Thursday, 1 November 2012

Essence of being: In The Pleasure Groove

 October 29, 2012. I think this is one of those days that will forever be etched into my memory.
I didn't sleep well the night before (surprise surprise). I couldn't find my "off switch" ironically enough, and I think because of this I only got about 2.5 hours of sleep. But before the alarm could even go off at 6:30 I was up and starting my day.

We picked up a friend of mine Penny on the way and headed out to Toronto. Penny is a total treat. I love her. She's a lot of fun and I enjoy her company a lot. We were both nervous and excited to meet John, which of course, went without saying. We talked about various gigs she had been to, had some laughs as we drove. I was watching the Indigo Tweets closely as they said that people had already started to arrive. I text with another friend of ours Deena, who was already in Toronto and told her that people had already started to arrive. She said that she would leave for the store as soon as she was ready.
We arrived in Toronto at noon, Alan dropped Penny and I off at the Indigo Books and while we went looking for Deena, who had just arrived prior to us getting there. While Alan went looking for somewhere to park the car. We were directed to where people were starting to line up and happily we were about 20th or so inline. I have to say, I was super excited to meet Deena as well. She is a total doll, very vivacious and fun. I adore her.
We met up with others, some we knew...some we didn't (Like our new friend Cathy in the picture below!!!). I'll say this much for Duranies...when you find the GOOD ones -- stick with them. The drama queens and nutters suck...but when you find a good one. Stick with them if at all possible. Taking a ride like this is fun, but its nothing by comparison of sharing it with some great people. I am thankful for the friends I have made and love them beyond imagination. 
The air was palpable and thick with excitement. Everyone was buzzing and waiting for John to arrive. We took a bunch of pictures. (Okay - yes...I took a shit tonne...even by my standards!) At one point we even went and had a 'photo shoot' with a John Taylor banner much to the chagrin of a Barney Fife rent-a-cop. We didn't care, we were having fun. 
L-R: Cathy, Christine, Kristina, John, Me, Penny, Deena
Around 5:30 or so they moved us to where we'd be sitting. We found our seats and Penny (one of my partners in crime) pointed out to me that John would have to walk right past me in order to get to the stage. My jaw dropped and my heart went up in my throat.  I was a total wreck. I had a prime opportunity to get the perfect picture of John from my vantage point. I was terrified I'd blow it and it would be all blurry and shakey. *Beams proudly* I didn't. I got the shot. It's amazing if I do say so myself. I'm so chuffed.
Before John came out they had a few 'games' to give away some gift cards. The first one was "What's in  your purse?"   They wanted a coin from the 80's and you had to give a 'fun fact' about the 80's from the year that the coin was minted. FYI "Duran Duran were hot" is only acceptable once in a game such as this. The next was a shoe receipt. The 3rd question was: "Is anyone wearing shoulder pads?" Hey! *I* was wearing shoulder pads!! I gingerly raised my hand and stared incredulously at our "Game-Show Host" (The VP of Events for Indigo Books - The wonderful Jeremy Cammy). He stared back at me just as perplexed and said "Really??? You are????" I nodded bewildered at the fact and said laughing "Yeah! I really am!" He invited me up to get my gift card (prize). He laughed as I approached about he couldn't believe I admitted I was wearing shoulder pads, the thing of it was...I couldn't believe it either! While standing up there he said to me into the mic "Can I touch them?" I said "Sure!" So he did. My shoulder pads I mean. As I was walking back to my seat I cheekily tossed over my shoulder "They're real too!" He then said laughing "She says they're real! They are real! And they are SPECTACULAR!" (It should be noted my husband, who was sitting in a corner near by by that final statement KNEW it was me that Jeremy was talking about!!) 
The next was the dance off. Four contestants danced to The Reflex. And by audience applause - the winner was chosen. One young man stole the show completely. He was so fun. So charismatic - honestly he was seriously hysterical. See for yourself!!! Please however, forgive the volume in the is LOUD - you have been warned. 
Soon the moment was upon us. John came out tall, confident and as lovely as one could imagine. He looked happy, albeit perhaps a little tired in spite of his "delicious nap" he informed us he'd had before he came. (Jealous!!)
The interview, reading and Q&A were a-typical. Although via other people, I did get questions answered that I had Tweeted to him a while ago but never got an answer about. It was oddly ironic and bizarre that they were asked and answered there. But hey - let it flow and roll with it. Right? 
The  line up for the autographs began about 5 minutes after the interview finished. John quickly vanished once the interview was done and did a quick change and sprinted back out to sign the books. Once on his pedestal behind the desk he began to sign. I was 20th or so in line and I was very, very nervous. It was my idol after all...the man with the eyes and face through my teenaged years I would fall asleep and wake up to everyday for many years was now 10 feet, 6 feet, 4 feet away. I still hadn't decided what I was going to say, or even if I'd be able to say anything at all!
I stood in line waiting my turn...Suddenly I was next! I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and up into my throat. My mouth was dry. I was nervous...when suddenly while signing the person ahead of mine's book, John turned and looked at me. Held my gaze for about 3-5 seconds and smiled. Had that really just happened? Really?? Penny leaned forward whispering in my ear "I SAW THAT!" I inwardly sighed. "Good! Then I'm not imagining things!" I replied. No it really happened she assured me. Then it's my turn. Right in that moment I realize an enormous wave of complete calm has washed over me since John turned and smiled at me. I knew in that moment I'd find my voice to say at least some of the things (that weren't x-rated) that I so desperately wanted to say. Maybe that's why he did it. I don't know.
He was first handed my friend Jane's book. He read her name off the stick-it note "Are you Jane?" he questioned with an odd puzzlement on his face, like he knew I wasn't or that the name didn't quite suit me. "No." I replied "It's for my friend. She's a Cali you. Except she's a Kiwi from New Zeland and lives in Nor Cal. She couldn't make it to your reading in San Fran." I explained He nodded and wrote in her book "So, this one is for her." I continued. He then grabbed my book "Kendraaaaa." he drawled. Almost with recognition and comfort in his voice. I think I said "That's me." But I can't be certain. The man had just said my name after all!
I hesitated for a fraction of a second at that moment as he began to write in my book. I then told him what I had been waiting to say and I knew it to be what I wanted to say all along. "I just wanted to say thank you for being the reason I wanted to pick up a bass and learn to play in the first place." He smiled at that as he wrote in my book. I added "For my birthday a few years ago my husband bought me a Peavey Cirrus much like yours. And I love it." He smiled again up at me and said "Aww...that was sweet of him! Does he play an instrument as well?" I nodded and said "Yes he plays guitar." He nodded saying "That's fantastic! Do you jam together then?" I said "Yea...sometimes." He smiled at me and said "that's great! You know what they say! The family that plays together..." "Stays together" we say at the same time. And just like that... the moment is over, I collect my prized books and walk away. It's not until I get to where Alan and my friends are that I remember I still have the card I wrote for him in my hand...DOH!
We stayed around until he was finished signing. And oddly enough the moment he was done it seemed like all the people, all the din...vanished into thin air. There was no one. He went walking towards the back (the way he'd come originally)...and may I add, he walks really fast! Perhaps it's just his long stride or maybe due to the weather he was eager to leave. In any event, I stepped out stopping him as he approached and said "I meant to give you this and forgot." He sort of chuckled and said "Thanks a lot" and continued walking. My job was done. Mission accomplished. Did he read my card? I don't know. I'd like to think he did. 
I had hoped that my two Glamazon girls Kristina and Christine might get a moment with John for arranging everything. All their legwork, emails and phone calls had made the event happen after all. But alas, it wasn't to be. 
We (Alan, Penny, Deena and I) walked through the pouring rain and wind to where our car was parked. We received a phone call from my Glamazon sisters...dead car battery. Yuck. Major suckage. And not in a good way. We drove to where they were parked and made and attempt to help them...unsuccessfully. Sadly, we left them in the underground parking waiting for CAA to arrive (Which they did about an hour and a half later). 
Starving and tired the four of us made for food. Like a beacon in the dark and dreary night "The Lone Star" was our port of call. With tummies full and toasts to "Friends of Mine" made, we dropped Deena off at her hotel. We drove Penny home next and them made our weary way home to finish off the day. 
This is one I will never forget. John Taylor is an exquisite, lovely gentleman. He is sweet and kind. Of course he's still handsome with a boyish grin that lights up a room. I've read before "Never meet your idol you'll only be disappointed."  That is a complete fallacy when it comes to John Taylor. If you ever get an opportunity to meet him. Do so. You won't be disappointed. 
John...if by chance you do in fact read this - please know everything I said in the card is true. It expresses everything I couldn't find the voice to say. 
I just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful and thankful I am for you. This opportunity you’ve afforded people to have “their moment” with you goes above and beyond the requirement of the norm. And for that I; for one; am eternally grateful.
You’ve been accessible on Twitter and every interaction and Tweet you and I have ever exchanged (and there have been a few) has been wonderful. And I thank you for that.
You are a man of your word, a man we; as a collective; are very proud of, as I know your Mum and Dad were of the man they raised – and as you should be of yourself.
Thank you for being the reason I wanted to pick up a bass and finally taught myself to play in the first place. Thank you for being inspiring and a true gift. And for just being you.
With much affection,

Kendra Campbell (@cheriqui)

One Last Glimpse,


  1. What a beautiful blog. You managed to capture the day do well. I only realized this morning that I better write my experience out before I forget the moment. You captured yours so well. I wanted to thank you for mentioning me that was really sweet and to thank you and the girls for allowing a newby along for the ride. What a lovely group of women I got to meet. I was worried I wouldn't meet anyone hence I brought my mom along. Thank you ladies for letting her be a part of the moment too. She was a trooper! It was great to meet everyone and until we meet again at the next Duran function. Cathy

  2. The photo of John is absolutely gorgeous. You are rightly chuffed. But I LMAO at you listing John among those present in the picture with the banner.

    This is a beautiful recounting of that day. I was with you in every moment.
    xx GD

    1. HAHAHA!! I HAD to list him there!!! ;) xoxoxoxo