Looking for a Token

Twelve years ago today I was in New Orleans at the Duran Duran Fan Convention.  I had just landed in the epic city and was ready but nervous about the weekend with other Duran fans.  Truly, I had no idea what to expect but hoped that I would have a ton of fun and would meet some great people.  Luckily, my hopes turned to reality and then some.  Not only did I have a tremendous time but it really started me on this little fandom journey.  On top of having my newly awakened fandom reinforced, I also met my partner-in-crime there.

A big part of me wishes that I go back to that convention.  I would love to have a weekend of nothing but fun.  Think about it–a weekend of partying all night with friends, discussing and listening to nothing but Duran!!  Yes, please!  It would be the exact opposite of what life feels like right now.

I hate this time of the year.  In fact, I always do.  September means the beginning of the school year.  My focus is on establishing relationships with a new group of students while being slammed with work.  Summer allows me time to relax and to forget about how much work and time goes into teaching.  Every year, I say the same thing, “This year, I will manage my time in such a way that I’ll will have real weekends off and that I’ll still be able to work on this project or that.”  Quickly, the school year proves that goal to be impossible.

Once I’m into a school year, it becomes all-consuming.  The few minutes I have each day becomes focused solely on having some down time rather than anything else that I would want to do.  Initially, I’m okay with this.  It feels good to have that tunnel-vision as part of me believes that is what is necessary to be the best teacher I can be.  Soon enough, though, I begin to feel like how I’m feeling now.

I am finding myself missing other aspects of my life.  For example, I don’t want to just be teaching all day, every day.  In reality, I don’t think that makes me a better teacher despite what my employer might think.  Breaks are needed.  Time to do other things is necessary for me to be happy.  While I know that I can’t be at a Duran convention like I was 12 years ago, I would like to work on some of the projects that Rhonda and I have on our plates.  Yet, I know that I have had little time to do so and she is in the same boat.

Perhaps, part of my wish to work on writing projects and convention planning is to have the reason or excuse to be in more constant contact with Rhonda.  We have been so busy that our communication has been minimal.  In thinking about this, a wave of sadness rolls over me.  I miss my friend.  Of course, I miss the fun that we always have when we are together like at that convention, but I just miss chatting about whatever.

To be honest, this week has been emotionally tough for me.  Some of my classes are tough, really tough.  I haven’t had classes like this in a long time.  I haven’t been feeling great, either, which always makes everything tougher.  My stress level has been high as has my anxiety. In thinking about what would makes things better, one thing is clear. I can’t neglect my friendships for work.  My fandom shouldn’t be pushed to the side as something I do or squeeze in when my schedule allows.  No, I need to keep those aspects of my life that bring me joy in my life.

Thus, maybe I will be motivated to make the changes necessary due to this convention anniversary along with the end of a tough week at work.  I need to set aside time to talk to my friends.  My days should not be filled with just work.  Grading can wait.  I will find the balance that is needed to bring back some joy.

-A

But You Have to Make a Choice

Last weekend, I wrote a blog about how fans have been wishing, hoping, begging for Duran Duran to mix up their set lists.  Yet, when I have asked about which songs to remove from the set list, most fans didn’t really want to drop those “classics”.  We all know the ones I am referring to, songs like Hungry Like the Wolf, A View to a Kill, etc.  To read the entire blog, go here.

After I posted the blog, many people expressed everything from shock by the fans’ choices to frustration about the lack of set list variety.  While no one doubted what I found from our daily polls, some questioned if the format ended up forcing fans to continue to choose the “classics”.  Fair enough.  I recognize that how questions are asked matters.  A friend of ours suggested that instead of having fans pick a song or two to be removed from the set list that I should offer fans the ability to just pick the set list from scratch with no songs to start from.  I liked the idea.

So, here is what I’m proposing.  I am asking everyone to pick the 17 songs that you want to hear live most!  Then, once you have picked that list, send it to us.  You can send the list to us in a variety of methods:  email, Facebook message and/or Twitter DM.  Ideally, I would love responses in 2 weeks by October 7th.

Here are the directions:

  • Pick the 17 songs you want to hear the most at a Duran Duran show.
  • The songs do not have to meet any criteria other than what you want to hear/see live the most.
  • The songs do not have to be placed in the order of a typical show unless you want to.
  • Send completed lists to us at our email, our Facebook or our Twitter
  • Lists must sent to us by Friday, October 7th.

After that, I will look through the lists and see if fans really do prefer the classics or if it was just about how I asked the question.  To help you think of some possible songs to include, here are some set lists from different tours.

1987:
A View to a Kill
Notorious
American Science
Union of the Snake
New Religion
Election Day
Some Like It Hot
The Chauffeur
Skin Trade
Hold Me
Is There Something I Should Know?
Hungry Like the Wolf
The Wild Boys
The Reflex

2000:
Fragment
Kiss Goodbye
Last Day on Earth
Union of the Snake
Hungry Like the Wolf
Playing With Uranium
Come Undone
Anyone Out There
Pop Trash Movie
Girls on Film
Save a Prayer
Hallucinating Elvis
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)
Mars Meets Venus
All She Wants Is
I Don’t Want Your Love
Notorious
A View to a Kill
The Reflex
Encore:
Ordinary World
The Wild Boys
Rio

2006:
Hungry Like the Wolf
Union of the Snake
Serious
Nice
Come Undone
What Happens Tomorrow
Hold Back the Rain
Some Like It Hot
My Own Way
The Reflex
The Chauffeur
Ordinary World
Save a Prayer
A View to a Kill
Notorious
(Reach Up for the) Sunrise
The Wild Boys
Encore:
Girls on Film
Rio

Let’s hope that this has your brains working a bit!  I can’t wait to see what songs you include!!!

-A

Question of the Day: Friday, September 23, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Lonely in Your Nightmare

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Love Voodoo or (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile?

Oh, It’ll Take A Little Time

So, it’s Thursday evening and I’m just now blogging. Yeah, there’s a good reason for that—it was my first day at work.

The good news is that it was fun, the day went by quickly, and I’m still employed. The bad news is that I’m completely overwhelmed, I have a lot to learn, and dinner seems to be up in the air for tonight. Sorry, family.

It has been twenty years since I last worked outside of my house. Never once during that twenty years did I feel as though I was falling behind, until today. Funny thing—I was always one of those women who laughed as I would hear or read tales of women who would return back to work after being at home for many years. I mean, how much can you possibly forget? It reminded me of the kind of thing TV sitcoms would over-dramatically exploit for an episode.

I stand corrected.

I haven’t spent the past twenty years in a hole. I may not have earned a steady salary, but I definitely worked. I have two college degrees along with a professional certificate. I’ve been an Area Coordinator for an international organization. I planned two silent auctions for a non-profit group. I’ve been a Girl Scout Troop Leader (don’t laugh – by far the hardest job I’ve had!), and then there’s this blog and website. I thought I’d kept up a decent pace over the years.

Wrong.

When I last earned a salary, I had to use a time-card to keep track of my hours. In fact, I’ve always had one because I’ve never had a salaried position, but the point is—I’ve always written my hours out by hand. Even as an office manager in staffing, everything I did was written by hand. The last time I was employed, one would be lucky if their company had a mainframe (now THERE’S an old word for you) to use. In my case, it would have been used for employment applications, and then maybe I could search for certain skills. It was basic, and only one of the companies I worked at had one. We all had phones at our desk, but very few of us had computers, and by computers I mean those old CRT’s that took up half of the workspace on a desk! Today, I was on the phone for half the day trying to get my stupid sign-in to work in order to clock in and out, and at some point while the IT guy and I wrestled with the time and labor functions, I realized just how much I’d missed and how far behind I’d really been left.

Sure, I’m thankful I’ve been at home with my kids. I have thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed that time. I’m very defensive about being a stay-at-home mom for a variety of reasons, but I’m proud that I made the right choice for my family. I have family members that have spent the past twenty years trying to put me in a box, assuming that since I didn’t take a job I must be stupid, and let me tell you my friends, that has been a very bitter and painful pill to swallow. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting back tears at family gatherings, I’ll say that much. And even so, I will go to my grave saying that staying home was the right thing to do. On the other hand, my gosh—when I last worked we didn’t even have laptops. Thinking about everything that has changed since I last set my alarm to get up and get ready for work psyched me out a bit today, I’ll admit. There were a few technical challenges as well, one of which being that I’m a diehard Mac-user and I had to work using my boss’s Windows computer. I managed, sort of.

As I sat with my boss’s cell phone on speaker this afternoon, waiting for Mr. IT Man to make it possible for me to account for my time in the coming weeks, I realized that as overwhelming as it might be—I’ll figure this out. I’ll keep trying things until something clicks, and eventually this new job will feel like an old one. And really, isn’t that similar to what Duran Duran has gone through during their career?

Sure, they’ve continued to record through the decades, but they constantly adapted with each new album, and not just through music. Every time they went back into the studio, the circumstances changed. They’ve lost members. Gained members. The world has evolved, and the industry has been turned on its head. Even if they were on solid ground with their music, everything else around them continued to turn. Talk about being on a roundabout! When I think about everything that has changed since 1981, especially considering my experience today, my head spins.

No, I haven’t always embraced everything the band has done. There’ve been times when I’ve wondered why they didn’t zig when they zagged. Fans question nearly every single thing they do, second and third guessing anything from the release date of a video to their setlist. I’ve been a party to plenty of that, myself, right here on this blog. Wonder we haven’t driven them crazy….

The bottom line, at least for me, is that Duran Duran keeps going. They are cruising through their fourth decade, and they’re not letting little things like time or progress stop them.

Neither will I. Just as soon as I work up the energy to get off of this couch.

 

-R

 

Question of the Day: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Late Bar

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Lay Lady Lay or Lonely in Your Nightmare?

I’m Working Onto Something: Duran Downtime

It’s Wednesday! I don’t know where this week has gone, but I’m feeling far removed from Duran Duran these days, particularly with the downtime, I have to say. Yesterday I spent my day at a Parent Tea at our school. I participated as “mom” rather than “Miss Rhonda.”  (the cute new title I earned with this job), and also in CPR/First Aid/AED training. That’s right, Duranies, should you be at an event with me, have no fear…I can help. <waggles eyebrows>  Today I’m headed back down to San Diego county to sign all of the exciting paperwork so that hopefully, I can start work tomorrow.

I’m also about waist deep in college applications, essay writing, and school in general for the kids. I think that we at least know where Gavin, my son is applying now. Can I just say that when this process is over again in the spring, I’ll be very glad that I won’t be doing it again until my youngest is a senior, ten years from now!  On top of that, I’m trying to figure out our schedule, get used to all of the activities we signed up to do (what was I thinking??) and still cook dinner each night.  So far, I’m at about 60%. Not good.

I was thinking yesterday as I sat down to check in with the world that I am already feeling out of it. For the past six years, primarily due to Daily Duranie, I took it as part of my “job” to know what the band was up to. Otherwise, how would I have things to write about each day? When the band stopped touring at the end of AYNIN—right about this time four years ago—I think I went through serious withdrawals. I didn’t know what to write about anymore. I was so used to having constant activity that when I didn’t, I’m pretty sure depression set in. Following the band WAS my hobby.  Some may say I failed miserably, instead of just moving on or scaling back the blog in the downtime, I followed the recording of the new album as best as I could from my kitchen here in the US, and yes—I was anxious for new music, but mainly (if I am being honest) for the band to tour again.

So here I am again, at a similar point in downtime. Granted, the band isn’t going back into the studio or anything like that. They still have more touring to do next year, as I understand. But we are in between tours. Duran Downtime. I have this anxious feeling stirring in me again, but then I realize this time, it’s different.  I’m finding myself with little to no time to “check in” with the world each day. I may tweet randomly at odd moments, but I can’t sit with my Tweetdeck window open and have conversations the way I once did. If anything, I’m concerned about finding the time to blog about anything at all.  Even now, I’m typing as fast as I can because I need to leave in about 20 minutes – and the rest of my day is spoken for.

I find myself out of it purely because now, I can barely pay attention. I’ve gone from feast to famine in a matter of weeks, and I won’t lie – I kind of like it!  I do miss talking with friends, and I absolutely miss planning the next road trip. On the other hand though, it is awfully nice to focus on something other than the pants certain band members willingly choose to wear in public.  Other than a Skype session a couple of weeks ago, Amanda and I hadn’t had a single phone call since she left my house at the beginning of August.

Times have definitely changed. I knew it would happen eventually, though. I still say that it’s nice to be able to step away and do something more than wait for the band to announce something, or wait to see who out of my circle of friends is online and able to chat. I’m hoping this keeps me busy in between tours, and keep the touring coffers a little less empty!

I remember what I felt like four years ago. I was sad, a little depressed, and knew the winter would be long. For me this time, I’m not sad. I’m excited to start my new job, and if anything—I’m a little worried about how I’m going to manage blogging, writing and eventually planning a convention.  These are challenges I welcome in the months ahead, as I find my new groove and settle in to a brand new schedule.

Yeah, downtime sucks. I miss my friends. Of course I miss the excitement of planning travel and knowing I’ll see the band.  But this time, real life is filling the gap for me, and I welcome it. We’ll see if I’m still saying that by next June, though.

-R

 

Question of the Day: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yesterday’s winner: Last Chance on the Stairway

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Last Day on Earth or Late Bar?

I Need Your Blind Full Secrets

Sorry the blog is late today, I was in training for most of the day and I’m now squeezing this in between extracurricular activities. I suspect this might become a pattern with Tuesday and Thursday blogs, but I will do my best.

Admittedly, things are quiet now in Duranland.  After nearly a year of relatively constant activity, I’m finding myself back in the pattern of needing to think about what to write rather than have topics swimming in my head. Again, I’ll do my best. If there is something that you’d like to see Amanda or I cover that we haven’t lately, or if you have ideas for fun polls or activities—don’t hesitate to let us know.

We will once again be doing our now Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest in October, so get your creative juices flowing! Details on that to come soon.

Like many of you, I’ve been curious to see what DDHQ pulls out of the hat for that last North America concert date. No word yet on when or exactly where on the east coast it will be, but I saw a little birdie mention that news of that might be coming in October. Stay tuned…

Not sure if anyone noticed the recent photos of one Nicholas Rhodes floating around—he was in attendance at the Pam Hogg show for London Fashion Week, and there are a few photos of him with Yasmin and Antony Price, as well as one of Nick and Nefer at the LOVE magazine party in London on September 19th. (I am not posting the photos here, but you can easily locate them on Duran Duran’s Facebook and/or Twitter pages).  It is good to see Nick out and about, particularly since none of us really saw him this past summer during the North American tour.

Nick was certainly missed this past summer. It was very strange to look up and not see him grinning from his keyboards. I keep saying it, but MNDR did a fabulous job in an incredibly short period of time to learn everything. Even so, I can’t imagine the band without Nick.  Can anyone?? Maybe they’d all start wearing DENIM…or baseball caps on stage without him!!! <evil grin here>

Amanda and I have done our best to respect his privacy and not speculate. We have no idea why he needed to miss the US dates. But yes, both of us would say that for Nick, of all people, to miss the entire US tour – we’d have to think it was important. I can’t say we went to a single show where it wasn’t brought up. We heard far too many rampant rumors coming from people who, if they really DID know the truth – shouldn’t have been going around telling every fan they ran into.  Then again, I suppose that alone says it all.

Now that he’s out and about again, fans are thrilled.  It’s good to see him. I know people will continue to speculate, because that’s what fans do.  Sure, even I wonder. The guy looks healthy and fine, and I  wonder what kept him away from an entire tour. Of course. But, I also respect that not everything is up for public knowledge, scrutiny, and debate. So, I’m just happy to see he’s out and about. Hopefully the rest of the world will be able to experience the Paper Gods as we know they were meant to be.

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Is There Something I Should Know?

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Land or Last Chance on the Stairway?

TV vs Radio: The Era of Fan Conventions

Lately, I’ve seen more posts from friends meeting various celebrities at conventions than I have seen of friends meeting Duran Duran. Not that it’s a problem, I’ve just taken notice.

I thought it was funny a few years back (actually it was probably four years ago now) when Amanda posted that the President of the United States was easier to meet than Duran Duran.  I suppose that for her, that’s probably true, but it’s still kind of weird when you think about it. And yet, she’s met Barack Obama twice. She’s campaigning again, and I’m honestly a bit curious about who she might meet this time!

But, getting back to conventions, I’ve seen pictures from friends meeting everyone from the lead actors in Supernatural to Superman. These conventions aren’t necessarily “new” (I remember conventions for fans of LOST for instance, and I think Trekkie conventions have been around for decades), but they certainly have experienced an upsurge in popularity in the past few years.

I don’t doubt that some people are very interested in discussing canon or the meta involved with a particular TV show.  They go to conventions to listen to the panels in the same way that I adore sitting down with other Duranies and really getting into the nitty-gritty discussion of an album. I also believe access—as in access to the celebrities—must be a driving force behind attendance. Those photo ops sell out quickly, from what I’ve read.

It is also clear why Hollywood, and the TV industry in particular (but not SOLELY TV by any means) encourages participation in these conventions. It is the same reason why shows like Scandal and again, Supernatural, and even Sherlock, encourage their stars to use Twitter or other social media to reach out.  I’ve been followed by some of the celebrities from my favorite shows, and that’s always a thrill.

What truly fascinates me though, is how some of the one-time most ardent Duran Duran fans I knew, have now migrated out of our immediate fandom and into TV show fandom. They use conventions in the same way that I use concerts. They are an escape, a reason to meet up with friends—and by the looks of it, they’re a blast.

The conventions look like a lot of fun, and I think they must be a way to add another dimension to the fandom experience. Getting a photo with a favorite. Hearing the celebrity(ies) of choice speak on a panel. None of that would  work well if fans were getting the vibe that these stars didn’t want to do those things. Whether that’s the acting thing coming into play or it is because these celebrities understand that without public support they’ve got nothing—I do not know, but I find it fascinating all the same.

In music though, it is supremely different. For example, to my knowledge the music industry doesn’t seem to have conventions like this that are open to the public. I mean, one could site NAMM (North America Music Merchants) as being a convention where music celebrities tend to gather or appear—but unless you’re in the biz or know somebody—you’re not getting in.

There are a few other conventions that are truly just festivals in disguise. For example there is an alternative music festival in Los Angeles where tribute bands perform, but it really isn’t a convention in the same sense as say, Comic-con. There are cruises and things, but most bands aren’t willing to be captive for their audience for multiple days at a time….and I can’t blame them.

In much of the music industry, there’s a genuine effort to maintain mystique whether we’re talking Duran Duran or Paul McCartney. They are on the stage, we are off.  That platform they perform on is their pedestal, and nary between the two shall meet. I believe the thinking may be that separation creates demand. Perhaps it does. But I have to wonder why having celebrities reach out in other areas—like movies and television—works so well?  Why is music so different?

I’ve read a lot about fans over the past few years. We can definitely be an overwhelming crowd. Words like “crazy”, “obsessive”, “manic”, and even “sex-starved”, and of course “groupie”, all get applied rather liberally—but those words seem to be spread equally across all fandoms with no consideration for what type of fans we’re talking about.  So is it really all that different to be a fan of the TV show Sherlock, a fan of Robert Downey Jr.,  or a fan of The Killers? Does one have more potential for obsession than the others?

As you might guess, I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know what drives someone away from concerts for their favorite band to instead drop cash to go to a convention like Wizard Con, but I see a lot of fans doing it. I don’t really know if bands or artists like Duran Duran could use similar ideas to cultivate a more loyal following.  I just know what I see—a lot of one time multi-ticket buyers have stopped going to concerts in favor of supporting their favorite TV actors and shows through conventions and other opportunities.  There might just be something to it.

 

-R

 

 

 

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!