I’m Lost in a Crowd

During this summer, I have been updating my LinkedIn profile, which is about as fun as it sounds. There is a variety of reasons for this, including adding some campaign management roles I have held in the last couple of years. Of course, there is an acknowledgement of this blog on there as well. That summary along with a couple of tweets this week got me thinking.

Typically, when I think about the blog, I think about the writing. There are thousands of posts on here now. Honestly, it is quite a body of work. Yes, some of them are lamer than others. (Not every post can be awesome. We know that. We accept that.) Yet, there are some that I’m proud of. That said, what Rhonda and I built here was more than a bunch of words and paragraphs about our opinions on a website. No, we tried to do more than that.

This past week, a few tweets directed our way caught my attention. The first one was from a friend of ours who acknowledged the meet-up we held in Las Vegas in 2016. She didn’t know anything about us but someone who saw her Duran shirt encouraged her to go. While she didn’t really know anyone in the fan community before then, now, she knows many. This led another person to mention a meet-up in Chicago in 2011. Still, someone else expressed desire to attend a convention, even a virtual one. All this reminded me that we used to do meet-ups and even planned a convention.

In thinking about those fan gatherings along with my unofficial summer project to better understand myself (HA!), I think I have figured out how I feel about them and why. Here’s the thing. If someone had to give one word to describe me and/or my skills, the first word that might come to mind is organized. I like to label myself as an organizer. It is something that I feel very confident in and with. Throughout my life, I have always been an organizer. Initially, it was with my books or music or even my clothes. I would love to take time to just put things in some sort of organized way. Later, I learned that I could do the same with classroom lesson plans in order to help students learn effectively. Lesson planning is not just about curriculum and classroom materials but also how to organize the students of your class in a way that would best help them meet the academic, behavioral and social/emotional goals. To this day, I enjoy the heck out of this part of teaching.

Later, I discovered that I could do the same thing when it comes to political organizing. I could develop a strategy and figure out how best to manage the volunteers I had working with me to win in a lot of instances. Again, I enjoy the puzzle about how to manage people and ideas best in order to get something done. This is something that feels good to me and makes me good about myself.

Unfortunately, that feeling of confidence has never been one that has carried over to my social life. In that area, I tend to do the opposite. I don’t lead but follow, typically. I’m always wary of doing something to turn people away from me and I jump to the worst case scenario. If someone stops talking to me or doesn’t talk to me very often, I’ll assume that I did or said something to offend them or because they have decided I’m annoying or not worth their time. Now, I recognize that this is likely not the case but emotionally it is a battle that I wage constantly. So what does this have to do with holding fan events? Simple. I wanted to organize fan events for two reasons. First, I wanted that same feeling of confidence that I got through other organizing. Second, I hoped that these events would help people like me who are not good in these types of settings.

Here’s the thing I realized when thinking about organizing fan events. I put all of my energy and thinking into what was needed for that happening to be successful. Never once did I think about what people there would think of me. I could take the lead, which would help me step away from insecure me to confident organizing me. It provided me a shield of sorts. Now, that said, I’m well aware that there were many in the community that didn’t like that we were holding these events for a variety of reasons that I don’t want to get into here. While that bothered me, I think confident me was able to smother those negatives because generally the events were successful. People were happy and had a good time, I think. This isn’t really different than what I experience teaching or campaigning. People have always criticized the work that I do and I have had to find a way to push that to the side to keep going. Part of what helps there is knowing or believing that what you are doing matters.

With teaching or campaigning, that belief that you are doing good is easy. It is obvious. Fan events are another matter entirely. That is harder to justify, especially when other fans criticize. When that happens, you feel like it is doing the exact opposite of what you hoped for. When we started doing these meet-ups, one of our big goals was to bring the fan community together. We thought that if fans got to meet and know each other, they would be happier being part of the community. They would be more like to spread that happiness to others and keep people involved. After all, one big goal was to keep the fun going. If people stopped going to shows, then would those shows keep happening? Probably not. If fans were happy and they kept going, then I could keep going to shows myself!

The other purpose was to help those fans that I could relate to. Remember me saying that I am not good, socially. There have been many a time in my life when I have wanted to be part of the crowd, to fit in and never knew how to even try. I thought if we had meet-ups and if I was a good host, then those fans like me would be able to get in the figurative door. After all, I wished many times over my life that people would have done that for me. Do I know if that worked for people who attended?  Not really but I do like the idea of it. 

Will we keep holding these meet-ups, assuming that we will have concerts again someday?  I am not certain.  I appreciate that many liked them and had fond memories of them as did I for all the reasons I mentioned before and one other significant reason.  These fan gatherings meant that I got to work with Rhonda.  To me, there is nothing better than planning something and having it go well with others.  Throughout all of my different organizing, that has always been the case.  Working together for a common goal is one of my absolute favorite things in all the world.  

What do you think of meet-ups?  Have they worked for you?  Do you think they matter in fan communities like ours?

-A

Guest Blog: Wishful Thinking

Duran Duran’s design team has been working overtime this summer! There have been a plethora of new products released in the last six months. I recently purchased a package that included apuzzle. What will I do with said puzzle? I will probably put it in storage; I bought it because it exists. This creative product surge reminds me of the 1984 era when you could find Duran Duran memorabilia almost anywhere. My late father once admitted that he bought me a Duran poster from an airport lounge while traveling home. So now I’m thinking about other products that I’d like to see officially released.

Magnetic Car Bumper decal

The paper, plastic car bumper decals were extremely popular in 1983. Some featured the band’s photo and others just the logo. However, these decals were semi-permanent. I’ve seen Dave Matthews band decals in my workplace parking lot so why shouldn’t I represent our band?

Travel mugs

There are several ceramic mugs featured in the website now. I drink copious amounts of hot tea and coffee so these mugs require more refills. They also have the potential to shatter. I’d welcome 2 varieties of a plastic travel mug. I’d appreciate the portability and they would be
conversation pieces as I’m on the go.

Plastic Water Bottle

I struggle with drinking the daily recommended water intake. Water tastes so bland. Water also creates more frequent restroom breaks. Yet, perhaps having one of the band’s classic logos on a tumbler would inspire me to hydrate more frequently. I’d even buy one of the squat water bottles with the lines denoting how much water I’ve ingested. Can you image if they put they printed current and past band member names on the water lines? There could be John, Nick, Roger, Simon, Andy, Warren, Sterling and Dom lines. Hilarious!

Keychains

The RCM era spawned a keychain. I declined because I didn’t want to explain a knife through a heart keychain to my mechanic. I did repurpose one of the chucky plastic keychains with a band photo for my first car. Unfortunately, the chunky plastic covers split over time. We are due for an elegant double D keychain. Maybe it could be free on webstore if you purchase a certain amount. The keychain could also be used to hang off of your rearview mirror like the fuzzy dice of the 1970s.

Temporary Tattoos

I work with small children and they LOVE temporary tattoos. I make sure to admire them whenever possible. Some brave fans have Duran inspired tattoos. As a tattooed fan, I’m considering the possibility. I can see fans sporting these at concerts.

Stickers

I have the puffy stickers somewhere in storage. I smile whenever I see them on resale websites. I’m writing in Bujo journals and planners more which requires stickers. It would be nice to have a set of individual band member stickers or various band logo stickers. Etsy might be the best
vehicle for this item because it wouldn’t be cost productive to import from the UK.

Shoelaces

As a Duran fan, I have a fondness for the classic, white Keds type shoe. They remind me of the white, bowler shoes that Roger and Nick (filthily) wore on the epic Rolling Stone magazine cover. A pair of shoelaces with the band’s logo would “jazz up” a pair of ordinary kicks.

Double DVD/Blu Ray box set of all the band’s videos and documentaries

I know we can view any video on the Internet now. I’m frustrated that I have some videos on VHS, DVD or some not at all. It would be nice to have them as a set. I have most of the documentaries but some are connected to specific concerts. Again, it would be nice to have them
in one set. If I’m being greedy, I’d ask for any unreleased footage as well. The band could fundraise by releasing a limited amount of autographed video box sets to fan club members for an exorbitant price. Yes, I’m dreaming now.

Thanks for reading my fantasy items. I acknowledge that the Duran Duran has released some items as part of VIP packages. I’ve seen others unofficially produced on the artisan websites. We are the fan base that bought the Arena board game, so why not dream of future products? What items would you like to see released?

Only in My Dreams,
Nat

The World We Live In

If you are easily triggered by details of sexual assault, I feel it necessary to suggest that perhaps you skip this one.

This morning started with an earthquake. I didn’t really feel it, although I did wake up at the exact moment it hit – but I didn’t know until later on that it was perhaps a quake that dared disturb my slumber. I love California.

I can’t say I grew any fonder to the day, as I hopped online to graze over news bytes along with a quick breakfast. My intention was to cruise through writing the blog and get started on some other work I had waiting for me. What do they say about best laid plans??

As I was scrolling Twitter – trying to find the good bits mixed in with all of the rest – I saw something from a Killers site that I follow. I am a fan of The Killers, so I do tend to pay attention. That community is dealing with something familiar today. Sickening, sad, and disappointing, but not at all surprising.

The “something” I ran across was a blog, written by a female audio engineer who worked on the 2009 Day and Age tour for The Killers. The news of the blog posting hit yesterday afternoon, and to say it has rocked The Killers universe would be an understatement.

Granted, the reactions run the full gamut one might expect. Outrage, disgust, sadness, disbelief, doubt, rejection – and let’s not kid ourselves, those feelings and plenty of others are reflected all on all sides.

Having not ever been backstage, I can’t say with 100% certainty what goes on. I’m not here to ruin someone’s career, or to destroy a fandom, for that matter. What I can say though is that in 2020, I am sick to death of allegations like this. In this case, it isn’t just about the allegations of repeated rape of a that took place in a dressing room. I would even go so far as to argue that it isn’t even about the accounts that in 2009, a female member of a road crew has to put up with the bullshit sexist comments from male crew. I wish it were only about those things, to be honest.

I just want to know why a woman in 2020 can write a blog like this, and STILL be laughed at, abandoned by coworkers, have her loyalty and life purposes questioned, and be on the very edge of being fully doxxed, all because she dared to speak up. Even without being either of the women in question, I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. Again.

This isn’t pearl clutching. It is white-hot anger, laced with disgust and exhaustion. It is 2020. TWENTY-TWENTY. When is this going to stop? When will women be valued and not used as an object? WHEN.

The issue isn’t whether or not members of The Killers bonused the road crew for bringing drunk groupies backstage for anything from blow jobs to showering in front of band members. I wasn’t even shocked by those details. I wish I had been.

No, it’s that no matter what the accusation, the details, or the person standing up – there’s always going to be that person, or many of them as in this case, that laugh and scream, “Liar!”

Yet, I find myself in a similar spot, every single time a new allegation pops up about one rock star or another, that I happen to care about. I weeble and wobble on the fine line between disbelief, and wanting to stand up for my fellow woman. I want to believe, but I also really don’t want that at all. I don’t think I’m alone. Who wants to believe all of the bad things? Who really thinks that every woman that dares to speak out is lying? Not I.

In this particular case, and I urge you to read the post I linked above, the audio engineer is writing about things that happened directly to her with regard to the prevalent sexism in the music industry, and then something that she witnessed. Firsthand yes, but not directly. She wasn’t personally in Dressing Room A that night.

I’ll bet that evening plays in her mind a lot at 2 and 3am, because she could have said something that night and didn’t. She stayed silent. I wonder if I would have done the same.

It angers me that as this blog broke last night, it was more important for her fellow coworkers and roadies to distance themselves from her allegations of sexism – saying that they didn’t “hear” of any of that or “see” any of that—than it was to even comment about the sexual assault of a fan. Doesn’t it make you wonder why?

I just know, above all else, I’m tired.

At some point, I’ll revisit this subject and dive farther into what it really means to be a female fan. Some of you need to read it, commit it to memory, and GET it. Today is not that day. I’m too angry, and the words aren’t coming.

-R

The Best Of 2020 (So Far)

Let’s be honest, 2020 has sucked on almost every level. However, music has been nothing short of incredible this year. The global uncertainty has allowed the world’s biggest star to follow her muse into uncharted waters while young artists are releasing exciting and important work. I don’t want to get to December and try to remember it all because something will fall through the cracks in the pavement (well, my memory).

I also love the different strategies artists are using to bring their art to market. From the spontaneous release of Taylor Swift’s folklore to the growing hype around The Chicks’ Gaslighter, the excitement around new albums has been a welcome distraction to everything else happening in the world. It is also important to note that women are leading this wave of incredible new music. This pandemic has disrupted the industry in a lot of ways and as it re-builds, a lot of the old, patriarchal attitudes will simply not have a place in entertainment. It is an exciting time to be a music fan! Here are some of this year’s highlights both well-known and under the radar.

The Chicks – Sleep At Night

What makes this album so incredible is how flawlessly the band shifts between country, pop, and rock without losing their own unique aesthetic. More importantly, the album tackles the harsh realities of infidelity and divorce on a level popular music often shies away from. This is heavy listening but it is also empowering. This is an album of solidarity in the face of pain and anger. This is life.

Taylor Swift – cardigan

The sudden arrival of folklore hinted at something unique and Swift has not disappointed. An artist who was influenced by the Dixie Chicks, her style has now fed back into the new Chicks album while she takes a different path altogether on this electro-pastoral walk through a forest. It is full of beautiful writing and with Bon Iver and members of The National helping, the music never falters.

Dua Lipa – Physical

Future Nostalgia has to be the best album name of the year! Lipa does exactly that with a forward-thinking dance album that embraces the influence of disco and 80’s pop. Like Swift, Lipa never allows being a pop star overshadow her art. This album is meticulously produced and every song feels essential to the album.

Shopping – For Your Pleasure

While we are on the dance floor, here is Shopping. Mixing the spiky post-punk of Gang of Four with the energy of B-52’s, Shopping are one of the most fun bands in music and deliver incredible live shows. Until they can tour, we have their new album All Or Nothing to keeps us grooving.

Ist Ist – Silence

Featured on The Encores Club where Rhonda and I dissected it along with David O. of the D-Side podcast, Ist Ist are everything you’d expect from a Manchester post-punk band. The shadows of Joy Division and The Cure are on the edge of their sound but their sense of humor insists on drawing you closer. A veil of darkness hangs loosely around the album Architecture but it still draws you close.

Baxter Dury – I’m Not Your Dog

Sounding like his legendary father Ian, Baxter picks up where his last album left off on the new album The Night Chancers. An artist full of acerbic wit, Dury is the sort of friend you hope to make while getting drunk late at night. Its club music for adults where we sit around drinking cocktails and lamenting the state of the world wishing life was more like a James Bond film.

The Pretenders – The Buzz

Remember when we thought All You Need Is Now was the best Duran Duran album in decades? That is what The Pretenders have done with Hate For Sale. A timely record, the spirit of punk runs throughout the lyrics as The Pretenders lash out at a world where democracy is no longer a given. Concise and sharp, this has one of the surprise gems of 2020.

Margo Price – Letting Me Down

Thats How Rumors Get Started is an album title with a deeper meaning. Anyone who loves the California sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors will feel right at home with Margo Price. She adds in some of the country flavor of Gram Parsons on this laid-back but serious album. Already a prolific songwriter, Price has achieved new heights in 2020 and is one of the artists changing how country music mingles with pop and rock.

The Vacant Lots – Rescue Me

If you enjoy Echo & the Bunnymen and Jesus & Mary Chain, The Vacant Lots are your new favorite band. Those two aforementioned legacy acts are also two of the worst live bands I’ve ever seen so I am more than ready to skip their “whatever anniversary” shows to support The Vacant Lots when live music returns. Remember the club where Duckie and Andie hang out in Pretty In Pink? These guys should be the headliner there!

Jehnny Beth – Flower

Another alum of The Encores Club, Jehnny Beth’s first solo record keeps the attitude of her band Savages but brings in a slew of new sonic ingredients. Echoes of PJ Harvey abound but Beth has created a musical journey that implodes concepts of gender. To Love Is To Live is an album that takes work but the rewards are endless.

Fiona Apple – Under the Table

At the end of 2020, it will be surprising if Fetch The Bolt Cutters isn’t at the top of almost every publication’s Best Of 2020 list. Apple continues to create art completely on her own terms. Much like David Bowie, her music can shift and change under your feet at any moment. One of the most significant albums to come along in years, the album is a labyrinth to explore where new secrets lie around every corner. It is magical.

So, what are some of your favorite albums this year?

When Your Nine Day Feed is Up

The end of my summer is crawling ever closer, and I see the “decade” mark on the horizon (Daily Duranie will be 10 years old on September 13). So much has changed since we first began writing. Back then, we were waiting for All You Need is Now – although at the time, we didn’t even know it’s name yet. Twitter had really barely begun spinning it’s wheels. People were on the platform, but didn’t really know how to use it! I can remember some fairly messed up tweets coming from all angles, back then. Facebook was really the main deal at the time. It wasn’t until later that year, when John climbed on board and Duranies followed by the masses, that many got into the Twitter groove. My own fandom has evolved, and, not surprisingly, continues to morph even today.

When I first became a Duran Duran fan, all of my fandom activities were done in “real life”. From hanging posters in my bedroom, to listening to new music, or watching videos – it was all done away from the computer screen. (What computer screen? I didn’t have one until I was in college, and I can promise it didn’t look ANYTHING like the laptop I’m typing on today!) My fandom life, such as it was, took place with friends at school. Sitting on the lawn in the quad between the school buildings, we would read the teen magazines, pour over Billboard, and discuss lyrics until the bell would ring and we’d have to go back to class. Fandom was easy.

Later on, after marriage, children, and the internet, I ventured back into fandom by going to a single show at the House of Blues in Anaheim. From there, I decided to test the waters by reading the message boards on duranduran.com. I found out very quickly that the hard core fans who had been there through the 90s weren’t necessarily welcoming to those of us who hadn’t. Even so, I was surprised to see just how many people seemed to know one another. I attempted to memorize screen names and remember who seemed kind and who did not. I flew under the radar, preferring to read and learn rather than participate. After going to a show at the Pacific Amphitheater in 2003 where the original five members reunited, I began posting in earnest.

During the early 2000’s, message boards were everywhere. It seemed like each day, someone would post a new link for a message board. There were literally thousands of sites dedicated to Duran Duran. The trick wasn’t finding a message board, it was finding a group or community that was comfortable. It seemed like each board had it’s own sort of identity or personality. News and rumor flowed like water. I suppose the challenge was deciphering reality from fantasy – but most didn’t mind the process. At the time, with the reunion of the fab five and a new album coming down the pipes, every day felt like Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I was able to spend nearly all of my time in the fandom bubble, if I wanted. Fandom academics call it the “fandom utopia”, and the characterization isn’t wrong.

Fandom conventions, weekend getaways, touring, and all of the mischief and mayhem that goes along with 30-somethings getting away from their regular lives in order to leave, breathe, drink, and eat the rockstar life for days at a time characterized a few years surrounding the release of Astronaut. It was exciting to “live” in the Duran-bubble. Everything felt electric, with the promise of being everything I’d missed out on in the 80s, and had only read about. The 24-hour news cycle that had taken hold of the world also worked its magic on fan communities. After all, the internet never closes, right?

There were days, and if I’m being honest, maybe even months, where my computer screen was essentially “locked” onto the message boards, and I’d run in to do a quick scan to see if anything exciting was going on in between school pickups, drop offs, and other household activities. I spent time in chat rooms, messaging friends, good-natured arguing over the tiniest details, and sometimes in heated debates over serious subjects. The rumor mill worked overtime, and with that – so did the type of judgment and self-policing that seems to take place in fandom. Whereas at one point, I would have characterized our community to be welcoming and at least somewhat warm and encouraging (at least within some circles), this definitely changed once the band toured for Astronaut. The competitive spirit wasn’t lost on Duranies, and at least from my point-of-view, it permanently changed the way fans behaved.

Utopias, however well-intended, can’t last forever. In the case of Duran Duran, things change with each album cycle. Andy left the band again, causing a fair amount of unrest. Social media platforms like Facebook took off in popularity. Duran Duran closed their own message board in 2003, and within a couple of years, many other boards ended up closing after their popularity waned. Facebook groups became the thing, and eventually, so did Twitter.

With each album after Astronaut, I’ve seen people come and go. I use that album as the marker because prior to that, the internet just didn’t have the same footprint on society. Invariably there are people who don’t like whatever direction the band has taken, and all of this is discussed online with a multitude of others. Some albums cause more of an uproar than others (Red Carpet Massacre, I am looking at you, my friend), and either people choose to stick around for the long-haul, or they don’t.

Some tours have caused more trouble than others, too. Astronaut was the tour where every thirty-something female, including myself, came out of the woodwork. We were giddy with anticipation over what could be. We all wanted to meet the band. Some wanted more than a meeting, and others of us just wanted to see what it was like to be a rockstar. We wanted to peek behind the curtain. The times were wild, but they were indeed fun, too. The All You Need is Now tour was the one where Simon lost his voice for a few months. We were thankful once it got started again, and grateful that Simon sounded even stronger in the end. The Paper Gods tour is the one that never seemed to end. One of the more popular albums in their catalog, the tour seemed to bring a legion of new fans into the mix, some of whom didn’t want to play the same game with the same rules. This caused more than a couple of skirmishes along the way. Such is life.

As an observer, I’ve noticed that as the years have worn on—and I can say that I’ve been an active participant in the online community now for a full 20 years—many people tend to get their “fill” and move on. Maybe fans went to a concert, jumped into the fan community with both feet, went to dozens of shows or more, and then burned out? Perhaps people come looking for the closure they didn’t get in the 80s because they were just too young to be able to do the concert scene at the time? Maybe the intensive nature of the fan community is so overwhelming that after awhile, people drift away? Then, there are those who, for whatever reason, have decided to back away from the community piece. They’re still fans, they still attend shows, and they still support the band – but they do it as private individuals as opposed to “XXXX from the fan community”. At one point, I may have looked at this revolving door as a problem. Why wouldn’t we want to keep the community close?? The answer is simple: fresh fans keep the energy going, and they pay the dollars necessary to keep the engine going.

Fandom and fan communities are not static. They move, change, or even shape-shift into whatever the most active members, or even the broader society need at the time. The mechanisms for how we practice fandom greatly influence our experiences, too. For example – 2020 is the year of Covid-19. Live shows didn’t really happen this year. Fandom has taken a backseat to the virus in that aspect. In others though, the internet has become our lifeline. We watch Instagram live, we read Twitter and Facebook, we listen to Spotify, and engage with one another on each medium.

So what about community, then? Since 1980, Duran Duran has had a community of people they could call fans. Maybe the people within that community are different, and maybe the way we participate has changed too. But does that really signify a change in what a fan community does, or what it means? I’m not so sure.

Think of fandom as a liquid. Each of us has our own vessel for it. Some have larger containers than others, and some choose to fill it to the brim, while others don’t need as much. When we make the pour, fandom fits the space. So while yes, fandom changes or shifts, and we all decide how and when we either use fandom or visit fandom, in the overall scheme of things – fandom itself still performs the same basic functions it always did.

Often, Amanda and I have heart-to-hearts about where we sit when it comes to fandom. We’ll talk about how we feel about the band, or our hopes for the new album, or even this site. Eventually, the conversation comes around to fans and the fan community. At 30 or 35, I was a mom drowning in what I felt at the time was the drudgery of being a stay-at-home parent. Talking to my friends and fellow DD fans kept me afloat. Today, I’m almost 50. My two oldest children are grown. I’ve got one more to go. My life has changed a lot since I was 30. I’m sure yours has too. My fandom vessel isn’t quite as big as it was, and I don’t know that I need it completely filled in order to be satisfied. I just know that I still love Duran Duran. That’s the constant, and it is what keeps me coming back.

-R

Their Own Way – Why DD Succeed

By Finlay Dalziel

Recently, I have seen a lot of online negativity towards Duran Duran. Much of it is well-deserved – not many bands can get away with their notoriously few instances of fan interaction. Nevertheless, Duran Duran have long been my favourite band, and if you’re reading this, I imagine you agree.

However, I was not lucky enough to grow up during their ‘prime’ – being born in 1999, they were never in the charts or news in a same capacity as in 1983. The question is therefore how they have ensured continued relative commercial success, and a place in my Gen Z heart.

On the one hand, DD occasionally demonstrate a knack for predicting future experiences within their lyrics, allowing them to write consistently relatable songs. My favourite examples are ‘Too Much
Information’ and ‘Mars Meets Venus’. The former, allegedly about “commercialisation of the music industry” (thanks, Wikipedia), applies perfectly to the internet. “I hate to bite the hand that feeds
me / too much information” – the Internet seems to bombard us with facts and info constantly. When I hear “The pressure’s on the screen to sell you things that you don’t need”, Wish.com’s ubiquitous Facebook ads spring to mind.

The latter song, from the much-maligned Pop Trash (I love this album, fight me in the comments 😉 ), speaks to my generation of Tindr-users. Mars Meets Venus lists endless personal characteristics in an almost manic fashion, reminiscent of the dating apps and their endless torrent of people selling themselves with short descriptions and questionable photos.

I could go on – ‘Edge of America’, anyone? Without being political, “I’m just a number on the metal fence / which marks the great divide”, and other similar imagery, is reminiscent of Trump’s America. This lyrical projection onto modern life makes the music more personal and accessible, despite its age.

Stylistically, Duran never fail to keep it fresh. They have always been keen to avoid pigeonholing, their debut being a mishmash of inspirations and styles, quick to shed the New Romantic moniker. The difference in sound between Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious is vast, and likewise between Liberty and The Wedding Album. Indeed, when recommending Duran Duran to friends, I find it difficult to label them as an ‘80’s band’, for many of their best songs (in my humble opinion) came later. This is invaluable for a band that has been around some forty years, for there is always an album to match my mood or current taste, and it will keep them commercially relevant for years to come.

Although such variety is important, it is the content of the music which remains paramount. Duran Duran cover topics and feelings which don’t tend to age, whilst avoiding those that do. To use an example of the latter, take one of the many contemporary albums about the Cold War – Alphaville’s excellent ‘Forever Young’ (well worth a listen!). I find that the themes of nuclear war and the Berlin Wall place the album squarely in the year 1984.

DD, however, for better or for worse, tend to avoid politics. This has seen them come under fire. A recent interview with pioneering English synth group Heaven 17 generated claims that the cover for their famous album, ‘The Luxury Gap’ (which spawned the hit ‘Temptation’), was a direct jab at Duran Duran. Whilst the front displays a sunny tropical vista, the back features an industrial dystopia, in order to highlight the alleged disparity between Duran Duran’s rosy vision of the world seen in their music videos, and the reality of Thatcherite Britain. However, Heaven 17’s heavy criticisms of capitalism and credit cards seem outdated today – politics never ages well.

On the contrary, the optimism DD offer is more relevant than ever. Indeed, although their futuristic lyrics and ever-changing style are important, I would suggest that the key to Duran Duran’s longevity is their ability to craft danceable moments of escapism. In the social media age, politics infiltrates our lives more than ever, and DD’s ability to transport us to the Rio Grande, huge concert stadiums, or clubs, is vital. When I close my eyes and listen to ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)’, I am taken to a place and time I wasn’t even alive for. This timeless
appeal to the need to forget the drudgery of life has ensured Duran Duran are just as appealing, and necessary, now as before.

Documenting Duran Duran Fandom

Before I dive into today’s main blog idea, I wanted to thank those of you who responded to my big question on Friday. In case you missed it, I wondered what you all (the readers) would like to see us write about here on the blog. Many threw suggestions our way, but we would always welcome more. I know, for myself, those ideas definitely got my brain to start processing again!

In thinking and writing about the history of this blog, I have always mentioned two big ideas. It has captured what the band has been up, as far as album cycles, appearances, interviews, etc. Of course, since this is a blog, those happenings are usually accompanied by our commentary. (What can I say? We aren’t known to hold back or not share what we think!). The other thing I always reference is how the blog has become a journal for us in a way as much of our personal lives affect our fandom and vice versa. If I want to know what I was thinking or feeling in September 2014, I can certainly go back to blogs then and read on. Yet, I have come to see this blog serving one other additional piece.

As I am sure that many of you know or have guessed by now, but I teach history. I have a history degree. Interestingly enough, I am also certified to teach sociology, the study of groups. Why does that matter when it comes to this blog? Up until recently, I would have acknowledged the sociological aspects of what we do here. After all, we have attempted through writing, reading and researching to understand fandom and fan communities, group of people/fans. Fandom seems to me to be a good cross between sociology and pop culture. In the case of our fandom, being made up of a majority of women, I might throw in Women’s Studies as well. Notice what was missing there was history. Nothing about what we do here feels very historical. Yes, we obviously talk about the band’s history and may even bring in references to the context provided by the world or their community but that doesn’t feel the same as studying World War II, for example.

Yet, could this blog actually serve a historical purpose? While, yes, we have talked about various Duran events, I would not say that our blog is the definitive source there. After all, we never claimed to cover breaking news and I’m sure that there are appearances that we have missed. Besides, there is the band’s official website and social media that documents what the band is up to. There are also fan contributions that do something very similar. No, I don’t think the blog is the best record for Duran Duran history but I do think it has captured something else: Duran Duran Fandom.

We have had many blog posts over the years discussing our fandom and how it has changed. For example, we talked at length about what it was like during the reunion and when Rhonda and I found our way to DuranDuranFans, a message board no longer in existence. Then, we pondered the turn to a seemingly more cutthroat community during Red Carpet Massacre to the rise of twitter fans during All You Need Is Now. Looking back, we really have captured the history of our fan community in the last decade or so. We didn’t set out to do it. It was not a deliberate act but something done, nonetheless. I cannot think of another place that has done that. Yes, there are message boards and social media that has been around for as long, if not a lot longer, then us that does include what fans are thinking or feeling at any given time. Yet, you would have to shift through a lot of posts to be able to capture much. At the same time, what we do here because of our focus on fandom and fan communities, we have taken the time to provide a little analysis, which serves to document in itself. Now, that said, I’m certain that turns some people off but I like it. (Obviously.)

I guess what I am saying is that we have created a history of our fan community without even trying. That is another reason that I’m super proud of this little blog that could and did.

-A

Songs That Represent Duran Duran Tours

Last weekend, we finished our latest series of questions. In this case, we asked fans to select songs that represented each of Duran Duran tours. We went one tour at a time and picked a song. Now is the time to share the complete results.

First Shows/1981 Tour

The result for these sets of shows was the same and a probably obvious choice!

Rio Tour

Like the previous tours, the choice for the song that best represents this era is also obvious!

Sing Blue Silver Tour

I found the song chosen for this iconic tour to be an interesting one as fans chose The Reflex. While that song was huge in 1984, I was just surprised since the only time it was played during the documentary about this tour was for a sound check.

Strange Behaviour Tour

I was not surprised by this one!

Big Live Thing Tour

Much like the previous tours, fans selected a single from the album that this tour supported.

No Ordinary Tour

I really liked the song that people chose to represent the tours surrounding the Wedding Album!

Thank You Promo Tour

Again, this song was pretty predictable when it comes to the shows played to promote the band’s album of cover songs.

Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour

This tour accompanied the first album without a Taylor. That said, this song makes reference to the band’s beginnings.

Pop Trash Tour

If there is any song and any performance that could be considered memorable, it would be this one!

Astronaut Tour

For many of us, this song represents not only this tour but the reunion!

Red Carpet Massacre Tour

This song is one that many fans think the band should have released as a single during this era.

All You Need Is Now Tour

This song was the title track and one that many miss hearing live now.

Paper Gods Tour

This song was a definite fun one, especially with the confetti!

So what do you all think? Do these songs represent Duran’s various tours? Are there changes you would have made?

On a different note, should we continue with the questions of the week? If so, is there a question you would like us to ask?

-A

Sometimes I Play Along

As the summer continues to fly by, I’m thinking more and more about how this fall, this September, marks our ten year anniversary.  That’s right.  We will have been writing this blog for almost ten years.  Obviously, when we started, the goal was to write daily.  For the most part, we did that with some exceptions and some breaks. 

There is so much that I’m proud of when it comes to this little fan blog.  I’m amazed that we committed to this and stayed with it, no matter what reception we received or what was going on in our worlds outside of fandom.  Looking back, we covered so many different topics.  We were not afraid to dive deep into fandom and our fandom, specifically.  We asked the questions about what is fandom, how does it manifest and then how is it shown in Duranland.  Beyond this, we connected our personal lives to our fandom. Of course, we have analyzed what feels like every topic imaginable under the sun when it comes to Duran Duran, their music, their side projects, their videos, their concerts and everything else. 

When we started, the band was getting ready to release All You Need Is Now.  We saw that album cycle through along with the next one, Paper Gods.  Now, we are back to waiting for what might come next. The past 10 years of blogging have left Rhonda and I wondering what the heck to write about next.  Speaking of pride, I think it is pretty dang impressive, if I do say myself, that we have come up with so many different topics over the years!  That said, we need your help at this point.  What topics haven’t we covered that you would like us to?  Maybe, there are topics that we have talked about before but haven’t for awhile that you would like us to revisit? Of course, we get that it might be tough to just come up with these ideas off the tops of your heads so let me help by giving a list of various topics/ideas that we have covered in the past:

  • Blogging itself or this blog, specifically
  • *Fandom/Fan communities – there is a lot fits under here.  What is fandom?  How is it different than a fan communities?  Music fandom vs. other fandoms.
  • Fan stigma/negative beliefs about all fans or Duranies
  • Duran Duran – again there is a lot that can fit here.  We could revisit songs, albums, videos, etc.  
  • Side and solo projects
  • Book reviews – We did this with John and Andy’s books.  We could do it with another music biography or book on fandom.  
  • Our fan community – how does it function now?  Has it changed?  Why?
  • Social media and fandom or social media in our fan community
  • Our personal lives (EEK! Why would anyone care about that?!)
  • Media representations of fandom – this could be songs, book, movies, art.
  • Lyric ideas – you could share a lyric with us and we have to respond to it in some way shape or form
  • Top whatever – I’m all for top lists.  It could be about anything Duran or fandom related.  *
  • Duran history – we used to do this more regularly. We could start again.
  • Online events? We have held online events before and could do it again.
  • We could assign you all tasks about your ideas like our daily challenge but different
  • Games?

Of course, it still might not be easy to think of what to “assign” us.  Which blogs do you like best?  Which ones do you enjoy reading the most?  I’ll be most curious to hear from the people who don’t read all the time.  What blogs catch your attention?  Which ones get you to read?  I look forward to hearing what you all would like us to write about.  Think of it like this.  You all get to assign us homework.  How fun is that?!

-A

Repost: We Do What We Do

Here’s another post that was written back in July of 2011. We were in the middle of the very first Daily Duranie 30-Day Challenge, and I was making some general comment that very much still applies today. Enjoy! -R

One thing I’ve noticed in doing this challenge is that for the most part, people are far more willing to post what their favorites are as opposed to what their least favorites are…unless we’re talking about management mistakes!  For the past couple of days, we’ve challenged fans to post what they feel was the best and worst videos/songs that John has done (whether that’s solo or with the band).  The participation has weakened slightly, but the favorite video or song that was most mentioned was I Do What I Do.  There were numerous others mentioned that were also close behind – Hey Day, Careless Memories, A-anon and Fields of Eden among them.  Then yesterday we challenged you to post the worst John video or song, and the runaway winner was Do You Believe in Shame.  Other mentions were Violence of Summer, Nasty Ho, There Are Lots and Lots of Ants, and even I Do What I Do. 

Interestingly enough, in 2020…I see even fewer variation in the answers for the John solo questions.

Interestingly enough, the “best” John challenge really made me think because several people  admitted not knowing any of John’s solo music, therefore going with a Duran Duran song (perfectly fine to do!), and some said that unless he was in Duran Duran, they didn’t like anything he did.  (also perfectly fine to admit!)  I know Amanda was surprised that more fans didn’t really know much of his solo work beyond “I Do What I Do”, and I have to agree.  While I readily admit that I had NO idea what John was doing when he wasn’t in Duran Duran when I joined my first message board back just prior to the reunion, it didn’t take me long to catch up.  While I don’t know every word to every song – I do have most, if not all, of his solo work on my trusty iPod. Well, in 2020 it’s now on my iPhone!  Some of it, I genuinely enjoy listening to – Hey Day and 6000 miles being among my favorites, and some of it – I Do What I Do and even Nasty Ho, I don’t listen to very often.  Overall though, I do like a lot of John’s solo work. 

It brings up a very good discussion topic:  how do we really feel about solo work amongst the band?  Is the band only worth following when they’re together, or do you/did you take the time to follow them when it wasn’t about Duran Duran any longer?  Do you turn on the members as they leave, or do you still have love for them regardless of what choices they’ve made professionally?

When Roger left Duran Duran, I mourned the loss…but I continued to be a Duran Duran fan.  I always wondered what happened to him, and I’d heard plenty of rumors about him over the years – but when I heard about Freebass and the single Love is Like Oxygen, I searched all over for a good copy, and I still play it to this day.  I learned to endure through other drummers, going to the extent of not even looking at the drummer when I’d see them live. (this is no joke and my husband continues to torment me about it even now.  It’s annoying!)

I still loved the members who left, and I missed them at Duran Duran shows, but I’d make the effort to see what they were doing otherwise, as if that somehow made it all just a little bit easier.  I don’t know, for me it was as though because Andy and John were still recording, they didn’t completely just disappear off of the planet.  I didn’t make the same concerted effort to follow them as I did Duran Duran, but every now and then I’d try to play catch up.  Even as Andy left the second time, I wished him absolutely no ill-will, and I still read his blogs, listen to his demos, and get excited as I hear of news from him.  All of that said, I still believe that the band collectively as a whole is better than they are as solo acts…but if you can’t have that…I guess hearing their ongoing work is better than nothing.  What about you? 

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!