Category Archives: Duran Duran

Headlights on the windowpane, they’re getting lost in the light of day

I am sure that by the time this is published, most of you will have read (if you were at all inclined) John’s blog that was posted up on duranduran.com yesterday. (Link goes directly to John’s blog post.) I think I probably echo the thoughts of most when I say that nothing he said surprised me, but it was reassuring to read that he is fine and seemingly happy.  For that, I’m thankful.  By the way John, your tweets made me laugh too, sometimes when it was most needed. Funny how good things work that way.

His short blog comments on the creative process, and how sometimes you just need to pull back inside your own head. (I am not quoting…nor am I really paraphrasing)  I get that.  Amanda and I have been working on our book for a long time (I am not going to embarrass myself by telling you all exactly how long) now, and my experience has been that I was most productive in the shortest amount of time when I was not writing the blog – meaning before we ever came up with the idea for Daily Duranie.  While I knew that having the blog was the smartest thing for us to do on a sort of “overall career-ish level”, it is incredibly difficult do write the blog and the book at the same time.  Often, I run out of time after the blog is finished and posted for the day (which frustrates me to no end).  And still more often, I have family members breathing down my neck. (Quite literally at the moment – my youngest is hanging onto the back of my chair insisting that I pay attention and play a game.)  The short answer is no – I really don’t know how I get much done.  (And sometimes – I really don’t get much done!!)  It isn’t just the youngest though, it is the constant questions. “Are you finished yet?” “How long until it is done?” “Why are you writing about that?”  “Do you really think anyone will want to read such a thing?”  It’s annoying and exhausting.  (And those questions are just from my FAMILY….)  So, when John mentions that there is energy to be stored in privacy, I get it.  In spades.

The one thing I really openly wish – and this will never come for a variety of reasons that I don’t dare print much less acknowledge – is that I could be left to just write.  That doesn’t mean unplugging myself from all of you as much as it means that I would love to have a short period of time where I could actually just keep writing.  Other writers out there will understand what I mean when I say that when I do feel a creative surge coming – the very last and most difficult thing to do is to stop.  Yet that is what my entire life is like.  I get on a roll with a chapter and then its time to go get my youngest. Or fix dinner.  Or do laundry. Or the 1,000 other things I have to do during each day. It makes life tough, and at this point I really have no recourse but to trudge along and try my best. I’ve learned that as a parent and even as a spouse, my needs often come last, and this is no exception.  It does not make the process less difficult, which must mean that if in fact I do finish this book (and I will, dammit), it means I must really want it to happen.  I do.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t even have office space  aside from my trusty dining room table.  I have begged and pleaded for my own space, but its not happening…for that same variety of reasons I don’t want to think about right now.  So once again, I found myself nodding in full agreement with John’s blog.  I hope he is far more creative than I am at the moment!:

-R

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Reminders:
Durandemonium 2013 Registration:  Early registration ends Thursday night at 11:55pm.  If you find yourself wanting to take advantage of the $135.00 ticket rate as well as the other perks, you have until Thursday to register!  We already have a sizable crowd registered, so this is going to be well-attended and our tickets are going fast.

T-Shirt Contest:  If you haven’t sent in a design for the convention t-shirt contest, there is still time!  You have until March 31st to send your design to the convention gmail: durandemonium2013@gmail.com .  Contest information is here.

Look Into the Future…Don’t Be Afraid

Duran Duran is back in the studio.  Those are, generally, music to my ears.  In fact, it might be my second favorite phrase after, “Duran Duran is on tour.”  🙂  This week, we have seen some evidence of that in the form of tweets.  Two days ago, Simon tweeted a picture of a computer screen with obvious music being made.  Then, a day ago Duran Duran tweeted again an excerpt from the Katy Kafe with Simon when he talked about returning to the studio.  In this clip, he mentioned about how things didn’t do quite how they were supposed to, as typical of first days.  Yet, there is hope as Roger is a fabulous drummer, John plays bass like a *****, Nick plays keyboards well, Dom plays a killer guitar and Simon can sing.  Also, Mark Ronson shared a picture of Roger Taylor behind his drum kit.  Dom didn’t stay out of the action either as he tweeted that it has been a productive couple of weeks in the studio for Duran and Mark.  Then, yesterday, another Duran tweet about how more pictures will be shown from the studio next week.

On top of all these official tweets were the responses from the fans I saw.  All of the ones I saw were positive.  (Of course, there might have been less than positive ones that I just didn’t see.)  Some people were just excited to see the pictures.  I get this.  While, of course, many fans do like to look at the band members and I’m sure that’s part of it, I also think seeing the picture makes it so much more real.  After all, we all know that words on twitter do not prove anything.  Pictures do something else that words can’t always do.  They can really show body language and give a deeper sense as to how the person(s) is (are) doing and feeling.  That picture of Roger, for example, shows him with a slight smile on his face, which is great!  Judge yourself–go here to look.  Thus, am I thrilled that we might get more pictures next week?  Of course, I am! 

Other fans are just now finding out that Duran is working with Mark Ronson again.  For those fans, they couldn’t be more thrilled (assuming that they loved AYNIN).  For most fans, this news brings a certain level of excitement but also a certain level of comfort.  Let’s face it.  Duran has been so innovative that they truly have tried to never make the same album twice and each album definitely sounds different from the album before it and the album after it.  Sometimes, the change has been welcomed, especially when it feels like they hit the nail on the hit with an album after one that wasn’t as well-liked.  All You Need Is Now is the perfect example of that.  A lot of fans were disappointed or worse with Red Carpet Massacre.  AYNIN was very much a welcomed change.  I suppose it can be argued that some of Duran’s best albums have been created after a not-as-great album.  Some would say the Wedding Album was another example of that.  My point here is that Duran often tries to change, to be different from the previous album. Will that happen with Mark?  It is hard to say.  Will the new album sound like a continued version of AYNIN?  Will it sound different?  The one thing a lot of us fans would say is that Mark seemed to really get Duran. Thus, it doesn’t matter as much if it sounds like AYNIN part 2 or is something totally different.  We have confidence that it will still sound and feel like Duran.

The other interesting thing about the band working with Mark again is that they haven’t worked with same producer two times in a row for a whole album since their first two albums when they worked with Colin Thurston.  Yes, I realized that they worked with Nile Rodgers a few times, but those weren’t all for albums.  Likewise, Alex Sadkin produced Seven and then produced Arcadia.  That still isn’t the same.  Anyway, interestingly enough, the first two albums plus AYNIN are definitely my top 3 Duran albums.  I wonder how much this fact of having the same producer will make a difference.  In particular, I have to wonder about how long the album might take.  I’m sure all of you out there are talking about Durantime as you read and I won’t disagree, but I have to wonder if already having established working relationships might not speed up the process.  Perhaps, it won’t speed up the process as much as it might make it more enjoyable for all involved.  We may never know.

No matter the length of time to make the album, I have confidence that it will turn out well.  I also have to hope that there continues to be tweets and updates from the studio.  It will definitely keep my excitement up!!

-A

Duran Duran: The Band Designed to Make You Party

Saturdays tend to be my day to catch up.  I usually stay pretty caught up in the early part of the week but by Thursday, I’m officially behind on household chores (laundry, grocery store, cleaning, etc.).  I’m also behind on my sleep.  Thus, by Saturday, I need to catch up so that I can be ready for the next week.  Often times, I also need to get caught up in what is happening in Duranland.  Thus, I have downloaded TV Mania and am spending some time on facebook and twitter.  I read through the week’s blogs again, too, to see if there is anything I wanted to comment on.  Then, it hits me, Rhonda announced that after our dinner banquet at the convention, we will venturing down to Late Bar, the Chicago club, for a long night of partying to their night, Planet Earth, filled with 80s music!  I cannot begin to tell all of you how excited I am for this night at the convention!!!  If it is anything like the banquet at the 2004 convention or the night at the Pyramid Club in 2007 for the fan show, it will be a night to remember, for sure!

When I signed up for the convention in 2004, I don’t remember even caring about what the specific events were.  I was just too excited by the idea about being around other fans and talking about Duran for a whole weekend.  I knew that I wouldn’t have to defend the band or my being a fan of theirs, which sounded like heaven.  As the event moved closer, I started to ponder more about what the actual weekend would be like.  I focused on what the other people were excited about and, clearly, they were really excited by the dinner/dance that was taking place on the Saturday night.  I didn’t really get it, other than I knew that there would be food there that was included in the price for the convention.  (This is the same for the convention coming up, by the way.)  Beyond eating, though, what would it really be like?

I remember walking towards the large room where the dinner/dance was being held and seeing other Duranies merging to enter the double doors.  The number of Duranies seem to multiple for this event as I don’t remember seeing as many people at the Friday night mixer or at the daytime activities.  Before I entered the room, though, I took note of the sign at the door.  I knew right then and there that this would be serious.  It wasn’t just a group of people getting together.  It was bigger and better than that.  My excitement increased dramatically!

As I entered the room, there were circular tables that were decorated with beads, lava lamps and little blow-up Astronaut dolls.  I also remember papers at every place setting.  One of those pages was a group picture, of sorts, of the band.  It was really an outline of a group picture that you could color!  How fun!  There was also a page of trivia that I remember doing almost immediately after sitting down.  My coloring page remains devoid of color but sits in my Duran scrapbook.  Soon enough, the music and videos started.  There is nothing quite like seeing Duran videos projected onto the wall with a bunch of Duranies in the room!  One of my favorite moments was when the video for Arcadia’s The Flame was shown as all of the John girls in the room *squeed* at his cameo moment!  I knew that I was in the right place then! 

After dinner, drinks continued to flow, more videos were shown and soon almost everyone was up out of their seats and dancing!  By the way, I love this picture because it shows the video (can you name it?), the astronaut on the table and the dancing!  Of course, there were other great moments during this festive party.  I remember some serious *squeeing* that happened during the New Moon on Monday video.  The men at the convention seemed to prefer the videos for Girls on Film and The Chauffeur.  In fact, they moved their chairs up close to view those videos.  I even remember the bartender getting into the music as she poured drinks for us!

After the dance was over, many/most/almost all of us were not ready to be done for the evening.  This dance had not only renewed the joy that can be found in fandom, but got us in the mood to party.  Wait, isn’t that what Simon says during the introductions at each and every show–that they are the band designed to make us party!  Oh and they did in this case and they didn’t have to be there to make it happen!  Anyway, most of us then decided to hit the city for additional partying!  During 2004, there was no set plan about where to go like there is for the 2013 convention (thanks to Late Bar!).  I joined the group who decided to wander Bourbon Street, including a little Howl at the Moon.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Howl at the Moon, it is a chain of bars in which there are piano players and a small band who performs covers of famous songs.  When we walked into this one in New Orleans (which sadly isn’t there anymore), I remember the group of people I was with encouraging me to turn in our request to play some Duran.  After all, we were part of a convention.  They had to do it, right?  Well, the nice tip we gave them probably didn’t hurt but…soon enough, some of us, including the authors of this blog, found ourselves on the stage singing, “Rio,” as the band there wouldn’t perform Duran otherwise.  This less-than-stellar performance is on video somewhere.  Thankfully, to the world, it has never seen the light of day!  After they played “Rio”, they went on to play “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World”.  Rhonda and I enjoyed those as well, especially since we could just sing along from our seats! 

Of course, I envision this convention to be even better as we will be combining the best of the 2004’s dinner/dance with a fabulous 80s night at a local club.  This, in fact, reminds me of the Pyramid Club in New York City.  There was a meetup planned there before the Fan Show in 2007.  It was an amazingly fun night and, in fact, my favorite part of that weekend.  What was that like?  Ah…you all will have to wait until next week for that description and pictures.  This blog is long enough.  😉 

Before I sign off, though, since I am all about catching up, I just wanted to remind everyone that early registration for Durandemonium 2013 goes through this Thursday, March 21st.  We also have a t-shirt design contest going on and are looking for people to design the t-shirts for the convention.  Details can be found on this blog:  here.  Now, I’m going to look through more of my pictures for the convention in 2004 before I start doing the dishes.  It is way more fun!

-A

We Covered All the Angles

Fandom is funny.  Duranland is funny.  I don’t mean funny in a laugh out loud sort of funny but in an interesting, thought-provoking kind of way.  This week, it seems to me that the Duran universe has been truly scattered.  What do I mean by this?  I mean that the fans aren’t all focused on just one thing.  In fact, I would say that there are many different focal points with various people focused on them.  At least, this is how it feels, seems to me.  So, what are different groups thinking about?  Some are definitely into TV Mania.  Others are still talking about Simon’s facial hair of choice these days.  John Taylor’s lack of tweeting occupies others’ thoughts.  A couple of people might be thinking about the fact that the band is back in the studio.  There are a few of us who are thinking about the convention coming up in October.  For some fans, none of these matter.  Instead, they are thinking about Depeche Mode’s new album or another favorite artist.  Am I the only one seeing it like this?  If this does seem to be the case, does it happen during all downtimes?  Why are some people into one thing and others into something different?

I am willing to bet that this is a problem that is only really found during the times that Duran isn’t promoting an album or isn’t touring.  I think back to August when Nick was sick and shows had to be canceled.  This news was the ONLY thing people were thinking about and talking about in the fandom, from what I could tell.  Likewise, when All You Need Is Now came out, people were talking about the album, the songs they liked, the songs they loved, the songs they could have done without.  We don’t have albums or tours to center our discussions around right now.  Those people who are into TV Mania are probably arguing with me right now.  They are probably saying to themselves, “What is Amanda thinking?  Don’t we have TV Mania to talk about?”  The simple answer is yes.  We do.  That said, I have seen plenty of people say that they aren’t going to buy it and don’t care.  What is their reasoning, from what I could tell?  Some have listened to the samples and don’t like it enough to buy it.  Others, frankly, are not fond of Warren and don’t want to be reminded of him.  It also seems to me that those people who are really into it are Nick fans (meaning that Nick is their favorite member) or fans who loved the era of Duran when Warren was in the band.  For those fans, I’m sure that they are reminded of a time when they loved the music and line-up.  Maybe, it even reminds them of good times that they personally had.  I can’t knock that even if I can’t relate.  Heck, part of me wishes that I was that excited by the project. 

Simon’s current look is getting attention in some areas even though we have now seen the mustache for awhile.  Who might be into that topic?  This might be a big deal to Simon fans.  Of course, for every fan who is talking about his look, there is another fan who wishes that the fans would just talk about the music or would shut up about the band members’ looks.  Again, I really can’t fault either side.  If John grew a mustache, I bet be talking about that, too.  Yet, I get why people get annoyed with those who only talk about the band looks.

What about John Taylor and twitter?  Rhonda mentioned this one yesterday.  She talked briefly about how the band’s presence on social networking sites has to do with marketing, but that she misses their presence, nonetheless, and wished that real rapport had been established.  As I read that and people’s reactions to that blog post as well to other blogs on here about this issue, I realized how much this issue matters to people.  For some, this is a huge deal.  It is their fandom’s focus.  Like the TV Mania fans or the Simon’s mustache fans or anti-fans, I can understand their focus even if I don’t get it.  I don’t really miss the band on Twitter.  Why is that?  It is much the same reason that I haven’t been jumping up and down with excitement to TV Mania.  It doesn’t feel like my thing.  I never had any interaction with any of them on Twitter.  Ever.  Part of this was because my schedule didn’t allow it and part of it is because I wouldn’t tweet much to them for a variety of reasons.  Do I feel jealous of people who did have interactions?  I’m sure there is a part of me that is, to some extent.  I’m only human and I’m a fan just like everyone else.  What fan wouldn’t want interaction?  More than that, I just felt left out, which, in my opinion, is worse.  I didn’t feel like I was a part of the fandom as it seemed that everyone was tweeting them and getting responses from them.  While I was always excited for them, it always felt like hearing about the party and not being at the party.  So, part of me is relieved that I don’t have to feel that right now.  That said, I wish that my friends and other fans who did have those good times with the band could have it again.  I saw how happy they all were when they did get a response from them. 

Maybe, for some of these fans, they are frustrated by what they perceive as lack of appreciation.  This frustration might lead some to seek other bands.  Others might also go for other bands to fill in the time.  Heck, even Rhonda and I are thinking about going to see Depeche Mode.  Yet, Depeche isn’t where I’m focused.  I’m focusing on planning the convention.  Why?  Some of the reasons are obvious, including that I know how amazing conventions can be and that I want a place for all of us to be able to celebrate our fandom.  An additional reason, though, absolutely has to do with my desire to belong.  I don’t feel like I belong to those TV Mania fans as I wasn’t really into Duran much during the Warren era for a variety of reasons.  Simon isn’t my favorite so that mustache-gate doesn’t work for me.  The band members’ lack of social networking time isn’t my thing for the reasons mentioned above.  While I could turn to another band, logically, emotionally, I can’t.  My loyalty is with Duran and with Duranies.  The convention is my chance to feel like a part of this fandom.  I also feel like the convention could be an event, a time, a setting in which all fans, no matter their personal perspectives can come together to celebrate being a Duran Duran fan.  After all, no matter the focus, the perspective, we are all Duranies, right?  We all the love them and, in the end, that’s all that really matters.

-A

The price of my blue star-eyed weakness

I think I’m starting to have a little bit of cabin fever.

At some point yesterday as I sat in a ridiculous amount of traffic going from my house to Santa Ana where my oldest attends high school, my mind wandered, thinking of the trips I have lined up for the next several months. Aside from vacation with my family, there are none. No road trips with friends, no cackling (oh yes, cackling!) in a hotel room at 2am over a blog we’d just written or a review we’d just finished, no cursing the band (ANY band for that matter) while on a highway in what appears to be the middle of nowhere in about the eighth hour of driving time to the next destination. Nothing. What’s more, I tried to remember the longest I’d gone between trips in the past several years (Since about September of 2004, which was what, eight and a half years ago now?), and I think the longest I’ve gone has been about six months, unless you count while I was incubating my youngest…I don’t, primarily because I was sick for most of that time and really, the time feels like a blur now!

The last time I saw Amanda was in August, which was about seven months back. For a while, I’d promised my husband, “No more traveling for a while!” (A promise he has definitely held, I must say!) But now? I’m getting antsy. (On the other hand, he is not.) It’s not just about going to see the band – because let’s face facts here: if I’m waiting for that, it’s going to be quite a while. They only just began the long process of recording, and while I would love to see them again, I know they can’t tour constantly. In this case, its about just having time to myself and seeing my friends. I know that other moms out there can understand this – when I am here at home, I am the very last one on the totem pole. I take care of everyone and everything else first. I don’t have time for much outside of that, and there are times when I really need a break. Then there is the little matter of my friends. Whether by choice or by circumstance, most of my friends do not live in this state. I communicate with them often by email, Facebook, Twitter and phone, but it just isn’t the same. There is a certain allure to the notion of abandoning my everyday chores and requirements in order to spend a long weekend concentrating on just being me. I would think most of us, regardless of the path we walk in life, would understand that.

So a few nights back, I saw that Depeche Mode is touring. I’ve always liked Depeche Mode – I don’t know that they are a favorite for me now in the same way they were when I was in high school, but I like them. Do I like them enough to travel? That’s a tough question. For me, traveling isn’t quite as simple as packing my bag and heading out the door – and I’m not just talking about the expense – it’s the logistics. It is indeed a pain for me to get everything together, coordinate schedules and beg my husband for help. He isn’t quite as agreeable to the idea of my being gone as one might imagine, and so when I touched upon the subject in passing, I got the “double eyebrow with a scowl” look. Not exactly an encouraging start. Of course, I didn’t get the flat out “No” that I received a few months back when I had requested to use his frequent flier miles for a ticket to the UK. (Listen, there was a gig I really wanted to see…and we’re just going to leave it at that.) The good news is that I’m not asking to go to the UK. (yet) I’m asking for a weekend away with friends…here in the states! That seems rather simple.

Oh sure, there’s a band involved, but it’s not like I’m going to go and scream for another man (*coughs*…MEN…I mean MEN…) for several nights. Unless you’re talking about Dave Gahan, but even then…it’s really not the same. Besides, my husband isn’t the least bit worried about my reaction to the men, or theirs to me. He has been to DD shows with me, and it is like he says, “They don’t even know you’re alive, so why would I be worried?!?”

I am certain there’s a compliment in there somewhere. Right?? (You should probably know that I’m being sarcastic. If not, trust me, I am.)

So once again I find myself plotting. The timing for the Depeche Mode tour is not the greatest for me. I am gone during the last week or so in July through the first weekend in August, and I think that by the time the band gets to the US we’re dealing with Amanda’s school schedule along with the schedules for my kids, never mind the convention in October…and I am still going to have to work around the airline miles thing. I don’t want to use up too many (frequent flier) miles because, as any good Duranie knows, I need to leave a cushion for the next Duran tour, whenever that might be, and yet I hate actually buying airfare because it’s horribly expensive these days, and it depletes the touring fund. Decisions, decisions.

I can’t speak for everyone out there, but for me – this all really comes down to missing my friends.  I’ve said it before – the band seems to be merely an excuse to get together. (a fantastic reason, actually) It is during these times where I wish that I didn’t live in California, because everyone that I am close with lives elsewhere. Both a blessing and a curse, really.  It’s great to plan to go different places – and with everyone scattered, it is a great chance to see different areas of the country, but on the other hand, you learn very quickly to go for long periods of time without seeing one another. It’s not like being able to go to lunch with friends here at home. Faced with what is likely to be years in between tours, do we wait until the next one, or at least until the convention to get together?? Do we do a trip to go see Depeche Mode, even if its a really quick “one show” trip? Planning a trip just to go somewhere without a band playing is fine, but it is very different. There isn’t the same spark of energy for me, but we’ve done it before and still had a great time. I’ve more questions than decisions today, my friends.

Yes, of course I miss the band. I do. I’ve been listening to their music in the car lately, and I can’t get through any songs in the setlist for the last tour without smirking at the memories. I loved having Simon come to center stage and sing Before the Rain just before the whole house lights up and Dom & John turn around to face the audience for the first time.  I loved watching Nick look out into the audience and give a grin from time to time – clearly enjoying the shows. I miss watching Roger stand up during Tiger Tiger (because otherwise he’s tough to see!). I still grin when I think of the way that John and Dom would stand together and play…and don’t even get me started on White Lines or even having Dom look my way during Hungry Like the Wolf (Yes, even THAT song makes me miss the shows!) I miss seeing the audience clap together for A Man Who Stole a Leopard.  I get chills thinking about all of it. I still see I actually miss seeing John on Twitter or Roger post on Facebook, or being able to tweet Dom on Twitter and know that they actually see it and might even respond.  Simon seems to be the only one who still participates on occasion, and at least its nice to see him there and know he’s really not forcing himself, he does it because he chooses.  I’m not completely delusional, I know that social networking is all about marketing for them, and right now they don’t have much to market – but I won’t lie – it would feel a lot better if they were interacting once in a while and not just when they had something to sell us.  Silly of me to think we’d gotten past that and had some sort of actual, real report with them – and I think that’s the moment when it is clear that yes, I’m just a fan like anyone else.  And I am.

-R

 

So Misled…By Lady Xanax

I apologize for the lateness of the blog today.  We woke up this morning with no cable – which for us means no TV, no phone and of course…no internet.  Not a good way to begin a Wednesday and I should have recognized this as a sign to just call the day off and go to the beach. (It’s delightfully warm here in So CA – we’re in the 80’s at my house today!)

On top of that, I received news this morning from a friend of mine that her husband was in a  mountain biking accident over the weekend – he apparently fell while on a trail and has a brain injury along with a concussion, skull fracture and is being kept in a medically induced coma to try and allow his brain to rest.  She has two sons about the ages of my two oldest, and she is a small business owner besides, so it isn’t as though she has unlimited time off or a nest-egg to draw from in order to pay for his hospitalization. So many of her friends and I are trying to organize food for her kids over the next several weeks.  She is a sorority sister to me, and I’m just shocked at how one seemingly minor fall can change an entire family’s life.  So again, I apologize because I know I’ve missed the RSS feed cutoff – which means it won’t go out until far later today my time.

With that in mind – I am having difficulty thinking of something Duran related to write about today, and I’m sorry for that. My mind is just elsewhere, and to be honest – Duran Duran feels pretty damn trivial in comparison. The one thing I can say is that a month or so back, Dom wrote of a near-miss he had with a car while he was riding a bicycle. I’m sure he saw his life flash before his eyes that day, and all he was trying to do was ride home.  Thank goodness nothing more serious than his temper (and rightfully so!) was affected. My friend’s husband was just on a trail, just going out for a ride on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t know the details (none of us really do since Brian has been in a coma since the accident), but it appears he hit something on the trail and was sent sailing over the handlebars of his bike.  In an instant anything and everything can change.

So, before I bring anyone else down, I have a wonderfully written guest blog to share for today.

Hug your loved ones today.  

-R

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By C.K. Shortell

Many of Daily Duranie’s blogs get me to thinking about my own status as a fan. I read about their road trips and think, gosh, I could never get on a plane and fly across the Atlantic just to see them play in England. But paying hundreds of dollars for a floor seat to their 2005 show at Madison Square Garden? Sure, no problem. I’m down with that. Did I mention I had to have the ticket overnighted? 
Anyway, I don’t have very many regrets about the time or money I’ve spent on the band.  Does my iTunes library really need over 1,000 DD songs? Yes it does–all of those bootleg live tracks and demos and remixes are 100% necessary. Well…almost all of them. There is one bootleg that I feel a twinge of regret over. It happened long ago…well, at least three albums and two lineup changes ago.
I was at work and happened to scan eBay for any bootlegs from the Up Close Tour (which at this point was over, and the reunion had been announced). This was in June 2001, when we didn’t have a firewall to prevent us from accessing eBay from the office, and when eBay was actually less strict about people selling concert bootlegs. (Or maybe it was just 2001 and nobody gave a s**t about Duran. I prefer the “less strict” theory.) I happened to find a CD of a show in Atlanta which marked the only time the band ever played Lady Xanax live. I think it’s a decent song, although there are probably four or five songs off Pop Trash I’d rank ahead of it—but that didn’t matter. I had to have it. It was an audience recording but that was okay—I had collected a few of those and some were excellent. 
Keep in mind that the 2001 Up Close tour is unique. The band was not promoting a particular album (even though Pop Trash was about nine months old, they were only playing a few tracks off it.) This particular lineup–with Joe Travers on drums and the late Wes Wehmiller on bass, along with Simon, Warren, and Nick–was the most willing to mix up the set list. I actually saw them three nights in a row on this tour and they changed around 30-40% of the set each night. This is something that the reunited lineup, as well as the Dom Brown incarnation, has never truly done (and they should, especially now that they have a few more albums of material under their belt. I would love a 2000s version of the Up Close tour with a heavy emphasis on AYNIN, Astronaut, and yes, even some cuts off RCM, plus the requisite hits to fill the seats). 
In addition to the constantly changing set list, the band had played some pretty obscure stuff.  They had brought back Michael for a few shows; they would play the perfecto remix of Out of My Mind; even Late Bar showed up once or twice. The shows began with Silva Halo, which actually ended up being kind of a (surprisingly) cool way to start (that no doubt influenced them years later when they led off with Before the Rain!). You just never knew what you were going to get…so of course, when I saw Lady Xanax on the set list of that Atlanta show, I jumped at the chance to get it.
The bidding started at $20. I didn’t hesitate—I put in $30. About two minutes later, I refreshed my screen, only to find…that I had been outbid. WTF? And then I knew—it was on. Back and forth for the next hour the bids went (again, I’m at work…luckily I had an office at the time so nobody was looking over my shoulder watching the drama unfold.) With about five minutes to go, the price had escalated to $70. I heard some rumblings outside—a thunderstorm was brewing. I ignored the weather. What could possibly go wrong, anyway? Then the unthinkable happened: a power surge knocked out my computer. I sat there, stunned.  Four minutes left and I was offline!
I ran out to my team and, seeing who was still online, I quickly figured out that one of our temps still had the internet up and running (and just what the heck was she doing online?  She should have been working!  But I digress). I kicked her out of her seat and, frantically logging on to eBay, I was able to access the bid again. The price was now $80 and I was not the highest bidder. Two minutes to go. I would not be stopped. I could hear it…I knew the band must have killed it. They always sound better live…this would be no exception. I hurriedly typed in $120. Part of me, somewhere, screamed inside—W….T…F…!!!!  But I didn’t care. I was going to have that concert. It was Lady freaking Xanax!  LIVE!
I won the bid. $100. Not including shipping.
Once the thrill wore off, the doubts crept in. I didn’t even like Lady Xanax that much—Pop Trash Movie was my ballad of choice off that album. Lady Xanax was okay…but was it really worth $100 (plus shipping)? For an audience recording? I pushed the doubts aside.  Live Duran bootlegs were always worth it.
Today, in telling this story, I feel like the narrator in Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken:  “I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence…” I got the CD a few days later. I listened to the entire concert—I wanted to hear Lady Xanax as they’d heard it that night. What a surprise for that audience…what delight!  It was the ninth track in the show.  There was a pause after “All She Wants Is.” Simon said, “Well, we’re going to play a slow one…this one is another new one…it’s Lady Xanax.”
Some of the crowd went nuts. Probably less than half; maybe fewer than that. And then it began…my excitement grew…and Simon didn’t even make it out of the first verse without screwing up the lyrics.
I sat there, stunned, as Simon mumbled something and then they launched into the chorus. I don’t even remember the rest of the song. I think the guitar was pretty cool but the second verse’s lyrics sounded off too. It’s just too painful to talk about.
Every few years, when I’m making a playlist, the thought will occur to me that I should include the live Lady Xanax that I have. In fact, before writing this, I decided to listen to it again. After all, I paid $100 for it (plus shipping). And every time, I just sit there, shake my head, and move on.
I’m smarter and wiser now…I’ve learned from my mistakes. $100 (plus shipping) for an audience recording? No way I’d make that purchase today. Nope, I’ve learned my lesson.  Now, that’s not to say that, if anyone has a soundboard quality live recording of certain songs (Runway Runaway, anyone?) that I couldn’t be persuaded…no, no, no!  Enough! 
But, seriously, if you have Runway Runaway… I’d even pay for the shipping…



C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, both of whom love watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a three year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.    

Planet Earth at The Late Bar

Forget TV Mania for a second – I promised that when we had fun convention news to share that I’d post it first. Today is one of those days!

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been ironing out the schedule of events – the goal being to make everyone forget all about whether Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Dom are there with us or not! (A lofty goal, no doubt – but we aim high.) Some details are still coming in, so I don’t have the entire schedule to post, but one key element has been worked out so I can share.  I don’t think the irony will be lost on anyone, especially those who have been reading the blog for any real length of time.

On Saturday evening, we are having a banquet at Harry Caray’s – which is literally steps from the Hotel Amalfi. The banquet ends at about 11pm – and we definitely won’t be ready to call it a night yet.  So, we did what must be done, and found a nightclub named Planet Earth (80’s night) at the Late Bar – an easy cab ride from the hotel – where the festivities will continue to the wee hours. I know what you’re thinking here, “Is that really the name?” Oh yes my friends, it is really the name – I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! I won’t lie, I was sold on the place as soon as I heard the name. Amanda’s favorite song combined with one of my very favorites? Done! We’ve been in contact with the club, and they are VERY excited to be hosting our late night party antics – we will have a section of the club reserved just for us. (By the way, get some sleep now, because the club is open to 5am and we plan to close the place down, Duranie-style.) Things to note here: there is NO cover charge to get in, but save your cash, Duran-fans, because this bar takes cash ONLY.  (Prices run $4-5 a piece for mixed well-drinks) No debit cards, no credit-cards, no leaving a bar tab open all night only to discover you’ve consumed your child’s college education…however, they do have an ATM on site.

Late Bar Chicago

We are also working on plans for Saturday – we hope to have one group activity outside of the hotel and then several other options (including free time to see the city) on Saturday afternoon so that way those of us on the committee can get the party ready for that evening.  I wish I could tell you what we have up our sleeve for Saturday – all I can really say, and even this is probably too much, is that if all goes well, it will be the next best thing to going to a concert – so stay tuned here!

Additionally, I have a question for anyone interested in the convention – whether you’ve paid for tickets yet or not.  We have been looking into options for convention communication, not only for those of us trying to get information out to you, but anyone planning to attend or interested in general.  We want to allow avenues for people to meet, mingle and maybe even find traveling partners or roommates for the convention. Currently, we have a Facebook page and even an event page on Facebook just for the convention – and it seems as though it might be difficult to have fun conversations and trade messages there, but we don’t want to overload anyone either. Is that enough, or is there anyone out there that would love to have a message board for that sort of thing?  Let us know because we want to do what is best for everyone.

In the meantime, go give a listen to “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?” and let me know what you thought!  Drop me a line at dailyduranie@gmail.com or find @dailyduranie on Twitter or Facebook, I want to know what you’re thinking!

-R

Bored with comparisons…AND the internet!

I think I’m missing something in the translation somewhere (and it’s probably that I completely misread!) because I could have sworn that today is March 11. I should be able to download TV Mania’s “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?”…yes?  I woke up knowing that I would need to download this and give it a listen – but some of the best laid plans never work out, including this one. I have been denied.  iTunes says it’s a pre-order, so I must wait.  Disappointing, but not world-ending.

However, this makes what I’m about to comment on that much more difficult. I’ve listened to the snippets of the album that are available, and yes – I’m curious about the complete album. I look forward to listening to it, as do many others.  Obviously, I’m not expecting to hear Duran Duran. I’m also not expecting to have my mind blown, either.  It is my belief that the most groundbreaking elements of this album will have nothing to do with the sounds coming out of the speakers – and maybe I am alone in that regard, but it is where I stand.  Firmly.

I did take notice yesterday when someone asked why Duran couldn’t ever be that interesting. (in reference to TV Mania)  If you’re on Twitter, you might have seen that question yourself.   Isn’t that sort of like comparing apples and oranges??  I love fruit in general, but I have my favorites – and I can’t really compare the flavor, texture, composition or juiciness of a mango with that of a blackberry.  Sure, they are both fruit, and they both have a certain amount of sweetness, tang and juice – but they are completely different otherwise.  I’ve been a musician for a very long time, and even I recognize that what I might not find terribly interesting or even “worthy”, others relish.

What does “interesting” really mean, anyway?  I know plenty of people who find this sort of electronica terribly boring and way too predictable. The samples and loops might not necessarily draw people in the way a band might.  Different people appreciate different types of music – and that doesn’t mean that one is by far better than all others.  I love classical music.  I can sit and listen to the same piece for hours and still hear new things with each listen, and to me – that is wonderfully interesting.  Is it more interesting to me though than say, “Before the Rain”?  No.  It’s totally different!  I have listened to “Before the Rain” for YEARS now and yet I still hear different things every single time it is played.  I listen with a different ear, and depending upon my mood – I feel different every time I listen as well.  Is one “better” than the other?  Let me put it this way: if you’ve read a brilliant review of a specific Rap album but yet you can’t stand Rap – it isn’t going to make much difference if the reviewer has said it is the best Rap album ever made, is it?  Interest only counts if you are, well, interested!

To try and somehow attract Duran fans to buy the album by downplaying the talent and writing of their favorite band seems a little…well…not-terribly-well thought out, no matter the intention. Pitting DD fans against TV Music is a bad plan, overall. Equally, I don’t think feigning ignorance over the chasm that certain guitar players have created within the fan base is exactly brilliant either.  It doesn’t take long to see that to this very day, there are some very deep seated feelings about the various guitar personnel that have taken the stage with the band.  Saying that one is better than the others or “more creative” is just trying to add fuel to a fire that should have died out long ago, no matter who you might name as personal favorite.  This is a completely different project with a completely different outcome that it has earned all on its own.

These two projects: Duran Duran and TV Mania, are incredibly different. It is perfectly OK to love both for exactly what they bring to the turntable. I am sure that there will be elements heard that are recognizable – and I’m excited to spend time listening. I think the album is bound to be fantastic, and very different from Duran Duran, which I applaud.  Pop, electronica, rock, blues – they are all fabulously different genres of music, and in spite of that, I think we can all find the “interest” within all of them without unnecessary judgment.

-R

Interpretations of A Matter of Feeling

It’s Sunday and I’m trying to adjust to the new time as we had to “spring forward” today by an hour.  Painful.  My brain isn’t feeling super creative with coming up with a cool, new, interesting topic.  Thus, it might be time to look at a Duran song, lyrically.  Create, I cannot do.  Analyze, I can.  Anyway, I took a look at the songs that people suggested we focus on and picked the song, A Matter of Feeling.  This song is off of Notorious and not one that gets a lot of attention as it wasn’t a single.  I also don’t hear it mentioned as a fan favorite at all.  Nonetheless, it is worthy of a look.

Here are the lyrics:
How does it feel, when everyone surrounds you?
How do you deal, Do crowds make you feel lonely?
What do you say?
When people come and try to pin you down?
Aquaintainces smile, but that’s no understanding.
How after a while, you keep falling off the same mountain.
Try to explain it, but nothing really gets that high.
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..
Emotion’s a game , saved up for a rainy Monday
But you laugh just the same, ’cause it’s been pouring on Sunday;
Call up your numbers and never let the zeros let you down.
How does it feel?
Is time to heavy to hold, whatever you decide for the moment is holy,
whenever you slow down to see life is passing by.

Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

(You can..)
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..

So, what are the various interpretations out there and are they logical ones?  Here are the few I could find:
*About the band’s attempt to gain respect but how that isn’t their real focus
*Positivity towards the future
*The end of a relationship that got into a rut and resulted in cheating
*Financial fall out connected to the end of a relationship
*A person looking for love and a real connection through one night stands
Hm…Do these interpretations make sense?  Let’s take them one at a time.  Could it be about the band’s lack of desire to gain respect?  The only line that I could relate to this idea is the line about never letting “zeros get you down”.  That could mean that it shouldn’t or doesn’t matter if they get hits.  Yet, I struggle to figure out how the rest of the lyrics relate to that idea.  Why would the body be desperate for something new, if they were content with not having respect?  Nope.  That one doesn’t work for me.  
The positivity towards the future interpretation doesn’t really work for me, either.  Where’s the positive?  “Tears will dry as you leave” doesn’t feel all that positive to me.  “This moment’s madness sure to pass” could be that the bad times won’t last forever.  Okay.  I’ll go with that.  If the song is describing rock bottom, which I could get, that line about how the madness won’t last forever and the line about never letting the zeros get you down could be about holding on until it gets better, I guess.  I will say this much.  This interpretation works better than the first one.  
What about the idea that it is about the end of a relationship that involved cheating and financial problems?  So far, this one works for me the best.  There are many lyrics that could work for this one.  The beginning verse describes a person feeling lonely despite being surrounded by others and that there is not understanding.  I also get the idea of cheating with lines like, “Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you.”  The lines about tears falling could relate as well.  Yet, of course, these affairs don’t cut it as there is still desperation for something new.  Nothing is working.  Of course, all of these same lyrics could be used to describe someone looking for a real connection.  This person might be lonely, not because of a failed relationship, but just because no one has really connected with him/her.  Therefore, the last theory could work as well.
My thoughts about this song were a little different.  I always thought it was about Duran during that time.  Crowds surrounded them.  Yet, they felt lonely.  The general population could not understand what their lives were like and people were always trying to get something from them.  The high could a real high, I suppose, or the high that comes from performing.  Zeros could be about the lack of hits.  Now, we all know that many members of the band weren’t exactly saints when it came to the love and sex department.  One night stands were not unheard of.  Perhaps, in fact, they were pretty common and were becoming a bad habit at that point. 
What do the rest of you think?  How do you interpret the song?  Do one these interpretations work for you?  Do you have a different theory?
-A

You Don’t Have to Dream It All, Just Live a Day

All the convention talk has made me think back to that grand year of 2004.  I was at a strange crossroads that year.  I had been involved in a different fandom since about 2000 but that was coming to a close.  During that fandom, I didn’t do a lot with the fan community, at least in person.  I was on the message boards quite a bit but didn’t go to that fandom’s conventions or events.  The one thing I did do was get together with nearby fans in the fall of 2002.  In fact, I still get together with the majority of that group to this day.  We have become life long friends, which wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t reach out to each other.  During our local fan get togethers, we did talk about the fandom’s conventions as two of them had gone to them.  I remember sitting in my friend’s living room and looking through their pictures.  Part of me was jealous.  A lot of me was jealous.  What was I jealous of?  Simple.  I was jealous both of their experiences with other fans at these large, cool events but I was also jealous of their ability to go to those events.  Initially, I dismissed these feelings by saying that I couldn’t afford to go all the way to California or New York, which is where those conventions were.  Yes, money is always an issue and it certainly was at that time for me since I was paying for graduate school.  That said, for me, this was more of an excuse.  I was scared. 

I was scared to travel.  I was scared at all that socializing.  What if I don’t get along with anyone?  What if nobody would go with me?  What if, what if, what if…I could go on and on and I did, in my head.  Yet, as I heard more and more about my friends’ experiences, the less I was able to dismiss my desire to go to events, too.  While I feared rejection from these other fans, I had to believe that it would be okay since we were all fans.  We had something, and something huge, in common.  Unfortunately, despite my increasing courage, I never made it to any of that fandom’s conventions as they soon became very few and far between.  In the end, I still benefited from this as I was much more likely to go to one in say…another fandom, a fandom a little closer to home.

In 2003, as we all know, Duran had reunited and were playing gigs in small venues in various places in the States.  I had heard of the reunion but it didn’t catch my attention.  Perhaps, that is because I was still involved in this other fandom.  Maybe, and more likely, it is because I didn’t allow myself to think much about it.  I was finishing my master’s degree.  This, of course, required an action research project (education’s master’s thesis).  I was deep into finishing that in the fall of 2003 when Duran came to Chicago.  I didn’t even consider going.  Yet, Duran was sitting there in the back of my mind.  Strangely enough, soon after I graduated, one of the people who was involved in that other fandom mentioned to me that she liked Duran.  That’s all it took.  I had to find out everything I could about Duran and what they were up to!  I dived into Duranland and haven’t left since!

Fast forward a little bit to middle of 2004, to when I was really ready to become a part of the Duran fan community.  I found a little message board called DuranDuranFans.  This message board seemed to be friendly.  Even better, they seemed to be talking about a convention!  What’s this?!  A Duran Duran Fan Convention?!  I must go.  I was ready.  I had been ready.  Yet, of course, I still had to quiet down my inner voice of worry.  One significant thing worked to overpower this voice.  Shows.  Concerts.  Gigs.  Tours.  I knew that they were coming.  All of Duranland knew they were coming in 2004.  After all, an album was about to be released with a massive tour to follow.  What do shows have to do with conventions?  Simple.  I wanted to make sure that I had people to go to shows with me.  I knew that I was going to want to go to concerts but wouldn’t want to go alone.  I needed friends as into Duran as I was to go with. 

I went to the convention as we all know.  Did the convention do what I expected it to do?  It did and more!  I met MANY people to go to shows with.  Beyond that, the convention was a complete blast!  I had so much fun!  Still, after all these years, the convention is one of my favorite experiences of all time.  Why?  Well, that it truly a topic of another blog, which I will do.  I will say this much.  It gave me courage to travel, to go out of my comfort zone, which was SO necessary for everything I have done in Duranland since then.  On top of that, I met this other person there.  You all might know her and my life hasn’t been the same since!!!  😉

-A