Category Archives: birthdays

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

Happy Birthday Nick!

Happy Birthday to Nick – our favorite keyboardist!

The word “rapid” comes to mind today.  “The years fly by, in rapid succession.”  I would swear I just wrote a birthday blog for him, and here I am, writing another!

Every year, I try to come up with some sort of personal anecdote when I’m writing a birthday message. It isn’t always easy because I don’t see the band every year (although it’s fantastic when I do!). This year though, I think I might have one!

My favorite “Nick” moment as of late has been at the shows. Since the most recent (for me) was the second show at Agua Caliente in March, I’ll go with that one. In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to get good seats at the shows. By “good” I mean that we’re in the first few rows, and I have a decent line of sight to the band. In March though, I was up front and center which afforded me the opportunity to really be able to see every band member and watch their expressions at various times during the show.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but “Hungry Like the Wolf” is not my favorite song.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it….given that the band plays it at EVERY SINGLE SHOW.  Well, as the opening chords begin, I have a difficult time of not rolling my eyes. I can’t swear to it, but I think the band might know this, because there have been moments when I would swear upon a stack of bibles that some members look my way when it starts just to see my reaction. Typically, I hang my head in defeat for a brief second, then remember that – oh yes, they can see me (whether or not they really do isn’t the point) – and I try to get back in the program. I’ll look up, and invariably, Nick is peering down over his keyboards with the most amused expression on his face.

(I almost hate to let him down by not having a reaction….even though I think he knows that yes, of course I expect them to play it. And sometimes, they even play it TWICE because they have to start over. Really?? Is that even necessary????)

Truthfully, I don’t even know if he’s looking at me. It seems like he might be, but I don’t know. I’ve never asked!  So, I go about the business of singing and dancing along because really, what am I going to do, just stand there?!?

Then there’s later in the show, when “White Lines” comes on. Now this song has always been one of my favorites when they play it live. There’s just something about it, and that “something” is the hard-driving guitar. (and the guy playing it isn’t bad either…but that’s another story for another blog later in the month) In ANY case, over the past couple of years, and remarkably coinciding with the closer seating that Amanda and I have paid an outstanding amount of money to be in, the song has taken on a little different of a meaning.

Basically, it marks the point in the performance where I grow increasingly worried about how close my seats may or may not be to “the spit zone”.  Several years back, I’d rock out with out much care. I’d see Simon spit the water up into the audience and think “eww” glad I’m not up there. Well, lately, I have been up there, and I gotta tell you – I am semi-convinced that sometimes – there’s been a little bit more “aim” placed on the spitting!

However, this most recent time at Agua Caliente, we were right there. I didn’t give that much of a thought until “White Lines” began. All of the sudden, I realized what was about to happen. I couldn’t stop the look of shock and horror that went across my face, and again, I happened to look Nick’s way. I didn’t even know he could still smile that wide….

Even so, I tried to brush the thought aside while in my head I was thinking “Did Nick seriously just nearly CACKLE onstage while looking my way? Nahhhh….Couldn’t be.” Instead, I lost myself in the song and in a particular fangirl moment involving a guitar player.  Before I knew it, I was watching Simon head toward the drum riser to grab a bottle of water and take a drink. I knew what was coming, so I did what any sane person would have done and just looked down.

I felt the deluge hit the back of my head and run down my back as I winced and laughed. I mean, I didn’t see Simon spit, but he had to have aimed right for us. Come on now! I looked up, and Nick was laughing while looking right at the front. I laughed too, because it was FUNNY! I remember how horrified I was the first time – way back in Biloxi during the All You Need is Now tour, and how disgusted I was by the whole thing. I don’t know why, I don’t know how – but I don’t care so much anymore. After all, I’ve been “baptized” a few times now. The shock has worn off, but my reaction probably won’t change much. It’s still funny. And really weird. But whatever. It’s a thing, and while Amanda and I still hate it, I’ll admit I’m amused, and Nick’s reaction is priceless, whether or not he’s really looking my way or not.

All of this reminds me of a time not so long ago when Nick was missing from the shows. It’s true that MNDR did an outstanding job and musically, I didn’t notice much of a difference without Nick there. That said, to look up and see someone manning the keyboards during that time was just wrong – and I’m glad Nick is back touring with the band again. I can’t help but smile when I see his 10,000 watt grin. We don’t see it often enough.

Happy birthday, Nicholas. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see YOU in about a month!

-R

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!

On this date in 1960, Stephen Duffy was born. Now, some of you might be wondering why on earth I am bothering to mention this today, and that’s OK. Not every Duran Duran fan is aware of it’s very beginnings…so I’m going to use this as a Duran Duran 101 teaching moment.

Let’s all step into the time machine and head back to Duran Duran’s beginnings. Back before Andy came back, way before Warren stepped in, and even before Simon showed up to sign in pink leopard print pants. Stephen Duffy was in fact one of the first members of Duran Duran. He started out as vocalist, also penning lyrics and playing bass (yes, BASS), while John was on guitar (that’s right, at first John played guitar).  It wasn’t long before Simon Colley joined the band and took over on bass, and then Stephen moved over to drums.

Stephen was only in Duran Duran for about a year before he left, well before Duran Duran was signed to EMI.  Stephen went on to form Tin Tin (amongst a few other variations), and in the 80’s released the song “Kiss Me”. It is this song that most people recognize from him, although I am sure there are others.  See the original video for the song below,

 

Much later, Stephen and Nick came together as The Devils to work on a CD that is essentially the music that led up to Duran Duran as we know it. For the historical value alone, it is worth including in your collection if you don’t already have it. (and it is good music, too)

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!!

-R

Happy Belated Birthday Amanda!

I’m sorry for the tardiness of the blog today. I was taking care of “real life” this morning, which seeped into this afternoon, and here I am, sitting down at nearly 4pm my time to actually write. I’m thankful I’ve any time at all, really.

I’m also late in wishing my partner in crime a very happy birthday. It’s funny because on the fateful day in 2008, I called her to say happy birthday, and to let her be among the first to know (actually, she might have been my second phone call) that my youngest was going to be arriving later that evening – three weeks ahead of schedule. I remember thinking as I listened to the phone ring before she picked up that it would be an easy day to remember since my little one would share her birthday (not that I’d forget either of them!). The trouble is, because it’s also my daughter’s birthday, unless I carefully plan in advance, I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off to make sure I’ve got both Amanda and my youngest accounted for in the birthday wish department. I’ll be honest: I’m not much of a planner, and even less so these days with work. The last week hasn’t been great, and my life seems a bit more in shambles than normal. Whether that’s me being real or me making a mountain out of a molehill probably depends on your point of view.

So, I am happy to take a few minutes to express my gratitude for the birthday girl I never really have a chance to see in person for her birthday. Yes, it’s late this year (as is her gift – should have made it to her today though!), but the sentiments are felt year-round.

I often revel in the notion that Amanda and I are like opposing sides of the same coin. At heart we’re very similar, but we’re also very different. I think we might actually be our own set of checks and balances, which makes me smile when I think about it. It’s pretty clear-cut, across the board, and I can tell one story that really brings this to light.

Most know that in 2011 (I get the years screwed up so badly…but I’m pretty sure 2011 was the year), Amanda and I came up with the crazy idea to fly to the UK to see Duran Duran play some dates on their All You Need is Now tour. I think we were figuring we’d be there for nine days, if I remember right. It was a major deal for each of us, never mind the money spent. I had to break it to my husband that I was going to be gone for over a week, Amanda had to beg, borrow and practically steal to get the time off, and then as we all know, the shows were canceled. So, we found ourselves with some time off in the UK!

One of the things we did, thanks to some help from people who are actually ” in the know” about some things, was to stand out in front of the band’s rehearsal space. The point of the story isn’t so much that we were there, but how differently Amanda and I reacted to such a situation.

To begin with, I was totally against going, which makes no sense. There we were, in the UK to see Duran Duran, except there were no shows happening. There was no chance we would have seen them at all unless we took the information that was being given to us and went to the studio. Even so, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought. The idea of standing out front, the possibility of waiting all day, the idea of having the band possible be annoyed by our presence…I wanted no part of it. I always considered myself to be the more outspoken and confrontational one of the two of us…except I’m not.

On the other hand, Amanda was like, “We’re here, we know where they rehearse, this person is willing to go with us, we’re going.”  I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling as ill as I was. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t nervous, but she wasn’t. She was brave, take charge, and ready to deal with me – the bundle of nerves.  I just let her take the lead. We met up with our friend, and took a walk from the bus stop to their rehearsal space.  I didn’t feel any better the closer we came to their studio, and I can remember suggesting I wait at a restaurant, and then I think I lost my bus ticket and finally just gave up and forced my feet to move. Amanda seemed to have no problem whatsoever. She didn’t seem nervous, and she certainly wasn’t intimidated by the idea of running into them, which to this day I admire about her.  I never can tell if she’s nervous on the inside, because on the outside, often times she has to talk me down from a ledge.

“Rhonda, we aren’t going on the property. We’ll be right outside the gate, and if someone decides to stop and talk to us, fine. If not, that’s OK too. We’re giving them a choice.” Amanda sounded so positive, and sure of herself. On that day (and a few others I can think of), I needed her to push me.  I nodded and kept walking, figuring that if I couldn’t get out of it, I’d have to just steel myself to whatever possibilities lie ahead and just push through.  let her lead us back up the street, and saw that there was a small crowd standing along the wooden gate.

The events of the day aren’t really the reason I’m telling you this story – suffice to say we saw some of the band that day. It was eye-opening for me in a lot of ways that go beyond the scope of this post. So far they haven’t told security to be on the lookout and get rid of us at shows, so I guess they’re not sick of us…yet. She was absolutely right to insist we go that day.  I know my perception of Duran Duran changed after that experience, and I was able to meet a few new friends that day, besides. I’m glad I went, and I’m really glad she pushed me. I needed it.  I talk a good game online, but when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of being rejected just like anyone else…especially when it comes to the four people in that band. I’ve looked up to them, for good, bad, or worse, for most of my life. The last thing I want to do is disappoint, and I think that’s why I am almost afraid to run into them. Amanda, on the other hand – not afraid at all. Not even in the slightest. I admire that.

If there’s one thing I can tell you about Amanda, it is that she is patient. And kind. Overall, she’s a better human than I am. She doesn’t worry about herself. She thinks of others, and puts their situations and feelings first, and it seems to come naturally. I marvel at that about her, and try to think about her when I’m in challenging situations. Those who say otherwise about Amanda don’t really know her. She’s kind to an absolute fault, and I really don’t know anyone else who is as giving as she is. I’m certainly not! She’s always willing to take time out of her day to hear about my latest worries (Lately there has been a lot), she will rearrange her own busy schedule to Skype so that we stay connected, and she is incredibly thoughtful when it comes to gifts. I don’t know that I quite measure up to all of that. Late last year, Amanda really needed me, and I wasn’t there for her as I should have been. It’s much more involved than I’m letting on here, but in short: I don’t necessarily deserve her friendship. That’ s why I’m eager to announce to anyone who asks that of the two of us, she’s the better person, the better friend, and I’m very lucky she puts up with me.

I really wish I lived closer to her. Sometimes, I just need to go over to her house, watch some videos and just have a conversation with someone other than a family member. Unfortunately, that can’t happen very often. The distance sucks sometimes, but by the same token, when we do get together – it’s ridiculous. We could easily be marked a health hazard, and we burn the candle at both ends as though we were still teenagers, which we’re probably not. We bring out both the best and worst (although “worst” depends upon your perception, I think). and I treasure her friendship – which is why I need to be a better steward with it.

So my friend, I hope you had a fantastic birthday. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and I’m glad you had friends over to share your birthday.  I will see you in July!

-R

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Roger!

Another day where I love writing the blog, because I’m able to wish my favorite drummer a very happy birthday!

I met Roger one time at a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. It was for the release of the Astronaut album, and I was so nervous! I’d been standing in line for hours with my daughter Heather and a friend. As we finally made our way up to the door, I could see in. Mostly all I saw were the backs of a lot of people, but if I stood on tiptoe and leaned just the right way I could see the top of Nick’s head. My stomach began doing flip-flops, and I could feel my heart begin to race. I had that slightly woozy feeling that I tend to get just before I pass out – this is a problem I have with my heart rate, and at that time – I didn’t even know it was a problem! As I stood there waiting, I was silently giving myself a pep talk.

“You will NOT act like an idiot or say anything you will regret. You will go in there calmly and not ruin the one shot you’ll ever have to be in front of them. There will be no fainting, no crying, and you will NOT get yourself dragged away by security!” 

By the time we were called over by Nick and made our way down the line as each band member signed my album and Heather’s CD – I was strangely calm. It’s very hard to soak in every single microsecond when you’re only in front of them for about a minute total, but I tried. I got to Roger, and sort of stood off to the side of the table (he was on the end). While he signed my album, I asked him how he was doing – he said he was tired, and I smiled and then thanked him for doing the signing. I told him I didn’t think I would ever have gotten a chance to meet him otherwise, and that he was my favorite band member. Those words sort of came flying out of my mouth before I’d had a chance to think it through. Roger smiled and said that was really sweet of me to say. I took my album from him, thanked him again, and floated out of the store.

Heather was waiting for me on the other side of the security rope thing they had up, and she was practically in hysterics because I had spoken to Roger. She knew he was my favorite. I can still remember her smile – she had one tooth missing because she was only about eight at the time (same age as my youngest is now, which is hard to believe) – and boy did she ever give me grief about what I said to him.

“Oh Roger, you’re my favorite!” She said in a sing-song voice, collapsing into a fit of giggles.

I love eight-year old girls, I really do.

You know, it’s really hard to be a mom when you’re busy being a fan.  Even so, I’m glad I shared that with her, and I’m not sorry I said what I did to Roger, despite the somewhat ridiculous amount of teasing I’ve gotten from her in the years since. I’m just glad I had the chance to meet him. Little did he know that I’d be one of the women who would eventually try to throw him a Daily Duranie wristband several years later – that he then turned and tossed aside like trash. Ha!! 😀

I have a feeling a lot of things have changed for Roger in the years since I saw him DJ. I suspect his outlook on life is a little different now, he certainly sounds much more centered, happy and content. I wouldn’t wish anything less for him.

Happy Birthday Roger!!!

-R