Category Archives: book

Try Much Harder Until the Truth is Drawn

Recently, I have been trying to describe what is this website is, what we do here and why.  Perhaps, you could explain it far easier than I could when I tried.  I can describe what it is NOT well.  Yes, it is a blog, but it is also more than that.  How do you define “blog”?  The definition I found was something about a personal website in which someone records an opinion on a regular basis.  Well, we certainly do record our opinions on a regular basis, a VERY regular basis.  I’m sure, at times, people wish that we didn’t record our opinions so much.  Yet, we have had and still have a lot to say about being a Duranie, about being a fan, about fandom, about Duran Duran and more.  Thus, this place definitely fits the definition of “blog”.  Yet, if you have taken any time at all to look around, you see that there are other pages.  These pages discuss our book and the various fan events that we have organized.  Our book, I promise you, showcases years of research, both in the written word type research and in the observation type research.  The fan events show that we have planned events.  Why?  What is the point of all this and how do we think we are doing with it?

I have thought a lot about WHY we do all of this.   Our book came first.  When we first thought of writing a book, it was probably more focused on just life as a Duranie.  It led to broader questions.  What is fandom?  What is being part of a fandom like?  Are all fandoms alike?  Are there negatives?  If so, what are they?  Why do people join fandoms?  Why do they leave them and why do they stay?  To summarize, we decided that fandom was fascinating.  We wanted to understand it and those people in fandom.  We wanted to understand OURSELVES.  Our book is all about curiosity and understandings.  Yet, of course, you can see a lot of that within our posts here, too.  We research and write to seek answers and understandings.  The blog came next, in order to continue this process.

Beyond expanding the process we had with the book, this place has also provided a place to discuss what is happening.  We have lots of thoughts when it comes to Duran Duran and being Duranies.  Over time, we had lost our place to discuss such things.  We needed a home.  Soon, we realized that others might, too, need a place to discuss the same things.  We have always welcomed others who want to discuss.  (Of course, the key word there is “discuss”.  There is a big difference between discussion and attempting to tear others’ down.)  Thus, this “place” came to be not only somewhere where Rhonda and I could process our thoughts regarding research on fandom and discuss all things Duran, but I would like to think it is also a “place” for others to do the same.  I, for one, love thinking critically about these topics and know that having discussions make me do that.  Hopefully, we help others to do the same.

One of the themes that we have come back to over and over, both in our research and here on the blog, is the importance of connections, when it comes to fandom.  Connections and friendships are really what matters.  This led us to create meet ups and the convention, Durandemonium.  There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing Duranies connect with each other.  I remember right after the convention seeing all the attendees friending or following each other on social networking sites.  Many of those connections are still alive and well, too.  I also believe that these connections work to keep the fandom alive during lulls and intensify the fandom during periods of excitement.

What do you think?  Does that describe what we are all about here?  All of that said, there are many things that we are not.  This is not the place to get unreleased Duran Duran news.  Why?  That is simple.  First, we don’t know anything before any of the rest of you.  While like many of you, we hear “rumors”.  We would never post those as facts.  We aren’t comfortable doing that, no matter how strong a rumor is.  To us, it is more respectful to the band to wait until something is official.  Does this stop us from being more “popular” in the fan community?  I’m sure.  A lot of people want to read about inside scoops.  I can understand that, but it won’t be us sharing them.  We are also not a place to share a lot of pictures of the band, gush about the band or post information about the band’s private lives.  Like the inside scoops, we don’t have access to the band.  Even if we did, that isn’t what this place is all about.  Likewise, while we are most definitely fans, we want to dive a bit deeper beyond how fabulous they are.  We want to think a bit more critical.  Again, that probably doesn’t make us super popular.

We aren’t here to be popular or to prove ourselves to be bigger/better fans.  On the contrary, we would like to get rid of the idea of bigger/better fans.  In fact, that kind of idea works against fandom, we believe.  It works to destroy fan communities and people’s enjoyment within fandom.  Our reason for being here is simple.  We are here to understand fandom, to discuss Duran Duran and being Duranies and to encourage fans to connect with each other.  I’m not sure we have achieved that goal but I am proud that we try.  I am proud of what we have done so far.  That means far more to me that my/our social status within the fan community.

-A

Going crazy, wanna come along? Daily Duranie Book Club – Mad World

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Well, we’re not really going crazy…but we’re definitely taking a trip down the MAD side of things because for the next several weeks, Amanda and I are going to talk about Mad World each Monday here on the blog, and we’d love for you to come along for the ride!

Just as we’ve done in the past, we’re going to do this as a sort of book club where we take a chapter or three each week (which amounts to discussing a few bands) and talk about them.  We want to open this up to discussion – so if you want to follow along and participate, feel free to comment with your thoughts as we go along. We encourage that here!

This will begin next week on the blog – and we’ll do the first 3 chapters in the book.  This gives you some time if you haven’t gotten your copy of the book yet!!

-R

Careless Memories of a Mad World, LA style!

Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my Mad World book, picked up my own chauffeur from work (my husband!), some Daily Duranie wristbands (do you have yours yet?!?), my camera and made my way up to the Sunset Strip to one of my favorite bookstores: Book Soup!  My mission was to have my book signed by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, authors of Mad World.  I’d never been to a book signing that had a DJ along for the ride, spinning tunes as we stood in line.  My husband Walt commented as we stood in line hearing Echo and The Bunnymen that it felt like we’d been propelled back in time to the early 80s. Observant, that husband of mine…. I loved the music, and yes, I did stay long enough to catch the familiar chords of Girls on Film flowing in the air.  But back to that signing…

Book Soup is not a huge bookstore. It is this fabulous, homey feeling bookstore in the heart of the Strip. Situated just up the street from the likes of the Key Club, Viper Room and The Whisky among others, it’s in an unlikely spot, which is very much part of it’s charm. It reminds me of the independent bookstores I’d find on the main street of Glendora or Covina – my home town(s).  Not only can one find books in Book Soup, but there’s vinyl as well – bonus!!

As I arrived last night and stepped into the store, there was no way you couldn’t be immediately swept away back to the 80’s. Kajagoogoo was playing, and no – I can’t listen to “Too Shy” without thinking of Nick Rhodes. I’m forever cursed. Thanks Nick. I wound my way to the line snaking around the perimeter of one side of the store, and as I stood in line, I dared myself to think back to what it was like listening to these songs in the 80s.  I was pretty young back then, and if I only knew where it all might lead me… (and if I could figure that out now, well, maybe I’d actually be making a decent living!!) I just remember a time when I could turn on the radio and song after song would carry me away from my teenage problems to a world of daydreams.  Nowadays I struggle to find a regular radio station that I can actually stand to listen to more than a song or two. The joys of aging, I suppose.

I looked up as I stood in line and caught the wandering eye of Lori Majewski,  as she glanced to see how far back the line began. She  waved. I started to wave back but then thought to myself, wait a minute. She couldn’t possibly recognize you, Rhonda. She doesn’t even KNOW you. Now you’re waving like an idiot. Awesome. So I looked around, only to find that no one else was looking up.  She was waving my way after all.  Great job, self-confidence.  *begin slow clap here*  I swear it was it was my own personal Ducky moment from Pretty in Pink.  (watch the end of the movie if you don’t know what I mean…and why on earth do you not know what I mean?!?)

As I recovered from that moment (there are just times when I’m glad the band ISN’T there, you know??), I saw Patty Palazzo walk past me – and so I did what any normal person might do any Duranie might do, I got out of line to go say hi! I’d never met Patty before, but I have exchanged emails a few times….and actually, we’d agreed to talk that night about setting up an interview for the blog!! (I’m so excited about this news that I might burst! No really. I just ate carrot cake. I might honestly burst.) I don’t know where my courage came from because I am really not this brave ever, but I walked up and said hello, and even dared to hug her.  *gasp* I don’t know WHERE that came from, because my friends – Rhonda is not a hugger. I like personal space. I am not touchy-feely.  But I hugged Patty last night, and I’m pretty sure I violated her personal space.  Maybe this is why I’ve never really gotten anywhere near the band…I’m a closet hugger!!! *gasp* This is really why I should never be allowed to go to events like this unattended. (meaning without Amanda) I even got Patty and a few new friends to wear our Daily Duranie wristbands! Amanda should be so proud…because I had those darn wristbands in my bag, and I kept thinking to myself: do I dare hand them out? Really? Should I? Will I look as super cool as I do right now if I hand them out?

(The answer is no. No Rhonda…you never looked super cool to begin with, so…you’re safe. Go with it.) So I did! Never mind that it took my darling husband three or four tries to get a decent photo…

wristbands

Before I knew it, we were up to the front and Jonathan Bernstein was doing everything possible to make sure I knew it was time to hand over my book. I was too mesmerized by the process to see that he was practically grabbing my book out of my hands. (so sorry!) The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to Lori Majewski by Patty, and we’d set up a time to get together for something I’m not going to talk about just yet…you’ll have to just watch this space! (Again, I’m really thinking I might burst. Remind me that carrot cake is never an acceptable breakfast substitute…)

photo

It’s blurry (sorry Jonathan…I hope your photographer was better than mine!)…but it is a very cool memory.  Admittedly I am fangirling just a bit over meeting Lori. Back in the day, before writing Mad World, before Teen People, she was the editor of a Duran fanzine. How cool is that?? I don’t know where in the hell I was back then, but I intend to ask her all about that…when we meet up for that thing I’m not going to talk about just yet!

If that weren’t enough, and it’s really not EVER enough (I believe there’s a John Taylor quote to be had somewhere in there), after I had my books signed I had the chance to run into Duranie friends.  I know that I’ve lamented here about how much I miss the band, and I do. Maybe that’s overly sentimental, but I miss seeing them play and I especially miss that sense of “one-ness” that we all feel with them when the show is going right. We’re all in that same place together feeling the same thing. It’s a remarkably cool feeling that I hope all fans get to experience at one time or another. However, it’s in moments like some that I had last night that I remember how much I miss my friends from afar. Friends from the UK, Europe, the midwest, east, northwest…southeast…I’ve been very lucky to have made real friends in a multitude of places, and last night I had just the smallest taste of getting to see some of them again. We don’t gather very often, and it was really nice to catch up with a few of them. Friendships are the one collective “thing” about being a Duranie I treasure most. Well, there is the music too…I mean, duh… (can’t really forget to mention the band, can I??), but I love seeing friends from all over.

The night ended relatively early for us, as we had to get back home, but it was really a great night and I’m glad I went to the signing. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Mad World yet, do yourself a favor and look for it on Amazon. I have read the entire thing once and am going back through it a second time.  Jonathan and Lori did a fantastic job interviewing all of the bands, and there is just so much information in there – things we never would have ever known about the music we grew up with.  It is genuinely worth the read.  You should see my book, I was telling Jonathan last night as we left that my book is all marked up, highlighted, red-lined, complete with notes in the margin!  (Note to self: next time, bring a book that is not already marked up with your notes in it…)

-R

 

 

 

Gettin’ Busy

I have been on Spring Break this week.  I had been looking forward to this break for what felt like absolute forever.  There were no days off since January and the winter was beyond brutal with frequent snow and cold beyond belief.  To say that I was going a little crazy was an understatement!  If all that wasn’t enough, real life added some extra worries.  The break was supposed to be the medicine to cure my ills or, at least, make me feel better.  I suppose that is what happened to some extent, but it is flying by and my to-do list has barely been touched.  In fact, it has probably grown.  Now, I’m looking for motivation to get started.  I need to get started.  I want to get started.  It seemed to me that this little blog might be a good way to do it.  Putting my list in writing and writing that is public would do two things.  First, it makes them more serious, more needing of a commitment.  Second, I’m hoping that others might push me along when needed!  🙂

Of course, all of that said, you probably won’t want to read about my desire to get my car washed or my need to finish the laundry.  Thus, I’ll keep the list here focused on Daily Duranie related work.  Besides, I figured that a few of you might be interested in an update about our projects!!

1.  Convention 2014–

If anyone was following our individual twitter accounts last night, you might have seen a little discussion about how we are planning for Durandemonium 2014.  We gave a couple of hints about when and where we are hoping to hold it.  I admit that we are in the very early stages in the planning process, which means, of course, that what we hope for in terms of when and where might not work out.  It also means that I have got to get going in contacting venues.  Once I do, that the ball will really be rolling.  For those of you who attended last year, we are definitely planning to keep some elements of that convention, but adding a few others and deleting or changing some aspects that didn’t work out as well as we had hoped.

2.  Our Book–

A lot of people ask us about the status of our book.  Our standard answer is that we are still working.  We are.  That is not a lie.  Book proposals are lengthy as are perfecting citations and bibliographies.  This is where producing a non-fiction work is quite a task.  I have been going back and double checking and verifying each and every quote, source, etc.  Now, beyond that, I’ll also admit that the book gets pushed to the side more often than it should due to real life duties like family obligations and work.  It also gets pushed aside with the blog and the conventions.  The reason is simple.  No deadline for the book.  Nonetheless, we have talked and have a plan! We are hoping to get together this summer to work on nothing else.  The blog will still be done but will be done in advance, which means that there will probably be lots of Duran news during that time frame.  The band will have a sense that it is safe to release information without our loud mouths offering our constant opinions!!!

3.  Blog Related Projects–

We have many coming up.  First, we have a couple of interviews in the works.  We are excited by these and hope that you will be, too.  Second, I will continue on the series of most popular tours.  Please watch this space for polls about your participation!  Lastly, I’m getting ready to do another giant poll like what was done about people’s Top 25 Duran Duran songs.  I really enjoyed finding out what songs people loved, compiling the list and analyzing it.  Again, watch this space.  If that wasn’t enough, we have more to do with the book, Mad World, and a review of the new gold package for Duran Duran Music.

After looking at this complete list of things to do with just this aspect of my life, it is no wonder that I feel the need to get motivated and to get things done!  Wish me (and Rhonda) productivity!

-A

It’s a very very MAD WORLD.

As promised, today I’m going to give a brief review (with no spoilers!!) of Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein’s new book, Mad World which is out today!

First of all (and most important), I want to disclose that Lori approached Amanda and I several months back about helping them out with promo for Mad World.  While the typical “Are you sure she meant to contact us? I mean…we’re just a couple of fans!!” were made between Amanda and I, we were (and are) extremely honored. I suppose we could act cool, calm, collected and professional and put off an air of “Well of course they’d want our help”…that’s not exactly our style. Amanda and I are simply fans. Like you. We began this blog from that very simple two word fact, and that’s how we’re going to continue, forevermore.  I should also disclose that I received a copy of the book early for review – and that has never happened before, so for us, this is a first, and we are completely honored by the opportunity.  Maybe that’s overreaching on our part, maybe we’ll be slammed for saying so; but for Amanda and I, the way we see it is that someone out there sees the good we’re doing, and we’re very, very proud of that.

However, that won’t stop me from bringing forth an objective review….just so we’re clear about how much I adore this book.

I don’t want to give a lot away about Mad World because I really want everyone to go get their own copy.  But, if you could see mine – you’d see it completely red-lined and highlighted. Yes, I still read as though I’m reading for a college course.  If you take away just one thing from my review – I want our readers to know that reading this book makes the songs sound new again.  Let me try to explain.  Let’s face it: these songs are around thirty years old now.  At one point or another, the songs started fading into the background. I might still listen to the music. I might (I do) still have nearly all of them included on my trusty mp3 player, but I don’t really hear them the way I once did.  I don’t pay attention to every last drum beat, or every single crescendo or synth loop.  I still love the music, but I don’t feel the music as much. It doesn’t completely consume me.  Or at least it didn’t before Mad World.  

Once I started reading though, that all changed. The book is basically divided into chapters that correspond with songs.  So for example there is a chapter called Girls on Film. I’m pretty sure you can guess what and who that’s all about.  Jonathan and Lori give their initial thoughts on the song (and band in a broad sense), then they include the interviews done with the band about that particular song – since this is an oral history. What I really like is the song is discussed in the original historical context – “How was it back in the 80s”, and then they have a section called “That was then, this is now”; and in that section the song is talked about from the present point of view.  So, I found myself listening to the song before reading the chapter, then reading the chapter, and going back to listen to the song again.  I couldn’t help but hear the song differently. It was as though my ears were reinvigorated!

This is not a book that I would critique based on writing style, or how much “dirt” was drummed up about the subject…although I feel that the bands involved seemed to be incredibly forthcoming and honest about their work, which is refreshing.   Of course the writing is good. and I love that Lori and Jonathan are true to themselves. When they are fans, they say so and own it rather than try to play the “We are completely professional and above it all” card.  Their commentaries are rooted in reality, and it is obvious that they enjoyed the work that went into the writing.  However, the real star(s) of the book are the interviews. I learned so much in reading, and it wasn’t the big picture stuff that resonated – it was the little things.  I could really get a sense of the emotionality that some of the artists interviewed continue to carry with them about songs that were written so long ago. I felt some of the heartbreak that others had when they looked back.  I could even hear the anger, despair, distain and even apathy of others for their fellow band members.  Those points in the book make the songs whole.  It’s as though now I’ve got the full story – the 360 degree view.

This isn’t a book that could have been written as successfully even ten years ago.  So many of these people needed to get past their own egos, whether they were overly trumped up, or completely deflated in the years gone by.  It has taken this long for many of them to simply come to terms with what took place, which is why I really believe the interviews worked so well.  In all honesty, I think that I needed to become an adult in order to fully treasure their stories.

Lori and Jonathan say that they wanted Mad World to be a fan friendly book. They have taken the route of going directly TO the fans to answer our questions, and get us involved. I have to give them kudos for doing so, because I believe the evidence is clear: it worked.

I am an 80s kid. I was born in November of 1970 and so when the year 1980 rolled around, I was 9 years old. My formative years were spent in the 80s, and when I think about the music I love, New Wave from 80s is the first to come to mind. It is a vital portion of my personal soundtrack, my playlist.  Mad World fills in the gaps, the things I pondered while laying on my not-quite-orange but also not-quite-brown shag bedroom carpet listening to my stereo and staring at my green walls peppered with pinups of Duran Duran when I was a kid.  Definitely worth the read.

Amanda and I plan to do more with Mad World in the coming weeks – so watch this space!

-R

To order your copy: Mad World 

Fools run rings to break up something they’ll never destroy

Today is one of those days where, for the most part, only other moms really understand what I’m going through. My youngest woke up at 3am, very sick with some sort of a tummy bug.  My husband looked at her, then rolled over, covered up his head and went back to sleep. I got up. I’ve been doing laundry ever since…so coffee is extra important today. Why does stomach flu or food poisoning hit in the middle of the night?? So not only am I fighting a bit of jet lag (as is my entire household), we’ve got some flu thing going on too. Yay!

I’m pretty sure Amanda mentioned at some point in the last two weeks that we’ve finally completed the first draft of our manuscript. Maybe I mentioned it as well – I’m so far behind at this point that I can’t remember! I’m pretty proud of our progress and I won’t lie, there were moments when I wondered if we would ever really finish the manuscript. It’s so easy to say you’re going to write a book – Simon even says something like that in the song Networker Nation, and he was so right. It is EASY to say you’re going to write a book, and it is even pretty easy to start writing, but somewhere around chapter four, you lose momentum. Life stops you from writing, and before you know it – two weeks or two months has gone by without a single written word. For me personally, that is when it seemed easiest to give up, but we didn’t. Amanda and I plowed ahead, knowing that sometimes, the book had to be put aside, only to be picked up again a bit later. Sure, it took us longer than I would have liked to finish (and keep in mind we’ve only finished and edited the first draft), but in words that I would swear I’ve heard out of the mouths of members of our favorite band here….I think that in taking the extra time, it gave us a chance to produce a much better end product. Someone slap me because I think I’m channeling Nick Rhodes right now…

What do I mean by that? Here’s the funny thing: I’ve been a fan for over thirty years now, as have most of you, I’d imagine. When we first started writing, I know I saw our fandom a little differently than I do now. Part of that is due to prejudice in writing, another part is seeing things in a different perspective, and still more is due to having the opportunity to travel a bit more, delve a bit further into the community aspect, and take the angle of a social scientist rather than fan. By no means am I calling myself an expert on fandom, or claiming that my objectivity remained intact, unclouded and unbiased. However, I am saying that over time, Amanda and I became much better equipped and able to see some of the trends we set out to discuss in our book. That alone makes the project a success in our eyes.

When I left for vacation, I was very conflicted. As Amanda knows, there was a part of me that was ready to quit blogging. A rather large part, actually. I love the writing, make no mistake of that. I look forward to organizing my thoughts each day, and this is truly how I begin each day. I would probably be lost without the blog now. However, there is a downside to pouring thoughts out onto a screen each day. I don’t need to go over it here because I think any of our readers can probably see some of the downside on an occasional basis. No matter, I felt a very heavy weight on my shoulders when I left, and I was thankful for the break so that I could sort through what I wanted for my future.

The reality is, I am not cut out to work with fans…with people…on a daily basis the way that some might believe is my ambition. My goal is not to become Katy Krassner, or work for the band. Get that out of your heads right now…because if I did work for the band like Katy, I am sure that I would upset people on a daily basis – without apology. That’s something that I’ve come to see over the course of being a fan, and is something I’m not ashamed to admit. I’m a writer. I like writing, and I like the discussion and thought process that goes along with that, that much is certain.

At one point not so long ago, Amanda and I were trying to find a way to expand what we do here into a full-time, paying career. We weren’t looking to exploit the band, we were looking at how to make our work in fandom into something that could grow. What I missed in that thought process though, was that we were already doing exactly what we needed to be doing. We were writing. I guess my feeling is that if we keep writing, eventually that in and of itself will turn into a career, whether I’m writing a book, speaking on a panel or doing research for our next books. The rest of it seems to take care of itself – and that’s something I have to learn. It’s only when I attempt to force myself in one direction or another that I’m unhappy, and I have to be willing to let nature take its course. Not everyone will agree with 100% of everything Amanda and I will try to do here, and there will be those who want to remind us of where they feel we belong on the social “totem pole” of fandom. I simply refuse to allow someone else decide my destiny purely because they don’t like what I have to say on any one particular day. For the gang of five or ten that don’t like what we’re saying – there are hundreds out there that feel otherwise. As a really wicked guitar player once said, “I’m not fucking going anywhere”.

So what point are we at now with our book? Well, in true Daily Duranie fashion – Amanda and I kind of did this all backwards. Rather than starting with an idea and trying to sell the idea to a publishing company, we wrote the book first. I’d love to be able to say that I thought that all out, and my reasoning was at the time that no matter what – we’re publishing this book, so even if a publisher doesn’t want it, we’ll do it ourselves. The less flattering truth is that we started writing because it was what I knew to begin doing, and as we wrote we researched just how to get a book published. It was only then that we saw we could have written a book proposal first, and by then – Amanda and I felt the real goal was just to finish the darn first draft. So we did. Truth be told, if we can’t find a publisher for the book we’ll absolutely do it ourselves – many authors do that these days and we feel the project is strong enough to put the time and effort behind it, but right now – we’re going back and creating the book proposal to sell this book. That means really going back to our research, seeing where our book is unique from every other book out there (that’s the easy part), and being able to convey those points. So, just when we think we’re finished with the writing – we’ve only just begun. Welcome to being an author!

In closing I’d just like to add that I really appreciate those of you – friends, people I don’t know or haven’t met personally yet, and even those anonymous commenters out there (you obviously know who you are, whether you’re friend, foe, or interested observer) that have taken the time out of their day to send a note to boost my spirits when they’ve clearly been down. I’ve never made light of the fact that I’m learning as I go. I really admire the journalists and bloggers out there that never seem to bother reading their comments, much less respond back to them – I can’t really do that. I like reading what others are thinking, even when sometimes the words really bite, and I would hate to stop responding and stop seeming to  have emotions about a subject that I hold so dear. So, I’m sure that from time to time I’ll have to remind myself to take a step back and see the big picture, but I need to convey my thanks to those who stick with us on the journey.

-R

The Beauty of It All

Rhonda likes to say that I gave her a homework assignment about doing a blog about what she is most proud of when it comes to her fandom.  Well, if I gave it to her, then, I gave it to myself, too!  That’s not really that cool!  Nonetheless, I will complete the assignment and carry on.  I hope we, at least, get a passing grade!  Ha!

What am I most proud of when it comes to my fandom?  It really isn’t an easy question.  Rhonda focused on meeting people and making lifelong friendships.  Obviously, that is an incredibly valuable achievement and one that I certainly could say as well.  I have been lucky in that I have had made some lifelong friendships with both my Duran Duran fandom and an old fandom of mine surrounding a TV show called Roswell.  I think the parts of these friendships that I’m most proud of is that they don’t depend on the object of fandom.  What do I mean by that?  Simple.  I met all of these friends I’m referring to through fandom.  In the case of many of these people, I met them on various message boards (boards that I don’t go to or boards that don’t exist).  The first few thousand conversations surrounded either Roswell or Duran Duran.  We talked about when, why and how we became fans.  We discussed our favorites, our least favorites and more.  Interestingly enough, many of these discussions turned to talking about the fan community around either Roswell or Duran Duran.  Luckily, after awhile, we started talking more and more about other things besides Duran Duran or Roswell.  Our daily lives became more and more the focus of the times we talked, either in person, in email or on the phone.  That didn’t mean that we don’t still mention our shared fandom because we do but that is in balance with the rest of our existences.  For example, Rhonda and I spend quite a bit of time talking Duran and everything that comes with but we also talk about family, work, etc.  My point here is while I’m proud of these friendships, I’m also super proud that they have deepened in such a way that include both fandom and everything else.  
Beyond friendships, which is a huge deal, I’m also proud of myself when it comes to fandom.  I’m sure that many of you might be thinking about things like this blog, the meetups and convention, and the book.  Truly, I’m very proud of what Rhonda and I have created with this blog and everything connected with it, but nothing beats the pride I feel about the book.  What started out as something almost said in jest has become something real, something tangible.  We came up with a solid idea, researched a ton, outlined, wrote, revised, edited to have a completed piece of work, a substantial piece of work.  While the draft is done, we know that more work awaits.  Still, we are very proud that we saw it through this far.  It feels huge to me to have written a non-fiction, research-based book.  Yet, the pride I feel in myself goes beyond all of the reading and writing.  It goes deeper than that.  I like that I have pushed myself to ask questions, serious questions that don’t always have a good answer or an answer at all.  I continue to question fans, fandom, celebrities, etc. and my role, my behavior within these larger topics.

On top of the personal academic, intellectual achievements, I’m proud that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  Before Duran Duran, I would have never really considered traveling to go to a convention or to go to a show outside of driving distance.  No way.  I might have even said that it is crazy to do that and that it is crazy to spend that kind of money.  Yet, those times have been some of the best times of my life.  My life would have been a sadder place without these touring adventures.  I, for once, embraced life and embraced fun.  Truly, my world widened and I’m forever grateful for the push.

Obviously, it is difficult to capture everything that I’m proud of or to determine the proudest moment.  Here is what I can say.  Duran Duran has brought me lifelong friendships, lifelong achievements and expanded my world.  I thank them.

-A

Running Like a Fox to Keep Up with Me

It is summer.  I should be spending my days sleeping in, reading, hanging out with friends, watching White Sox baseball.  Well, I’m doing some of those activities but I’m certainly not in the lazy days of summer.  I’m too busy for that!  What am I busy doing?  Isn’t it obvious?  Yes, I’m working on sending out resumes, which isn’t the most fun ever but necessary.  I’m also doing a lot of work for this blog, our book and that convention in the fall!  While I’m sure that many/most/all of you might want to read some interesting topic, instead, I’m going to catch you all up with all that is going on and will be going on!!

Blog:
Obviously, nothing really new here.  Rhonda and I still post a blog every single day.  That isn’t changing and won’t change.  We enjoy doing this and hope that you do, too!  Yet, it is summer.  I have taken a vacation and Rhonda will soon be taking one.  When I was gone, she held down the fort and I will do the same for when she is gone.  During the time of her vacation, we will be doing a couple of themes here.  Those themes will have blogs from both of us and then they will have a few guest blogs.  If you are someone who has submitted a guest blog to us, we will be using those!  Have no fear!  In fact, I would keep checking throughout this month and next.  🙂  We still have a few spots for guest blogs, if you are so inclined.  In fact, we are looking for the following blog posts:

*Regrets you might have about your fandom-
Maybe this about a show you wished you did or some event you wished you had attended.  Maybe it was about a situation within the fan community.  Perhaps, you didn’t purchase something or got rid of something and kick yourself about it to this day!

*Favorite band member-
We are looking for thoughtful posts about why your favorite band member is your favorite band member.  Obviously, we are looking for something a bit deeper than, “Band member x is so hot!”  What drew you to that band member beyond the physical and more.

Book:
Admit it, how many of you even remember that we are writing a book?  Do you remember what it is about?  We don’t talk about it a lot but it has been featured more and more in our thoughts and in our daily to-do list.  To refresh people’s memories, the book is about fandom–what it is, what is included in it and most importantly, why do people participate.  Yes, obviously, we use Duran Duran fandom as our case study, as our example.  I am very happy to admit that we are getting there with the book.  We have pushed through all of the tough stuff and moving on to the next BIG steps.  We are honest in saying that it has taken us a lot longer to do than we wished but…at the same time, we are thrilled we are where we are.  We didn’t lose our commitment and are seeing the project through!  Besides, I bet that a lot of people would have struggled to write a book while doing everything else that we do (work, family, this blog, other outside projects), especially since the book is research based.  It required a lot of reading, thinking, organizing, outlining, drafting, etc.  Frankly, I’m feeling pretty dang proud right now about it.  We aren’t done yet but are really getting there!  By the way, those of you attending the convention will be getting a sneak peek!

Durandemonium (The Convention!):
It is way hard to believe that we are a little over 3 months away!!!  The committee has much to do and things are starting to get done.  This is exciting!!!  The more we get done, the more excited I am!  I am starting to see the details fall into place.  If you don’t have a ticket yet, it isn’t too late!!  We have tickets for the entire weekend (October 18-20 in Chicago) and we have tickets just for the banquet (Saturday night only-October 19th) for those who can’t attend the entire time but want to join in for the dinner and dance!  All information and link to get tickets is here:  http://durandemonium2013.webs.com.

A couple of other things you need to know, if you attending:

*Fan Book Questionnaire Information has been sent to your email!  I will be sending a reminder to those of you who have not filled out your information to be included.  If you have problems or continue to have problems, let me know!

*As you all know the name of the convention is Durandemonium 2013:  The Music Between Us.  This theme of the “music”will apply to Saturday night’s banquet.  We challenge each and every one of you to dress in such a way to represent the music!  Perhaps, you have a cool way to dress that would represent Nick’s keyboards or Simon’s vocals.  Maybe, you love a certain lyric and know that you could dress in a way that represents it.  For example, maybe you love Girl Panic, you could then wear a “dress falling off your shoulder” to show this.  Be creative!  Be fun!  This is your chance to show your love of Duran Duran music in a fun way!
Wow!  After rereading this blog post, it is no wonder that I’m feeling so tired!  Lots to do!  Lots to look forward to!  I might not be getting the super calm, super relaxing summer but it will be worth it in the long run!
-A

A Matter of Feeling

Sometimes, this blog is a blessing, and other times, it is a curse. I don’t think I’m unusual in stating those feelings – anyone who has ever had a career, a hobby or a job has probably felt that way. There are times when I can’t wait to sit down and write, and other times when I feel like have to use the Jaws of Life to pull the words from my brain. I’m not complaining about Daily Duranie – that’s not it at all. Sometimes, it is easy and other times, it is not. The thing about Daily Duranie, and unlike what most of you are probably assuming right now, is that it’s a blessing that it is a nearly daily thing for me. (I blog Monday through Thursday, Amanda blogs Friday through Sunday) My mornings consist of getting up out of bed absolutely no later than 6:45am, taking a shower and getting myself ready, then coming downstairs to make a cup of coffee and get online. From there I check my email, then I swoop in on Facebook to do a general perusal, then I check our Daily Duranie gmail, head over to Twitter for a brief check-in, and finally, to Blogger. In any one of those places, including the shower, I might come up with a blog topic. The point is, every single day is different, and even if I have a tough time the day prior (or conversely, a very easy blog day!), the next morning is completely different. I love that challenge and I look forward to it every single day.

I am finding that the same can be said for writing in general. Unlike Daily Duranie, I don’t write for the book every day. I wish I had the time for that, but right now, it is not possible. My book writing days are supposed to be on Friday. (Don’t call my house on Fridays expecting me to answer!) The trouble I have is that everything else on my “To-Do” list is also to be done on Fridays. So, there are many Fridays when book writing doesn’t get finished or even started until very late afternoon, and by then, my brain is mush. It seems as though no matter how consistent and diligent I am about setting aside my Fridays, something comes up and I feel like I have to put the book aside in favor of doing whatever else is expected to be done.  This is something Amanda and I have talked about with one another at length, both of us agreeing that it just isn’t a simple fix, and that each of us must be patient with ourselves and one another. So we trudge on.

Right now, I am working on the convention chapter. What I should explain is that our book isn’t just a “How to” book, nor is a love letter to the band. It’s not a “tell all” about what it’s like to be a fan, nor is it a purely academic look into the fandom phenomena. In truth, it is all of those things combined into a single book. It’s an academic case study by the mere fact that we take a good look at fandom by examining the inner workings of a single fan community – this one. It is a love letter because Amanda and I have been fans for over thirty years, and there is a reason why it is THIS band that has caused both of us to write.This is definitely a book about how we became fans and why we still our fans…and by “we” I don’t just mean us, I mean YOU, too. So, when we write, it’s an exhaustive process, not only just mentally, but emotionally as well.

Somewhere along the way with this chapter, and probably even the book as a whole, I had it stuck in my head that we needed to get away from being so darn “hearts and flowers” and get into the real meat of fandom. My American Studies professors would have been proud, but the trouble is – the rest of our book is really written from the heart. It is our collective story interwoven with all of the research necessary to ask the real questions that need asking and explaining. I was finding, especially within this particular chapter, that I just had nothing left to say. I would sit down each week and feel almost nothing, and yet I knew this darn chapter had to get finished. So finally, I asked Amanda to take a look at my work. I sent it on it’s way, thinking to myself “Good riddance!”   Amanda was supposed to read the chapter and then tell me where I needed to delve in a little deeper. I thought to myself that perhaps she’d even write a little bit, and that would help me to get back on track.  Later on,I noticed I had an email waiting, so I checked my inbox, and there was Amanda’s reply. I was surprised she got back to me so quickly, but I was anxious to see what she had to say. Her email was very short, much shorter than I would have imagined. Basically, Amanda told me I needed to start over. My chapter was so research heavy that there was no heart in the story. In fact, there was no story. I have to tell you, when I first read the email, the first words out of my mouth were unkind. I am pretty sure I said something to the affect of, “F*** you. How about THAT?” and tossed my phone onto my counter. I know better than to respond straight away, so I let her comments sink in a little. As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. That’s why I was angry, because I already knew this, but I needed her to play the part of the heavy and tell me my chapter was crap.

When I finally did respond back, I told her that I hated that she was right, but that she was right. What was particularly frustrating, and continues to be a real challenge for me, is that sometimes when I sit down here to write, I feel nothing. I just can’t find that emotional component, or that muse. This wasn’t a problem when we first started the book, and I know why – it’s because I didn’t have nearly as much going on then. I could pour my emotion into the book and be done. True to form, Amanda agreed. She said that she knew I would feel that way. I don’t want to paint Amanda as heartless because she’s far from that. She just told me the truth because that’s what true partners do. They have the tough job of being honest even when we don’t think we want that. Sometimes they are the ones to hand us our backsides on a platter, and other times they are the ones to pick us up off the floor, dust us off and tell us to “get back in there!” Amanda does all of that. Many, many times over, even when emotionally she is probably sitting on the floor beside me.

I did eventually get up off the floor, and the very next Friday I sat down at the computer with a completely blank screen in front of me. Some writers say that is the scariest thing – the blank screen or blank piece of paper. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I think that for me, I feel the calmest when I see the blank screen. The blank screen is representative of potential, and there is something very calming for me about beginning a project and seeing no words in front of me. It is only after I begin typing, after I’ve already decided what picture I’m about to paint with words, that the real challenge begins. I’ve learned that one of the worst things I can do to myself is to stop writing once I start, and that taking a break to read back over the words is a death sentence. I literally have to just start and keep writing until I’m finished with whatever story I’m trying to tell. (This is a REALLY tough challenge when you have a family – kids and a husband – who truly do not understand what it means to be a writer.) When I come to a natural ending, then I’m fine to leave off to take a break, and pick back up when I’m ready. That day, I also did something that I am learning to do with more regularity. I plugged in my earbuds, put them in my ears, and found some music on Spotify that makes me happy and blocks out the world. That particular day, I think I listened to A Diamond in the Mind on repeat. Other days, it’s been Between the Lines by Dom Brown, which is one of my very favorite CD’s that is not Duran Duran. (That one is particularly effective at blocking out the world as well as bickering children!)

The good news is that I’m about halfway done with the convention chapter now, and I can tell you that it is a much better read this time. I’ll be forever thankful that I have a writing and business partner that isn’t afraid to tell the truth, and when the time comes (if the time comes!) that I’m called to do the same, to pick her back up, dust her off and say, “Get back in there and write a damn chapter that is worth reading!!”, that she’ll be as thankful as I was….and that she won’t reply back to my email right away.  😀

-R

You Know Just What It Takes and Where to Go

On Tuesday, Rhonda mentioned that we were busy here at the Daily Duranie.  A couple of things she pointed out included that we are trying to completely revamp our website and prepare it for more than just our blog and a special surprise coming up in December.  I wanted to blog a bit more about what we are planning, to ask for a favor from you guys and to tell you about a special giveaway!

Obviously, there is a lot going on in our lives!  Now that the campaign season of 2012 is done, I’m diving into our plans related to the Daily Duranie!  In fact, as the election ended, I sought out Rhonda to see if she was as ready to commit to our projects as she was in the summer.  She definitely was!  I felt certain that now is the time for us to re-dedicate ourselves to our plans.  I won’t be distracted and definitely want to see what we can accomplish with full on commitment.  Truly, I do think that we could do fabulous, fabulous, fabulous things when we put our minds and energy to it.  After all, we already have.  All one needs to do is look at this blog.  We have over 800 posts and have pretty much posted daily, unless there has been some trouble with internet access on the road.  Likewise, we update the Day in Duran history and post a question each and every day since we started.  I’m already proud of what we have accomplished but do think that we can be better and do more.  I’m so relieved that Rhonda and I are on the same page about our goals and objectives.  Anyway, as Rhonda mentioned on Tuesday, we have a big event coming up in December.  We cannot wait for it!!!  On top of that, we are looking to revamp our site, enhance our logo and more.  Beyond that, we have some other plans in mind.  One of those big plans is to get our book done.  I’m sure by now you are all wondering when/if it is getting done.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it is.  Of course, as we finish the draft, then we have the real work of revising, editing, writing book proposals and getting it published.  Now is the time, though!  Another part of our plans include fan get togethers.  Some of these might be smaller in scope by being local or nearby meetups or they could be larger affairs.  Nonetheless, we both agree that meeting and getting to know other fans is one of the best aspects of fandom.  Thus, during Duran downtime, it is a perfect time to plan events for us to get together!

We have a ton on our plates!!!  Yet, both of us are excited to get down to work.  In fact, we are forcing ourselves to have “conference” calls of sorts at least once a week.  These phone calls must be focused and on task.  As you can imagine, we both have a tendency to start chatting about fifty other things besides just the projects we are working on.  Therefore, these weekly calls require that we have self-discipline in order to keep to our agenda.  In order to have things to report on a weekly basis, we are taking on different assignments and must ensure that they get done or get a significant amount done.  While Rhonda and I have strong work ethics and personal determination, I am asking for your help.  How can you help?  You can help by keeping us on task.  If we don’t mention any of the projects I just talked about, ask us about them.  Check in with us.  Of course, we won’t necessarily be sharing every detail until they are ready to be shared but we can and should share our progress.  I need this, for sure.  Rhonda is much better than I am on this front.  I, on the other hand, am so used to having real deadlines either from work or from campaigning that I’m not good without them.  I need to give myself deadlines in order to keep on track and focused.  I hope you can help me with this!

In exchange for your help and support, we have a special giveaway planned as well!  Rhonda and I have been talking about how we could thank the supporters of this blog.  After all, we are so pleased to have so many followers on this blog.  You can see the followers on the right side of this post, right below our various topics and above our list of favorite online places.  Thus, the names of our followers will be written on papers and placed into a jar on December 10th.  Then, we will pull one of those names in order to send that person a special gift.  This special gift is a signed cd of All You Need is Now.  Just to be clear, this is a cd that the band signed and included in VIP packages in the fall/winter of 2011 that we bought for the UK tour.  If you are already a follower, great!  If you are not, join so that you, too, can have a chance to win the raffle!!  

On this exciting note, I’m off to go work on the chapter I have been working on in the book!  Don’t forget to keep on us about our projects!  We (at least I) need the push!

-A