Change the Point of View

I’m writing this from my friend’s place in Minneapolis.  I’ve been friends with this particular friend since around 2000 when we met online on a fan message board.  No, the fandom wasn’t Duran Duran or even music related.  It was, in fact, a message board dedicated to the now long canceled sci-fi TV show, Roswell.  While that show ended as did much of the fandom, the friendships I made through it, for the most part remain.

I always enjoy being with my friend, Robyn, as she is easy-going and appreciates good food, good wine and good conversation.  She is happy to get out and do things but is also content to hang out at home and watch something silly.  If that wasn’t enough, she always puts up with my moods as she has been known to catch me being a bit more emotional.  For example, when I came to Minneapolis in 2011 to see Duran, she knew that things were not great in my world.  Instead of pushing or complaining about the bad spot we found ourselves for that general admission show, she did what any good friend would do.  She got me drinks, many drinks.  Then, she gave me a hug after I cried about the then recent deaths of my beloved cat and grandmother.  Therefore, I always know that visiting her means that I will have a great time no matter what!
She was up for a visit when I contacted her and was even open to going to see the Duran show with me.  She went with the idea of meeting with others for dinner as she has many other times I have visited her neck of the woods.  We had a good time last night and I know that we will have a great time tonight at dinner, at the show and whatever we decide to do afterwards.  I look forward to hearing her thoughts about the show itself as she isn’t a huge Duran Duran fan and will, in fact, blog about what she thought of the show tomorrow.  All that said, there is a big part of me missing the other half to our little duo here.
It feels strange to be going to a Duran Duran show without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda and I are a well-oiled machine at this point.  In fact, we have been to almost 30 shows together, which really is pretty good considering that we don’t live anywhere near each other.  We know when to get ready.  We know to get drinks and what kind.  We know who stands on which side.  We have traditions that we follow on tour.  I dare say it is easy to tour together and it always has been.  We didn’t struggle or negotiate the little things.  I’ll give an example.  I have gone to shows with friends who like to get to shows late, right before Duran comes on stage.  I struggle with that.  I get nervous.  Antsy.  Rhonda doesn’t like to be late either.  Now, with my friend, Robyn, it is different.  She has no stake.  No opinion.  She will let me set the pace, which is fine, but not the same.
Then, there is the show itself.  When I’m with Rhonda, we exchange glances at certain moments.  For example, we both tend to look at each other with dread when Simon saunters to the front of the stage with his mouth filled with water, ready to douse the crowd during White Lines.  Both of us might find ourselves screaming for the really hot DoJo moments or laughing when Simon dances in the way that only he can.  Robyn will appreciate the show, for sure.  She has in the past, but she is watching from a different point of view, a different perspective.  In some ways, it is and will be refreshing to see the show with someone who is seeing the show for the first time, with fresh eyes.  In other ways, I will miss sharing moments with someone who totally gets why I think something is funny or hot or ridiculous or whatever.
So, I will go to the show with excitement to see the show with someone with a different lens.  I know that we will have a good time.  I am also glad that next week, I’ll start the second leg with the other half of the Daily Duranie.  I’m getting the best of both worlds.  I’m lucky that way.
-A

Try to Understand: Fan Comparison

This is a blog post that I have been thinking about for a long time.  I have debated about whether or not to write it and whether or not to post it.  I figured that it was time.  It needed to be said.  I needed to say it no matter what kind of feedback I get as I’m fully prepared for people to say that we don’t really “work” or that I’m whining or whatever.

We have been writing this blog for almost 6 years.  Yes, at times, we have taken breaks from full on blogs, but we do try to post something each and every day.  What we do here keeps people thinking about Duran Duran on a daily basis, or so I believe.  Over the course of the blog, we have written about the band, the fans, fandom, and much more.  We hope that we have made people think, cheer, laugh and feel.  If that wasn’t enough, we have chosen to do more.  We have planned pre-show meet-ups, online parties and a weekend long convention.  On top of that, we have written a book describing our journey as Duran Duran fans.  This fandom has been essential to our identities and a significant part of who we are.
Many people, including other fans recognize our commitment, our work.  At times, this leads people to assume that the band and/or DDHQ has acknowledged us, too, by giving us tickets or inviting us for meet and greets.  We then have to shake our heads and explain that no.  We pay for our own tickets and have never had an official, formal meet and greet.  That isn’t to say that there is no support as we do appreciate having a link on the official website and that Duran Duran follows us on Twitter.  When we explain this to well-meaning fans/supporters/friends, they are often shocked as many know other people who *have* received tickets or meet and greets without doing all that we have done.  For those people, when they explain how surprised they are, I absolutely recognize their support and appreciate that they feel we would deserve those rewards.  Still, I’m never sure what to say.  How do I respond to these statements?  How should I respond?
While it is hard enough to know how to respond to these well-meaning friends and supporters, I’m even more flustered by those people who don’t read the blog, don’t attend our events but seem to seek us out to rub it in our faces that so and so got front row tickets to all the shows or that someone got her 5th back stage pass or got another meet and greet.  In those situations, I really struggle with how to respond.  Do I minimize our work and say that we aren’t really that deserving?  Do I pretend that I wouldn’t want those things?  Do I state how I feel that some of these comments are meant to minimize us or to put us in our place as “just fans”?  Do I point out that these statements aren’t helpful and actually hurt?
At the end of the day, declarations like “I can’t believe that you guys HAVEN’T had a meet and greet YET” always make me feel the same way, no matter the intention.  I always end up feeling like a fool.  We didn’t start this blog, write a book or plan fan events to meet the band or to get tickets or special favors.  Yet, I’m human.  It hurts when people tell us about so-and-so getting whatever in such a way that feels that they are telling us that just to rub our uncoolness or poor social status in our faces.  Whenever these statements happen, I just try to blow them off and remind myself that this has never been about gaining status or getting closer to the band.  Again, though, I recognize that I’m human and part of me is a fan who wants a little recognition, a little moment in the sun, a little acknowledgement for my work and my passion.  When I tell others that, people will say, “You just have to ask.”  Who am I asking?  How do I ask?  This leads me to feel even worse like it is our problem for not being assertive, or not being assertive enough.  Not only are we uncool but we are also scared and timid or whatever negative connotation that creates.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to have people tell me how wonderful we are or how much we do deserve recognition or whatever.  If I had to give a reason for this post, I actually have two.  First, I’m hoping that by writing this I am purging these emotions from my system.  Controlling them rather than them controlling me.  Second, my real wish (outside of the obvious which is getting that recognition from the band) is that people who continuously compare us to others, by pointing out what they get and we don’t, would stop.  I don’t want to hear it.  I don’t want to know if someone gets tickets or meet and greets if I’m being told that SOLELY to put us down.  Obviously, I want to hear about meet and greets if someone wants to personally share his/her experience.  I like hearing those stories and like being happy for people.
I’m hoping then that our last leg, which includes Paso Robles, Vegas, Irvine and Chula Vista is free from this comparison.  I don’t want to compare what we do to others.  It serves no purpose to compare what we have gotten to others.  I just want to have fun at our shows because they are probably the last that we will have for a very long time.  (Dreams are still free, so if the band wants to give us a meet and greet at one of those shows, we will take it.  Ha!  As if, they actually read this blog!)  All that said, I’m ready to put these feelings behind me and be ready for nothing but a fantastic time.
-A

Question of the Day: Friday, July 22, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Out of my Mind

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Be My Icon or Midnight Sun?

Is This How We Stay Connected? The Joy of Social Media

I am thinking about quitting social media.

I remember back in the day, not so long ago when I would venture online and gleefully connect with others. I found friends I lost track of, discovered brand new friends, and even found a line of nearly direct communication with a band I’ve loved since childhood. What wasn’t to like?

It gave me great joy to chat with so many people. I still love hearing from friends I’ve known since childhood. I got back in touch with people from my old high school marching band, and there are even pictures of me from grade school floating around somewhere.  I found some of my sorority sisters, and had the chance to make things right with one of them before she died tragically in a car accident a few years back.  Social media made that happen and it still gives me a sense of peace, happiness and light knowing that Laurie knew how much I loved her before she died.

I found message boards, then MySpace and eventually Facebook and Twitter. Fans flooded the various platforms, and I rode the tide as long as possible.  I saw the band, or at least members thereof, embrace social media, and then make a hasty retreat back to the sanctity of private life.  I’ve watched fans clamor for attention, beg for retweets, offer love, respect, and admiration, often (but not always) tinged with a little lust in return.

While the band recorded new albums, I read any article I could grab, and inhaled the gossip. I poured over every last possible Katy Kafe,  gleaning whatever I could. I read interview after interview, retaining as much as possible. I debated other fans, and was taken to task more than once over things I’d written and/or posted.

I remember what it was like to be a Duranie in the mid-80s. I didn’t really worry about what was coming next. I enjoyed each album, played it until the grooves wore out (after all, we’re talking days of vinyl!).  I watched videos until my VCR would eat the tape!  Then, out of nowhere—a new song would suddenly pour out of the speakers of my radio. My heart would flood with pure joy. I didn’t think about what producer the band used, or worried about who was playing guitar. I didn’t think about meeting the band because they were untouchable. There was no such thing as Twitter, so being retweeted was impossible! I didn’t need to compete for attention from a band that was unreachable. The bliss of being a fan in the 80s.

These days, the band really isn’t online much if at all. I avoid saying a lot of what I think or feel. I don’t tell jokes about the band, because to say a single disparaging word, even in jest, is asking for trouble. My friends from high school have grown tired of the political nonsense on Facebook, as have I. My sorority sisters have moved on. Our lives are very different from they were in college thirty years ago. It was great finding them again, but we’ve run out of things to talk about. I don’t check every Duran Duran set list posted. I want something left to chance, to surprise.

Can I still balance joy to annoyance when it comes to social media?  Is it worth my time to try? Why doesn’t the band bother?? That said, privacy is golden. Where is the line of trust? Does one exist? Do I really need to know that so-and-so fervently believes the band doesn’t need a guitar player because the one they have for touring is terrible, or that Jane Doe knows that “it’s serious” that Nick isn’t on tour?  For every single thing posted, there are 50,000 opinions, and I’m talking purely about Duran Duran. Was I better off in the bliss of not knowing a single thing about the band until they did an interview?

I suppose, as I mull the possibilities, the real question is joy.  Where do I find joy? How do I keep it…and how do I ignore the rest of it?  There’s a lot of BS out there.  The “truth” is often a tangled mess. With all of the information overload available, I enjoy the moments where I’m present. While away from home, I stopped paying attention to the never-changing set list posts from the shows. Reviews were put aside until I got home. I just enjoyed being at the shows. I forced myself to stop comparing each one (not an easy task and I definitely found myself failing from time to time!), and just spent my time ENJOYING them.  Living in the moment, particularly in the shadow of social media, isn’t easy.

For obvious reasons, I can’t just quit social media. For one, this blog depends upon that interaction. Instead, I find myself working to keep social media in its place. Nothing matters more than face-to-face interaction. On the same token, many of my friends do not live next door to me. In fact, none of them live anywhere near me. I get great joy from engaging with those people.

Instead of gulping down every single last tweet or Facebook post, I am learning to be far more discerning with my time. I don’t respond unless I have the interest to do so, and I’m finding many times—I just don’t. There’s no need to argue about guitarists, or bother explaining why I feel one way or another about a particular song. I am not sure that I really need to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, because I’m really just trying to enjoy today. I’m going to do more of that, too.

-R

 

 

Question of the Day: Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Thank You

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  I Wanna Take You Higher Again or Out of my Mind?

Question of the Day: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Perfect Day

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Success or Thank You?

I can find my own way

I am reading plenty of excited posts from people headed to see Duran Duran at the Apollo Theater tonight. I love when the band tours, because social media exudes positive energy towards the band! Last week, I was completely caught up in my Duran Duran fandom journey, spinning within the fandom vortex. This week—I’m about to steam clean carpets. Yay! I wish I could have just kept traveling with the band. Don’t we all? Alas, most of us have limits, determined by schedule, budget, or both.

Yesterday I wrote that I don’t necessarily feel like a teenager again when I see the band. In describing what that meant, I used the examples that I don’t usually hold up signs at shows anymore, and that I don’t wear the well-loved pair of light-up horns I once did either. While writing, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that perhaps other people still did those things. It wasn’t that I find either of those things immature—I was simply explaining that they were both things I once did. Those things aren’t silly, even though I don’t participate that way any longer.

Funny enough, in the manuscript Amanda and I finished in June, we talk a lot about the fandom journey. We use the word “journey” to describe everything we’ve done—from childhood to present—as fans of this band. One of the take-aways we’ve gathered from studying this particular fan community is that each of us has our own journey. While we might all be on the same basic highway, we’re all traveling at different speeds, we stop at different places, and the paths we take are incredibly unique. I told my own story in the post yesterday, no judgment on others intended.

Another key we’ve noticed in our community is how quick we all are to judge one another.  Whether we’re judging because experiences are different, or because we’re completely jealous that so-and-so was recognized by Simon or John, or because Amanda and I are doing eight shows and someone else is only doing two (and it seems ridiculous to spend so much money on eight shows) it happens with regularity.  Everyone does fandom differently. My way isn’t the right way, or the only or even the best way.  (in fact my husband might argue that it’s the only the best path to bankruptcy…but that’s another blog for another day…moving on….) It’s just the way I’ve done it. Your own path is probably incredibly different, yet remarkably similar.

It used to be that Amanda and I would work to find understanding in fan practices, particularly if they seemed over-the-boundary or different from our own.  Let’s face it, those of us in this community  are very special snowflakes. Many of us have been fans since we were kids. That same passion we had at ten, eleven or twelve still holds firm for many of us even today. We’re the rare unicorns of fandom!

I think at this point, Amanda and I have settled on the fact that no one does this fandom the same way. Some people are happy to collect photographs. Others do as many shows on a tour as possible.  Still more do their one or two conveniently located shows each tour, and many do none at all. We’re still all fans and while we all do it differently, none of us are bigger or better than the other.  We won’t win trophies at the “end” of this, but we will walk away with wonderful memories.

So, when I wrote yesterday that I no longer feel quite like a teen when I see them, in no way did I mean that no one else should. You want to hold up signs or wear all of your Duranie paraphernalia to a show? By all means you should! None of us know when we’ll be attending our last show. Live in YOUR moment, navigate your own fandom journey, and enjoy the ride.

-R

 

Question of the Day: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  None of the Above

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Perfect Day or Lay Lady Lay?

Outside Looking Into Myself: Adult Fandom

As much as I love being with friends, it is nice to be back at home.  I think I’ve settled back in, and I might have even caught up on my rest.  Compared to the band, ten days isn’t very long to be away, but for me—it was quite a while. I’m the mom, master-scheduler, housekeeper, cook and chauffeur. I’m sure you get the idea. Things tend to fall through the cracks when I’m not here, and it’s up to me to gather the loose ends when I get home. I might be young again while touring, but when I’m home, it’s back to “adulting” I go!

This is my catch-up week before Amanda arrives next Monday evening and the madness begins again. Part of that catch-up involves reading the reviews I missed last week, and seeing some of the reactions on Twitter.  One of the comments I’ve seen over and over, whether we’re talking this tour or ten years ago, is “I feel like a kid again when Duran Duran is on that stage!”

I know that feeling well. I described the night I saw them at the House of Blues in Anaheim in 2001 with similar words. This was before the reunion, before Dom joined the band, and before Daily Duranie became “a thing.”  I caught a glimpse of myself back at the age of twelve, and I didn’t want to let go. I felt vibrant, energetic, and yeah, young.

Each time I went to a show, I felt transported back to the mid-80s. The music had a way of doing that, I guess. In many ways, that feeling was addictive. But after a while, I started experiencing the shows as an adult. That reads weirdly, but stick with me as I try to explain.

At first, it was all about experiencing Duran Duran as I would have done when I was a teen. “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”…”Planet Earth”…all of those songs…and it was because back when I was a teen, I never saw the band live. Singing and dancing my way through those shows gave me some sort of closure on that part of my life and that part of my fandom. I acted silly. I wore light-up horns. I held up signs. I did everything that I probably would have done back then. It was fantastic!

Somewhere along the line though, I stopped wearing the horns. I didn’t bring signs to shows. I stopped willing myself back to the 1980s. Instead, I started appreciating that I was in the 2000s. And then the 2010s. And so on. Don’t get me wrong, I still hope against hope that they play some of the songs I’ve never had a chance to hear live (old habits die-hard and I’m not at all sorry about that). It’s really more that when I go to the shows, I don’t feel twelve any longer. I feel like an energetic and vibrant 40-something.

What does that really mean? To begin with, I see the band a lot differently now than I did when I was a kid. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bust anyone’s fantasies here, but they are human. They are real people with failings like anyone else. (I hear gasping out there.) They sometimes make very poor fashion choices. They are occasionally very slightly off-kilter when it comes to their talking points. Other times, they are brilliant. Their music speaks to me, and for me, in ways I couldn’t have ever written on my own.

They were my childhood heroes in the same way that once upon a time, my dad was Superman. Once I grew up, I came to the harsh reality that my dad didn’t know everything and was not the strongest man on the planet.  Similarly, the same reality check came upon me for the band.  Now—well, now they are people I deeply admire, even if they have no idea who I am.

There’s also the attraction thing. Yeah, I know it isn’t cool with the Duranie guys out there that the girls notice the band’s good looks. Perhaps if someone else were writing this blog, they wouldn’t mention it, but the truth is—of course I notice. I’m female. I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice their good looks. I’m attracted to them. I scream for them.

That doesn’t mean I’m standing in the audience, desperately hoping for my one night stand with any of them. Yeah, I might be a soccer mom. Sure, I’ve been married for twenty years (to an engineer, not an accountant, thanks), and yeah – if one of them looks my way I’m gonna smile back. That said, if I were to run into the band somewhere after the show I’m not wanting for much other than a conversation. That’s part of being an adult. We can converse without expectations for more.

Despite however much screaming, flirting, or fawning I’ve done over a band member during a show, let me be clear: the last thing I need to continue my fandom is a quick one-night stand in the room of a band member. I would much rather go for friendly conversation over a beverage, and walk away knowing that no one is going to be hurt by that in the end.  Love the fantasy, hell—I wholly encourage such behavior simply by writing this fan blog—but reality is another thing altogether. Self-awareness is a real thing.  I’m not saying anyone else shouldn’t bother, but it’s not my goal.

Another thing about experiencing fandom and shows as an adult is that I really try to stay in the moment. I want to soak it all in. I can’t speak for the rest of you reading, but I swear the years from about ten to twenty-six went by in a blink. I didn’t do too many DD shows when I was in my twenties but there were a few, and I hardly remember them. Even the first few shows I went to after the reunion are a distant memory. I barely remember the first Astronaut show I went to in Chicago of 2005. The memories are a blur after a vision of the band walking to the front of the stage with a heartbeat vibrating through the floor of the arena.

As time has worn on in the years since, I have tried to remind myself to embrace each moment of the show.  If I could slow down time during any point in the set, I’d choose New Moon on Monday.  I’m still sitting here marveling over that song. I just never thought I’d hear them play it and now I’m afraid that someday I’ll forget they ever did.

Sometimes, I’m more successful than others at enjoying each note of the show. I’m still guilty of occasionally grabbing my camera during specific songs in the set. I try to remember that I don’t know what the future holds. I should enjoy each second. Kids don’t typically do that because they think they’ll live forever. Unfortunately, I know firsthand that we do not.  So I work harder to be present.

I am happily embracing that I’m in my mid-40s, seeing shows and having a blast. I feel young and vivacious, and sometimes I pay for that the next day which reminds me that yeah – age can hurt sometimes!  Even so, I wouldn’t trade this tour, or any of the experiences I’ve had along the way. I am enjoying being a fan of this band as an adult, and as John says, “You’ve just got to go with it.”

-R

Question of the Day: Monday, July 18, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Violence of Summer

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  UMF or None of the Above?

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!