Category Archives: Duran Duran fandom

Don’t They Understand

I don’t really hide my fandom much. My family and friends all know that I’m a Duranie. Heck, a number of my students even know that I’m a big fan. My wallpaper on my work computer is a group picture, after all. Recently, I found myself out with friends, many of them work friends. It is almost inevitable that Duran Duran will come up in conversation. Lately, when the band comes up, a friend or two will say something like, “I would love to go to a show with you!” Then, for the next few minutes, multiple friends will say how fun it would be! In those situations, I find myself not saying much beyond having a little smile on my face. Why don’t I say something? Do I worry about what they are thinking about me? Do I want to share the band with them? What about sharing my fandom?

Generally, the people who say that they would love, love, love to attend a Duran concert with me are those whom I am pretty close friends with. They do know how much the band and the fandom means to me. This leads me to think that they aren’t making fun of me but…I do wonder if there isn’t a little piece of them that would like to see me in this very different way. I suspect that they have a hard time imagining me as a fan since they see me as this very serious teacher or activist. Do they think I go completely wild? That I lose control? Act totally differently? I’m not sure what ideas go through their minds about me and my Duranie status. Those of you who know me or have seen me in person know that I have a great time at shows and on tour but I don’t think I have a totally different personality. *shrugs*

Could it be that I don’t want to share the band and the fandom with them? That is an interesting idea. Let me ponder what it would mean for my local friends to go to a show with me. In almost all cases, this equals traveling. My friends would need to hop on a plane with me to see the concert or two. That is a serious level of financial commitment that I don’t expect anyone to do unless you love the band. Then, when I go to a Duran show, I go for good seats. I might not try for those $1000 ultimate front row seats but I generally go for Gold. Again, that is a lot of money especially for a non-Duranie. Then, of course, I don’t like the image of that. I prefer that fans get the best seats. I would hate for a friend of mine to take a seat that a serious Duranie could have instead.

All right. Let’s assume that my friends would be willing to travel and willing to spend the money for tickets, would I want them to go? If not, why not? After all, I have no problem with any and all of my friends going to see bands like Depeche Mode or the Killers with me. What’s the difference with Duran?

First, Duran Duran is not just another band to me. They matter a LOT to me. (Obviously, I write this blog.) Now, I’m certain that if my friends were to go, they would have a blast. They would fall for Duran and see how amazing they are live. All this should make me want my friends to go. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to have more Duranie friends? Of course…yet, I still hold back, sort of. Looking at this situation, I have no problem with friends going to the show. I would like that actually. I’m just not sure that they should go with me.

First of all, this would feel wrong to me. I typically go to shows with Rhonda. That is the way it is supposed to be. After all, we have seen well over 30 shows together. This doesn’t mean that we go to every show together. When we go without each other, it always feels a little weird. Second, going to a show is more than the 2 hours the band is on stage. It is a much bigger event. On show days, I revolve everything around the show. When to get ready? What to wear? What time to meet others? All of that works to increase my excitement and to bring me closer to the other fans I am going with but also the other fans that I look forward to seeing.

I think back to the first time Rhonda and I had front row at a general admission show in Biloxi in 2012. We got up at the crack of dawn to get ready and to head to the venue to wait and wait and wait some more. We recorded a video at like 7 am of us talking to each other about how dumb we were to do this. Of course, we laughed while we said that and continued to get ready. Even if we were dumb, we didn’t head back to sleep. Then, as we stood in line all day, we talked with other fans, watched a Diamond in the Mind on computer, made up a setlist. We participated in all of these activities as if they were steps in some sort of religious ceremony or holiday. Would my friends get that?

What if they did attend a pre-show party? Would they have fun? More importantly, would they be able to contribute to the conversation? After all, it is likely that there would be discussion about Duran happenings from things like the setlist to studio news to fashion choices, etc. Maybe people would talk about previous shows or times that they met the band members. Now, my friends are smart people. If nothing else, maybe they would be fascinated by the whole thing. After all, the social scientist in me watches a lot and ponders the state of our fandom They might do something similar. Yet, I think that I would feel like I had to be the go between, the translator. I would have to make sure that everyone was happy. When I go to a Duran show, that is time that is just for me. It isn’t about doing for others. I spend a lot of time worrying about other people like my family, my students, my colleagues, etc. Being on tour allows me time for me.

I also think another reason I might want to keep my work friends from entering the world of Duran Duran fandom is because I need those worlds to be separate. My fandom world needs to bring me fun. My work friends help me get through the daily challenges of teaching teenagers in a large, urban school district. I don’t really want the reality of my job to sneak into my fun.

So, for now, I’ll just nod when this comes up in conversation but I won’t ever really push it. I like it the way it is as it is.

-A

We Light a Spark

Do you ever get tired of it? You know…bickering about the band? Rehashing topic after topic?

This post isn’t about this blog. We write daily, and we try to write about different ideas, bring different angles, and sometimes, we even end up changing our own views about a previous topic. There is a challenge to writing daily, even though Amanda and I split the writing duties. It isn’t always that easy to come up with something new to write about, particularly during times where the band isn’t necessarily “active” outside of the studio, or if they’re on hiatus. When we started Daily Duranie, we recognized the challenge would be the “daily” part. For the past eight years and seven months (who’s counting?), we’ve stayed committed. It definitely isn’t my blog that I’m pondering. Writing is my joy.

A drop of blood on evil beach

Lately, but I’ve seen a dedicated effort to rehash nearly every single “hot button” topic regarding Duran Duran. Is it due to downtime? There’s nothing really “new” to discuss, yet fans want to talk Duran. It is easy to get a conversation started when someone posts a volatile blanket statement about who is the most important member of the band, or blasts into a tirade over various personnel over the years. Don’t we get tired of it?

The thing is, when I look at the people starting the conversations, they’re not names I typically recognize. I’m one of the admins for a DD fan Facebook group, and we still have people requesting to be admitted into the group almost every day. Whether these fans are my age and just haven’t been active, or they’re much younger and are just discovering the band, for the most part it is fair to say that they’re new to this part of fandom.

Here lies the misadventure

Back in 2000, as I made my own first forays into the world of online fandom, I can remember the message boards constantly abuzz with topics just like what I see today on Facebook or even Twitter. The activity was constant. The debates and the occasionally very heated arguments were par for the course. Then the noise started to settle, and people drifted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some fans floated away completely. Maybe they still went to shows but didn’t participate in the online community portion. Perhaps, as several of my own friends have done, they got their fill, and moved on completely.

Yet, here we are in 2019, and there are still very active posts on Facebook with many participants discussing guitarists, the most important member(s) in Duran Duran, and even songs that should have been included on various albums. While part of me is appalled and bored with the discussion, because “dang it haven’t we already beaten this topic to death?!?”, another part of me realizes that the problem isn’t with the posts at all.

I’ve been an active “online community” fan for 19 years now. I don’t know about the rest of you reading, but that seems like a crazy amount of time. It doesn’t feel like 19 years – the time went by in the blink of an eye. When I first started participating, my two oldest kids were 3 and about 1. Heather, my oldest, is going to graduate from university in 10 days, and my son Gavin is in his second year. I didn’t even have my youngest yet!

Feel the same as you yourself

My point though, is that during that 19 years, I’ve written, posted, and talked a LOT. I’ve seen fans come and go. I’ve seen blogs and websites come and go, too. As crazy as it seems, when I think of the big picture – there does seem to be a bit of a fan cycle. People get energized, or even re-energized. They seek out information online. They connect with other people, then they talk about every possible Duran Duran topic under the sun. They go to shows, experience album cycles. At some point, they get tired of talking. Outside life pressures need more attention. Maybe they even get tired of participating with the community at large. They go to a show or two, but ultimately, they drift away. From what I’ve seen, particularly lately – there are always people with brand new energy, ready to take up that slack.

While sure, there are some people who rather enjoy posting the same information and photos, hoping to somehow get attention, there is also an influx of new and energized fans, ready to dissect the differences between band members, albums, and songs.

Truthfully, that’s the way we want it, too. My “get off my lawn” attitude aside, I’m recognizing that it’s all great. New blood is a good thing. Seeing people continue to write and talk about the nonsense of leaving “Beautiful Colors” off of Astronaut is something to be applauded. If it were left to the rest of us who have already had our fill of the hot topics- the fandom would slow to a trickle. It wouldn’t be “Planet Roaring” at all, now would it?

-R


Happy Anniversary to Me

In April 1984, the Reflex was released as a single. As many of you know, this song became a number one hit for Duran Duran. For me, this anniversary marks my anniversary of a Duranie. Many of you know my story. As a kid, I listened to a lot of Top 40 in my Chicago suburb and became addicted to MTV as soon as it hit our cable package. My best friend and I liked Duran Duran as soon as we heard them as we often listened and watched together. Yet, there was nothing serious about our feelings for Duran until the Reflex. That song changed it all for me. My like for the band became a love as I found myself not only addicted to the song but to the band itself. My fandom, of course, exploded from there. I couldn’t stop listening to them and bought as much merchandise as I could find and afford. Soon enough, my best friend and I spent most of our time talking Duran. We bought magazines that we shared whatever info we learned and then drooled over whatever pin-ups were included. The rest as they say is history.

For my Duranie anniversary, I thought I might share the top 5 reasons that I am and will always be forever grateful that Duran Duran and this fandom came into my life.

Stay With The Music

This might seem pretty dang obvious but Duran Duran really has provided the soundtrack to my life in a couple of different ways. First, they have been the music I have turned to from early childhood all the way until present day. This means that the band’s music was there as I grew up, as I formed my identity, grew into adulthood and beyond. Second, their music has often spoke to me, on an emotional level that other artists haven’t. When I think of trying times, certain Duran songs come to mind. As I remember really fun times, different songs pop up. I’m thankful for each and every one of those songs that allowed me to be in the moment, to push through something tough, or to feel more intensely.

Laughing ‘Til You’re Crying

I have learned a lot from Duran Duran. They have been great teachers. A lot of what I think and appreciate came directly or indirectly from Duran. Let me give some examples. First, the band always represented an optimism that I have embraced. In some cases, that optimism takes the form of fun like the idea that they would be the band to dance to when the bomb is dropped. In other cases, it is recognizing that life is hard but that you have to have hope with songs like What Happens Tomorrow. No matter how much I get beaten down, I remain optimistic. Second, the band appreciates art in all forms, including music, visual arts, graphic arts, photography, fashion and more. I have grown up appreciating art as well. (Probably helps that my mom is also an artist.) I also love that the art that they like or produce isn’t always obvious or straightforward. Often, it requires thinking deeply, which I love. Third, the band has a wicked sense of humor that can be seen in videos like Rio. I love how much they laugh when they are around each other. I definitely learned to appreciate the same thing.

Change the Skyline

My natural instinct is stay home, be comfortable. go about my day-to-day routines without any changes or drama. I probably could be a hermit if I let myself. Yet, I know that this won’t and doesn’t bring me happiness. Needless to say, I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone from time-to-time. Duran Duran has done that very thing. Most obviously, I definitely would not have traveled as much as I did/do without going to see the band. I am not a big traveler and really hate flying but I do it to go on tour. To me, the reward is worth the stress of travel. Plus, after every trip, I always feel glad having done so. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I feel stronger, more confident. Beyond that, I started planning Duranie events with my partner-in-crime in order to try to bring the fan community together. I can organize all day, every day but leading events isn’t something that gets me all excited. Again, though, afterwards, I feel pretty badass and find it becoming more and more second nature to me.

Live It Like It’s Our Last Night

If you read through this blog, you will see so many posts that describe amazingly fun times Rhonda and I have had through this blog’s existence and beyond. Truly, when I think of times that I have had the most fun in my life, I immediately think of Duran Duran, events related to the band and their shows. Touring is literally my favorite place in the world to be, especially those two hours that the band is on stage. I have been extremely fortunate to have been to as many shows that I have and really hope that there is a lot more in my future.

To You, My Friend

Last, but certainly not least, Duran Duran has brought me many friendships. As a kid, the band brought me and my best friend closer. As an adult, they played a significant part in connecting me to so many people, including some of my favorite people. In some cases, they are people I am extremely close to like Rhonda who I met at a fan convention in 2004 to people I just met in February whom I look forward to getting to know more.

Duran Duran has made my world significantly brighter, better and more fun. For all of that, I’ll be forever grateful.

-A

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