Friday, November 7, 2014

Beth’s Music Moment: The Man Who Stole A Leopard

Beth's music moment6[4]

It’s a single song edition of the Music Moment!

“The Man Who Stole A Leopard” is a song by Duran Duran, from their 2011 album “All You Need Is Now.” When I got this album and was looking at the track listing, I was intrigued by the title. “Hmm,” I wondered. “What is this about?”

Well, it’s about exactly what it says it’s about. A New Jersey man comes across a leopard in the wild, and does some shifty and illegal maneuvering to get the big cat back to the United States, then keeps her in a cage in his apartment. Although the story is apparently fictional, I recall various news stories over the years about people keeping wild animals in small apartments. I wonder if such stories inspired the guys in the band to write this song?

Do you know where we are?
I'm longing for the dark of our nocturnal life
It begins and ends with you
Don't spill my secret

You were once running wild, hiding in the morning mist
Game demands I make you mine
I thought that I could resist, but the leopard in you silently preyed on me

I made my way back home (Did you follow her?)
I handled her with care (Were you in control?)
So elegant and sleek (Were you not afraid?)
I need her to be near (Does she belong to you?)
Don't spill my secret

Deserted by my friends (Don't they understand?)
She's so much more than them (How could they compare?)
So now she's just for me (No one else can see)
I watch her while she sleeps (Be sure she dreams of you)
Don't spill my secret

(It's been quite a while) Since we were last outside
(And do you miss the chase?) Now that we've both been tamed
(Inside this gilded cage) Prisoners of our thoughts
(You saved me from myself) 

Don't spill my secret...


Today a man was taken from his apartment at the New Jersey Shore and arrested under suspicion of entrapment of a wild animal. Police, after forced entry, discovered a caged leopard in the building. The fully-grown feline was said to be surprisingly domesticated by zoological experts who gave her a thorough examination, before preparing her for relocation.

A large crowd had gathered outside to watch the beautiful creature, as s giant cage was lowered slowly onto the street by a crane. From here, the leopard was transfered into the back of a truck for its journey ahead. A startled onlooker said, "It's extraordinary to think that any human being could have lived in such close quarters with such a dangerous animal."

Police are saying that the captive was simply besotted with the creature, and barely left her side. It's alleged that he hunted her in the wild and expertly forged documents to facilitate her illegal export to the United States of America. The incident has already created much controversy, and is now likely to lead to a major international investigation into the life of the man who stole a leopard.

Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Simon Le Bon


I’m not sure what it is about this song, but it absolutely slays me. It is ethereal and somewhat eerie, and Simon’s vocals are just perfect. The music itself is atmospheric and builds slowly. As you’ll hear at the end of the video, there is a spoken portion, a fake newscast. One of the lines is, “Police are saying that the captive was simply besotted with the creature, and barely left her side.”

There is something about this that makes me think of the human desire to possess and control. Rather than admiring this beautiful animal in the wild and keeping the image in his mind of her roaming free, the man in the song must capture her and put her in a cage, far removed from her natural habitat. This is obviously unhealthy for both man and beast. What is this strange desire of so many to tame and defang and sterilize—even to kill—what should be wild and free and natural? There was a story recently about a young teenager in Michigan who shot a rare albino deer, and a picture of him with the dead animal made the rounds on the Internet. Who could shoot such a creature? Why not let it live?

Duran Duran4I’ll never understand this desire to kill or capture, and the metaphor can be stretched to how we deal with people in our lives. Do we accept people for who and what they are, or are we motivated by the need to control and make others into what WE want them to be? Forcing others to conform to our notions of what they should be is every bit as dangerous as keeping a leopard caged in your apartment. Those who are caged and controlled inevitably rebel. We all need a little coaching as to how to deal with situations and how to be more polished in social settings, but trying to change another’s fundamental nature and personality is a futile endeavor.

I can’t listen to this song without weeping. I feel sad for the leopard snatched from her natural habitat and forced to live in a cage in a small apartment in the city. I feel sad for the man who had to possess her at any cost and who felt that she was his only friend. Yes, I know it’s only a song, but that doesn’t mean that it has no power. Listen to the song, and if you don’t understand why it makes me feel the way it does, then we obviously need to talk about your attitude and how we can change it. [wink]

Embedding is disabled for the band performing this song live, but it really is a wonderful version (seeing them is almost as much fun as listening to them), so watch The Man Who Stole A Leopard via that link.