Category Archives: Duran Duran fandom

When Still I Wear Your Crown

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I’m writing this blog. I’m 25 days out before election day and the exhaustion phase has definitely started. My days are beginning by 7 and often ending at 10 with little time for lunch or dinner. Part of me wants to just say, “Okay, kids. I gotta take a little break and help my candidate win a big election.” No one would be upset (heck maybe some would cheer!) and I think everyone would understand. That said, I want to write–not because I have to but because I want to. I have things I want to say. I can’t say that these blogs for the next few weekends will necessarily be awesome but hopefully I can get some ideas out there.

Last week, I got together with a couple of friends both because I wanted to see them and to pass along yard signs for them. During the course of the evening, my one friend shared a little story about this guy she had been seeing. Without breaking any confidence, she told me that they had been getting to know each other for months by just spending time together as friends. She didn’t think too much of it because he had just gotten out of a relationship. Finally, after a year of being friends, he asked her out. Did it go anywhere? No. Apparently, this is a habit of his. He gets to know people then starts to date briefly only to break it off as he did the same thing with other women in his past. My friend went on to say about how she didn’t get it.

As I sat there thinking about this situation, it dawned on me. This guy likes the chase. He enjoys those moments when you first meet someone and that person seems fabulous, perfect, the best match possible. As soon as the dating starts, though, this feeling does not last and the interest goes away. He doesn’t really want a relationship. I tried to explain my conclusion. She still struggled to understand what I was saying. I decided then to provide an analogy. This one, strangely enough, had to do with fandom.

The situation reminded me that there are some fans who love the moments when they fall in love with something/someone new. They get into the latest show or movie and dive into the fan community. Then, as quickly as they fell in love, they fall out of love and lose interest. This, of course, leads to new interests and new fan communities. They only like something when it seems perfect. I’m not judging that. In some ways, I totally get it. Everyone loves those magical moments of early participation in fandom. The Astronaut Era will always be special to me since it was the first time that I really participated in the fan community. At that time, every aspect of Duran and the fan community felt magical.

Does that feeling of magic and perfection last? No. It doesn’t. No band or actor or TV show or movie or book is perfect. Certainly, I have never seen a fan community that is without fault. Fans then have a choice. Move on to avoid the warts, the imperfections or accept them as part of the package. While I understand why fans would choose to leave, I cannot imagine actually doing that. I get wanting to have that honeymoon feeling but I like that I’m loyal. Now, I find myself appreciating Duran’s imperfections. In some ways, that makes my love for them grow. They are human and less untouchable now. I doubt I would have that feeling without committing long term. Plus, I like having a history as a fan, as a Duranie. To me, it makes my fandom special. It isn’t about what is in at the moment but about something I love deeply.

-A

My Heart It Screams

I flew home a week ago from Las Vegas to Chicago. On the flight and the bus ride home, I had some time to think. I put Duran Duran on shuffle and just let my mind wander. As I listened and thought, I found myself writing down some ideas.

The Music’s Between Us

I must have listened to Duran Duran for about 30 minutes when I made a realization. I put ON Duran Duran’s music. Now, I know that sounds dumb. Of course, I would listen to Duran, right? And I do and have been but it has been a really long time since I just spent time listening to Duran Duran. Really listening. Over the course of the past year, I haven’t been listening to Duran much. At times, I would play a song or two when they would come up on shuffle, but I rarely sought out a particular song or album. I don’t know that I can adequately explain why this is but if I had to make a best guess, I did it to avoid feeling sad. I missed them. I missed the fandom. I missed Rhonda. After the Paper Gods Tour ended, I knew that it would be a long time until they came back. I promised myself that I would be patient (unlike how I was after All You Need Is Now). Then, life happened to get in the way of my usual fandom. This pushed me to separate myself even more from fandom. Now, though, I found myself seeking out Duran. Is this a sign that I’m through that time period that feels like a black hole. I hope so.

What led to this change? Every time I see the band live my love for them and the music is renewed. Those shows in Vegas went by so quickly. I found myself desperately wanting to bottle up the feelings I had so that I could open it later when I needed it between these shows and the next ones. Interestingly enough, as my plane began our descent into Chicago, into a high wind warning of 50-60 mph gusts, I found myself really thinking about my life. This turned a little…uh…morbid as the plane really struggled and I began to think this might be my last, I honestly thought myself, “Well, if this is it, at least I will go down listening to Duran,” which actually gave me some comfort.

We Are Forever

You know what else I loved outside of the shows themselves? I loved seeing people I haven’t seen since the last show in whatever city as we would greet each other with hugs and genuine smiles. I remember walking quickly into the venue on the first night so late after spending time with a fabulous group of people, thinking to myself that this really is like a family reunion as we come from all over to be together and to celebrate. Then, before Rhonda and I could get to our seats, we must have been stopped like every other few feet to either greet more old friends or to meet new people, new friends. That kind of joy wrapped me in a warmth that I didn’t realize how much I missed it until it came back. Then, after the show and hanging out, we returned to our room only to find confetti all over our bathroom floor. Clearly, we were all bringing a bit of the show with us. What did we do? We did what we always have done. We laughed until we couldn’t laugh anymore. I had missed moments like that and hope to have more of them in future.

The past couple of years have been tough. I have worked myself pretty hard, doing what I believe is best for a number of reasons. I have always hoped and still hope that the future, though, contains more of the best moments of last weekend. I don’t think they came as easily as they have in the past, but I’m hopeful that we can get back to that. Heck, I would love to see the emotional challenges of the past couple of years bring something even better. I can envision it. Maybe it will be a UK Trip in 2020. Perhaps, it will be some time, energy and focus on finishing a book project. If we are really lucky, it could be both.

As I look back to last weekend, I’m struck by how much emotional growth can and does happen while on tour, drinking vodka tonics and making fun of Simon like when John needed to bring him a setlist on Friday night’s show. I, for one, feel lucky to have had the moments I had here and look forward to the next time.

-A

You’ve Got That Thing Which Makes Them Smile

To say that I have not yet recovered from my trip to Vegas would be an understatement. I feel like I haven’t slept in a decade and I’m struggling to get going. My to do list is long and I am cannot get motivated no matter what I do. I’m crossing my fingers, hoping that I bounce back super soon as time is of the essence. Is this because part of me is still on tour? Still in Vegas? I’m sure. I also think that I want time to process last weekend and have had minimum time to do that. Despite that, I did realize something while I was in Vegas.

Could you describe yourself in one word? The other day Rhonda blogged about how she did not want to be defined solely by the term fan among others. It feels to her that being known for just one thing limits her and I totally appreciate that. After all, I don’t want to be known just as a “teacher” or “fan.” I am more than that. Yet, I do think that I could give one word to describe myself. That word is organizer. I certainly feel that in the classroom as I have to organize lessons and curriculum while organizing groups of children. Beyond that, that word fits when I think about my role as a campaign manager. I have to organize materials as well as events and volunteers to implement a plan. With both of my official jobs, I like the challenge of trying to figure out a game plan and how best to implement it. Not only do I like it, but I think I’m pretty decent at it, too.

Last weekend, in Vegas, we opted not to organize a big thing (ha!) or plan a real formal gathering. Instead, we went with the flow and had more unofficial meet-ups. While I enjoyed all of these gatherings, there was a part of me that felt removed, away from the action. Over the course of the last year or so, I have pulled back from the Duran community. There are a few reasons for this. Some of the reasons I have written about previously, including my incredibly busy life. Part of it, though, I realized, is that I don’t feel my participation adds much. I’m not terribly clever online and I don’t have any real insight into the inner workings of the band. I could talk about campaigning for hours. I could talk about fandom for hours but neither of those is what people look for in members of a fan community. People don’t share juicy gossip with me and even if they did, I don’t share what people share with me. I am pretty private so a lot of people don’t gravitate to me. On top of that, I don’t think a lot of people can relate to my life.

I hope this does not sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself because this is not what this post is about. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure myself out and develop self-awareness. I know who I am and am okay with myself. Likewise, I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to get, to understand fandom and fan communities. Here is what I have realized by all this. I like organizing events for the fan community. Does it make it easier for me to socialize and people with me? I’m sure but it also feels right. It is something I like and am good at. It gives people a way to get past my private exterior and gives me a way to open myself up in ways I cannot get otherwise. I won’t ever be that bubbly personality that everyone wants to know. I certainly won’t ever be that person with a connection to the band or to insider or even interesting info. What I can be, what I am, though, is an organizer.

It was right for us not to organize anything big this past weekend but I missed it and hope that when more shows come our way that we can go back to doing something.

-A

Standing On A Roof Up Here

This is where it starts

One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.

Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.

Saying goodbye to darkness

I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???

When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.

Now I can see the big idea

Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.

Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.

I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.

One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.

One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!

An empire in a day, built on hope

So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.

The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?

My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.

When I can raise it up again

I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.

I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!

-R

Live Beside It, Laughing Till You’re Crying

You might have heard that Wisconsin has had quite a winter. Actually, it started out quiet and very mild and then it took a turn. We have experienced almost the entire season’s snowfall in a few weeks on top of having beyond frigid temperatures. This has resulted in six snow days. I have been teaching for a long time and we have never had as much. In fact, the number is double the maximum number of days we had in the past. What the heck. Anyway, when I have been at work, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with our curriculum now that we have a lot less days to work with. This led to a funny discussion.

Before I dive into the details, I have to provide some context. When I first started teaching at this school, the entire United States History Team consisted of women, except one. Even our assistant principal was a woman. Over time, this slowly changed. Now, I look around and realize that I’m the only woman among all men. How did that happen?! Luckily, the men I work with are generally good guys (not that I would ever tell them that!). They are well-aware that I’m a pretty outspoken colleague when it comes to issues surrounding women’s rights and women’s voices. (I do teach Women’s Studies, after all.) While they respect that and do try to check themselves, they also cannot resist to give me a hard time every once in awhile.

Earlier this week, we went over the daily topics for the next few weeks. By doing that, we realized that Wednesday the 20th would not be a teaching day. On that date, our juniors take the ACT. While many teachers proctor the exam, the 9th grade teachers like myself have a meeting. Then, the afternoon is usually open for us to work. This led me to literally shout out in glee. Is it because I don’t want to teach? No. It has to do with perfect timing! The free afternoon will give me time to get the plans for the substitute teacher ready. It will ease my stress at work tremendously.

You can imagine my colleagues shock when they heard me squeal. They know that I’m not usually one to enjoy teacher work days. This forced me to explain that I will be gone on the 21st and 22nd while still giving minimal information about where and why I will be out. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of my Duranie activities but knowing my colleagues, they would twist it, somehow, to give me a hard time. Finally, after too many questions, I told them that I would be in Vegas for Duran. Their response was super predictable. One of them said, “There you go again. Letting your life to be dedicated by a bunch of guys,” before laughing his head off. I laughed, too, especially after I threw a pencil at him.

I wasn’t even mad by the comment but clearly he doesn’t really understand fandom or at least my fandom. Yes, the subject of my fandom is Duran Duran, a bunch of guys. That’s true. Yes, I’m traveling to Vegas to see them live. Absolutely not a lie. While it might seem like my life revolves around them, it doesn’t. While I adore Duran shows and believe that seeing them live in the best way I could spend two hours ever, they are more the excuse, the icing on the cake. Yep. Duran Duran is the best excuse I have to get together with my friends, away from home.

My Duran Duran weekends do consists of hours watching, singing and screaming during those two hour concerts. More than that, though, they consist of spending time with my female friends. There is something that is good for my soul when I am surrounded with other women. While we might have really different lives, opinions, perspectives, etc, we do all have some shared experiences simply by being women and then by being Duran Duran fans. It feels safe.

For those of you who do not know me, let me share a little secret. I very much like to be in control as it makes me feel safe and protected. When I’m around my female friends, there is less of a need for that. Instead, I can let me hair down, so to speak, and just have a good time. This is a welcome relief from the day-to-day experience of what I call “normal.” Besides, who else can I laugh with when it comes to talking about how the aging fanbase needs different touring items now that we are in our 40s? Who else can I giggle with when we begin to discuss some of the band’s more interesting fashion choices or dance moves?

So, in reality, going on tour isn’t really about five guys in a band. No, it is about having a girls weekend spending time doing what we love best.

-A

Sound of Celebration: Welcome to the Newbies out there!

the lights turn on

It is a strange feeling when you know Duran Duran is actually in the same country and that your friends are traveling (or have already traveled) to see them. Every once in a while, I’ll sneak a peek on Twitter, just to see if anyone recognizable has posted a photo or anything. (Thank you to Anna Ross for playing along nicely!)

I’m excited because I know that next Thursday I’ll be making my way to Vegas for their shows over the weekend. It also feels like the next week is going to take forever to get through. Then again, I have kind of a lot to do between now and then so…I’d better get to it!

and still they come

As difficult as it is for me to still believe sometimes, there are Duranlive first-timers amongst us, running rampant in the public! I joke, but I also love running into new concert-goers, whether online or in person. They are typically so darn joyful, their excitement is palatable and contagious all at once. I live and breathe for that joy! This weekend, Amanda gave excellent advice for GA shows. They can be tricky, and honestly require their own play book, in my opinion. Even seated show attendees could use some advice, though.

First off, I’m no expert. Really. There are many, many Duranies out there who have gone to far more shows than the fifty I can count over the years. Fifty shows isn’t very many when you consider that this is #DD40. On that same token, I believe about 40 or so of those shows have taken place since the year 2004, which means I’m not only NOT an expert, I’m also probably a bit nutty, and damn gleeful about it.

That said, I am 100% quirky and proud of it. I spend a lot of my time before and after these shows just people watching. Seeing fans mingle, observing families taking it all in, I even gauge the age of the audience. I love seeing how people interact (and yeah, I pay special attention to the known Duranies because, dang it – you’re a super-special sort. Like me!). All of that observation over the years has taught me a few things.

we come here calling

First of all, if you’re new to this whole thing: welcome. I know we’re a daunting group. Overwhelming at the very least! My advice is really simple: JUST HAVE FUN. If you’re not on social media, you should try it. Twitter, for example, doesn’t have to be horribly serious or time committing. It’s a quick and easy way to meet people – it reminds me a lot of the days on message boards, because there’s true banter between fans. It sometimes takes a while to find us, but we’re there. Follow @duranduran, check out the people who seem to tweet things you might be interested in. Some like to talk about band members, others like to discuss the music, still others talk about all of it. Try it, you might like it!

My hope in suggesting to meet other fans online, a newbie can find a group to hang with, both before and after the show. Life is way too short and Duran Duran concerts are far too much fun, to go it alone. Connecting with other fans is one of the very best parts of this community. It is how Amanda and I met, and it is how I’ve met some of the closest friends I have over the years. One of the goals we’ve had for Daily Duranie in the past has been to bring fans together and allow them to connect. This past year, I know I’ve strayed a bit from that path, but I’m getting back to it, little by precious little.

to gather here

My other piece of advice, which might be coming in too late for some of you – is to travel in early. What I mean by that is, if you’re going to a show on a Friday, get there on Thursday. Why? Two reasons really. One, giving yourself a bit of a cushion is far better on the nerves when a flight is unexpectedly canceled, or weather becomes a problem.

The second reason is that a lot of times, people will meet up the day before. Amanda and I have been known to plan parties the night before a show for fans to meet up. This time in Vegas we don’t really have anything planned, but I have seen other groups of people mentioning getting together that night. I can promise we will be out and about, but we agreed to give ourselves a break this time and let others do the planning.

we’ll light up the land

When it comes time for the show, even at a seated venue, I’d tell you over and over again to wear shoes you’re going to be comfortable standing in for hours. Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine, but trust me when I say that the band isn’t going to see your shoes. They don’t care. They want to see you up and dancing. Impress yourself and don’t worry about anybody else is my motto. During the hours before and after the show, you’re going to be walking, standing and talking. Be comfortable so that you can enjoy it all! Cute and comfortable IS a thing, whether that’s in heels, flats, trainers or something else entirely!

So when you see me wearing flat shoes or even flip-flops to a show (I’ve done it before and will definitely do it again!), know that I am totally 100% happy and confident wearing them, and I don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’ve done the heels before, no thanks!

can you hear the planet roaring

My opinion is simply that if you don’t come out of a Duran Duran show sweaty and completely elated – you’ve done it wrong. Nobody should be sitting through a Duran show if you’re physically capable of standing. Otherwise, chair dancing in whatever way you need is totally a thing too. Go for it!

There are plenty of subtle nuances to fandom. There are plenty of unwritten social rules and slippery slopes, I suppose. Sometimes, one can get so distracted by the minutia of what to say, how to say it, what to ask, what NOT to ask, that they forget to have fun. That’s the bottom line though. HAVE FUN. Smile. Enjoy the moment. I can promise that the 120 minutes that the band is on stage (give or take a few either way) will fly by in the blink of an eye. For those precious two hours, live in just that little bit. Experience the music with an open heart and mind, and let it take you away from the troubles of real life. Allow your heart to swell full of gratitude for being there to enjoy every single note. You won’t regret it.

See you at the shows!

-R


To Complete the List of the Top Ten Most Representative Duran Duran Songs

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for a long time. It has become a part of us and our daily lives. I think it is fair to say that we have learned a lot over the course of these eight plus years. I certainly know more about myself and about fandom from writing and researching. Through the years, I also have a greater understanding of our fan community. Generally, whenever we post a blog or there is Duran news, I know what the reaction is going to be. Part of any reaction, of course, is that the community is truly diverse in its opinions about everything Duran from the music to video to live performances and more. Whenever I post a daily poll/question, I now have an idea of what the results will be. While I know how varied the opinions are, I also recognize the general pattern. For example, Duranies prefer the early songs and albums over the late 90s ones. Of course, there are exceptions but the results from various polls are consistent.

While I have learned quite a bit about fans’ preferences, every once in awhile, I ask something that I’m not sure what people will say. Typically, these questions are outside of the box in that they aren’t about the music or videos or lyrics or something else equally as common. The top 10 most representative songs turned out to be a bit unpredictable. While some of the choices make total sense to me, but there is something that is surprising me a lot. After I assigned the homework, I was able to determine the 5 most representative songs easily as many people had chosen them. So keeping up the desire for democracy, I did a poll to choose the last five from ones that people had suggested.

This brings me to today. Guess what? There are four songs that are clear winners. They should be added to the Top 10 list but we have a tie for the last slot. What should I do? Should I flip a coin? Should I make the last decision? Both of those options feel terrible to me. So, I made a final poll to determine the last song that best represents Duran Duran. Then, finally next Sunday, I will share the entire list. On that note, here’s the poll:

Happy voting everyone!

-A

My Head is Stuck on Something Precious

For the first time in a long time, I have been able to catch the official posts and tweets from Duran Duran’s social media. Most of the time, I just glance at them and move on, simply because that is all I have time for. This week has been different. That is an understatement. The week has been darn right weird since I have had four snow days. I live in the Midwest, an area of the country that is used to crazy weather. Even more important, I teach in an urban area, which rarely, if ever, closes. Yet, the extreme weather has forced the district to close Monday through Thursday. This has give me plenty of extra time to slowly grade finals, work on campaign tasks and even check out Duran’s social media.

Earlier this week, the band’s asked the question, “What is the rarest or most precious piece of Duran Duran memorabilia that you own?” I moved to respond and then I overthought the question. What is the rarest piece of memorabilia that I own? What is the most precious? Are those the same?

I feel extremely lucky in that I do have quite a bit of Duran memorabilia. While I did not keep everything from my childhood, I did manage to keep some things like my copy of Into the Arena board game. Would that be considered rare? I doubt it. Of course, I have gotten a few more rare items in recent times. For instance, I won some contest on DuranDuranMusic that included a bathrobe signed by Nick Rhodes along with Simon’s ear monitors from the All You Need Is Now tour. While those are pretty dang rare, I’m not sure I would describe them as most precious.

When I think of Duran memorabilia that is most precious, my first thoughts are signed items. My favorite might be my signed copy of John’s autobiography. Not only do I love the book, the autograph signing made it all the better. I asked him to sign a copy for me and one for Rhonda. I had the UK version and gave an American one to Rhonda. In addition to the signature, he also drew the UK and US flags in our books. If that was not enough, I gave him a Daily Duranie wristband that night that he chose to actually put on. Thus, the book reminds me of what feels like a magical night.

I might also consider my signed copy of All You Need Is Now. While I loved having the four band members’ signatures on the CD insert, it felt even more special when Dom added his signature to it. I swear one day I would love to get Mark Ronson’s autograph on it, too. Of course, the night that Dom signed it was another magical one in that I got a picture with John that night and Rhonda and I found ourselves with Simon for a picture, too! It was a super fun night.

Is this really a situation in which these rare and/or precious items become more important to me when they are a part of some amazing memories? I think that seems to be the case. Would I still say that those are the most precious? I don’t know. I always think about the question of, “What would you save in a fire?” The items I would save would indicate the most precious, right? As much as I love those two things, are they what I would grab? I am not sure. I might grab the book I had done about my friendship with Rhonda. After all, that contained a lot of the history of our friendship as well as our fandom.

In reality, I’m not sure that any of that is really the most precious. At the end of the day, I think what is really precious to me is not an item at all. It is my memories surrounding this fandom that are most precious to me. Those are what matters the most to me.

-A

Feel It In The Air

Do you feel it? The sense that shows are right around the corner? Lately, when I have had the time to glance at social media, I notice that there has been more and more discussion about the upcoming shows. Specifically, I’m seeing more and more chatter about people’s plans for the upcoming shows. As I saw these discussions, I was reminded of how it used to be on DuranDuranMusic in which there was always a flutter of discussion before a show or tour. Initially, I felt a sense of sadness that things are not like that anymore but then I realized that there were elements of the past that I don’t miss all that much.

How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards during the peak years of 2004-2007ish? I was as it seemed like quite the place to be. People hung out there day and night writing countless posts about various band members, the news, rumors and more. While the regular day was busy, it felt one couldn’t keep up when there were shows on the horizon. As soon as shows were announced, threads would be started that included roll calls for each and every show. The idea here was to have everyone going on a list. This seemed totally awesome and was for a lot of people. After all, wouldn’t it increase your excitement to know that a lot of your friends were going to something? I know that it does for me. After all, I check to see who is going to someone’s party when I am invited to one in my non-fandom life.

From a fandom stand point, a list of who is going is all good. It is a sign that a fan community is healthy and thriving, that a lot of people not only want to go but are planning on it. This could encourage others to make the decision to go as well. Maybe they see who is on the list and it is a lot of their friends so they pull the trigger to go, so to speak. Perhaps they just want to be a part of something that seems popular with the promise of an amazing time. It all shows that the subject of the fandom is doing well with their fans as people want to go see them or go to an event about them.

Yet, there is something about it that still bothers me. Does a list like a roll call do more than show how many fans are going? Does it also indicate a sense of popularity? I distinctly remember looking at these lists and seeing the same names over and over again. Are those the “in” fans I wondered? Are they the ones who know more or have more social status within the fan community? What if you are a fan who isn’t well-known? Do other fans just brush off your name, not caring that you are going? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that making or contributing to a list like a roll call is bad or mean-spirited. I don’t. Heck, I am sure that I have put my name on one a time or two or ten, but I always felt a little weird about it. I’m sure that it was done to do exactly what I said up above, that it was done to increase excitement or to just share how thrilled someone is about going. But for me, it felt problematic.

The roll call, itself, didn’t do much besides share who is going to a show or many shows, depending on how many roll calls were posted at one time. That said, they often had another element which was when additional information was shared like where their seats were. While I’m certain this just continued the excitement, I wonder how this would make the fans who couldn’t go or couldn’t go VIP. Maybe this was only a problem for me. Admittedly, I worried that no one would care if I was going or worse, that my presence would deter others from going.

Let me be honest. I know how those old threads made me feel. For a long time, I was not someone who could go to many shows. Then, even when I did, I couldn’t go VIP except for a couple of special shows. I remember how it felt to not be able to be a part of that. I know that no one was trying to make me or anyone else feel badly but they did. They made me feel like I just wasn’t part of the cool group and would never be. After awhile, I just started to pull back and stop trying to fit into the cool group whether on DDM or elsewhere.

About the same time that DDM started to die down, social media grew in popularity. At that time, it felt like Twitter was the place to be, especially when some band members were around, tweeting. That feeling of not being good enough stayed with me from DDM, though, which is why I opted not to say much. I didn’t even try. So, for me, I don’t really miss those roll calls even though I could include my name more than I ever did back then. It feels better this way to me.

-A

I Try to Hold the Rising Floods

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little blog about how I am concerned that my fandom might be dying. In this blog, I explained how I wasn’t falling out of love with Duran Duran. No, I fully expect that I will always be a fan but I wondered if I was on my way out when it comes to the rest. What do I mean by the rest? Would I still want to go to shows? Would I want to talk about the band with other fans? Would I be interested in planning fan events? Would I stop buying Duran merchandise? Would I want to stop writing here? I could go on and on. The basic idea is that I might stop being part of a community of fans.

After that blog, I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t worry or fret. I just decided to continue with what I needed to get done. After all, it was a busy time of year with my two jobs and planning for Christmas. Since then, though, I have taken some time to just get caught up. This means that I have really cleaned my house. The Christmas presents were purchased or created and shipped off, when necessary. I made appointments and planned out the next month or so. On top of that, I listened to some year end Katy Kafes and updated the day in Duran history that Rhonda and I keep for this blog. Every time I checked off one item from my do list, I felt better. My list isn’t done even with my almost two full weeks off but the list is a lot smaller. I’m feeling less overwhelmed.

Since my stress has eased some, I am better able to examine where things are in terms of fandom. Overall, I feel like things are better. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Kafes and found myself smiling throughout them all. The idea of #DD15 gave me some excitement, no matter when it ends up getting done. Honestly, I think that is part of what has made this so tough for me. I have not had much to be excited about when it comes to my fandom. Now, I’m not new to this gig. I know how it goes. It isn’t like there is going to be something in Duraland each and every day that will thrill me. I know this. I recognize and even understand downtime. Heck, I’ve been so busy that I am almost glad that there hasn’t been a lot. I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy it much. It might have even added stress. Nonetheless, I miss having something Duran related to look forward to.

Now, those of you who have been reading this blog know that I do have something Duran related to look forward to. I have a couple of shows coming up in February. My friend, Lori, reminded me that there are less than 50 days until them even. I have to admit that I haven’t given them much thought. Again, I might give the lack of time as the reason and I wouldn’t be lying to say so. But it is more than that. I have missed the friendships that I have grown to associate with Duran Duran and my fandom. It used to be that when there were shows coming up that is all my friends and I would talk about. We became broken records with silly ideas and inside jokes. We had nothing but fun to look forward to. Now, it is different. We don’t talk very much. I wish that we did more, for sure, but I cannot control that. It is hard to develop those funny moments when there aren’t many chances to do so. It seems that we are all busy and have different priorities, for sure. That said, February will be fun. I have no doubt about that. I’m not sure it will be the same kind of good time. It might be more about that escape from reality rather than just letting it all go for a few days. It might be more about the lack of responsibilities as opposed to screaming for band members.

As I type all this, I cannot help but feel older, more settled, less wild. I have worked hard in the last year or so to find that ordinary world that we all crave. I think I have succeeded in that but the one I have made for myself doesn’t have a lot of time and space for my Duran Duran fandom. It felt like something that had to be pushed to the side. Yes, part of that is because I had and have more pressing concerns, but another part is that I didn’t trust that it would be there if and when I reached for it. It began to feel like something in my past rather than my present or my future. Listening to those Kafes made me realize that this feeling wasn’t about the band at all. I still love them to pieces. I look forward to seeing more Duranlive or hearing new music. It had more to do with my life and where I placed fandom in my list of priorities and why. It was still there but much smaller with little reinforcement besides what I got from writing on here.

I’m still not freaking out about any of this. This feeling I have may change. It may grow strong and fandom will take up less and less of my time and my heart. It could also be a situation in which the tiny flame that is barely there might be turned back up to a torch that all can see. Time will tell. Until I know which way for sure, I’ll keep holding the rising flood back from drowning what is left.

-A