Category Archives: Duran Duran fandom

Now the Channel Is Open

If you are anything like me, you have a list of things that you must get done even with stay at home orders and global pandemics. My list generally focuses on work tasks (lesson planning and posting along with grading, connecting with students, etc.) and household chores (grocery lists, cleaning, laundry and more). If and when I get through those, which is rare, then I try to find some time to work on campaign related organizing as well as relaxing. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been trying to find time to relax. Initially, it was not much of a choice as I needed to implement some strategies to minimize anxiety. As I have gotten the anxiety under control, I have found that I don’t really want to give up this me time. I don’t really have a pattern. Sometimes, I read or work on a puzzle that a friend gave me for Christmas. Other times, I color or journal. Some nights, it is just about having a glass of wine and watching something silly on TV.

This week, though, after doing some journaling, I let my mind wander. What did I really want to do? Somehow, this led me to watch some of the videos that I have recorded over the years while on tour. I watched, for example, a video that Rhonda and I did in the summer of 2017 in which we summarized some of our not-so-finer moments from the Paper Gods Tour. I laughed and laughed as I watched us get into hysterics over cows and backwards wording merchandise. Next, I checked out some clips we had recorded while driving in the summer of 2012 in the southeast. At some of those, I found myself cringing a bit at how critical we were. (That said, I don’t think I could ever really say fond things about that seventeen minute film that they started the shows off with. So sorry!) After that, I watched a couple of clips from the UK trips from 2011 and felt the rush of sadness over the cancelled shows to the sheer joy of meeting friends in a pub in Birmingham. One memory led to another and another and another.

Soon, I found myself watching live clips. Many of these were from shows that we had attended over the years. I found myself grinning and singing along just like I was there in the audience. As soon as I realized this, I wondered why I hadn’t done more of this during this quarantine experience. This connected with ideas that I had journaled about. Fandom has been a big part of my existence with the usual ebbs and flows. Outside of politics and teaching, it has been the cause of some of my most heartbreaking moments, some small, some not-so-small. In thinking about some of those, I recognized that I hadn’t really grieved some of them and wondered if acknowledging that could be beneficial. That said, in watching those videos, both my own collection as well as clips on YouTube, I knew that fandom has also provided me with some of the truly most joyous, most fun times that I have ever experienced. I am pretty certain that there are lots of people out there who have not had nearly as much fun as I have while on tour. As I sit in my living room on the couch that I live on nowadays, I know that I would give anything to be able to have a show, a tour to look forward to.

I know that life does not always work out like you want it to. Heck, if that was not the case, I would just will away this virus that is causing so much harm. Yet, as I think about the time I have taken this week to just think and feel, there is a part of me appreciates that it has created the time and space to do that. Too often, under normal times, I literally have no time to do any of that as 60-80 hour weeks are not unheard of in my world. I cannot watch videos. I cannot bask in the warm fuzzies of fabulous memories. No, I’m too busy working. While I desperately want things to return to normal, there are some things that I could do without and the lack of time is certainly one. No, instead, I want to be able to break open the memories and just feel, just remember, just be.

-A

Surprising Fireworks and Sudden Silence

I’m a big fan of the deeper thinking questions that DDHQ occasionally throws out to fans for contemplation. Yesterday was no exception as they asked what was our fondest Duranlive memory.

Invariably when I see these questions, I end up stumped. Sometimes, the answer is as clear as day and I’ll post, but other times, like yesterday, I can’t think of a single memory that stands out above all others. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t because I don’t have great memories. Hardly. It’s because I have so many.

My time as a Duran Duran fan has been such a bright light in my life. I’m not talking about the time I’ve blogged, or even the time I’ve been a host at a party or a convention, though. I mean the times when I am simply a fan. I’m not half of Daily Duranie, not even L8BarMom. Just some…woman…standing in an audience, cheering for her favorite band. There’s no question, at least not in my head, that I’ve loved being a fan of this band. The music fuels my daydreams, motivates my words, and keeps me coming back for more. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Even so, I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for my friendship with Amanda, I wouldn’t have gone to half as many shows as I have over the years. It is far too easy for me to say “I can’t”, and let it go at that. In fact, that’s what happened with the Vegas shows that were just cancelled. I didn’t even talk with her about them, I just said “I can’t”, and went about my day. While that might have made my life easier here at home at the time, it wouldn’t have made my heart quite as full.

Maybe not so surprisingly, I have thought quite a bit about the shows we’ve been to over the years, particularly lately. It’s so weird to me that so few of the memories seem any more “over the top” to me than others. One time that comes to mind – and I mean, it happened within a blink of an eye – was when I realized they were actually playing Secret Oktober in Brighton back in 2011. Context is important here, so let me describe it.

Amanda and I had already made one trip to the UK that year, and so we’d gotten ourselves to Brighton by sheer luck again in November of 2011. I say “luck” because we managed to get there despite a union walkout for public transportation, leaving my family, Amanda leaving her job, I don’t know how we made it work, but we did. I’d been begging for the band to play Secret Oktober at one of those shows…for months. Make no mistake, I knew the chances were about none, but I begged anyway. We’d gotten to Brighton in time, went to our crazy modern hotel, got ready and got ourselves to the show. There we stood in our spots, and all of the sudden this song starts and I’m not sure what it is until I KNEW what it was. If only to have a picture of my jaw hitting the ground that night at the precise moment I knew what they were playing…the rest of the song is an absolute blur to me, but that moment? Golden. Amanda and I hugged one another, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that much pure love and joy in a single second.

There are a ton of precious memories like that, occupying space in my head. I’m lucky. The thing is, most of those memories are just of being in the audience. Sometimes I can’t even remember where I was standing at the time – front row, fourth row, tenth row or beyond – it doesn’t matter now. I couldn’t tell you what was on the set list at the time, or what I was wearing, or even where the concert was at the time. The only thing that seems to matter was that I was there, with Amanda, and we were having the time of our lives watching this band that we’ve grown up watching.

Sure, some small things stand out. Like the time Roger shook my hand, when Dom flicked a pick my way once, when he ran over to be sure and grab my hand, every single time we duck from Simon’s baptismal blast during during White Lines…and seeing Nick look down at us and laugh in response, and when John looks our way. Those moments, though, aren’t necessarily what my mind drifts towards first. Just being there, basking in the glory of still being a fan of this music. Marveling in my head that I can still go see my favorite band along with my best friend. How could I ever have gotten so lucky?

A lot of things have changed in the past couple of months. I’m really not sure when I’ll feel comfortable traveling again. Getting on a plane again does not excite me. Wearing a mask in order to go to a show isn’t going to happen for me. Donning one for an entire plane ride is my idea of hell. I’ll just drive, thanks. I’m so thankful I did all of the things I could in the years before this stupid pandemic, because who knows when I’ll do them again next?

Thinking about being in the audience of any Duranlive experience brings a smile to my face, and sometimes, even laughter. Today more than ever, I realize how lucky I’ve been. I don’t think I can say that enough these days.

-R

We Walk the Mile

I have really been enjoying the extra content lately. The bass tutorials, the instagram chats, lengthy interviews, and of course Duran Duran radio, have all been fantastic. I want to make sure to yell that out to the world, and to thank all those involved. All of it has helped to keep me entertained, engaged, and interested, and I’m positive I’m not the only one feeling that way.

This pandemic has kind of forced all of us to see things differently, and I’m not just talking about the issues at hand. Specifically, I mean life. Friendship. Family. Learning. The list goes on and on. We have all had to find our way. Some of us are better about it than others, and that’s not really a surprise. I’ve chatted with family via text and email, Zoomed with a couple of friends, and spent more time with my three kids at home than I have in years. My husband and I have grown closer, and we’ve learned to rely on one another. I’ve cooked more at home meals over the past eight weeks than I have in YEARS. (I can’t say I’m loving that, but I’ve grown used to it, albeit begrudgingly. I even prepared food yesterday for Mother’s Day!)

We’ve slowed down a little. I think my family spends a little more time talking, a little less time rushing about. As a household, we’ve agreed to become even more self-reliant, pushing forward with our plans to become more of a homestead where we grow our own food and start our own cidery. (Think winery but with hard cider and mead. Mead is essentially wine made from honey.) We’re seeing how the world is changing and trying to adapt so that we can be happy, fulfilled, along with exercising some control over our own destiny.

I don’t think we’re all that different from Duran Duran, or anybody else really. None of us asked for this set of circumstances to be dropped like a lead weight in the middle of our lives. It is doubtful anyone really knows how long this is likely to go on. I’ve sat in on a lot of webinars lately, both those inside and outside of the entertainment industry. Concerts aren’t coming back as soon as we might hope, and even if they do – it’s hard to guess how they’ll look. It appears that the band recognizes that too. I mean, how could they not? They’ve decided to wait on releasing the album until 2021, which isn’t a surprise. I can be sad, but I don’t blame them. In the meantime, they’re doing what we’re all hopefully trying to do: exploring alternatives!

Simon discovered that he doesn’t mind doing a recorded radio show, or podcast. Katy seems to like that too, which I think is great! Nick took time to do a lengthy interview that I can’t imagine he’d have done normally. I mean, two and a half hours is a long time! John seemed to really enjoy his bass tutorial last week, along with the chat he had with Dave from Chromeo. (A band that I am going to check out this week. I know, I know…I’m slow, but I’m trying!!) While Duran Duran might not be a band that performs to an empty audience, or films a song during zoom calls, editing and then sharing it with fans, they are finding ways to engage and share parts of themselves in ways that many of us have wanted for years.

Personally, I love what they’re doing. I don’t need another Twitter Q&A, circa 2012 to remind me that there are 50,000 other fans out there, each vying for their two and a half seconds of attention with <insert band member name here>. What I do appreciate though, is getting past that nonsense, and hearing real discussions about music, their experience, or whatever they’re willing to share about themselves and Duran Duran. I feel far more connected to them now than I have in, well, a very long time, and I haven’t even left my house. Maybe it’s just me, and I can accept that some might disagree, but I think the content they’ve been creating has been golden. I look forward to whatever comes next.

As I said weeks ago, it is going to be the bands who figure out how to continue engaging their fan bases in some way that make it through this crisis, particularly if the lack of live shows continues into 2021. It is the people who find some way to make lemonade from lemons that will thrive in the future. Sure, my life looks different in 2020, as I’m sure yours does, dear reader, but it isn’t all bad. While I have my bad days and I worry about things from time to time, as does everyone, I also see that the only way through this is to keep evolving and finding the good. I’m going to keep working on that.

-R

Waiting for the…Next Album

Paper Gods, the last Duran Duran album, was released in the fall of 2015. That means that it has almost been 5 years since we got new Duran music. Is 5 years a long time? All You Need Is Now was released in December of 2010 (at least partially), which means that it was almost 5 years between the last two albums. So, five years should not surprise anyone. Last time, those five years felt torturous to me. Frustration was common and frequent. I wrote many posts expressing this emotion along with my significant anxiousness. Why did I wrote those posts? Was it just to vent, get out my feelings? Sure. Was it in some silly attempt to get the message to the band? I’m not sure that I really believed that they might actually be reading but I did think that maybe I could encourage other fans to speak up and out in common frustration. Of course, in reality, it didn’t do anything but turn off some people who thought we were negative or unfair, or, at the least, lacking knowledge of the creative process. This time around, though, feels extremely different. Why? I have a few theories about that.

Shows!

Between 2012 when the All You Need Is Now Tour really ended and the release of the Paper Gods album in 2015, there were very few shows. In fact, there were only 4 shows between 2012 and 2015. Ouch. For fans, these three years felt like we were crawling through a desert, trying desperately to find a drop of Duran water. At least, that is how I felt. I wanted to keep the connection I had with Duran from the All You Need Is Now era going and I had no way of doing so. This time, however, the band has continued to play shows. For example, there have been shows in every year since Paper Gods was released. Even now, in 2020, shows have been scheduled. For me, knowing that there have been shows or will be shows coming up, I feel like Duran isn’t that far away or removed from me as I did in 2014, for instance. Now, I acknowledge that I have been lucky in that I have been able to attend some of these shows and others have not. Maybe, for those fans, they feel as removed as I did. Of course, the shows scheduled now are ones that I cannot attend but I still feel better knowing that they are playing somewhere. Maybe part of this is my irrational fear that if we aren’t seeing them out and about, it means the end of the band, retirement. I can admit that it might be part of how I feel. Still, I love that the band played more shows in between albums this time around.

Did Not Gain Anything

Throughout the history of this blog, I have learned a lot. I gained so much knowledge and insight into how fandoms work, especially our own. I’m, of course, grateful for all of that. I also learned more about myself and how I am as a fan. Perhaps, most interesting of all, is that I now know better about how to approach situations. Just last night, I had a conversation with my mother about supporters of one of the presidential candidates and how some of them have gone after people who are not supporting their candidate. As I said to her, I explained that I believe that they feel that their strong passion might sway people, might pull people in. I thought the same thing in 2014 with my insistent posts then that Duran must do *something* to get and keep their fans. In both cases, the intentions were admirable but the execution was not. I know in my case, here, it didn’t sway anyone. It turned people off. I am willing to bet that we lost readers then. I own that and hope that I learned not to do the same thing this time around. I am trying to be patient and understanding. I’m putting my trust into the band that they know what they are doing.

Other Areas of Focus

It seems to me that one of the reasons that people turn away from fandom isn’t because the subject of that fandom has done something wrong but that life changed. People’s focus switches. In some cases, this might be significant life changes including new or ending relationships, family members in need including either children or aging parents, new or growing demands from jobs, and so much more. It isn’t that most people want to turn their backs on fandom. They just don’t have the same amount of time to commit to it as they once did. I have seen that happen with a lot of Duranies and I cannot blame them one bit. They still love the band. They just have other responsibilities. While I’m still here, I have to acknowledge that I feel like part of me isn’t as involved as I once was. Again, this isn’t because I don’t love the band as I do. Circumstances are such that I have other responsibilities or other things to deal with. In my case, seeing national events go the way they have caused me to spend more of my time and energy in the political sphere. It isn’t just that I don’t like what is happening but I am literally terrified by the direction we are headed. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, message me.) The situation means that I have to do something to alter this, to try, at the very least. Because my attention is elsewhere, Duran Duran cannot occupy as much time and energy as they once did. That said, I’m hopeful that they will again.

On that note, I am going to put on some music, enter some voting data while remaining patient for #DD15.

-A

We Twist and Shout

When we first began composing daily posts for this website, our goal was simply to share the daily activity of Duran Duran fans. Sometimes it centered around the good things, of which there are many. Other times, we focused on the not-so-great, which are not nearly as numerous, but sometimes overshadow everything else. I don’t know that we were cognizant of how many times we would write about friendship.

As fans, the one thing that bonds us all is our mutual love for the band. While we may not see eye-to-eye on anything else, including our favorite songs and albums, we all share mutual admiration for this band, which is sometimes forgotten during the heat of debate. Often, we are so set on being “right” that we forget we’ve all come together, more or less, for the same reason. Even Amanda and I forget that from time to time as we discuss blog topics with others, or defend our positions on certain posts.

Over the years, we’ve seen a great many blogs come and go. What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, are podcasts. The allure of speaking and being able to make a succinct point without tiptoeing though the minefield of written word is there, at least for me. I just don’t know that the world needs to hear more from me, at least on the subject of Duran Duran. This is why I appreciate podcasts like The D-Side, produced by my friend David. This month marks the completion of his first year at the helm, and he celebrated both the new year and the occasion by hosting a party in his hometown of Atlanta over the weekend.

I was not able to attend, unfortunately, but what drew me to write about the event was that others did. Out of nowhere, people hopped on a plane to Atlanta in order to spend one evening with other Duranies in celebratory spirit. We’re not talking about a weekend filled with events, or even a special concert somewhere. It was one evening in a club, and for some, they left the very next morning to get back to real life. If that doesn’t speak to the true definition of friendship amongst Duranies – I don’t know what will.

Duranies get a bad rap at times. Sometimes, yes, it’s earned. Bad attitudes, snarky on-line behavior, and of course the ever popular “knife-in-your-back” way with which some handle themselves tends to color all of us with one broad stroke. Even so, true friendships are out there. Amanda and I consistently run into people who gleefully tell us they met because of the band, and have remained friends ever since. She and I are in that same category. We met at a convention and have traveled great distances to meet up or get together, whether for shows, to do a road trip, or even a fun weekend.

I suppose I’m just saying that if you haven’t quite found your Duranie tribe just yet, don’t give up. With each album cycle, we find new opportunities to meet new people. Even if they don’t become your forever best friend, those people can feel a lot like home when you find yourself going to something alone.

Congratulations to The D-side on a first full-year of podcasts. I look forward to hearing more in 2020! Something tells me we’ll both have a lot to talk about and mull over.

-R

Astronaut Anniversary and Turning Points

This past week, Duranland celebrated the 15th anniversary of the release of Astronaut. As we all know, this album was the first album after the Fab Five reunited and certainly represents a time in which Duranies flocked back to the fold, excitement was at an all-time high and the future seemed nothing but bright. I, for one, always appreciate acknowledging the big dates for my fandom but this one make me think on a more personal level.

Feel the New Day

Duran’s reunion in the early 2000s came at the perfect time for me, personally. I had spent much of the late 1990s and early 2000s settling into my adult life in a new city. I remember how laser focused I was at that time to get started in my career and to do what needed to be done just stand on my own two feet. I only thought about how to get a full time teaching job and how I would pay the bills. There was little time and money for much else. Then, I found a way in to the district with a teaching job, but outside of my original license. I still had much to learn. In this quest, I found myself back at school. This time I was adding a master’s degree and additional teaching certifications. Finally, after a few intense years of teaching full time and going to grad school, I graduated.

At that moment, I literally felt like my world opened up simply because I would no longer struggle as much, financially, and had more free time. I was ready to turn my focus, my energy into some other aspect of my life even if I didn’t know what that was. Enter Duran Duran. Now, I had been a fan since I was a kid but I was no where near the fan community at the end of 2003. I knew that there was a reunion and shows but that’s it. I avoided looking too carefully, too closely to not lose my focus on grad school and my career. But once I was settled into my career, I was ready. At the same time, someone I knew mentioned that she, too, was a big Duran fan. After a quick search, resulting in me hearing Sunrise for the first time, that’s all it took. I became obsessed.

I sought out everything. Internet searches helped me to fill-in any gaps that I had, including the band’s history, albums, videos, solo and side projects and more. Everyday felt magical and like my birthday because there was so much to find, to watch, to listen, to buy that I couldn’t get enough. This, of course, combines with all of the new news that came out. In 2004, for example, it seemed like there was something new each and every day from hints about the album, to appearances, to video clips from the band and more. In the process, I found my new focus. I had to find others who felt so much for this band, too. Message boards called out to me and I tried out many before I found the right one. This led to much time spent on those boards, chatting with other fans, and making plans to attend a fan convention and begging for a tour.

Looking back, that time was so fun as it felt like all Duran, all the time in my mind, in my free time. Everything felt so positive and I ignored anything that potentially would put a damper on my fandom.

Is it out of choice that you’re here next to me, or just the aftermath of moments as they pass?

15 years have gone by. My love for Duran Duran has not waivered. Looking back, I recognize that in many ways, my love has been weaved into my life. It isn’t this special, must spend 24/7 on it to express it, to reinforce it, to find others with the same feelings. No, it is now way more secure. It isn’t like a flame burning bright while being under threat to burn out. Let’s be real here. A lot of Duranies during the Astronaut era went all in and did not come out the other side. It is like they checked off some boxes on their fandom bucket list. Once that was done, they were out, ready to move on. I chose the other route. I chose to normalize my fandom, to just make a part of my existence in order to keep it going.

Here is where I think the fandom analogy of romance works. In 2004, it felt like I had just started a new romance in which the subject of that romance could do nothing wrong. It was definitely the honeymoon period. Many fans want to live in that honeymoon and are not willing to hang out passed that. They don’t want to deal with the negatives or the less-than-exciting times and others of us accept all of it. Again, in a early romance, you might spend most of your waking hours with the subject of that romance. I did that in 2004 with Duran Duran. Now, I don’t. It is like my parents who have been married for 52 years. They don’t need to constantly talk about each other or be with each other all the time to know that they love each other. The same is true with me and Duran Duran. I can and do have many things in my life that get my focus, including teaching, politics, my family, writing and researching and Duran Duran. For me, I need all of those in my life to be happy. So, at times, I miss the intensity of those Astronaut days but I recognize that where my fandom is now is more securely fastened in my heart and in my life.

-A

Change the points of view ’bout what is fake and what is true

Last week, I survived my school’s Back to School night. For those unfamiliar, this is an evening in which parents and guardians come to the school, see the various classrooms and meet their students’ teachers. This year’s went much like it usually does in that it made for a very long night and week but was rewarding to not only meet so many parents but to hear that students are enjoying my class. One aspect of the night was a little different, though, and proof that sometimes my students do actually listen to me.

This year I tried a different activity for the first day of school after receiving feedback from former students that they wanted to know more about me. Basically, I came up with a list of various things about me, which included one lie. The kids then had to figure out which one wasn’t true. Of course, this list talked about some fun facts including where I was born, that a letter I wrote as a kid ended up on the radio, that I had an Elvis impersonator sing to me at college, and more. One fact I shared was that I had seen my favorite band in concert more than 50 times. Funny enough, many, many students picked that one as the fib. Their reasoning? “There is no way that you have seen one band that many times!” I think if I had said it was only 10 times, they wouldn’t have questioned it. Funny enough, that was not my lie. This led them to ask who the band was, where I saw them and more. Somehow I answered their questions, while feeling a little embarrassed and exposed but secretly hoping that they might check out Duran Duran themselves.

Apparently, some students took this fact and shared it with their parents as I had a parent ask me about it, which was definitely a first. After finding out which periods of US History I cover (1865-1945, by the way), she then asked out of nowhere, “Have you really seen Duran Duran over 50 times?” I almost choked. Instead, I nodded while smiling slightly, hoping that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, she followed up with, “Wow. How is that even possible? I mean, I would get it if it was the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead but Duran Duran?” There was a lot that I could have responded to but I focused in on the how. I explained that I travel. Then, quickly, I added about how great summer tours are so that I can go to many shows. After all, I didn’t want her to think I neglect my kiddos by going on tour during the school year (which sometimes I do). She nodded as I said this before responding with, “You would have to!” Again, I wondered what the heck she meant by that. I couldn’t ponder too long as more parents entered the room.

Interestingly enough, I had a similar question the next day with a new colleague. After a meeting in which my blogging came up, he confessed to me that he had, indeed, checked out the blog. Again, I found myself uncertain with how to respond. Do I thank him? Do I ask him what he thought? Do I try to move to a different topic? I gave some non-statement about how that was cool or something. Much like the parent, my colleague said, “It looks really hardcore and for such a niche band,” implying that there are not a lot of Duran Duran fans.

Normally, after interactions like this, I dissect my reaction, my statements and wonder if I responded as I should have. This time, however, I was left thinking about the assumption that both the parent and my colleague made. They believe that Duran Duran is not a big band or not that popular. The parent has no idea of how often Duran Duran plays shows. Yes, I suppose, in fairness, that she might think this because they don’t play in Wisconsin (the last time was 2005). If I was waiting for them to come here, I would be waiting a long time. Maybe she doesn’t know anyone who is willing to drive to see a band, forget about flying to see a show. Beyond that part, she also implied that the band isn’t big enough to have people traveling to see them. They aren’t equal to the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead in her mind. Now, I recognize that non-fans do not know what I know, but still. It bothered me. Don’t put down Duran Duran. Of course, Duranies would travel to see them. Did I defend them in this way? No.

I didn’t even defend Duran Duran with my colleague who I don’t have to prove myself in the same way that I might with a parent. With both conversations, I left feeling frustrated and sad that they don’t know how many serious fans Duran Duran has even now. They are worthy of traveling to shows. They deserve to have people like Rhonda and myself writing a blog about them. Heck, it isn’t like we are the only ones out there who spread the word about Duran Duran. There are other blogs, facebook groups, message boards, podcasts, and more. Our fan community isn’t that small, right?

It amazes me that after interactions like these, all I want to do is to defend the band. Have you ever been in situations like these? Have you defended your fandom? Your favorite band?

-A

You Speak to the Crowd

I spend a lot of time thinking, listening and reading about the current state of politics. Last week, among many other stories, I took note of the giant rally Senator Warren held in New York City. While the size of the crowd was worth noting, the part that caught my attention was that she stayed after (as she always does) to take selfies. This resulted in four hours of selfies until late in the night/early in the morning. As pundits discussed this, one point that was made over and over again was that this is a great strategy for social media as people post their pictures and get people interested in Senator Warren as a presidential candidate.

While I’m fascinated by that as a political organizer, I could not help but think about how this might relate to fandom. I think it is save to say that when people share pictures or videos with Duran Duran, it helps the band’s cause as well. When people who are already fans see this kind of thing, it might excite us more. I know hearing Bridey’s story this week gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. Of course, I definitely would want to be a fan of a band who treats their fans in the way they did with her in Tahoe by meeting her backstage before bringing her on stage during the show. It makes me proud to be a Duranie! Then, what does this do for people who like Duran Duran but might not consider themselves to be big fans? I would think that it might make them think about Duran, which could increase the amount of time listening to their music or watching their videos. As for people who aren’t fans, could it cause them to give Duran a try? I think so!

Okay, so if seeing pictures with a band could translate to more or more intense fans, what about people who just share thing or talk about the band? Could that make a difference in terms of the number of fans or the intensity of one’s fandom? I think about the people who share pictures or videos or start conversations about the band on various facebook groups. Why do they do that? Yes, I think a lot of it has to do the fact that people love the band and want to express it. I’m sure that they begin discussions from real curiosity about what other fans think. Fans want to talk to other fans about the subject of their fandom. We all know this. This is what causes facebook groups and/or message boards to form in the first place. Is it simply about meeting an urge to talk about any and all things Duran or can it be about more at the same time? Could people posting also help out Duran Duran, indirectly? Speaking from my own personal experience, when I see something posted about Duran in my social media timelines, it keeps Duran in my thoughts. Often, it reminds me of what I love about a song, video, tour, era, etc. Does this help keep my fandom alive? Absolutely.

Over the course of the nine years of this blog, people have stated or implied that what we do here doesn’t really matter but in thinking about this, I completely disagree. Just like those people who post on message boards or social media, I believe that what we do here helps keep Duran Duran in people’s thoughts. Maybe, at times, it has encouraged people to check out an album, song or video that they don’t know anything about. Lately, for example, our questions of the day have been about who owns what album and in what format. I wonder if asking about each album has caused people to go out an buy an album that they don’t have. I have seen that with people in my personal life, too. For example, I know that my fandom has led friends and family to check out Duran Duran more. I have a lot of friends who follow this blog simply because they want to support me but many of them have listened to the band more from seeing a blog post or two.

Then, I think about our meetups. There have been times when people have come to a meetup, met fellow fans and found friendships that way. Does that matter? While that might not directly put money in Duran’s bank account, could it help to sell more tickets to their shows? I think so. I know that if I didn’t have my Duranie friends, all of whom I met at various meetups, I wouldn’t go to many shows. I would drag someone to a show nearby and that’s it. Having lots of Duranie friends means that I want to go to as many shows as possible to see my friends, to get together with my friends. This results in more concert tickets for me and for the band.

We definitely didn’t start this blog to help the band but now that I have thought about it, I’m glad that it is a side affect. I think it is pretty cool that this blog along with other blogs, podcasts, message boards, facebook groups, etc. are part of a larger effort to campaign for Duran, in some small way, intentionally or not.

-A

The Way You Did When You Were Younger

The other day my friend messaged to me to say, “Guess what I’m listening to?” Now, this isn’t the first time I have gotten this exact question or something super similar. I always know that the answer has something to do with Duran Duran. Turns out that my friend was listening to Ordinary World. Once my friend identified the song, she went on to say, “I know. This is not your favorite song or album.” Obviously, we have had conversations about Duran Duran and this particular era before. Sadly, when we have talked, it is not quite the same as if, say, Rhonda and I were talking. My friend’s knowledge about Duran is limited. I struggle to explain everything I think without overwhelming her with information. Nonetheless, the conversation got me thinking.

This friend of mine (no pun intended), a fellow teacher, is about ten years younger than me. While we share much in common, the age difference comes up, especially with something like Duran. I remember playing the video for Planet Earth in my classroom when the most recent anniversary of the song came up. This friend came in and said, “I wasn’t even born then.” Oh boy. That’s great. Anyway, the first Duran songs she heard were, in fact, ones off of the Wedding Album, which makes sense based on her age. To her, this is Duran Duran. After all, this was her first exposure to the band. The brain put the sound of the Wedding Album as the default Duran Duran sound. That isn’t necessarily bad but explains why she doesn’t see the big deal out of the Rio era, for example. She doesn’t get it when I explain that most of the original Duranies turn to the first three albums as the default sound. After all, that was the first Duran Duran we heard. The Duran Duran we fell in love with.

Interestingly enough, the Wedding Era sound is her favorite despite me trying to expose her to other eras. She cannot connect in the same way that she did to Ordinary World and Come Undone. I, on the other hand, find myself seeking out a Rio like sound whether that is the Rio album itself or an album like All You Need Is Now. After all, that is the first Duran I heard. While I can appreciate the Wedding Album sound, it isn’t what typically comes to mind when I think Duran or when someone mentions the band. No, I think about that early 80s era.

So, in thinking about all of this, I have another question. If I wasn’t a kid in the 1980s and I didn’t hear that early Duran, would I have still become the Duranie that I am now? Would the Wedding Album instead be my go to sound if I was born ten years later or would I simply not be into the band? What about my friend? Would she have become a bigger fan if she was born ten years younger?

Then, I broaden this thinking. Was it just about the music? Did I become a fan just because I liked songs like Save a Prayer or New Moon on Monday? Or did it also have to do with everything else that was in place then? For example, I know that I heard Duran first before I ever saw them but what if MTV wasn’t a thing? What if they didn’t make videos? What about all of the media attention? I couldn’t escape seeing Duran Duran on the cover of multiple magazines when I went to the store. They couldn’t be avoided, really. If all that wasn’t enough, Duran Duran merchandise was everywhere. I had Duran Duran pajamas for crying out loud that I bought at my local box store. They were simply everywhere. So, did I become a fan because of the music, the other things or a combination of both?

One thing I always find interesting when talking with my friend is how little video played a role in her life. When talking about Ordinary World, she, in fact, stated, “Yeah, I think I saw the video once on VH1.” I had to take a deep breath after that. Well, then. This has led me to ask about other videos only to discover that she has never seen Hungry Like the Wolf with its exotic locale and missing Simon storyline. She must struggle to really understand why I am so into Duran and how that happened. After all, I do think the context matters, including all that media attention but also where I was, personally, coming from at the time that first heard and saw Duran.

As the conversation moved away from music, I couldn’t help but to think how lucky I was to grow up in the 1980s in order to experience all that I did with music and pop culture. It made me not only the fan I am now but also the person I am.

-A

Still Fangirling

I came by invitation

When I was in middle school, my experience as a fan pretty much consisted of buying teen mags, searching for pinups I didn’t already have, gabbing with friends about Nick’s seemingly new (to us) hair color, John’s fedoras, or maybe even Simon’s tiger baby pendant. I would listen endlessly to the Duran Duran albums I had, and whenever my friend Marsha’s mom agreed to take us to Tower Records, I’d search the record bins and inevitably I’d find new Duran Duran singles in there that I’d never heard of prior. As MTV arrived in my town and Friday Night Videos or Video One became a thing, I spent a fair amount of time waiting for the next video to arrive, or calling in to local radio stations, begging the DJ’s to play a request. Concerts weren’t really a thing for me, although I would sit and listen intently to friends who had either already seen the band at the Greek theatre (not many of us were that lucky), or were planning to go to the Forum in 1984.

I didn’t really have stories of my own to tell. No descriptions of late nights, running into a band member as he walked out of a club. There were no tales of sitting in lobbies, or trying to tail them from Milwaukee back to their hotels in Chicago. There were just the pinups, the music, the videos, my friends, and me.


Going on to somewhere

In many ways, those times were easy. The only way we could truly “compete” for Duran Duran real estate, so to speak, was through knowing everything there was to know about the band, and whatever we owned – pinups, music, t-shirts, and other merchandise. We’d each lay claim to our favorite band member, and hope no other friend decided to make a contest out of it…although I suspect that even then, we knew there was almost zero chance of any of us ever meeting the band, much less marrying one of them!

Decades later – and in a lot of ways it pains me to type those words (how can I really be nearing 50 anyway??) – fandom, or at least the practice thereof, has changed a bit for many of us. Hannah Ewens wrote in Fangirls, “Fandoms are a sphere where contribution increases with age, the more stories the better, the more access, the more information, the more gossip, the longer loving.” I’ve been thinking about quote that a lot this morning.

Back in 2003 as I attended my first Duran Duran fan convention, I can distinctly remember being fascinated by the stories. So many people I met had their own Duran Duran tales to tell. Stories of traveling, of meeting them in the 90’s, running into them in bars, hotels, restaurants. I wasn’t jealous, I was shocked. The world I never thought would collide with my own was right there, almost within reach.

A crush panic

I can’t really argue that as I’ve aged, I’ve done things that would have seemed completely out of this world in 1984. The very idea of ever being in front row, for example. In late 1983, as tickets for the Sing Blue Silver tour went on sale – my parents were dead set against the idea of even trying to get a ticket. My dad felt that I was far too young, and without having any older siblings (he absolutely wasn’t going to be taking me), I was pretty much sunk. My friend Marsha’s father stood in line the day they went on sale and came up completely empty. The tickets sold out very quickly, and she was sad when she came to school the following day. We stood around at break, listening to some of our other friends squeal in delight that they had not only gotten tickets, but their mothers – clearly wiser and far more hip than our own – had called a local ticket agency and gotten even better seats. Some of our friends were as close as third row, and their moms had no issue with forking over $100 or more to be up there.

This was 1984, I’ll remind you. One of my friends went to the Forum show, and I believe her seat was $11.00. Comparatively, $100 seemed like a fortune. It absolutely did to my dad when I told him later that night! After watching my dad’s face go from his regular ruddy complexion, to tomato red as he gasped in horror at the ticket price, declaring that he would never be “the kind of fool to pay those kinds of prices just so his kid could sit near the front of a damn rock concert!”, I figured front row wasn’t going to be an option. Hell, even just going to a concert was a long way off as it was. Little did I ever realize that someday, I would do exactly that…more than once!

My stories aren’t that amazing in the sense that no, I don’t have tawdry backstage tales, or memories of hanging with the band. I do, however, have some wonderful friends I’ve made. We’ve traveled to far off places that, back in 1984, wouldn’t have ever been in my biggest daydreams. My fandom is so much bigger at 48 than it was at 12 or even 13 – I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.

Midnight traffic in her eyes

My tears during Seventh Stranger in Las Vegas were as much about my youth and experiences along the way as they were the band’s. Seeing the images I remember of Duran Duran from the 80s, bigger-than-life onscreen, combined with the Duran Duran I know from today felt like a lightning strike on my heart. We’ve walked a lot of miles together. Duran Duran created a safe place for me during my most awkward years. They gave me a place to grow, to feel connected to others, and to be understood. They still do.

When I’m in the audience at a Duran show – I can see thousands of different versions of myself in the audience. The shy introvert, the confident mom, the girl who saved up extra change from lunch to buy her first Duran Duran t-shirt, the new mother who survived post partum depression, the middle-aged woman that isn’t completely satisfied with her life or marriage. The seventh grader who just wants to be accepted. We’re all out there, living the music, enjoying the moment, together.

“Being a fan means you don’t have to be the person you are in this moment, restricted by time, space and circumstance, rather you can be strengthened by and exist through all the others you’ve been.” (Ewens)

-R