Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Take a listen to Rob Sheffield as he starts Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

Pop culture observer and Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield has followed up his touching memoir,Love is a Mix Tape,with a somewhat lighter but just as lively new book about his coming of age years in the eighties.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran spans most of his teen years(with a brief stop in his early twenties for flavor)and attempts to cover the waterfront of his life experiences during that most fondly looked back upon decade.

There's sort of a sweet Wonder Years vibe to his descriptions of the past,especially when the tone turns to his family. Rob grew up with a slew of feisty sisters that bullied him with love and attention,occasionally unwanted,and help to set the template for his search for the perfect girl to fall in love with:

Rob also recounts many a summer,where he had various jobs that lead him to discover new music and cultural tastes. One year,he was an exchange student in Spain,where many of the girls adopted him as their mascot to ward off creepy guys who hit on them at the disco clubs.

A song and band that caught Rob's listening ear big time while he was there was Haysi Fantayzee with "Shiny Shiny",a New Wave group that never quite made it big outside of Europe. Quirky sounds like this got Rob to enjoy the sheer pleasure of pop music for it's own silly self:

Along with personal reminiscences,Rob chats about prominent as well as strictly of the moment bits of pop culture flair such as the cassingle.

For those of you unfamiliar with that item,it's a cassette release of a single(hence the word merger there)for many a bouncy tune such as "Funky Cold Medina", "Bust a Move" or any of Paula Abdul's catalog of hit songs. I owned plenty of those inexpensive tuneful tokens myself there and it was fun to see that someone else had fond memories of them.

There's no true discussion of adolescence in the 1980s without mentioning John Hughes movies and Rob gives them their proper due. His main pick of the litter is that classic Molly Ringwald/Jon Cryer/Andrew McCarthy love triangle,Pretty in Pink. I'm more of a Breakfast Club gal(didn't see PIP until a few months ago)but the case for the staying power of this film and fan devotion to Duckie is well made:

Least you think this book is just the literary equivalent of one of those "I Love(insert decade of your choice)" cable specials,let me reassure you that there is more to this than meets the eye.

Rob's writing evokes more than just the nostalgia of a recently bygone age;he gets into the personal minutiae that formed his emotional and intellectual being and yes,even a dark period or two(most of which was fueled by listening to too much Morrissey).

His growing frustrations at being instantly put into the friend zone with girls and later learning to accept that sensitivity and blend that trait into his love life makes for an interesting read and dare I say it,sweet. Also,his admiration for strong women is really great and charming to hear about:

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran will be out and about on July 15,so mark your music reading dial,folks. And yes,Duran Duran is talked about by both the ladies that Rob runs into as well as himself.

He's an unrepentant DD fan who shamelessly loves a band that shamelessly caters to it's female fan base,a rather complete circle of devotion there. At times,it's oddly touching to look at those little pop culture ties that bind people together and Rob's latest memoir makes that often trod path down memory lane feel fresh and new,with plenty of friends who know all the words to "Rio" singing along with you:

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