Category Archives: Duran Duran

You Can Dance Together All Night…

Last Saturday, I described the dinner/dance part of the convention in 2004 and how I envision this year’s convention’s dinner banquet to be much of the same!  Of course, this convention, we also will be hitting the club, Late Bar (yes, named after the Duran song), for their usual Saturday night of Planet Earth (80s night–yes, obviously, after the Duran song).  My excitement for the Saturday night of the convention practically can’t be contained!!!  After all, the banquet will be filled with good food (trust me!), great music and equally as fabulous company!  Then, we will head over to the club to continue the party there.  As I stated last week, this reminded of the Pyramid Club party for the fan show in 2007.

Ah…the fan show.  This concert, for many of us, makes us shudder and not in the usual, oh my God, I just saw a Duran concert way.  This concert in June of 2007 in New York City was for “fans only”.  To be considered a fan, one had to be a member of DuranDuranMusic, the official online fan community/club.  As soon as the announcement happened, Duranies from all over starting making plans.  Rhonda and I were no different despite it not being an ideal weekend as Father’s Day was on the day of the concert and the school year was just finishing for me.  Most Duranies were planning to make a weekend of it, either arriving on the Friday night before the Sunday concert or the day before.  Thus, many people were free on that Saturday night!  Soon enough, an event at the Pyramid Club was announced for the Saturday night.  This club has been around for a long time in New York City and, at that point, hosted different themes each night.  Like Late Bar in Chicago, Saturday night was their 80s nights.  Perfect. 

I arrived at the Pyramid Club with Rhonda and a couple of other Duranie friends via cab.  As soon as we walked in, I took notice of both the enormous crowd and festive atmosphere.  Drinks were flowing, people were chatting in groups or they were dancing away in the back area.  The club wasn’t big, by any stretch of the imagination.  The bar took up a lot of space in the front part while the back area opened up to a dance floor, which wasn’t huge but held quite a number of dancers.  I remember thinking that I was surprised that so many people could fit and, yet, no one complained.  I think it only enhanced the party atmosphere!  As I looked around the bar, I noticed two things.  I couldn’t help but be excited that there were paintings of many of the most popular pop stars of the 80s lining the walls, including one of some band we all know.  I was also thrilled to be finally meeting so many of the people I had only been talking to online! 


In fact, I distinctly remember Rhonda and I separating as soon as we took in the atmosphere and got our drinks.  Why?  Simple.  We wanted to find those online friends and introduce ourselves in person.  Back in 2007, DDM was still the place to be in Duranland and many posters on there gravitated towards the area on the board for their favorite member.  Thus, I spent a lot of time talking to people in what was affectionately called John’s World, specifically in the Church of the Bass God thread.  Rhonda, on the other hand, chatted more with Roger fans.  The night was filled with drinks, dancing, laughing and plenty of picture taking.  It seemed like all of us wanted to capture this incredibly fun night on film! 

By the end of the evening, Rhonda and I found ourselves back together on the dance floor in the back.  We finished up the evening dancing and taking silly pictures of ourselves!  After what felt like the entire Duranie world shut down the club, we all went back to the New Yorker, which functioned as the Duranie dorm for the weekend, like the Amalfi Hotel is for our convention.  There, more mingling took place before we finally called it a night at 5 am. 

As we all know, the show the next day didn’t live up to anyone’s expectations as we experienced hearing some of the songs on cd off of then upcoming Red Carpet Massacre album before witnessing a less than stellar shortened live performance by the band.  This performance featured not only sound/technical difficulties but also forgotten lyrics and a very awkward first performance of Night Runner.  At the end of the weekend, as we were trying to come to grips with our disappointment in the show, the part of the weekend that made the trip worth it was that night at the Pyramid Club.  It was one of those nights that was so much fun that it will never be forgotten.  Frankly, it was worth the price of the concert ticket, the price of the airfare and the price of the hotel.  I truly do believe that Late Bar will feel the exact same way.  It will be an absolute blast for all of us!  I can’t wait!!! 

-A

You Come on Delicate and Fine

Yesterday, Duranland celebrated an anniversary.  It was the second anniversary of the physical release of the album, All You Need Is Now.  As soon as this became a topic around social networking, I immediately began thinking about everything that happened, everything I experienced related to this album.  As I tweeted to Duran’s twitter, in some ways, the release of the album felt like yesterday and, in other ways, it felt like it has been in existence forever.  Certainly, since the album was released, the band has been through quite a lot.  On a personal level, I, too, feel like I have been through quite a lot. 

Thinking back to the Duran universe before AYNIN was released, I remember the usual excitement over an album release but I also remember an underlying nervousness.  After all, the band’s previous release, Red Carpet Massacre, created quite a divide within the fanbase.  Some fans loved it and others hated it and all that it represented.  I think it is safe to say that many fans were anxious to put that chapter behind us, if it meant that the fan community could come together in celebration over Duran music once again.  For many fans, RCM felt like Duran had turned their back on who they are and what their music should be like, for whatever reason.  On top of that, they seemed as far away from the fans, emotionally, as possible.  Their paid fan community in DDM was shrinking rapidly and there was no interaction with fans online from the band.  It seemed to me that Duranland was not the happy place, for many fans, during the RCM era.  Perhaps, it wasn’t a happy place for the band, either.  Out of this, AYNIN came about.  For many of us, Mark Ronson was the perfect producer as he not only was a fan but knew how to get the best out of the band.  As more and more of the music came to light, many fans seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.  It was, indeed, save to return to the fold.  It was safe to be a Duran fan once again.  Then, by the end of 2010, the band was reaching out to make connections with fans in ways that I never thought they would by appearing on twitter and facebook.  The release of the album, in many ways and for many fans, felt like the dawning of a new day.  The clouds had moved on and the sun was shining brightly on all of us. 

Then, of course, there were lots of wonderfully fabulous moments, including amazing shows, a live DVD documenting the tour, the Unstaged performance on youtube, playing at the Olympics, and so forth.  Yet, it wasn’t always a smooth ride, especially when Simon lost his ability to reach all notes and shows had to be canceled or when Nick got sick at the end of the last leg of the tour.  Those moments were tough as many worried that the end of Duran was near.  Of course, these challenges, in the end, perhaps, taught us all the real meaning of “all you need is now”.  We were reminded to “stay with the music” and to “let it play a little longer”.  Many of us adopted this philosophy as we decided our tour plans and opted to embrace the now and to live without regret.  Thus, for many within the fandom, this era represented a new beginning as the fans felt loved and connected with a band making some of the best music in decades.  This feeling was so strong that it was able to endure those long, challenging months when the future of Duran’s career and Simon’s, in particular, were in question. 

Was my story surrounding AYNIN similar to most in the fandom? In many ways, it was!  The blog began in September 2010, a few months before both the digital release and the physical release of the album.  The album, obviously, gave us plenty to talk about.  Now, that we have started talking, I don’t see an end in sight.  I won’t lie.  Like many in the fan community, I felt this sense of renewal with the album and was thrilled that I had this place to express it.  Duran Duran was back, I believed, with every fiber in my being as soon as I heard it.  On top of that, I was motivated to take any and all opportunities to embrace the now.  What this meant, of course, is that I did as many shows as I could over the course of the AYNIN tour.  I even traveled to the UK twice!  Looking back, to the shows, I don’t regret one single moment.  I don’t even regret the first trip to the UK when we all found out that Simon was unable to perform.  In many ways, that trip solidified, strengthened, reinforced my love for the band as I truly knew how much they meant to me when I had to face a possible end.  Then, of course, the return trip, the one filled with shows, was a dream.  It was the best tour I could have imagined with amazing performances and meeting and getting to know so many new friends.  That’s truly the other piece to the past two years since AYNIN came out.  This album, the tour that followed and their social networking presence brought me in touch with so many new people, so many fabulous people.  I have friends now that I didn’t have two years ago.  With every new friend I have because of the band, I thank them.  I thanked them a lot in the last couple of years.  Of course, since starting the blog and since AYNIN, my friendship with Rhonda remains as strong as ever.  We faced this whole period of time together as best friends, as “business” partners of sorts and as fellow fans. 

Truly, my feelings of love toward the band has never been higher than they were during this era of All You Need is Now, which is truly saying something as there were other times that I thought would never be beat.  Those Astronaut shows of 2005 were pretty amazing.  Yet, I now realize that those were just the warm up for what I, what we all experienced since the very end of 2010.  I know that I will always look back with fondness on this era in Duran history and in my history as a Duranie.  At the same time, my hope, my belief that the next era will be just as special, if not more so, remains strong.  After all, I learned the lesson of AYNIN well.  I learned that the now really does matter the most.

-A   

You’re not alone

Planning a convention is hard work. I’m not going to lie, I spend a lot of time worrying.  Probably too much, really. Let’s face it, there are a lot of unknowns here for us. I don’t know how many people will buy tickets. I don’t know our exact budget down to the penny (due to the aforementioned tickets)…I have my husband threatening certain divorce if I should go into debt due to this thing, and I worry that I’m doing enough to make sure everyone has a great time. I am concerned that I’m not utilizing the members of our convention committee properly, and I’m worried that the weather or 10,000 other things will go wrong. If the convention is going to be measured based on the amount of heart and soul that will go into the planning, it should be a solid hit. Unfortunately though, that really isn’t the way things are measured around here, is it?

The fact that Amanda and I will be judged based on the turnout and success of this event is not lost on me. Not even remotely so. Someone commented to me the other day that if this event turns out, “You’ll be golden.” I didn’t even know what they meant! I recognize that some might think Amanda and I are doing this because of all of the glory and riches that will come our way when its finished……Glory?? Riches??? (READ the sarcasm there please) Uh, no.  We’re pretty much going to be doing the same thing on October 21 that we’re doing now – writing the blog, finding a publisher for our book, and probably beginning to outline the next one, although both of us might be fighting serious headaches along with some exhaustion.

So why bother then? I’ve said it myself – planning the convention really IS a lot of hard work.  It is also pretty thankless at 2am when you finally resign yourself that there is nothing more that can be done at that time at night except to shut the brain off and go to sleep.  It’s a question I’ve tried to answer for myself – in fact, it’s timely because I just finished writing a chapter on fan conventions for the manuscript Amanda and I are working on.

The one thing that I continue to try to remind myself, even during the moments when I am just not sure that this is really going to work, is how I felt organizing that convention back in 2004. I remember the specific day I first heard about the convention. I had just really gotten started on the message boards, and on this particular day I was still reading the boards at duranduran.com.  Someone named RovOstrov (obviously her screenname) mentioned that she was thinking about planning a Duran Duran fan convention. I can’t really explain my first thoughts – all I could think about was that this was my chance!  Not my chance to meet the band (a common misconception), but my chance to actually get involved and meet people my own age with at least one thing in common. At the time I felt so isolated, I was a stay-at-home mom, and honestly at the time it felt like someone was dropping me a life preserver while I was treading water in an ocean of loneliness. I’m not sure if I really recognized that at the time, but when I look back, I can see just how important that one message board post was for me. I remember sitting there at the computer and making my mind up right then and there that I was going to this convention, no matter where it was. I was that determined, and at the time – I had no business thinking any such thing. I had two small children, no job to speak of, and my husband was not necessarily the most understanding man. He didn’t understand my thirst for meeting people like myself. He didn’t realize just how incredibly lonely I was, or how much I really wanted something that was completely my OWN. He was perfectly fine with taking me to a concert or two, but I think in his mind, that’s where it should end. So all the while knowing that, I was determined that I was going to this convention.

Planning the convention was a catharsis of sorts for me, purely because I was able to see just how incredibly devoted other people were to the band. It wasn’t just me. Here we were, planning a convention for a band that I’d been following since I was eleven years old, and in my real life – I’d felt rather alone. I knew of no other person who was still as much of a fan, or at least a fan, that had been while we were kids. Yet, on the other side of my computer screen, I knew of hundreds, if not thousands of people who were every bit (and some much more so) devoted. This started making me see that I was really not so different. My real-life friends just didn’t get it. I wasn’t the flawed human that they made me out to be at all. This self-renewal continued up until the day I finally left for the convention.

I wish that I could bottle the feelings that immediately came over me during the moments I finally met the convention committee. Until then I had only known these people by screen names and avatars. All I can really explain is that I felt a combination of relief and instant connection. I felt like I belonged, and I have to share – I have never felt like that before. I think that in my real life, I’ve been somewhat of a chameleon my entire life. I change to suit my environment, and I suppose that we all do that to some extent. This was so different though.  I was exactly where I was supposed to be, at exactly the right time. As I greeted each new friend I made that weekend, whether the friend was truly brand-new or someone I’d previously met online, I can honestly say I felt just a tiny bit more “whole” with each meeting and hug. I really started to feel like the real me. Not just the mom or the wife I had become in my adulthood, but me. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t need to pretend with these people, as they truly were MY PEOPLE. While each of us came to the convention with our life experiences as well as our own experiences with the band (mine were sadly lacking compared to many), we all knew the story of the band – which has oddly become our own story over the years, as if the two cannot be separated, and perhaps that is indeed the point.  We KNOW when to sing ‘Bop ba-bop, ba bop bop ba bop’, or that Simon’s nickname is Charlie and that it’s really weird as fans to call him that because he doesn’t really KNOW us (well, maybe some don’t actually understand that…), or that whenever you inhale helium (as if that is somehow a common occurrence?), one should always recite ‘Good evening and welcome to our show!’ just like Andy Taylor. We know these things because collectively, we’ve lived them. In a lot of ways, this convention became a sort of escape from reality. I could be myself, without the pressures of being anyone else but me. Truthfully, for this short period it was easy to pretend that this life – the life of being a fan – was perfect.  It was easy, it was simple and I was just me.

So…that’s why I am doing this. If even just one of you out there can come away with the experience that *I* had, it will be worth the effort.

-R

Euphoria

I have been up since 4am, and not by choice.  Without completely incriminating a member of my family, all I can say is that it is a sincere joy to be the mom to a four year old. Right about now I am feeling what must be a very close opposite to euphoria.

However…and this is a big “however”… I love a day when a new video is sprung upon us!  (See what I did there?)  Today was the big debut for TV Mania’s “Euphoria” video.  I love video. It really is a very much underrated and misused form of art/media.  Underrated because of course at one time we had an entire television channel dedicated to such things and now it’s gone by way of pregnant sixteen year olds and other such pop trash. (Wow this is really going nowhere today…I almost hang my head in shame, but it is just too easy!!)  Misused because, well…have you seen some of the videos that are out today?  Where is the creativity?  The pride in workmanship?  Originality?!?  I like the videos that force you out of your comfort zone, make you think a little, but are pleasing to the eye.

It is out there. You just have to find it.  Luckily for you, I did the hard work and have it here for your viewing pleasure.

I need to let you decide if Euphoria fits that bill for you, but I will say this – there is much in this video that Duran Duran fans should find VERY familiar, and I’m not just talking about Nick Rhodes with his nearly demonic and slightly crazy grin, or Warren Cuccurullo with his double necked guitar.  Parts of the video remind me ever so slightly of the imagery used in Too Much Information, but there are parts that are even slightly reminiscent of Come Undone. Not that the video is recycling some of the best imagery of Duran Duran, my point is that the video should feel familiar…and it does.

Naturally, I won’t give a full-review until my counterpart has the opportunity to watch…but any day where I can say I’ve seen new work from a member of Duran Duran is a good day, even if it began for me at 4am.

-R

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

**************************************************************
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.