Taylor’s busy, busy life

June 10, 2007 by

I’m posting this here because for some reason, when I posted it at boogie it went into moderation. I don’t know if that’s because I haven’t posted there in ages, or what. I’ll put it here too, because this the sort of message that couldn’t be posted at Gray’s (for example) without the author becoming a target of a flood of truly nasty posts. Few people seem to know any more, how to raise questions and have a rational discussion (even about something or someone they love).

Here’s my post. It’s about Taylor’s summer/early fall tour schedule.

I’m selfishly sorry to see he hasn’t scheduled any shows in the western third of the country, but on the other hand, I wish he had more blank spots on his schedule. Like, for 3 or 4 months. As a friend of mine (also a huge Taylor fan) said of him recently, “Sit down and write some songs, will ya?” He loves performing and he wants to keep riding this train, but a creative artist needs time to create, as well as time to present his creations. I can’t help thinking he’d be better off in the long run (as would we) if he went home, or wherever, and had NO external demands on his time, and sat, and thought, and daydreamed, and strummed his guitar, and hummed some tunes, and came up with some new songs that gave voice to whatever has been going on in that complex mind and lively heart over the past couple of years. Creative work wells up from within, and sometimes emerges in a small voice unwilling or unable to make itself heard in a noisy, bustling environment. Even a very sociable person needs “fallow” time to refill the creative well. Taylor COULD keep going at breakneck speed, satisfied with performing covers and a handful of his earlier songs and an occasional week or so off to fish or lounge on a beach, but I think he’s better than that. I think if he has the courage to give himself the time to create, he will come up with something wonderful. His covers of others’ songs are terrific, but he is a gifted songwriter in his own right; as much as I love some of his covers, I am more intrigued by what we might hear from HIM. It must be very hard to decline requests to perform and connect with fans, to carve out time and space and quiet for himself, but I think he will need to do that–if not for his sanity, then for his ability to create new music.


(Hey la, hey la) My boyfriend’s back

May 1, 2007 by

Last week, GC came back online.  Well, sort of – the archives are back.  What a thrill, because it allows us to check out this lovely picture of Gray and Taylor again:


Oh dear, a bit murky, isn’t it?  So, thank goodness for Monkbot, on which Jan has posted one much clearer:


It’s such a shame that Gray didn’t bring back touristas as well. Again, thank goodness, this time for some eagle-eyed and alert GC followers who have thoughtfully preserved some gems from those memorable last days.  Thank you for sharing!  I think we’ll have fun fondly revisiting that bittersweet time together.  Why?  Perhaps it was articulated best by Gray himself:

I’m not “encouraging a gripe session” – I”m observing that people have things on their mind that they feel a need to express. If those expressions are critical, so be it.

Why squelch discussion? perhaps it can do some good.

And yet the squelching occurred nonetheless. Multiple times. Such a shame. Well, here’s a chance to give it one more shot.

Can I vote for this guy?

April 26, 2007 by

(Thanks for sharing this with me, sensibleshoes!)

Mr. Olbermann, you are my hero today. 

And another one bites the dust

April 23, 2007 by

So happystandard‘s awesome post about crazy fan behavior, and in fact the entire thread which included a number of supportive followup posts, seems to have disappeared from the Boogie board.  It’s hard to understand why.  I’ve lurked at several Hicks fansites for over a year (What?  I said I was a fan, didn’t I?) and GC stood out as one where some significant degree of discussion, at least between bouts of Gray brown-nosing, was welcome.  With GC’s demise, a number of orphaned fans migrated to the Boogie and one would have hoped that some of the discussion would have migrated as well.  With the “poof”ing of happystandard‘s thread, it would appear that any discussion critical of … well, just about anything in the Hicks world is unwelcome.  This seemed to be the case already at most of the other Hicks’ fansites but it’s a bit disappointing to see the same situation at the Boogie.  This post by babynco at the Boogie board is quite illuminating:

I have been thinking alot about this, and in light of what has just occured at Virginia Tech this question comes to mind.

It was a well known fact that the Virginia Tech shooter was a troubled young man. He had received court ordered pshyc evals and was ordered to seek out-patient help. None of this was apparently followed thru with, thus ending in this tragedy.

How does this have anything to do with this topic? Well bear with me here. This young mans rights were at the core of the problem. No one wants to put some ones civil liberties at stake by locking them up and throwing away the key unless they are an eminent threat to themselves or others. But, at what point in our society does the rights of one out weigh the rights of the many?

The correlation that I am trying to make here is this. If someone comes into our community here, shooting virtual bullits from the hips and disrupting daily life as we know it, how do their rights to post compare with the rest of the community?

Wow. Really? A few words critical about fan or blogmaster behavior are comparable to the sociopathy of a murderous rampage? Wow.  Just … wow.


April 21, 2007 by

When purplish and I started this blog, we simply wanted to express our frustration about the state of discussion at many Taylor fan sites, and to archive some of the posts that we found most interesting but which somehow went Poof! soon after they were posted. We knew we didn’t see eye-to-eye with the most vocal folks at those sites, but we also knew we were reasonable people–avid Taylor fans, but disinclined to unthinking hero-worship. We don’t even worship Taylor, whose music we love; the fawning over Gray that became standard at GC was just too much.

So, unable to discuss anything like this at the usual sites, we came here and began archiving posts from the few brave souls who still ventured to write thought-provoking messages at other boards. It made us feel better. And to our delight, it apparently fills a need out there. Our little collection has garnered far more attention than we dared hope. We will try to keep it interesting, raising the kinds of questions that aren’t welcome at other boards.

We don’t want to open a comments section, because we think such threads would quickly be dominated by the same posters and opinions that we came here to get away from. We do want to hear from you, though. Send us your comments, concerns, discussion ideas, whatever, at purplishsensibleshoes@hotmail.com. If you don’t want us quoting you on the blog, say so. We will respect your wishes. If we may quote you, thanks in advance. Judging from the posts we’ve already archived here, there are plenty of clear thinkers among Taylor’s fans. We’d love to hear more from you, and give you a forum to state your views without being ganged-up on.

OMG, get out of my head!

April 20, 2007 by

Posted today at the Boogie board by happystandard:

I’m sure the crazy fans might get very upset at this post and I’m sure the non-crazies will truly appreciate…And I’m sure if you find yourself getting a little irked it’s probably because you are guilty in one way or another. But in my POV, this post is desperately needed. My intention is not to insult anybody, my intention is to restore a little uncrazy in a world that seems to have gone very crazy! So I will ask the question again…

Have the fans gone crazy? Or were they always crazy?

Taylor chooses to not purchase Gray Charles – an all out fan war breaks loose – some fans actually consider this some kind of direct insult — some kind of slap in the face as if he owed them this place to “lay their hat”. How dare he give them a rug and then pull it right out from under them! Others (like 7 people) turned against him with the wrath of a tiger protecting her cub (Gray) from the big bad predator (Taylor). How dare Taylor not spend his hard earned money the way we would like him to spend it!? Others have decided that Gray was shut down for whatever reason chooses their fancy…..because he wasn’t fangirly enough! Because he was too well spoken and the meat and potatos folk couldn’t relate! All forgetting that the true reason (one of financial nature) kind of made more sense then any of the strange theories overly active minds conjured up.

Some fans come up with entitled posts like “Where Has Taylor Been!” actually offended that he hasn’t been calling from home, checking in, touching base – as if he is a bad boyfriend, a bad son, a bad person to be having a personal relationship with. Then there’s the fans that know his entire wardrobe and daily itinerary, “he must have just bought that coat the other day while he was on his way to do the radio show”. It never occurs to them that Taylor could actually own clothes they don’t know about….can you believe it????? Or maybe he has actually gone somewhere they are not aware of! It’s as if they think Taylor’s life is like an episode of a TV show….When they are watching the show the character is alive and living and when the show is over the characters stop like a moment in time and there’s nothing happening until the show comes back on next week…..

Let’s not forget the fans who are disappointed at Meet & Greets because Taylor doesn’t want to BOND and have “eye contact” and he only wants to sign a boring autograph instead. Eye contact, oh eye contact…. What about the eye contact relationships that fans are sure they are having with Taylor? You know, the one where he gazed at them in their eyes while on stage singing The Right Place? Forget the fact that the lights makes it impossible to see shit – that moment was real. We definitely can’t forget the fans who are offended when they throw their arms all around Taylor and try to touch him and he sort of pulls away. How dare he not want to be pawed by strangers!? What an asshole.

And oh, don’t even mention the G word to some fans. NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOO. For you will be met with the wrath of “HE IS ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC”. Any woman would be second fiddle! No time for women! He can’t trust any woman – they all want him for his fame!!!! (us fans want him for the TRUE HIM however!!!) and once he has eye contact with us he will know we are the ONE!!! I won’t even get into the fans who think they are his mother and that he wants the mothering. Or the fans that think they know more then his managers and his publicists and his record label. And of course we can’t forget the fans that know more about his personal life then him….You know, the ones who read it in People magazine. I actually had the pleasure of spying in on a chat recently…..someone asked if he had a woman and the other person said, “oh if he does it must be an old girlfriend, I know for sure it’s not someone new”. Is it me or does the fan actually think she has the inside scoop on Taylor because she read it on TOSP? Or the friend of some fans friend who is friends with the wife of the guy in LMBO told her this. Someone help me!

I believe it’s time for a reality check my friends, because based on my observations this fan base has gotten way OUT OF CONTROL. So feel free to repost this.

Reality check one: just because you spend a majority of your day thinking about Taylor Hicks doesn’t make any difference because the fact is he’s not thinking about you. He is a musician, doing his job, making music and having to do all the tedious chores that go along with it – which equal WORK to him. And sometimes we don’t want to smile when we’re working! The illusion that you, the fan, are apart his real life – is just that, an illusion.

Reality check two: Taylor is a 30 year old dude with a life that has absolutely nothing to do with his fans. He has friends, talks on the phone, goes to dinner, has love interests, writes music, doesn’t write music, watches CNN, plays xbox. He has opinions and beliefs that are completely different than what he told a journalist and therefore what he told you. Because you know what? The whole point is to reveal as little as possible. Fame lesson 101.

Reality check three: Taylor’s life is happening, right now, it goes on and on and on and on when you are not there – which is MOST of the time. He has clothes you’ve never seen. He goes to parties you never knew he went to. He likes to eat things other than turnip greens and chicken soup.

This delusion of ownership and knowing needs to be shattered ASAP so people can start getting uncrazy. Really. People need to start focusing on the MUSIC, because the music is real. Your relationship is with the music, not the musician. And you know what? The music will never let you down. But the man you are all expecting him to be, he will. So please, I beg you, lets the back to the music!

Happystandard, seriously, I think I love you. What are you doing tonight?

You’re such an optimist

April 19, 2007 by

Purplish, I must disagree with you on one point.

Such a relief to be assured that Gray has said his piece. I guess that means it’s others’ turns. I know there are a few more things rumbling around in my thoughts that might just show up here.

Be assured that Gray has only said his piece for the time being. He’ll be back. He always comes back. He doesn’t like it when other people use their turn to disagree with him. He gets in a snit, he leaves, he comes back to spark a new round of compliments to himself and disparagement of all who aren’t finding much in him to compliment these days.

Can’t wait to see what’s rumbling around in your head next!

What’s going on

April 19, 2007 by

So obviously we are fans of Taylor Hicks. Not glitter-wearing gift-basket-preparing tour-bus stalking fans, but nevertheless fans of Mr. Hicks’ lyrical original songs and heartfelt performances. We’ve enjoyed reading at Hicks fansites for over a year. During that time, we’ve appreciated the information sharing, but also the views into the dynamics of online AI fanbases. A particularly entertaining fansite was graycharles.com (GC), which is currently unavailable and points to Mr. Hicks’ official site instead. I write “currently” because the status of the site changes at the whim of its blogmaster Gray (“Gray Charles”) and so may have altered again by the time anyone reads this. Some of the things which drew many of Hicks’ fans to the Gray Charles blog were links to interesting music, a bit of analytical thinking that’s unusual in the American Idol (AI) world, the direct link from Taylor’s official site, the occasional personal audio message or behind-the-scenes video clip from Taylor, and an up-to-date list of Taylor appearances. Bumps and growing pains at GC led to Gray closing down the site, signing a contract to be the official Hicks blog for a time, and then recently closing down again, unceremoniously. Due in no small part to Gray’s official affiliation with Mr. Hicks, some of the GC-related online discussions have been especially interesting (read: occasionally bizarre). In fact, these discussions and the (d?)evolution of Mr. Hicks’ online fanbase inspired Gray to shop around a GC-focused book concept to a number of agents. We agree it may be a fascinating read, considering the many amusing and illogical things we’ve seen at GC. We suspect that Gray will have difficulty providing a balanced read since personal memory is always selective, and the reflections of other participants and objective observers (the latter being us, of course!) would be immensely helpful. Unfortunately, the GC site is currently not available for perusal, and GC-relevant posts which go against the prevalent Gray-idolization disappear when posted at other Hicks fansites. So here we are, eager to save illuminating/entertaining/bizarre writings in the Hicks world, and to offer our own musings. Why do we care? Well, we just want to help jog Gray’s memory during his book-writing effort. And it’s a long wait between cds and concert dates. We also think it’s a shame when only one side has a bully pulpit.

So today’s entertaining post comes again from the Boogie board, this time from graycharles himself (with my comments in italics):

Music and HappyStandard. It might do everyone some good if you stopped speculating on things you don’t know about. While it might be interesting reading it’s just not the case that people didn’t have ample knowledge of my leaving. They did. I tried to provide an opportunity on my own website to address those questions directly – you probably know where that ended up.

Oh, I don’t know.  I enjoyed reading the speculations.  In fact, I recall much of the fun at GC being based on speculations.  Maybe Gray’s efforts would have ended up in a better place if he had addressed the questions before the site went down. In an easily accessible thread on GC other than in one hidden away in a corner of the low traffic touristas. Maybe it would have helped if Gray had given specifics rather than vague allusions. Maybe the opportunity would have been more productive if Gray had discouraged his fans from disparaging Taylor and his management in their zeal to defend Gray. Just some helpful tips – you know, for next time.

It pains me (well it really doesn’t pain me so much as it ASTOUNDS me) that some portion of the fan base will continue to comment as an authority on a situation that they know nothing about. There is a post on Page 34 of the “I Miss Grays” thread on THHQ by one of the long time “I know what’s really going on” type of posters that is so astoundingly incorrect as to be laughable. Yet it is written in such a way that you might be tempted to think that person has a clue as to what happened – they don’t – neither (I”m guessing here) do most of you. I don’t mean that to have a disrespectful tone, it’s simply true.

Truly? Astounded? I’m just saying, “astounded” seems … surprisingly unaware. Of course, no one out here knows what went on or what’s going on. That’s because no one involved provides any details. That’s fine – it’s none of our business. But only one person involved has posted fact-deficient allusions, provoking his fans to support him in a bizarrely misguided fashion. The other people involved appear to be very busy putting on a rollicking concert tour. I don’t mean to have a respectful tone, it’s simply true.

In sum total there were probably five people involved in the entire affair. Unless you are one of those five I would suggest that you are simply interpreting and speculating because I’m pretty sure that none of those people post here.

This earnest plea would be so much more convincing if Gray had not provoked a rash of interpretation and speculation that shockingly favored himself and encouraged his loyalists to lash out at Taylor and his management.  Shockingly, I tell you!  That might have been too much to expect from Gray. After all, at that point his contract as Taylor’s paid official blogmaster had been expired for all of … oh, two weeks or so….

Respectfully, I would ask that all talk of the whys and hows of what went down please stop. Not for my sake, I’ve said my piece and I’m fairly inured to the critques at this point, but because it’s not adding anything to any reasonable conversation. Just go look at the aforementioned thread on THHQ to see the train wreck that it turned into. We had our time, what’s done is done. I won’t be commenting on it anymore.

Such a relief to be assured that Gray has said his piece. I guess that means it’s others’ turns. I know there are a few more things rumbling around in my thoughts that might just show up here.

See?  Isn’t this so much fun?

With friends like that

April 18, 2007 by

What bothers me the most about this whole mess is the effect it might have on Taylor. I wish we could remind him how many fans who love his music never visited GC, or did visit but who don’t care one way or the other about Gray. Tell him the vast majority of us are Taylor fans, not Gray fans. It concerns me that Gray telling a Taylor fan to GGF doesn’t exactly put Taylor in a good light (readers may think Gray still represents Taylor in some capacity). I wish we could tell Taylor we realize Gray is a user, the kind of manipulative hanger-on that his newfound fame was bound to attract. Gray didn’t seem that way at first, but he has shown his true colors recently.

All we want is a clear account of what happened

April 18, 2007 by

Voice 2 here, sensibleshoes. With the relevant threads at MetaGray and Boogie Board getting zapped, anyone who missed the key exchanges has not been able to go back and read the posts for themselves. Trying to tease out what happened hasn’t been easy! Every new post saying that Gray and his fans were not innocent victims of a vicious assault gets hammered. (I think it’s interesting that these folks admit “Gray got pissed and left.” They never mention his obnoxious–and very revealing–use of profanity against shopgirl.)One of the disputed recollections involves whether Gray’s fans had turned on Taylor during the discussions. Yesterday (April 17) happystandard posted at Boogie Board that, in fact, a lot of that had gone on. Her post was followed by a blizzard of objections. Since I had missed most of the original exchange, happystandard’s answer was of great interest to me.Here, posted 4/17/07 at Boogie by happystandard:

Double D, really my intention is not to rehash, but I honestly cannot believe that you think “NO-ONE, disparaged Taylor personally or otherwise in the discussion at Gray’s”. From my recollection there were quite a few insulting posts. Some claiming Taylor should stop professing he is someone he is not. Others questioning his intelligence numerous times, he might have just been “lucky” to get this far. Some repeatedly questioning his depth, “all that assumes Taylor has something deeper to share with his Soul Patrol beyond errands.” Making fun of his audio blogs, writing them off as fluff. A poster actually made claims that Taylor’s initial interviews were deep, but that was obviously only because they were Gray’s recollection. ????? Another person taking a jab at the book due in July. “Allegedly there’s this profound book due in July.” “Yeah if that guy that was hired to write it finishes it by then”.The comments above did not strike me as concern and caring. They seemed really disrespectful and insulting. Sorry, but that’s how they felt to me. I understand people might have been venting, but it was still disrespectful and it was unfair, similiar to the insults made towards Gray. I just really hope people will be more conscious in the future. 

Thank you, happystandard, for telling us what you read, and for your calm, reasonable tone. Thanks also to Lubiana for posting that her recollection matched yours.