Category Archives: birthdays

Happy birthday John! (2018)

It’s a busy birthday month, isn’t it? Another quick observation – it is pretty bad when one has to begin putting the year into the happy birthday title. Is it a sign I’ve been blogging too long?

Maybe.

Or it just means we love this band a lot. There’s that, too.

Yes, there is a birthday boy amongst us. Or across the continent and ocean from some of us, anyway.  Happy birthday John! I am really the wrong person to be writing this blog today, as I have almost no exciting stories or anecdotes to share. I have never really met John, beyond raising my voice enough to tell him at a crowded table that Astronaut was a beautiful album. I did that at a signing in Hollywood once. But honestly that’s about it. I did see him walk out of a building and take a picture with Amanda – that was so exciting I remained rooted to my spot, standing off to the side, almost dumbstruck.

I’m REALLY good at the whole “meeting the band” thing. Can’t you tell??

Oh, there was that time I stuck my tongue out at him while he was onstage. Yeah, I did that. (I’m here to say that should you ever think that maybe the band can see you – EVEN if you’re in 9th row and it seems unlikely – if they’re looking right at you, they probably can and do see you. Trust me on that.)

So far here, I’ve established that I really don’t know him, and that I’ve already sort of insulted him (although I was just goofing around and he did it right back). Awesome start.

Despite not knowing him personally, there are few people who inspire me more than John. He has had real struggle in his life, just as any of us have in one way or another, and he’s turned it into something positive. I like that John seems to be a thinking person. He’s not all fun and games, or shallow. He seems to like to get into the real “meat” of it, and in some ways he reminds me of himself because he doesn’t seem to do things halfway. It’s either all or nothing, which is very much how I am.  Not that I’m claiming to be like him, just that I can identify.

He also reminds me a bit of myself because, during the very few times I’ve actually seen him offstage (and now that I sit here I can really only remember one time) – he doesn’t seem to like crowds. Or mingling.  When I’ve gone to wait for the band outside a stage entrance (yeah, I’ve done it once or twice!), I usually miss John completely because he’s already taken off. (and if I were ever in a band, that’s exactly how I would be)

The thing is, I may not always love the things that John says, or agree with every one of his statements, but I have a great deal of love and respect for him. I can appreciate that he’s a human being, not a robot, not able to commit to being everything for everyone. I love the saying “Expectations are future resentments”, which he talked about in his book. He’s right, and I’ve tried very hard to put that idea into practice. Life goes a lot better for me when I remain open to possibilities of things not happening quite as I expected.

(looks around while sitting on a balcony in Santa Barbara…yep, I definitely did not see this coming, and I’m totally OK with that!)

So for as much as I say I don’t know John personally, I feel like out of the entire band, he’s the one I tend to identify most with these days. I look forward to his Katy Kafe’s, and I enjoy hearing what he has to say…which reminds me that I need to go to YouTube in search of the speech he gave at the Brilliant Minds Symposium in Stockholm…

The happiest of birthdays to you, John. You’re a brilliant example of the saying “Not just a pretty face”, because there is one hell of a lot of substance going on in that brain of yours, and I appreciate that even after all of this time, I am learning from your examples. No, I don’t think you’re infallible and I try very hard not to put you on too high of a pedestal (expectations and all, right?), but you are by far one of the better humans I’ve never really met.  😀  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

-R

Happy Birthday Dom! (2018)

It is Thursday, June 14th…which means it MUST be Dom’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Dom!

I’ll be honest, I could gush about Dom all day, and that could be embarrassing (for me, no doubt). So I won’t. Much.

Dom first performed with Duran Duran in December of 2004, while Andy was out ill. That continued off and on into 2005, and in 2006 when it was announced that Andy would no longer be in Duran Duran, Dom stepped into the role recording the guitar parts for Red Carpet Massacre and as the band’s permanent touring guitarist. He’s been performing with the band now for nearly 14 years. I can say that for me, seeing Duran Duran would not be the same without him on stage with them.

Every single year, for each of the band’s birthdays – we try to write some sort of poignant blog about them. It’d be great to believe they read them, but Amanda and I both know that might be a little too lofty of a goal. So we write them to share with you, and hey – if they hear about them or see one eventually, fabulous. We’ve been publishing the blog for nearly eight years now, and to be honest – I’m not sure we’ve actually had enough personal experiences with the band to keep writing these birthday blogs (but we try!).  This year, I’m kind of struggling over what to write.

The thing with Dom is that I’ve been a fan since nearly the first time I saw him live. There’s something about his being the new guy, and realizing how difficult it was going to be for him to take over for Andy that made me pay attention. I liked that he didn’t seem overly confident. He was just trying to do a good job, and I knew that no matter how perfectly he played the songs, there were some fans he’d never win over.  I suppose I just wanted to encourage him, and yeah – I usually have seats close enough to where he can and does see me. I think he probably still sees me as that semi-crazy person that writes some silly blog for the band.  He’s probably right, but I can at least appreciate that he doesn’t call for security when he sees me!

One time, I got up the nerve to ask him to do a Q&A for us. Actually, I’d asked him to do an interview, which secretly freaked me out. The idea of actually speaking to any of the band on the phone?? Are you joking?!? Not this girl. I hate being on the phone with just about ANYONE, much less any sort of member of Duran Duran.

That’s right. I am a female who hates the phone. I’d rather email, text, send smoke signals…telegraph…sign language…anything but be on the phone. 

Back to my story – I must have spent an hour typing this ridiculous email, asking him for an interview. I assumed he’d have not a single clue of who I was, so I described myself (I have no idea what I said but I’m sure it was something dumb), asked if he’d be willing, and clicked send. The pit in my stomach was more like a sinkhole, and I just shut the screen to my laptop quietly, muttered something about how much of an idiot I was, and figured I’d never hear a word back.

Well, I was wrong. In what I would consider to be record time, Dom answered back. He knew exactly who I was (I still think it’s because it’s difficult to miss an insane person in the crowd, and I’m sorry about that), and he asked if we could do it as a written Q&A. I was RELIEVED. Like I said, not a phone person! This is also why we don’t do many interviews for Daily Duranie. I’d rather conduct an interview in person before I would over the phone or even Skype, and yes I know that’s weird. In any case, I wrote up the questions, sent them to him, and he sent answered them. I worked to edit it all up, and posted it as our very first interview. I really owe him for being nice to me when he could have easily just said no, your blog isn’t Rolling Stone magazine. 

(By the way, Mr. Brown….assuming you’re reading this…you owe me a Q&A. I sent it to you MONTHS AGO, and it’s super short. I think just five or ten questions. You’re not even touring right now…you could answer it over breakfast or tea or whatever you do these days, and send it back so I’d have something exciting to publish.  Just saying.  :D)

A year or two after that first interview, Dom and his dad recorded their Blue to Brown album. In short, I am not/was not a blues fan, but I wanted to help promote and support Dom. So, I dusted off a couple of textbooks I kept from college, and studied up on the blues. When his album came out, I reviewed it.  Here’s the thing: I am not a critic. I’m sure that is shocking to read. I’m not a journalist. (also shocking) I’m a music fan, but more importantly – I am a fan of Dom’s work, and I wanted to help him in some small way. I wrote up my feelings about his album, which to this day I will still take out every now and then and play. I tweeted the review to him, just because SOME people don’t really check out Twitter very often cough, cough. He commented back that it was great, and now if he could just get Rolling Stone to do one, he’d get somewhere.

Of course now when I tweet him about something to do with the blog, I always have to mention how we’re not Rolling Stone…but we’re not too bad for a fan blog!

Compared to many of you reading, I’ve spent very little time with Dom in person. I’ve seen him a few times in passing before or after a show, for example. I did see him one time at a rooftop bar in Los Angeles though. I’m here to tell you that if you are like me and cannot hear very well, it is almost 100% impossible to actually have a conversation with someone in a packed room. I’m self-conscious about my hearing even on a good day, and in front of him it was 10,000 times worse.  I know he said or asked me things during the two minutes I tried to talk with him and I just couldn’t make out what he was saying. That could be why the next time I actually stood in front of him, he leaned over and whispered directly in my ear. (Wait, how did he even know to do that? Does he read this blog?!?) He’s never forgotten my name, and he always has a smile and a nod for me even when I’m pretty sure on the inside he is thinking, “Seriously, you again!?!” (my husband says the same thing about me – so I get it. :D)

I have no idea when or where I’ll see the band again, but I do miss the  few moments during the show where I’ll catch Dom’s eye and make a face and he’ll laugh and do it back. He makes the shows fun. I hope that in some small way I made it easier for him to find a friendly face out in the audience when he first started with Duran Duran, too. There are plenty of people who adore Dom now, and I’m glad. He’s a good guy, and I hope he has a fantastic birthday. He’s loved by many.

Happy Birthday Dom – send me that Q&A!!!  😀

-R

 

Happy Birthday, Amanda!! (2018)

So, yesterday was crazy. Not only was it my daughter’s tenth birthday – celebrated with a big family get together, including lots of cooking, cleaning and general merriment – but it was also Amanda’s birthday.

The day did not go by completely unnoticed. I certainly posted my good wishes on all sorts of social media, but it wasn’t quite the same. I didn’t have a chance to post a birthday blog for her, and goodness knows a birthday cannot go by without that happening. So, today is that day.

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

Friendships ebb and flow, particularly when they are conducted from a long distance, such as ours. There are some periods of time where we have spoken every single day, but admittedly for the past year or so, those conversations haven’t happened as regularly as I would have liked. Most of that is my fault, and I acknowledge that. It isn’t that I have forgotten about our friendship, found someone else, or have felt like our connection has faded – in this case, it is truly because life has gotten incredibly complicated and busy. Amanda knows that right now, I’m not quite sure if I’m coming or going.  Yet, her friendship remains steadfast, and it is one constant I can count on. So this post is for Amanda, and I’m writing to her.

Rather than rattle on about how tough things have been lately – I like thinking about the things we’ve done along the way. Weirdly enough, remembering all of those times we laughed ourselves silly has kind of helped me during these past few months when the darkness has gotten SO dark that I couldn’t even really see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

There are the times that come to memory first – like when we first met and somehow ended up on a small stage at Howl at the Moon singing Duran Duran songs. What about the day we were sitting at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and calculated that we’d gone 27 (pretty sure I’m exaggerating) hours without eating at one point that weekend? Or when we were at Voodoo Festival and you had to go on a search for sunscreen with Sara. Yeah, that was also the night when Simon just HAD to go and ask if we had time for one more.  I also chuckle when I think about Toronto. I have one word for you: “Really?”  “REALLY?”  That memory always makes me laugh.

What I really like thinking about most though are the moments we haven’t necessarily talked about a lot. Like when we drove to Milwaukee that very first time and I was making signs as quickly as we could think of things to say. I think about how you and I love going to the Art Institute in Chicago, and how oddly – we both love modern and contemporary art. The weirder, the better!  I remember how in England (I have so many great memories of England, many of which really don’t even include the band at all, which is probably a shock to some) we sat on that train listening to John Taylor, watching the English countryside go by. That’s one of my favorite memories from that trip…right along with the first night in Brighton when Duran Duran played Secret Oktober.

Remember when we saw the band in LA at that David Lynch thing and we got there a day or so early? We stayed at the Luxe, which has this fantastic patio bar area, so you and I decided to have a pitcher of sangrias in the sun? It was glorious sitting there, relaxing and talking away. That day didn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran at all. It was a simple afternoon, and I wouldn’t trade it, even for “Late Bar” live in a set!

I remember driving during that Southeastern US road trip. We spent SO many hours in the car that time. It was a weird tour for us (they all are, though. I don’t think any of them ever go how we think they will, and at this point I don’t know why when drama happens while touring, we’re still surprised. I believe that someone might call all of that careful planning, “expectations”, which I have on good authority are just future resentments. <insert grin here>. But you know, I look back on that tour and think about how differently I saw things then. I remember the heat and humidity, and going for pancakes at IHOP that last night because we were so sick of drinking we didn’t even want to bother!

Remember when we went to lunch with Kitty in England?  It was after we saw the band going into their rehearsal studio on the “tour that wasn’t”, and I asked the waiter about how big their pizzas were, and he made some comment about how as an American, I’d probably think they were small. Funny that he assumed I wanted a big pizza when in fact I was worried it would be too much – then he brought it out and it was bigger than my head (AND the plate it was on!).  I still remember having to take the bus and learning how to use the tube (for those reading – we don’t have them where I live in Orange County!) I don’t know why that still makes me chuckle, but it’s those moments that I think about when I’m feeling myself get down.

We have made good friends along the way. Some have stayed, others have drifted away, and still others have been a gift of late. I treasure those people. I will never ever forget ordering that big fishbowl cocktail in San Francisco (never ever again. Stay away from the group cocktails in the future) and laughing about it the entire weekend, or the Cat Club – which was a blast. We did not really see or speak to a band member the entire weekend, but I think we had more fun than we’ve had in a long time, just dancing to Duran Duran songs and videos. I’d do it again in a hot minute. I remember laughing at you one of those nights at the Cat Club for reasons I don’t need to disclose here, but it was joyous all the same.  Our friends have stood by us, bought us tickets when the two of us couldn’t get the Ticketmaster gods to work in our favor, and listened to us go on and on about blogging and fandom and who knows what else. (well, I do know, but there’s only so much I’ll say here!)

I have tried to sum this up in a few different ways, but the fact is – I want to celebrate you and our friendship. I don’t want to think about the bad stuff because as soon as I’m done writing, it’ll still be there. In this moment, I want to focus on the joy. I am so glad you were born and that I can still count you as my best friend! Despite our differences, we are incredibly similar, and I love how we’re two sides of the same coin.  As I think back on all the things we’ve done, it is impossible not think about all that we have left to still do. I think there must be corners of the US we haven’t visited yet – so the band had better get on with it!  We still have things to do!!

A very happy birthday to you, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful day. I thought of you lots yesterday, believe it or not. The good news is that for all intents and purposes, Walt IS back to work – and that means I need to plan a trip to see you. Soon.  I picture a week during the summer where we do nothing but watch videos, hang out, have some vodka tonics, and maybe do some writing if we are so inclined.

I am so lucky (no really, right now I am definitely the luckiest) to call Amanda my best friend. I am well aware that we are not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine, because we’ve got each other.

-R

Happy Birthday Andy Taylor!

Ever since I can remember, February has always been marked by two birthdays:  my brother’s and Andy Taylor’s.  About a week ago, my older brother celebrated a significant birthday as he turned 50!  (For the record, that makes me feel old and I’m the youngest!)  As a kid, I always remember celebrating my brother’s birthday with his favorite chocolate pie and some science fiction movie.  A week later would always mean Andy Taylor’s birthday.

As soon as I became a Duranie, the band members’ birthdays were a big deal.  When I was lucky, a Duran birthday meant spending the night at my friend’s house where we would watch MTV for as long as we could stay awake.  It also meant begging and pleading for some sort of cake  from one of the mothers.  I remember actually putting in candles and singing “Happy Birthday” to no one in particular.  Tell me that I was not the only one to do this.  Am I right?

Now, as an adult, I don’t necessarily make a cake or sing, but I still like to acknowledge the big day in some way.  On this day, I have to acknowledge Andy’s birthday as he turns 57.  While he may not be in the band anymore, I still like to celebrate him and what he gave to the band.  After all, when I think of early Duran Duran, I think of the musical tug-of-war between the rock guitar sound and the experimental keyboard sounds.  To me and to a lot of Duran fans, this musical fight brought out some of the best Duran music ever recorded.  A song and performance like this one comes to mind:

Speaking of performances, who could forget how Andy rocked a song like Wild Boys!

Beyond Duran Duran, I appreciated what he also brought to the table when it came to Power Station!

Of course, Andy created some music on his own, too!

One thing is certain.  Andy Taylor has made his mark, musically, on the world.  While I am uncertain to what he is doing today, I hope that he is continuing to be creative and that he is as happy as he can be.  On this day, we celebrate him and all of the musical gifts that he has given to us over the years, whether as a member of Duran Duran, Power Station or as a solo artist.  Happy Birthday Andy!

-A

Rhonda’s Birthday Blog 2017!

Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other.  One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher.  Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists.  On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites.  Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality.  They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids.  Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.

In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans.  Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher.  That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts.  Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community.  Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event.  Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion. 

In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com.  Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other.  Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine:  The DuranDuranFans Convention.  On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries.  Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics.  They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink.  As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying.  At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.

Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour.  The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together.  Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved.  By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little.  No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount.  From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.

This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends.  Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more.  Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us.  After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others.  Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird.  Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal.  In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed.  While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.

This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason.  We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more.  Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom.  Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills.  Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations.  From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends.  Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three.  Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention.  All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning.  The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true.  I definitely would not have done any of this without her.

Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship.  I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities.  For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:

Cheers!

Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows!  They are truly our happy place.

Chula Vista

Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions!  I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December.  Watch this space.

Our meet up!

We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!

Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now!  We are committed.  Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…

Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!

In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done.  I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her.  I truly am the lucky one.  So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday!  Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday!  I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!

-A

Happy Seventh Birthday, Daily Duranie!

SEVEN YEARS LATER…..

We are still here, blogging away!  Who would have ever thought?  Certainly not me, as the crazy person who came up with this idea, and most definitely not Amanda!  But yes, today is our seventh birthday.  We chose to commemorate the occasion with a video.

Amanda and I like to ask ourselves where we’re headed every so often. (Not entirely unlike when we’re at a gig and Simon asks “Do you know where we are?”  Although, we usually answer with a loud, resounding, “No!”, oddly enough.) Our answers to that question have either been “We really aren’t sure.” or we’ve had some brilliant pie-in-the-sky response. This year though, it would seem that both of us are pretty down to earth about what we want and expect. We don’t really know what the future holds.  We’re open to some ideas, but the reality is – we’re just blogging, and that comes down to the two of us. We’re not looking to change the world. We just work hard, try to stay out of the drama, and focus on what the two of us are doing.

We thank our readers for sticking with us over the years. We also want to thank the band. I won’t say it’s your fault we did this, but ya know….had it not been for you….Amanda and I would have never met to begin with.  Just saying.

-R

 

Blog Post 2015-2016: I Don’t Want To Wake Up

I chose the blog below because for me, everything I describe holds up extremely well, even two years later. 

As you will hear and see in the video we are going to post later this week, I think there have been a lot of changes in the way Amanda and I see blogging these days. That said, the one thing that has not ever changed is the basic fact that we are still fans of this band. 

I hope I never forget that night at Agua Caliente for as long as I live. There are times when I am really feeling down, or flat-out stressed out, and the memory of that night makes me smile. I can remember just as they walked off stage, and I triumphantly looked at Amanda and exclaimed “I QUIT!” – loud enough for a certain guitar player to hear, turn around, and grin – because I knew I’d never have another show like that one.

Amanda and I have had a great ride since that night. Not everything has gone according to the plan we had in our heads, but then again – nothing ever does. In any case, if I had to sum up the Paper Gods era – nothing does it better for me than this post.   -R

Originally posted October 12, 2015

Has it really already been a week since I’ve been back home from this Duran Duran tour?!? I don’t even know where the time went. On one hand I feel as though I got back into the swing of things very quickly and feels very much as though I never left. On the other, I can’t believe a week has already gone by.

In many ways I let Amanda take the helm in describing the tour and how the shows were for us – she and I are typically on the same page when it comes to those things, and I knew she would convey exactly how I felt. On the other, I summed up my feelings about that 3-show “tour” with one tweet almost immediately after I walked out of the theatre at Agua Caliente.

“I may as well I may as well stop touring right now because I will never have a better show experience than tonight. Wow.”

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating here again that Amanda and I purchase our own tickets to the shows. We don’t ask the band for tickets.  I had a few people insinuate or flat-out ask, and while it’s a lovely thought that some people believe we matter, I think Amanda and I are well-aware that to 99.99% of the people involved with the band, we’re just a couple of fans who write a silly blog. We get it, and we don’t overstate or over-think our importance. In any case, that night at Agua Caliente, Amanda and I were in for a huge treat. We knew we had front row, but aside from that – we didn’t know much else. Neither of us had been to the venue and we were honestly more concerned with where our seats would be (meaning would we be in front of Simon, John, Nick, or Dom) than where the seats were in regards to the stage.

 As we walked down to our seats at Agua Caliente, we counted the chairs from the aisle and discovered we were right in front of Simon. I mean RIGHT in front. Then we realized there were no barricades between us and the stage. Finally, we quietly marveled that during the show, we could seriously lean our elbows ON the stage. I couldn’t believe it, and to be honest, I still can’t. As show time grew closer, our friends Krista and Sandy took their seats right next to us, and I knew before the band even took the stage that it was going to be the show experience of a lifetime.

It very much was – including being in the “spit zone” (Thank you Krista for taking the brunt of it…willingly…as I ducked behind you.  Yes, I did see you chuckling at our antics, Nicholas. I’m going to continue pretending that Simon did NOT veer ever so slightly in the direction of Amanda and I…We sort of had it coming though, didn’t we?)  There were so many moments during that show for me. Seeing Nick smile during Hungry Like the Wolf (I was a very good sport, thankyouverymuch…epitome of a well-behaved fan!!), watching Simon walking to the front of the stage like a man on a mission with a mouth-full of water as I thought to myself, “Oh boy…here we go…DUCK!”, having John and Dom flank either side of Amanda and I during Planet Earth, watching Roger twirl his drumstick during Sunrise…having Dom come over directly in front of me to play several times throughout the show, and shaking some of their hands at the end of the set.

Can I take a minute to write about the end of their set?? After the finale, they walked to the front of the stage as they typically do to say goodbye. I’m right there, basically becoming good friends with their feet, and examining their shoes and socks. (Nice striped socks, Dom…liked them with the leather pants!) I wish I could properly explain how I felt in that moment, but the words don’t really match the feeling. It was as though electricity was running through my body. I mean, I was inches from these men that I have adored since I was ten years old. I turn 45 next month. That’s a very, very long time. It was as though I couldn’t quite believe what my eyes and ears were telling me as I stood there, frozen to the floor. I didn’t even reach up to shake hands with them, because I couldn’t. I just smiled at them, tried to clap, mostly just stood there in shock (and awe!).

Nick stood in front of me for what felt like a long time, but I couldn’t even move my hand to shake his. It wasn’t out of disrespect, just the opposite really. I meant it when I said that my head couldn’t quite make sense of it at the time. I’m still not sure if I can. I did notice a faint, very quick glimmer of, well…what…recognition maybe??…in their faces as they would smile down at us and make eye contact. I couldn’t even let myself think about that at the time. I had difficulty just getting past the notion that I was standing there right directly in front of them. Yes, I’ve been writing this blog for five years now, and yes, I suppose that by a lot of accounts, I’ve had far more “experiences” with the band than many fans out there. However, I’ve never been right in front of them like this. Not in this way. It felt incredibly surreal. Daily Duranie or not, no matter how many readers we have, or the size of our real audience, or our post-reach on Facebook – I am still a fan. That’s exactly how I felt that night. I am still a fan like anyone else. I needed that.

Do you know what I was thinking about in that moment as they were all standing at the front of the stage?  I was remembering how I would sit on the edge of my bed, in my “Summertime Green” painted bedroom (Nasty, horrid bright green color, with orange carpeting no less.). I would stare at the biggest poster of them I had, which happened to be on my door, and wonder what it would be like to be right in front of them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d write about them someday, or be in the front row at one of their shows (much less two or three), or actually KNOW what it felt like to be in front of them. Never.  How do you soak up the answers to 35-years worth of daydreams in less than two hours?

As they were leaving, Dom reached down and grabbed my hand and it was only in that second I kind of came back into present long enough to realize that he had my hand – only for a split second – but again, I’m trying to describe how I felt at the time. I’m pretty sure I shook Roger’s hand too, but I can’t remember now.

I don’t think I will ever have a show quite like that again. That thought both exhilarates me and makes me wistful all at once. I know what it’s like to be center “elbows on the stage” front row. I’m incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to experience those feelings. Even if my time never comes again – which likely not – I won’t let the memory slip my mind. I really can’t see what could possibly top those seats, and so when I jokingly yelled out, “I QUIT!!” after the last of the hand squeezes from the band took place and they all left the stage area, it was with the thought that I’d reached the pinnacle of what a fan could really experience.  There isn’t much more to “want”, aside from more of the same, maybe.

Almost oddly, I sit here today typing this thinking to myself that it’s a good thing that Amanda and I have had the chance to do so much, at least from the standpoint of writing and understanding ourselves as fans. I’ve sat in the very LAST row at a show (my very first one), and now I’ve sat in the very front row. I’ve been to the UK, seen Birmingham, walked Cheapside (If you do not know what Cheapside is, we need to talk. Seriously…email me!), had Simon stand directly in front of me, eye-to-eye and explain why the shows cannot go on as planned. I’ve lived through Twitter, Facebook, and message boards. I have had canceled gigs, various guitarists, and favorite band members leaving only to return 20-some years later. I have watched MTV, read magazines like Star Hits and Tiger Beat, as well as rely on getting news solely from the radio and other fans. I’ve completely missed tours, been disappointed with albums, and overjoyed by others. I don’t know if I’ve done it ALL (actually, I know for sure that I have not…), but I know that I’ve experienced a lot, and those adventures, moments, and nuggets of knowledge come in very handy when you’re writing a fan blog.

I know what it is like to be a fan, and I continue to walk the fine line between writing about it, running a blog, and experiencing it as anyone else might. Amanda and I always say we know what fans want because we ARE fans…and that’s the truth. I only hope we continue to cover the things that matter with the same amount of love, affection and excitement as we do right in this moment. I’m looking forward to planning the next set of Duran Duran tour dates, meet-ups, parties, and hopefully a reasonable road trip as we witness the upcoming UK dates from afar.

-R

Happy Birthday Ask Katy, Mark Ronson & Google!

Happy Monday!  So many birthdays in Duranland, beginning with Katy Krassner!  That’s right, Duran Duran’s own Ask Katy is celebrating her special day today, and considering all of the hard work she does for the band as well as keeping the fans feeling connected and up to date – we hope she has a wonderful and restful day! We appreciate everything she does for the band, and it helps to make this world a little friendlier and nicer.

Sharing this date with Katy is also Mark Ronson! (I did not know that!) Mark has done fantastic work with Duran Duran over the years, and I personally thank him for keeping the band true to themselves, but also giving them space to continue exploring new sounds.  It is a delicate balance, and I can certainly appreciate the time and tenacity involved all around. Happy birthday Mark!

Lastly, a little less “connected” to Duran Duran, but vital in every single way – Google turns 19 today. Do you remember life before Google??

It’s funny because just yesterday my husband Walt and I were talking about the web, circa 1995-ish. I can remember working for a company who had just started developing a web page, and the owner tried to explain to me what the web was all about and how it would work. Fast forward about two years, and we had America Online (AOL) at home as our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I can remember the cumbersome method of using the modem to dial in and then hoping I’d get a good connection and keep it!  I think the dial-up modem noise, along with the AOL “Welcome!” greeting, are almost Pavlov’s Bells to anyone from my generation, as a result. Anything I needed was found within the AOL platform though, and as Walt continued rebuilding and upgrading our computer (it seemed like he was constantly doing that!), everything grew faster and faster. Then, around 1998, things started moving from AOL platform to the internet itself. I couldn’t just get on AOL and find the message boards I wanted anymore. At that point, I was dialing into AOL, and then from there I clicked on internet explorer to be able to search for websites. And at that point – there was Google, ready to be used.  And not much later, no one needed AOL as the go-between, we could simply have our own internet connection directly from our computers – and no more dial up modem noise.

Google was just one search engine of many at that point. Yahoo, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, infoseek and Lycos are a few that I remember, along with of course, Google.  Over the years since, many of those first search engines are either gone or they’ve completely changed their business model. Google, on the other hand, expanded. They’ve bought (and sold) companies, and they continue to grow their business model to suit the ever-changing world.  Google is a permanent part of our vocabulary (“google it!”) in the same way that if you’re from the US, a bandage is a “Band-Aid”. It would seem they are here to stay, and it will not be long before most people don’t even realize there WAS an internet before Google, and that once upon a time, all Google did was search for terms!

Google is important to Duran Duran’s history because I’m betting that many of us used it right about the time the reunion of the original five members was announced. We searched the web, looking for information, looking for groups, message boards, websites, and anything we could find – at least I know I sure did! To this very moment, I don’t think a single day goes by when I don’t use Google to find one thing or another, and yeah—a lot of the time it has something to do with Duran Duran. The internet (and Google) has changed our world, both as Duranies and as people.

Makes me wonder what the next nineteen years will bring.

Happy Birthday, Katy Krassner, Mark Ronson and yes, Google!

-R

 

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!!

So, there are some blogs I feel woefully unqualified to write. A birthday blog for this particular person slides in that general direction from time to time.

First of all, Amanda is the “John-girl” around here. Not that I don’t admire John, but it seems unfair that I get to write for Roger, Dom AND John, you know?  The idea of writing a birthday blog for each member seemed great in year one of the blog. Even years two through five were good. I still had things to say and memories to replay.  But now, I think this is what, year six? I’m going to be honest: I don’t think I know John very well.

Yes, there’s his book. Some might say he wrote a lot in there. (I’m actually one of those people) I felt he exposed himself pretty selflessly.  Even so, I’ve had almost no interactions with him over the years, so I can’t write from personal experience.

I mean, unless you count shows.  John amazes me at shows sometimes, because there I am, one little face in a crowd of thousands, and even when I’ve been back a few rows, sometimes he’ll make eye contact. Unlike with other members of the band – when John is looking at you, you know he’s looking at you.  There was this one time Amanda and I were at the House of Blues in Atlantic City (I hope that’s right. I get this stuff screwed up a lot) and it was during the last leg of Red Carpet Massacre shows here in the US. They were just starting the song Red Carpet Massacre, which happens to be my favorite off of that album. John gets the crowd clapping along, and I started to clap and happened to look up. He caught my eye, and slightly shook his head because, wouldn’t you know it – I was clapping wrong. (I know there’s a lesson for fans in here about paying proper attention at shows…) I watched carefully and started clapping appropriately and received a big grin. It was only later that I was mortified that I had to be taught correctly by John….

There’s that other time at the Sears Center when I tested the line of sight from the stage because I wasn’t quite convinced John could really see all the way to the ninth row. Amanda and I were having the time of our lives that night, dancing and singing to every song as though we’d never gone to a Duran Duran concert before. We were having a blast. I think the band began Electric Barbarella, and I pulled a face. In fairness, it isn’t my favorite song and hey, who can really see us in the ninth row anyway??

Well, I look up, and John Taylor is laughing and looking our way. I don’t think much of it because, seriously, there are eight rows of wonderful people in front of me. He wasn’t looking at us. But then he kind of kept looking and seemed to be at least chuckling, so I did what any normal fan would not do, and stuck my tongue out playfully. I figured that no response would tell me that of course he wasn’t looking at us. Well, he returned the favor.  I laughed. Because really, what could I do?? He caught me fair and square!

Oh, and then there’s Valley Center in 2011. This was just as they were getting themselves back into touring mode after having canceled their UK tour that spring. It was the first show I was going to see them at, and I was pretty emotional that night because for a while there, I really had my doubts about whether Simon would ever really be able to sing the same again. I was worried. Nothing more, nothing less. So that night was different because of my emotions, because Amanda wasn’t with me…and because I also had my less-than-emotional husband with me, and we were in the second row.

By that time, I am pretty sure everyone knew I didn’t love Hungry Like the Wolf…but when they started playing it that night, I know I rolled my eyes, and didn’t really dance much. Well, I was right there in row TWO, and who should come bounding over to Dom’s side of the stage but John. AND Dom. AND Simon. Yes, it was choreographed that way at the time, but during the “Do do do” section of the song (you all know what I mean), John looks down at me, grins like a damn Cheshire cat and sings the line right at me, grinning the entire time.

Ok then, John. Even my husband, who typically doesn’t notice much, noticed. And so did Dom, who openly laughed. There was no way I was going to get away without singing. And let’s face it, John didn’t know that I was sick to death of that song at the time. I’m sure he doesn’t read the blog. He just knew that I was at his show and wasn’t singing along…and he was going to fix it. So he did.

I make sure to sing EVERY song (and clap correctly) when I go to shows now. Lesson learned, point taken.

I don’t know. Fans have often said to me that John doesn’t seem to interact much from the stage. Pretty much everyone complains about his absence from social media, although everyone and their brother seems to think they know exactly why he left. Even with his book, and his book tour, the shows and the things he goes out of his way to do for various charities – and the meet and greets he does for those types of organizations, people say he doesn’t interact. I’ve even said I don’t know him.

The thing is, I think with John, we really do kind of know who he wants us to know. Not everyone is comfortable with that “in your face” constantly kind of atmosphere that goes along with celebrity. John reminds me just a little of myself, in that when I go “on tour” with Amanda, by the time we’ve had a meet up or hung out with people all weekend, or even just all night, I’m ready for some downtime. By the end of a weekend with friends, I’m happy to retreat back into obscurity. It is hard to be “ON” all of the time, and I’m no celebrity. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in the band and never get away from it.

I think that’s why the boundaries are there, and why someone like John has learned to keep them rock solid. Sure, I miss him on social media, so much so that when DDHQ does tweet a picture or a video or something from him, I love it. It’s not the same as when he’d tweet us directly or whatever, but it’s probably healthier for him, and I respect that.

I look forward to seeing him onstage in a few weeks. Hopefully I will have my clapping and singing up to snuff!  Happy birthday John!!

-R

Happy Birthday Dom!

Any day is a good day when I can wish one of my favorites a very happy birthday!  At 45, he’s still a kid compared to many…but we’ll let that go for now.

I’ve had a special affinity for Dom from almost the moment he started playing with Duran Duran. While it is absolutely true that I idolize Duran Duran – it is hard not to when they are the people in the posters I still have hung on my walls – Dom is a little different.  Let’s face it, for me, Roger Taylor is the fictional, “Knight in Shining Armor.” When I was young, I believed he could do no wrong. I suppose that at least to a certain extent, the same held true for the rest of the band.

After I grew up, my thoughts on that changed, at least somewhat. Even so, I still have their posters, and I think that I’m still a little starstruck. How could I not be? I still sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m at a concert, particularly when I’m near the front, to remind me that yes – this is all real.

Dom joined the band onstage after I was already an adult, and because I met him in person not long after, I don’t really idolize him. At least, not exactly in the same way….or so I keep telling myself.  I mean, there is still plenty of this atrocity going on:

I have to laugh.  I wore my Apple watch that night as a test because I wanted to see what the step meter would do at a concert. (It turns out that I get a week’s worth of steps in…) In other words, I am a total geek. Not that this picture proves otherwise, anyway.

Even though I scream at shows for him (obviously), he seems perfectly normal otherwise. (Yes, HE seems normal. Me? Read on)The thing is, I’ve met Dom before. He’s a nice guy. He’s even done a Q & A for this blog, and I lived to tell about it.

I remember when I emailed him to ask about doing the Q&A. I had to force myself to hit “send” and then nearly ran from the computer. It was a ridiculous display. Thankfully I was here at home and there is no video.

I was amazed by how quickly he responded.

Even so, I’m shy. Super shy.  Not sure if anybody is getting that…. One time, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe table in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel and he walked by, going into the hotel. I nearly choked. I didn’t say a single thing. I just watched him walk past. I felt paralyzed in my seat, very much the same way I used to feel when Ken Sears, the object of my middle school crush, would walk by the clarinet section on his way back to the drum section in band. I had it SO BAD for that guy. I think back on those awkward years (yes, years) and I cringe. It took me months to even work up the nerve to say hi to Ken, and by the time I finally got comfortable with him, he moved on to high school. I still had another year in middle school. It was horrible.

So there I was, in my forties and I still couldn’t speak, couldn’t say a thing when Dom walked past. I tweeted about it though…and I still laugh when I think of Amanda looking at me as though I’d grown a third head as I pointed out that Dom had just walked past. I think Amanda was ready to get out of her chair and go grab him herself, and I pleaded with her not to. Yet I tweeted him afterwards, and he responded – probably the only time he has ever responded to me, actually! Needless to say, I felt like an idiot and I’m sure he was amused that I even bothered to tell him how shy I was/am. Yep, I’m socially inept. Love to write, hate to speak in person.

Then there was the time, that same weekend, when I ran into him at a bar. I am pretty sure he went to hug me and I am also pretty sure I dodged it. I don’t even know why. I suppose at the time I was nervously trying to step out-of-the-way of people (it was crowded and that’s my excuse!), and I’m not really a hugger, or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  I wanted to fall into a hole in the ground after that, so yay for me!

I did make up for my idiocy about three years later, when I saw him at Agua Caliente in March. I actually got up off of my bar stool and walked through a crowd of people to say hi to him, and I say “actually” because that is not typical “Rhonda” behavior. I’d cower in a corner and maybe wave, but no way would I risk actually walking. (I’m clumsy and always at risk of falling, so no.)

I did wave. Then before my brain registered, I’d gotten up off of my chair, walked over and waited for him to finish taking pictures. It was an out-of-body thing, I’m pretty certain. I remember saying to him that I wasn’t there for pictures and I didn’t want anything signed. I didn’t even get the full sentence out.

He is a good hugger.

Ken Sears would be proud. Don’t google him, though. He’s just some poor man who likely has nightmares about some frizzy haired girl with a clarinet following him in middle school. I should probably apologize to him.

Moving on…he’s a really nice guy. I still say the band is lucky to have him. He’s down to earth, has an incredible work ethic, and is extremely talented. I’ve met him several times now, and I can’t really say we’re friends, but we’re friendly (or else he’s just really nice about humoring me), and I’m glad he’s a part of this crazy family.

I doubt you’re actually reading, Dom – but if so, happy birthday!! I hope you have a fantastic birthday with your beautiful family. I’ll see you in a few weeks!!

-R