Category Archives: birthdays

Happy Birthday Rhonda 2018!

This blog post is late, not in terms of time but date.  I could use the excuse that I don’t blog on Wednesday, when it was Rhonda’s actual birthday, but that isn’t the complete story.  I have been a little busy.  (I would call working 70-80 hours a week more than busy but alas…)  I could have probably done some sort of quick blog but I didn’t want to do that for Rhonda’s birthday.  Nope.  I wanted to make it something more meaningful or more fun or both.  Therefore, I needed time and energy.  Now that I’m starting to recover and feel more human, I can do a blog post worthy of a birthday blog for Rhonda!

In thinking about how I wanted to blog, I wanted it to be monumental because this week has felt pretty monumental.  So, I figured a good way to wish her a happy birthday is to acknowledge, to remember, to celebrate the top 12 monumental moments (in no particular order) that we have shared together.  Why 12?!  Well, if you add up Rhonda’s age…you might get 12, which is a lot more than if you added up my age.  Just pointing that out because I can.  😉

12.  Surviving Voodoo

Rhonda just recently wrote about the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans in October 2006.  The thing about that day is that I truly feel like we survived torture.  After all, we stood for hours in the same space without any food or water.  So, when Rhonda screamed at Simon that we had time for 50 more songs, the only thing I could do is laugh…at least until I had a few drinks (or ten).  Of course, that night represented the first time that signs we brought were successful such as the one below:

oops…wrong sign. Well, we held this one up too!

11.  Secret Oktober in Brighton

Sometimes, once in a blue moon, we are lucky.  In this case, we were beyond fortunate to have seen the band perform Secret Oktober live.  We saw the song in Brighton, England in November of 2011.  This show was always questionable.  We were not supposed to see the band there when we first bought tickets.  Unfortunately, Simon lost his voice and the first set of tickets we had were no longer used.  Thus, we decided to add the Brighton show after the Simon had recovered.  Then, we worried that the public union strike in London would affect our ability to get to this show.  Somehow, someway, it worked out.  We got our cherry on top, though, once this song was played.  I’ll never forget the moment when we realized what we were hearing and turned to each other to hug only to see Nick laughing at us behind his keyboards.

Before the show in Brighton!

10.  Walking through Birmingham

Speaking of the UK, we were lucky enough to go in 2011.  The first trip did not turn out as we expected since the four shows we had gone for had to be canceled.  At that news, we had some options.  Do we sit around and complain?  Do we ignore anything and everything Duran related or do we still experience our Duranie-ness.  Rhonda and I opted for that last option as we walked around Birmingham, gaining a brand new insight into the band we thought we knew.  It was not only eye-opening for us but certainly made Rhonda and I closer.  Later in the year, we finally got to see Duran play in their hometown, which was a dream come true!

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Tweet
Our infamous tweet before the show in Brum

9.  Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon in New Orleans

Do you ever look back at life and are able to pinpoint a pivotal moment?  This moment might be such that it points you in a significantly different path than you might have been on otherwise.  I strongly recall sitting at the Howl at the Moon in New Orleans with drinks in hand right by Rhonda at the 2004 Friends of Mine convention.  I didn’t know her super well at that point but I remember singing along to HLTW with her and thinking we could be friends.  I wasn’t wrong.

8.  Laughing during Tempo Cafe in Chicago

If Howl at the Moon made me think that Rhonda and I could be friends, laughing hysterically with her at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4 in the morning told me that I had found my touring buddy for life.  This was for our first tour together, the spring Astronaut Tour in 2005.  We realized that weekend that we could easily travel or go to shows together.  The rest of the world, however, probably wish that we didn’t.  I think the people with us probably wished that we didn’t get along so well when we couldn’t stop laughing, annoying them to death, I’m sure.  I know that for me, this matters.  I like being with people who make me laugh!

Image result for tempo cafe chicago

7.  Running away during Durandemonium

In 2013, Rhonda and I decided to do something pretty crazy.  We chose to organize a convention, Durandemonium.  It took place in Chicago and by anyone’s standards it was successful.  That said, it was a lot of work, a lot of stress so when we had an opportunity to relax a little, we did.  After the Saturday night fun, dancing away at Late Bar, our favorite 80s club there, we sought quiet at a very late dinner or very early breakfast.  I will never forget the pivot we took away from the doors of the hotel to walk at a brisk pace down the street.

Amanda and Rhonda hit Club Neo the night before Durandemonium

6.  Finishing two manuscripts

Some of our monumental moments are ones that no one was around for besides us.  A good example of this is when we finished a manuscript or two.  No matter what has happened with those drafts, I’m super proud to have written them.  I still believe that we have something to say that would interest people.  Someday, I hope we get back to writing like that.  While it isn’t easy, I think it would be worth it.  I feel very fortunate that we have a friendship that we can  not only hang out and laugh together but can also work together, whether doing this blog, writing books or planning fan events.

5.  Making fun of Simon in a bunch of ways (but always with love)

Oh, how we love to give Simon a hard time!  It started as soon as the reunion took place as we enjoyed talking among our friends about some of Simon’s more interesting dance moves or his idea to crowd surf.  Then, we saw new and better moves in 2009, which you can see below.  By the time, Paper Gods rolled around, there was so many ways to tease, including trying to find bright colored but way too short pants or trying to paint shoes to match his lime green ones.  I cannot wait to see what we can do next!!

4.  Roadtrips

Over the years, Rhonda and I have spent a lot of time traveling, both together and apart.  Yet, my favorite way to travel with her is road tripping.  On top of being able to just sit and talk, it also allows us to come up with new ideas or to create some of the best setlists the band has never played!

3.  Hotels

Like transportation, we have stayed in a number of different hotels over the years.  Sometimes, those hotels become more than just a place to stay.  We have found ourselves kicked out of hotel bars as “there are sleeping rooms” nearby.  If that wasn’t enough, we have also answered the phone to hotel security.  Most significantly, hotels have also been the scene of moments with the members of Duran.  Maybe, it was taking pictures with John, Simon and Dom in Los Angeles in 2015, getting someone to wear one of our wristbands or toasting with Simon in Toronto.  Good times, indeed!

2.  Press conferences

Then, there are our videos that we lovingly refer to as press conferences in which we attempt (often badly) to capture a show or a tour.  They speak for themselves!

1.  The best is yet to come!

Over the years, we have learned a lot from Duran Duran.  One big concept is to look forwards and not backwards.  What does this mean?  It means that the best is yet to come!  I suspect that we will have some monumental moments in February!  So on this birthday, I celebrate our friendship and some of our best moments!  On that note, I wish my partner-in-crime an absolutely fabulous birthday!!!

-A

Happy 60th Birthday Simon!!!

I woke up this morning feeling like I was supposed to do something or that today is important for some reason.  What the heck could it be?  What could be so important on October 27th?  Should that date mean something to me????  I don’t think it has anything to do with Duran, right?  If it did, I would, for sure, remember, wouldn’t I?  Of course, I would, right?

So, anyone doing anything fun this weekend?  I bet those guys in Duran aren’t doing anything special…oh wait.  Crap.  Today does mean something!  It is not only a Duran member’s birthday but it is a big one.  A monumental one.  On this date sixty years ago, our favorite lead singer and yours was born!!  This is definitely one birthday that I’m happy to acknowledge and celebrate.

As a kid, I have to admit that I first took notice of Simon out of all the guys.  He is the lead singer, after all!  While I’m not sure which song or video I first heard or saw, I am willing to bet that it was Hungry Like the Wolf.  Clearly, that video is designed for Simon to be the hero, the adventurer, the James Bond character of sorts.  I remember just thinking about how cool and brave he was!  I would never cross the bridge that he did or hang out in that water.  Nope.  No way.  I am one big ‘ole scaredy-cat.

This, of course, was followed up with lots of other videos and live clips that were equally as amazing.  By the time Seven and the Ragged Tiger came out, I would have declared myself a Simon fan, a Simon girl.  Shocking, I know.  While I admit that this did not last, thanks to John Taylor and the video for the Reflex, it wasn’t like I no longer liked him.  I probably would have even said he was my number two then.  Goodness, we have all seen Simon in New Moon on Monday and the Reflex, right?  I especially liked him being the leader of the resistance in NMOM.

Of course, his coolness factor continued through the 1980s and 1990s and even until the 2000s.  In fact, even he was still so cool to me that when the reunion rolled around and I began to think that it might be possible to actually meet the band after hearing so many stories that I assumed that he would always be off limits.  He just seemed so dang rock star to me, then!

During the Astronaut days, I had the chance of seeing Simon out and about.  I never even attempted to approach him.  In fairness, part of it was the fear that I would be rejected or worse.  I couldn’t handle that so I claimed that I didn’t want to ever meet him or suggested that my fandom was better than that.  It is funny how we say and do things to protect ourselves.  Fast forward to the Red Carpet Massacre era and to a little cd signing event in Chicago in 2007.  I figured that this would be my best chance to “meet him” without fear of rejection.  After all, this was an official event.  I wouldn’t be bothering him outside of a venue or at a hotel.  During this signing, I would face Simon first.  I avoided thinking about that by being on the phone with Rhonda up until the last minute.  In fact, I was so focused on the conversation that I didn’t bother to undo the plastic wrapping of the cd in order to get out the insert for them to sign.  As I stood in front of Simon trying desperately to open up the cd as quickly as humanly possible, I couldn’t believe how ill-prepared I was.  Not good.  Finally, he says in an impatient voice, “Just give it to me.”  Initially I thought he was being mean but after looking at his signature along with a heart, I think he was trying to put me out of my misery.  The experience made me wonder.  Did I have this guy all wrong???

Then, 2011 happened.  As I’m sure you all remember, 2011 was the year of All You Need Is Now.  It was also the year that Simon lost his voice.  Suddenly, I felt concern.  I felt sympathy in a way that I had never when it came to Simon.  Being Mr. Cool Rockstar meant that he didn’t need concern, at least in the back of my mind.  With his vocal loss, I found myself viewing him in a much more human way, in a much more complex way.  This feeling was only reinforced by a million once Rhonda and I flew over to the UK only to have all of our shows canceled.  Instead of being angry, I felt protective, which only grew when I saw the man stand in front of me and other Duranies explaining that he didn’t think he would be able to sing.  I saw his humanity in a way that I hadn’t ever before.

This new understanding of Simon combined with my love for the song, Before the Rain, which I think really captures Simon’s true genius.  The lyrics are such that they can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  For me, it spoke to a time in which I lost my grandma and beloved cat right before my profession came under attack.  Lines like  “I hear the silence waiting to fall” and “a stormy summer” really spoke to me during this time.  The song provided comfort when I needed it.  Not to mention the fact that I loved this as a show opener.

Then, there’s the most recent era surrounding Paper Gods.  This is when things really got fun.  If you read Rhonda’s blog from Thursday, you know what I’m talking about.  Basically, we enjoy the heck out of giving Simon a hard time.  Of course, that has taken a variety of forms.  Maybe it means that we hide or turn our backs when he is about to spit during White Lines.  Perhaps, it is shown when we decide to paint our shoes green to match his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, clearly, we enjoy giving him a hard time but we think he likes to give it right back to us.  For instance, there was the time in Paso Robles when he came to the edge of the stage with his mouth beyond full with water during White Lines.  He watched us as our eyes widened before we started searching for some sort of cover before he then swallowed the water and laughed.  Yep.  We laughed right back.  Truly, some of my best moments of being a fan has been when we are either giving him a hard time or vice versa.  It doesn’t have to be serious, after all, does it?

On a more serious note, while I’m thankful for all the wonderful words and songs that Simon helped to create, I’m more thankful for the little things that he has taught me about myself and how to approach life.  I learned to have fun even with people you look up to.  I learned not to be so fearful of rejection.  I also learned about the power of being openly vulnerable as I watched Simon openly grieve his mother’s passing at shows in the summer of 2017.

On that note, I want to celebrate this big birthday by watching one of my favorite Duran clips ever which is Simon’s 50th birthday gift.  Then, I asked that people share their favorite Simon performance or lyric.  It would be cool if we could get at least 60 favorites!

Happy 60th Simon!!!!  Hope it is filled with lots of happiness and love!

-A

Happy Early Birthday Simon!

This blog is wickedly late today, and I’ll just say that this is what happens when my youngest gains an unexpected “vacation” during the normal school year. Her learning center closed down, and our schedule hasn’t been the same since!

Speaking of schedules and calendars, it would appear that someone’s 60th birthday falls on a day when I would not normally be blogging. This is unacceptable. So…I’m gonna write a blog anyway. Today. You’re welcome.

The other day, I listened to a Katy Kafe. I found myself smiling. I didn’t know what was wrong with me! I’m still not quite sure. No eye-rolling. No long sighs. Not even a single comment of “What in the hell are you talking about, Simon?”  I’ve gotten soft.

It wasn’t that long ago when I would openly roast Simon on this blog.  I would listen to his frenetic and somewhat scrambled ramblings when he’d join Katy in the Kafe and feel like my head was spinning. I’d tweet afterwards, declaring that I needed a drink. I was convinced that half of Katy’s job was akin to herding cats.  (Well, I still kind of wonder about that….) Yesterday though, I was smiling. Actually grinning while listening to Simon talk about the disagreement over “You Kill Me With Silence” and the set list!

It used to be that we would laugh about how we’d never actually go up and ask Simon to take a picture with Simon. Oh gosh no. I mean, we weren’t supermodels, and he’d never give us the time of day, right??  That continued until one night, well past midnight in Los Angeles. (Didn’t somebody say nothing good happens past midnight?!?)  Not only did he agree to the picture, but he jumped up off of the bench he’d been sitting on with a great big “Hellooooooo!! and when our friend asked if he’d be willing to take a picture, he said “Let’s do this!”  So we did!

I think that was the first night I’d ever been up close to any member of Duran Duran. He remains the only original member of Duran Duran that Amanda and I have a picture with together. Maybe this Simon-guy wasn’t so bad after all??

Once upon a time, I could be in any Duran Duran audience and never even notice Simon glance in our general direction. I knew for sure that I wasn’t exotic or glamorous enough to be picked out of a crowd. I grew fond of saying the band didn’t know my name, and that I’d be worried when/if they did!

People (read: other fans) probably think we’re nuts, but when we’ve been up close to the stage, we’ve seen band members laugh at our antics, and more often than not, that person is Simon.

Pretty sure Simon still doesn’t know my name, and likely not my face… but I have a feeling he recognizes Amanda at this point.

Obviously, I haven’t quite decided what can or should be done about that. Witness protection? Change in hair color?  Stop going to Duran shows?  Hmm….that last one seems rather excessive…given the whole “Daily Duranie” blog and all…

Mostly, I remain amused… as I contemplate what we should do next!

I miss the days of complaining about high water sweat pants on John at shows, only to see Simon and John both show up to an interview wearing some of the brightest sweat pants possible. Coincidence?

So we retaliated. Truth be told, I am still not satisfied with our lackluster reply. We were at the mercy of the Target store nearest the highway we were driving to get back to Chicago in time for my flight the following day. Even so, I’m still a bit disappointed we didn’t find any neon.

 

We’ve even given Simon a rough time about the set list. For example, there was that one time when we realized they left Planet Earth off of their set list. Amanda, being the helpful, kind soul that she is – fixed it! (Yes, we KNOW they didn’t intend to play it that night…that’s the point!)

a harmless suggestion, right?? Photo courtesy of Janet McCabe

The best part of that little tale was that when the band inevitably took the stage and Simon glanced down at his set list – just whom do you think he shot a narrowed side-eyed glance, assuming she had perpetrated the whole scheme?  ME.

I immediately pointed at Amanda, of course.

I guess the simple truth is that since 2011, Simon has become more and more of a real person to me, and not just an image from a video, an album cover, a poster, or a band. He makes the shows, and even the experience of writing this blog while we’re traveling to shows, far more fun. I love that in some small way, he’s able to see that we’re teasing him, and he’s not afraid to give it right back. As he should!

I know writing this kind of thing, where I swear we’ve had some sort of exchange with him, is risky. People either think we’re nuts (probably true), or that we’re exaggerating. No one actually believes that we’ve seen him look our way at shows, or that he’s tried to fake spitting at the wrong time during “White Lines”, just to see what we’d do. I think Amanda and I have done a decent job of even telling ourselves that we’ve imagined most of it, but we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t ignore the obvious. We have fun despite the risk of being thrown in the loony bin, I suppose….that’s pretty much the premise of this entire website!

So yes, he does make me smile, in the same way I do when I hear from some of the guy friends I had in high school. When I watch videos for “Rio” or even “Hungry Like the Wolf”…I see THAT Simon and weirdly, it is very tough for me to reconcile that it’s the very same guy who made sure Amanda saw him wave to her while going into a hotel in San Francisco. It isn’t the same as being “starstruck”, it is that my brain has chosen to compartmentalize it all…and that’s bizarre.

Now, in no way should he think that he’s gotten off easy. Come February in Vegas, when Amanda and I are in our seventh row seats for Friday and fourth row for Saturday (straight out in front of you, Simon – right smack in the middle!), we will be ready and prepared for whatever may come our way. We will be blogging, and probably doing video blogs, as normal. Let the games begin.

Happy Birthday Simon! When I was 12 and watching “New Moon on Monday”, I don’t think I ever let the thought cross my mind that I’d still be a fan of this band so many years later. Youth was so “in the moment”, everything being new, fresh, and instant. I thought we had forever to live, so I never really thought about the future. Here we are, years later – and I appreciate the band, and your hard work, more than ever before. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

While you’re at it, better work on going for distance during “White Lines”….. if you know what I mean.

-R

 

 

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