Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Clay Aiken, Fans and Respect

I think I must be a cup half full person. Not that I don’t have my bad days or wretched moments, but overall I try to look at life through my rose-colored glasses. I’ve been around a while now…in other words, I’m older than dirt and I like to think that in my life I have learned at least a few lessons.

Chiefly among those lessons is respect. Somewhere along the way in today’s society there seems to be a great lack of respect for one’s fellow man. When I grew up I was raised that if I couldn’t say anything nice…umm, then just don’t say anything at all. Hmmm, interesting idea? Hold the thought.

As a devoted Clay Aiken fan I participate on several message boards, or at least I try to participate. I’m not a prolific poster and I tend to “lurk” quite a bit. But the message boards opened my eyes to an incredibly diverse fan base for Clay and there are some very, very intelligent, quick witted and just plain old great people on the boards. I have been fortunate to make some real life friends with several members from the boards and it has enriched my life abundantly. I wouldn’t trade a moment!

The message boards discuss, debate and devour all things Clay. There are wonderful and oftentimes heated discussions where everyone can express their opinion in an orderly and civilized fashion. One of the rules on most boards is that you must respect your fellow poster and you may certainly never tell someone else how to think, what or how to post. Doing so results in flying fish and tomatoes thrown in your direction. For the most part 99 percent of the time the rules rule, so to speak, and everything is great in the Clay Nation.

We’re on the brink of Clay’s new album. The Clay Nation is abuzz and excited awaiting the official press release. Clay blogs and his executive producer blogs and the eeeeeee’s abound. We’re in hog heaven on the boards…until…wait…ugh. Wouldn’t you know it…a very tiny segment and I do mean just a very few posters have to sucker punch everyone. The negative Nellie’s come out in full force. Frankly, I don’t get this at all. Again, let me state, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the right to state it on a message board. But here’s the rub…they seem to forget about respect. Not just for their fellow posters, but…hello, excuse me…respect for the man we all gather together to celebrate…respect for Clay.

This is the part that is just beyond my comprehension. My son is a music critic and we certainly don’t always agree, but would I, in a public forum, disparage him, disrespect him? NEVER! What it comes down to is the manner in which one expresses their opinion. There is something called common decency and a way in which to state an opinion without disrespect. At least there is in my house. Anything else is completely unacceptable. There is no excuse for rudeness. End of the conversation. I think you get my drift.

I treat Clay like I would any other family member. In many ways the great Clay Nation is like a big family…heck Clay even said we’re family. Just as I would not disrespect a family member, I would never disrespect Clay, ever, and especially not in a public forum. It just boggles my mind and I don’t understand at all. Again, I want to reiterate that these posters are in the minority and frankly they are generally shot down by other posters. But they insidiously do what the poster intended, or at least what I think they intended. Hey world…look at me! It’s all about what said poster wants Clay to do/be/sing/say. And if Clay doesn’t do/be/sing/say just as they expect, well, woe is Clay because that poster is off and running. They upset a happy board and try to derail the conversation. Frankly, I think the sense of entitlement by some fans is deplorable. And this isn’t about the good fan/bad fan nonsense. There is no such thing in my opinion. We are all just fans. It is just how we chose to behave. And as such, all I feel we are entitled to is the best album Clay can deliver and when seeing him perform live in concert, the best performance he can give. Clay has never failed to deliver on either count for me. The rest is all gravy and we get lots of gravy. Sometimes it’s like Thanksgiving and we are swimming in the gravy.

I’m all about the EEEEEE! This Clay fandom is something I’ve not ever experienced before. Sure, I’ve been a fan of others in the past, but not in such a proactive fashion. I have a wonderful family, a full and active life, but in addition, I am, quite frankly, deeply invested in Clay Aiken. I can’t always explain it, but I am. I’ve had some of the best times of my life being a Clay fan. And I'll tell you, being a fan of this amazing young man has in many ways given me back my youth. I smile and laugh practically all.the.time. So perhaps after reading this you may or may not understand my dismay when anyone tries to take away my EEEEEE. Maybe I overreact and perhaps this is the norm in any fandom, but…I don’t have to like it nor condone it. So my EEEEEE’s are firmly in place and no one is going to take them away from me. Not gonna happen. Not ever! Do I make myself clear. No one is going to take away my joy in being a Clay Aiken fan.

So, while I’m sure there are those who are poo-pooing my little rant and think I’m being ridiculous, I would just like to ask everyone to please think before putting their fingers on their keyboards. We are constantly enforced on the boards to be respectful of one another. Let’s give Clay a break, ok. Let’s show him the same respect that we give to each other. Let’s celebrate the joy that is Clay Aiken!

Well, now that I have that off my chest, in the spirit of celebrating the joy that is Clay Aiken, as I promised, here are the first two montages from the JBT by the masterful dreamlarge. These are seriously great! Enjoy and celebrate!!!!!

First...the 50's Medley

Next the 50's Banter and Unchained Melody

Thank you again dreamlarge for your amazing talent.
Thank you Atlanta MM for the beautiful blend.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm Still Here...Waiting for Clay Aiken!

Still here, still waiting for news of Clay's sophomore CD. I know it's coming soon, or quite soon or very soon. Yesterday isn't soon enough for me, but I will wait as long as it takes. Clay Aiken is worth the wait! Clay blogged! He said the time is drawing I will wait and hope nearer is soon or sooner or very soon or quite soon...cause I want that CD now!

In the meantime I watch clack which includes some incredible montages. I would like to share with you two from another one of the Clay Nations premiere montage makers...dreamlarge.

I'm Glad There Is You Clay Aiken

Got To Get You Into My Life

Dreamlarge...thank you for sharing your incredible talent.

Next blog I'll start sharing the amazing Jukebox Tour compilations by dreamlarge.
In the meantime...enjoy watching, I know I do! I can never get enough Clay Aiken!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Clay Aiken and J. Wesley Smith

This is what my maternal grandfather’s official bio says from one of those Who’s Who in Art books.

"Cartoonist. Born in Fostoria, OH on Oct. 24, 1899.

Shafer studied at Occidental College. He later created the syndicated satire, “Through History with J. Wesley Smith" which appeared in Saturday Evening Post, Saturday Review, New York Times, Colliers and other national publications.

He died in Orange, CA on June 15, 1965. "

Grandpa was a cartoonist and a raconteur. He also owned our family music store which I spoke of in a previous blog entry.Music Defines My Life (You'll have to scroll to the bottom of the page).

Where he came up with J. Wesley Smith, I will never know, but the character was a hapless little guy who was always at the forefront of all the important moments in history. One of my favorites was J. Wesley posing for Rodans "The Thinker"...with the comment "That's all for today, stupid." Or J. Wesley talking to Da Vinci..."So that's the Mona Lisa! Well, Leonardo, old boy, it looks like Lisa del Gioconda all right, but you did something funny to the mouth." And just one more... Brahms playing the piano telling a sleeping J. Wesley..."I'll just call it Brahms' Lullaby. How do you like it?"

Here is a photo of one of Grandpa books...

What I remember most is that Grandpa always had a cigar in his mouth. Whenever Grandpa Shafer ripped open a new cigar to smoke, my brother, my cousins and I would eagerly wait to see who would be the recipient of the rolled up cellophane wrapper. Weird, I know, but when we were little kids, this was just amazing to us because he could roll it up into such a tiny cylinder. We would then unroll it and hard as we would try, we could never get it back into its original form. Fond memories. You must remember, this was years before the internet, MTV and iPods were available to entertain.

Grandpa had his art studio in his home. We could peek in, but never enter. I imagine he figured we kids would ransack the place. As I got older I loved to go to the old Victorian home just to roam around and look into all the nooks and crannies. Grandpa had a huge library. I loved that room. I would go in on a Saturday afternoon and just look up and down at all the titles. Eventually, Grandpa let me borrow some to take home and read. He had a lot of great showbiz biographies and chronicles. I loved to read them all.

The house is long gone now, but the memories remain. I know when I was younger I didn’t appreciate all that Grandpa has accomplished. He went on lecture tours all over the world and he had conversations with many a great person. Only now, when it’s too late to ask a multitude of questions do I really ponder what he might have answered had there been enough time. He died too young from the complications of a terrible car crash.

What, you ask (well aren't you asking), does this have to do with Clay Aiken? Not too much really. It's just that I like to think that if Clay were to ever thumb through one of Grandpa's books he would smile and chuckle a little. With Clay being a self admitted news junkie, I do believe he would laugh at little J. Wesley Smith and his take on the history of the world. And with the music that was a part of my grandfathers life, I like to think that he, in turn, would have loved Clay.

Don't forget to check out some of the other wonderful blogs listed on the right...including...The ClayBlog ...Clay Spots and Rooting For Clay Aiken. And check out this one...he's the great grandson of Grandpa Shafer Pop Life by Ben Wener

Thank you to Joanne for her beautiful work!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Waiting For Clay Aiken!

I'm waiting for Clay's sophomore CD! This waiting is interminable, like a kid waiting for Christmas or Hanukkah, but I know the wait will be more than worthwhile when I finally get that new CD in my hands. Clay Aiken is definitely worth the wait!

Seeing Clay on AI5 for those two amazing minutes was just an appetizer. And boy, did that ever whet my appetite. I want more and I want it now, yet I will wait because as "they" say, good things come to those who wait. In the meantime I'm just going to share one of the new things I've learned from being a Clay Aiken fan. I jumped into the world of montage making. What fun, what stress, what aggravation, what the heck am I doing? There are many great montage makers in the great Clay Nation...I am a neophyte; nevertheless, I persevere and the process is the fun. What's not great about looking and listening to Clay Aiken. Just look at him!!!

So without further ado, if you dare...take a look at one of my creations. I love ZZ Top so I thought it would be fun to make a montage set to one of their freeway driving, windows rolled down, singing at the top of your lungs songs...Gimme All Your Lovin'. What I wanted to show was...well, what else...Clay Aiken is sexy!!! No doubt about it!!! Hope you enjoy!

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Clay Aiken and Prince

Clay Aiken and Prince were both on the American Idol stage May 24, 2006.
Clay is set to release his sophomore CD sometime this year. Prince has a catalogue of hits behind him. I was and still am a fan of Prince. I am a bigger fan of Clay Aiken!

Clay on American Idol 5

Prince on American Idol 5

I was first mesmerized by Prince during his entire Purple Rain phase.
I loved Purple Rain, the CD, the movie and the concert tour. I saw Prince at the Forum in Los Angeles, CA in February of 1985. I took my 15 year old son with me along with a friend and her two teenage children. We had floor seats…not great ones but still floor seats. As some of you may agree, floor seats are best when you are in the first few rows, but as you get further back from the stage it can become increasingly difficult to see the performer. The crowd was crazy and intense at this show and eventually people started standing up on their folding chairs. So that’s what we did…except for my friend…she steadfastly continued to refuse to stand atop a chair that she felt would probably topple over in all the excitement. I just looked at her and said she could stand there or she could hop up on the chair and enjoy the show. She relented and was she ever glad she did. We all had a blast. In hindsight, whether or not it was prudent to take our children to the then pretty racy Prince show could be considered questionable; nevertheless, after all these years it still remains a concert highlight for all of us. Prince was and is a megastar!

Now back to Clay Aiken. Just the other day there was a brief Clay mention in a Canadian political commentary.

24 Hours Toronto

Humour me here and let’s rewind back to 2003 for a moment. Lord of the Rings was all the rage in movie theatres, a young Clay Aiken was just beginning his long and sure-to-be storied rise to musical legend, and a stiff, young idealist from Ottawa named Dalton McGuinty proposed he could find enough sources for cheap hydro.

It’s nice to see that others share my feelings. While Prince is a musical legend and Clay is just beginning his rise to said status there is just something even more compelling to me about Clay Aiken than even Prince. What is it, I ask myself frequently? I don’t have one difinitive answer. Clay Aiken is a great singer. Clay Aiken is an amazing entertainer. Clay Aiken is a very complex and compelling personality. While Clay has yet to divulge if he has any songwriting talents (many think he surely must) and he doesn’t really play any musical instruments (although he has played the piano in concert) he still captivates more than most. Maybe it’s just easier to say I have been struck by lightning and I can’t explain it in just a few words. But do mark these words…Clay Aiken is just beginning his “long and sure-to-be storied rise to musical legend”. This I feel in my bones and in my heart. Perhaps that is why when Clay Aiken and Prince both appeared on American Idol this year the buzz was all about Clay. Think about it!

Clay has covered in concert one of Prince's biggest hits from Purple Rain...When Doves Cry. Today I much prefer Clay's version. It is more compelling (there's that word again)! Vocally there is no contest. Musically Clay takes Doves to a new level, in my opinion and just have to see for yourself. Watching Clay Aiken prowl the stage is a sight not to be missed.

First from the Jukebox Tour...

One more from the Independent Tour with a little surprise
from Kelly Clarkson...

Thank you to the videographers whose names I don't know to credit...

I can feel something happening...something in the air...something magical and special is going to happen and I, for one, cannot wait! Hurry up Clay, we're ready and waiting!

Just for good more look at the "new" look because there never is enough Clay Aiken and this new look is hot, hot, hot!!!!Excuse me while I take a moment...GAH!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Clay Aiken Redefined

Well, I’m practically speechless (you wish), but not quite. Yes, I watched the American Idol finale with the rest of the world and yes, my jaw dropped when Clay walked out onto the stage. Holy crap, that’s Clay Aiken?! That’s my Clay?! The Clay I have been watching, listening to and traveling to concerts to see for the past two and one half years?! Holy crap!

There has been a multitude of words describing this very moment. You can read some of the great commentary at the terrific blogs listed on the links at the right of this page. Since I was away for the holiday weekend I'm late to the party with my comments. I was stunned and truly speechless. Who is that man on my television screen? He is truly the hottest creature on the face of the earth and blessed with one of the most amazing and distinctive voices I have ever heard in my lifetime.

When I started perusing the net to see the reaction I was overwhelmed as I read the predominately favorable reviews. Heck, people were downright drooling. Statements like “When did Clay get so hot?” “OMG, Clay is so good looking”. “Wow, what a voice!” I was giddy reading the reactions. The irony in this is that to me Clay has always been hot, good looking and possessed of a great voice. The only difference now was a new hairstyle.

Granted, the new look is devastating in its hotness and I am completely enamored of this new, redefined Clay; however, it’s still the same man, the same voice. As expressed by many others, it’s still Clay’s face…it hasn’t changed really…or has it? Nearly three years have gone by since the finale of American Idol 2.
In three years Clay has recorded, toured, made numerous television appearances including his own Christmas special. All this along with the humanitarian endeavors of his Bubel/Aiken Foundation and his duties as a Unicef Ambassador. All these experiences have given way to new growth and maturity. When Clay returned to the Idol stage he glowed. A man in command, a man confident in his talent, a man filled with grace, charm, charisma and the voice that cannot and will not be denied.

So yes, it’s the same nose, the same cheekbones, the same disarming smile, but it is a face that is evolving as Clay is maturing, just as his talent is expanding. A face that shows the maturity that is mirrored in his sparkling eyes as he sings effortlessly and passionately. Perhaps this is what millions saw on their televisions...and not just a new hairstyle. A voice for all time...and a face I will never tire of looking at no matter what hairstyle he chooses to wear. Welcome back Clay. Job well done. Bravo!

I'd like to share a wonderful montage with you celebrating Clay's return to the Idol stage. Thank you K4Clay2 for your amazing talent.
Here You Come Again...

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Clay Aiken, My iPod and The Indy 500

Off to the Indy 500 over the holiday weekend. Now this by itself is great. Four days of fun with my husband and friends. The drawback…no computer access. Those three words normally strike terror in my heart when facing any long stretch of time without Clay, the message boards and my clack (Clay videos and mp3's). This trip won’t be quite as difficult now that I have my video iPod...or as I like to call it, my ClayPod. What a great Mother's Day gift. I have been downloading and uploading like crazy and I have at least enough videos to get through the weekend. So now I can look forward to the plane ride and the few moments I may have alone to watch Clay sing and thrill me. Who knows, maybe I’ll run into some Clay fans who can share in the fun.

Meanwhile, take the time to check out some great Clay videos and commentary at this blog TheClayBlog.

Before I leave I’ll be watching the American Idol finale…yes, I know I said I don’t watch as I stated in this blog entry, but there is a rumor that Clay Aiken will “grace the stage” and that is something I won’t miss. It will surely be a special part of the show.

Here is a photo from the last time Clay sang on American Idol.

You can watch video of this great performance here at this blog Olosta.

Here's another photo from one of Clay's AI appearances...Yeah I just wanted to look at him again. You can never have too much Clay Aiken!!!

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Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!!

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