Category Archives: Duran Duran Blog

This band is perfect, just don’t scratch the surface

Our friend Jonee sent us an article from the Huffington Post about celebrity narcissism that you can read here. 

It always amazes me as to what topics people will take up to task. Last week, I posted an interview from the Evening Standard where Simon discusses the band’s sexism. I didn’t receive many (any?) comments here. There were a few on Twitter…but most people steered far and wide. Too dangerous a topic?
Today, Amanda posted a new daily question game on Facebook and Twitter. We’re choosing which photos of the band members we like best. You betcha…we’re asking you to choose solely on looks now. Objectifying much? Absolutely. We’ve gotten comments galore, whether it’s about which photo is best based on looks, composition, lighting…or just the way Simon appears (we’re starting with Simon from the early 80’s).  
It’s always been my feeling that very few fans will actually stick their neck out to criticize the band in any fashion, and many that remain appalled that Amanda and I would dare. The fact is, I’m not perfect. The band is not perfect. I never fell in love with the band because I thought they were perfect, and I certainly haven’t stayed a fan all of these years completely immersed in their perfection. I’m a fan simply because the band keeps me thinking. Sure, the looks are great, the music is fantastic – but I’d have gotten very bored of all of it by now if the band didn’t give me food for thought on a regular basis. We figure it’s OK to talk about all of it because there’s never any malice (on our part) intended. We’re fans, legitimate, long-time fans. We’re not brainwashed individuals that feel the only commentary on their work and person is that they’re perfect. The blog would have ended fairly quickly had that been the case. Yeah, we’re outspoken. So that is the place where this blog comes from, no matter the topic of the day. 
So back to that article on celebrity narcissism. The article opens with Kanye West, of all people. By his own words, it’s pretty clear that he thinks very highly of himself. Self-esteem? Most definitely. Madonna is another example – she says that she doesn’t care what you think, as long as it’s about her. To a certain degree, I think that when you’re a celebrity, being slightly narcissistic comes with the territory. Let’s be fair: when your entire world revolves around YOU – being narcissistic helps. When you are selling YOU, it is imperative. The beauty for us mere mortals is that when you’re sick of hearing Kanye refer to himself as God’s Vessel – you can merely click the red X in the corner of the screen, change the station, turn the channel or flip the page. Am I right?  
Almost thankfully, the article tries to tie this back to something a little closer to home: ourselves. Narcissism is something that I think most of us have a little lingering about, and that’s just part of being human. A little self-esteem isn’t a horrible thing, is it? No, it’s not…but narcissism is very different. Self-esteem is confidence. Narcissism is…well…inordinate fascination with oneself, or extraordinary self-love. (dictionary.com) 
I have personally read at least one band member refer to himself as slightly narcissistic. It doesn’t really matter, at least for our purposes, which one, and I’ll let you all ponder that on your own. I just find the question itself – whether or not the band really IS narcissistic – an interesting one. Would we love them all regardless?
Let’s face it, self-confidence is sexy, is it not? I can remember being attracted to confident people even back in grade school. There is something very attractive about someone knowing that they’ve got what it takes. I think the band has that…at least, they should after this many years in the spotlight, don’t you think? That said, there is also something attractive about being a little vulnerable and unassuming. I remember back when the original five were reuniting and they had said in several interviews that they weren’t sure the fans would want them back. After I picked my jaw back up off of the ground and closed my mouth, I smiled. I loved that they weren’t sure, that they weren’t overly confident, and that they were asking for our reassurance!  
I can remember back in the 80’s, when the band was being shuttled from country to country.  I’d imagine that to a certain extent, every want, need, and desire of theirs was not only catered to, but under contract. During that decade, the band were all in their 20’s. They’d gone (in most cases) from living under the roof(s) of their parents homes to being superstars. Now, I can’t speak for the band – but I did a lot of maturing in my 20’s. I got married when I was 24, and I became a parent when I was 26. It was a time for huge adjustment. Not only did the world stop revolving around me…but my sole purpose (or so it seemed) came to be as a parent. I would imagine that just in the same way my experiences molded me, the band’s experiences also molded them. When you spend that much time during that stage of your life knowing that every single thing you need or experience matters to a whole company or host of people around you – I think it is probably only natural to start believing you are “IT”. When you are the commodity that is being sold, how can you not?
I can site all of the evidence I want in either direction, and there is plenty to go ’round. What I’m most interested in though, is what other fans think. 
So in your view, are the band (or members thereof) narcissists, or is it self-confidence? 
-R

Interpretations of Secret Oktober

It has been a long time (August!) since I have taken the time to really look and analyze a song’s lyrics to determine what the heck they could possibly mean.  I have a few song suggestions left from our friends and followers (and always open for more!).  Out of that list, I chose the song, Secret Oktober.  Why?  Simple.  It is a song that I have been thinking about a lot.  First, Seven and the Ragged Tiger has been an album mentioned a lot lately.  We have been doing reviews of this album.  On top of that, its 30th anniversary just happened.  As part of that, the band did a podcast in which the making of this song was discussed.  I also had a personal anniversary fairly recently in which I saw this song performed in Brighton a little over 2 years ago.  It was a memorable moment for Rhonda and myself.  Yes, everyone around us then knew that we loved the song and were super excited to finally see/hear it live.  It was a song that caught my attention the very first time I heard it.  Like many others, I heard it for the first time at the end credits of Sing Blue Silver.  What is this song, I thought?  Where do I get it?  Let’s just say that I did get that Union of the Snake single pretty quickly after that.  While I may love it, do I really know what it is about?

As always, when I do a blog post like this, I start with a little clip.  As a b-side, there was not an official video made but it was played live some throughout its 30 years.  Here is one of the most recent live performances of it in 2011 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Here are the lyrics:

Wise on a birthday party in a world full of surprising fireworks
And sudden silence shh
Lying on a strangers bed the new day breaks like a speeding train or an old friend
Ever expected but never knocking
Holding your own in a battered car all night parties cocktail bars
And smile when the butterfly escapes the killing jar

Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober

Freefall on a windy morning shore nothing but a fading track of footsteps
Could prove that you never been there
Spoken on a cotton cloud like the sound of gunshot taken by the wind
And lost in distant thunder racing on a shining plain
And tomorrow you’ll be content to watch as the lightning plays along the wires and you’ll wonder

Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober
Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober

So what could these lyrics mean?  What kind of theories are out there?  There are a few out there on the internet.  The first theory is that it is about rethinking one’s life on a birthday.  Life used to be a lot of parties but that life has gotten tired.  Second theory is that it is about someone thinking about suicide.  A third theory is that it is about Simon’s attempts to meditate and have out of body experiences.  Of course, we recently learned that the song was written and recorded in one night, done quickly as they needed a b-side for Union of the Snake.  Interestingly enough, the meaning of the song was also an Ask Katy question.  Simon responded that it was about escaping one’s birthday.  So, do any of these theories hold up?

Theory #1:  Rethinking life and choices on one’s birthday
The first line definitely fits this idea since it is a birthday party and being wise means that one might have learned something.  The new day could also imply that it was the day of a new year and it could be that one is thinking of those all night parties and cocktail bars.  Maybe the memories do bring a smile to one’s face.  Then, the second verse sort of throws me.  Is it about the thoughts one will have in the future if the first verse was about the past?  The future then will be stormy with the references to thunder and lightning?  I’m just not sure this completely follows the theory.

Theory #2:  Suicide
The only thing that I could see connecting to this idea is the gunshot.  The last line of the second verse, though, doesn’t fit.  “And tomorrow you’ll be content to watch as the lightning plays…”  If you are going to kill yourself, you won’t have a tomorrow and you won’t be content.  Right?  Am I missing something?

Theory #3:  Simon’s attempt to meditate
In all fairness, I don’t know much about meditation.  One line that is referenced with this theory is that line about the butterfly escaping is how his soul is escaping his body.  Another idea is that the footsteps line along with free fall and cloud are all words and phrases to show Simon’s out of body travels.  I suppose this theory is possible but then there are lines about the battered car and about the all night parties.  Those seem to be very in body experiences.  I think I need a lot more information on this theory or else, I’m just not seeing it.
What do I think?  I think this song talks a lot about what life was like for Duran in 1983.  Were there all night parties and cocktail bars?  Absolutely.  Did they wake up on a stranger’s bed?  I’m sure.  Did they leave very little evidence of being there?  Quite possibly, especially if it was just a one night deal.  Did some of those mornings greet them like a speeding train?  I have no doubt.  Hangovers aren’t always so fun and that is what I immediately thought of.  Perhaps, they would wonder if they were wise in these choices to party all night.  No matter, these experiences, these interactions were short lived and temporary as are elements in nature like clouds, wind and thunder.  Yes, they will wonder in the future about this lifestyle.  
So, what do the rest of you think?  Do one of those theories hold up?  Am I on the right track?  Do you have any even better theory?  Please share!
-A

Media Representations of Fandom: Comic Con IV: A Fan’s Hope

Last week, I began the deep dive into all things fan conventions.  I defined them and why people might choose to find one and attend.  This week, I’m taking a deeper look into Comic Con, one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of fan conventions.  For those of you not familiar, this fan convention takes place in July in San Diego.  It has been an annual event since 1970 with a focus on multiple fandom, including comic books, science fiction and more.  This event started out small with around 150 people to what it is now, one in which over one hundred thousand people attend.  It is common for it to sell out and has become a big deal for fans, celebrities and makers of comics, TV and movies alike as it is an avenue for fans and and others to meet their heroes. to see premieres or special screenings and to get a chance within the business.  This convention is so big that Hollywood pays attention to it.  It is so big that books and movies have featured it.  In fact, there has been a documentary made about it.  Today’s blog will be a review of this documentary, Comic Con IV, A Fan’s Hope.  What will it show about the convention?  What will it show about fans?  Will it be filled with the extremes of fandoms like we have seen with other documentaries dealing with fandom, including Something You Should Know (Duran Duran fan focused) or Trekkies (Star Trek fan focused)?  Will it focus on stereotypes or will it show the fandom in a realistic light?

As soon as the documentary gets started, I can tell that this documentary follows in a similar path as the ones I mentioned earlier.  It follows some specific fans and features some celebrities.  Part of me cringes at this.  Why showcase some fans over others?  How were they chosen?  Were they chosen because they represented the norm or because they didn’t?  Yet, even as I question this, I wonder how one would show a fan event like this without focusing on a select group of fans.  After all, you want the viewer to develop some feelings, some emotions with the subject and individuals could provide that.  I know that Rhonda and I tried very hard not to have our book be focused solely on our own experiences, even though, those are featured, but tried to keep it broad to all Duran fandom and even all fandom.  Nonetheless, having this focus on a select group of fans and a few celebrities isn’t necessarily bad, in my opinion, as long as they, generally, represent the entire.  One thing I did like is the overview, in the beginning of the documentary, of the history of the convention.  Pictures from the first few conventions were shown, which clearly documents how small it was.  I think it is important for students of any particular fandom to understand its history.  For example, one can’t talk about the Duran fandom by ignoring the 80s, can they?  This history also shows that a big part of this convention was the ability of fan to meet, to talk with, to get information from those in the business, either as the celebrities out in front or those behind the scenes.

As the documentary moves to modern times, we are shown, right away, one significant aspect of this fandom, which is the cosplay or dressing as a specific character in a movie, TV show, comic or video game.  In seeing that, I’m taken a back a bit since this is so far removed from my fandom.  Most Duranies don’t show up at Duran events dressed like the woman in Rio or the main nurse in Falling Down.  That said, as part of Durandemonium, people did dress somehow related to the lyrics/music of Duran for the banquet.  Similar, I suppose, but not the same.  Beyond the cosplay aspect, viewers can also tell just how massive this event is by seeing the convention floor and the number of attendees.  This, obviously, isn’t a common event, for sure.  Yet, before they dive into the main convention attendees, the documentarians work to describe the general characteristics of Comic Con attendees, including what they do in their spare time, their focus on collecting and more.  I like how they gave the general overview of the “fans” before they got specific.  Then, we begin to get to know the focus of the documentary, who includes people from different spots around the country and their different reasons to be there.  One guy is from Missouri who is looking to show his artwork there, but who is into comics and who has Trekkies as parents who met at a Star Trek convention.  He defines the convention as a job fair.  Another convention attendee is similar in that he is going to show his work, but is from North Dakota.  Already, the viewer can see that the attendees are from different parts of the country, races, family backgrounds and more.  Both of these guys are clearly fans but both have jobs, families and do not seem so extreme of some of the fans focused upon in the other fan documentaries.  Then, there is a woman from California who makes costumes for costume contests, cosplay, etc.  Her goal is to win the costume contest, or masquerade, but admits that she would like to be a costume designer for TV, movies, etc.  Like the gentlemen, she is working towards her career goals.  What all three of these fans show is how much time and dedication fans give towards something they love.  I get this.  I write a blog, wrote a book about fandom and planned a convention myself.  The next person introduced is a comic book dealer, a vendor, from Denver.  He goes to the convention to sell his comics and has for decades.  His experience shows how the convention has morphed or changed over the years from having more of a focus on comic books to less of a focus on them.  He also shows how much serious collecting can be, money wise.  The other side of that coin is the collector who attends the convention to buy collectables.  The last of these main attendees include a couple who started dating at Comic Con and who will get engaged there as well.  They, I believe, show how fandom can bring people together. Clearly, these individuals were chosen to represent the types of people who go.

Beyond those individuals, there are also brief interview clips with other fans, celebrities and those in the business.  The celebrities and other random fans work to explain the hows and the whys of the convention.  Sometimes, they explain conventions better than I ever could.  For example, Joss Whedon, known for things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, said that it is the place that everyone is great for being so obsessed with something, no matter what it is.  To me, that is fandom—having a passion for something or someone.  The random fans filled in the gaps with why they come, what their focus is, etc.  They mentioned everything from seeing the artists, to meeting certain celebrities, to panels, to buying, and more.  Thus, while the main focus is that group of specific individuals, the documentary doesn’t rely on just them.  These random fans, like the specific ones, seem to have a bit of range but no one is too out there, too extreme.  They seem normal.  As these fans describe their experiences and reasons for being there, one can sense the love that they feel towards their fandom(s) and each other.  Then, it seems obvious why people would want to be at an event like this, to be surrounded by so many who feel the same amount of love of something must be awesome.  I can and did relate.  Likewise, I also related to the statements about how it was an escape from the real world.  To me, this is part of the reason I tour.  Also, I liked how the celebrities and those behind-the-scenes people told why they come.  For them, they have a chance to show their work, to interact with their fans all at the same time for just a few hours or a few days without too much hassle.  They get to sell their work, their products—tangible or not.  I also enjoyed the celebrities talking about how star struck they have been with other celebrities!

In seeing and hearing from all of the fans, celebrities and people in the industry, you get a real sense about how much there is at an event like this, what it is like and why go.  You get a complete picture of the event.  You don’t just see the stereotyped fans or the extreme fans.  Those fans are not hidden but they are put into perspective unlike other documentaries of a similar fashion.  All fans are shown and explained.  Fandom is shown and explained.  While I’m not a fan of comics and many other fandoms shown, I found myself able to relate and wanting to go to something like this.  I could feel the passion of the fans and the celebrities alike.

-A

21 Signs That You Still Worship Duran Duran and Always Will

This week, Duranland was a buzz with responses to a little feature on Buzzfeed called “21 Signs You Spent The 80s Worshipping Duran Duran” that was published in June, which you can read here.  For some crazy reason, this article did not catch anyone’s attention until now.  Nonetheless, it was passed around all over the place, including through Duran’s official Facebook.  Most Duranies seem to enjoy it.  I know that Rhonda and I appreciated seeing faces of friends of ours and that one dear picture was taken from our lovely, little blog here.  (Thanks for citing, Buzzfeed!)  Yet, the one thing I heard over and over and over again was how it isn’t just the 80s.  No.  There are still a ton of Duranies around even in 2013.  We didn’t stop in the 1990s or the 2000s.  We are still here.  In fact, to prove this, I thought it might be fun to show how this worship still exists–to give a little twist to the original article.

21 Signs that You Worship Duran Duran in 2013:

1.  You celebrate Duran Duran Appreciation Day on August 10 as an international holiday!

via gimmeawristband.com

2.  You accept the current line-up of the band to include Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Dom.  Some might even prefer it.  

via www.rockanddrool.com


3.  You attend or plan Duranie meet-ups, get togethers and/or conventions.

4.  Your vacations are weekend or week long trips in which you travel to see a number of shows!

Our tweet during the summer of 2012 tour.  We drove a LOT!


5.  You believe that the band’s 2010 album, All You Need Is Now, is one of the best Duran Duran albums of all time along with the classics.

via wikipedia.org


6.  You know and can imitate all of Simon’s dance moves including the punchy-punchy of Notorious, the round about of The Reflex and the chicken dance of Wild Boys.

7.  You spend hours on twitter hoping to see tweets from one or more band members and hope that you will one day get a response or a retweet.



8.  You still go searching for Duran vinyl.

Amanda searching for Duran records


9.  New pictures make you *squee* just as much as older pictures.

Photos by Bryony Evens from December 5, 2013


10.  You know what Durantime means and are used to it but still hate it.

via gimmeawristband.com


11.  You want to see a Duran show in Birmingham, England, or are thrilled that you have.

Our tweet before the Birmingham show in December 2011


12.  Your friends are mostly Duranies or people who have been willing to learn as much as the band to understand what you are talking about.

Durandemonium 2013 group photo

13.  Any and all daily plans are thrown out the window whenever there are official Duranie alerts, especially when snippets of new music are released or tour dates are posted.

via front-stage.blogspot.com


14.  You have experienced the full range of emotions that occur on presale days, including stress, fear, frustration, hope, elation, joy and excitement. 

Duran Duran Music–the site of the presale!

15.  You go to a Duran show, see new Duran footage, or read articles about Duran and recognize at least 25% of the audience/fans.

via Buzzfeed.com who cited our blog and featured this awesome picture of our friend and guest blogger, Krista!


16.  You understand that the biggest debates in the fan community have to do with the guitar players and Red Carpet Massacre.

via wikipedia.org


17.  You still buy t-shirts and other Duran merchandise either at concerts or on the internet, including ebay to replace any item you “let go” in college when you thought you were “over” the band.

Our friend, Kim, showing off her Duran merch!


18.  You have a Facebook page, a blog or a website based on Duran Duran or have creative projects influenced by Duran in some way.

Our current header!

Some of the creative people we have showcased here, including author and friend, Karen Booth, and tribute band, Rio.


19.  You go through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) when you miss an important event, especially if the band was there and interacted with fans.

Rhonda can’t face the world!


20.  You know that Duran Duran has formed the soundtrack to your life and you wouldn’t want it any other way.






From the very first album to the most recent album!







21.  You call yourself a Duranie and always will!


-A

Sing Blue Silver revisited

Have you listened to the BBC podcast with Denis O’Regan about the recently released photography book Careless Memories? In case you missed it…

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/5live/williams/williams_20131211-0015b.mp3

One of the best stories in the podcast is about the lyric “sing blue silver”.  Simon got it from book he read as a child – Children Move Through Time. I guess you just never know where some of the most iconic ideas will originate!

During much of the podcast, Denis’ approach and career is discussed as opposed to just Duran Duran (which makes sense, it’s Denis’ who is being interviewed!). Duran Duran mentioned in a recent interview that Denis became a sixth member of the band – touring with them and becoming part of the group – which gave him the space to really become a part of the “inner sanctum” without being too close. (so that he could still maintain an unbiased point of view in order to photograph them)  I thought that was interesting, and they do expand upon that a bit more in the podcast.

What really struck me, and the reason I suggest giving it a listen – is to soak in the sheer amount of music history that Denis has experienced through his photography. While it is absolutely true that I feel the book Denis has done is incredibly priced – it is also true that Denis O’Regan is not your average band photographer. Having photographed everyone from our beloved Duran Duran to the Rolling Stones, Bowie, The Damned, Deep Purple and so on, one cannot help but have plenty of respect for his experience, even if his latest collection of photographs is priced to the point where most Duranies cannot even begin to hope to own a copy of even the cheapest edition of the book. For me, this is not really much different than learning about an artist and respecting their work, whether Picasso or maybe even Dalí, even though I know there’s absolutely no way I can buy anything more than perhaps a mass-market printed coffee cup to enjoy at home.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Salvo (Duranasty) for finding this podcast and sharing it on Facebook. I would have never found this piece on my own, that is for sure. This is one thing I really appreciate – those of us who write blogs or do webzines, etc tend to share information freely with everyone. This isn’t about who posts something first, or which one of the websites, fanzines, blogs or podcasts comes up with the best material. I feel as though we’re all in this together out of a love for this band. We work together, create a special brand of Duranie synergy, and make sure the word gets out.  We work to make sure that Duran Duran keeps getting talked about, even when there’s no new music or a tour happening. In doing all of this, we extend one another a sort of professional courtesy by taking that second to say thank you, or to say “Hey – I didn’t find this first, another fan did, and I just want to say thanks for finding it.” I realize it’s not always popular to admit that we weren’t first to find something – and maybe it’s even embarrassing for some to see that a mere fan came up with a news byte or a fantastic picture first – but let me just say this: giving credit where credit is due is important. It creates a tight knit, trusting environment – which is key for a loyal fan community – where information is openly shared, as opposed to a competitive, unfriendly environment where fans are clamoring for even the smallest mention because acknowledgment and credit is rarely given, not to mention that it is the professional and right thing to do.

Food for thought.

-R

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling

I need to thank the London Evening Standard for publishing an interview with the band. Just as I was about to scrape the bottom of idea barrel in search of a decent blog topic – there comes an interview. Coincidence? Maybe….or else those ceremonial offerings to the Duranie Gods are beginning to actually work!

If you haven’t caught the interview yet, please allow me to direct you here to read it.  I’m not going to comment on everything, but I do want to touch on a subject that has been mentioned more than a few times as of late. The interview, at least in part, seemed to center around the band’s younger years (due to Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories pop-up gallery and photography book) and how they would find girls hiding in their wardrobes, hotel rooms, etc.  In the interview, Simon admits Duran Duran were “sexist”. “But not misogynist. We like girls in bikinis but the women always win in our videos. We wouldn’t have made the Robin Thicke video. It’s just a bit too …” He gropes for the word, his hand a claw of agony, “… you know.”

Oh, I do know. Sometimes, I swear the band knows what I’m thinking, and if I were really deluding myself, I’d swear they were reading my discussions on Twitter.

Just a few weeks back, similar comments from Simon were also in the press. I couldn’t help but agree with him and said as much openly on Twitter. I’d commented many weeks prior that at least in theory – that Robin Thicke’s video was probably a mistake. Maybe I’m just getting old and less tolerant overall, but his video is just a little bit (a lot really) over the line for me. I think there is just a certain tone to his video – the fact that the man wins (using Simon’s words!) and that the woman really seems to not be in control, that registers pretty highly on my “this is complete sexist and cruel BS” meter. It makes me very uncomfortable to watch, in a very similar way to how I’ve felt about Chris Brown. I realize that for Robin Thicke, that video is likely just an act, but that’s not the point. Why do women really need to be used like that?? What year is this again?? I’d said as much on Twitter, and gotten into quite a discussion with a few others on the subject. We never came to full agreement, but I enjoyed the subject – just not the frustration of having to explain my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Damn Twitter.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, because I’m forgetting to mention that when those comments of Simon’s became public, the response and outcry was rather swift. “What about Girls on Film, Simon?? Did we forget all about that Duran Duran video then?”  

Yes, what about that video?

This was exactly the point of discussion when I took to Twitter at a later date about Simon’s comments. Yes, Girls on Film (to begin with) does seem to be a bit of a problem when looking back on Duran’s career as one reflects on Simon’s feelings about Robin Thicke’s video. The women in the video are put in various situations including a lovely little pillow fight while on a cream-slathered candy striped pole (oh, the subtle innuendo), a cowgirl riding and then giving a horse a bath…a sumo-wrestler being massaged after losing a fight…and my personal favorite, the lifeguard “saving” a young woman drowning in a kiddy pool.  And that’s just the R rated version. If you want to really see something, the “Night” version has even more going on backstage…but I’ll leave that to you to find if you haven’t already seen it. In the interview linked above, Simon mentions that in their videos – the women “win”. To be fair, I suppose it is possible to see that the women do end up in control of whatever situation they seem to be put in here. After all, it IS the lifeguard who ends up being left in the pool, and who is riding the horse but the woman?? Again…I cringe at the innuendo, but yes, the woman do seem to be on top. (Go ahead, cringe at my play on words!)

However, not all fans see it that way, and to be equally fair – I think they too have a point.  Why make a video like Girls on Film at all? Was the music not enough to stand on it’s own? Probably not, I’d say. I love the band and adore their music..but back in the 80s?? Getting attention meant taking the risk to shock the public. If you’ve ever seen the full length video, you know that at the end of it the entire band holds up a banner that says “Some people will do anything to sell records.” That alone speaks volumes to me as a viewer, and by the way…it worked! Continually throughout the bands career, the “sex” label has been stamped on their heads or branded across their bodies. When you consider the sheer amount of videos, albums, artwork, etc. that they have had in their career that contain images of women…it’s pretty impossible to say that the band is not sexist, which to his credit, Simon openly admits.

However, and I think this is a huge point most fans (among many others) that have criticized Simon’s comments miss, or at the very least misdefine: Misogyny is a pretty strong word.The definition of a misogynist, according to dictionary.com, is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.” To me, it’s tantamount to calling someone a homophobe or a racist. It runs in that same vein of hatred, and I have to ask: does the band really hate women?  Think about that for a minute.

Even if you think the Girls on Film video completely objectifies women – which it very well might – the women do seem to end up with the upper hand. If we look at other female images that the band has given us over the years, it would seem that the women almost always look stronger than the band. How about Rio? That woman in Rio makes each band member look ridiculous! She yanks Simon off the boat, Nick can’t even bring himself to pour champagne properly, poor Roger ends in some sort of a fish net, and then there’s John – who daydreams about being a soldier, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by yes, a woman. Such weaklings. This band does not hate women. They are not misogynists, even though by Simon’s own admission they have been sexist, a point to which I would wholeheartedly agree.

We can have the discussion about whether or not we’re all sick of seeing models in the band’s videos. We should acknowledge the band has been branded with the word “Sex”, and whether or not we think that’s propelled their fame. We should talk about the band’s sexism. We can even discuss the music and that should really be the point they stand on, historically speaking. What we we must stop doing, is applying the term “misogynist” to describe the band. It is not fair, and it is not a accurate. Oddly enough…if one really felt that way, especially as a woman, how could one be a fan?

-R

Now the channel is open

Last week, I received my DD Blast from DDM. I’m not sure if everyone gets those, but basically – it’s a little newsletter sent out by DDM, and all you need to do to get it is get on the mailing list. In any case, out of the entire news blast – which I don’t mind saying was a regurgitation of things THIS blog had already covered during the past month – it was the first sentence that interested me most. It said that that the band was still in the studio and that we should be getting snippets of new music soon.

Amanda and I had mentioned the quiet last week in various ways – she even blogged about it – and we’d commented to one another that it would be great to finally hear something. A few notes. ANYTHING (!!!) from the studio. Yes, we’re impatient, but we’re also just downright curious. And nosey! For me, and I highly doubt I’m alone, it’s not just the excitement over getting something new, although don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely that too. It’s hearing that first burst of creativity and then wondering where it will go from there.  How will it end up? I still have snippets from the last album, in particular the one that Mark played on his radio show (I believe his words before playing it was that he was going to get in big trouble but that he was going to play it anyway. I saved it. Of course.). I haven’t listened to it in a long time – like since the album came out, but I can remember listening very intently.  I frowned, trying to focus on every single note. It ended nearly as soon as it began, and I played it over and over again, trying to make sense of it. Did it sound like Duran Duran? Did it sound anything at all like Red Carpet Massacre? What about Rio, did it sound like Rio? Is there really guitar in there??? All of those questions, and many more went through my head. I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard the snippets. I was sitting on my bathroom floor while my youngest was playing in the bathtub! (Yep, it’s nothing but glamour, glamour, glamour here at Casa Rivera.) I remember shaking my head when it ended, wrinkling up my nose and thinking “What in the hell was THAT!” There was one teensy snippet though, that when I heard it, I thought “Now that, is Duran Duran.”, and that was what became the very beginning of Runway Runaway. It was really cool to hear that on the album once it was finished. Kind of like my own “A-HA! Now I get it!!” moment.

On the other hand, any time we’d mention the snippets on either Facebook or even here on the blog, we’d be met with a barrage of “If it’s not coming directly from the band you don’t know if it’s real”, as well as “I refuse to listen to those. I want to wait until the final product.”  Fair enough. Let’s face it, we’ve had our plenty of “fake” snippets rise from various black holes, to be toted as being “the newest music leaks from the studio”, only to be debunked within hours. That’s why Daily Duranie has never, nor will we start posting snippets now, unless the band starts sending them and TELLS us to post them. We don’t do leaks out of respect for the band. That said, we very well might comment on what we’ve seen or heard, but we’re not going to be posting that sort of thing here unless TPTB (The Powers That Be) ask us to do so. No matter, I can understand why people are less than willing to believe the rumors and news unless it comes from the band. We are well aware that there are plenty of others who want to be the first to post the leaked material, and we’re just going to leave them to it. As for those of you masochists out there who will sit back and somehow restrain yourselves from clicking on the snippets, well…you’re better than me. I can’t do it. Just know up front that I’ll be clicking enough for all of you combined, and occasionally we’ll talk about what we’ve heard here on the blog. I will do my best not to spoil it for you!

Naturally though, I can’t let this subject go by without an offer for discussion. How do you feel about the snippets from the studio? Do they help to get you excited by an album? Do you wish they wouldn’t release a thing until it was done? In a past Katy Kafé, Simon mentioned how if they release too much, there is always the concern of listeners having preconceived notions before the album is finished. What do you think about that? I’m curious to know if I’m the only person out there that actually enjoys the whole experience of getting the snippets and talking about them. (Aside from Amanda of course. There IS a reason we started Daily Duranie, you know.) Let me know what you think!

-R

Guest Blog: Careless Memories: Photo Exhibition, London 27 Nov-5 Dec 2013

Once again, Daily Duranie is everywhere…thanks to good friends both near and far!  Today we bring you a first hand account from our “Special Correspondent” Anu Lehtinen.  Anu was able to be in London (she’s from Finland) to see the pop-up gallery for Careless Memories, and she was kind enough to share her experience. Additionally, we have some fab photos from Byrony Evens, who was on hand for the arrival of the band to the gallery opening and book release party.  Thanks to Anu and Bryony!!

By Anu Lehtinen & Bryony Evens

photo by Anu Lehtinen

WOW! YES! The possibility to see never before seen photos taken during Sing Blue Silver tour, in a gallery – pure coincidence! A late November trip to London was planned well ahead, with gig tickets bought, but this time on the menu was Howard Jones, Ultravox and Simple Minds.


And then Duran Duran, Denis O’Regan and Olympus announced the collaboration for a pop-up gallery right in the heart of London for a week or so. It would be open from late November to early December. Definitely a MUST visit while in London. What a chance!

The address was clear when on Friday 29th eyes wandered to find the green entrance. Huge video installation was running in one window, the other contained two prints. The gallery was dimly lit. A humble sign hanging on the door said open. Another sign stating opening times was also on the door, but no information was written on it. Should we go in? Is it really open?


Few people were inside. I did not really notice any of them. Instead the rough industrial surroundings in a warehouse type of a setting complete with portable lamps, LED candles, familiar looking photos and large video screens – they all took my attention. This was a photo gallery setting – as quality art photos would and should be shown, getting all the attention they need. No fuss, no bling, and certainly no luxury. The stars of the exhibition were the black and white photos. Never before seen though? I’ve seen that… And that…And that. Was my memory playing tricks? There are so many photos from over the years. So many published from Sing Blue Silver. At first I felt like I must have seen them all.

Took a while to breathe and take it all in. There were about 40 photos. One video playing on 5 screens and one wall. The video was the same on all screens, but unsynchronized so that you have different picture on each screen at any given time.

Are we allowed to take pictures? No signs saying no. No one stopping them from being taken. As soon as I took the first photo, I realized how cleverly the lighting was arranged. Lamps, lit furniture and LED candles all made sure photos would have reflections. Perfect for the art and artist.

Behind a makeshift reception desk, a very helpful lady told that 90% of the photos were new

– as in not seen before. They had a familiar feeling since there was always more than one picture taken from every occasion, and only a select few made it into the Sing Blue Silver book. One of them being John’s huge stage grin. Other photos were merely just similar, not exactly what had been seen, so while many of these photos might be recognizable, most have never been seen. All photos were available for purchase. Most of the photos in the gallery had 25 prints for purchase, but some just 5.


I asked her about the video. These were still photos, and in some of the video the photos seem to have a 3D effect. She explained that it is an expensive technique available nowadays. Photos are broken down to layers, and these layers are then placed to form the effect. It is actually a 2½D effect. For full 3D, you would need 3D equipment to start with. That is an expensive technique used sometimes by companies. For this exhibition they wanted to try it for some photos.


And then out of the blue, she asked me a question, “Would you like to talk to Denis?” What? He is here? Would I really? This is his work. His photos. The subject just happens to be Duran Duran.

I asked him, “How difficult was it to organize a pop-up gallery?” “Very!” he said. Location is key. It was really difficult to find an empty location in central London that would be fitting for a gallery. And then everything needs to be done in the time frame when the location is rented – setting things up, marketing, opening. Some of the things take more time than expected. The flyers for this exhibition were printed in Italy, and they are not here yet (on Friday). They were expected to arrive on Monday or Tuesday.

He continued, “Then there’s two prints arriving later today (on Friday). Two photos are printed on huge acrylic sheets. Both are two meters wide. They will arrive later today and be in place tomorrow.

Anu with Denis O’Regan

“One other thing I thought about trying with the prints, was to print some as a work desk cover. The one with Simon, where there’s a lot of white – that could work nicely. You could have your laptop and papers in one part of the desk.” (I suggested that a similar setting was behind him, with Andy and black background.) “That’s true”, he said.  “The other one I had in my mind, is the contact sheet of John and Nick taken in France. That contact sheet from a photo shoot could really be a nice desk top.”


We talked a bit more about the book, promotion and travel. He found it amusing that some preorders had been made for a specific copy of the book – 7, 58, 60, 61, 62, 78, 80, 81, 82, and so on. Yes, we sometimes have our fixed specifics. Duranies!

Returned on Saturday to see the HUGE acrylic prints, and enjoy the peaceful exhibition once more. Impressive!

I do remember there was music playing softly in the background. What it was, I cannot recall.  I thought the choice would be pretty clear, but it clearly wasn’t what you might have expected…
And if that weren’t enough, we have some wonderful photos and video taken from the band’s arrival at the gallery opening and book release party, along with this short postscript from Bryony that everyone should give everyone a chuckle:

On the evening of the reception, 5th December: the band was due to arrive, and the very lovely and helpful door manager at the venue kept getting calls & texts to say the band would be arriving ‘in five minutes’, then when they didn’t was very apologetic. The fans had to explain to him that we understood completely, and even had a word for it: Durantime!

Nick’s arrival: (sorry this is a link but Blogger won’t let me upload it directly)

Anu Poukka lives in Helsinki Region, Finland. Her DD journey began in May 1982 with purchase of two LP’s – entering the record shop to buy Rio and only then realising that it was the second album of this fantastic Band! Nowadays she’s not sure which is more fun – touring with Duranies or the actual DD shows!










Bryony Evens has been an unashamed pop music fan for the last 30-odd years. Here’s all you need to know in musical terms: first album: Super Trouper by ABBA; first single: Rio; all-time favourite song: Dr Mabuse by Propaganda; favourite band: you need to ask?!; favourite solo artist: Liverpool’s elusive Thomas Lang; all-time perfect non-DD album: ABC’s Lexicon of Love; guaranteed mood-lift song: the 12” of Walk Out to Winter by Aztec Camera; compulsory-to-dance-to song: OT Quartet – Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like a Skyscraper mix); favourite classical music: Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Rach 3 and Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances; first gig: The Sugarcubes; bands seen live most often: either Duran Duran or Misty’s Big Adventure; next gig: Glasgow’s A New International – truly a band to discover; best new album: Electric by the Pet Shop Boys. She loves to sing. She also plays the viola badly

If You Can’t Destroy It, Might As Well Enjoy It

Duran Duran has always been thought of as a “good-looking band”.  Their image has always been important, to some extent.  The band took a lot of time and thought into their look and everything visual connected to them right from the beginning.  For example, logos were important.  Album and single covers were important.  Then, once videos were added in, they were important.  Fans ate up all of those images.  We couldn’t get enough.  We *squeed* when we got a new magazine that featured new centerfolds and we carefully added those new pinups to the walls of our bedroom.  Friends would often share in these moments by looking through magazines together, by watching videos together and *squeeing* at the same time.  The pictures from those early 80s are still shared, posted and *squeed* over to this day.  I’m sure there are many Duranies whose computers, Facebook accounts or twitter accounts feature many images of the band from those days.  The general public also got those images stuck in their heads.  In fact, they might be able to recall those images over the music of Duran.  They might mention the scene of Rio with the entire band singing on the yacht wearing those beautiful suits.  Other videos might be the first thoughts that come to mind, including Simon running through the jungle in Hungry Like the Wolf or the band on the beach in Save a Prayer.

As time went by, Duran’s images might not have not had the same level of coverage as they did in the early 1980s, but they didn’t go away.  With every new project, with every album, with every tour, image still seemed to be important to the band and the fan.  Fans still get excited about new pictures and will get upset if the image presented is not what they want.  For example, when the album cover for All You Need Is Now was released, there were many cries of disappointment because it did not feature a picture of the band.  Image and visual representations still matter.  What the band looks like still matters.    It seems to matter to the band and it still matters to a lot of the fans.  I don’t know that anyone could deny this.  Now, the question of the effects of that importance is a different deal.

While Duran’s image and good looks definitely got them attention and got people thinking about them, it wasn’t always positive for them.  When they first got success and fame, the band was often asked if they were only selling records because they were good looking.  The assumption there is that their fans didn’t know or care about the music.  They just liked them because the band members were “cute”.  Many critics assumed that because so many of the fans in the early 80s were young and female.  These young and female fans couldn’t know about music.  They couldn’t like them for their talent, it was believed.  Wrongly, I might add.  What choice did Duran have?  Do they stop worrying about their image and looks to get more critical acclaim?  Obviously, they did not change how they were doing things.  They stayed on track.  Yet, that criticism of people only liking Duran for their looks remains.  I frequently read articles on Duran or reviews of shows that still spend a lot of time talking about what they look like over their music.  This truly bothers many fans as well who feel like they are fans of the MUSIC and the music ONLY.  They don’t want the looks to be emphasized by the band, the media or the fans.  Perhaps, they even get frustrated when fans still focus so much on the band’s looks or images.  To them, this behavior stops Duran from getting the respect they deserve.  Maybe, Duran fans would be treated better as well.  While I understand that concern and desire to have Duran get kudos for their fabulous music, I can’t deny that their image has been important and continues to be.  The band hasn’t run from posting pictures of themselves.  Instead, I believe that fans can celebrate both–the music, first and foremost, while appreciating their good looks.

Thus, we will acknowledge the good looks by including them in our daily questions.  Here is how this is going to work.  We will ask people to send us their favorite pictures.  Then, we will vote between two pictures a day in our usual format until we find a favorite of each band member then groups. People need to send us their favorite pictures because we can’t choose from the thousands that are out there and don’t want to be voting on pictures forever (and we probably could!).  Ideally, I would also like people to send pictures of each time period:  1980-1989, 1990-2001, 2002-present.  We are going to go in the following order:  Simon, Roger, John, Dom, Nick, Andy, Group, side projects.  Right now, we have a little over a week left of questions about side and solo projects videos.  Then, we hope to start asking about Simon pictures.

Here is what we need right now.  We NEED YOUR HELP!  We need you to send you favorite pictures of Simon!!!!  You can send them to our email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), send us a message on Facebook, or send us a direct message on twitter with them.  The key is that we would like to reveal the pictures slowly–two per day.  You have from today until Saturday, December 14th to send us pictures!  We appreciate it in advance and I’m sure that others will appreciate when we start posting them!  😉  Thanks!!!

-A

We Go Around Together

Fandom begins when people who are fans of something want to take the next step by talking with other fans, which creates a fan community.  Eventually, those discussions are not enough.  Fans, then, often take on or participate in fan related activities.  Rhonda has been talking about one of those activities, fanfic, including what it is and why people choose that means of participating in fandom.  Fanfic, or fan fiction, can be both a solitary event and more of a social event.  It can be solitary in that it is often written by one person and can be read by oneself.  As long as a fan knows where to find it, one can go and read stories without anyone knowing anything about it.  Yet, it can be social as well.  Dialogues and discussions can and do happen in response to writing and reading stories involving the object of one’s fandom.  What is interesting to me is that even the social aspect of fanfic is such that no one needs to leave the comfort of their homes in order to participate.  Fans who write and respond to fanfic never have to be face-to-face.  Now, of course, fanfic writers and readers can choose to be face-to-face but they don’t have to.  This is also true for other creative means of expressing one’s fandom as well.  If one produces art or remixes, for example, one does not need to do anything but share and participate via the online world.  Face-to-face interaction is not necessary.  Obviously, many fans are cool with that level of interaction.  They just want to be in that fan community while online.  They are satisfied with that.  Other fans, though, don’t find that online interaction to be enough.  For those fans, they seek face-to-face contact with other fans.  

The in-person contact between fans can happen in a variety of ways.  For fandoms like ours, they can and do happen at events.  Most of those events surround concerts.  Fans meet and get together when they attend a concert.  At those events, the focus is always surrounding the show, which can and do include discussions about shows in terms of the music, the performance, etc., what fans are doing before and after the show and possibly about the crowd.  Very little discussion about other subjects in the fan community are brought up.  There just isn’t time.  Other official events like last month’s screening of Unstaged could bring fans together in real life.  Beyond those more official events that are created by the band itself, fans still try to get together in person.  Sometimes, the get togethers are simply fans meeting up to have coffee or a drink at a local establishment.  Sometimes, it is a small group of fans living in the same geographic region who get together for a night.  It might even be a “slumber party” of sorts in that some fans stay overnight.  These more local events do not include many fans and do not require much planning and cost besides the when and where of the event and what people need to buy to bring or to get there.  These small, local events are informal and definitely not connected to the band at all.  Again, for some fans, these kind of events as well as the shows/screenings are enough to satisfy their needs as a fan to discuss all things connected to their fandom.  For others, though, they want more and they want something when those either band sponsored events or those informal get togethers aren’t happening or aren’t available to them.
This is where the fan convention comes in.  According to the Free Dictionary online, a convention is, “A formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates, as of a political party, fraternal society, profession, or industry.”  Obviously, conventions don’t just happen for fandoms.  They happen for things like political parties and professions.  Yet, I think the key is that they are “a formal meeting”.  This implies that there is planning of this get together of a specific group of people.  Obviously, for my purpose, in my study of fandom, the group of people are fans.  Wikipedia explains here by explaining that a fan convention is an event in which fans of something gather together to hold programs and to meet experts, famous people and each other.  This isn’t all that different than a convention of teachers, for example.  Teacher conventions hold various programs or presentations, have teacher experts and allow teachers to meet and interact with each other.  Like conventions for teaching or politics, fan conventions have been around for decades and include some large ones and some not-so-large ones, some famous one and some not-so-famous ones.
In my research, the first fan convention I could find was World Con, which focused on science fiction and started in 1939.  Soon, other fandoms began conventions, too.  The comic book fandom began to plan conventions in the early 1960s.  For those first comic book conventions, the fans met to trade and sell comic, show comic art, have a banquet and masquerade.  As they expanded, they began including panels, screening of films, games, trivia, auctions, and even spoilers for media not yet released.  Soon enough, celebrities began being included for autographs and photos.  These same events occurred at with other fandoms connected to or similar to the comic book fandom.  Of course, some of the most famous fan convention including the Star Trek ones and Comic Con, which occurs in San Diego every summer.  Both the company that runs the majority of Star Trek conventions (Creation Entertainment) and the non-profit that runs Comic Con began in the early 1970s by a handful a people.  Now, those conventions bring in thousands of fans and are well-known around the world.  The Comic Con convention, in fact, has books and movies that focus on it.  In the future, I plan on reviewing the Comic Con documentary as part of my continuing series of media representations of fandom.  I also plan on diving deeper into the finer points of conventions, now that I have explained what they are and why they came into being.  Some of those finer points, include the various activities conventions have and should those activities occur at all fan conventions, what brings people to come to convention including the activities, celebrities, travel, ticket cost, fan interaction and more, the role of celebrities for themselves and fans, and what Duran fans and other music fans would like their conventions to be.
Until I get to all of those other topics, I have a quick survey question for everyone:
Would you ever consider going to a fan convention?
A.  Absolutely!
B.  Depends on when, where, what the activities are, and how much (Much will be said about this!)
C.  Nope.  As much as I am a big fan, I don’t need to meet other fans. 
I would love to hear from each and every one of you!  It would definitely help me with my research.
-A