Category Archives: blog

Bleeding from Paper Cuts

I have been waiting to use that lyric ever since I first heard it. To me, it is the perfect line to describe my job.  Teaching has gotten a lot harder in the last ten years or so.  The job did not instantly get tough but has slowly been getting more and more difficult.  To me, each subtle change or each little new expectation did not seem like a big deal at the time.  They were paper cuts.  Now, many teachers are full of paper cuts, to follow the metaphor.  The last couple of weeks have definitely felt like receiving a series of paper cuts that are so bad that I’m left bleeding and stinging.  Funny part is that on just one day last week, I literally got six paper cuts.  It seemed fitting.

Looking at my job as well as other activities in my life, I have come to a conclusion.  I seek intensity.  I live and breathe intensity.  When it comes to teaching, I can be laser focused on what I need to do for the job.  The last couple of weeks have included very little beyond writing finals, grading them along with any other assignments that have been turned in, and getting ready for the new semester.  The amount of time I have spent on huge is huge.  I literally have graded every single day in the last three weeks.  While the job is set up to do this, I also recognize that I take on the intensity differently than many of my colleagues.  Others are able to turn off the work and the thinking but I struggle with that.  It is probably one of the reasons that I believe I’m a good teacher but it makes the rest of life tough.  On one hand, I desperately want something a little less stressful.  On the other, this feels normal to me.  Part of me, I think, likes it.  The reason I think this is because I do the same things in other areas of my life.

As many of you know, besides teaching, I also volunteer my time with political campaigns.  What is the best part about campaigning?  The end is the best part.  I love the Get Out the Vote weekend.  For those not in the know, it is the last four days of the campaign when we hit the ground hard and at full speed with maximum volunteers.  Those weekends are marked by very little sleep and working 14-16 hour days.  Most people would run from this but I love it especially when I am on the winning team.  That feeling of elation is like nothing else I have experienced.  Political marches create the same level of intensity and emotionality.  The only thing better is touring.

I love lots and lots of parts of fandom and this Duran Duran fandom of mine but there is nothing better than touring.  Like teaching, I suspect that Rhonda and I tour more intensely than some.  After all, we can and do often party pretty hard.  I won’t lie.  There have been times in which we have had more drinks than we have hours of sleep.  Even now, over a decade into touring, we are still typically the last people standing.  Our roommates always seem to get to sleep before we do.  Even when we leading the activities at Durandemonium, our 2013 convention, we still went out after everyone else was back at the hotel after dancing the night away at Late Bar, Chicago’s New Wave dance club.  The lack of sleep combined with the partying and non-stop activity is pretty intense.  Heck, on  the very first tour Rhonda and I were awake for over 36 hours and did not consume any food for almost 24 hours.  It was a sign of how this touring thing would go for us.

When I stop and analyze my life, I have to admit that I like intensity because I like how everything else fades into the background.  When I’m on tour, I just think about touring, Duran Duran, my friends, my fandom.  While politics or teaching may enter for a few minutes here or there, my mind doesn’t stay on them.  Unfortunately, though, touring is not as common as I wish it was.  Instead, really, teaching is the bulk of my day-to-day existence.  Unlike touring, I wish I wasn’t as intensely focused on it as I am.  I try to keep up with politics during the school year and I definitely try to stay in contact with some elements of my fandom but they are often fleetly and short-lived until the news is about a tour or something equally exciting.  Then, I can carve out time for plotting!  The one thing I do in my life that gives me a good break is this.  Blogging.

When we started this blog, I thought this would help us in a variety of ways.  I thought maybe we would meet new people.  I figured that we would gain some insight into our fan community, that we would learn a lot about our fandom.  There was hope that we would become better writers.  All of that has happened.  What I didn’t expect was what blogging would do for me personally.  It gives me a real break from the insane world of being a high school teacher or political activist.  Truly, it allows me to keep the fun side of me alive even when the rest is attempting to swallow that part of me.  Heck, even when I am not blogging myself, taking the time to read Rhonda’s blog or people’s comments is necessary for me to remain sane.  Am I alone in this or does this blog give people a little break from the stress of their day-to-day existence?  I know that I’m thankful for it and hope others are as well.

-A

Blog Post 2014-2015: BILLBOARD COVER BOYS!

For my final pick of a blog from the past to showcase, I aimed for a blog that was connected to the release of Paper Gods.  After all, there is a lot of news and hype that happens before an album’s release so there would be much to pick from.  Likewise, I wanted to acknowledge that we are coming up on the two year anniversary of Paper Gods release.  TWO YEARS!  The blog post I picked isn’t one of excitement on my part.  No, it is one that I am expressing a lot of frustration.  My annoyance isn’t towards the band.  On the contrary, I am ticked in this post that while the band got some well-deserved press, the article itself was one that ignores the band’s talents for talking about their personal lives and flaws.  This is one of my pet peeves–that Duran does not get the credit they deserve.

Interestingly enough, after I posted this blog, the reaction I got from other fans was not what I had expected.  I thought many people would agree with my frustration.  For me, getting the cover of a magazine isn’t good enough–I want the writing to show the greatness that is Duran.  Yet, a lot of people who read the blog disagreed.  They thought I should just be happy that Duran was getting press.  Later that summer, John and Roger participated in a tumblr question and answer session in which I got to ask if they were as frustrated by the article as I was.  The short answer was yes, they were.  

BILLBOARD COVER BOYS!

This weekend, my timeline and news feed has been filled with pictures, articles and videos from Billboard.com!  What was the big occasion?  Duran Duran, not only appeared in the latest edition, but they were on the cover!!!  Obviously, fans were excited by this as they love seeing Duran Duran get the attention they deserve.  Of course, many fans expressed the idea that Duran Duran should ALWAYS be featured in the musically focused press!  We definitely agree!  So, how was this coverage?  What specifically was shared and what were the reactions to it?

Before I dive into the meat of what billboard.com shared, let me make a couple of comments.  First, I am concerned that I missed some things because there were so many different clips and links that it was hard (for me!) to follow.  Second, after I saw that they were featured in the latest edition, I did what I normally do.  I went to go find it in the store so that I could buy a real, hard copy for my collection.  No luck.  The places I thought I would find it didn’t actually stock Billboard Magazine.  Apparently, you can buy it online here, though!

Behind-the-Scenes with the Team

One of the links, which you can see here, that was posted by Billboard was a video clip focusing on the team who worked on the song, Pressure Off.  Now, I admit that I adore video clips.  I really do.  I generally wish that they were a lot, lot, lot longer and this one is no exception.  This one, in particular focused on Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson and how they worked together for the first time here with Duran.  By watching the video clip included in the link above, I am reminded of two things very, very quickly.  Mark Ronson truly is a Duran Duran fan.  He is a Duranie and every time I hear him talk about Duran or working with Duran, I am reminded of that and it always makes me feel confident in what kind of music will come to be as a result.  Likewise, Nile’s positive spirit and great joy over making music, especially music with Duran comes through so very clearly in this clip.  His enthusiasm is impossible to miss and I love how Nick phrased it when he said there was “electricity” in the room when everyone got together.  I could totally see it and really makes me wish I was a fly on the wall.  I truly hope that there is more video footage of this time in the studio.  I’m sure that every Duranie would love it!  If that wasn’t enough, I found myself loving Pressure Off even more from watching that!

JoSi Knowledge

Another one of the videos posted by Billboard, which you can see here, focused on how well John and Simon know each other.  I have no doubt that 99% of Duranies responded to the question before hitting play on the video with a resounding, “Very well!”  After all, they have been colleagues and good friends for over 30 years!  That said, I still couldn’t hit the play button fast enough!  The idea behind this video was to see if they could answer questions about each other.  I won’t give it away but I will say it is clear that they have great camaraderie with each other, no matter if they are talking football or past appearances.  I desperately wish that we got to see more of this!

Cover Article & Video

The longest article posted by Billboard also features a video.  You can read the article and watch the video here.  The video covers a few topics, including the album title, collaboration, and length of time to create the album.  I wonder if those truly are the biggest topics surrounding this album.  If so, then, Billboard chose well.  I did like what Nick had to say about the album title and I’m truly looking forward to hearing that song!!!  As for collaborations, one thing that caught my attention is the idea that Simon shared the microphone with many people, including John.  Is he referring to backing vocals or more?  I wonder.  As for the length of time to create this album, John pointed out that it is important to take time to make it right since there aren’t that many albums in their musical lives.  Obviously, this topic (coughDurantimecough) was well-discussed here on the blog.

As for the article itself, it starts off by describing the photo shoot connected to the cover, article, etc.  While I appreciate the acknowledgement that Duran has a long history, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with lines like, “The singer is still handsome but no longer quite a pinup; natural light can be cruel.”  I have to wonder.  Is that sentence necessary?  Why the focus on their age?  Yes, I realize that this was in context with the photo shoot, but still.  If was to show that they have experience with this, I just think there could have been a nicer way to put this.  To me, it seemed like a subtle (or not so subtle) dig on the band and Simon, in particular.  Thankfully, the article quickly transitions to the album.

The author begins the discussion on Duran Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods, by stating that it is a “robust affair” which is interesting considering that Duran could just sit back and enjoy their past success and tour.  Yet, according to Warner Bros. president, Dan McCarroll, the album is fabulous and clear to him that the band wanted a hit.  Sentences like that always make me pause.  I want Duran to have hits, of course.  I want them to do well and I want them to have the recognition they deserve.  Yet, there is always a part of me that worries (perhaps, unnecessarily!) that this desire overshadows the focus on quality Duran Duran music.  After all, we all know that there are songs that are hits that aren’t quality.  Nonetheless, I reassured myself that Duran Duran knows what they are doing and kept on reading.

It is no surprise that the article discusses the contributions on the album as that seems to be a frequently discussed talking point by both the band and the media.  I can understand that as it is interesting that the band used so many artists in creating this album.    What I struggle to understand is why the author spent so much time talking about the band members’ personal lives right after the discussion on collaborations.  Billboard magazine, at least in my head, focuses on the music and charts.  Literally, there are 4 sentences about the contributions and 5 sentences on their current personal lives.  It frustrates me as a fan when the focus isn’t on what they do but on who they are.  I know that has always been the case with Duran but I wish it wasn’t.  I would prefer more discussion on the quality of music that they create.  Am I asking too much?

From there, the article dives into their past, their legacy.  I was excited to read what moments in their lives would be highlighted.  I appreciated the inclusion of the Reflex remix by Nile Rodgers that the record label didn’t want to release.  I didn’t mind the brief discussion on the New Romantic era.  Yet, quickly, the article focuses on the band’s videos and how in the author’s words, they were “not particularly deep” and “advertisements for champagne-soaked decadence”.   Ugh.  In my opinion, there is a lot more to many of their videos than what is seen on the surface.  I’m sorry that the author doesn’t see that and doesn’t see the intelligence Duran used in their videos.  Interestingly enough, there are three full paragraphs about their videos.  Did I go to sleep and wake up in 1984?  Why the focus on the videos?  Again, don’t get me wrong.  I love their videos and I agree with John when he said that they were “jokey”.  Rio was exactly that, not just decadent.

I had hopes that the article would turn back to Duran’s musical history since the cover states that they are the “Last Band Standing” (which is a clever title and would have been more clever during Red Carpet Massacre days).  Unfortunately, the article tries to gives the band’s history and chronology by focusing on the usual topics of shopping, excess, drug and alcohol abuse, side projects, etc.  While clearly, research was completed, I just wish it had focused more on the music.  The article comes close to focusing on the music a couple of times like when there was discussion about how Duran rarely takes the easy way out, musically.  I wanted to know more as I thought that was an interesting angle.  I also enjoyed the discussion about the recording process and their desire to remain vital as they age.  Instead, there was more about how John was still “slender” despite not doing drugs anymore and how Nick has “slightly ghostly features”.  Do those sentences give information or add any knowledge or force readers to think differently?  I don’t think so.

I love that Duran Duran is getting press, getting attention!  I really do!  If I ran the world, they would get attention and press everyday!  (Maybe that’s why I do a daily blog about being a Duran fan?!)  I just wish that the content of the article focused on the MUSIC.  As Simon said in the article, “‘Glamorous’ and ‘shallow’ are never words you use to describe your own life. But, yes, it was fun. It was fun hanging out with Princess Margaret, Prince Charles and Diana and Warhol, too. But that’s all the press ever talked about: the parties, the models, the boats, the booze. But we did work hard.”  It is sad how true that statement of his still is and too much of this article shows this.

-A

 

Blog Pick 2013-2014: Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!

When thinking about the year 2013-2014, I knew that I wanted to do something surrounding Durandemonium, the convention we organized in October 2013.  I wanted to pick something about this convention because it was such a big deal for us.  We spent over a year planning, stressing, pouring over details and worrying about whether or not we could pull it off at all.  So when thinking about today’s post, the question became what kind of post do I pick.  Do I pick a post that explains the purpose behind the convention?  Something that sheds light on our hopes that it would bring fans together and create friendships?  What about a post that shows the work that we (and our convention committee) did?  Maybe, I should choose something that focuses on what the convention did for me?  After all, I do tend to think that it brought me back from the brink of leaving the fandom.  In the end, I opted to pick a post from the convention weekend.  I think it shows a little bit about the event itself, including some of the activities we had.  Years later, I still think that the event was a success, even if it wasn’t perfect.

-A

Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!

Yes, there was an all night party.  For some of us, that party lasted a little bit longer than for others.  Perhaps, this is why this blog is late and why the authors of this tiny blog page are moving a smidge slower than normal.  Okay, I won’t lie.  We are moving a little more than a smidge slower but we are alive and conscious.  I even called my parents to check in and the first question that popped out of my father’s mouth was, “Are you jail?”  I responded as you might guess, “Why would you think that??!?!” My dad explained that it was there wasn’t a blog post today.  Wow.  Even my dad is pressuring me on the blog post today.  While I was hoping to write a really articulate, special, insightful post, the truth is that I can’t do it.  I apologize right now.  Lack of sleep is a big reason to blame.  Not shocking, right?  We finally crashed at like 5:20 in the morning and had a little more than 2 hours of sleep.  We didn’t quite reach up for the sunrise, but…we came close.  While we considered writing then, we figured that we might be a bit more coherent now.  Ha!  Probably not so much, really.  The second reason that I’m not going to be able to dazzle anyone with my words is simply that I’m feeling a bit emotional, a bit raw.  I need time to process.  We need time to process.  So, instead of diving deep, I’ll give some highlights to the big day of Durandemonium and a few things to watch for in the future!

Highlights:

*Sharing the stage with fellow authors felt really good for the author’s panel.  We are truly lucky to have talent like Elisa Lorello and Karen Booth in our fan community.  Our moderator, Heather, was fabulous as well!  Nothing like sharing a stage with smart, articulate women to start your day.  It was also cool and a bit nerve-wracking to give a little preview of our book.  It was the first sharing, really, of any part of it.  I hope that it peaked some interest to those in the room.

A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen was BEYOND AMAZING!!!  When the convention committee walked in and they showed us a preview, I literally got goose bumps!  GOOSE BUMPS!  I loved dancing and singing surrounded by friends!  It really was the next best thing outside of a concert! Plus, hearing the different *squees at various shots made it so fun!  Plus, it made my desire for shows increase by like a million and I heard others say the same!

*People liked playing Duran related game!  I wonder if we shouldn’t try to market them!?!  Although, I did hear that trivia was pretty dang challenging and I was called “evil” as a result!  Sorry!!!

*We had some GOOD food at the banquet.  I’m still thinking about all of the yumminess.  It sounds like everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

*The fan slideshow was emotional for many of us despite struggling to fit it on the screen.  We are going to try to get it included in the convention DVD and will put it up on youtube for the rest of the Duran universe to see.  🙂

*Lots of people won some great Duran goodies and we appreciate each and every person/organization that donated items for our raffles.  We cannot thank you enough!

*I love party buses!  No worries about getting to and from a place.

*Late Bar was amazing!  They busted out many Duran video blocks for us and created the fabulous drink, Sing Blue Silver.  We danced and danced and danced.  We might have consumed a few adult beverages or two or more.  Do doubles count as one drink or two?!  I will definitely add this to my list of places to be in Chicago!

*It was nice to see so many people this morning, despite knowing that this was the end.  People seemed to enjoy themselves over the weekend and connections seemed to be made, which is really the whole point of this deal to begin with!  A by-product is that, for me, and others, there was a sense of renewal, a renewal of being a Duranie.  That makes a huge difference that goes way beyond this weekend.  The band can thank us later.

Key things to note:
*For convention attendees with pictures, Rhonda will send out information about our shutterfly account so that pictures can be shared.  I, for one, am SO thankful as I have like NO pictures from this weekend and desperately want some!

*Also, we would love to hear from people who went about what they thought.  What went well?  What didn’t?  Suggestions for next time, if we do another one, etc?  There is a survey in your program with questions.  Likewise, we would love to hear from others.  What would get you to go to a convention?  What would you look for, etc.?  Don’t be surprised if we come up with another survey for everyone to do!

I’m sure that I’m forgetting something and I’m sure that this won’t be the last post about Durandemonium 2013.  I will have more to say after some time and some SLEEP!  That said, we did it.  We really did it.  Durandemonium 2013–what a wild, fabulous weekend!

-A

Blog Pick from 2012-2013: Rolling Stone Interview Part 3

When I think back to 2012-2013, two big Duran related events stand out to me.  First, John Taylor’s autobiography came out in the fall of 2012.  This meant lots of posts about the book itself as well as many about events surrounding the release.  Second, Rhonda and I were deep into planning for Durandemonium, a Duran fan convention we organized.  I could have chosen from a million posts about either of those events.  Yet, I picked something completely different but one that reminded me of a truth about blogging that we have learned.  Sometimes, blogs that we think are going to be ignored get a LOT of attention.  Other times, blogs that we thought were awesome for whatever reason were kinda ignored.  Controversial or potentially controversial blogs definitely fit into that category.  Likewise, blogs that are supposed to be funny also can fall into the same trap.  

In the spring of 2013, a friend of ours and frequent guest blogger approached us with a crazy idea.  What was it?  He wanted to write a guest blog from the future.  This blog post would focus on a future interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which he asked about his experiences with the Daily Duranie.  Obviously, this was written to be funny, to tease us a bit, to be a little ridiculous.  Rhonda and I couldn’t just let his fake interview go, we had to respond.  First, Rhonda wrote a new interview and then I followed up.  My follow-up is below.  I distinctly remember writing this in a coffee shop near Chicago as I was there visiting with friends.  I’m certain that the other customers must have thought I was insane as I often laughed out loud to myself while writing.  I love when we are able to use our sense of humor as this series did.  Beyond that, it also allowed some Duran inside jokes within the interview.  So fun!  If you would like to start with part 1, go here.  If you want to read Rhonda’s, go here.  My part of the series is below.

-A

“ROLLING STONE” 2022 INTERVIEW PART 3

Another day, another soundtrack suggestion for this epic masterpiece…this time, turn on “Undergoing Treatment”.  Cheers!!


We are undergoing treatment
Watching others on the net
Studying our worst actions
They say we’ll get over it
Disappear like disco
To the sight of our few pageviews
Resign to the outer circle
If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever give us an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photographWe are undergoing treatment
‘Til our fandom bites the dust
Laid out on Blogger
They crave our loyalty
Ignored by the idols
Exasperated Estrogen
But why do we still face the music?If you see us texting about Pippin’s
Don’t ever ask us…

Now and then we get the strangest notion
That there’s someone reading
But it keeps we guessing
Wild ambition can you really blame us?
Can you entertain us?
Can you give a little more?

If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever giving us for an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
But will the doctors ever cure
These delusions of grandeur?


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”**
July 2022

Rolling Stone:  This is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the present and past members of Daily Duranie, one of the world’s longest and most successful fan blogs that is over a decade old and has seen millions of hits from every corner of the globe.  In May, we spoke with C.K. Shortell, a former member of the blog, and last month, we spoke with founding member, Rhonda.  This month, for our final installment, we ask Amanda to fill in the gaps to get a complete picture of this very successful online monster of a blog.  Amanda, of course, is known to be the organizer, the keeper of the dates/time/daily questions of the blog.
RS:  Thank you for speaking with us.  I know this isn’t your most comfortable of venues.  
AP:  True.  Interestingly enough, I have never had a problem speaking in front of teenagers or in front of political volunteers.  Yet, this setting makes me want to hide in a dark corner somewhere.  
RS:  Yet, you felt like you had to do this interview.
AP:  Of course, when Rhonda and I decide on a course of action, we follow through.  Oh, do we follow through.  (rolls eyes)  The blog is evidence of that, isn’t it?  Ten plus years and it is still going strong.
RS:  That’s true.  You and Rhonda have always been described as committed.
AP:  (snorts)  Committed.  Yeah…as in mental hospital, certifiable, committed.  We could have starred in that Falling Down video that people still don’t seem to get. 
  

RS:  Is this why you walked away from it for awhile because you thought you were too committed or that people might think you were crazy?

AP:  (laughs hysterically)  People have known I was crazy for years!  They certainly knew that Rhonda and I were flew to the UK twice in a year.  Heck, they knew it when we praised TV Mania back in 2013.  No, the reasons I left were much more serious than that!
RS:  Rhonda claimed that the reasons you left were for “differences” and how politics always got you.
AP:  Sure, I’m sure that she is partly correct.  Yet, she forgets what life was like then.  This was when the only people who really recognized our hard work were some dedicated readers, mostly friends.  We weren’t making any money from it and the band certainly didn’t acknowledge us then.  Remember we couldn’t even get a picture with the band!!  One single picture!?!  Even when we got front row, it was because we waited for hours in line!  We wrote a blog EVERY SINGLE DAY and got nothing.  I could get pictures, as in plural, with the freaking President of the United States but nothing with that band.  Add on the fact that we were making no money doing the blog, at that point, and I was so tired of that.  Years of teaching and years of volunteering for political campaigns combined with this daily grind got to me.  I wanted a real income and I wanted recognition.  That isn’t too hard to understand, is it?
RS:  It isn’t.  The Clinton Global Initiative gave you the income and the recognition?  
AP:  It definitely did!  When President Hillary Clinton called to offer me the position, how could I turn that down?  When the President recognizes your work and requests your services, you don’t feel like you have much choice.
RS:  It sounds like you left without thinking twice. 
AP:  Oh no, it was still an incredibly tough moment.  (wipes tears)  I didn’t want to leave the blog.  It had been a significant part of my life for so long that I couldn’t just walk away without feeling a serious loss.  I would have stayed if I had gotten the recognition for the blog…not to mention those fan events like the conventions or for the books.  Yet, I felt like it had run its course.  I had wanted to get out for a long time.  I wanted to do something for myself for a change.  But, I worried about my friendship with Rhonda when I left and I worried about what was going to happen to the blog.
RS:  You and Rhonda are fine now, though, right?
AP:  Yes, of course.  We love each other like sisters and we still can have such a blast together.  I never laugh at much as I do when I am with her.  Yet, when I rejoined the blog, I realized that our relationship suffered when I walked away.  We had to work on it.  I didn’t really get it even though I should have.  All of the blogs featuring the lyrics to “Buried in the Sand” should have clued me in but it didn’t.  When we talked about getting back together over lunch, I wanted to just go on the road, read some fan favorites but Rhonda insisted on writing new material.  Yet, as Rhonda would say, I was ready.
RS:  What were you worried about with the blog when you were gone?
AP:  Well, @Rhondaslap should be a clear example to show how things moved in a very different direction once I left.  Rhonda and I took pride in our maturity, our intellect, our sense of humor.  Yet, once that twitter handle appeared, I knew things were going to be very different.  Can you believe that someone asked me once if I would consider doing a twitter handle like that?!  I calmly explained that was one reason Chris was no longer a blogger with us.  Although, I think I really knew at that 2013 convention that Chris was after my job.  He went out of his way to make an impact with hours and hours of songs that have truly gripped me in emotional intensity.  I mean, come on, he played ZOOM freaking IN.  Enough said.  The only other songs that he could have added to make more of an impact would have been Come Undone and Hungry Like the Wolf.  
RS:  Are you surprised that Rhonda blamed the band for the change in direction for the blog?
AP:  Of course not!  (laughs)  Truly, if we can blame the band, we will!  In all seriousness, it didn’t help when the band decided that social networking wasn’t their thing.  I wanted to be understanding, and I was for a long time but years after years of watching the fans go after each other in between albums was too hard.  Duran downtime is a killer, truly.
RS:  Did you feel badly that your return the fold resulted in C.K.’s departure?
AP:  I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed and upset.  C.K. handled it like a gentleman no matter what his personal feelings were.  Yet, I definitely worried about the C.K. readers out there.  I know how personal one’s favorite blogger is for the readers.  I swear they will be debating which one of us is the best until the cows come home.  Yet, I definitely wanted us to return to the original lineup.  As you know when we first got back together, we wrote blogs that we thought fit with the older material.  There was nothing better than being with Rhonda.  It felt so nice.  Yet, it didn’t have the same level of success as our older work.  When that didn’t get the attention we thought it would, we brought in a popular publisher that took us in a completely different direction to get us more hits.  This publisher didn’t work like we typically did.  I had to explain to him what sentences were!  What was worse is that our readers didn’t get it.  Luckily, we got a different publisher, a true fan, who could remind us again about what we do best.  With that, the readers returned.
RS:  What’s next for you, Amanda?  Rhonda talked about a side project.
AP:  Well, I guess I wouldn’t blame her.  She has been holding down the fort here for a long time.  Projects outside of the blog only work to help us grow, I think.  That said, my plan is simple, we’re gonna take it back, take back the life we want to lead.  We’re going to make this stand the Finest Hour that we see. 

– A & R, C.K. Shortell

Amanda and I would like to thank C.K. Shortell for sending us one of the funniest blogs we’ve ever (not) written…let this be a lesson to you, C.K….we will take your work and create a monster every time!  

And for the rest of you, once again we feel compelled to remind – all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious…not to mention that it was a JOKE. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations, living or dead…or even undead, is purely coincidental.  

Amanda and I Write: Looking Back Over Seven Years

It’s Tuesday, which means while you’re reading, I’m at work already.  It’s the first day with students on campus, although today it is just a small group for a Robotics day camp. I was nervous before I left, purely because it’s the start of a new year and I still have a ton of work left to do in order to get ready for Thursday when we have orientation. This blog is just the thing I needed to get my mind off of work a little bit!

Today is September 5th. Eight little days from now, this blog will magically turn seven years old. The first thing that comes to mind as I type that sentence is that I don’t know where the time has gone. It doesn’t feel as though I’ve been writing for seven years, that is for sure.  But by the same token, a lot has happened during that time, I guess. Two albums, more than a few tours and shows, I’ve had a baby, two kids graduate from high school, taken on a new job for the first time in twenty years….and written a lot of words.

Amanda and I spoke last week before each of us went back to the salt mines for the school year, knowing we’d both get far too busy to talk much later.  We agreed to do something just a little different this year in order to celebrate the blog. Over the course of the next week, beginning tomorrow, we’re choosing one blog from each year – 2010-2017 – to highlight and reprint. I have barely begun the process of looking back to pick out blogs to reprint, and it’s much harder than I originally thought! Do I pick a blog that best represents the year, or blogs that I felt were well-written?  What about the poignant ones – like when Simon lost his voice or while Amanda and I were in the UK?  There are 365 days in most years, and to only choose one is challenging.  I don’t know what Amanda will pick for the days that she blogs, but I’ve decided to go with my gut. No rhyme or reason – just the blogs that in re-reading, I decided to share again. So each day, you’ll see something from a different year, and we’ll write something about the blog to reintroduce it.

I’ll probably share more about how I’m feeling as I go, but I just have to say that I’m pretty proud of Amanda and I. I’m not proud of our success or traffic numbers – I don’t care about that stuff. I’m just proud of us and what we’ve written. We’ve stuck through some really hard moments, things that no one but the two of us know happened, and our friendship is solid. (That’s the thing I’m most proud of)

This whole thing started at as no more than another one of my hare-brained schemes that I didn’t really think through. Somehow writing a blog each day sounded EASY seven years ago. Some days, it is, if there’s news, if I’m feeling wordy, and if I’ve got time. I didn’t think too much about how this was all going to happen while we’re supposed to be teaching or working, it’s one of those things that just sounded good at the time. Somehow, we’ve made it work. That isn’t to say everyone loves us, or that we haven’t stumbled along the way, but we’ve stuck with it, persevered, and I think Amanda and I are at a place of peace now. It’s not perfect, but neither are we.  We just have fun and let the rest take care of itself.  “The rest” used to bother me, and sometimes when I least expect – someone will say something online and it will strike a nerve and really upset me.  That’s when I take a minute to remind myself that Amanda and I WRITE. That’s what we do. Each day we offer our words, opinions, hopes, joy and sometimes, disappointment and sorrow. Once we’ve hit “publish”, it’s up to everyone else.  It doesn’t work when I get involved on that end of the narrative, and I’m so much happier when I don’t. These days, I’m just proud of what we’ve done, and content with what I am doing. The rest just takes care of itself.

So with that, I’m excited to look back and see what I can dig up to share!

-R

In This Place You Made

May is always an interesting time for me.  It is the end of the school year.  This means that the way life is right now will end soon, never to be quite the same again.  I think about my classes and the kids who come in on a daily basis to hang out.  Next year, I’ll have new kids with different kids popping in and out of my classroom.  Some of my colleagues will remain the same and others will change.  The end of the school year almost always means that I stop, look around and think about my life a bit.  I take stock.

One element that I have to acknowledge is my fandom and this place.  Most of the time, I don’t even really think of this blog.  It is just part of my daily routine.  There isn’t much questioning on my part.  No “should I still be writing this blog” or “should I take a break”.  Unlike my paid gig where I do take the time to look around, think about how things are and how they will be, I don’t here.  Maybe, I should, though.

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for six and a half years.  We have created over 3,000 posts and have had hundreds of thousands of page views.  That is pretty remarkable, isn’t it?  While we have taken some time away for various reasons, for the most part, we have posted something daily.  On top of that, I look at the Duran fandom and see plenty of what we do here replicated, including Duran history or surveys.  Clearly, we have readers who check out what we write on a  daily basis and still others who read a few posts a week every week.

Beyond the statistics of the blog, I think about what it has meant to me.  On one hand, it has become a diary of sorts.  I have discussed many personal issues on this blog from political campaigning to my job to my parents’ health.  This diary has also captured the band’s history in the last six years.  Just the other day, Rhonda mentioned about the 2011 shows that had to be cancelled due to the fact that Simon lost his voice.  We documented that here.  In fact, we have documented two album releases and many tours, at this point.  Have we captured every single thing?  Of course not but we have talked about quite a bit.

Fandom is an interesting element in someone’s life.  For me, I have had some fandoms my whole life.  Those fandoms including Star Trek and the White Sox, represent my family, my childhood.  They are like comfort foods or a security blanket.  I feel safe when I think about them.  Then, there are the fandoms that I participated in for awhile that might have brought me great times and good friends but couldn’t last.  Duran Duran fandom, though, is in a category all by itself.  While it has existed in my life for decades, it is not as old as my family connected ones.  Like the short term fandoms, it has brought me amazing times and experiences along with good friends.  Yet, it has been so much more than all of those others combined.  It has a grasp on my heart and soul that the others don’t come close to.

When I think about why this fandom matters so much to me, I consider the history I have with being a Duranie.  Memories of tours, conventions and friends pop in my head.  I immediately think of all of the tremendous shows I have been fortunate enough to attend.  Yet, this blog is a big part of the picture, too.  It has kept me grounded into this fandom in a  way that all of the other elements of the fandom could not.  It keeps me always thinking about Duran.  I’m forced to pay attention to what the band is doing even when I’m distracted by real life or other concerns.  Some of you might view what see this as an unfun responsibility, but I don’t.  I’m thankful for it.  The blog allowed me to really commit to a fandom that I love more than words can ever show.

I don’t know what my fandom would have been like without this blog.  Maybe I would have walked away at some point.  Perhaps, I wouldn’t remain as involved or I would have dived deep into something else.  On top of that, I’m proud of what Rhonda and I have created here.  I think that 6.5 years is pretty impressive.  To be honest, I’m not sure where or when it would ever end either.  No, this blog and this fandom of mine are truly lifelong commitments.

-A

The Pressure is Off

I have dearly missed blogging each day.

It isn’t sharing too much to say that much of the writing I did over the course of the past two and a half months was similar to blogging.  I sat down each day, pouring out words for whatever topic I was working on at the time (we called it a word vomit), and refine from there.  It is the same process for blogging. Even so, there is something very special and unique about sharing thoughts here, and I’ve missed it.

We finished the manuscript for our book and sent it last night, crossing our fingers.  There are no guarantees, though. We don’t know that we wrote something compelling enough for the publisher to agree to work with us. We do know, however, that we did our very best.  We worked hard, and both of us are much better writers now than when we started.    What was supposed to be a simple “rework” (HA HA HA) ended up being a completely brand new book from start to finish. Amanda tells me it ended up being 113,408 words including the glossary and bibliography. (If my college professors could see me now….)

When we sat down with a calendar to figure out how long it might take to create a solid draft, June 15th seemed reasonable.  What I didn’t even consider was that on this same date 35 years ago, this roller coaster slowly left the station for the first time.

If you’re not grasping the reference, that’s OK.  I’ve been writing about journeys and traveling so much lately that I’ve really started ONLY thinking and writing in terms of transportation analogies.  Our manuscript deadline shares the date with the release of Duran Duran’s first album 35 years ago.  I suppose to at least Amanda and I, it is kind of poetic (and we are sure hoping there’s some karma happening somewhere) that we turned in our manuscript on the same date. (It was after midnight in the UK when we sent it!)

Not only that, but the release of “Pressure Off” also shares this date!  (editorial comment: I wanted to check the date to be sure, and Wikipedia has the release date for the single being the same week as Paper Gods. Duranduran.wikia has the date being June 15. We have the same date listed, so I’m going with what the fans know!)

If THAT isn’t poetic….nothing is.

So, while I begin the attempt to get my house back into running order, I’m gonna play some “Pressure Off” followed by “Friends of Mine”.  Seems like the kind of day for it.

-R

 

Spring Break 2016!

Hi everyone,

At this moment, I should have my headphones on, writing as quickly as my little fingers can type… but I wanted to take a moment out just to write a little update for those who do not currently follow us on Facebook or Twitter. (and really, why don’t you?!?)

For the past “I-refuse-to-even-consider-how-long-it-has-been” several years, Amanda and I have worked diligently on a manuscript that we hoped to have published.  Call it Durantime if you choose, but these things take a while! The work was wildly academic with just enough color to make it interesting for others. We finished a solid draft, sent proposals to publishers and hoped for the best.

With some interest, we find ourselves with the unique opportunity to completely redirect the manuscript. We have a limited timeframe to give to such a task, and so we’ve made the difficult decision to re-establish our priorities. While we love blogging and Daily Duranie will continue with earnest very soon, we are taking at least a few weeks off to really work hard on the new version of the manuscript, hoping it will pay off in the end.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be activity here on the blog, but the lengthy writings that readers are used to will likely be a little different for the time being. And…as the band tours, readers will be happy to know we’ll cover the shows as best as we can, whether that is within our weekly “Vodka Friday” series – those will continue because even Amanda and I need breaks from reality every now and then (check them out on our YouTube channel!!), or here on the blog when we have time.

We realize the timing is pretty, well….challenging….for this to happen now, given the North America tour beginning just this week. But, we also believe that this is happening now for a reason. While we love Daily Duranie, this is part of our dream potentially coming true and one of the major reasons we took this journey to begin with.  Hopefully at some date in the future, we’ll be able to celebrate and share what we’ve been working on.

Until then, check in with us on Facebook, send us a tweet on Twitter every now and then. We’re always happy to hear from friends and readers, and we’ll definitely write when we can!

-A & R

Miss me yet?

Did you notice I was gone last week?  While I feel badly about not blogging at all, there’s a certain part of me that is glad I didn’t. Many of you probably know that my oldest moved to her college dorms and last Thursday was move-in day. My week was spent doing about 50,000 loads of laundry, packing bins and boxes, and admittedly – fighting back a lot of tears. My feelings are very mixed right now. I’m proud and happy, but also a tiny bit sad and even a little bit lonely. Heather is my oldest, my first baby – the one I had to “learn” on, and she’s been my buddy since the day she was born. As she got older, we grew closer, despite those nasty teenage years (I was lucky with this one, but I suspect her younger sister will be a force to reckon with) Now she’s at my alma mater, having what I believe will be the time of her life. I’m here at home, watching Bachelor in Paradise and Cutthroat Kitchen by myself.  It isn’t just an adjustment for me, but one for the entire family. My youngest has decided that throwing a tantrum or two (she’s a very young seven who is used to being doted on by her older sister) is the way to go. So it’s been delightful as I calmly but firmly redirect. (sometimes, not so calmly…) We’ll all adjust eventually…I hope.

The good news here is that most people might not have even noticed I was gone, despite the lack of a daily post.  Each day, readers should have seen a new picture poll posted, and probably even some discussion up on our Facebook page about the new album. Friday, Saturday and even Sunday there were blogs just as normal…and all of it due to Amanda.

Over the past five (yes FIVE!) years we’ve written and operated Daily Duranie, it has become increasingly apparent many have absolutely no idea that there are two of us here doing the work. Amanda will be on Twitter chatting with people on our @dailyduranie account, and they’ll automatically assume she’s me, even though she always “signs” her tweets with “-A”.  The same happens with email, or even when people have something they want to share…they address emails, messages, etc. solely to me. While I love talking with anyone and everyone about this band, I have to wonder why no one seems to recognize or acknowledge that Amanda is easily the hardest working one out of the two of us…and she really and truly IS. So, maybe readers can share some of your perceptions with us.

With that in mind, I think it’s time for a little Daily Duranie “Primer”:

I am not the sole owner of Daily Duranie, and Amanda is absolutely not second-in-command. We are equal partners in every single way.  When we first began the blog, she and I agreed that I would be responsible for writing blogs Monday through Thursday, and she would write Friday through Sunday. Over time, we began adding things like the daily questions, polls, and chatting with everyone on social media. Amanda does most of that, to be honest. We both keep the calendar updated, I handle the website maintenance and upkeep (I hate that part), we both answer comments, and thank GOODNESS we’re in this together. I could never do it all alone and I wouldn’t have ever even tried if it hadn’t been for her.

Perhaps, Amanda and I complement each other so well that no one realizes we’re two people! I’m far more casual in my writing. I wear my feelings on my fingers, so to speak. My blogs read similarly to how I might write an email or talk to a friend. I figure we’re all friends here, anyway. Amanda is definitely the more intellectual one. She is a thinking-person’s sort of writer, and she knows her Duran Duran history better than anyone I have ever met.  In contrast, I still struggle with the band’s birthdates, regularly forget names of songs, etc. (I also call my children by every OTHER name than their own, so there’s that). Amanda seems to know every date in Duran history, while I can’t seem to remember when Rio was released. I do my best, and fall woefully short much of the time. I handle the backend of this website (which sounds far dirtier than it is), and I don’t think Amanda has ever dared tread around back there…yet she’s definitely the more detail-oriented one out of the two of us. I’m more of a “big-idea-with-no-plan-for-implementation” person. I’ll come up with dumb-ass ideas like “Let’s ask Dom Brown for an interview!” and not have any clue how to reach him other than, for example, throwing a note up on stage at a show.  (This didn’t actually happen…but it makes a good story, doesn’t it?!! I actually sent him an email, with my hands shaking the entire time. Thank GAWD he didn’t request a phone interview because I’m pretty sure I would have turned blue and passed out from a lack of oxygen.) On the other hand, Amanda has a calendar at home that she keeps updated with what we have planned out for the two of us to do. If it weren’t for Amanda, nothing would get done here much of the time.

What is particularly frustrating and very discouraging for her is that she’s not acknowledged for the amount and quality of her work. It is apparent that many automatically assume this is completely my deal, or that Amanda is my supporting player. That couldn’t really be further from the truth, and is not the image we care to present. Selfishly, the last thing I need is for the world to assume that I am somehow the only face behind Daily Duranie! Over the years, we’ve been contacted by a variety of people for a plethora of reasons; whether it’s fellow fans asking a question, authors wanting  a book reviewed, or even people inviting us to things – and usually they typically only ask for me. I am left wondering why. I would love to read your perceptions, dear readers. This question really isn’t about why you might like my writing or Amanda’s writing.. (in fact I would very much appreciate those opinions being left to oneself). I am asking why it may seem, or IF it seems that Daily Duranie is only one person.  Bonus points for examples!

As always, I look forward to reading your well-thought out insights.

-R

Vacation is Over!

Spring break was lovely, but all good things come to an end.  And some good things just decide to keep going.  Like this blog.

It has come to our attention that we are missed by many, and we have really appreciated the kind notes and comments of encouragement. It is also clear that the band is getting busier, amping up for the release of this (still yet to be named but fondly referred as #DD14) album in September.  We sense a single coming, with plenty of promo and other goodies along the way, or so we can only hope.

It has never been our job to report the news. Other people do that, and they do it extremely well. We like to comment on the news, but we also comment on fandom, on experiences, and on anything else that we feel is pertinent on any given day.  Additionally, we have a much larger goal of fostering friendship and community within this fandom, and we take that very seriously. This will remain our focus.

As part of this focus, we have always encouraged discussion. Unfortunately at times, a small percentage of our readers have assumed that also means that anything goes. Negativity, rudeness, and open hostility were tools used to make sure that we never overstep our place in the fandom. Sometimes they were even used to undermine the goals and purpose of this blog.

Going forward, we’ve agreed that we will no longer reward and reinforce negativity. As always, we welcome comments that further the discussion and the goals and purpose of this blog. If a comment does not appear to do that, we are not going to respond.

During this time off, we continually talked about the things we’d like to change, and the things we wanted to keep. We want to focus on having fun and not allowing a simple blog to become a constant source of stress and anxiety.  Therefore, #PressureOff, right??  While most days will have a poll question, quality blog posts will happen organically. If we have something to say, great. If not, that’s OK too. We would rather like to have fewer posts with quality every single time than put out posts that no one cares to read. That just was never our goal, but became a heavy responsibility, especially during what we like to call the “Duran Drought”.

We’ve also agreed that it has been far too long since the last tour. We are incredibly anxious to be planning and plotting for the next set of tour dates and other Duran events! We’re looking forward to having a lot of fun in this next chapter of Duran Duran and Daily Duranie, we hope you join us!!

-A & R