Category Archives: Duran Duran

Fear is in Your Soul

Are you following John Taylor on Instagram?  If you aren’t, you can still check out his profile and posts   here.  If you are following him or checking into his profile periodically, you might have caught some recent pictures from the studio.  While they aren’t pictures of any of the band members, they did include pictures of his Aria bass and the “tape” indicating a song.  While those were interesting to me, they didn’t hit me like the picture he posted on Friday, which you could see here.  If you look at the picture, there are a variety of words and phrases written down, including words like “anxiety”, “persistent fear”, “distress”, “avoid”, “danger”, and others.  John described the picture as “Anxious Friday!”  Now, obviously, one could be excited at the idea that these words and phrases could be lyrics or song titles, even.  We don’t know and we may never know.  After all, I remember seeing a lot of post-it notes during the making of All You Need Is Now in whatever studio pictures were posted.  Were all of those used?  Who knows?  Nonetheless, Duranies everywhere could be excited that they are working on something!  Yet, for me, this picture didn’t hit me for that reason (although I’m sure a song with some of those words or phrases would be very cool!).  No, it hit me on a more personal level.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you all are aware of the fact that I have been looking for a new job.  I haven’t been happy at my job for a really long time–much longer than my job search, really.  I switched schools and positions a little over a year ago, in an attempt to renew the joy of teaching, but that hasn’t happened.  Unfortunately, my job search has not resulted in anything.  Thus, I returned to the classroom, vowing to keep looking for something else and to try find the positive where I could.  Some may question this move.  Why return if I was so unhappy?  The reason is pretty simple.  I need to have a job.  If I don’t work, I can’t pay my bills.  I don’t have a spouse or another source of income.  Now, I finished the second week of work.  Has my vow remained?  Have I been able to keep searching?  Have I been able to remain positive?  No.  In fact, I could use one of John’s words to say that I have been experiencing “distress”.  I have large classes.  Very large classes and no support.  While everyone in the building is complaining that they have students with significant needs with no support, they have maybe a third of the students I have with significant needs.  Because my teaching career has focused on the toughest kiddos, it is assumed that I could do it and do it well.  Yet, as time as gone on, I feel less and less capable, for whatever reason.  
So now what?  Now, I try to wait.  Patiently.  Calmly.  This kind of wait isn’t easy.  Next week, I finish assessments on my students.  I then have some data for me to push for some changes in my classroom.  That will help some.  I will also wait until after Durandemonium.  Let’s face it.  The convention is a little over a month away and it requires a lot of my attention now.  I want it, too.  First, we have promised the attendees a good time and we have to honor that promise.  We want to honor that promise and will.  That said, putting together the last of those details is time-consuming.  People at work ask me what I’m doing over the weekend.  My answer, right now, is work–unpaid work on convention preparations, which I obviously chose to do.  I’m not complaining, just explaining and explaining why the job search in on the back burner.
What happens after Durandemonium?  Well, this is where the “anxiety” comes in.  Something has to change.  Something significant has to change.  Based on my search this summer, I realize that it won’t be that easy to make a job change.  It won’t be as easy or as simple as sending out resumes, doing interviews and getting a job.  I also realize that I can’t make it at my current job forever.  I can’t, emotionally and mentally.  I am going to have to make a bigger leap.  A leap of “danger”, which will cause “persistent fear”.  This leap might mean that my life will change dramatically.  I might have to live with a lot less income for awhile (talk about anxious causing…teachers don’t make a lot so I’m not bringing home much now!).  What else will change?  My location?  My writing?  The unknowns are the worst, really.  
While I wish that John’s picture on Instagram just made me think of the band, their work in the studio, the future album, it didn’t.  It was like they were channeling all of the feelings I’m living with.  Is that part of the nature of fandom, though?  Does fandom mean that we can, no matter what, connect something from one’s idol to one’s life?  I don’t know.  It could be.  Could it be that a simple phrase or picture means more to fans from one’s idol than would be from someone not famous?  Possibly.  Whatever the reason, the picture resonated with me.  Big time.  Now, I just hope that the next picture that hits me does so because it makes me super excited about the possibilities for Duran Duran and for Duranies!!
-A

A Year of Sundays Seems to Have Drifted Right By

3.  The magical number 3.  We turned 3 today.  Yep, you read that right.  The Daily Duranie, this blog, turned 3 today.  We have been posting daily for 3 years.  Of course, with all fairness, there were a few days in 2011, when we were in the UK that we couldn’t get to the internet but have made up for that on those days when we have blogged more than once.  This means that we have written a lot of posts.  We have said a lot.  A LOT.  I’m sure that we have said far too much for many people out there.  Sometimes, I’m sure that people who come across our little home here have been able to relate to what we talked about on any given day.  Other times, I’m sure that there are people who start screaming at the screen or laugh at our insanity or wish that we would stop “thinking too much” or stop being so…academic.  Maybe, this is all my imagination, my hope, my wish for this blog.  I like the idea that we have motivated people to think, feel and react.  After all, isn’t that what any artist wants from his/her work?  What any writer wants?  Sure.  Yet, there is more than that for Rhonda and I or, at least, something different for us.  Our motivation is and has never been a desire to be in the spotlight and, goodness knows, it isn’t about getting paid for this.  No, we have always accepted the blog for exactly what is.

If you look at our site, you will see that we describe what we write as the “State of Durandom”.  The blog has always been about being fans.  We are open in admitting that we are fans.  We are Duranies and have been for a long time.  We have been Duranies for so long that it is an essential part of who we are and who we will always be.  When we became fans, our lives changed forever as is the case for every fan of every fandom.  The experiences, the connections, the relationships that comes from being part of a fan community are significant.  Rhonda and I knew this and understood this at a very deep level.  This understanding motivated us, inspired us, pushed us to do something more.  I look at it this way.  It is like the person that has a lot of energy who just can’t sit still.  Well, we couldn’t sit still with our fandom.  We had too much to say and couldn’t bottle our thoughts to save our lives.  (If you have been reading this blog, you know this to be true.  We have a lot to say and aren’t afraid to say what we think.)  Thus, first, the idea of the book was born.  What started out in jest slowly but surely became an idea, then a rough outline, a more organized outline, drafts, chapters, rewrites and bibliographies.  We took that fandom energy to good use and combined it with our academic backgrounds in social sciences to show, to explain fandom; to explain the life-changing effect of fandom on people.  Let me be clear here.  The book isn’t about Duran Duran.  While it does use being a Duranie as an example, a case study, it is about fandom.  All fandoms.  Any fandom.

Still, it wasn’t enough.  We didn’t know what to do with the energy, the words we needed to say about being fans and about being Duranies.  We needed another outlet, a different outlet.  We needed something else, something that would influence the book and would be, in turn, influenced by the book.  Initially, like the book idea, it sounded simple.  We would do a short, little blog on a daily basis.  Like the book, it grew and grew and grew to be what it is today.  Now, I know that we still focus on fandom, on being Duranies but that explanation seems simple.  Maybe, it is simple to the few people who actually read this blog.  Yet, I feel like it is something more to Rhonda and I.  It is more than that.  It is more than just us spewing our daily thoughts.  It is more than just research.  It is more than just a means of organizing our thoughts.  It has become a strange sort of diary.  It has captured what life is like in Duranland for the past three years.  Yet, it is also captured our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, too.  When I think back to everything that we have been through or discussed in the last 1, 095 days, I am completely overwhelmed.  We have written about the release of an album (a very popular one!), many tours, Simon’s voice loss, John’s autobiography and more.  We have written about our lives, too.  I’m sure some of you might feel like you, too, have witnessed those kiddos of Rhonda’s growing right in front of our eyes.  Some of you might be able to acknowledge the cycle of life that a teacher and a political organizer goes through.

What does this all mean for the next year?  Time will only tell, really.  Will the next album be released? Will there be more tours to plan and discuss?  This we do know.  We know that Durandemonium is a little over a month away.  We know that we will keep writing as it something that means something to US.  It may not mean anything to anyone else.  That’s okay.  We write for ourselves.  We have learned a lot through this process and have shared a lot.  We know that we will continue to share and will continue to learn.  Happy Birthday to us!  May the next year be just as interesting, just as inspiring, just as meaningful as the last three have been.

-A

“Their knives are out”…OR the Rocky & Bullwinkle alternative title “Dark sun rose on the ridge”

I apologize for the tardiness of the blog today, but as you all know – I am the mother of three, and one of my children needed my attention today more than this blog.  Interestingly enough, said child wasn’t even at home or is even aware of what I’ve been doing, but basically – due to the fact he has High Functioning Autism, his teachers and I are working on a new 504 Plan, and we’re actually trying to decide if returning him to a full IEP would be appropriate.  I just want the child to go through high school, do well, and feel as though he at least has the option to attend college.  Options are important.

As I always say, it is never a dull moment. I only took the time to explain this here because much to the shock of some – my life does not revolve around this blog, or even this band.

I think that I am fairly lucky because I have a group of very supportive friends. Rather than find fault, they support. They help me find answers. They might not have extreme interest in the sociology of fandom or even of Duran Duran, but they support ME 100%. I even have a friend who truly cannot pick Simon LeBon out of a lineup (!!!) that is coming with me to the convention in October. She bought her own ticket, she’s after me to get our flights set up, and she is really looking forward to the weekend. That’s true friendship right there. Amanda and I have a friend whose husband happened to see a post on Facebook about a dilemma we’re facing who offered his expertise. Out of nowhere. I thought he was a very cool guy before, and now I have even more respect, because he didn’t have to help us at all. I have a dear, dear friend that I communicate with nearly every day on Twitter because her son and my son both have Autism and have had tough times in school. She’s also an author, a Duranie, and I can say that aside from Amanda – she’s probably the one person I sincerely trust in this community and would go to for advice. Not that I don’t trust others, but there’s a different sort of bond there between the two of us. I count myself lucky.

On the other hand, I see so much disconnect in this community, and I really don’t get it. Every single day I see horrible, hateful things said about everyone from Katy to myself and Amanda as Daily Duranie, people who win contests, and even other authors who just happen to be Duranies. I have to constantly remind myself that no, this really isn’t junior high school or adolescents tweeting about one another – it’s grown women. Why is it SO important? Is winning really that big of a deal? There is far more to life than a CD or a t-shirt or whatever the piddly hell they’re peddling in the name of the band today, and if nobody else will stand up and say that – I will. My goodness, I have won ONE contest in the entire time I’ve been a fan of this band, and it was for a t-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, I love the shirt – but even so – it’s a shirt. If I was counting on those contests to somehow sustain my love for the band or even as a sort of validation to who I am – I would be in huge trouble.

Then there are the people that just want to take the wind out of the sails of others, and they find joy in that. Blows. My. Mind. Jealousy sure runs deep in this community, to an extent that is really kind of frightening. It’s not enough to want everything for yourself when it comes to this band, some have to make sure that no one else gets a single moment of joy either. I just do not understand that sort of sick jealousy. To even assume you’re so different, so unusual that you’re going to make it into that “inner circle” of theirs is also ridiculous. Why is that?  Simple – that boundary is there for a reason. Fans cannot be friends…at least not 99% of the time. Can you even begin to imagine how desperate some of us look to them? We provide their lifestyle. In one sense, we’re just customers. At one point you might have said we were their meal ticket. To move past that into a different sort of function in their lives is highly unusual if not completely abnormal. Sure, they’re humans just like you – but really, how weird is it to become friends with someone who fawns over you at shows and has you up on their wall at home? It’s WEIRD.  Even if you act normal, there is something about the fan/idol connection that rarely works beyond the stage. It is truly RARE, and not something that you can really try to make work. Can’t anybody see that? Why is that so difficult to understand? Saying bad things about other people who have taken their love for the band and done something creative with it STILL won’t make it happen. You can attend every single concert from here to Timbuktu and at the end of it all – the only “experiences” you’re gonna have are the ones you’ve had at the shows. He…whichever ‘he’ is your guy… is still going to go home to his wife, as he well should. So why the jealousy?

It wasn’t so long ago though that I think I fell into that same trap. Back in 2005 and even during the Red Carpet Massacre tours, I got very tired of seeing all of these people win VIP M&G’s, and have their moments with the band. I couldn’t understand why it was that I never won. If that weren’t enough (and really now when I type it – honestly I needed to get myself a life and stop whining), I would feel so let down when I’d hear stories of how so-and-so found the band after a show, had pictures, etc. I started noticing that I’d feel worse after going to shows than leaving joyful, and that being a fan just wasn’t FUN anymore. That’s just stupid!  So I started forcing myself to be happy and thankful for the “wins” of other people.  That’s right, rather than being pissy about their successes, actually toasting them for it.  Cheering them on. Being a good friend. At first, it felt weird. I had to really readjust my thinking. Then after a while, I started noticing just how EASY it was. I felt so much better. It takes a lot of energy to be annoyed and in a bad mood constantly, and so much less to feel joy for someone else…and those are the kinds of people I want to be around and include in my life.  The truly bizarre thing is that after I changed my thinking, good things started happening for me across the board in my life. I love being a fan. Sometimes other fans really get me down with their constant negativity and bitterness towards one another, because I think that the least we can be towards one another is supportive. Sure, we’re not always going to win contests, be the one that the band retweets or even count ourselves as a close friend of a band member. So what? I feel so lucky that I’ve found a supportive group of friends here that I’ve already won the jackpot. My wish for each of our readers, as tomorrow Daily Duranie marks it’s third year of “Life”,  is that they can say the same, whether now or in the future.

-R

 

September Katy Kafe with Roger!

Have I proclaimed my undying love and devotion for Roger Taylor lately?  I’m pretty sure I have not.  So I will take this short little moment to thank him for giving us some of the juicy bits that keep us going between albums, courtesy of the Katy Kafe!

Wait.  That might have sounded just a tad wrong. I’ll try again.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I like a little scoop once in a while. Amanda even blogged about it, and Roger certainly did not disappoint. We know who to come to for some real album insight, don’t we?? As always, I took the hit for the whole team (I do this for you, only for you, my dear readers) and listened to the September edition of the Katy Kafe, and I will go over some of the best highlights here. I wouldn’t be a very good fan if I didn’t encourage everyone to go and listen if you’re able, and I have to say – it’s a good one!

The Seasons: Roger loves Autumn….in fact, Roger loves all of the seasons, which is one reason why he could never live in my glorious state of California. Fair enough. I have trouble living here myself and I’ve been here for nearly my entire life. I’m ready to move away from the constant and experience real weather again (I lived outside of Chicago for two years – now there you’ll find some real weather!), so I won’t hold Roger’s toes over an open fire for not wanting to live here, I guess. Not surprisingly he loves the East Coast of America for the very defined seasonality there, and also spoke very highly of Washington DC.

Back to the Studio: Most people have been preparing for their kids to go back to school…and the band is going back to the studio. I don’t know why the thought makes me chuckle, but it does. Interestingly enough, Roger says that he’s not really sure how many songs they’ve got, but none of them are really done at all yet (I seem to recall Simon saying something a little different – but I don’t know how they qualify what stage a song is really in and so forth, so who knows??!) They aren’t to the point of really figuring out how they’re going to release it yet (meaning formats). As someone who knows absolutely nothing about what goes on in any studio, much less *the* studio, if they have no songs really anywhere near done yet…I’m kind of wondering if there’s any sort of chance they’ll have a release for us in the next six months or so. Katy touched on this with Roger in a moment that I almost want to print out and put in a frame for future chuckles and enjoyment, when she reminded him that he was the one that said he’d put money on this record being finished and released in early 2014.(and in fact he said he thought it would be done by the end of the year…not the mixing, but the recording…) Roger said he didn’t think he said that. Oh Mr. Taylor.  I beg to differ. In fact, as soon as I’m done with the first draft of this blog, I’m gonna go back and find the exact blog in which I quoted you, and I will link it right here (read the last paragraph and weep, Roger!) for all to enjoy. I warned ya, your words would come back to bite! Like I said, we’re Daily Duranie. We blog about this stuff!

Double album??: In a fit of what I believe is most assuredly insanity (and it’s OK because I have it on good authority that insanity seems to be contagious in the Duraniverse…), Nick commented to Roger that they had so much material that is on one hand dark and moody and on the other dance and club-like that perhaps they should have a two-part album. One part featuring the dance music and the other being darker. Roger responded asking if he meant like a double album, and Nick, holding true to form, said “Oh no, not a double album.” Roger said that he thinks what Nick is suggesting roughly translates to a double album, but was quick to add that he doesn’t know what place a double album really has in this current world. I would agree, and so I caution my fellow fans – a double album seems pretty unlikely, although I’m really hoping for dark and moody that I have to chew through and think about for ages with a side order of some easier to digest and enjoy dance!

Nick for President: After the double album discussion, Roger commented that Nick should have been a politician. I really wonder how many times I’ve said that myself over the years, and I still say – if the whole music thing doesn’t work out, he’s got a future in PR to say the least!  That brought a short Roger and Katy-fueled vision of the World According to Nick Rhodes (I would SWEAR we had message board topics with similar titles at one time…):  There would be no traveling in tunnels or over bridges, no public transportation at all, women would wear dark colors with bright lipstick (I am an epic fail here), the world would be in Manhattan and nothing south of the river in London. So there ya have it.

Twerking?: Katy asked if Roger caught the VMA’s. As luck would have it, Roger saw Miley…and even better, he didn’t know what that “dance” was called. (Quite honestly Rog, I’m not sure that really was dancing, no matter what the media calls it.) He said he turned the channel after about five minutes. (Oh how I wish I’d done that too..) Katy mentioned the reunion with N*Sync, and that they were on stage for about 30 seconds. Yep…and I completely agree with her assessments that he was up there for like 20 minutes and they should have at least done a full song. It could have been the shining moment from the show and instead it was just weird and awkward. Yep.

At this point, Katy asked some questions that she received from some wonderful tweeters around the world. I say “wonderful” because I’m one of them…I won’t lie.  🙂

Nathan (and this is the Nathan who helps with their social media – and you all thought Katy was the only one. Pshaw!) asked if Roger was using any new equipment on this album.  He answered saying that he was using a Roland TD-30 drum kit – they feel like acoustics but sound electronic. I looked them up online because I wasn’t sure of the model name – so if I got it wrong, I apologize.

DDBrazil asked a great question. If Roger had to choose one song (by another artist) to include on a DJ compilation, what would it be? He took a while to respond, but said Can’t Get Enough by Soul Searcher. Then he said he also likes early Daft Punk, which led to his commenting that Nile Rodgers really seems to be having a resurgence and that it’s great.

Mirella asked if he would ever consider doing a world tour as a DJ. Roger said that if he were offered one and had six months time away from Duran Duran that, sure, he’d do one.  Katy said that her next plan for Roger was to find him a vocalist to record with. I have to wonder how many Duran fans would like and support something like that. Speaking for myself, I’m not one for a lot of the DJ/vocalist music that’s out there – but some of it I do like – so I’d give it a try. Never know!

*I* sent in a question asking if they were planning to have any other producers on the album –  it’s very hard to ask a question in 140 characters on Twitter, but my point was that Simon and even John have mentioned that Mark is probably not going to be producing the entire album, and so I am wondering who IS going to be doing that. The band? Dom? Roger just said that he didn’t think there was anyone else going to be producing and that they were just sticking with what they’ve got. So whether that’s just Mark or themselves or no one, I’m not sure.  Maybe if someone from DDHQ sees this, they can clarify if possible? (Never know if you don’t ask, right?)

I don’t remember who asked, and it may very well have been Katy if Duran was willing to put out any short little snippets of what they’ve been working on for DD14. She qualified that Simon had said when they release a full song it sets people up with preconceived notions of what the album is going to be like, and I think that’s a really fair statement, but we’re talking about a 30-second max cut of a song here. I don’t know about anyone else, but when they sent out small bursts of music from the AYNIN album, I never came away with a clear vision of what they were really doing. It really only served to verify that yes, they really WERE recording album #13, and that the portions they sent us sounded nothing like anything I’d heard previously. Anyway, Roger reacted very positively, saying that when he gets back to the studio, he is going to suggest it. We can only hope the rest will agree to whet our appetites a bit!

The final question Katy asked was about new music. Personally, I need to thank John and Roger, because if it weren’t for them, I’d probably never listen to anything new. I just don’t have time to search for new music the way I once did, and often times – they mention music I’ve never heard of, never listened to, and yet when I do take the time – I like a lot of it. So these questions are great.  Roger’s answer was Bob Sinclair’s – I Feel for You. (Never heard it, which probably means I’ve been living in a hole all summer. It’s true.)

Roger will be back in the Kafe come December and I hope he brings holiday treats in the form of more tasty album information!!

-R

I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio

Now that kids are back in school – I just know that at least some of you are looking for books to read while waiting in the “pick-up” line at school, or maybe you’re even lucky enough to have fifteen minutes of peace and quiet somewhere so that you can retreat to fantasy life in a book. Lucky are the few…

It’s not often when I have not one but TWO book suggestions that I’m willing to throw out there, and both books should find incredible audiences amongst Duranies (particularly female fans)..because in both cases, you’ll be seeing yourself in the stories, I promise.  I’ve already read both books, and they are both fun and easy reads. I’ll give a short review for each book, and I really hope you check them out – the best part is that if you do, you’ll be supporting fellow fans, as the authors are in fact Duranies. Even better? They are both appearing at the convention in our author panel session on Saturday morning. They will be reading a selection from their work, and then having a moderated discussion and question/answer session. I believe the authors will both have books for sale at the convention, and I’ll bet if you ask – they’ll even sign them for ya!

Click HERE to go download

The first book I’ve got for you is actually a novella by Karen Booth. Novella is a fancy word authors like to use for “short book that will get you sucked into the storyline super quickly and end before you’re ready to stop wondering what happens next”. This novella is actually the prequel to another one of Karen’s novels, ‘Bring Me Back’. Let me be clear: Bring Me Back is the fantasy for every music fan brought to life. Fictional “life” maybe…but life, darn it!  Before I digress further, I should probably explain Claire’s Diary – and I can do that best in this way: Do you remember writing a journal when you were a kid? Mine went a little like this: “Dear Diary, When are you going to bring Roger Taylor to me?  I have been really, really patient, and I’ve tried watching all of their videos and even reading their interviews..and sometimes I even stare into his eyes for each of the posters on my wall. Mental telepathy just doesn’t seem to work…but I know he’s the right one for me….” Yeah.  Remember those? Well, that journal IS this book. It is like getting a good glimpse of ourselves at the age of 13 or even 14 or 15. Funny? Absolutely. Did it make me cringe at times, seeing how silly I, uh…I mean Claire…was back then? Not in that sense. It just made me remember how tough being a teenager really can be. Then I went into my 16 year olds bedroom and reminded myself of how tough it is to be the parent of a 16 year old. The beauty of it all is that if you’ve never read ‘Bring Me Back’, ‘Claire’s Diary’ is an excellent place to start. Interested potential readers do not need to have read ‘Bring Me Back’ in order to feel anything for this one, and I really recommend ‘Claire’s Diary’. Another amazing thing about this novella? Brace yourselves, bookworms: IT IS FREE. That’s right, the link takes you to Karen’s site where you can download it, read it and maybe even spill a few tears for teenage Claire, all for FREE. Personally, I think Karen is psycho not to charge for it, but then again: she’s a published author of more than a couple books…and I’m a blogger who writes a daily blog about a rock band and it’s fans. For free. Interesting comparison when I think about it that way…..  Anyway, ‘Claire’s Diary’ is a light, yet very-well constructed and thoughtful read that kind of leaves you wanting more…whether that’s another book, or a damn world tour.  Just saying.

And in case you need to find ‘Bring Me Back’ because you’re desperate for more…here’s a link (opens in new window). On the horizon in February of 2014 there’s a third book coming to the series…so you won’t have too terribly long to pine over Christopher Penman…probably just in time to read that book with some new Duran Duran music playing in the background…

Next on the suggestion list is Elisa Lorello’s freshly released memoir, aptly titled ‘Friends of Mine: Thirty Years In the Life of a Duran Duran Fan’. Where to begin with this one? First of all, Elisa has been a fan as long as anyone, and the band has been as much of a soundtrack for her life as it has been for mine…or yours. We all have history. We all have had experiences that have led us to become the people we are now. The difference is that Elisa took the time to tell her story. She shares her life history, all the while explaining how much the band meant to her along the way, and continues to mean to her today. How many of us really fantasized (and some of us might even still continue) about getting past the whole “fan” thing and becoming friends with the band? Which of us can remember a specific song that somehow “saved” us when we needed it most? Who amongst us had a best friend that shared the glorious moments of watching videos, singing songs in our bedrooms, and fawning over the newest articles, interviews and pinups of the band? My point, of course, is that most, if not all Duran fans, should be able to see at least a glimmer of themselves in this memoir…and some might even recognize similar themes in their own life story. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t. I will only merely direct you to getting a copy for yourself here.
 
Today I walked my little Kindergartner to school with her dad. It’s funny, because ten years ago, I thought I’d walked my last child down the block and through the gate into the Kindergarten playground. (Never say never, right?) This time, it was much more poignant, and although I held my ground and refused to allow even a single, teensy tear to bridge the corners of my eyes (I didn’t want my daughter to be confused by my bittersweet feelings) – I don’t think my house has ever seemed quieter. I joke on Twitter, saying life is good (and of course it is), but there is a part of me that knows as of today, everything has changed. Again.  My little girl might always be my little girl, but the days I spent with her cuddling on the couch as the older kids were off at school and we were here alone for the day have at least been slowed to a minimum, and I can’t help but feel at least a little melancholy at the thought. I know she is going to learn to love school – she’s always liked a challenge, and she’s got enough spunk and spirit to fill an entire classroom. I wish her Kindergarten teacher luck reigning that huge personality in! I think my own nerves have finally settled, and I must say, having all three kids start new schools on exactly the same day is not very easy. I joke, but I am indeed a late-night worrier, and my stomach has been in knots for a week now. I’m hoping that after today, they’ll settle back into the crazed sense of normal to which I am accustomed.

-R

Showcasing Fandom: Lara, Fan Artist

Today seems like a good day to put a fan and her talent under the blog’s spotlight.  As many of you might know, recently, I asked people who expressed their fandom in different ways from me to fill out a questionnaire.  Thankfully, many, many, many people responded and I’m so relieved.  I wanted to be able to show all ways that fandom can be expressed.  Our blog discusses a lot about touring, meetups, conventions, and social networking.  Yet, there are many other ways that people express their fandom.  The first fan who contributed was Patricia who is a member of a tribute band.  Today’s fan, Lara, is also creative as she draws pictures.  Duran Duran motivates her to create works of art!  How cool is that?!  As someone who has a mother who is an artist and wishes for creative talent, I’m envious of and appreciative of anyone who does!  So, let’s take some time to get to know Lara, why she expresses her Duranieness this way and her work.

How do you express your fandom?

Art.  It’s been a hobby of mine to draw the guys ever since high school.

Describe exactly what it is that you do.

I mainly do pencil-sketch portraits of the band members.  But I also still have paintings and ink prints I did for college art classes many years ago.  Lately though, I have had more fun manipulating DD pictures in Adobe Photoshop on the computer.

Why did you choose this means of expressing your fandom?

Drawing has always been a fun outlet for me.  I prefer faces and figures over landscapes or objects, so when I became a Duranie, the band members proved to be a big inspiration.

Tell me your fandom story.  When did you become a fan?  What drew you to Duran Duran?

During the spring of 1994, I was nearing the end of my 9th grade year in school.  On the bus one morning, something on the radio managed to catch my attention.  I had never heard it before, didn’t recognize the artist or anything.  But I thought the melody was beautiful and something about the vocals drew me in.  The little bit I could remember stayed in my head all day.  Luckily it was on the radio again on the way home from school and I was sitting next to a friend who knew what it was:  “Ordinary World”.  Later that same day I saw “Come Undone” on MTV for the first time.  From that moment on, I was hooked.  I spent the following summer catching up on everything and anything DD. I think my entire allowance was devoted to buying nothing but Duran CDs, posters, etc. for quite a while after that, too!

How else do you participate in the fandom?

In the early years (late ’90s for me), I participated in a lot of meetups in Missouri (we called ourselves the MODuranies).  I knew a few fellow Duranies in high school.  But we’ve all most gone our separate ways since then.  Also, unfortunately, I’ve only been to a precious few shows so far.  The bulk of my fandom has been undoubtedly online.  I’ve been a regular on the Lizard King message board for over a decade.  I regularly read a few others, and I have lots of Duranie friends on Facebook.  I wish I could devote more time and money into fandom.  I do still love to hang out with fellow fans in person when I can.  But life has a way of making me change my priorities now that I’m older.  The internet, though less personal, has been the most convenient way to participate on a regular basis.  

What has the reaction been to your art?  What do people think of your work?

Most people I’ve shared my artwork with seems to like it overall, I guess.  I don’t expect much since I draw mostly for myself.  But it is nice to share it with other fans.  I have gotten a couple reactions I’m rather proud of, too, though.  


Do you use your art outside of fandom?

I used to.  I’ve been drawing since I was 3.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree as well.  But I haven’t don’t much drawing outside of fandom since college.

Where and how do you share your art?  

I’ve shared some on message boards, in a couple Facebook groups, and I have a folder-full on my Facebook page.

Can you share something that you are most proud of?

Surprisingly, John Taylor commented on a drawing I posted on his Facebook page once, and Andy Taylor used a silly little Photoshop thing I made just for fun, for his short-lived “rock affairs” website.  Those may seem small, but they are probably the best reactions of my artwork I could   ever hope for!


Top 10 Duran Songs (at the moment)

After the longest week ever, the first week back to school, I feel like I haven’t slept in decades despite having almost nine hours of sleep.  I’m mentally exhausted and have a very long list of things to do from taking care of my house, to work I brought home with me, and to the VERY long list of convention tasks.  Therefore, it is pretty tough to figure out something interesting to write about, something that would interest others.  I could write about the challenging group of students I have this year, but that isn’t interesting.  I could talk about how I would love to have time to look for another job or about how I really would love to be paid to focus on fandom, but again, that probably isn’t interesting to anyone besides…well..me.  Plus, I truly don’t want to think about that.  Too much energy needed and the caffeine is taking a long time to kick in.  Ugh.  No, what I think would be best would be to just enjoy Duran.  So, to that end, I’m going to just post my current top 10 favorite songs (really, these were the ones that came to my head first as my favorites).  These favorites are in no particular order and could change tomorrow or next week or an hour from now.  Plus, I’m mixing up the songs with various clips that I definitely enjoy.

1.  Planet Earth-

2.  Hold Back the Rain-

3. Secret Oktober-

4.  The Edge of America-

5.  Finest Hour-

6.  Careless Memories-

7.  New Religion-

8.  Before the Rain-

9.  Vertigo-

10.  The Man Who Stole a Leopard-

So, now, fellow Duranies, I ask you to name your top 10 songs at the moment!  If you are anything like me, I had a list and started changing it as I was posting it.  Heck, I could change it right now.  I won’t, though, as I have too much to do.

-A

I’ll Cross That Bridge When I Find It

As you all probably know, we ask a “daily” question on Facebook and Twitter.  For a long time, those questions have been brackets of sorts with the goals being that people pick the favorite or preferred one over the other.  The one that gets less votes is eliminated and the winner goes against another choice until all but one has been eliminated.  We have done this for favorite song per album, favorite overall Duran song, favorite video, etc.  As part of this, we have been asking about side and solo projects lately, most specifically John Taylor.  A couple of things have been made clear to us by observing the responses.  First, there are a lot of people who truly are not familiar with the majority of John’s solo work, which makes me a little sad as I think his solo work has a lot to offer.  Second, people then vote when and on the songs that they have heard. This was very obvious this past week when once again the song, I Do What I Do, came up in the daily question.  This daily question got a lot of votes in comparison to other questions about John’s songs.  Then, I Do What I Do won as it has every time it has been included.  Why is that?  Is this really one of John’s best songs?  I would vote no and I suspect that if John was asked, he would agree with me.  It definitely stands out as being VERY different than the rest of his solo catalog.  It doesn’t showcase his vocals, musical ability or lyrics.  Off the top of my head, every single person I know who is familiar with the majority or all of John’s solo catalog agrees with this.  I don’t blame people for voting what they know.  I love that they want to participate.  We want them to participate.  However, one thing that we hope would happen is that people would want to explore John’s work by these questions.  In some cases that has happened.  In other cases, we have had people contact us to express frustration at finding his stuff as it is not on iTunes, which everyone, I think, would agree be good.  Thus, this blog post has a two-fold purpose.  First, as we move very close to picking the favorite John Taylor song, I thought it would be good to try and post some videos so people could vote with some knowledge behind that vote.  Second, I thought I might also share some places to look for his stuff.

The John Taylor songs that are still in the running are:  The Panhandler, Fields of Eden, Hey Day, Immortal, Just Good Friends, This is the Moment, I Do What I Do and Anon.  Here are the songs that I could find on youtube:

The Panhandler–Here is the link.  For some reason, I could put up the video here.

Fields of Eden:

Hey Day:

Immortal–Another one that won’t let me post the video.

I couldn’t find a video for Just Good Friends.  🙁

This is the Moment:

Anon:

Now, everyone can vote with a solid understanding of the songs behind the vote.  This makes my John fan heart happy.  🙂

Of course, the other purpose of the blog is to explain a few places to look for John’s albums, which include the following titles:


Where can you find these?  Unfortunately, Trust the Process, John’s old website, no longer exists. There is no store to buy the albums directly.  I wish there was for the people who are interested in catching up.  Yet, I encourage people to take the time to hunt them down.  Some places I have found his work includes eBay (USA), Amazon (USA) and Duran Duran Collector’s Store.  Now, I already hear some of you responding to this list, which I’m sure is in no way a complete one.  Some of you are pointing out to me that his work is really expensive on these sites.  In some cases, that’s true.  For example, eBay right now has his Meltdown album for $48, but I also see Feelings Are Good for $10.  Amazon has Techno for Two.  If you want a new copy, you could pay $61, but used is available for $25.  I remember trying to find Autodidact.  It was the last album to complete my collection.  I would see it on eBay every once in awhile but I really didn’t want to spend over $60 for it.  Thus, I kept waiting and watching.  Eventually, I saw it on Amazon for $15.  I can’t say that it will be cheap and I can’t say that completing one’s collection will be fast but it can be done and it will be SO worth it.  Another place that often has some of his stuff is Duran Duran Collector’s Store, which you can find here.  When I did a quick search over there, I saw albums like Techno for Two, Meltdown and more.  Again, they might not be cheap but they can be found.  
On that note, I hope that everyone does some online purchasing and listens to the songs posted above in order to make those educated votes.  I would love to increase everyone’s appreciation for John Taylor’s solo career.
-A

Save a Prayer — The Daily Duranie Review

We are moving towards the end of the Rio album.  Like Hungry like the Wolf, Save a Prayer is a song that instantly creates a response in fans.  It is well-known by the general public and a song that most of us have been listening to for a long time.  The song is one that is often stated by many fans as their favorite.  It is also, really, the band’s first ballad.  Thus, this week, we will try to step back from our own emotions and instant reactions to really take a look at this song.

Rhonda:

Musicality:  One thing that I have always appreciated in Duran’s music – they were unafraid to try new things, and the synthesized sound of what sounds very much like an Ocarina (but apparently is not, from what I have been told today) is something fairly unusual in 80s music. Backing up that melody, you can still hear Nick’s synthesizers in the mix, with that same loop continuing throughout the song, being allowed to come up in volume, and bend sound when appropriate. When I listen, it’s easy to pick up John’s bass as well, providing solid structure and depth. It’s the ying to the melody’s yang.  Roger’s drums are there, being felt rather than heard most of the time – which I can appreciate in a song like this.  Lastly, there is Andy’s guitar, which does not play a starring role at all in this song. Yes, there is a bit of a “solo” so-to-speak, but it is not meant as a “hey there look at me” moment. It is merely a backup “voice”, so to speak – and while I am typically one to yell for the guitar to be turned up, in this song, I cannot argue that the guitar does not occupy the proper place, allowing the lead voice and harmonies to be fully absorbed, and the music digested as a whole.

Vocals: I will go out on a limb here and say that I think this is one of Simons best recordings ever. His voice is simply beautiful here. Sure, there are a ton of harmonies and I would love to know how many tracks of vocals were done here, but his voice, in my opinion, is the star of the song – and it should be.  What I’d like to note here is that on some of the band’s work, the harmonies almost feel over done. They don’t feel natural – they feel forced just to give the song that “Duran Duran” sound. On this song, I think they are completely natural, in fact – when I was young, I really believed it must be the entire band singing with him. (Ah, to be 12 again…)  The lushness of the harmonies works extremely well with the structure of the song, continue to deepen the line of music, and let’s face it – no one harmonizes like Simon.

Lyrics: I love this song. I know that’s hard to believe because in recent years I’ve been one telling the band to put it away.  I might have even voted it off the Duranie-island at one point. (I can’t remember now, and no I’m not going to go look it up.)  I felt that the song…and I still FEEL…that the song was losing its effectiveness at shows. This song is so powerful, and the message is so poignant, I just felt as though people sort of stopped listening. Does that make sense? I’d rather see them put it away and pull it out on occasion to surprise and have it be this amazingly gorgeous moment between the fans and the band than have it be a song where I stand there and say “Oh, this again?”…because NO Duran song should be that way.  There are just way too many songs for them to play for anything to ever end up that way. (/end rant) This song is about living in the moment (there are a LOT of Duran songs that have that basic message in the lyrics. Interesting. Someone should write a book about that someday….), it’s about enjoying the place you’re in.  I don’t hear a very religious sort of message in there – although I am aware that some fans do.  For me, this song really is about loving the place you’re in and not thinking about the past or the future. I can’t help but relate this to touring or those infamous roadtrips I take with Amanda to see this band. For those few days: I am simply me. I’m not mom, I’m not a homeschooling parent, I’m not someone’s wife (well, I am…in case my husband is reading this..LOL), my point is that I’m Rhonda.  I get to just worry about me. Enjoy being me.  And yes, I have to say that I adore the that one-night stand line because (for me) it’s not REALLY about some guy using a really lame pick up line to get some girl, probably a gorgeous model as the case might be, into bed. It’s about saying “Hey, we’ve only got this one moment here. This one evening. Let’s make it something amazing and enjoy it.” That’s how those few days when I’m “touring” are for me.

Production: There is so much that could have gone wrong with this one.  They could have turned up the guitar in the mix….they could have gotten rid or buried the ocarina…Nick’s synths could have been way too far down…and those gorgeous harmonies and echo that gives a sort of warm ethereal feeling. Overall though, it is the little things.  Colin just seemed to have a sense of how to create emotion and feeling during production.  I don’t want to detract from the band’s talent, but even with an amazing song if it’s not recorded properly it will sound incredibly flat.  Just think of a lot of the bands of the 80’s that used synthesizers.  While there is a place for that one-dimensional, flat electronic sound – Duran never had that, and in addition to the band we can certainly thank production for that. Thankfully, Colin had a clear vision for how to communicate emotion without overdoing.

Overall: I’d forgotten how gorgeous this song really is. That’s what I mean by playing a song to death though, and I really wish the band would just LISTEN. They’re killing off their own music when they play the same basic greatest hits setlist tour after tour after tour.  It is OK to let people leave the venue wanting to hear ________.  I know this because I’ve done it myself for years and years (pick any obscure song that they never really play), and yet I still keep coming back. Fascinating thought. Regardless, my point is that doing the review gave me the opportunity to refresh my ears and appreciate the music and the message once again. I can’t honestly think of anything about this song that I don’t like, yet it’s difficult to give it five cocktails.  Why?  I think it has everything to do with it being overplayed, and I have to forget that as I review…which is not easy.  Is the song really perfect?  I think it might be as close as it can get.

Rating:  I’ve got to give it five cocktails!

Amanda:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  As we all know, this song starts out with the beautiful keyboard sounds before the other instruments join in.  The drums do exactly what they should by moving the song from one part to the next leading the listener.  Of course, Nick is still very much present with his signature twist of the knob, called a bender, that creates that sound that we all know and love and can easily spot Nick using in a live performance.  Yet, the real beauty seems to come from Andy’s guitars.  His guitar here isn’t a hard rock, pay attention to me and only me sort of guitar.  No, it is more subtle, more beautiful.  Truly, early Duran is often referenced in the tug-of-war between Nick and Andy.  In songs like Planet Earth, they are doing more call and response.  Here, they seem to be working together and, as the song goes, they really were in the writing and recording of this one.  This isn’t to say that John isn’t there as he is but it takes a good listen to notice him as the beautiful melody and guitar is typically noticed more.  Of course, like every Duranie from the 1980s, I can’t help to think of the visual while listening to the music.  It does seem to sound like that exotic, tropical, beach filled Sri Lanka.  It sounds warm and beautiful.

Vocals:  While the music is very beautiful, the listener is still drawn to Simon once the vocals begin.  These are classic Simon vocals with him venturing into his lower range, at times, during the verses.  The first chorus is such that it is all Simon until the end when “more voices” join in, creating a much stronger emotion in the listener.  Then, second verse includes more backing vocals with the “doo doo”s and such.  The second chorus like the second verse has stacked vocals, making it a much fuller sound, much more dramatic.  The background vocals are noticeable throughout the rest of the song, but don’t take anything away from it.  They feel rather natural and works to create emotion, I think.  The end continues with the “doo doo doo” along with Simon singing “Save a prayer” over and over again.  As a child, I remember getting this part in my head and it wouldn’t let go.  It was probably a sign that I should run far away from this band.  Ha!

Lyrics:  The lyrics to this song always give me mixed feelings.  People have obviously thought of the lyrics as “beautiful” and in some sense, they are.  Yet, it is about a one night stand.  It isn’t some religious statement, which I have read more than a few times.  Now, of course, I get that the idea is about going after one’s dreams, living in the moment, not letting fear stop you.  That’s nice but there is a part of me that can’t get past the one night stand part.  Are we sure this isn’t just some guy trying to convince some woman to go to bed with him?  I know.  I know.  It is one line.  That shouldn’t taint the whole song and it really doesn’t.  I love many other lines from the song.  Lines about looking for a thrill and knowing where to go definitely reminds me of touring.  I know that if I go on tour, it will be a thrill, no matter what.  I also love the idea of not dreaming but living.  That is a solid message.  As I said, though, the lyrics result in mixed feelings for me.

Production:  When I think of production, I tend to think of the little things.  Who had the idea to include more stacked vocals in the second verse and chorus?  Who suggested the “doo doo” addition?  If it wasn’t the producer, was he the one to know how much to include?  How loud they should be in the mix?  This, of course, reminds me of the story about how Nick stayed back in the UK to be there for the finishing mix of the album while the rest of the band headed to Sri Lanka to do those videos.  Then, Nick came later wearing all leather and sweating from the non-air conditioned heat.  My point here is really how Colin seemed to know, to sense, when to add, and when to allow the song to flow without adding anything.  It would be so tempting to do too much, especially with a ballad like this.  Luckily, he didn’t do too much.

Overall:  This is a tough song to review.  Like every other Duranie on the planet, as soon as I hear the song I think of the video or think of it played live with everyone having their lighters or cell phones out.    Those images are permanently etched into my brain.  The video is beautiful.  The image of them standing in a line at the end of the video looking up at the giant statue is one of my most favorite shots ever of the band.  Yet, at the same time, I’m not a big ballad person.  There has to be something more, something different for me to really love it (think Before the Rain here people.)  On top of that, I shy away from any song that seems to have a ton of hype around it and this one does.  Some fans go absolutely crazy for it.  It is hard to separate all of that to really think about the song.  Musically, it is beautiful and I do love the backstory with Andy and Nick.  Some of the lyrics really grip me while others make me cringe.  The vocals create a lush, emotion filled impact despite whatever shortcomings in the lyrics.

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!

You wanna make films?

Today is a special day because it is the birthday of one Katy Krassner!  We hope you have a terrific day Katy with many more ahead!  Katy is trying to get 5,000 followers on Twitter, so if you’re on there and want to follow (she doesn’t always talk about Duran, she’s pretty darn funny, and we really kind of like that!) – find her on Twitter as @AskKatyBook!

Did anyone get the TV Mania email yesterday?  Yes my friends, you too can create a little TV Mania by becoming a franchise owner!  What is this, you ask?  Well, to be fair I’m still trying to understand it all myself, but basically – you can flex your creative muscle and create your own music as a part of the TV Mania family.  Here is the text of the email:

Here is your chance to become part of our world and have your own TV Mania franchise. The process is very straightforward and entirely democratic, so it doesn’t matter if you are an advanced user (a DJ for example) or an absolute beginner – either way you are welcome.  Sign up HERE for full details on how to go about becoming a franchisee and for the chance to win some incredible prizes. 

The first step is to sign up and submit a name for your franchise. Unfortunately, we are only able to have one user for each location (e.g. TV Mania Moscow, TV Mania New York, TV Mania Pluto) but we have no problem with you inventing a place, so feel free to use your imagination. Once you have completed this process and the name you’ve chosen has been approved, we will send you an email with our manifesto, a tool kit full of samples and loops, and some design elements that you can use to make your own materials. Our hope is that you will be inspired to create any number of films, remixes, photography, animation, slideshows or graphics. You can use any design or editing programs such as Photoshop, Garage Band, Protools etc, and you can create and/or edit directly on YouTube. Instructions for this can be found on YouTube when you create your page).

Once you have made your first batch of materials you will need to upload them on to YouTube, keeping them ‘unlisted’ until you receive the go ahead from us to publish them to the world! 

In summary, here are the important steps:

*Submit the name you would like for your franchise HERE. You MUST use ‘TV Mania’ as the prefix for your franchise name, selecting the location that you want to have listed after that (for example: TV Mania Dublin). The name can be real or fictional, but we will only be able to  approve one name for each location. Please wait for approval of the name before moving forward to create your YouTube page. 

*Sign up for a YouTube Page HERE and begin creating your TV Mania Franchise, using the name you have chosen.

*If you use any materials that you did not personally create, you must clear the copyright before submitting them. This means that you need to get written permission from the person who did create them in order to use them. When you sign up to be a Franchisee, you are taking full legal responsibility for all of the materials you publish – so please don’t use things that you don’t own unless you have the authority to do so.  

*Upload your videos, animation, live performances, and/or photos, choosing ‘UNLISTED’  as the privacy option on the YouTube page, and using #TVMania on all of your video tags. Please note: it is vital you keep all of your uploads ‘UNLISTED’ until we approve them in order to avoid disqualification.

*Any materials uploaded and posted on any platform, website or device other than YouTube will be taken down immediately.

*Once you have finished making and uploading your TV Mania materials, follow the simple steps in the Manifesto to complete your Franchise submission.

*Email the links to your YouTube page to TVManiamusic@gmail.com for approval.

*After approval, we will send you an email allowing you to change the status of your materials to ‘PUBLIC’ and we will add you as a favorite to our TV MANIA YOUTUBE channel. This will mean all Franchises will be on one place and able to compete for prizes. 

*We will be judging the videos on style, uniqueness and creativity as well the number of views you receive, so promote your videos through friends, family and fans. Some of the prizes will be giving out are listed below:

– Private Skype sessions with TV Mania creators: Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo
– Personalized Nick Rhodes/Warren Cuccurullo Mixtapes
– Answers to any two questions you would want to ask Nick or Warren
-Autographed TV Mania Photographs
-Autographed TV Mania Vinyl
-TV Mania tote bag or T-shirt
-Digital downloads of the Bored with Prozac & the Internet? CD
-Digital downloads of the Bored with Prozac & the Internet? Remix EP


To get the Manifesto and full instructions on how to sign up, please visit: 
http://www.tvmaniamusic.com/franchise


I have to say, the thought is intriguing. Not only are several of the prizes offered very cool – I think the idea itself is as unique as the project at hand. I really like the idea of a fan community having some sort of ownership over what is created – not that I think we should necessarily be at all involved with the creation of the next Duran Duran album (Uh, no…), but I like the idea that the community becomes creative rather than just consuming.  I’m curious to see how many fans get involved and create works of art.

-R