Category Archives: Duran Duran News

South Africa saga, Day 2

It’s 12:25 in the afternoon my time here in lovely Southern California, and I have yet to write today’s blog.  I’ve been sitting here, scouring the boards and trying to come up with something “smart” to write for the better part of the morning as our construction team is downstairs ripping out our fireplace.  If I were a better writer, I would probably be able to make some sort of fantastic parallel between the demolition of the fireplace and the reconstruction of my family room to the band and their current state of “remodeling” with the upcoming album. (All You Need is Now, available on iTunes on December 21.  How’s that for a free plug?!?)

One day later in the South African show cancellation saga and the news continues to spur speculation within the community.  The news articles coming out of South Africa continue to blame low ticket sales for the cancellation, and there have been no further updates from the band.  The truth is that we fans may never know the entire truth behind the dates being cancelled, and we are probably going to have to be OK with that.  That said, I can’t help but fan the flames of the speculation fire a bit by saying that perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle of “the tour promoter defaulted on the contract” (notice that no reason was given as to WHY the promoter defaulted) and “low ticket sales”.  Other news bytes on the topic quote the promoter as saying that they tried to renegotiate fewer dates with the band as a result of the low ticket sales, but they were not able to come to a favorable resolution with the bands management.

Oddly enough, after one looks into the venues where the band was slated to play – the story seems to become clearer to some extent.  The band was to be performing 5 shows throughout  South Africa: one in Durban, two in/around Johannesburg, and two in Cape Town. The venue in Durban accommodates 15,000; the venue in Cape Town from 8-10,000.  Those are large venues, to say the least.  It isn’t a surprise if the ticket sales really were lower than expected, but that would seem to me to be on the shoulders of the promoter.   Chances are, the promoter realized the shows would not come close to being sold out, tried to back out on the agreement, and the band held their ground.  Whether it was a mistake for the band to back out on the chance to play ANY South African shows is up for others to decide.  


Other writers from South Africa have touched upon the subject today (you can read one article here ), and they’ve painted a far less positive picture.  As a fan, I have to wonder how it is that Roxette can sell tickets well and Duran Duran was not – although once you read the article it’s pretty clear: Roxette sold 5000 tickets for 3 shows coming up in May.   These South African shows were not given nearly the same amount of sales time between announcement, onsale date and show, and if that’s not enough to convince the naysayers out there, 5,000 tickets is only 1/3 of the capacity of just one of the venues that Duran Duran was to play during their 5 show run.  Doesn’t seem as though the author is truly comparing apples to apples….


Regardless, the speculation will go on.  In the meantime, I will sit and listen to the roar of saws, nail guns and hammering in my house!  Who had the crazy idea of taking out the fireplace and getting new flooring anyway?!?   (um, that would be me!)

-R

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m sorry for my tardiness in getting today’s edition of Daily Duranie out!  As most readers know, I’m the mom of 3 – their ages span from 13 (and she tells me that she’s “almost 14” now, which threatens to add more worry lines to my face at every passing moment) down to two and a half.  They are all home today, and we’ve been working hard to get the house into order and some of the cooking done for tomorrow, because for America – it’s Thanksgiving.

With tomorrow being our holiday of giving thanks, I would like to give out my own thanks here on the blog.  I know it’s not very Duran-related, but I’ll do my best!

I am thankful for my writing partner Amanda, because she continues to make me laugh, make me think about things differently…and let’s face it, she’s one heck of a touring partner.  Looking forward to 2011!!!!

I am thankful for my Duranie friends, both those that have come to mean far more to me, and those that I’ve only walked a short time with along the way.

I am thankful for our crazy, mixed up fan community.   We are a fantastic case study…that’s all I can say.  I look forward to seeing all of you on tour next year!

I am thankful for DuranDuranFans.com  because it was my very first Duran home away from home.  My best friends were met through that site, and I often wonder where I would have ended up without it!

I am thankful for my family, as insane as it is.  We’ll just leave it at that.  😀

I am thankful for the band…because without it, I’d probably be stuck writing about 60’s pop culture, or maybe nothing at all!  It’s about the music, the friends, the constant learning, and the constant complaining we all do about whatever decision you’ve made most recently.  Good times, good times.  🙂   I laugh and poke fun, but what you give us, your blood, sweat, tears and music – are truly a gift.  Thank you….can’t wait to see you all on tour even if you have NO idea who I am.  (perhaps that’s a good thing)

Thank you readers.  I hope our blog makes you laugh, and maybe even think a little.  We might not always hit the nail on the head with what you believe, but I hope it at least gives you something to think about.

Happy Thanksgiving – whether or not you live in the US and celebrate the holiday, I believe we all have something to be thankful for.  Peace!

  -R

Fever Pitch

I know that there is probably a ton of news that I should be commenting on this morning – but I’m going to be honest and say that at this moment, there is far too much rumor, not enough in the way of fact – and it’s all completely overwhelming to me for processing.  With that in mind, I’m going off on a completely different tangent today.

Has anyone out there ever seen the movie “Fever Pitch”?  Alright…probably all of you at this point.  I’m very late to the party on this one, but if you saw my kids and saw my daily schedule, you would understand.  This weekend, I had the opportunity to sit and watch the movie with my friends, who were visiting from out of town.  I had heard about this movie, and had been told that there were quite the number of parallels between the movie and my real life as a Duranie.  I have to admit I was skeptical, purely because I couldn’t imagine someone being THAT obsessed about a baseball team.  Never mind MY real life…

It became pretty clear within the first few seconds of the movie that I’d be able to identify with the main character (Jimmy Fallon).  He plays a single guy named Ben who is a school teacher, but is also a Red Sox fan.  “Fan” is probably putting it very mildly.  He’s completely obsessed, from the sheets on his bed down to the shower curtain in his bathroom and the “artwork” on his walls.   (at this point I would like to make it clear that I do NOT have Duran Duran on every wall in my house.  Only in my closet.   Hmm.  What is that really saying about me?  Another subject for yet another blog, methinks.)  Much of the movie is about how Jimmy’s character deals with his life as a Red Sox fan and how he can make that fit into his life as someone’s partner; or perhaps it’s the other way around – how his partner (Drew Barrymore) is able to deal with Ben’s life as a Red Sox fan.

Before I go headfirst into how this art imitates my life, my very favorite part of the entire movie is when Ben receives his season tickets for the year.  He’d been a season ticket holder since he was a child, and yet each year when that package arrives, he acts as though it is Christmas morning.  He races down to the UPS van, scribbles his signature on the electronic pad to sign for it, then races back up to his apartment.  He waits until his friends (all of which are fellow Red Sox fans) to get to his apartment, then he opens the package.  They all grab sheets of the tickets, admire them, and then smell them – commenting on the smell of the cardboard and ink.  This scene, fellow readers – I am very familiar with!  I know what it feels like to anticipate tickets arriving in the mail.  I know how anxious I am to open the package, and yet I want to wait to experience the moment with the very people who get me best, and I know exactly what the smell of ink on cardboard is like, and how crisp the thin cardboard feels in my hand, the bumps of the untorn perforations of the ticket stub on my fingertips, and the sharpness of the corners.  It was a scene that any fan of just about any thing should be able to recognize themselves in.

The trouble within the movie is that not everything is perfect when you are an obsessed fan.  It  is very difficult to draw the line between the fandom and normal every day life, even more so when you are involved in a relationship with someone who is not quite as big of a fan, or if you have a family.  Sacrifices must be made, and often times – it is the fandom that is sacrificed.   At one point in the movie, Ben is faced with choosing between the love of his girlfriend or the love of his team, and another character (oddly enough, it’s a kid) says to him “I know you love the Sox, but do they love you back?”

I know that question, and I know it well.  There’s an argument to be made on both sides.  To begin with, of course the Sox don’t LOVE anyone back, per se.  They are a team.  Baseball is a sport – it’s not a personal relationship; in the same way that Duran Duran are a music group and our “relationship” with them truly ends at the concert stage or CD player.  I feel 100% confident than no one in the group knows my name, and they absolutely could not pick me out of the crowd at a concert, much less love me in the way that my kids or my husband know me and love me.  The best I can hope for is a wink and a smile when I see them at a show, and that’s fine.  (to be honest, I’d be far more concerned if they DID know my name…)  That said, I’m not sure that love is really the right question to ask.  The Sox have provided the right backdrop or background for relationships to be made in the very same way that we Duran fans have our fan community.  In fact, the season ticket holders have held their same seats for so long, they’ve become a family.  When Ben comes to the opening game each year, it’s like a family reunion.  He knows not only the history of the team, but also the history behind the other fans seated around him.  He’s seen people grow up, grow old and pass on; just as those of us in Duranland have done.  Yes, we have our differences.  No, we’re not friends with every single other Duranie, but we’re still a family.  Ultimately, I believe that my fandom is part of what makes me – Rhonda – myself.  If I took that away, if I stopped being a Duranie, or stopped following the band, I would honestly be changing who I really am.  I guess that’s what happens when you follow a band as closely as I have, or as you readers have, for almost 30 years now.  Being a Duranie is a part of my personality, and I have to embrace that, or I lose my own identity.   Of course, my husband sees it far differently I am sure.  I’ve been married now for almost 16 years, and I think that for my husband, he looks at my obsession with Duran Duran as being a choice.  I “choose” to read the message boards, I “choose” to go to concerts, etc. etc.  I can’t argue that it’s not a choice (that would sound more like an addiction, and while I know many feel as though it might be at this point – I’m going with the idea that it’s not for this blog!), but I see it as the same thing as choosing to quit a career, or getting divorced at this point.  Both of those things: changing careers, getting divorced – change you as a person.  They are life changing events.  Not being a Duranie would be life changing for me at this point, even if my husband thinks I’m crazy for saying so.  (love you dear!)   As much as my crazy Duranie behavior drives my husband crazy at times, my husband wouldn’t want me to change such a big part of what makes me the person he loves anymore than I would want that for him, just as the ending resolution of Fever Pitch.  We work with what we’ve got, and apparently most of the time, it works out rather well.

The weekend with my Duranie friends is now over – I dropped all 3 of them off at the airport this morning, with agreements to have a full conference call as soon as tour dates or other equally exciting information descends upon us.  I miss the laughter of my three “sisters from other mothers” in my house, but I can’t really be that sad, our next adventure is right around the corner!

-R

Instant Connection

As you reading this blog, the two partners of this blog and their friends are all together in the first time in over a year.  The four of us became instant friends when we met each other in person at the convention in 2004.  While it could be argued that this is something unique to our friendships, I actually would argue that this is a common occurance among fans. 

Over the course of my years, I have met many people in the name of fandom.  While most of those people are part of the Duran Duran fandom, some are not.  Yet, the immediate connection has been felt, no matter the fandom.  Why is that?  Why do fans bond so quickly with other fans?  Yes, it could be said that fans typically share commonalities like race, age, gender, etc.  They may be the case but I do not believe that this is what makes the connection happen so strongly and so easily.  It isn’t that we establish our friendship on these basic, obvious elements of who we are but on something deeper, much more personal.

When someone becomes part of a fandom, it is because the object of that fandom (in our case, Duran Duran) grabbed a hold of the person, emotionally.  That band/team/author/movie/actor made us feel passionately.  In many ways, we fall in love when we become fans as we feel such extreme joy, excitement, happiness as we become more and more interested (obsessed!).  This love often translates into spending a lot of time on the fandom, thinking a lot about it, and even making a committment (in our case, that has included YEARS of being fans as well as working on projects devoted to it).  Thus, when one fan meets another fan, there is instantly understanding.  We both know how the other person feels on some level since we both love the same thing.  Often, our choice of loving this over that says something about us as people as well.

Why did we become fans of Duran?  Obviously, I can list and describe many, many reasons why we think Duran is wonderful, talented, etc.  The truth is that, for some reason, they made us feel good.  Maybe they were an escape from frustrating daily lives, for some.  For others, they represent nothing but happiness and parties.  It doesn’t matter, specifically, what drove us to love them over other bands or other things.  What matters is that we did and that decision (conscious or not) was and is personal.  It is a part of who we are in a way that is much different than what we do for a living or where we grew up.  It is pure emotion.  After all, people don’t become fans with their heads but with their hearts.  Thus, when we meet other fans, it is often like meeting people whose hearts know and understand each other already.  That may (does) sound sappy but I believe it to be true.  This heart-to-heart connection starts with the fandom, but often and easily moves into other avenues because of this instant understanding. 

-A

The Return of the White Jazz Shoe

I’m pretty sure every Duranie within reach of a computer is aware that Duran Duran played with Mark Ronson and Business Int’l on the 28th in Birmingham.   I’ve watched the videos myself “a few times”, and of course I’ve been keeping one eye pretty much glued to the computer all week, just in case the band decides to spring dates on us with 2 hours to presale or something.  (Can you tell I’ve been around a while??)   Besides writing this glorious blog, we also keep up with Twitter. (friend us – we’re @dailyduranie)  Yesterday, Mark Ronson (@iamMarkRonson) posted a picture taken by none other than Nicholas Rhodes.  The picture was taken backstage – and by Mark’s own description it was “artsy”.  Well, I took a gander;  lo and behold, there were white jazz shoes on the floor, and certainly not just one pair!

I remember white jazz shoes fairly well – I lived in them when I was in about 8th grade.  They were some of the most comfortable (and easy to take care of thanks to white shoe polish!) shoes I’ve ever had!  I believe I even ditched my beloved Vans to wear them most of the year.  🙂    By the following year though, their popularity had wained in favor of whatever else came “in-style”.  I can’t seem to recall, but I think it might have been the ankle boot – I know I had a pair of those my freshman year of high school.  Then again, I was never a fashion maiden.  *sigh*

Regardless, my joy at seeing the jazz shoe was quickly cast aside as I realized that I must REALLY be getting old.  Not only did I live through the fashion once, but it’s already making a second trip around!  *gasp*   This line of thinking isn’t especially helpful to someone who is already having a “slight issue” with turning 40 next month (for crying out loud I bought “reviving” eye cream for the first time yesterday!!), but I digress.   The item of interest here really isn’t MY age…it’s that the band isn’t exactly getting younger either.

As a fan, I really try not to notice the small things.  Yes, they’ve all acquired some character lines.  Yes, it’s true that John doesn’t really bleach his bangs any longer (he doesn’t even really wear bangs), it’s also true that Nick hasn’t shown up with red, green, orange or even purple hair in a very long time.  (I have to wonder if his platinum blonde is a genius way of disguising his true white hair…or if it’s really from a bottle….or none of the above!)  I just try not to notice because you know – ignorance can be bliss.  If they haven’t aged, neither have I, right?   The thing is, when I saw the jazz shoes yesterday, I did think about the fact that they aren’t the young kids they once were.  How long can they really keep going?  (I hope a very long time – I plan to be wheeling my oxygen tank in to shows with me if need be!)  They can provide rocking chairs for those of us still around – and I won’t even care if they play sitting down. 🙂

I don’t know if other fans really think about the inevitable “end” to Duran Duran.  I do.  There was a point a few years back when I’d really felt as though I’d had enough.  I felt as though I’d gotten the closure I’d needed, and I didn’t think the shows really excited me the way they’d used to.  I almost felt as though I was giving in to the fact that I’d finally grown up past the band.  I was very angry with them for putting out an album that I *still* feel was a complete sell out. (that album was Red Carpet Massacre, and yes – for the record I *STILL* feel that way, and I’d tell that to the band themselves if I ever had the opportunity.)  I just didn’t think that I could get behind the band and feel like a real fan again.  I didn’t go to shows for a while, both because of the album and because I was pregnant with my third child.  Then they came back for some shows on the east coast, and I went.  At first, I half-heartedly enjoyed the shows.   Then something clicked with me and I think I realized that every single time I go to see them could be the last time, so I’d better enjoy it.

I really don’t know how I’ll react when the inevitable day comes and the band is finished.  I honestly don’t know ANY fan who truly knows how they’ll react.  I suppose it will feel as though a very close family member, or even a part of myself, has just died.  I can’t even begin to fathom what the reality will hold for any of us at the time.  I just know that I will continue to go and enjoy each show as though it could be the last.

All we really need is now….and a good pair of white jazz shoes.

-R

New Album Title – the sequel!


So John Taylor tells Katy that the new album is to be named All You Need is Now.  Quite a departure from King of Nowhere, I’d say.  🙂  

Where King of Nowhere could possibly be very telling as to the bands’ overall mood at times, if I’m going to be fair and truthful to all that has ever been Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now is probably a much better title for one of their albums.
I don’t think Duran Duran has ever really been the brooding type of band, so sunk into reality that they can’t see the beauty in just living.  No, I think the band has probably been just the opposite.  Simon himself said in one of the promo videos for the Astronaut album that the band is about pure joy (as was the song [Reach up for the] Sunrise, off of that same album).  The band has always been about enjoying the here and now, and let’s face it – if All You Need is Now is to be the next album title – that truly embodies the full spirit.  
Even more interestingly to me were the reactions from the fans as the community contemplated King of Nowhere as the album title, and once again All You Need is Now.   With King of Nowhere, many fans were disappointed – they felt the title was too depressing, too negative – and some were even concerned that it was going to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. (clearly those fans haven’t been around since Astronaut – the last album title was Red Carpet MASSACRE, folks.)   Last night, I took a peak around some of the boards after this latest news was announced, and amazingly enough, the fan community as a whole reacted far more positively, saying that the title reminded them of the type of hope, love and joy that they believe the band stands for.  
I think that the fantasy life – the yacht, the wealthy (young) men, the models, the champagne, the exotic locations – is the package that once sold the world on Duran Duran.  It’s not just one part of it, it was the sum of all of the parts that made the group what we know it.  Many of those same fans are around today, and I can’t speak for all of them, but for me, my reality is pretty far from the life Duran Duran once portrayed in their videos and songs.  The band is still very much an escape at times (heck I even travel to shows in order to escape from the present!), and during those times – I really do try to live in that present.  I only get a weekend or two a year at the very most to spend with my friends, and when you’ve only got those few moments – you tend to try and only live in that moment, right?
Even back in “reality”, living in the now is a lesson all of us should learn.  Not long ago, my father was very ill, and while I would sit and worry and ask him how he was feeling – he would constantly tell me not to think about it.  “What will happen will happen, but while you’re alive, you need to LIVE.”   I don’t think I ever understood that until the day he died.  It’s a simple, but very difficult lesson to put into practice….and I stand even more fascinated that the band is continuing to teach and challenge their fans, should they take the effort to look a little deeper than the surface.  

Oh No, Not Again?

Once again, information seems to have gotten out of the bag before it was intended…contrary to yesterday’s interview with Mark Ronson (as well as the MTV blog) that King of Nowhere was to be the title of the next album, officials from Duran Duran are saying that is not the case.

Ultimately, you and I will not know the album title until it comes out…but this kind of back and forth is very typical of Duran Duran in general.  It’s almost laughable at this point because every time a piece of information gets “out” before management can decide to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, inevitably management will come out with a “That has yet to be released” statement to negate whatever piece of information was released without their say-so.

You would think that after so many years in this business, they would know to react faster (it’s been a full 24 hours since the blog and video were publicized), and you would also think that they’d have mentioned it to Mark Ronson….but hey, maybe not.

So, while I am absolutely not going to pull my prior blog from earlier today….  I do have to say that at least for now, we’re not sure what the album title will be.

I wonder if the band knows!

Over the weekend, I received a friend request from a Duranie who lives in Italy.  She and I have never met, and unless she makes trips to the US for shows – I doubt we will, since I don’t normally travel to Europe, shows or not.  As I accepted her friend request, I thought about how far technology has come since I was 11 – in late 1981.  Back then, computers were something that took up entire rooms, and I definitely do not remember ever hearing much about them in my 6th grade classes at school, other than they were something the government used.  Twitter, Myspace, Facebook: all things that I am sure I never would have anticipated being my every day reality.  Mail was conducted with paper, a writing utensil, an envelope, stamp and some hope that the letter carrier would get it to it’s proper address.  Fan clubs of any kind were all done through the mail by newsletters, special little cards, pictures, and that sort of thing.  If I think back on it, it’s no wonder I grew bored of fan clubs pretty quickly back then – they were almost completely non-interactive unless you were lucky enough to have friends nearby that were in the fan club with you!  Fast forward to 2010, where I am coming down the pipes to the big 4-0, fan clubs are almost entirely online, snail mail is almost so non-existent that stamps keep going up in price (to account for the thousands of pieces of mail that are sent electronically), I work on a computer that literally sits on my lap and is thinner than a pad of paper, and I can keep up with Duran Duran’s happenings on a daily basis, and quicker than it takes me to make my coffee in the morning.

My contemplation for the morning is “Is it better to be a fan in the year 2010 than it was to be a fan in the year 1981…or 1984/85 for that matter?”  I think each fan has to answer that for his or her own self, but here are my own thoughts:

I believe that in order to truly appreciate being a fan today, and vice-versa actually, I’m glad I was a fan in the 1980’s.  Yes, I got to live through the bands hey-day.  I was there when the videos started playing on MTV, I was listening when Richard Blade announced their albums on KROQ (Los Angeles), and I suffered the heartbreaks when Roger, Andy and much later John left the band.  That said, let’s list what I did NOT get to do:  I was too young to go to shows (according to my parents), I did not ever go back to their hotel after the shows were over, I didn’t know any other fans outside of my circle of friends in school, I certainly never traveled to shows, obviously; and I never met the band.   Once again we fast forward to the 2000’s, just after the reunion was announced.   I’ve gone to shows, traveled to shows, communicated with people who live in other countries, gone to their hotel after the shows (to hang out in the bar – not to their rooms, of course), and experienced many of the things I missed out on in the 80’s.  I feel as though for the most part, I’ve had the chance to complete the circle of what it means to me to be a fan.

With that in mind, I feel so lucky to have gotten to experience my fandom in virtually two eras of my life.  The first era being my childhood/adolescence, and the second as an adult.  As much as I felt that I may have missed out on some very cool things back when they were the biggest band in the world, I’m almost relieved that I wasn’t older (like my late teens/early 20’s), because if I had been, I’m not sure I would still have the stamina to go and see them now.  I would not have met the fantastic friends that I treasure, I don’t know if I would have gone ahead and created a facebook, a myspace page, or become friends with people in completely different countries.  What some consider obsessive, I consider to be pure luck.

-R