All posts by Daily Duranie

Once upon a time, there were two Duran Duran fans. One named Amanda, the other named Rhonda. Over many vodka tonics, they would laugh about the idea of one day writing a book about their fan experiences. While that manuscript is still being composed...Rhonda thought they should write a blog. (What was she THINKING?!) Lo and behold: The Daily Duranie was born.

You Didn’t Quite Change Our Mind About Barbarella

Wow. If these are the opening remarks of this series, Amanda and I need to do our homework! Great job, everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and contemplating a reply. Originally I was going to just reply in a comment, and then I wrote a short novel and realized that wasn’t going to work.

I can’t say that my view has been completely changed, but I’ve certainly been given some food for thought. I’d like to keep my response to the same 250 word limit given to our esteemed interns. I was close…

Lyrical evidence

Sexism is about power. Those who hold the power oppressing, defining, and weakening those who do not. With that in mind, none of the songs offered up as being possibly more sexist tend to hold up, at least lyrically. In these cases: ASWI, HLTW, GOF and The Chauffeur, the words clearly put the woman in a position of power. The man is ultimately chasing them. Even in GOF, arguably the most lyrically sexist song lyrically of those mentioned, the woman is clearly a model. There is no clear indication that she is there by force. Read My Lips, on the other hand, is overtly sexual – no argument there – but sexist? I read the lyrics as perhaps someone (maybe even a celeb) in a bar trying to convince a woman to go away with him for a one night stand. Falling Down has nothing to do with sexism, lyrically. It could be about anyone. 

In Electric Barbarella, we can read that this female subject was found on a so-called “showroom floor”. At the onset, she has no power – whether robot, or arguably, even if human. She is powerless. He buys her. He takes her home, dresses her, “plugs her in” and trains her. 

Video evidence

In videos, women still have the power. ASWI – the men are puppets. HTLW – the male is desperately pursuing the female. GOF – in every vignette, it is a woman in charge. She is the horse rider, the masseuse, even the hero. Sex objects, yes. Sexism? No. In Falling Down, the video definitely poses women as the rehab/psych patients and the men are doctors, treating the patients. Is that as overtly sexist? I don’t think so. 

Loved doing this – it was a great exercise!

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The last winner: Astronaut

Which album would you prefer to see performed live in entirety: All You Need Is Now or First Album?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
All You Need Is Now
First album

May The Force Be with…Duran Duran?

Several years back, I found an article online that compared the first three Duran Duran albums to the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a brilliant comparison; unfortunately, I never bookmarked the article and have since been unable to track it down. (Note to readers: ping
me on Twitter (@ckshortell) if you happen to find it.)

I think a similar comparison could be made with some of Duran’s post-reunion albums and the newest Star Wars trilogy. Actually, there’s probably a longer comparison that could compare the entire Star Wars canon with all 14 Duran albums and side projects. But for now, let’s stick to a simple, but apt, comparison.


The Force Awakens/All You Need is Now

The latest Star Wars trilogy launched with 2015’s The Force Awakens. Ten years after the end of the financially successful but critically panned prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, directed
by J.J. Abrams, was actually as much a “soft reboot” of the Star Wars franchise as it was a sequel trilogy. Hugely successful, the movie introduced new characters into the mythology while employing some heavy nostalgia. A bunch of plucky rebels must destroy a big bad planet killing machine! Or, in this instance, a star system killing machine! There were some changes, however. The hero was now a woman, played by the very charismatic Daisy Ridley; the bad guy, Kylo Ren, was still “in training” and not all powerful; and overall, the cast was much more diverse than the original.


Sound familiar?

Think back to nine years ago and All You Need is Now. That album came on the heels of 2007’s Red Carpet Massacre, itself a massacre of circumstance (after Andy’s departure and the shelving of Reportage) and collaboration (with very un-Duranie collaborators like Timbaland joining the team.) (For the record: I mostly like RCM. But for the purposes of this comparison, I’m going with how most of the fanbase reacted to it. Which was badly. Very badly.)

Where did Duran go? To Mark Ronson, as much the “hot” producer as J.J. Abrams was the “hot” director for the Star Wars franchise. And what did Ronson do? Basically “reboot” Duran by helping them craft an album closer to their original, early 80’s sound than anything they had done since. The video about the creation of “Girl Panic” is a microcosm of this approach. “Play the drums like ‘Girls on Film’, Ronson told Roger. And the guitar, asked Dom? “Like Andy played it…on Girls on Film.” And on and on.

But All You Need is Now was more than just a retread of the early material—it genuinely worked, with catchy hooks and classic Duran choruses that had been lacking from many of the previous albums. One review asked, “Where have all these songs been hiding all these years?” Yes, there were clear nods to Rio. But the album also paid homage to other Duran eras. “Safe” channeled the funk from Notorious. The industrial sounding keyboard synth on the title track,
coupled with Dom’s guitars, brought to mind the more rock-oriented 90’s Duran sound, while the chorus was vintage Duran.

Like The Force Awakens, All You Need is Now did add some diversity to the mix. Simon shared the vocals more on AYNIN than on any previous album, with guest appearances by Kelis and Ana Matronic, as well as broadcaster Nina Hossain providing spoken word codas to two songs.

Overall, All You Need is Now succeeded for the same reasons that The Force Awakens did: it created something new, yet familiar, with a broad appeal to both core and new fans alike.

Paper Gods/The Last Jedi

There was a great deal of anticipation following the huge success of The Force Awakens. Specifically, the next movie was set to feature the return of Luke Skywalker, the hero of the original Star Wars trilogy. Mark Hamill reprised the role and was in the closing seconds of The Force Awakens, teasing fans and making the two-year gap between movies seem interminable. The Last Jedi also featured a different director—Rian Johnson—who took over the reins from
J.J. Abrams.

Unlike The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi proved to be a very divisive movie within the Star Wars fanbase. Luke Skywalker’s portrayal as a bitter, older Jedi who intentionally cut himself off from the Force came as a shock to fans, who wanted to see their childhood hero wield his lightsaber and confidently bring the First Order (the bad guys in the movie) to their knees. It didn’t help matters that Mark Hamill was quoted as questioning the script.

The b-plot of the movie—the flight of the Resistance from the First Order—also ends in disaster for our heroes, which didn’t sit well with fans, who thought that much of that plotline was pointless. And, spoiler alert: most of the Resistance dies. In fact, there are so few remaining rebels that they are all able to fit on the Millennium Falcon at the film’s conclusion.

The movie also seemed to gut the new trilogy of any sense of mystery by resolving (or simply negating) far too many plot points than a middle act typically would. Who, exactly, was Supreme Leader Snoke? Apparently, it didn’t matter as he was cut in two by Kylo Ren. Who were Rey’s parents? They were “nobodies” – a major subversion of the “Luke, I am your father” revelation from The Empire Strikes Back.

Meanwhile, on planet earth, Duran Duran followed up the fan friendly All You Need is Now with Paper Gods, an album seemingly as divisive among the fan base as the loathed Red Carpet Massacre. Again, I will freely acknowledge my bias: While I don’t love every single track on Paper Gods, on balance, I think it’s an amazing album, possibly their best since The Wedding Album. As usual, my opinion is likely in the minority among the Duran fan base.

Like The Last Jedi, Paper Gods subverts expectations. The title track is like nothing we’ve really heard from Duran before—it’s an epic opener, a cross between “New Religion” and “The Valley” in sheer scope. And therein lies the problem for some—why would you ever want to channel “The Valley” in any way, shape, or form? (For the record: I love “The Valley”. So I’m fine with it.)

“Last Night in the City” follows, and once again, we’ve shed the 80’s formula from AYNIN. Synths dominate; guitar is largely absent. The band seemed more concerned with a sound that would find chart success in 2015 vs. 1983.

Paper Gods, ultimately, feels like a bunch of different albums lumped onto one playlist. There’s the modern, dance oriented, sequel to Red Carpet Massacre that can be heard on tracks like, “Last Night In the City,” “Danceophobia,” “Face for Today,” and “Change the Skyline.” Then there are darker, more experimental cuts like the title track and “You Kill Me With Silence.” There’s more funk on this album than anything since Notorious, as found on “Butterfly Girl”, “Pressure Off,” “Only in Dreams,” and even “The Universe Alone.” And then there are songs that refuse to fit in any box: the dreamy “What Are the Chances,” in the classic tradition of Duran ballads; the 70’s sounding “Sunset Garage,” which sounds like nothing heard before on any previous Duran album. Even “Face for Today”—which I lumped in with the “modern dance” set of tracks—features as classic a Duran chorus as you will ever hear, that could hav been ripped from 1983’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger sessions.

Paper Gods, like The Last Jedi, dared to be different; it dared to cover new (and old) ground. And both caused their respective fan bases some consternation, as they seemingly failed to live up to the expectations set by the preceding work.

DD15 / Rise of Skywalker

Which brings us to the present. Expectations are high across both the Duran and Star Wars fandoms. In a little over a month, the new Star Wars trilogy concludes with the highly anticipated Rise of Skywalker. The trailer has offered some tantalizing clues, but overall, the plot continues to be shrouded in mystery.

Likewise, the next Duran Duran album is slated for release…possibly in the spring of next year? We all know not to give too much credence to when the band claims its new album will be out. But everything seems lined up for a new album and tour to (finally!) commemorate the 40th anniversary of the band. We’ve gotten a few details on it—Simon claimed recently that it’s an album that will “make you dance” like “Rio”—but we’ve heard similar claims about previous albums that didn’t necessarily turn out true.

What is true is that both the next Star Wars movie and Duran Duran album are highly anticipated by their fans, and many are hoping for change of direction. Will fans be happy with the finished product? Or after so many hears, is it an impossible task that we’ve set up these artists to accomplish?

Stay tuned…and May the (Duran) Force Be With You

Violence of Summer – The Daily Duranie Review

So here we are, at the beginning of the Liberty album. Violence of Summer [Love’s Taking Over] was the 21st single from Duran Duran, and the first off of Liberty. Curiously, this song was originally titled “Live-in Lover”, using the same musical track but different lyrics. A demo of this song (which we always find fascinating to hear), is included on an unofficial compilation Didn’t Anybody Tell You? if you can find it!

The album itself, or at least the band image, seemed to change dramatically between Big Thing and Liberty. Shorter haircuts, paler skin…and a serious muscular increase in guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, along with the addition of drummer Sterling Campbell. It was very clear this was a very different Duran Duran at the beginning of the 1990s. With that, let’s get started!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation

I don’t know how one can listen to this song and sit still. It is incredibly pop – I mean, there’s absolutely no hiding that fact with this one. Nick doesn’t even try with his semi-funhouse sounding keyboards. The other thing I notice about the song, almost immediately, is that the sound is incredibly top heavy. There isn’t much of a bottom (bass) to it, although it is there deep in the mix! Drums are there, but again- not obvious. The result is a song that doesn’t feel balanced. Fun, yes! Balanced? No.

Guitar is barely discernible as well – enough to where I have to wonder if it’s there at all! I do love the piano both at the beginning and end, and it is only then (at the end) that I hear the high hat cymbal, along with a ton of background “bubbling” as though they’ve poured (yep, you guessed it!) soda pop into a glass!

Yep, this is 100% pure, shamelessly fun, pop.

Vocals

I don’t know what in the hell was going on in Simon’s life at this time, but his vocals sound like he took a rake, swallowed it, and dragged it back out. They’re incredibly rough sounding. I don’t know if they made him sing the song 5,000 times in succession or if he had a nasty sore throat. He still hits the notes, but the ones at the top of his range suffer. Oddly, it isn’t off-putting and adds to the style of the song.

Lyrics

The themes are decidedly Duran, but presented far differently. Fleeting love, flirtation, and a bit of the female/male push and pull – nothing we haven’t seen before. What IS different, however, is the way the themes are portrayed. Rather than the somewhat romantic, poetic imagery as in previous albums, Violence of Summer is rather blatant. Girl with boy meets another boy and decides to go with him instead, causing what I can only assume is a fight later on. It’s a bit, well, pedestrian, really – and seems to be such a huge departure from songs like “Edge of America” or even “Palomino”. This is a very different Duran Duran in 1990.

Overall

Violence of Summer is a fun song. It is the song I blast in my car at 2am when I’m driving somewhere and need to stay awake. It is a carefree, sing-a-long without a worry song. The song isn’t deep, definitely not introspective, and not really the Duran Duran that I am used to. When critics speak of how pop driven Duran Duran has been during their career, my mind automatically drifts to this song.

The song still sounds incredibly top-heavy to me, as though I have my stereo turned all the way to treble without any bass. I fault the mixing here, as well as the production, because it does feel very overdone. Additionally, Simon’s raspiness – it’s distracting only because I know what he normally sounded like, and this wasn’t it. I can remember hearing this song when it was released, and while it had many of the hallmarks of a typical Duran Duran song – something was indeed different. The unbalanced sound, the lyrics about girls and bikers, and the naming of Warren as an official member of Duran Duran (1989 at the end of the Big Thing tour), along with Sterling Campbell were all things that changed the band’s sound. It would be unfair to review this song without fairly considering those major changes. I enjoy the song, but it has never been one that I take seriously. It has merit for those occasions when I need those carefree moments.

Cocktail Rating

3 cocktails!

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation

It hard for me to imagine, off the top of my head, another Duran song that is so focused on piano. It grabs you right away. Now, of course, this isn’t your serious piano recital kind of piano but one that it is designed to be fun and pop-focused, which I don’t mind. I like that Duran mixes it up a bit like that. Of course, other instruments chime in but it really feels like I have to really concentrate to notice them, especially guitar for the most part. As with many other Duran songs, there is some effects going on as well giving an almost underwater sort of sound through the verses. Rhonda called it “bubbling” in her review above, which is a good word for it! One final note on the musicality of this song that I have noticed is how little difference there really is between verse and chorus until the end. I have to really to listen to there lyrics to tell when the song switches from one to the other, which doesn’t feel like typical Duran to me.

Vocals

I’m not exactly sure what to think about Simon’s vocals here. One thing that amazes me about Simon’s voice is how it helps to create a mood, a feeling.  In this case, his vocals works to create a fun mood, forcing each listener to sing along even if you try to resist. I tend to think that is the only thing that was the focus when recording and mixing this one. All that was wanted was for Simon to add to the pop nature and feel of the song. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. One thing that intrigues me is how the band never played this album live and from what I know this song has never been played live much despite it being a single. Did the vocals play a role in that?

Lyrics

The lyrics to this song are different than a lot of Duran lyrics up until this point.  Usually, they have been either poetic or vague enough that a story is not created.  These lyrics, on the other hand, feel exactly like a story where this woman is flirting hardcore with a “biker” who is a “metalhead.”  Then, of course, the context is summer when “love takes over.”  I am not a huge fan of the whole storyline thing as I much prefer to give my own interpretation unless the story could/does act as a metaphor to something else.  That said, there are some lines that I just cannot help but sing, including, “Don’t give me drink, I don’t wanna get too stoned.”  Who hasn’t said the exact same thing at some point or another?!

Overall


I cannot say that this is best quality Duran Duran song ever made. While I appreciate the fact that this song makes me want to sing along no matter what, I miss some more typical Duran elements. I wish that the lyrics weren’t so obvious, for example. On top of that, I missed the balanced instrumentation. It feels to me that the band worked really hard to create a feeling rather than just letting the process go where it may. What interests me is the fact that there are SO many remixes of this song on various releases. Why? Did they think that the remixes would help it sell? Yet, they did not tour the album. It all just makes me wonder what they were all thinking about.

Cocktail Rating

Question of the Day: Sunday, November 17, 2019

The last winner was: Big Thing

Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety: Medazzaland or Astronaut?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
Medazzaland
Astronaut

Question of the Day: Thursday, November 14, 2019

The last winner: The First Album

Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety: Big Thing or the Wedding Album?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
Big Thing
The Wedding Album

Question of the Day: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The last winner: All You Need Is Now

Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety: 1st album or Seven and the Ragged Tiger?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
1st album
Seven and the Ragged Tiger

One Last Post Before I Go

It’s Monday, the first day of our self-imposed sabbatical, and I’m already breaking it. *takes bow*

I just missed you all so much….

Ok, so I missed out blogging on Thursday. I have a few things left to share before I go.

Thank you!

First of all, thank you – all of you – for the kind notes, pictures, thoughts, and good wishes for my birthday. I had a terrific day, which is half of the reason I didn’t post a blog. (Our internet was also down for a good portion of the day, so there’s also that.) It was a very special day, and I can’t thank you enough.

What if your favorite band didn’t exist?

Second, I saw a movie over the weekend that I’d been curious about for a while, Yesterday. Simply put, what would happen in a world where no one remembered The Beatles?

The movie was cute, I suppose. There were also a zillion plot holes that really bothered me on most every level. The screenwriters seemed to take an insightful topic, and watered it down to be just another rom-com. The love story didn’t matter to me. I wanted to know more about the world without some key pieces of pop culture missing from the meta.

I thought a lot about what it means to love music so much that you want it to keep living. I’m 49 now, and many of the heroes I hold dear have left this earth. George Michael, Tom Petty, Ric Ocasek, Prince….I can go on and on, but you get the point. The music, at least for me, isn’t JUST about the people who wrote and performed it, although certainly that is huge. The music itself is what lives on. It is the gift left behind. The one thing we are able to hold on to once our heroes have passed. It’s food for thought, I suppose.

Change my mind!

Lastly, I am reaching out to any and all interested writers! As you know, Amanda and I are taking a break from now through the end of the year. However, we are also going to try a different style of post during our absence. We need YOUR help to make it successful.

This post is going to be called “Change My Mind”. Essentially, Amanda and/or I will come up with a topic, and it will be up to you – should you choose to accept the challenge – to change our mind in 100 words or less! So, for example, maybe the topic is “Hungry Like the Wolf” is an overrated song. Your job would be to make a compelling (and incredibly short) argument! We already have two brilliant writers ready to get their fingers flying, but it would be great to have a few more. If you’re at all interested, email us at dailyduranie@gmail.com. We’ll put you in touch with Jason, who will be the contact for this little game of ingenuity!

That’s more than enough from me for a while. I’m off to tackle real life for a while!

-R

Question of the Day: Sunday, November 10, 2019

The last winner was: Astronaut

Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety: All You Need Is Now or Paper Gods?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
All You Need Is Now
Paper Gods

Happy Birthday Rhonda 2019!

My blogging to-do list includes my part of a review that I’m supposed to do for today. I’m being a rebel, though, and not doing it. I will do it for the weekend, though. No, instead I want to take some time to celebrate a certain blogger’s birthday. Yep, yesterday was Rhonda’s birthday. When I started to think about her birthday, I realized that I have been wishing her a happy birthday for 15 years now! 15! So, I figured that it might be fun to share a favorite memory of each of those years as a way to celebrate her and our friendship! (By the way, you should probably get a beverage or 10. It got a little long. I got carried away!)

2004-Howl at the Moon

Rhonda and I met in September of 2004 even though we had chatted online a few times before that. As we have talked about many times before, we came together in New Orleans for the Duran Duran Fan Convention. At the time, I really just wanted to meet as many people as possible, not really thinking about meeting my best friend or partner-in-crime. Then, I would go so far as to say that if I had, Rhonda might have been the last person I would suspect. After all, I knew that she was from Southern California and seemed to be from a far different world than my Midwestern, not-that-cool background. That said, by the time we found ourselves at Howl at the Moon on late Saturday/early Sunday, I felt a connection. I have a strong memory of us sitting in the audience, sipping our drinks while singing along with Hungry Like the Wolf. Yep, that song always seems to have been there.

2005-Partying in Vegas

Here’s a story that I don’t think we have ever shared on this blog before. In the fall of 2005, we met in Vegas for a girls weekend that happened to be the same one as the Andre Agassi charity show that featured a (way too short) set by Duran. After the show, we were ready to party as were the thousands of Duranies there that night. At one point, a friend of ours told Rhonda that she knew where Roger was going to be and that she had access to the VIP part of the club. Rhonda had a choice. She could have easily gone with the cool crowd into this VIP area, but she wouldn’t go without me. So, we found a way to both go. To this day, I’m not really sure why. Rhonda has always been the far cooler one between the two of us with many more people in the community seeking out her friendship and company. For some crazy reason that I’ll never get, she has always included me, probably killing a little of her social status by doing so.

2006-HB!

In March of 2006, we attended a Duranie weekend gathering in Chicago. Originally, Rhonda had no plans to go but when an unused plane ticket came available, she jumped at the chance. The weekend was super fun from spending a lot of money on weak drinks at the Holiday Club to watching Live from London with a bunch of other fans. One of my favorite memories of that weekend was when we got separated for some reason and Rhonda had no idea where the heck I had gone to. So, she called and ended up leaving a voicemail. The message was a simple one–where the hell are you followed by…”ho-bag”. Did she just call me a ho-bag, I asked myself. She did. From then on, it is a term that we use more often than you might think we should!

2007-Pyramid Club

In June of 2007, we met up in New York City for the show-that-shall-not-be-named. The best part of the weekend, though, was attending a pre-show party at the Pyramid Club. As we entered the bar, without speaking, we separated to join other groups. (Strangely enough, I wanted to meet up with fellow John fans and Rhonda moved towards the Roger fans.) What was cool about this was how we met new people, which isn’t easy for either of us, but then came back together at the end of the night to dance and laugh before eating a diner before bed.

2008-George Washington Bridge

The fall of 2008 found us on the East Coast, hitting shows in New Jersey and Connecticut. In the process of traveling from show to show, we had no choice but to hit New York City. Fun fact. I hate bridges and the George Washington Bridge has to be one of my least favorites, especially when stuck on it due to horrendous traffic. Did you know that you can feel the bridge move?! Not fun. Thankfully, Rhonda did not laugh at my anxiety too much. The heavy traffic turned out to be helpful, in some weird way, though. Since we had a lot of time to talk, the first ripples of our research began. I remember this weird feeling of being alive, which came from being with someone who is equally curious, who seeks out knowledge and understanding, who gets excited by revelations.

2009-The Kids

In 2009, we took Rhonda’s eldest daughter, to her first Duran show. While it was super fun to see her reaction, I enjoyed being a part of this mother/daughter moment. It reminds me of how lucky I have been in that she has shared her kids with me. Not only did I get to see Heather at this show, but I was able to share some advice for her son and her youngest followed my footsteps by being born on April 29th. Fun fact. My mom’s best friend has the same birthdate. It seems like a pattern now!

2010-The Beginning of the Blog

Uh…we started this blog in 2010, a million years ago. While we have talked plenty about the blog, I have to acknowledge that it has made us closer and has worked to always keep us connected. I’m forever thankful for this. We are truly the only two people who know exactly what it is like to be us, the owners of this site. I know that I’m constantly thankful that I am not alone in this public journey. Speaking for myself, I know that I would have folded a long time ago but knowing that I am not alone has definitely given me strength. On that note, I have to give another shout out to the birthday woman. Thank goodness that she deals with keeping the computer programming aspect of this going as I have neither the will, the time or the patience to tackle it.

2011-Birmingham Tour

We have probably written about some aspect or another of our trips to the UK in 2011 countless times. This is a little different, though. When we went to the UK in May of 2011 for the shows that did not happen, we still ended up in Birmingham, mostly because it was too late to change plans. Even though many told us that there was no reason to really go there, I was glad to be there. I wanted to see where the band I know and loved came from. In fact, before we left, I had done some research about where Duran related places were located and wrote up a walking tour of sorts. After all, I figured that this was my one chance to really gain a new and/or deeper understanding of Duran. Well, by the time we got to the city, our traveling companions weren’t that excited, to say the least. In fact, they really wanted Rhonda to push me into forgetting about it. She didn’t do that. No, she supported me in my desire to really see the city. Much like the VIP club in 2005, she could have chosen to be with the cooler people and chose me instead. By the end of the day, I believe that she was glad to have joined me on this tour even if it separated her from the others. On top of that, again, we found ourselves having a unique experience that only worked to bring us closer together.

2012-Front row

The summer tour of 2012 was a monumental one in that we finally found ourselves in the front row. Biloxi’s general admission setting provided us the chance to get up early and wait all day to get that coveted spot. For once, we just embraced the idea. We didn’t talk ourselves out of it or tell ourselves that the desire for the front was dumb. Then, as we have previously written about, we weren’t so awesome during the show once we met that goal. This reminded us that we are still learning and to just dive into enjoying shows, no matter what.

2013-Durandemonium

Umm…we organized and hosted a weekend long convention in Chicago during the fall of 2013. That alone would make for an awesome memory but there is one part that really made me smile. At the end of Saturday night/early Sunday morning, we arrived back to the hotel from the 80s club via the party bus along with a number of convention attendees. Something told Rhonda and myself that we shouldn’t follow the crowd in. Instead, we ran down the road before heading over to a diner for an early breakfast. The relief we felt after having it all go successfully required some down time.

2014-Visits

Over the years, Rhonda and I have visited each other’s houses a number of times. Sometimes, those have been connected to shows or tours and some have not. Rhonda came out to visit in the summer of 2014 in order to finish one of our manuscripts, which we did. Beyond that, though, the time allowed us plenty of time to talk and just enjoy being together. Typically, when we are together, we are constantly on the move to get to shows or to get ready for some event or another. This visit, though, wasn’t about that. It gave us real time. I, for one, loved showing off my life to some extent. Visits like these help give insight that cannot really happen on tour. This is why, at some point, I would love to welcome Rhonda into my classroom so that she could see that aspect of my life or even on the campaign trail.

2015-Ace Hotel

Desperation results in people flying out to Los Angeles to see one to three songs performed live. Yep. This was me in the spring of 2015. I needed a Duran fix so I did what must be done and flew out to LA to see the band perform at the David Lynch Tribute Show. The night of the show was so fun from getting pictures with some band members, enjoying many drinks, closing down the bar and more. Yeah, it might not have been the most logical move for me, but so fun. I’m forever thankful that Rhonda just went with my crazy plan (as usual). (Let me make it clear–when it comes to shows, I’m almost always the one to push for more shows and not less.)

2016-Toronto

This memory makes me shake my head. I know that you have all read the story of our interactions with Simon that night at the hotel bar after the show. While I love the heck out of that part, I’m almost more amused by two statements made by Rhonda that night. When we first arrived at the bar, we knew that the night was going to be something…um…interesting, so when the waiter asked if we wanted drinks, Rhonda let him know that he should just keep them coming. She explained that there was no reason for him to waste time by asking. No, he should just keep making them. The result? We were a little tipsy by the end of the night and that was a pricey bar bill. Then, if that was not enough, at the end of the night, Rhonda struggled to take off her earring. No clue why. I even tried to help. I think back to how ridiculous we must of looked, I laugh and laugh.

2017-Lime Green Shoes

Who would ever consider doing this and why?

Enough said!

2018-Post Election Day

I suspect that a lot of people don’t really understand my political activism. Rhonda might not either but I do appreciate that she tries to get it. More than that, she has celebrated my wins. I cannot begin to express how much that means to me. Likewise, she offers sympathy when I lose a battle. That kind of support means a lot and helps me to keep going for the next fight. A good example of what I’m talking about is the blog she wrote the day after Election Day 2018, after I had won a big one. She didn’t care about writing about Duran or fandom. No, she used the blog to congratulate me. I thank her for that. It means a lot.

2019-New project

Somehow, despite all, we are venturing onward with another project. It would be safe to say that we are both excited by this one. Every time we conference (like we will today) I am reminded about how lucky I am to have a best friend that is so smart and committed to doing a good job with researching and writing. How lucky am I that my best friend is not only the person I laugh with the most, have the most fun with but also can work with?

As I look back at these last 15 years, I realize how fortunate I have been to have Rhonda in my life. She has been around for so much, including some absolutely amazing times and moments and some really tough ones. On top of that, together, we have created an amazing blog that has such an overwhelming amount of posts. Our research has taught us a lot about the process, about ourselves and about each other. So, on the day after Rhonda’s birthday, I raise a glass for her, wish her a happy birthday and thank her for all of these memories and countless more! Happy Birthday, Ho-Bag!

-A