumbling idiot?

I re-activated my long dormant Twitter account and started following Simon Le Bon and John Taylor at the end of April, shortly after seeing Duran Duran live at an intimate venue called Le National in Montreal on (Roger Taylor's birthday) 26th April, 2011. It was an unforgettable experience. For your enjoyment, here is a video of one of the evening's many highlights:

I digress. So, the first time I tweeted Simon Le Bon was on 29th April 2011. I have been tweeting him regularly ever since. The first (and only, thus far) time that he acknowledged my Twitter-existence was on 17th June 2011. More on that later, but first, this is where the enigma thing comes into play. For the life of me, I can't seem to figure out Simon's tweeting patterns. I doubt that I ever will. My philosophy is to just keep tweeting and expect nothing. That way, I won't be disappointed and any response is a pleasant surprise. It isn't always easy, but I actually try to make this my life philosophy. I am simply always myself, sending positive energy into the universe (and now the Twitterverse) and expecting nothing in return. If I get negative energy back, I block it out and if I get positive energy back, I accept it with open arms. There will always be people who "get" me and people who don't. This is going to sound childish, but... I just really want Simon Le Bon to "get" me. I know that I'm over-thinking this. Forgive me.

John Taylor's tweeting patterns are easier to figure out. He tries to answer as many questions as he can. He provides his tweetpeeps with lots of useful information and often posts twitpics. He lets us know about the book he's currently reading, the music he's listening too, the events he's attending, etc. He sometimes wears his heart on his sleeve, which makes him all the more endearing. Of course, he can't possibly reply to all of the tweets he receives. I can't even do that and I'm just a regular person with a little over 100 followers! Still, I've noticed that he sometimes answers questions or responds to interesting tweets hours after they've been posted. Believe me, I was totally stoked when he tweeted me (again, only once, but who's counting?) on 9th June, 2011, especially since it was in reference to the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibit now running at MMFA.

Now Simon, he's a whole other story. First of all, his tweets read like a Jack Kerouac novel in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way. Don't get me wrong, I love this about the man. Apparently, I'm not alone. His tweets have attracted a lot of attention in cyberspace. For instance:

Simon Le Bon Tweets - Oscars Edition

Not to mention, he's got close to 40,000 followers! Therefore, I can, to a certain degree, understand why his choices of who to respond to appear so arbitrary. I've noticed that he often replies to the first person who responds to something he's tweeted. He has a tendency to respond to ridiculous tweets, usually with a sarcastic remark. He also likes to correct improper grammar or bad spelling - something I secretly wish I could do, but I tend to bite my tongue, as I'm not a celebrity so people would just get pissed-off at me. When I happen to be online at the same time as him, I try hard to compose myself (and stop shaking like a leaf) and tweet something witty, but I am usually beaten to the punch by a faster typist. I often miss his "tweet times" because of time zones (and my ridiculous sleeping patterns) so he probably never even sees 90% of my replies and mentions. Still, I wish that I could have a better understanding of how to get (and keep) Le Enigma's attention. As I mentioned earlier, it's probably better not to try and understand.

Instead, I will imagine that it is still circa 1984, when all my conversations with Simon Le Bon took place inside my head (or on the pages of my journal) and the very thought of him noticing me was enough to make me swoon. I will recite my mantra: Keep tweeting and expect nothing. I will keep sending him positive vibes and interesting links and witty remarks, etc. and not be envious of the people who get regular tweets from him. Some of them are my Twitter friends, so I try to live vicariously through them. It's best to let him remain an enigma, isn't it?

That being said, allow me to recount the story of how I did finally manage to get his attention on Twitter. For two days, I had been trying to send him an article about a woman who blamed her GPS when she drove herself into a swamp. The story caught my attention because it reminded me of the brilliant song Blame the Machines off the latest Duran Duran album All You Need Is Now. If you haven't purchased it yet, I highly recommend that you do. It's a work of genius!

Anyway, I was experiencing yet another bout of insomnia when I saw that Simon was online. It was around 5:00 am in Montreal (10:00 am in the UK) and I still hadn't slept. I used cut and paste from a previous tweet and sent the article to him, hoping that he would see it but expecting nothing in return. Suddenly, I saw that he had indeed noticed and had retweeted my tweet! I nearly passed out. I composed myself and thanked him for the retweet, then realised that I hadn't included the link to the article! I tried sending him the link. I felt like a nincompoop.

I've met loads of interesting people on Twitter. However, nobody gets me the way that fellow insomniac Duranie @ladygrinning does. Therefore, I started tweeting her about what had just happened. I said, "Did you see the retweet, Maya?! I just about plotzed! I'm verklempt. But I forgot to add the link." Notice the Yiddish? I don't actually speak Yiddish (although my grandmother did) but Simon Le Bon causes me to speak in tongues. Guess what happened next? He saw what I had tweeted Maya. He responded with: "Well go on then, post it." Of course, I started freaking out again, frantically searching for the link. I sent it to him three times. No reply.

Meanwhile, he started getting all philosophical, in a surrealist way. He tweeted, "This is not SimonJCLeBon," followed by, "In the RenĂ© Magritte sense at least," then, "Ceci n'est pas SimonJCLeBon." I was so busy trying to find the stupid link that I missed out on all this. Maya didn't. She replied to Simon with, "Magritte was a tortured genius," to which he replied, "You must be thinking about the other Magritte." Now, both Maya & I started freaking out in our 14 year-old selves kind of way. We freaked out so much, in fact, that our sleep deprived selves didn't even catch on to what he was saying. Obviously, he was referring to Magritte's Treachery of Images meaning that the other Magritte (who Maya called a tortured genius) would be the one who lived and breathed between 21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967. D'uh! So...you see what Simon Le Bon does to us? He reduces otherwise well-informed, clever women into piles of pre-pubescent mush. Will this ever change? Will I ever become complacent enough with Simon Le Bon's presence on Twitter to react to his online self in a mature, composed way? Not bloody likely.

Addendum: The day after I wrote this, Duran Duran announced that they have been forced to reschedule their entire European Summer Tour. I have been following this story ever since Simon Le Bon first started experiencing vocal problems in May of this year. My heartfelt wishes go out to him, the entire band, their employees and of course, the fans who had purchased tickets. The timing is horrible, as they were on such a roll, but Simon's health comes first. At least, he is on the road to recovery. That's what is most important. I've signed three virtual cards so far: two for Simon and one for Duran Duran. I will continue to send positive vibes to Simon, Nick, John, Roger and Dom. I feel foolish and self-centred for worrying about getting tweets from Simon whilst he's going through this rough patch. All will end well, I'm certain. xoxo