The memories that today brings up for me bring nothing but joy. Both memories of the UK trip and the Arena album are positive ones for me. While today’s day in Duran history fact surrounded the album peaking in the US in 1984, I did not contribute to that peaking because I didn’t get it until that Christmas. I know that there are pictures out there of me listening to the album on the family record player on that Christmas day. In fact, I also got a walkman that year so I decided to plug the headphones in so that I could listen more closely. While these memories are fun on their own, I can look back to that particular Christmas and remember the overall holiday with fondness. It was a Christmas sandwiched in between two not-so-fun years. The previous year was a tough one for my household as my dad was in between jobs. My parents did an amazing job still, ensuring that we still received gifts and didn’t feel the pressure that they were dealing with as much but we all knew it was there still. By the time Christmas rolled around in 1985, my father had found a job and the family had moved 90 miles away. Of course, these 90 miles away felt galaxies away as I missed my home and the best friend I had left behind. Duran’s story, in some ways, mirrored by own as 1985 saw a serious transition for the band as they moved to their side projects. Thus, Christmas 1984 represented the end of an era. When I think back to myself on that Christmas day in 1984, listening to Arena on headphones, I see only innocence and joy. Amanda then had no way of knowing exactly what was going to happen in 1985 and beyond. Part of me definitely misses that innocence and the safety I felt then.
Last year, at this time, I definitely was longing for innocence and safety. While I was longing for that, politically, I found myself wishing for that with my world of touring as well. 2011 saw all of us lose a little bit of our innocence when Simon lost his voice and the band had to cancel many shows. Then, I think Rhonda and I were hoping to repair some of the damage done by going back to the UK a second time for shows. We needed our Duran world to get right, much like my family needed to get right after my dad lost his job. Then, we ran into another roadblock with the concerns over the labor strike and how that was going to impact our ability to even get to the shows. As we now know, the labor strike did not cause us any problems. In fact, in some way, it might have helped us at the airport. We then went on to experience one of the best tours of our lives. This tour was so amazing with the shows, with the other fans that it not only assured us that we had made the right decision to go back but it renewed our Duranie spirits. Our Duran world was definitely made right on that tour.
How do these memories connect other than they both relate to Duran? I think the connection here is they both represent times when I, personally, needed things to be okay. I needed my world to be right again. As a kid, I couldn’t control much and Duran was used to bring me joy. The Arena album did that in 1984. It also marked the end to a much larger era, both for the band and for myself, personally. Arena was the bookend for the first part of Duran’s career. This part saw the band as the Fab Five reach massive commercial success and become the biggest band in the world. The era that ended for me was living in the Chicago suburbs and having a connection to pop culture that my new town 90 miles away would not have. As a grown up, I, too, discovered that I could not control everything and certainly couldn’t control political decisions in my state. I also couldn’t control the vocal cord health of Simon LeBon. The November 2011 tour was to assure me that, at least, one big thing in my life was going to be okay. My Duran fandom would continue. Luckily for me, that tour did allow my fandom to continue as all things Duran were right again.
It seems to me that, sometimes, memories can remind us about good times, bad times and life lessons learned. I think I feel extremely fortunate that Duran has been there for so many of my memories and all that comes with them. In these examples, Duran has provided joy even when the rest of my world isn’t so joyful. Perhaps, this is why I will choose to hold on to all of these memories.