Category Archives: Duran Duran fandom

Amanda’s Soundtrack

Yesterday, Rhonda so beautifully wrote about Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary/birthday. One line, in particular, grabbed my attention, which is when she said that Duran has been the soundtrack to her life. As I read the blog, I literally shouted out, “Exactly!” That is such a true statement. This band, more than any others combined, have formed the soundtrack to my life. Their music has been along for the ride from the very beginning. At times, their songs have helped me get through challenging moments. At other times, they have motivated me, captured exactly what is going on, and much more. So I figured I might share my soundtrack and then ask you all to do the same. (By the way, I am hoping that Rhonda shares hers next week, which is why I titled the blog the way I did.)

Save a Prayer

Save a Prayer was literally the first song that I remember getting into my head. I have a very distinct memory of being in my childhood backyard and swinging with my best friend while singing the chorus over and over again. I sang it so much that she and my family were ready to shut me up!

The Reflex

The Reflex is the song that I credit for making me a Duranie. Obviously, I loved Duran’s music before this song but this is when I became addicted. Every time the video came on I ran to the phone to call my friend so that we could squee at John Taylor together!

New Moon on Monday

I recognize that this song was released before the Reflex. Yet, on my personal soundtrack, it falls after. This song has represented my fandom. After the Reflex, I was ready to light my torch and wave it for Duran Duran forever.

Winter Marches On

Honestly, any of the Notorious album could go in this slot on my soundtrack. This album came out after I moved from the Chicago suburbs to a small town. I remember convincing my parents to drive 20 minutes to the nearest mall to allow me to buy the album. Then I came home and called my best friend from back home. I hoped to share my excitement with her, only to find out that she had moved on from Duran. This crushed me and only added to the sense of isolation I felt for the first couple of years in my new hometown. It truly felt like winter was marching on.

Ordinary World

Doesn’t every/most Duranie have a story connected to this song? My story with this song begins when I fast forward to the fall after college graduation. After I received my degree, I did the craziest, bravest, stupidest thing ever. I had looked for teaching jobs with no luck in the spring and summer (this is when teachers were a plenty!). Since I did not want to stay where my parents were then living, I picked a place that I thought I would love. I literally moved to a city I had only visited once and where I knew no one. Not only would I be 8 hours away from my parents, I also did not have a job. The song, Ordinary World, reminded me that eventually I would find my new normal, which was very much needed through the financial struggles and real isolation then. (By the way, I did eventually get into the district and still live in that city.)

Sunrise

After completing my master’s degree, I was ready for some fun. I had worked hard to get a secure teaching job and to feel confident in my skills and knowledge to be an effective educator. Luckily for me, this came at the perfect time, which was when Duran’s reunion was taking off. I dived into the new material and realized quickly that the music was between all of the Duranies out there as I reached out to find fellow fans.

Red Carpet Massacre

Unfortunately, the initial glow of our fan community did not last as I quickly saw how often fans treated each other in less than kind ways. This song felt like the perfect metaphor to me as we (Rhonda and myself) began to study fandom in the quest to understand why there was frequent conflict within our fan community.

The Man Who Stole a Leopard

By the time All You Need Is Now was released, my fandom took another turn. Instead of running from the less than ideal aspects of fandom, we upped our participation by starting this blog and hosting fan events, including a convention. This song spoke to me with the line about friends not understanding how much the “leopard” meant. The leopard could be fandom and many definitely didn’t get why this whole thing mattered so much to me.

Before the Rain

Looking back, I now recognize that the fall and winter of 2010 and 2011 forever changed my life and me. It began with a rough election night result in November followed up by the death of my grandma and cat around Christmas. By February, grief towards my loved ones remained as the consequences of those election results came to the forefront, leading to months of protesting for my rights and working hard to reverse the wrongs before those efforts failed in the summer of 2012. Too many lines from this song captured this time. For example, the line about silence falling brought the image of my lifeless grandma and cat back up. Then, the idea of a stormy summer was dead on accurate.

Last Night in the City

Throughout the last decade, despite any challenges on the home and work front, there has always a spot of joy, of fun, of escape, of friendship, which is going on tour. Now, I know that there are many Duranies out there who cannot get into this song. Yet, for me, it absolutely represents what it is like for me to be on tour.

Finest Hour

For now, I’ll finish my soundtrack with this song. Again, it is out of chronological order, but there is a reason for this. In recent years, I have increased my political participation to include managing campaigns. This song, which has its origin in speech by Winston Churchill in World War II, speaks to me as I fight for what I believe in.

So, I ask the rest of you. What is on your soundtrack? Why? I, for one, would love to see a bunch of guest blogs on this topic as we show how much Duran Duran has meant to us, as individuals, in the last 40 years.

-A

An Unexpected Peace

Generally, I would say that I don’t mind a bit of intensity in my life. Teaching is such that I could eat, breathe, and sleep the profession and my students. Campaigning also leads to a lot of work in a short amount of time with lots, lots, lots of pressure. Even my fun tends to a have certain level of passion. I wasn’t content just to be a Duran Duran fan. No, I have to be part of a daily blog that has also planned meet-ups and a full-blown convention, etc. and so forth. Yet, these days are filled with a heck of a lot of intensity that I could do without. Obviously, in terms of world events, there is a LOT going on, much of which has caused me sleepless nights and terror about the future. If that was not enough, my place of employment has made some moves to undermine its workers, including myself. I feel downright shaken by it all. So, I spend a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how to escape the insanity for a few minutes or a couple of hours.

Thankfully, Duran Duran has provided a number of ways to help me “get away”. When the pandemic hit home and we were ordered to stay inside, Duran opted to do some chats on Twitter, which Rhonda and I covered here. I “watched” each of the chats as band members showed up and fans rushed to ask questions, hoping to get said members to respond to them. As I observed these chats, I found myself inwardly cringing. Social media events like that set up fans to be competitive, to try to get attention over other fans. In some cases, people try to ask a clever question to rise above while others increase the frequency of tweets to do so. I hate it. Let me be clear here. I appreciate that the band wanted to interact with fans. I’m never going to complain about that, especially in the middle of a pandemic. That said, I am not criticizing any fan who participated. I totally get their desire to get attention from a band member. Who wouldn’t want that?!

But I hate the competition–if you get attention, someone else does not. It makes me feel icky. Now, I will be the first to admit that I shrink from competition like this. I don’t even try. It is less painful to not participate rather than try and fail. I mean…come on. I’m not going to ask a super clever question and I am not one to have a super quick and witty response. There is no way that a band member would see my tweet(s) over others. I’m just not that cool. So, yes, I admit that part of the reason that I’m not a fan of competition is because it makes me feel badly about myself.

Lately, though, the band has switched to other methods to remind fans that they are around and to give us something to distract us in this-less-than-fun times we are living in. No matter if it is John’s tutorials or Simon’s radio show, there is no competition present. Interestingly enough, both do allow for some fan participation. For John’s chats, fans can comment or ask questions on Instagram. Likewise, fans can send questions to Katy for Whooosh radio. Yet, I give both John and Simon credit in that they might take time to respond to a few people, they choose not to have that be the focus of their “shows”. They do not allow the competition to creep in. From this fan’s perspective, I never feel any pressure of “should I try to get a response”. No, I can just sit back and relax. I can just enjoy.

Over the course of my time in Duranland, there has been far too much competition for my liking. (Now I know that there are some fans who don’t see it, is not part of their experience or don’t mind it. That’s cool. I’m happy for them. I am only sharing my perspective and experiences.) That competition has, at times, threatened my enjoyment within this fan community. I, for one, am glad that I don’t have to worry about that right now. It has helped make fandom a place of just fun, escape, enjoyment again. That is much appreciated and needed.

-A

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