Since we are on a holiday theme the last couple of days, I have to share that it has felt a lot like Christmas at my home. It isn’t because I have a tree up. While I have a little tree, I hardly ever put it up since it is a lot of work and I end up either at my parents’ or at my sister’s for the big day. So, if it isn’t because of a tree, could it be that I have been baking cookies or wrapping presents? Sadly, no. While I have a table full of gifts for others that are desperately in need of wrapping, it hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t had any time for wrapping or baking as I have been working and getting some homemade gifts ready to go. What’s the deal, then? The deal is that I got my merchandise from renewing on DuranDuranMusic, Duran’s official fan club, with the “gold” package. For those of you not aware of what the “gold” package entails, here’s how the website describes it: “A terrific new GOLD level VIP member package is NOW HERE! The Gold package includes all the great perks of membership such as pre-sale access, contesting, Katy’s Kafes, Q&As and more – as well as:
– An exclusive NEW T-shirt for the fan community
– A black faux leather “UltraHyde” padfolio with the embossed Duran logo
– AYNIN video still fridge magnet
– 22 oz. water bottle with “D” and “Duran Duran” logos
– Custom Duran shaped USB device with an exclusive video, behind-the-scenes portraits and live concert shots!
– A copy of the Hyde Park setlist with reproduction signatures from the band (not shown in photo)
– Personalized membership card for 2012/2013
– Welcome letter from the band” (http://duranduranmusic.com/ ) Since I became a member in October almost 10 years ago, I have always renewed in the fall and this year was no different. I renewed with the gold package. The reason was simple: I like the stuff. Yes, I kept the membership, in general, for the presale access but went for gold for the merch. It is ridiculous the amount of Duran stuff I have. Ridiculous. Anyway, two months later, my package finally arrives. Before you say anything, I completely agree with you. Two months is about a month TOO late. What the heck took them that long?! Now, I could sit here and be frustrated about the lack of timeliness or I can take a long look at what I actually got. I choose the latter. T-Shirt:The very first thing that strikes me about the shirt is how dang soft it is. Seriously soft. This is so different than most concert t-shirts. Most concert t-shirts are rougher, more scratchy. This, on the other hand, feels so nice to the touch. When I looked at the material, it seems to have more rayon than most t-shirts. So, I admit, I’m already in love. The second thing I notice is the color. It isn’t a black. It is a dark grey/black. I love that it isn’t super common. Don’t get me wrong. I love black t-shirts as it is just easy to be able to grab a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans and go. There is no thinking involved. Yet, this has that same characteristic without being so boring. My falling in love at first sight is growing more serious. Now, it’s time to look at the picture. The image is below here.
Obviously, it is like all of the other Diamond in the Mind images, which is okay. I like that the crowd, the audience, is obvious but a little more vague. The lighter grey is nice. The big pink D is a plus as is the Duran Duran in the corner. Now, it took a few minutes for me to realize that the web address was listed on the very bottom, but it is. This is fine. That is better than taking up a lot of room. So, while the image isn’t the best, most exciting thing ever, it is nice and the rest of the qualities of the shirt pull it up to a solid 4 out of 5 cocktails, especially in comparison to the gold t-shirt of last year. Padfolio:I admit that I didn’t really know what they meant by a padfolio. This shows, of course, that I am not in a traditional, work-in-an-office kind of job. I don’t typically deal with padfolios. I deal with notebooks, loose leaf paper, and folders. I deal with basic school supplies. Thus, I didn’t know what to expect with this item. I knew that I was excited that it was faux leather, though. As a vegetarian, I appreciate that. I’m sure there were others, though, who wished for the real thing. It is the size to hold a small legal pad. There is also a space for a pen or pencil and a few slots to put other papers or business cards. I feel like I can’t adequately judge this because I don’t have anything like this. Does it have enough slots? Is it big enough? I don’t know. Personally, I kind of like that it isn’t very big. It is easier to carry. Am I using it? Sure am! I am using it for Convention planning!!! Woohoo!! Thus, I fully expect it to get quite a workout in 2013 as the committee’s ideas get planned! Then, I’ll be curious to see how user friendly it seems and whether or not it holds up. Until then, I will refrain from giving a cocktail rating. Here is a picture, though.
MagnetHow can this be a bad thing and how could it turn out badly? Magnets cannot be that hard to make with decent quality, right? I wasn’t expecting a ton with this, either, simply because I expected a basic magnet, nothing super fancy. Now, of course, they could have made something fancy. After all, they did magnets during the Astronaut tour. Those magnets, which I’m sure many of you have were separate magnets for each guy and they were cut in their shape and slightly puffy. Those rocked!!! I love that I could move them around! This magnet isn’t cool like that but it is fine. The picture, which you can see below is the classic 4-some shot from the All You Need Is Now video. I don’t mind it, but I wish that John was looking straight head. Everyone looks good, though. I am a little surprised that they chose that image and not something from ADITM, but it’s fine. It will do the trick and hold up pictures, postcards and cartoons that I cut out from the paper. It is a fine, 3 cocktail rating.
Water Bottle: This isn’t the first Duran water bottle I have gotten. I have one from going VIP to a concert in the spring of 2005. I haven’t used this water bottle yet but I don’t use the 2005 one much. I’m not sure why that is. I just have other water bottles I have received since then that took over. How does this one seem, especially in comparison to the other one? The 2005 was all white and had the lettering of the time. That’s it. Obviously, this one is similar, but this one has writing on both sides, which is cool. It seems a little more professional that way. I do have one compliant, though. When you open up the top, it is just WIDE open. The opening is too open. Do you know what is going to happen the first time I actually use it? Yeah, I’m totally going to spill all over myself, especially if I use it in the car, which is common for me to do. Why couldn’t they have a different top or opening?! It totally takes away from the positives like the quality of the font and the dark clear color of the bottle, in general. It ends up with a 2.5 cocktail rating.
USB Device:This is basically a flash drive, which is cool enough. There isn’t much on it, which is definitely a big thumbs down. Why not include a lot more than like 8 photos from the Olympics?! You can’t tell me that Duran doesn’t have any more than that. I’m sure they have TONS of photos. I get why they want to focus on that particular show since it was such a big deal this year and also relates to the setlist they included. Likewise, there was only one video and that was Wild Boys from the same show. Again, why didn’t they include more?! This just feels like they are short-changing us on this one since they could include SO much more. Now, the pictures and video are quality and I loved looking at them. I was just disappointed with the quantity. Now, the flash drive shape is cute as you can see below. I was a little surprised that it wasn’t just the D that they have been using lately. The double D feels older to me than AYNIN’s D. Its still cool looking. Overall rating: 2.5 cocktails.
Setlist, Welcome Letter and Member Card:As I stated above, they included a signed copy of the setlist from the Olympics. I should note that the signatures are photocopies as well. Now, it is on nice paper but I can’t say that I care that much about it. I wasn’t there. While I know that the show was a big deal for the band, it doesn’t mean as much to me as a show I had been at. I also have to say that I don’t need copies of their signatures. I have other things signed that aren’t copies. Likewise, I think the welcome letter is exactly like last year’s. Instead of really welcoming you to the fan club, I get a listing of the member benefits. Yeah, I get them already. I would prefer a real welcome–a real thank you for joining and how this is the place that fans are welcomed and appreciated. Of course, we all know that isn’t really much of the case anymore, if ever, so they can’t really say that, but they can definitely make it less advertisement and more of an actual welcome. The membership card is basically the same as last year. I did notice that they are no longer including a year. My ID# has also changed, which I wonder about. Last time, it was a four digit number. Now, it is a 7 digit number. I wonder why. The part of the card that always amuses me, though, is the statement at the bottom about how it is property of Duran Duran and that they reserve the right to change the program at any time. Yeah, we know. Lame. These little extras are a 1.5 cocktails. They definitely didn’t add to the package, at least for me. Overall:There is clearly some evidence that time was taken to make the “gold” package quality. The t-shirt alone shows that. Likewise, most of the other products have some care taken to them, some detail that was thought about and followed. I wish that they just included more on the flash drive and did something different with those extras like the setlist and welcome letter. Trust me, a real welcome letter could go a long way, at least in my world. Am I glad that I purchased it? I think I am. Again, I’m a sucker for the stuff. I am. Plus, you never know when the band is going to decide to do some shows. I need to have the chance to have the presale access. It is an insurance policy for me. 🙂 -A