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.

Allow Me To Introduce The Encores Club!

Lazy Listeners Unite!

I’m wondering how many of our readers out there would describe themselves as a “Lazy Listener”? I’ve described myself that way, accurately so because up until very recently – I didn’t even bother clicking on the “New Releases” playlist on Spotify! Like many of you, I’m nearly fifty, I didn’t think I had a ton of time (or patience), and I like things handed to me…preferably on a shiny silver platter!

I didn’t want to do the homework. The searching. The wincing as I heard sounds that might be unpleasant to my ears, even. The fact is, I was stuck in a rut. I don’t know that I was happy, but I am sure that I was complacent! It was easier just to click on my own playlist, or wait for the next Duran Duran album to come out, than to find new bands on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, I listen to music – but inevitably it is music I already know. We go back to what we are already comfortable with, don’t we? Such is the lazy listener, which is me!

Hit that New Release button!

So, what does one do to motivate themselves into finding new music? First, you agree to do a monthly YouTube show with someone who knows far more about music than you do. Second, you start reading all of the music magazines and e-newsletters that show up in your email. Then maybe you even begin taking recommendations from the very person/people in your favorite band(s). Lastly, you start clicking on that New Releases button in Spotify!!

Over the past couple of months, I’ve easily listened to more new music than I have collectively over the past ten years. I’m not an expert by any means, but I feel a lot more informed about what’s out there, I’ll say that. Names like Caroline Rose, Ist Ist, Orla Gartland, Inhaler, Public Practice, and Denai Moore are among bands and artists I’ve uncovered lately, thanks to the methods I mentioned above.

We’re not critics, we just play them on YouTube

I mentioned a few weeks back that Jason and I have been working on a new project called “The Encores Club”. Essentially, it’s a YouTube show for people of a certain age (Read: whatever age you are is the age we’re talking about!) that are interested in getting a couple of newish music suggestions a month. Our thinking is that there are a ton of people out there that don’t know where to start when it comes to finding new bands to follow, and I’m here to take that journey with you! There are a lot of music critics out there – nearly every music site or magazine has them – but there’s not much out there for the real people. If you happen to be reading this and sitting back nodding your head – this might just be the show for you!

We’re doing some of the heavy lifting, too. Each month, Jason and I pick a couple of albums for listening, and then come together with guest or two for a 20-minute (yes, just 20 minutes is all we’re asking!) video to chat about them. It’s a good way to dive into a music search of your own! Over time, you’re going to get to know us, what we like, what we don’t love, and how our music tastes are expanding. (Ok, perhaps I mean *my* musical taste…because Jason’s is already pretty vast!!) The very first episode comes out on June 25 – just three little days from now!

Yes, I’ve just used Daily Duranie blogging space to shamelessly plug the new show.

The Encores Club premiers this Thursday!

The Encores Club isn’t what I’m working on “instead” of Daily Duranie, by the way. Jason and I can do both! This site and blog will continue on – it’s a part of my soul at this point and I wouldn’t give it up. After all, it’s nearly a decade old now, and we’re waiting for a new album, right? Amanda and I are still a team. Jason is still our faithful intern and team member, and he isn’t too famous to quit answering my texts…yet! Regardless, we still have work to do here. In fact, Amanda is going to be one of our guest Encore Club members for an upcoming show we’re filming this week! (I wonder if that show will go longer than 20 minutes….)

So, check us out on the 25th for the premiere of our very first show! I’m posting the link to the first show here, but it won’t go “live” until the 25th. Please watch it on the 25th, and if you like what you see, hit the subscribe button! Then if you click on the bell icon, you can be notified whenever we put up new episodes or other fun things! Then, we’d really appreciate your help by shouting about The Encores Club on Twitter! If you have a new album you’d like to see us discuss on a future episode, let us know via twitter or our very own gmail! We look forward to continuing to chat about new music!

Find us on the socials

The Encore Club Premier – June 25th 2020

@encoresclub on Twitter

Encoresclub@gmail.com

-R

Question of the Week of June 21st: What Song Represents the Strange Behaviour Tour?

This week’s poll moved to Sunday, where it may stay. Honestly, I pushed it back a day in order to celebrate John Taylor’s birthday, which I suspect that you are all fine with. Anyway, the survey theme continues. We are trying to develop a playlist of songs that represent each and every Duran tour. When this set of questions began, we chose to start at the most recent tour and move backwards in time. Here are the selections so far:

  • Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour – Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour – Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour – Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour – Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour – White Lines
  • No Ordinary Tour – Too Much Information
  • Big Live Thing Tour – I Don’t Want Your Love

This, of course, brings us to the year of 1987 and the Strange Behaviour Tour to support the album, Notorious. As always, the poll includes each and every song that was played by Duran live during that year. Out of all the songs on the list, which one do you represents that tour the most? Happy voting!

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Represents the Strange Behavior Tour?
Which Song Represents the Strange Behavior Tour?
Which Song Represents the Strange Behavior Tour?

Happy 60th Birthday John Taylor!

You would think that I would welcome writing this blog, right? After all, I am a John Taylor fan. He’s my favorite. Yet, this blog makes me nervous as I want to do an amazing job to be worthy, to do his birthday justice. I am not all that confident that I’m up to the task, especially since this is a big birthday for our favorite bass man. Alas, I’ll do the best I can.

Childhood

I have a confession to make. I was not always a John Taylor girl. I hesitate to even admit this but…when I first found out about Duran Duran at the tender age of 8, I gravitated towards Simon. After all, he was the voice of the band. Even the initial videos that I saw from Hungry Like the Wolf to Save a Prayer focused on him, or at least that is how I saw it then. One video changed all that.

All it took was one direct look into the camera for me to openly and loudly declare, “Oh, he’s cute!” Thankfully, my childhood best friend totally agreed with me. We both fell for him at the same time. Interestingly enough, we were too young to compete or to fight over who got to claim him as theirs as many other young, female Duranies did. No, for us, it was reassuring that we could pick out the “cute one.” It meant that we were normal, somehow.

After that, Beth (my childhood friend) and I sought out every picture, every interview, every moment focusing on John Taylor. When one of us got a new magazine, we would stare and dissect every picture and every word credited to be his. We tried to like what he did. John is a James Bond fan? Let’s check out some Bond films. He liked cars. Let’s fantasize about which cars we wanted as adults. Of course, we followed him with the Power Station side project and thought we had died and gone to heaven when this solo song came out.

For me, for my friend, John Taylor was just the coolest. He was so fashionable, so smart, so articulate–the exact opposite of what we saw in our working class south suburb of Chicago.

Reunion

Like so many, Duran Duran took the back seat of life for awhile as I finished high school and throughout college. Yet, I never forgot the band and tried to pay attention to what they were doing, when I could. At that point, a new friend made sure to let me know what she was hearing about the band happenings. We went to see Duran for the first time in 1993 and loved the show even though something felt slightly off to me. After that, I paid a little bit more attention and remember being shocked when I heard that John had left the band. It felt like one more foundational piece of my childhood was gone. I didn’t know the circumstances or his reasoning. I just never thought I would see it. That said, I still felt excited whenever I saw John appear on TV, usually to celebrate the 80s like in this clip:

Thankfully, all the stars aligned in the early 2000s as the band reunited and I finished graduate school. I found myself with more time and desperately seeking some fun. All I needed was to have someone mention Duran Duran and their reunion and I became obsessed. When did they get back together? Would that make new music? Would they tour? Would I be able to find fellow fans to hang out with? Similarly, what did I miss? What could I catch up on? It was like someone invited me to a Duran Duran all-you-can-eat buffet. I literally could not get enough as I caught up with albums like Medazzaland and Pop Trash. More fun, though, was to find all of John’s solo work.

As I got to know John’s work, I discovered that his lyrics were vastly different than what we were used to with Simon. John’s words tended to be more personal, more obviously autobiographical. As I listened, I often thought to myself that he had to write them in such a way. He needed to. He needed to be that honest, that open. It reminds me of how writing this blog has allowed me to think through things, to figure stuff out. While many Duranies criticized his work for this reason or others, I found it so incredibly brave. It is not easy to show yourself like that, especially after being on a pedestal for decades by countless fans.

Present Day

As the reunion moved into present day Duran Duran, I noticed that I began seeing John differently. He was no longer that perfect fantasy of youth, cooler than cool. He also wasn’t the guy trying to process through life changes and the battle for sobriety that I saw in looking back at his solo days. It felt like I began to see John more as a complex human being with a full range of characteristics, feelings, etc. He was no longer the flat stereotype of a teen heart throb of my childhood and he was no longer the 2 dimensional image of a rock star trying to get himself together. No, he is way more than that. He can be the teacher educating us all about how various Duran songs were created in his bass tutorials. He can also be the writer of his own experiences in his autobiography.

While he is still the coolest guy in the room, he is also willing to be silly and even dorky as seen by the awesome Dad dancing of Danceophobia.

As I think about wishing John Taylor a happy birthday, I cannot help but to think about the gifts that he has given all of us. Those presents are more than just the music that he has created and performed over the years, at least for me. I think about how much he has taught me about the kind of person I would like to be. It isn’t about trying to be super cool. No, it is about embracing who you are, sharing your truth and finding joy without really caring what others might think of you. For all of that and more, I wish John the happiest of birthdays and many, many, many more to come!

-A

With Broken Glass For Us To Hold

I’m so sorry that today’s post is so late. I had good intentions to get it done before a meeting I had but that led to a massive headache. Although, to be fair, the headache did not have one specific cause but many. It isn’t like today is any worse than any other day but life has all built up to be a lot. To be too much. Let me explain. First, there is a lot about my job that is headache-worthy, including a schedule for next year that is terrible, more work on my plate, a significant pay cut and the loss of job security. On top of that, no one knows how school will be implemented. I wish that I felt like I had choices, job wise, but I have few, if any. Then, I have spent the week with my parents, taking my mom to and from medical appointments. Thankfully, she is well but it has been exhausting to always be the care giver. If all that was not enough, the fall election is less than 140 days and the pressure is already beginning. Now, I could take all of that but, in addition, I have had a lot of people contacting me about what to do about work, or the political climate, or their own lives, etc. and so forth. Generally speaking, I like being the person that people can rely on, the person people turn to, the person who provides advice. Right now, though, I’m left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I feel like I cannot help any of that as I cannot even help myself. All I want to do is turn away from the world and escape.

I’m even thinking about this escape in my sleep. Last night, I had a dream about the method I have been using to run away from life for the last 15 years or so. That’s right. I dreamt that I was at a Duran Duran concert. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all of the details but I know it as a Duran show as I talked about how many times I had seen them before. In the dream, I went to two different shows as I had a different seat for both of them. I didn’t even mind that my seat for the second show was terrible or that I couldn’t even see the stage really at all. I was just so thrilled to be there. Anyway, I have always known that concerts provide me a break from the everyday hassle of life. They allowed me to get away from my house, my city, my state, and sometimes my country all the while letting my responsibilities to be pushed to the side at least for awhile. I didn’t have to think about my to do list, or how my parents, my students, my campaign was going. No, on tour, it was all about fun and laughing. It was about music and dancing and joy.

I always knew and appreciated the magic of touring. Now, though, I recognize that it was deeper than that. It renewed my spirit and my strength in a deeper way than I even knew. After a tour, I could do more. I could continue to work hard, to give 110%, to fight the good fight. These days, I could use a lot of that as I even more to do, even more to worry about. But, that is not an option. There are no concerts or tours on my horizon. While I am lucky to have friends to chat with via text, email or zoom, none of that is the same as the all-consuming fun experience of being on tour. All of this leaves me sad and feeling less strong, less able to take on the world.

As I finish up the blog, I recognize that I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed, sad, and missing what life used to be like. I know that I’m not. I also can acknowledge that I have it better than many people. I know that. I’m lucky to have good health, a family and friends who care about me, a job, etc. Likewise, I can be hopeful that tomorrow will be better. Until then, I will hide myself away from the world, wishing I could be a concert with fellow fans, screaming, dancing and singing the night away.

-A

-A

A Little More Stone Love Bass Odyssey

Yesterday, I watched the final installment of John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey on Instagram. I didn’t realize it was the final one until I noticed some comments lamenting it being “the end” and how sad they were. I’m almost glad I didn’t know at the time, because I just enjoyed watching John break down the structure of A View to a Kill. For that short ten-minute span, I didn’t worry about anything else. I didn’t let anything else enter my mind, and concentrated on the music. It was glorious.

Life has been rough for all of us lately. Having these little glimpses into the creative process, completely with all of the music geekery, have really made my week more fun, and I hope they’ve done the same for many of you out there. Judging purely from the number of views John’s breakdown sessions have gotten, I’d say they’ve done their job well. It’s difficult to imagine that John has taken the time to do these for the past six weeks!

If his Bass Odyssey’s weren’t enough, yesterday brought another special treat as he spent an hour chatting with none other than Roger Taylor, also on Instagram. These little chat sessions have been so great, primarily because rather than focus on questions or comments from the viewers, it’s been about the conversation.

I know that at least a few people have mentioned being disappointed by that. I felt the opposite. Watching John and Roger speak casually was probably the closest I’ll get to being a fly on the wall. In every case, I felt like it was an intimate and friendly chat between friends. Twitter Q&A’s certainly never afforded that kind of setting. I found that without the constant commenting, I focused far more on what they were saying and less so on the barrage of “I love you’s”. In fact, during the moments John did turn on comments, there were a couple of times I found myself typing in something to say, which in hindsight kind of ruined the moment (for me). I guess what I’m saying is that in my opinion, the positive engagement came from listening to him speak with his guest, not because I was able to make a comment and send it. It isn’t as though he’s ever able to read or respond to anyone, or at least not many.

Before I sign off, I’d like to acknowledge something – Daily Duranie is a blog. It isn’t a news site. This website has everything to do with Amanda and I, and now Jason too. We give a part of ourselves to this collective effort each week. It is personal in that Amanda, Jason and I are not journalists on this site, nor have we ever suggested otherwise. The reason why our blog has drawn attention – aside from the obvious topic at hand – is because when we’ve written, we’ve been able to inject our own voice, and our own life experiences. That makes it unusual from most other sites out there, and I’m proud of that. If you are looking for straight music journalism, this isn’t the place to get it. There are a variety of sources out there for impersonal articles that do their job remarkably well. When we write or even record a review of a Duran Duran song and post it, don’t kid yourselves – we are perfectly aware of our bias. We write from our own perspective and have done so for nearly a decade now. It is a shame that the focus isn’t on the good things each site provides to the fan community at large without taking cheap shots at one another. Is there really a point to that?

So often we fans like to engage in some sort of sick purity test as a way to create a hierarchal society. It is done on social media, but I’ve seen it discussed in person at concerts just as often. Topics such as “Who is the best fan? Which of us are the “most serious fans” Who is a fan because they like the music – which means they’re a real fan, and which of us are here because they’re after the “ultimate” autograph?” get thrown about online, whether blatant or through vaguely worded exchanges. Don’t you ever get tired of it? I sure do. We’re all here because we want to be. After nearly ten years of writing this blog, I just don’t know why it really needs to be anything more than that.

-R

It Was Thirty-Nine Years Ago…

So, 39 years ago yesterday, this little gem was released.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I still can’t quite believe it. Thirty-nine years? Did we do the math wrong?? It just seems hard to imagine that I’ve been a fan of this band for that long. (heh – just imagine what it must be like to have been one of them, having LIVED it all!)

When I think back, I can remember buying their debut album. First off, my original album doesn’t look like that one. It’s more like this one below:

Back then, I really didn’t know much about the band, only that I loved “Is There Something I Should Know”, which yes – I realize wasn’t on the original debut album released in the UK. I can also tell you that I didn’t buy the debut album first. For me, Duran Duran’s first album here in America was Rio.

Oh, I can hear the screams of protest from around the globe now…

As my story goes, I bought Rio first (which yes, was also a reissue with the Kershenbaum remixes. No, I didn’t know anything about that at the time). In fact, Rio was the only album available in my record store by Duran Duran on that fateful day sometime in April of 1983. That is because Rio was released in America on April 2nd of 1983…and the US reissue of Duran Duran’s debut album didn’t show up in record stores until April 25 of 1983. The original version of their debut was nowhere to be found. So yes, for me, Rio was in my record collection first. At that point, I was just 12 years old – the same age as my youngest right now (that’s mind boggling when I stop and think about it) – and I didn’t know much about Duran Duran. Heck, at that point, I didn’t know that much about music, unless it was Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms! (or Mozart. Can’t forget him.)

I guess by this logic, it really hasn’t been 39 years since I first bought their album….but I’m just going to go with it…

The very first poster I bought of Duran Duran was an enlarged version of the picture found on their US debut album. It hung on the wall behind my bed, just about my bedroom window. I couldn’t get over how tan Simon was, or Nick’s cheekbones (and hair, of course). If I remember right, I bought that poster the day I went in with my friend Marsha to buy Rio. That album purchase was a big deal, because as I recall, it was the very first record album I ever went into a store to buy for myself.

I can remember Marsha – she was the true rock music scholar of the two of us back then – explaining to me that we’d made an egregious error in buying Rio before getting their debut album. She was always so OCD and exacting about that kind of thing – I just wanted to buy their music, not caring so much about what came first or what “edition” I had. Marsha though, she was very particular about her music collection. Before Duran Duran, she’d been an avid Beatles collector (in fact I wonder a lot about her Beatles album collection nowadays, because I know she had the “right” versions of their entire catalog. She’d spent hundreds of hours – and many dollars – searching and finding just the right pressings to add to her collection even back then!), and she was well-versed in reissues, pressings, label changes, and that sort of thing.

Me? I just wanted to listen to “Is There Something I Should Know” every minute of the day….yay. I was more than slightly disappointed it wasn’t on Rio, since it seemed like since it had only just come out on the radio – it should be on that album! (See what I mean? I didn’t have a single clue)

Anyway, Marsha calmly and patiently explained that we’d have to go back to Music+ and buy the US reissue of their debut. She was insistent that we try and find the original pressing though, because for some reason, that mattered to her. I was 12. I just wanted my damn song. On one of the following Saturdays, we convinced her mom to take us back to the record store, where we each bought our now well-loved copies of their US reissued debut, along with this t-shirt:

Now, this isn’t exactly my shirt – which I still have. Mine was a muscle-tee, which meant no sleeves (if you’re going to do the 80s, do ‘em all the way, I guess…). I don’t wear that shirt anymore because, well, I’ve grown since I was 12.

Those that know me in real life could probably read this blog and say, “Yep, that sounds a lot like Rhonda.” While it’s true that I’ve had to get better about knowing the differences between say, Japanese and American album pressings, or what in fact the Kershenbaum mixes really are and how they’re different, because I write The Daily Duranie – for the most part – I have never been that great about paying attention! Certainly not when I was 12. I wasn’t that sort of collector or fan. I’m still really not! I love what I love, I don’t care what version I have, and I don’t try to get every single edition of whatever is out.

As I listen to Duran Duran’s debut album, and just so everyone knows – it has always been, and will likely continue to remain my favorite, so I play it the most often, I can truly say that I never once thought about how long I might listen to it when I bought it that day at Music+. Never did it occur to me that I’d grab it off the shelf thirty-nine years later, still proclaiming it to still be my favorite. Never once did I think that I’d see the band live, travel to shows, or make lifelong friends as a result. Sometimes I contemplate what the 12-year old in me would think if she had known on that day she was making what has come to be one of the biggest directional choices in her life by picking up that album that day at Music+. Knowing her like I do, she would have rolled her eyes at just the thought of growing old, never mind the rest of it.

I’ve said before that the one true constant I’ve had in this fandom has been the band itself. Duran Duran has been a part of my life in one way or another since just after I’d turned ten years old. Whether I’d only heard one song by them on a new radio station I was trying out, or I’d listened to their lead singer introduce new music I’d never heard of before on a podcast – the band has been a constant. They’ve smiled at me from on stage, signed albums for me, waved to Amanda and I while passing by in a lobby, clinked glasses at a bar (okay, so most of that is from Simon, now that I think about it…), allowed us to write about them every day for nearly a decade now – telling our own story of being fans, and most importantly, their music has genuinely saved me from some pretty low times during my nearly fifty years on this planet.

No, I didn’t think much about listening to the band nearly forty years after buying that first record, but I’m sure glad I am.

-R

Playing Catch-Up

Good morning (or afternoon) Duranie-world!

As a quick aside: I think I’ve made up more words for the Duran fan “world” over the years than what might be necessary...

Yesterday, I did something I would have never thought possible a few years ago. I forgot Dom’s birthday.

I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life lately, I suppose, and Duran hasn’t always been at forefront of my mind. Even so, he’s my favorite guitarist, and I felt pretty terrible when I opened my email yesterday to see that Amanda had written his happy birthday message. I didn’t even realize it was the 14th! Granted, the man hasn’t been on social media since what – January – so that might be part of it too, but I get it.

In the note posted on DD.com, Dom mentioned the challenges of homeschooling – something most parents and teachers are familiar with these days. I know his pain. My 12-year old daughter did her absolute best to do the bare minimum to survive, and that’s even with me looking over her shoulder each day to see that work had been finished. Assignments went unfinished, threats were made (by me), and then I heard from her teachers, who took great joy in telling me she was one of their only students that was *laughs* thriving. So much for my concern, I guess??? So yay for homeschooling!

I don’t mind saying that I’m really hoping…and pretty much willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to satisfy the Gods…for regular school next year. In any case, I couldn’t let the day go by without saying a very belated Happy Birthday to Dom. I’ve been cheering for you since the beginning, and it’s nice to hear you’re doing well! Stay healthy and happy!

In other news, I want to continue to encourage anyone who hasn’t taken the time to listen to the Whoosh! podcasts with Simon and Katy to do it. Put your earbuds in, grab your headphones, or even listen to it over a Sonos (yeah, that’s a shoutout for my husband’s company and I’m not even sorry) speaker. In return, you’ll be well-entertained for an hour or so and the music choices are stellar, too.

During the last episode from Friday, someone had asked him about lyrics, and Simon repeated a sort of mantra that someone had told me once and sticks with me every single day just before I hit “publish”. The words are yours until you release them. So whatever you meant when you wrote the line of lyric, the book, the blog, whatever…was yours until you allowed other people to read, listen and interpret them, then those words become theirs. I can’t quite remember who first gave me that advice, but it was by far one of the best tips I’ve gotten. Once I recognized that it wasn’t up to me to defend the words once they’d gone live and out to the universe, my life became far easier. He feels the same about his lyrics. Good advice for any writer!

Additionally, I just want to thank he and Katy for the extra work I know it takes to produce the podcast each week. Simon says he really enjoys doing it. Well, I really enjoy listening. So much so that I’ve taken time to listen to more songs by a few of the artists he has picked for the podcasts over the weeks. From last week’s show, I’m throwing out L.A. Priest and Denai Moore as artists to check out on Spotify. Both are super talented, and pleasing to the ears for sure. Give either of them a listen and let me know what you think! More of that to come later…

It is my time to sign off now, as I prepare to spend an afternoon at the beach with my youngest. Cheers for now!

-R

Happy Birthday Dom 2020!

June is a busy month, isn’t it? After all, it is one filled with graduations, parties and everything else that is connected with the end of a school year and beginning of summer. Mother’s Day just happened and Father’s Day is around the corner. For my family, my sister’s birthday is in between those. Obviously, my Duranie family celebrates quite a few special days with first Nick’s birthday, now Dom’s and later John’s. Has everyone had a chance to read Dom’s lengthy birthday message on the band’s official website? Let me copy and paste it here:

Hello all, 

I’ve been very quiet on social media as of late but glad to say we’re all well here and I hope that you and your loved ones are too, staying safe wherever in the World you are! What crazy and unprecedented times we’re going through!

Yep, it’s that time of year again for us Geminis to celebrate another birthday. It’s mine today! 

It’s been an interesting year, but obviously the last few months can’t be compared with anything any of us have ever experienced before. I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy during lockdown: homeschooling, working in my studio, gardening, reading and watching much more news than usual.

I’ve been hunkered down in my studio working on some solo music that is very long overdue. I’m pretty happy with a lot of it, so there may even be something released later in the year. I feel quite lucky having my own studio where I’ve been able to safely hideaway whilst experimenting with some new equipment, ideas, songs and sounds. 

I’ve also been very busy with the new challenge we face of homeschooling, and I’m sure all the parents out there can relate to my description of using the word ‘challenge’! It’s been going well but my recently-turned-fourteen year old boy is constantly trying to get away with the bare minimum and shaving off time where ever possible. It’s been a good time for bonding with the children though, and I’m getting quite used to the new normal… but am hoping things will soon return to some semblance of how they were before. 

I’m particularly missing performing and going to see concerts and shows. It was pretty disappointing having to postpone some of the DD shows we had lined up for this summer, especially Hyde Park, Rock In Rio and the Isle of Wight headline slots. I also had a few of my own shows lined up that have been postponed, so I’ve attached a video (taken by my 10 year old daughter) of me playing the last section of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” with theDB3 last November. It was a fun show, hope you like it. (Head to duranduran.com to see the video!)

Anyway, off to have some socially distanced social time with some of my family. Look after each other and hopefully we all have a safe year ahead!

Dom xx

I, for one, was pleased to see a long message as it is nice to know that he is doing as well as we can hope for and working on some new solo material. I had to laugh when he talked about homeschooling and how his son wanted to do minimal work. As someone who teaches 14 year olds on a regular basis, I get it. In fact, imagine about 30 of them in the room at one time!

Anyways, as we celebrate Dom’s birthday, I want to thank him for being a part of the Duran Duran team. I remember back in 2005 when I held tickets to shows for the Astronaut tour during my spring break and finding out that Andy had to go home for his dad. Instantly, I felt for Andy and his father but also relief that Dom could step in at a moment’s notice so the shows could go on. As we know from there, Dom made his presence known more and more through having a greater stage presence at shows, to playing on albums, and to helping write some of the best songs Duran has done. On that note, let’s celebrate some of my favorite Dom moments/contributions!

On that note, I wish the happiest birthday to Dom!

-A

Question of the Week: Song That Represents the Big Live Thing Tour

Last week’s poll continued our quest to determine a song that best represents each Duran Duran tour. So far, we have picked a song for the following tours:

  • Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour – Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour – Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour – Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour – Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour – White Lines
  • No Ordinary Tour – Too Much Information

This brought us to the Big Thing era and the Big Live Thing Tour. Like previous tours, first, we listed every song that was played in 1989. Based on last week’s vote, we will ask just about the songs that were chosen to determine the song that best represents the Big Live Thing Tour. Happy voting!

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?

Show Me For Yourself

Yesterday marked the official end to my school year. It goes without saying that this was an extremely odd one and certainly one of the most challenging. I’m willing to bet, though, that if I checked out the archives to this blog, I would find similar posts last year, the year before that, five years before that, etc. You get the idea. The end of the school year always bring some introspection on my part and this time is no different. In fact, it might bring more as next year is filled with question marks and concerns on a big picture scale. Then, I have some worries about my position, specifically.

I’m at a weird point in my career. I am probably about 10-12 years away from retirement. Trust me when I say that typing those words are as weird as thinking them. I’m not that old after all, right? In many ways, I wish that I was ten years younger or older. If I was younger, I would have more flexibility when it comes to thinking about my career and if I want to stay in the classroom. I would not lose as much, if I walked away. That said, if I was ten years older, retirement would be just around the corner, which would definitely keep me in place with little thought to switching jobs now. Unfortunately, I am in neither position.

Six years ago, I moved into my current place and took a new position at a high school teaching history. It truly felt like a chance to start over and, for a long time, the positives overshadowed the negatives. I love teaching history and women’s studies, which was added in my second year. My students keep me going with their questions, their thoughts, their passions and even their actions. I have witnessed many students turn their young lives around to being happy with themselves and their situations. Some of my students have followed in my footsteps as far as getting involved in the political sphere. Many have demonstrated their activism in the last few years. I am proud of the work that I have done.

At the same time, forces working against this outside of the four walls of my classroom have increased in both amount and intensity, making it difficult to focus on the benefits of my job. I have witnessed non-stop attacks on my profession from politicians and the public. Now, others have added to those voices, including ones with more direct impact. This, as you can imagine, has added stress to what is already deemed a very problematic period of history. That said, what does this mean for my fandom and this blog? How are those connected?

Fandom, like everything else, does not exist in a vacuum. I am not *just* a Duranie. I’m that and so much more. Life affects fandom and fandom affects life. At times, in my life, fandom has become almost all-consuming in that my focus was only on that. At other times, fandom has been placed on the back burner. It feels like this is a time in which fandom is in the background of my life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not leaving fandom. No. It is part of who I am and always will be. It just means that right now, my brain is thinking about other things like my career. I’m certain that once it is safe for the band to play shows again, it will grab a lot more of my attention. Likewise, when #DD15 drops, the music will definitely get most of me! I think this is all very common and normal.

So what about this blog? If fandom is more of a supporting player rather than a starring role in life, should the same thing be said for the blog? I don’t agree. When I think about the fact that we have been doing this for almost a decade, I feel a sense of pride, just like when I think about the successes of so many of my students. On top of that, it reminds me of an assignment my students did this spring. Since we are living in a pandemic, I asked my students to document their lives in some way. Some students chose to just journal. Others created slideshows with pictures. A few chose to vlog or to create a podcast. While the goal was for the kids to document life in a safer-at-home order during a pandemic, I found that my kids veered from that goal, at times. This, in itself, shows that life is not one-dimensional, even during a global health crisis. No matter how often or how little they referenced COVID, they still created a primary source document that could live on beyond them.

The same thing is true for this blog. It has captured not only our experiences, our research and our feelings toward fandom and Duran Duran, it has also captured so much of our lives. I think about writing when my grandma passed away in 2010 or through all the elections I have worked on. Rhonda, too, has written about the trials and tribulations surrounding her life and family. In many ways, the blog is more than the sum of its parts. It has grown beyond its original purpose. I, for one, am glad that we have it still as it has documented our lives and our fandom in a way that I could not have imagined when we started.

-A