Category Archives: Duran Duran Blog

Give Me Strength At Least Give Me a Light

I have to apologize in advance for this blog post.  I’m tired and super duper crabby.  This has been a very busy week for me at work with progress reports and two reports on a specific student.  If that wasn’t enough, I had to go to an all day meeting and prepare for a substitute teacher.  Anyone who knows anything about teaching knows how much work that is!  It took away time to work on these reports.  I have been trying to complete my work at home with no luck as the computer programs are not working.  Of course, they are not.  Like I said, I’m in a bad mood.  Bad is an understatement.  Perhaps, this bad mood and stress is why I’m so frustrated that there is not a lot going on in Duranland.  I could definitely use the distraction.  Yes, I know that the band was at the exhibit of Denis O’Regan’s photography and book launch in London yesterday.  I have seen some pictures but have not heard many details.  I would love to get a guest blog from someone who was there to not only give the details but also a flavor of what was like!!!  Hint, hint…

Besides that appearance, I have heard nothing about the band.  I have seen nothing.  Now, before you all start criticizing me, yes, I do know that they have been working in the studio.  Yes, I know that creativity takes time.  I am also aware that it is a busy time of year for many/most people and that they have responsibilities to themselves and their families.  I get all that.  I do.  That said, the quiet is getting to me!  Durantime can truly suck.  Please tell me that I’m not the only one!  Am I the only one anxious for that album to get done?  Am I alone wishing that I had a tour to plan?  For whatever reason, I am really longing for those moments when a tiny snippet of a song appears on the internet so that I can spend time listening to it over and over and over again to try to figure out if it sounds like some other song/album/project and to get a sense of what this album will be like.  I remember when Mark Ronson played about 30 seconds of Blame the Machines on his radio show.  Rhonda and I listened over and over while discussing and dissecting it all.  What did we hear, musically?  What were the lyrics all about?  Now, I know that John talked about how they would release snippets when they were closer to getting the album out.  I admit it.  I’m impatient.  I also can’t help but to think about this time of year about 3 years ago when part of All You Need Is Now was released on iTunes.  While we didn’t have it all, we had enough.  We had more than enough.  We had new music and a new video to watch, to absorb into our Duranieness.  I am just missing that level of excitement, the sense of something new, the sense that the future would be nothing but fun.  Yes, new music means that there is something significant to look forward to.  Yet, right now, we wait.  I should be used to this by now, right?  We all should be.  Most days, I’m good.  I can be patient and understanding.  Today, though, I am weak.  This week, I suck.  I need something to look forward to.

Of course, on top of the stress from work and lack of time to work on much else, I also have been thinking about the UK Tour of 2011 and the East Coast Tour we went on in 2008.  This time of the year has seen many tours and shows for Rhonda and myself.  Now, I realize that we can’t go on tour now.  There are no shows to go to.  Yet, what I wouldn’t give right now for the distraction of planning a tour, which is dumb because I have a lot of other things that I should and do want to get done.  However, I can’t help how I feel.  I want tour dates.  Most Duranies get pretty dang excited when tour dates are announced.  Tour announcements mean lengthy conversations as Rhonda and I brainstorm which show(s) we could do, how we could travel there and travel between shows and more.  The planning trait of mine kicks into gear and I can’t settle until our plans are set.  Maybe it is a sickness that this kind of thing is enjoyable to me.  It means, though, not only seeing my best friend but also seeing other friends, traveling to fun places, meeting new people and seeing my favorite band do what they do best!!  As I type this, there is not even one little hint that a tour might be coming anytime soon.  I have to be patient, I know.  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve unable to get to sleep due to excitement over Santa visiting except that I don’t know when Santa will be visiting.  Ugh.  Clearly, I’m just pathetic.

Maybe, I am just worried that I will run out of blog topics.  Yes, I realize that this might be hard to believe that I could run out of things to say or that Rhonda could.  After all, we blog every single day and have for over 3 years.  We have almost 1200 posts on here.  Obviously, we are opinionated and full of ideas, beliefs, observations, etc.  Eventually, we might run out of things to say if nothing new happens, right?  It is logical.  Okay, so I have a few things left to talk about.  One of those things will begin tomorrow.  While Rhonda is diving deeper into fanfic, I’m going to dive deeper into conventions.  Fan conventions.  I’ll let your mind wander about why.  Until then, I’ll continue to be annoyed at my paying job, wish my paying job was fandom related, and long for news about the album or a tour.  I promise to be calmer for the rest of the weekend after some sleep and a drink or four.

-A    

I Take the Dice — The Daily Duranie Review

We are continuing to move on with our reviews to the fourth track on the Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.  It is good that we have so many songs left to review as we are going to run out of things to talk about soon since it is so quiet on the band front.  Oh wait…our impatience for news is the subject for a different blog.  This one is all about I Take the Dice, one of those hidden album tracks in a very popular album.  Should it rise to greater heights of popularity or stay more hidden?

Rhonda:

Musicality/Instrumentation: There is simply no intro with this one – it starts and it’s off to the races immediately. Nothing to beckon you in slowly – it just slams you right in the face and keeps on going from there. Surprisingly, there is no guitar here until about the :15 mark, just as the lyrics begin, and it is deep in the mix. If you’re not listening, you’ll miss it because Nick’s keyboards are clearly the star here.  Bass is there, attempting to keep the listener on track, but once again, there are so many different layers, loops and samples going on on top of the guitar and bass, you feel them before you really hear them, and the same for drums.  One thing I will say is that it’s all very cohesive, and it blends together well.  It’s not easy to pick any one thing out, and whether that’s by design or circumstance is hard to say. The one word that I could use to describe this song is loud. Everything is turned up to ten, and in my opinion, it could easily turn into one hot mess.  What is interesting to me about this song, as well as most of the other songs on this album, is that they are immediately identifiable to me as being off of this album – I can’t decide if it’s the types of sounds they use, the chord progressions, the background chords from Nick that pull it all together or a menagerie of all of the above – but if you listen to each song on this album, there’s a distinctive sound from the entire album that seems to connect all of them together.  It’s cohesive, barely contained chaos.

Vocals: I like Simon on this song. At the beginning of the song, when he starts off singing “Midnight, think I’m gonna make it.”, I can picture him smiling and almost begging us to come closer…where the music really does nothing to beckon me in, Simon is as good as any snake oil salesman in getting my attention. As he continues in the song, his voice becomes more passionate, playful and pleading.  Where the first verse is very good at convincing me to listen…the second verse almost dares the listener not to. I have to admit, I especially enjoy the playful way he sings “Bop bop ba-bop ba-bop bop bop” part during the bridge, and the truth is – Simon conveys his feelings so well here, it’s hard not to at least like the song.

Lyrics: “Just this once I take the dice”  It’s about the only line I understood as a kid, and even then…I’m not entirely sure. Is he gambling? Is this song about playing games?  Is this about risk taking?  Then there’s that whole line “kill that light it’s so bright and you’re shining it right in my eyes”  I think in some ways, this is about fame, which makes sense given that this album came out at the height of their popularity.  It might be about the risk and fears that go along with whom to trust, whom not to…  I love the lyric “Show me a secret and tell me your name, catch me with your fizzy smile. Try to remember again and again what it is that I recognize”.  To me, it really is all about figuring out who to trust, and who not to trust…and the gamble that goes along with that risk.  Am I right? Not a single clue, but I like it.

Production: Overdone, in my not-so-humble opinion.  It’s not just the effects, which can be great – it’s the fact that there is just too much going on at times that it’s overwhelming. I think they took a song with great potential, and added way too much.  Someone needed to steer the band into a bit more simplicity with not so much background noise going on. They could have made the effect so much more with just a little less. Again, I find that this is the beginning of where the band got off course. Naturally, we all know how that changed everything going forward – but even without that knowledge I would say that this was an album that changed the band permanently.  Prior to now, the recording was done in a way where each instrument had their time to shine and their job to do. Here in this song, even Simon is far too loud at times.

Overall: What strikes me about this song most is how easily identifiable it is with the rest of the album. There is real consistency in the types of sounds used and the way the album was produced. There are elements here that I love, and that are true Duran – everything from various synth loops to the harmonies and emotion used in the vocals, the background chords, the bridge section – it’s all Duran Duran. Yet there are also elements here that quite frankly drive me crazy, for example I can barely hear the rhythm section and hardly even recognize the guitar being there at all.  It might be cohesive and blend well – but it’s almost cliché 80’s music with glossy production. I just think it might have been served better had some of the effects been turned down a bit and the other instruments been allowed a bit louder and more balanced voice.

Cocktail Rating:  3 cocktails!


Amanda:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  As always, when I start a review, I go and listen to the song, very carefully, usually multiple times in a row.  I am struck by how quickly this song jumps right to it.  There is no lead in, no chance to move slowly into the track.  No, there is an immediate upbeat sound, or notes that move up the scale, that you can’t escape from the beginning throughout song until the chorus about 2 minutes in.  I get why they would have included notes like that.  Obviously, they work to increase excitement, create a positive mood.  Yet, I find it overpowering.  The vocals also seem overpowering.  I want to be able to more of the other instrumentation.  I hear the other instruments.  I know they are there but I can’t really get to them, which frustrates me.  In the beginning of the song, I do notice the bass some, but that, too, gets lost to me.  I do like the bridge that is about 2 and a half minutes in.  It has a similar sound to New Moon on Monday, which does show that there is coherence to this album.  Once again, though, like Cracks in the Pavement, I wonder if there is too much going on, musically, especially towards the end of this song.

Vocals:  This song feels very much like typical Simon to me.  I love that there is a little attitude with how his sings the lines, especially in that opening verse.  There is a little bit of dark, mysterious, sexy quality there with some of those lower notes.  Of course, he seems to become more passionate as he seems to be pleading about his current situation as the song moves into the chorus.  Again, Simon does have a way of really working to create a mood, an emotion.  The second verse seems more passionate than the first, which I also find interesting.  I suspect this works better to convey the sense that once he sings the chorus he no longer had the self-control that he did.  He couldn’t sound like he did in the first verse.  Subtle but it works.

Lyrics:  When I think about the lyrics to this song, the first line that comes to my mind is the one about the daddy’s bracelets.  When I was a kid on the south side of Chicago, I don’t think I knew any male who wore a bracelet or something like that beyond a watch.  It struck me as very odd.  When I look closer at the lyrics, they really are quite fascinating.  I’m not sure exactly what every line is talking about but there is the clear sense that it is about taking risks despite maybe being in the spotlight and sometimes this risk taking comes from advice.  So much of this makes sense to me when I think of the state of the band at this point.  They were in the height of their fame and popularity.  The spotlight was always shining on them and that kind of pressure must be intense.  It is clear in these lyrics and others from the album that Simon couldn’t help but have that experience show in the words he wrote.  That said, I didn’t relate to these lyrics as a kid and now, I just want to study them.  These are lyrics that I could see, at some point, with some experience really being able to connect to them.

Production:  *sigh* The theme of this album is so, so very clear.  The production and the mix makes such a difference.  Instead of letting all of the instruments be heard, clear, Nick seems to be louder and so much more the greater focus.  I struggled to really hear, differentiate the different instruments.  Duran doesn’t feel quite right, then, to me.  At times, it even seemed like Simon was too loud, too much in the front and masked the instrumentation.  I want all members to shine and show themselves and their skills.  The song doesn’t allow that, though.  Again, I am left to wonder if I wouldn’t love this song if it had been mixed differently.

Overall:  Like many of these songs on this album, this one feels like there is SO much potential.  The lyrics fascinate me and I love Simon’s vocals, especially in the beginning.   I want to get where Simon is coming from.  I want to understand how he feels and why he feels that way.  I’m even okay with not knowing or understanding.  Beyond that, though, I struggle with the song because it seems to me that some elements overpower other parts.  I don’t want that.  I miss the parts that seemed to be ignored.  Yes, the song is catchy and, yes, it gets in my head extremely easily, but I don’t know that it is enough.

Cocktail Rating:  2.5 cocktails!

Part of a Celluloid Dream

I am ALL about breaking rules. One of the first, if not *the* first rule of fandom is to never talk about fandom. I break that rule every single day, and I’m pretty proud of that. Another rule is not to talk about fanfic. Not sure if anyone knows, but I have been doing a lot of reading on fan fiction lately. Shortened to fanfic – it’s a subject that is apparently pretty polarizing in fandom circles. People either like it or hate it.  It’s one of those things that tend to have nasty insults hurled “You’re crazy and basically fantasizing out loud!”, “Stop putting yourself into your stories!”, “You’re just a stalker with an overactive imagination!”.  What do you think?

I don’t write or read fanfic currently. Several years ago on my old message board home (duranduranfans.com – it’s gone so don’t try to find it!), there was a fanfic section and I did read a lot of it. I was amazed by the creativity. I also did attempt to write some of my own, but the problem I found was that I was creeped out at by the idea of writing about real people…because the band is made up of real people. For me, that stopped my creative juices cold, and I decided I was a much better reader than writer. No judgment, I just couldn’t write a story to save my life. Since then, I haven’t read because there’s just no time (in my day) for that. I can barely find time to read my research, much less a book or story for enjoyment. I am not totally FOR FanFic, nor am I totally against it. I think like everything else in fandom, my opinion is that there is a place for it, certainly. I also believe that there are probably boundaries – but that is a personal thing. I am not into telling people what they should or should not do with regards to fanfic, but I am very interested in reading what our Daily Duranie readers think either way. 
I asked a very innocent (well, mostly innocent) question on Facebook last week – I wanted to know how people felt about FanFic. Is in an integral part of being a Duran fan?  My reasons for asking were simple: in the fandoms I’m researching right now – they lend themselves well to FanFic. Books like Twilight and Harry Potter, television shows like Star Trek and Supernatural all have a thriving and growing fan base, yet in three out of the four examples I’ve given (Twilight, Harry Potter and the TV series Star Trek), the original series has ended. What keeps the fan base active? I’d have to offer up the idea of FanFic as at least one point.  To fans, the stories have continued in one fashion or another, and the “fanworks” are what keep the fandom alive.  
Interestingly enough, the storylines don’t always follow true to form. They aren’t always a continuation of existing stories. The authors of the FanFic put their own spin on things, it’s not a re-write of what has already been done, but brand new stories, and even more curiously there are many different genres that characters from the books, movies, TV series, etc. are written in which to reside. These genres include Romance, H/C (hurt/comfort), Slash (guy/guy; girl/girl), including incestuous and other types of relationships, they can be extremely sexual, not so much…and everything in between. So the boulevard for fanfic is incredibly wide, yet ridiculous to try and navigate in a single blog post. 
The answers I received to my question were very enlightening. Most of those who wrote publicly wanted to make sure I knew that they didn’t participate. Others were happy to tell me that they still participate, but that the entire topic has really moved underground. It’s just not out there in public for people to find. You’ve got to be a member of a private board or so forth, because a lot of writers are just tired of being judged. None of the reactions surprised me. As I said earlier, I think it’s something that you either love and participate in, or you hate the idea it even exists. Someone else pointed out to me that the band were real people – so fanfic probably doesn’t exist. In fact, DD fanfic still exists. It’s real, and it’s out there. For those of you who were on DDM.com a few years back, you probably know or have heard about Offenderland – the fanfic area that was removed.  The fact is, it does exist, RPF or not (Real Person Fiction), and yes, all of the above genres mentioned are still written with the band in mind.  
I know some of the questions people want to know. How can you write about real people? Isn’t it disrespecting the band? Isn’t it just flat out creepy?  Isn’t it invading their privacy?  Where can I find this fan fic?!? (Come on, I know somebody out there wants to know!!) 
I can’t answer all of these questions, because I’m not a writer in that sense. What I can tell you is this: fanfic is an important part of fandom, even if it’s not a publicly-seen cornerstone of our own. Real Person Fiction, however unnerving it might seem upon first glance – occurs across every single type of fandom out there. Fanfic can be therapeutic. It’s putting thoughts to paper (or screen) that you just need to get out of the system. Sort of similar to blogging!  Fanfic also opens the doors for discussion, in the very same way that this blog might. I would agree, there are parts to fanfic that yes, I find very creepy, but the trouble with extending that creepiness to all of it, insisting that it be kept out of sight and out of mind is that for many, it is how they choose to communicate. It is how those real world issues of race, sexuality, misogyny, homophobia, and other challenges to whatever the social norms might be get discussed. To those who write fanfic, the band are just the muse. They’re the characters in whatever situation they’re being written into. Let’s be honest: unless you’re a friend of the band – and by “friend” I don’t mean someone who has met them many times, I’m talking about someone who is invited “IN” past the curtain or stage door – they aren’t people we know. We only know the onstage, public persona. I don’t know how the band might feel about the stories being written about them, but I think their privacy is likely whatever happens after that proverbial stage door is “shut”. 
What I’d like to read though, are your opinions about fanfic. Like it? Hate it? Weirded out by the idea? Send in your comments. In coming blogs I plan to dig a little deeper into the subject – so prepare yourselves.  
-R

More Beautiful Colors Info!!!

True to form, today brings more news regarding Andy Golub’s brand spanking new, hot-off-the-presses coffee table book of Duran Duran posters; perfectly titled Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran. 


I know that everyone has been waiting patiently for more information, and while I knew what Andy and I had discussed regarding pricing, I honestly wasn’t sure where he might be comfortable and settle in. I’m happy to see that Andy has decided to cover his costs (good plan!) and charge $75.00 USD. That price does not include shipping, and that information will be coming soon.  I believe that once he’s got a firm shipping plan in mind (both for US as well as overseas), the books should then be made available on durandy.com exclusively. 
Once again, in case you’re questioning the price: this is a coffee table format book, printed in fully corrected color. Over 200 pages of glossy Duran Duran posters, a heartfelt foreword by Nick Rhodes, and lots of tasty surprises throughout. Not only are you supporting this huge project – six years in the making – you’re also helping to slightly offset Andy’s costs in making this book come to life, not to mention costs I don’t want to even consider for housing and properly maintaining his collection for all of these years. I have yet to even get a single in-person glimpse of this book and I can already tell you he has priced this at a bargain, which is truly who Andy is – he just wants to share this collection with everyone.  Definitely worth supporting, and if I didn’t mention it before, I really believe this is a fantastic value. At 1000 copies, I don’t expect them to last long!  
Others have asked about Andy personally signing copies, which is something that I think is worth considering.  However, this book is being self-published, and as a side-effect of that (and one of the few down sides), the book is at the printer in Wisconsin and will be shipped directly from there. As a result, Andy cannot sign the books before they are sent.  However, he is looking into the possibility of doing some casual signings – so there is hope!  
Lastly, Patty Palazzo was able to grab a copy of the book and had this to say, “…it is absolutely beautiful!!! I mean, seriously! What a gorgeous representation of the history of this art form for Duran – you more than did it justice” Just reading Patty’s sentiments make me even more excited to have my own copy of the finished product!  

I sprinkled a few of the pages that Andy has put up on his page as a sneak peak…can’t wait for more!!

-R


The wish that I was on that plane

The band doesn’t do nostalgia, they say. Maybe that’s true. Maybe they don’t spend a lot of time resting on their laurels, or looking back at the past. I suppose that if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t have time. I’d be busy working on the future, because there’s still more story to be told. I’m lucky in some respects though, because I am not quite that busy. I have time to reflect, and from time to time, I do.

New friends that I would have never met otherwise

Today is one of those days. Two years ago…and to be honest I’m truly surprised that it’s been two years…I was on a train headed for Birmingham after spending a night in Bournemouth. I had seen the band the night before of course, after having gone to dinner with three new friends. It’s funny because for me, in some respects I barely remember the show. I remember the drive from Brighton to Bournemouth very well, as we were driven by our friend Michelle, and I think we laughed most of the way. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me, and it never fails to make me smile when I think of that day. We spent the afternoon walking around Bournemouth, walking through Primark (a store very similar to our JC Penneys here in California where I live) so that I could grab a zebra-striped umbrella (the rain makes me melt, you know), we had dinner and even went to a very nice (I think the correct British term is “posh”) hotel and had tea to warm up. I know the show was great, and I know that I spent most of Leopard doubled over in laughter because at that point I was so jet-lagged that I probably would have laughed at my own reflection in a mirror (and should have I am certain!)…but memories of the band playing aren’t what come immediately to mind.  It’s the time I spent with friends. I would go so far as to say that I even remember the time Amanda and I spent after the show hanging out in our hotel bar more than I remember being at the show. Maybe I’m just weird that way.

Still pretty happy, despite the pricey train fare!

Then there is the train trip from Bournemouth to Birmingham. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before, but we grabbed a cab from our hotel to the train station. Once at the station, we confidently walked into the station and went to the ticket booth where we announced our intention to go to Birmingham. The booth attendant quickly rang up the sale, and gave us our total. To this day I can’t remember exactly how much he said – but it was quite a tidy sum (to put it politely), and Amanda turned to me with her mouth open. I stood there and said “Give the man your card Amanda – because we’re not stopping now!!” Naturally, we should have bought these particular tickets in advance – but having done that six months prior in May, with those tickets going unused due to a certain lead singer not being able to sing – we had agreed that we would take our chances. So, we paid dearly for that train trip, but I think Amanda would say it was worth it.  Well, probably.

On the way to the venue in Birmingham with new friends!

Prior to the show in Birmingham, we had arranged a meet-up at a pub. We hung out, saw friends, met new ones, and by the time we needed to get to the venue, I think Amanda and I were coming out of our skin with excitement. This show, I remember clearly. It’s hard not to remember the show because this was The Holy Grail. The Show to End All Shows for us. No disrespect intended but for Duranies, it was like going to Mecca. The Motherland. I think we’d built up the moment to be so important – that by the time the show was over, we were exhausted. We didn’t sleep much that night. We talked through every second of that show, and then some. I will never be upset that we made the trip to Birmingham twice, and to be honest – if I can find a way to go again, I will.

For me personally, the shows were literally just the tip of the iceberg. They were the catalyst, the reason I went to the UK, but once there, I just felt as though there was so much more to my trip than the band. The land I saw, the towns I experienced, the friends I met…the Winter Markets, the differences in culture…I loved every second of it. (Even when I was freezing my ass off in the venue in Glasgow!)  Let’s face it: I’m from Southern California. As of this writing it is December 2nd and I’m wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and flip-flops. My youngest doesn’t remember ever being in the snow, much less touching it or tasting it, because the last time we actually went to see the snow, she was less than a year old.  Where we live – it never snows. If it did, people would lose their minds. Our palm trees are decorated as though they were evergreens, and yes, it really IS hard to have the “Christmas Spirit” when it’s 80 degrees outside. The UK is a world away from anything I experience on a daily basis. As I’ve explained to my husband since that trip, seeing the band was great – but the truth is, as most Duranies know, the setlist doesn’t change that much from show to show. It’s true, I can remember the setlist differences between the shows – or the funny things that set one show apart from another, but it’s not like those change that much. What makes these trips worth it for me, especially my trip to the UK, is what I do, or what I see in each place. The people I meet, and the experiences outside of the shows. I wouldn’t trade any of that.

I’m not sure when the band might decide to tour again, and if they do – I have no idea if I might be able to travel again – or where I’ll go if I can. I’m just thankful I took the opportunity to go when I did.

-R

Meet Me at the Corner Shop

I have been spending a lot of time shopping, making lists to go shopping, and brainstorming what to buy when shopping.  Yes, it is now December and, for me and many others, this means that it is the season to shop for gifts for friends and family.  My family, thankfully, exchanges lists so that I know what they have or don’t have, what they are interested in or not interested in.  This is especially helpful when purchasing for my nieces who live far away from me.  I, also, provide them with a list (at their request, of course!).  Again, I suspect that this is helpful for them.  For example, they might know that I like Duran Duran (yes, yes, that might be an understatement!) but they have no idea what I have or don’t.  They don’t know even where to look for Duran related merchandise.  I don’t blame them in this.  My brother’s fandom is comic books and I would have NO idea if he didn’t provide a list of what and where to find what he is interested in.  This year, like most years, Duranies do have a few more options as the Duran Duran store has been updated!  If you don’t know where to find it, it is located on their official website:  www.duranduran.com under the “store” tab.  If you want the direct link, you can click here.

What are new of the new items in the store?  As every year, the store seems to be updated with holiday related items.  Let me highlight a few and give my thoughts:

*The 2014 Official Calendar.
Rhonda and I have both talked about this calendar quite a bit.  You can read about it here.

*Limited edition DD BAUBLE Set.
For those of you translating this to American speak, they are ornaments.  These ornaments are black with DD on one side and Duran Duran on the other written in gold.  There are only 200 of them.

*Duran Duran Wrapping Paper and Cards.
In case you want to wrap present in Duran logo, you can buy this wrapping paper.  One sheet is gold with black DD lettering and other is black with gold lettering.  There are 5 cards with the same logo and style with a message inside.

Of course, there are some other new items that are not holiday or new year related but are ones that you still might be interested in.

*4 Duran coasters.  Each coaster features either Simon, John, Nick or Roger and matches the same style as coffee mugs and t-shirts of the individual guys that have been available since last summer.  I have to ask, though.  When is Dom going to be featured in items like this???  The coasters come in the set of 4.  There is a deal in which you can get the coasters for free, if you order a set of coffee mugs or a set of the t-shirts.

Other items that might get your attention:
*Last year’s holiday cards are still available.  Again, this is a set of 5 with one for each band member and one for the group.

*Last year’s wrapping paper is available as well.  This wrapping paper features the AYNIN faces of the band.

*Beyond those items, there are some of the usual items, including t-shirts, hats, keychains, tour books, pins and more.

A couple of things to note, if you are planning to purchase from the store and you haven’t before.  First, if you are not in the UK, the shipping can be quite pricey.  It often doubles the price.  Second, be aware  of the currency exchange rate.  Third, if you are a member of the paying, official fan club of DuranDuranMusic, make sure you enter your user name and email in order to get a 10% discount.

Speaking of the fan club, recently, my membership was set to expire.  Now, I could debate whether or not it is worth the money, I won’t here to keep the focus of this particular blog post.  I’ll summarize by saying that I wanted access to any presale, which led me to renew.  In the last couple of years, members could decide which kind of membership to get by either ordering the basic or silver or ordering the gold with the basic membership and additional merchandise.  Last year, I ordered the gold for that extra merchandise.  If you want my review of those items, you can read that blog here.  This year, though, when I went to go renew, I noticed that the gold items were the same as last year.  I sent out emails to get some clarification.  The response back was swift and clear.  The merchandise has not been updated but will be.  Thus, the recommendation was to renew now at the silver/basic level and when the new merchandise comes out, I could upgrade for the extra goodies.  I appreciated the customer service with the emails.

Clearly, there are many choices of new items to buy for yourself or for the Duran fans in your life.  It shows and reminds me that Duran has always done such a good job with all of the merchandise choices over the years whether it was that board game to batteries to t-shirts to water bottles to bags to ornaments.  Speaking for myself, they have always managed to make a dent in my finances through buying some of these items!

-A

You’re the Greatest Thing Alive: Best Tours

Am I the only one who gets excited when we post the day in Duran history and it applies to myself?  I suspect I’m not because often other people will comment or respond to whatever we have posted for the day by either telling us that they were there or by telling us about some event that also happened on that day, which involved them, that we didn’t post about.  What is today’s Day in Duran History event?  Two years ago today, the band opened their UK tour in Brighton.  Rhonda and I were there.  Even as I type it, it doesn’t seem real.  Oh, the show feels real.  The tour feels real.  The fact that we were there doesn’t.  Nonetheless, thinking about that show and that tour brings a serious smile to my face.  If someone asked me what my favorite tour was, I would say that one without batting an eye, without even a pause.  Why is that and what criteria is used to determine a favorite tour?

I will start with the second question first.  I have thought a lot about what makes a tour the “best”.  I can come with a few factors that someone might take into consideration:

*The shows–
The shows need to be great.  They should be ones in which at the end of each night a statement like the following is made, “That was the best show ever!  There is no way that they could top that one!!”  Then, they do top that show later in the same tour.

*Fun–
The extracurricular aspects of a tour need to be taken into consideration.  Who did you travel with?  How much fun did you have?  What did you do besides the shows?

*The plan worked–
Whenever one decides to attend a show or four, one has to plan some details.  Who are you going with?  What time do you need to leave?  How will you get there?  Where will you stay?

*Circumstances surrounding the band–
Are they touring to support a great album?  Okay album?  A not-so-great album?  Are they supporting an album at all?  Who is in the line-up?  What is the setlist?  What were they doing before the tour?  What will they be doing after the tour?

*Circumstances surrounding you–
Was this an easy tour to plan?  Did you have to fight for it with work, home and/or finances?  Where is your headspace in terms of being a fan?  Are you feeling good about being a fan?  Bored with it?  Expectations not too high or low?

I’m sure that I missed some other factors that can make or break a tour.  So, how did I determine that this tour, at this time was my favorite?  Which factors mattered?  How did the other tours rank, if I were to rank them?  Let’s do that.  As always, I’ll rank them using these factors with 5 being the best.

Spring 2005:
Shows-Overall, they averaged to about a 3.5.  Some shows were better than others.
Fun-The average was about a 3.8.  Two of the nights were some of my most fun ever.  Others weren’t.
Plan-3.7.  Worked out but some of the details I would change.
Band-3.2.  I was expecting Andy and he wasn’t there for most of the tour.
Me-4.  I was ready for the tour and ready to increase my fandom
Average-3.64

Summer 2005:
Shows-3.5.  They were consistent.
Fun-3.17.  A couple were fun and the last one wasn’t as much.
Plan-3.5.  Again, there were some things I would definitely change.
Band-3.  The band wasn’t as united and it was obvious.
Me-4.  I was consistent as well.
Average-3.43

Fall 2006:
Shows-3.75.  One really great show and the other was a festival show.
Fun-4.25.  High on the fun scale, especially in New Orleans!
Plan-2.5.  The plan worked but some big things I would change!
Band-4.5.  This is right after Andy left.  They had to step up and they did!
Me-4.  I could still dismiss negative aspects of our fan community.
Average-3.8

Fall of 2008:
Shows-3.  They were okay.  Yes, it was Duran so better than others out there but for them, they were just okay.
Fun-3.  Too much traveling to have a super fun time in any place.
Plan-2.5.  Just like in 2006.  Some big things needed to be changed!
Band-2.  This was the end of the RCM days.  They seemed anxious to have that era done and so was I.
Me-3.  I was becoming more and more frustrated by game playing.
Average-2.7

Summer of 2009:
Shows-3.5.  Solid shows but not the “best”.
Fun-3.  Not our most fun.
Plan-3.  Not as many big negatives as some other tours but…
Band-3.5.  Simon dancing to Skin Trade.  Clearly, they were in quite a mood!
Me-3.  The game playing continued to frustrate.
Average-3.2

Spring of 2011:
Shows-3.  One show I didn’t see due to frustrating circumstances and horrible venue.
Fun-3.  I had fun in between frustrating circumstances.
Plan-2.5.  I thought I knew how to tour without problems.  Clearly, I still had to learn.
Band-4.  They were in a good spot supporting AYNIN.
Me-3.  Sometimes, it is all about who you are with.
Average-3.1

Fall of 2011:
Shows-4.125.  Two of their very best EVER.
Fun-3.5.  While we didn’t have wild times, there was also nothing negative.  🙂
Plan-4.  We managed to do what we want to do.
Band-5.  This was the tour after Simon had lost his voice.  It was huge.
Me-5.  I was ready to be renewed as a fan, as a Duranie.
Average-4.33

Summer of 2012:
Shows-3.375.  One really great show, two other decent shows and one not so great…
Fun-3.125.  There were some highlights but also some lowlights!
Plan-2.5.  While we managed to get to where we wanted to be, it was exhausting.  There were definite things I would change!
Band-3.5.  They seemed tired.  Perhaps, it was touring the South in the summer.
Me-2.5.  I wasn’t in a good place with my fandom.
Average-3

Based on this, I would rank my tours (I didn’t include one off shows) in the following way:
Fall of 2011
Fall of 2006
Spring of 2005
Summer of 2005
Summer of 2009
Spring of 2011
Fall of 2012
Fall of 2008

Thus, if I had to explain why the UK tour of 2011 was the best, I could easily explain it.  First, two of those shows were two of the best ever.  In fact, for me, Brighton and Glasgow were the best I have ever seen.  Then, it was amazing to me that we managed to get back to the UK for the second time in a year and have everything go so smoothly.  After all, we had traveled there in the spring only to find out the shows were canceled.  On top of that, we were worried that things wouldn’t work out well for this fall tour either since there was a big strike in the UK leading to flights were getting canceled, trains were getting delayed, etc.  Yet, we had no problems. It seemed that the band was just as excited to be finally playing these shows after having to cancel the whole UK tour earlier in the year as we were.  Plus, on a personal level, there is nothing more magical for those of us in the US than to see Duran Duran play on their home soil.  I learned a lot about them there.  If all that wasn’t enough, we got to see Secret Oktober played live in Brighton, we got to feel the whole venue shake during Leopard in Glasgow and we couldn’t stop laughing in Bournemouth.  We also got to see them in Birmingham.    Magical moments.

What about the rest of you?  What do you think of my criteria to determine best tour?  Is there something I forgot?  Should all of those factors be even like I had them or are some more important than others?  What is your favorite tour?  Why?

-A

No Ordinary Day–Record Store Day 2013

It is the day after Thanksgiving here in America.  Many, many people were either out late or really early hoping to catch some amazing deal during a “Black Friday” sale.  The Friday after Thanksgiving is referred to as Black Friday here as countless people go out and shop, which kicks off the winter holiday purchasing season.  Now, I typically avoid anything to do with shopping on this day.  I am not a big fan of crowds like that where there is little room to move and everyone is impatient and quite possibly, rude.  No thanks.  Not for me.  I would rather shop online, thank you very much!  This year, however, I did have one reason to get off the couch, face the cold (It was nine degrees here this morning.  Br…) before noon on a day off.  What was that reason?  Simple.  It is Record Store Day.  The purpose behind the day is to celebrate vinyl and independent record stores.  How is it celebrated?  New, often limited edition, vinyl is released, which can be purchased in these record stores.  Usually, it is in April as was the last one, which a blue edition of Is There Something I Should Know was released to celebrate its 30 year anniversary.  Anyway, this year, one of the new, limited edition vinyls was one from Duran Duran called “No Ordinary EP”.  This EP features three songs performed live at Tower Records in Hollywood, California, on May 15, 1993.  The three songs are Come Undone, Notorious and Hungry Like the Wolf.  This limited edition is the first time these live tracks have been released on vinyl.  How limited is it?  5000 copies were made.  What else is cool about it?  It s a 10″ on white, opaque vinyl.  I admit it.  I really like colored vinyl.  Can’t help it.  I’m a sucker that way.

In planning my weekend, I knew that I was going to go visit my local record store to purchase this.  I knew that they would have it as I check a few weeks ago.  That said, I had no idea how many copies

there would be so I figured it would be good to err on the side of caution and go early.  I also figured I could blog about it, too.  To that end, I was out the door by 9:30 this morning.  My local record store, Strictly Discs, is located on a fun, little street that features many small, independent shops.  I always enjoy going into this record store for a couple of reasons.  First, it reminds me of my childhood.  How many of us remember going to the record store to buy a brand new album from a favorite band?  Thinking back, I remember riding in the car twenty minutes to the nearest “mall” to get my copy of Notorious, when it came out in November 1986.  For me, these trips were special.  At this point, there was no local record store in my small town.  No, trips to the record store required planning and convincing on my part.  I had to prove to my parents that it was worth their time and gas money.  I distinctly remember the excitement bubbling inside as I walked through the doors to the small mall to increase my pace to the record store.  Of course, I knew exactly where it was and nothing ever distracted me from hitting that shop first.  Then, I would walk in and see people milling about, looking, listening, chatting with enthusiasm.  It always seemed like a fun, cool place, even though, this record store of my youth was nothing special and matched countless others like it around the country.  I still loved it and everything I could and did purchase from there.

This current record store is very different.  It is cool.  It has style.  While it sells CDs as well, the basement is filled entirely with vinyl.  Walking down there is like walking into a treasure chest of sorts.  It requires looking for one’s favorites but always feels worthwhile.  This leads me to the second reason that I love going to that store.  It shows me that vinyl is still alive and well.  It also shows that people still do love buying a whole album.  While there have been many changes with how people purchase and consume music, some constants, one of the important ones, remain.  I arrived at my local record store to find a crowd of people inside.  There was such a line of people paying for their purchases that I struggled to get around them to head to the basement of vinyl.  Downstairs, The Record Store Day albums were place in the center of the room.  Just like when I was a child, I was focused on getting exactly what I came for.

Where is Duran Duran?  Where is the EP?  I am excited but also anxious.  What if they didn’t really have it?  What if someone bought all of the ones they were getting in?  Should I just ask?  I had to remind myself to relax and enjoy the search.  In reality, it didn’t take me long to find today’s prize.  I knew what the cover would look like and could identify it immediately.  I grabbed my copy, held it close to me and did some more searching, just in case other finds awaited me.  What is really funny about this is that 1993 isn’t my favorite era.  I don’t really need a live version of Come Undone or even Hungry Like the freaking Wolf.  Yet, there is something to be said for going into a record store and getting something NEW from Duran Duran.  No matter what it is from them, it still feels exciting.  The fan in me bursts through and can’t be denied.  Then, of course, I come home and hop online.  My Facebook and Twitter are both filled with friends holding up their purchases, their copies of the EP.  That makes me smile, too!  It may not be an ordinary day but it is a good day to be a Duranie.

-A

A trip to 1984 and back – all in the same blog!

Gotta be honest: there are a lot of topics I could be writing about today. Let’s take Mr. LeBon’s comments in The Guardian about Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video for instance.  Or better yet, there’s always The Guardian’s comments in return to Mr. LeBon’s initial mentions. Yes, I could be writing about that topic. However, and I don’t really mind saying this today…I just don’t feel like it.

Like many of my US buddies, I have stuffing to prepare. A turkey to stuff. Cranberries to sauce. (can you really sauce a cranberry?? Never mind…) A house to clean! So, forgive me if my mind isn’t quite on blogging today. I just can’t go into the finer points of misogyny, or why I believe Simon was well within his right to comment…or why I believe Robin Thicke needs to be smacked around a bit. Even better if it is done by a woman. Another time, perhaps.

INXS:I think these guys have aged amazingly well, yes. 

Instead, I bring you a link to a blog on New Wave artists. I ask you, have they all aged well?  I’m certainly not going to point fingers – my own under-eye bags are packed and ready to go, so it’s not as though I have room to talk! Or blog. I will say this though: I take offense that they’ve gone and characterized Depeche Mode as the Rolling Stones of New Wave.  Sure, they may have sold out a stadium or two in their career – but they don’t have anyone named Taylor, LeBon or Rhodes in their band, and they definitely didn’t write or record Rio. Put that in your New Wave pipe, DJRioBlog (!!!) and smoke it!

Next, I cannot help but make a small confession here on the blog. I’ve seen many Facebook comments and tweets about how Christmas has to wait until after Thanksgiving. I’ll agree, it needs to wait a bit longer than November 1st.  However…I’ve been listening to *gasp* Christmas songs lately. Listen, you all get into your holiday spirit your way, and I’ll do it mine.  I couldn’t wait. I tried to be strong, I tried to wait…and failed. *sigh* I’ve heard Do They Know it’s Christmas three times on the radio now, and each time it brings a smile to my face and dear, dear memories to mind. So, if you hate watching videos, videos to Christmas songs no less…with some of the very same people that you just saw in the above blog… I invite you to turn away now…if you can. John Taylor is on the darn screen no less than 5 seconds into it, but hey – go ahead and turn away until December 1st. Go on, turn away, but don’t blame me if you can’t. I couldn’t either. We’ll be weak together.

 And since tomorrow brings a review here on the blog – Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate.  🙂

-R

It’s the learning of this journey: An interview with Andrew Golub (Durandy), Duran Duran Archivist Part Two

We are back today with part two of our interview with Duran Duran Archivist Extraordinaire, Andrew (Durandy) Golub! If you are reading this in hopes of getting the scoop on his brand new just-announced-still-warm-from-the-printer coffee table format poster book, read on. He shared plenty of fantastic details with us about his new project, and Daily Duranie can’t wait to share the news!

For the past several years, Andy has been secretly working on a huge project that he just announced with full support from Duran Duran. “We are releasing a book that charts Duran’s trajectory through selected posters from my archive. Titled Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran, the book is filled with brilliant designs, vintage promotions, record company releases, corporate advertisements, and of course plenty of gig posters paint a portrait of the band’s evolution and worldwide presence. Highlights include great insights from artists and graphic designers on their creations – it was very cool to learn of the inspirations and process behind posters that many fans hae seen for years. There are also unreleased posters from an esteemed graphic designer familiar to the band and the fans, and a sweetly tender foreword by Nick.” (Rhodes…of course!) “That alone is one of my life’s greatest achievements, and I will be forever grateful for his encouraging words.”  
I can honestly say that as a fan, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Not only will I forever treasure it because it is imagery of the band’s history – this book was done by a fellow fan. His passion is OUR passion. I want to foster and support that passion however possible, now as well as in the future. Taking on a project of such magnitude feels completely overwhelming – how on earth did Andy do it all? “From exhibitions to my website, I believe every step I’ve taken with the archive has slowly moved me in this direction. A book was the next natural progression, and I”ve had friends suggesting one for years. It was hard to pick and choose the posters to include, but when I settled on only official promotions for the content, it became easier. However, I think of all the other gems left behind that deserve their own spotlight…perhaps someday a book of posters from the band members’ individual endeavors!” If my vote counts at all – count it as a solid “YES!”

Passion, perseverance, persistence….

Andy continues,“Christine and I have been working on the book for over six years. I’m not entirely sure either of us (especially her) realized how much work would be involved, or how much the experience would change us. Weekend after weekend was spent behind the camera, in front of the computer, or transporting posters to and from the archive. Foot rubs and back rubs often became the most popular currency, used to squeeze just a little more photography out of Christine before the end of a day. I had no shame. The color correction process was possibly most arduous, as Christine worked to make each poster image accurately represent its true colors. I think she had some words for the band when it came to matching all the pinks from the last album campaign!  In the end, she did a spectacular job and we made sure the colors were popping off the printed pages.” Hmm. Maybe I should have interviewed Christine as well. I wonder how she feels about the journey she’s taken and committing herself to a project with such fortitude. She sounds like the perfect partner, and what I love most about this story is that it is clear that Andy’s passion became shared by Christine – in a huge way. Fandom in action, most definitely.

Nine pallets…1000 books!!! Well done!

The book is not quite ready for purchase, but I have been told that they are getting Durandy’s site ready to handle sales. “There will be 1000 copies of the book produced. The price and all details related to sales will be released when the book is closer to being ready for purchase. I will say that careful consideration went into the decision on price. I would like to see this book end up in the hands of every fan who has reveled in the Duran Duran concert experience or felt their life enriched by the band’s music.”

As someone who is in full-support of this project, I can and will personally attest to Andy’s words. Let’s face it, we all know of a recently mentioned book project that is clearly out of this world, price-wise. Unattainable by all but the wealthy amongst us. This is not something that Andy wishes for his book. He didn’t take on this project as a way to finance his passion for collecting, but rather as a way to share his collection with all fellow fans. In fact, I had a phone conversation with Andy a month or so back, and I know it has taken convincing on the part of not only well-intentioned friends and people such as myself, but also Christine to not decide to give this book away…which I will reiterate: he absolutely should not do! I do not know the pricing on the book, but as I said before, given my discussions with Andy, I will still put my own vinyl collection on the line when I say it will be far more affordable and reasonably priced than other recently mentioned books. It was no exaggeration that Andy had to be talked into charging for it at all…and besides the plain and simple fact that he shouldn’t give his books away, there was other reasoning to take into account.

Andy has spent far, far more than any of us will ever know to attain (and maintain) this collection. Storing an archive is not a simple, inexpensive investment. However, Andy does this willingly, and happily. While many of us spend our life savings to go on road trips and tours, vying for front row tickets, meet and greets and photos…Andy collects objects that, without his care, would simply disappear. Then he takes meticulous care of them, ensuring their preservation from the moment they enter his guardianship. That alone costs far more than the face value of any book. When one day in the future the touring stops and there is nothing but music and memories left behind, these posters will not only be a telling tale of the band’s history, but also of our own. I hope to one day see Andy’s work in a museum. Who knows, maybe there will be a Museum of Fandom somewhere….

Which brought me to asking what is next? After Andy’s book, the sky is the limit, isn’t it?  Traveling exhibits? A museum?? An appearance at a future Durandemonium??? What more can be done?? “My two exhibitions were absolutely thrilling events that I’m incredibly grateful for achieving.  While I’ve envisioned a traveling exhibit since the beginning, such an endeavor is simply cost-prohibitive. I’ve given a lot of thought to alternative ways an exhibit might work, such as digital collections of posters set to music or even narration – by me, or the band. Now that a book has been released, the door is wide open.  Having my archive housed in a permanent facility for people to visit anytime they please is certainly an ultimate goal. Unfortunately, financial resources will always be a determining factor with ambitions like this. How cool would it be to have a museum dedicated to the New Romantic movement, specifically highlighting Duran Duran and their influence on pop culture over decades. I have approached sites like the Birmingham Heritage Forum and museums that have hosted special exhibits in the past, but I understand my proposal can be a bit daunting to consider. I believe having an open mind, perfect timing and a fundamental appreciation for the band’s impact on music will provide the right recipe someday. Until then, my archive will always have a ‘Welcome!’ mat.”
Things like this start the wheels turning in my head. Surely there must be a way to house the band’s history, and even our history as fans. Perhaps in a setting that is not solely dedicated to Duran Duran, if need be. The arts – pop culture, high culture, or otherwise, must be preserved, otherwise we really face becoming known to future generations as the “throw away society” in every possible way. Fandom is something to be treasured, to be saved, and to be admired. There has to be a way to achieve this goal so that it not only supports itself, but thrives…and I don’t give up easily, so watch this space!
The fan community at large is lucky to have a fan like Durandy. Hopefully this interview gives just a little more insight to who he really is and where his love, dedication and commitment reside. So much of what the band has done over the years would be completely lost otherwise, and here we have in our midst someone that has taken great care in cataloging and archiving these stunning slices of the band’s history.  None of that is by accident – our community is filled with talents that have been somehow uncovered, polished or even ignited by our love for this band. We are not all the same by any means. Some of us are drawn to writing, some to drawing or graphics, still others honed in onto their love of fashion, design, hair, make-up or beauty, still others of us found inspiration in bringing people together. It is up to each of us to find how to use our inspiration and create our own beautiful colors. I look forward to seeing Andy and Christine’s finished product. It is these projects that I become infinitely proud of supporting in some small way – because we are a community bound by a shared love of music. Five guys from Birmingham paved the way, and the journey has been incomparable thus far.

Special thanks to Andy Golub and Christine Born – best of luck ahead!

-R