Here in lives of misadventure

Ten years ago today, Rhonda and I were on tour.  In fact, we were in New Jersey, having seen the band play first at the Foxwoods Casino and Resort in Connecticut then in Atlantic City and Montclair.  It was an interesting tour and not at all what I was expecting.  This tour, of course, was part of Red Carpet Massacre era.  It felt to me that there was a major transition both within the fandom and for Rhonda and I. If that was not enough, I feel like I learned some very important lessons during this little tour.

2008, of course,  was no longer the time of the reunion.  Some of the fans from the 1980s who just wanted to see the Fab Five one more time had been there and done that.  They were long gone.  Others who believed that they were going to be there for the long haul found themselves questioning so much about the band and the fandom.  RCM felt very different for them.  Too different for a lot of fans.  Others held on through this tour and slowly peeled away, a year or two later.  Of course, there were fans like us.  We continued to wave the fan flag through this transition from reunion with Andy to the new normal without him.  While it was happening, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  Would I walk away like I saw others do?  On top of that, I even found myself questioning friends and friendships.

This tour was different from the last time we had seen Duran, which was the summer of 2007 for the fan show.  For that concert, there were three of us but by 2008, there were only two.  Our friend walked away.  I have to admit that I was still feeling sad by that and, honestly, a bit confused.  I didn’t understand why she walked away.  Sadly, this friendship has only grown more distant since then.  When we do talk, it is awkward and uncomfortable.  So, during this tour in 2008, I worried that Rhonda would be next.  After all, she had her youngest during that year.  Will family pull her away?  Like our other friend, I wouldn’t be mad or upset, just sad at the loss.  

So, in the midst of all this friendship turmoil, fandom shifts and transition for the band, we went on tour.  I expected a return to what I had grown used to and a ton of fun.  While I did have a blast, I also found myself learning some really important lessons that, now, I’m grateful for. 

Lesson One:  Attitude is Everything

As Rhonda and I went into our first show, I think we had a sense of uncertainty.  After all, the fan show in 2007 wasn’t great and RCM did not live up to our expectations.  Yet, we didn’t utter those concerns.  It was almost like saying something would reinforce our anxiety.  Maybe, though, we would have been better off to process the possible show results beforehand.  I wonder if, then, we would have sat down in a better frame of mind.  Of course, we had some additional drama with a former friend who made some hurtful statements.  The result?  Our attitudes sucked at that first show.  The band hadn’t even played a note and we thought it was terrible.  

Was the show awful?  Honestly, I don’t know.  Our seats were far to the right, which did kinda suck.  The crowd lacked some energy or was that just our lack of energy?  It is hard to say.  Soon enough, we started to express our disgust at everything, including the setlist, performances, the service of the venue, the crowd, etc.  Seriously, if anyone heard us, they would have thought the show was a complete dumpster fire.  Looking back, though, did we make the show terrible?  Was it our attitude?  I didn’t know until the third show.

Lesson Two:  Don’t Be Afraid to Show What You Want

The next night and show took place at the House of Blues in Atlantic City.  My friends and I wanted to make it special so we got a membership to the Foundation Room where we also ate a fabulous meal ahead of time.  While I loved the dinner, when we checked in, we discovered that our membership would get us early access to the venue.  For a general admission show, this means that you would have a chance to be near the front.  Did this idea interest me?  Okay.  That is a bit of an understatement.  I was jumping up and down.  On the inside.  So…I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t do anything.  I continued to hang with my friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I loved spending quality time with them.  Absolutely.  That said, it felt like we threw away an opportunity to see the show from a great vantage point.  But something stopped me.  Was I worried what my friends would think if I wanted to go?  Would they judge me or make it seem like I cared more about the band than them?  (For the record, that wasn’t the case.  I wanted to see an awesome show WITH my friends.)  All of the above?  As I realized that I wanted this but didn’t say anything made me hate myself.  What was wrong with me?  Was I five?  Still in high school?  Wouldn’t my friends understand?  They were fans, too.  But I said nothing but felt terrible about a missed opportunity and that I let others control me.

Thank Goodness for Three

Good things come in threes, right?  By the time the third show rolled around, I was annoyed enough about how the first two shows went that I knew that something had to change.  Somehow, Rhonda was on the same page or at least went with me in my desire to get a better show.  We decided that we would try to get to the venue for the third show at a decent hour to get a good space for this general admission show.  While I’m not sure we got there as early as we would have liked, it definitely felt better as soon as we staked our spot.  Soon enough, I started listening to those fans around us.  There were a couple of guys a row or two ahead of us who were so excited that they could barely contain themselves.  Instantly, I found myself smiling.  Yes, that is what this is all about, I thought.

Needless to say, Rhonda and I had a much better time at that show than the first two.  I learned to embrace what I want and also to go into any experience with a positive attitude.  It matters.  So often, we talk about fandom from a purely joyous point of view.  Other times, we discuss what the band is doing in very serious tones as we had the chance to save the world.  Even when Rhonda and I discuss fandom, it is usually through the lens of an academic, from a sociological point of view.  Yes, we have turned the mirror on ourselves, but still it fits in with the larger scope of social sciences, usually.  This time, at this moment, fandom has taught me about myself and how to be a better person.  For that, I will always be grateful to this little East Coast Tour of 2008.  

-A

Rhonda Is Out of The Office (until January 2019)

Well, this is it. My final blog of the year, written at the small little table we currently have in our dining area, for the very last time. It is weird to think that in a week, there will not be any furniture in the house, and I’ll be doing the last little bit of clean-up before we hand over the keys to the new owners. It feels a little anticlimactic because of how long I’ve been preparing for this.  I can hardly wait for a day when I’m anguishing over not having anything to write about from my personal life for a change. 

I think we all know it is only a matter of time before I have to share some crazy antidote about “life in the country”, which is something I’ve never really experienced before.  I’m actually nervous about not having a grocery store right down the street, as I’m infamous for forgetting things and needing to run out for one last ingredient.

My family celebrates Christmas, and this year is going to be different. I like to say “different” rather than “insane” or “a complete disaster”. Since we’re supposed to get the keys next Friday night, and our furniture is coming on Saturday, I have at least a small hope of pulling something together. Maybe. If it comes together, it will really be a Christmas miracle. If it doesn’t, well, it’ll be memorable! No matter what the outcome, I feel very thankful. My children and husband will all be together under the same roof, and really, that’s all I need for Christmas. I know that there are many families, many friends of mine, who will not have that this year. So, you can bet I’m treasuring that time, no matter what ends up on our plates for dinner. 

After Christmas, 2019 is headed straight for us. I really have no idea what lays ahead. In previous years, I wanted to know how to plan. I felt this need to be in total control. Then 2017 happened, as did 2018, and I realized that very precious little is under my control. I’ve gotten a little better at just “rolling with it”. It doesn’t come naturally, and I haven’t perfected how to remain calm and relaxed while chaos goes on around me, but I’m trying. I need to work on getting acclimated to my new home, but I’m also going to work on updating this site. 

I don’t know how long we’ve been hosting our blog now, but I think it’s been a few years. When we moved the site, I didn’t archive much. I just moved it all over and hoped for the best. Well, now the blog is enormous. I need to work on archiving, and I really want to do a site makeover.  I won’t get started on most of that until January, but it is on my to-do list and I have a goal of making it happen. So, 2019 isn’t going to be boring!

I did read somewhere that the band had finished their studio time for 2018. (did you blink and miss it, because it was over as quickly as it began!)  They plan to go back into the studio in 2019, and I did see that DDHQ tweeted something like “here’s to 2019 and #DD15”.  Could they really be planning to write, record and finish in a year?  I like that attitude. (although I suspect the insinuation might not have been that they’ll finish that IN 2019…but you never know)

Alas, the time has come. I need to bring this final blog (of mine – Amanda will still be posting tomorrow!) to a close. I wish everyone a merry whatever-you’re-celebrating. Have a wonderful holiday season. Take care of yourselves. Happy 2019. Stay safe!  I will “see” you in January, and until then – I’m sure you might see an occasional tweet or two from me!

-R




My Inner 14-Year Old is Screaming

No, those are not lyrics to a Duran Duran song. They are unapologetically, decidedly unpoetic, words for exactly how I’m feeling right now, though. 

Please please tell me now

For my birthday, Amanda sent me the special edition Duran Duran 40th Anniversary magazine from Classic Pop. I didn’t buy it for myself when it was released because money was tight, and I knew it wasn’t something I necessarily needed, only wanted. Without getting into detail, it is a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly this past year. “Do I really need this, or just want it?”  I remember commenting to other Duran fans that while the magazine seemed interesting, I couldn’t part with the money.  When I opened my package from Amanda, I was happy. It wasn’t even on my wish list, so it was indeed a surprise. 

As much as I wanted to sit right down and read it – which is something I would have done a year ago without thinking twice – I put it away. I didn’t even quickly thumb through the pages! At the time I had a house to sell, and even though I did have an hour or so of free time at night, for whatever reason lately – I have trouble reading.

Even today. I can’t sit still. I fidget, I can’t concentrate, and so the books I started in July are still sitting and waiting for me to finish. It is weird, and very unlike me. I can play games on my phone, and I do, but reading is a problem. I think it is my nerves – or anxiety.  I’m not trying to self-diagnose, nor am I looking for sympathy. I just think this entire year has thrown me for a loop, and I haven’t really processed much of it. Suffice to say that more has gone on than I blog about here, or even share with friends like Amanda.  Some things, not even I can write about. 

Is there something I should know

Yesterday, I spent my day in typical fashion. I drove the youngest to school, then I went shopping for stocking stuffers. Came home, did laundry and wrapped some presents. I’m happy to say that I’ve got about 99% of my shopping and wrapping done.  We even took the littlest Rivera to see Santa and get the obligatory picture last night. She asked for things I didn’t know about. (DAMN IT WHY DO MY CHILDREN DO THAT?!?) Anyway, in the afternoon, I had free time. Well, it wasn’t really “free” time, but I had the choice of washing towels and packing them or sitting down and doing something else.  I chose the latter.

Sitting down on the couch, I decided to try looking at that magazine. My mind races so much right now, it is as though I can’t relax, but I got through some of it. Anyway, I’d offhandedly remembered that Amanda told me to look at page 86, so I did. I glanced over the page but I saw that there were these little blurbs on the sides of the pages, and I read it.  Chances are, Amanda blogged about this already (sometimes, I miss posts), and I’m sorry.  Below is what I saw: 

I nearly had a coronary. I grabbed the magazine, walked right in to my husband’s office (which is not ever encouraged unless the house is on fire), and pushed the magazine right under his nose. 

Granted, it’s not like the article was about us or anything. We were used as source, and as the writer of the exact post being quoted – I can’t help but be a little proud. Sure, I’m thrilled they’re talking about Dom, but oh my gosh my blog is mentioned in a magazine. In a music magazine. IN A VERY SIMILAR MUSIC MAGAZINE  TO THOSE THAT I WOULD SCOUR THE IMPORT RACKS TO FIND WHEN I WAS A KID.

Is there something I should say

So yes, my inner-14 year old is still screaming, right alongside my current self this morning. 

This is about so much more for me than just being quoted somewhere. I’m struggling to find the right words to explain. I guess that for me, it comes down to a bunch of things.

First, it’s a little bit of an affirmation. I don’t suck. When you write a blog, two things happen: people say they love what you do – which I very much appreciate, and others make sure to tell you they hate it.

They do it in an endless variety of ways, but my least favorite is when they try to lessen the impact with their words. “What you two do is cute.” or “It’s silly, but fun for fans if they read it.”   Best: “It’s just a fan blog, right?” I usually nod my head yes, try to smile, and move on.

I love that as much as I do when people point out that the band has done absolutely nothing “for” us, as though that’s an indication of our self-worth. I’m not exactly sure what they’re supposed to do, to be honest. We’ve been writing for over eight years now. We’re linked on their site, and I think if they did anything else for us publicly, it would be like attaching a giant target on us. We’re good, thanks. If you don’t know what I mean, then you probably haven’t noticed the competitive nature that exists in this fandom. You’re lucky.  

The second part of how I’m feeling is a rather large entanglement of feelings, like a giant ball of yarn. I spent my teen years reading magazines similar to Classic Pop without ever thinking even one time that I’d ever write well enough to be in one, even by just being quoted. Sure, it’s a small thing, but for someone who has never had a career or experienced the type of success that some of my friends do on a regular basis—it is huge. I want more of that, without any idea of how to do it. 

That would make you come my way

That’s the oddest part of this whole blogging thing, really. When we started, I had no plan. Eight years later, and we still really don’t have a plan. By that I mean that each of us blog, but there’s no “end game” here. We don’t have an end goal other than survival. There’s been times where we thought maybe we could do something with it, but that door hasn’t opened for us, even when we’ve knocked. It might someday, but I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might not be the right door.

So, when something like this happens, regardless of how insignificant it might seem to some one not emotionally attached, I consider that maybe, just maybe, I need to keep looking for the right door.  Perhaps that angsty 14-year old inside of me knows the right way. 

-R 

 

Make Me Smile

I was in the car a couple of days ago, driving home from dropping off the youngest at school. Traffic was heavy, because it was raining.  I felt fairly brain dead and cold as I would tap the gas, then the brake pedal, over and over. The stereo was playing an endless conglomeration of Christmas tunes, and I was pretty weary of the whole episode. I reached over and switched radio stations, hoping for anything that might wake me up. The familiar backwards-piano sound from the beginning of Rio filled the car, and I immediately grinned. I went from dreary and drowsy to energized in less than a second, because of a single song. 

Rio is one of those songs that I can hear anywhere, and will almost always smile. I say almost because I don’t think I’ve heard it at a funeral yet. I’m not quite sure I’d smile if I did. Never know, but here’s hoping I don’t have to test that theory.  Not every Duran song has that superpower hidden within it’s tracks, at least, not for me.  For example, occasionally I’ll be out at a store and hear Ordinary World. While I will acknowledge it’s Duran Duran (I don’t actually stop people and tell them who it is – I’m not quite that far gone just yet), I might not break into a toothy grin. Though as far as “Rio”goes, that song has just the right magic.  I can feel the smile coming on, almost as a reflex. (Yes, really.)

(Although once again, I must reiterate I haven’t excitedly stopped anyone and said “That’s Duran Duran. I love them!! or “I know them!!” ….probably because I don’t know them.  BUT… I’m not going around shouting that I blog about them every day either. Yet. ) 

I know there are other songs in their catalog that wave a similar wand and cast the same spell on me. The list is rather lengthy when I think about it, which isn’t surprising. This IS my favorite band. I think the rather remarkable point is that like Rio, many of the songs I find myself smiling in response to aren’t necessarily at the top of my list of favorites. They’re unmistakably songs that my memory references as Duran Duran, of course – and typically they are ones that have great memories attached to them. 

For me, when I hear Rio, I think of touring and giant beach balls. The scene of the band kicking said balls in the general direction of the audience, while we attempt to aim them right back… oh wait…I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. 

Never mind. Nothing else to see or read there…

I think of summer and sand, and seeing pictures of the band in Hawaii.  That moment at the end of the show comes to mind, too. It is when Dom, John and Roger are all watching one another, waiting for Roger to signal that his chops have had enough for one night and he’s about to end the wind-up at the very end of Rio. I think of seeing John, Roger, Nick, Simon, Dom, Simon W., Anna and Erin at the front of the stage waving. I’m back in my happy place. How could I not smile?

What about you? 

-R 

As I walked on, I realized I was going up

Happy Monday! 

I can already tell how this week is going to go, because today I needed to update WordPress, which is the editor, along with the engine that makes our website work (kind of).  This new version of WordPress is significantly different, and there’s a bit of a learning curve for it. I can hardly wait for Amanda to try it out this weekend. Or tomorrow morning when she posts the daily question! EEK!

We’re moving, moving, moving

Up until now I’ve had to be pretty vague about my plans for the last half of December. Planning was a bit up in the air, and I didn’t know how or when things might happen. As most know, my family has been in the process of moving….for the past six months. I know, it’s been the longest move EVER. (Oh believe me, I know.) Well, the time has come, *cue Sunrise*, instead of music between us – it is a sea of plastic bins (not rubbish bins, storage bins!). We move next week! Tuesday and Wednesday, the furniture will be moved out of my house and then we move in to the new house that weekend. 

Timing is incredibly tight. The man in the red suit absolutely MUST visit on Christmas Eve, because our ten-year old still believes in the wonder of the holiday with all of her heart. I love that innocence about her and I refuse to let her down, one way or another. We get the keys to the new place on the Friday before Christmas at 6pm. That gives me three days to pull it together and make magic happen. I’ve got this. Probably. 

So where is my family headed? We’re moving from a suburb in Orange County about five hours north to the hills on the west side of Atascadero. We will be 15 minutes south of Paso Robles, and 20 minutes from Morro Bay – we timed it just the other day! Here in the OC we are in a tight neighborhood, and up there we’ll be in an enclave of ranches, where populations of chickens and goats outnumber humans. Down here, people collect Teslas and BMWs. Up there, folks are more concerned with what kind of coop you’re using for your chickens or what kind of small tractor or mower works best for clearing land. I’m not panicking. My nails are bitten down to the nubs, and my shoulders feel like bricks, but I’m fine. Probably. 

A holiday break 

So that leads me to this: I’m taking a little time off from blogging. Not because I need a vacation or because I’ve fallen off of the bandwagon (HA!), but because of logistics. So this will be my final week of blogging until after the new year. Assuming all is well (and it will be!), I’ll be back writing on Wednesday, January 2nd. If you don’t think you can manage that long without hearing from me, check me out on Twitter. Oh believe me, I’ll tweet the insanity. S news?

Studio Update?

Meanwhile, I heard that Duran Duran is finished in the studio until springtime, so those of you who thought 2019 might be a good year for a new album will likely be waiting a bit longer. I’m still going with 2020 as the possible target, at least for now.

Limitless Idolization

One more thing before I leave you for today – I saw that a fellow Duran blog is ending. Headfullofchopstick, artfully written in a way I can only envy, has published its final post. Fandom is a strange, wild trip. I won’t fault anyone for choosing to step off the path, nor would  I judge the reason why. There is a lot of talk about idolization, faith and glorification within fan studies. Unfortunately, many fans buy into all of that and more, at the risk of losing themselves in the aftermath.

The one thing I know from my own experience as a fan is that in order to last here, I needed to have my feet, head and heart planted firmly elsewhere. I love Duran Duran, and by that I specifically mean the music. Sure, I’ll say on occasion that I love the band members, but it’s different. I don’t know them that well. The love I have for friends and family is on another level entirely. Sometimes, I fear that some fans mix the two, at the peril of anyone else who happens to be in the way.  I too, recognize the crossroad. There isn’t anything, including being a die hard Duran Duran fan, that should be controlling or confining unless you allow it to be so. 

I wish Ruth well. 

-R