Category Archives: 40th Anniversary

A Chance to Find the Phoenix for the Flame

My colleagues and I use a framework at work called “Thinking Like a Historian” in setting up our lessons for United States History. Part of this framework includes asking students to do a variety of tasks in order to reach complete understanding. For example, they have to analyze events by looking at cause and effect. Another means of reaching understanding might be by asking the question, “What if?” I particularly like this one. What if the South won the Civil War? What if women didn’t get the right to vote through the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920? What if Stalin let the Soviet Union’s military back off in World War II? As you can imagine, the questions are limitless. Part of the fun is that there is no right or wrong answer. The answer is always a guess.

Obviously, the fun could be expanded beyond history but even to Duran Duran and the band’s history. What if MTV wasn’t around? What if the band decided not to go with teen magazines? What if the band didn’t reunite? Now, typically, this question applies to past events but we could apply it to the future as well. So, here is the question I pose. What if the band does not do anything for the 40th Anniversary? Now, before you all freak out, I am not asking this because I have some insider info that the band is not planning to do anything. I have no clue what they are going to do or not do. I am just asking the question to determine how much this celebration really matters.

I haven’t really thought much about the 40th Anniversary. Yes, I heard some fans starting to groan in 2018. For them, they assumed that 2018 was the date of the anniversary since the band formed in 1978. Heck, the band used to have t-shirts that said 1978 as a means of honoring their history. Those fans wondered why the band wasn’t doing anything in 2018. They felt that the band was missing an opportunity there. I cannot say that I was one of those fans even though I got where they were coming from. Maybe, I didn’t sweat it because I was so busy in 2018 with the Midterms. I also understood why the band might celebrate 1980 instead of 1978 since that was when Simon joined the band. So, I didn’t worry too much. I assumed that it might be 2020 before we saw some sort of celebration.

Since I figured that I would have a couple of years before any sort of announcement of shows or events, I just quietly started to save and talk some general ideas of participating with Rhonda. I won’t lie in saying that I have been saving money in hopes of making it back to the UK in 2020, assuming that there would be something amazing happening there. This idea appeals to me greatly. I would love to take a big trip with Rhonda. It has been far too long. On top of that, I really do love the UK and would love to see my friends there. But what if it doesn’t happen?

Would I be disappointed if there is no big party in the UK in 2020? Yes. Would I be sad if there was no celebration at all? Of course. I think most fans would. What are some of the reasons to be sad? First, I suspect that fans want to have something to push the band to do something really cool. People want something beyond just creating new music or headlining a few festivals (not that those aren’t cool). Obviously, a big anniversary would do that. After all, we have all learned the usual pattern. The band goes into the studio and creates new music. Often, this process takes years. Then, the band promotes the new music. They do it, first, through interviews and performances on TV before otherwise before hitting the road. Those concerts are filled with many of the new songs before the process starts over. Duranies know this pattern, get it and even like it. We all get excited by the new music and we definitely get thrilled with any sort of touring. But I think fans would like something more or different and an anniversary could provide the reason for it.

What do I mean by saying something different or special? I’m not even sure. Maybe it could include special releases or unreleased tracks. Perhaps, it would be special shows or a residency. I could see some special events beyond typical concerts. No matter the form, I think that fans want to see something. I think Duranies want to really celebrate Duran Duran. After all, this band means a lot to people. Maybe this would be a chance to really show how much.

On top of that, not doing something would definitely feel like a lost opportunity beyond the fans. Would the anniversary and everything that could come with it create some publicity? Some attention? I would think so. Then, how much money could those things bring in? Not only would the diehard fans buy but I could see other people who might have liked the band at one point purchasing as well. Could that bring people back into the fandom?

So, it seems to me that the answer to the question, “What if Duran does not do anything for the anniversary?” is simple. It would be a lost opportunity.

-A

Give Me a Sign

Sometimes, it takes me a little bit before I realize something. I generally like to make many observations before I start to make make some inferences, some conclusions. In this case, I have been thinking about the VIP package for these upcoming shows without really thinking about what is included. It took me a few days of just looking at the bag before I started to really think about what I could learn from it, which I know sounds weird. Stay with me, though.

First of all, while I noticed that the bag was white, red and black, I didn’t really think about why that might be significant. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see picture below.

What’s the big deal with the color scheme? Well, when I bought tickets to shows coming up in February, I assumed that these shows would be shows connected to the Paper Gods tour. After all, I tend to think that any show is connected to the most recent album until new music comes out. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Shows in 2003 weren’t connected with Pop Trash but with the reunion. That said, shows in 2009 still feel like they are a part of the Red Carpet Massacre era.

So, I assumed that these February dates would be like the shows in 2017 or 2016 in that they would be Paper Gods focused including the set list. Now, I am not so sure about that. First of all, there were discussions on the most recent Katy Kafe about songs that the band is “dusting off” to play at these songs. If they were keeping things exactly as is, I doubt be practicing new (old) material. Then, there is the color scheme. Paper Gods was all about light blue, pink, light purple. It was not black, white and red. Could this be a sign that these shows won’t be really be Paper Gods focused in the same way? Obviously, I don’t have an answer but I like there is a mystery, an unknown. It makes me more excited about the shows. Will I be disappointed if it is still Paper Gods tour like? No. What about if it feels new? I would be good with that, too. I’m not picky. It just makes me wonder where these shows fit in the Duran tour timeline.

While I ponder that, I examined the bag some more. As I stated in the blog post about this package, the bag has the song titles in order on the bag. These titles seemed to be in order by album. Is that really true? The answer from what I can tell is sort of. The first album is listed in this way: Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Anyone Out There, To the Shore, Careless Memories, Night Boat, Sound of Thunder, Friends of Mine and Tel Aviv. No Is There Something I Should Know. No b-sides are listed. The Rio album seems normal with no b-sides listed. Then, it moves right into Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Still there is no Is There Something I Should Know. Interesting. No Wild Boys. No A View to a Kill. Uh. Notorious through Pop Trash all seem normal and in order without any sort of b-side or bonus track listed.

What about the most recent albums? Astronaut does not list any bonus track like Virus. Red Carpet Massacre does not include Cry Baby Cry. What about All You Need Is Now? This one has the 14 tracks from All You Need Is Now to Before the Rain. Paper Gods only has the 12 main songs listed. No bonus tracks there either. I’m not sure what if anything that means. No matter, I still find it interesting. They clearly decided to include only songs that appeared on albums, rather than the one offs. Bonus tracks and b-sides were not listed either. I wonder how much space those songs would have taken if they did.

While I think it is super cool that they listed the songs on the bag, I have to wonder if this isn’t a step into that 40th anniversary celebration. After all, it could be a way to acknowledge the songs found on the studio albums. What do the rest of you think? Should they have included those songs that are missing or is it good to focus on songs on albums only? All in all, these little signs make me wonder what is going to happen from here. I like to see these little shifts. I give me the security knowing that they are still working, still trying to think of new ways to send out the Duran brand.

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition

I have to admit that this summer has not been my happiest.  I won’t go into details about why but there has been little fun and a lot of time feeling pretty lonely.  As I explain to myself that this is temporary, I also seek out little joys, things that give me something to look forward to or provide me a few minutes of escape.  Typically, the little joys include trying to make plans with friends, even if it is just for coffee, drinks or dinner.  Another method I use is to shop.  Now that only works if I don’t need to worry about money and what I’m buying is actually something I want.  I’m not someone who can just hit the mall, buy a lot of stuff and feel better.  Nope.  The shopping therapy only works with something that I would long for.  This summer, frankly, has had little of that, too, unfortunately.  My bank account is happy but I remain in the funk.  Then, finally, something caught my attention!!

Who has heard of the magazine, Classic Pop?  Wikipedia describes it as a British music magazine.  Over the years, I have enjoyed it as it typically covers a lot of artists from the 1980s.  This means, of course, that Duran has been included, time-to-time.  Does this mean that Duran is in the latest edition or something?  Oh, it is more than that!  Way more than that!

Classic Pop is celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary with a special edition!  Well then!  What does this include exactly?  According to the magazine’s website, this includes the following:

“Inside, we explore the band’s roots in the New Romantic movement and take an in-depth look at their phenomenal success in the Eighties when they defined the decade with a string ofchart-topping hits across the globe.  We also tell the story of their critical and commercial rebirth in the Nineties and bring things bang up-to-date with the band fully enshrined as elder statesmen of pop.  Elsewhere, we profile the band’s best albums including the timeless Rio, Seven And The Ragged Tiger and Notorious plus we look through the lens at their blockbuster videos that shaped the MTV generation.  We also hear from the band themselves through numerous archive interviews as well as a rare chat with former member Stephen Duffy. For your ultimate Duran Duran playlist, Classic Pop serves up the band’s Top 40 greatest songs.”

I didn’t need to read more.  The description sold me in the first sentence.  Did I also mention that it is 132 pages?!  Double sold!  So, how much is this going to cost me, I wonder, as I discover that there are choices!  Oh no!  Choices?!  Now, I’m suddenly feeling a bit overwhelmed.  What are the five choices?

Choice 1:  Collector’s Bundle

Apparently, this special edition has two different covers.  One is a 1980s cover and one includes a modern day picture.  The collector’s bundle includes two copies, one of each cover.  On top of that, you get 4 art cards.  This packages costs $42.98 if in the U.S. or Canada and can be purchased here.

Choice 2:  Cover 2 Fan Pack

This package includes a copy of the magazine with the modern day picture and the 4 arts cards.  This costs $27.99 in the U.S. or Canada. Click here to buy.

Choice 3:  Cover 1 Fan Pack

This is exactly like choice 2 except the cover includes the classic 1980s picture and can be bought here.

Choice 4:  Cover 2

This choice is just the magazine itself.  In this case, it has the modern day band picture.  It is $15.99 for those in the U.S. and Canada and can be bought here.

Choice 5:  Cover 1

This is just like choice 4 with the 1980s picture on the cover instead, which can be bought here.

Now, it should surprise no one that I indeed made a purchase.  I have no idea how quickly this will arrive to my doorstep.  That said, I promise that once it is in my hot little hands I will be covering it here by sharing my thoughts about the magazine as a whole and the various articles.  What about the rest of you?  Who has purchased a copy?  Which one did you get?

-A

Summer 2020???

The last couple of days have been filled with less than fun activities, thoughts, etc.  During most school years, I’m anxious to finish, but this year, that feeling is more intense than most.  There are a variety of reasons for that, including a tough group of kids, staff turnover and my own frustration with policy changes.  I am tired of working all the time and need a break.  There are projects that I want to work on but need more time to get to work on them.  Despite my end-of-the-year focus on school/work, I cannot help but to think of the Katy Kafe that I wrote about yesterday.  In that Kafe, John Taylor mentioned that the band is thinking about focusing on the summer of 2020 for 40th anniversary celebrations.  I have a few things to say about that.

First, let’s talk about summer.  What does that mean to John and to the rest of the band?  He mentioned about how Simon joined in 1980, which is why they are thinking about the summer of 2020 to celebrate.  That makes sense to me.  The question I now have is a simple one.  Simon joined the band in May of 1980 and the band played their first gig in July.  Is the summer then May or July???  Technically, scientifically, summer starts in June.  Thus, did John mean July of 2020 rather than May?  I sure the heck hope so.  Seriously.

While I constantly talk about changing careers, I don’t really know that it is going to happen as there is still a lot about teaching that I love.  Even if I do find something that is as meaningful as teaching, I cannot imagine not focusing on the school year, at least to some extent.  May is the worst time of year for me to do anything related to fandom.  It is the end of the year.  There is always a lot for me to do to finish up the school year.  For example, the last couple of weeks have featured additional tasks to analyze how the year has gone for me, professionally, including what my students have learned.  I couldn’t squeeze in anything else in. On top of that, my school district (and most I know) also have rules about taking time off in May.  Districts figure that summer is around the corner so there is no need for a break in May.  I get all of that.  I did manage some time off in May of 2011 for fandom purposes.  It was super hard to get done, though.  I had to file lots of paperwork and get help from people in power to do so.  I don’t ever want to do that again.

July is good for another reason.  In July, my responsibilities are minimal.  While summers usually mean developing curriculum,  taking classes, etc., I get to decide what and when.  If I know that there is a lot of Duran activity happening, I would plan everything else around that.  I would also have the entire month to play, if I needed.  I wouldn’t have to rush home, in order to get back to work.  I could take the time needed to celebrate Duran and their anniversary properly.  That would be great!

All that being said, I know that nothing is definite.  John mentioned that they had been brainstorming different things and was uncertain about what will happen exactly.  I get all that.  Nonetheless, I know that I appreciate that John gave, at least, an idea of when they might have some cool stuff planned.  This gives me time to save money.  It also gives me something to look forward to.  At this time of year, I need that even if it is two years in the future.

-A

Only in Dreams: Fan Wishes for 40th Anniversary

This week, I had a visit from my friend, Nat.  One thing became glaringly obvious within 15 minutes of her arrival is how good it is to be around a fellow Duranie.  She just gets it and knows I get it, too.  Over the course of her visit, we spent quite a bit of time speculating, brainstorming, pondering what Duran Duran and their management could do for the band’s upcoming 40th anniversary.  Of course, we acknowledged that there are already ideas out there.  Some of them we liked more or less while we created our own list (that we should have written down).  In general, it seems to me that all of these ideas could be put into a few different categories.

Before I dive into those categories, let’s take a look at what the band (mostly John Taylor) has hinted at.  First, John made some comments in the June Katy Kafe.  Rhonda blogged about some of the highlights, which you can read here.  The ideas mentioned included:

  • Going back into the studio
  • Working with some unreleased material such as Reportage

Later, John spoke to the press in Hawaii in this article here and included these ideas:

  • 40 events or happenings
  • Could include the return of Andy

I’m going to write about my feelings about these ideas more on Sunday.

So, beyond these possible ideas (please note–from everything I can tell these are just ideas and nothing sounded definite to me), what could fans want to have happen?

Unreleased Material:

Obviously, a lot of fans would love for the band to release Reportage, the album written and recorded after Astronaut and featured Andy Taylor that was shelved.  Red Carpet Massacre was released instead.  Beyond that album, the band also has countless demos that could be released, some of which we know of and probably many more than we do not know.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the band had remixes as well as original songs that never seen the light of day.  Beyond the music that the band has not released and could, I’m sure that there is plenty of video, too.  For example, I remember hearing something about a documentary called “Drama Americana” about the US Astronaut Tour of 2005.  So, let me ask you fans.  Would you want the band to release material that has not been released before?  If so, what, specifically, would you hope for?

Re-released Material:

I know that some fans roll their eyes to having material re-released or re-mastered.  Not that long ago, there were re-mastered editions of the first five albums, but the rest, starting at Liberty, never got that treatment.  Should albums be re-released on vinyl?  What about singles and 12 inch remixes?  What about putting a package of vinyl records together?  Do you think the band should re-release material?  If so, what and in what format?

Merchandise:

Perhaps, some fans would like to have some special merchandise.  I’m sure we can all think of what would make cool Duran Duran merch.  After seeing the popularity of those guitar string bracelets, what about jewelry?  What about a special t-shirt to commemorate the anniversary?  Photo book over the years?  Duran Duran bobble heads?  A special DVD created to celebrate some fabulous moments over their career?  Maybe a DVD with interviews of current and/or former band members talking about their memories?  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of fans would like something with band members’ signatures.  Maybe a limited edition signed print?  The options here seem limitless.  What items/merch do you think the band should do, if any?

In-Person Experiences:

Obviously, some fans will really want the band to perform.  If so, should it be a regular tour?  Should it be a tour only in a few select locations?  Should it include a residency or a few of them?  Should the shows include a setlist that represents the band’s entire career?  Should the fans have a say in the set list?

What about the idea of a fan show with just members of DuranDuranMusic?  Yes, I know they have done that before and without much success.  What about a few of them done in various places around the world?  What about streaming a live show for people not able to be present?

Should there be other events that are not concerts?  I, for one, have loved the screenings of their DVDs I have attended.  Should the band do more of those?  They do have a number of DVDs that they could show in movie theaters.  How cool would it be to see Sing Blue Silver on the big screen, for example?

I am well-aware that I have listed a ton of ideas and I’m sure that there are countless more than you all could come up with.  So, I’m openly up the discussion.  What would you love to see the band do for their 40th anniversary?  If you could design the celebration, what would you do?

-A