Category Archives: Duran Duran

Blame the Machines

Remember the good ole days when DDM would have presales and tickets for one city would go on sale at like 10am and another city would go on sale at like noon?? You’d stress to the point of nausea for one show, secure the tickets, breathe a huge sigh of relief, want to start drinking but realize it’s not even noon where you are yet, then post your excitement to the message boards and realize you’ve got another show to do.  Then the nausea would kick in again, you’d make the sale and this time, you’d definitely start drinking?! Yeah, me too and yet typically I wasn’t even the one buying the tickets!!

Apparently though, there aren’t a lot of people who buy more tickets to more than one show, or at least one city, that have presales on the same day, because if there are – I certainly am not hearing the outcries of injustice.  For what I think is either the second or third time now, Amanda and I are facing this issue next week.  Presales for both the Atlanta and Portsmouth shows begin next Wednesday at 9am *my* time.  (That would be noon for you east coasters out there)  Sure, one of us could buy tickets to one show and one could do the other.  Definitely and if we were both members, that would be fine.  So, that’s one reason to stay a DDM member, and I accept that responsibility. I’m not really complaining about that because it was my choice to end my membership and I accept those consequences.

I do still have a point coming here though, so read on. What about the folks who are DDM members and want tickets to more than one show that have presales happening at the same time?  For example, let’s pretend that Amanda is going to these shows alone. She wants to buy a ticket to both Atlanta and Portsmouth.  She wants good seats, and to her, good seats mean near the front.  I recognize “good” means different things to different people and that there are some amongst you that want the best sound possible.  It’s not necessary for you to see up Simon LeBon’s nose in order to have a great show experience, and hey – that’s cool by me.  In this case though, Amanda wants near or at the front – although I’m pretty sure it’s not up Simon’s nose she wants to see. (No offense to Simon of course)  Due to the fact both shows go on sale at the same time, and to the best of our knowledge at this moment there is no way to put a seat in her shopping basket for one show, then go and get another seat for a different show and add that to her basket and then checkout – she’s got to do two separate transactions.  That takes valuable time.  This happened to us last year in fact and it made a ginormous difference in where our seats were located.  The first show had great seats, the second show we ended up with seats about 30 rows back and I ended up selling them.  That’s right, I sold them.  The fact is, the system is stupid.  Artist Arena isn’t a tiny business ran by yet another hamster in a dark basement in the worst part of Gotham. It’s a company that does ticketing for more than one band out there, yet the antiquated ticketing engine is enough to make me slam my head into the wall repeatedly, hoping for a good blackout as a source of relief from the madness.

To put it simply: if one is going to create a ticketing agency so that bands can offer tickets “directly” to their fans…one should probably invest in a proper shopping cart engine so that multiple shows can be purchased in one transaction.  Furthermore, if such an engine is already truly in place, one should make certain that the fans they are taking money from are well-aware of how to properly utilize said shopping cart…or else space each and every presale apart so that this problem simply cannot happen.  I daresay that Artist Arena is not only “open for business” during the hours of noon to 3pm EDT, so it is reasonable to assume that presales could be spaced out appropriately.  Again, this comes down to simple, proper customer service.  You’ve got several thousand fans willing and ready to plop down decent sums of money to see more than one show.  Why not make sure those fans are properly taken care of?  Service=Loyalty=Sales.

-R

In fairness, since writing this blog I’ve learned that there is now an option in the Artist Arena shopping cart to “add more”.  I don’t know if this option has always been there (I know that we never saw it when we were getting tickets, but that doesn’t we couldn’t have missed it while in our seconds of “presale anxiety”.), but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to set the record straight.  Our blog isn’t about having an ax to grind, and the last thing I want to do is create more trouble in the world with my words. While I still feel that it would far easier for presales to be spaced out, having the ability to buy tickets for more than one show at a time is a step in the right direction.


 I myself haven’t yet tried the “add more” function – but I’ve been told that it sometimes does not work correctly.  I suppose that I’ll find out for myself next week!  I hope this helps other gluttonous fans out there like myself that need tickets for more than one show at a time!  

Duran Duran playing…in your living room??

Just how much would you pay to have Duran Duran play in your living room?? Would you pay for some real exclusivity?

This does not mean paying for a VIP ticket, sitting in the first 5 rows and getting some merchandise that may or may not have the letters VIP stuck on it somewhere. Exclusivity mean paying a fair amount of money for a private show in your living room for you and twenty of your closest buddies (Daily Duranie should be on that short list, yes?), or perhaps paying for a special signed version of a CD or vinyl. Does this have appeal to fans?

I can hear some of you already, “If I had that kind of money, yes, I’d pay!” or perhaps a few of you are saying “They’d NEVER play in my living room.” I’d agree on both counts, but that’s not really my question or my point here. It’s my understanding that VIP tickets were first devised as a way to offer some exclusive experiences to those who, to be blunt, are willing and able to pay for such things. Obviously not every fan is in the same place financially, and while yes – this does tend to become a case of the haves or have nots, it’s interesting to see that so many musician blogs out there suggest such a thing on a regular basis.

The theory is based at least in part that while it takes a lot of hard work to earn millions of loyal fans, if a band is able to concentrate on a smaller but very loyal base (with some deep pockets, apparently), they can still be just as lucrative. For example: if a band had just 20 fans that were willing to pay $5,000 to have the band play in their living rooms – the argument is that they’d end up with more in the bank than a band with 90,000 casual fans who pay $1.00 to download a song. Not only would the band likely end up with more cash on hand, but they’d likely end up with more casual fans willing to spend a dollar to download a song just because they would be able to promote those very small intimate-setting shows. Before you send me mail, keep in mind that this is not MY theory or MY assertions and I don’t know if I agree or disagree at this point – I’m just explaining the idea.

I have little doubt that this sort of thing could work for bands just starting out. Amanda Palmer, a singer who is no-slouch to the social networking arena, had a Kickstarter campaign (fans agree to donate money to the singer in return for certain perks based on the amount donated – this concept is called crowdfunding) that earned her over $1 million before the campaign ended. Out of all that donated, over 35 people chose to donate $5,000 each. In exchange, Amanda will play private shows for each one of them in their living rooms.  Normally tickets to her shows hit the $20.00 mark. So exclusivity seems to sell, at least for some.

I wonder though, would the same really work for Duran Duran? On the same token, would they want to even bother? In one sense, when I read about selling exclusivity as though it were a service I think of the words “Working Smart”, because rather than casting a very wide net, the effort is far more focused. In another sense, I don’t know that Duran Duran has enough fans that could afford the price tag that the band would want to put on that exclusivity, nor do I know if the band would ever wish to promote themselves in such a manner. On one hand, this IS the band that spent a good part of the 80’s promoting themselves as having everything that the rest of us might want: the jet set lifestyle, champagne, yachts, excess in any way possible, and for a good many people – they wanted that fantasy life. On the other, this is not 1985 and the band doesn’t necessarily have the same “untouchable” vibe that they once had. It’s not quite the same fantasy in the same sense. At one time the band offered very exclusive and pricey travel packages to a few of their shows. Only one show in Chicago offered a true party (for lack of a better term) with the band. Fans were sat at tables, and each band member came around to each table to sit and chat with fans. It was the meet and greet that any fan would have dreamed for, complete with a price tag that gave many fans nightmares. Did this experience of exclusivity work for the band? Hard to say, but it’s worth noting that they’ve not offered such a complete experience since.

I just don’t know…would you pay the price to have them play in your living room???

Ultimately, as much as I like plenty of the ideas that come out of the Direct-To-Fan marketing methodology, I have to question if it could be as applicable (and successful) with bands who have been around for so long. The playing field doesn’t seem to be the same, although some of the problems are shared by all.

Although, my living room could easily accommodate the band….

-R

Want You More…as in More US dates were added yesterday!

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday: John Taylor is in fact a big ole fibber.

A couple weeks back, someone asked John (I’m sure he gets asked this nearly every day) if there were any more US dates coming for this summer and his reply was that he doubted it.  As I read that reply, my heart sank just the teeniest little bit because I had been hoping for just one more show to be added to their schedule at some point between Durham, NC and Connecticut.  Why?  I don’t know what started it, but somewhere along the line Amanda and I have convinced ourselves that we need four shows.  My husband always says “Need or want?” My answer?  “NEED!!”  In any case, I assumed that John was right and that I should probably be satisfied with the shows we’d been given.  My goodness I’ve seen them quite a bit this past year anyway, and I know that. So I moved on to the “Who on Gods Green Earth is going to watch my children while I’m away?” stage of planning, never really considering that while John doubted there would be more dates added, that there’s always a chance.

Shoot ahead a bit to yesterday afternoon when very quickly and stealth-like, not one but TWO more dates were added to the US tour.  One for Pittsburgh on August 26, and one for Portsmouth Virginia on August 22.  I had to read the posting over twice to make sure I wasn’t deluding myself.  I had to laugh, because Amanda and I had both been hoping they’d add another show, but it was only by sheer luck that I’d caught the info, and I knew that unless I emailed Amanda with an appropriate eye-grabbing title (That I won’t share here for fear of actually offending someone…and the fact that I won’t share it for that reason should tell you all something. I am typically not afraid to offend!), she’d never see the info herself, at least not until after tomorrow when the gubernatorial recall campaign for her state ends.  Lo and behold, not only did Amanda see the email, I received a hurried phone call.  After expressing some relatively mild frustration, we agreed that the Virginia show is a  “must-do”.  I’m excited because the Norfolk Virginia area is somewhere I’ve never been, and have always wanted to see.  So rather than end our little tour in Durham, we’ll be organizing a little caravan from Durham to Portsmouth the day after the Durham show!

Excitedly, there appears to be a fair number of people at least considering going on to see the band in Virginia – and since the drive from Durham to Portsmouth is rather short, we think we might even be able to leave in plenty of time to get a meet-up together in Portsmouth before the show.  Stay tuned here for details as they become available.

In the meantime, no John probably isn’t a fibber.  Of course I’m teasing just a bit…but take it from me, the tour dates crop up when you least expect them!

-R

Revisiting the Past: Lead Singers

There were lead singers in Duran Duran before Simon LeBon.  I know it is shocking and horrifying!!!  Nonetheless, it is true.  The two that I’m aware of are Stephen Duffy and Andy Wickett.  This week saw a birthday for Stephen Duffy, which led to a brief discussion about which lead singer gave up his rights to some of the songs that he had been involved in writing.  It seems then that now would a good time to revisit who is who and who did what.

Andy Wickett was the lead singer after Stephen Duffy and joined the band in the summer of 1979.  He had previously been a member of the band, TV Eye.  During the time that Andy Wickett was the lead singer, the band recorded their first demos.  Here is one of those demos.  As you can tell, this one has a VERY familiar title!

Some of the other demos included Working the Steel, Reincarnation and See Me, Repeat Me, which was an extremely early version of Rio.

Andy Wickett wasn’t in the band long, though, as he left by late 1979.  By 1981, a legal agreement was made between the band and Andy.  As the band paid him some money for his rights of the song, Girls on Film.

Stephen Duffy, on the other hand, was the lead singer before Andy.  Unlike Andy, Stephen had more contact with the band after he left.  If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you might have read about his involvement in a little project known at the Devils, which you can read about here.

While neither lead singer lasted beyond 1979, both had some impact with the band.  Andy left the band with the skeleton elements of Girls on Film and Stephen impacted the early Duran sound.  I think it is good for us to know that other singers were around before Simon.  I can appreciate what they gave and then appreciate that Simon and the rest of the band found each other in 1980!

-A

*****Edited to add that there have been some Duranie alerts regarding US shows!  I wouldn’t be surprised if the other half of the Daily Duranie would cover some of this in tomorrow’s blog!*****************

Guest Blog: There is Something I Should Know

By Michelle Coldwell-Simons

There are some songs by Duran that I am sure I still haven’t heard. I am absolutely terrible at Duran song titles, especially album tracks. When people abbreviate Duran song titles on twitter for example, I have to really really think hard to decipher some of them! I can’t remember Duran member’s birthdays and I don’t know the names and ages of the Duran member’s kids. I couldn’t tell you the Duran albums in order of release except for the first three that I remember buying on vinyl –  Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and The Ragged Tiger. (Then I bought Arena, then I bought…..oh I don’t know.  I would have to look it up on Duran’s wiki page or something!)

I have no idea what Duran’s tours have been called either. I always just call them by the album they were promoting at the time. I do know that my first Duran gigs were on the Strange Behaviour tour – but I have always called it the Notorious Tour. I have seen Duran play at least one gig on every tour they have done in the UK since 1987 but I couldn’t tell you the NAME of the tours.  I would be totally flummoxed if you asked me to even hazard a guess.

I have loved Duran since I was 12 years old; that is 29 years people – and I am still not an expert. In fact I am so far from it it’s laughable!  I am not sure you should be an expert on a band just because you like them. I like the fact I don’t know everything there is to know about them. I like to be surprised when someone tells me something that I haven’t heard before about Duran. Recently I have been learning new facts about myself as well whilst doing some research for a Duran Duran quiz that I am compiling for the Fan Convention in Birmingham this November. There is a lyric section in the quiz and because of this I have had to look up lyrics for accuracy. This is how I learned that for quite some time I have been singing quite a few Duran, well, WRONG!  Examples of which are as follows:
Lonely In Your Nightmare. I used to sing ‘Heat beneath your window’ instead of ‘Heat beneath your Winter.’ I am originally from the East End of London and when spoken with an East End accent the word Window is pronounced WINDA! Bless my little cockney pre-teen self!

There are lots of lyrics from the song Hungry Like The Wolf I get wrong too. I sing ‘Seen in the subway earth is afire’ apparently it’s ‘STEAM in the subway’. I also sing ‘Stuck in the forest too close to hide’ It is apparently ‘STALKED in the forest’! And another ‘High Blood drumming on your skin it’s so tight’ I’ve always sung ‘MYblood drumming’……wow I really get that song wrong when I sing along to it!

Sometimes it is just one word I get wrong and I have only learnt this NOW because I am researching for this quiz. In Hold Back The Rain I have always sung ‘No time to worry cause we’re on the ROAD again’. Its ROAM not Road!

I am sure most of you reading this will experience some lyrics mistakes. I suppose we all hear what we want to hear. Although I will continue to sing the songs with my version of the lyrics that I have always sung, I must remember to use the right lyrics when doing the quiz in November.

I will leave you with one more of my Duran Lyric mishaps. In Last Chance On The Stairway the lyric is ‘I just get a picture of sun in your eyes, the waves in your hair’.  I always sang ‘I just get a picture of sun with your eyes away from your head’. I know Simons lyrics are bizarre but that is plain macabre!

Michelle was born in 1971 in the East End of London but thinks she is still about 18. Her formative years were spent travelling around London and the home counties meeting Duran Duran at various studio’s and other places of interest. There she met lots of new people quite a few of which she is still friends with today. Michelle writes about her teenage years and beyond with Duran in her Duran Diaries which will amuse and astound Duran fans but bore the butt off anyone else. When she grows up she likes to think that she will write a book one day as well as be a famous portrait photographer. She has been with her husband Gary for 21 years (poor poor man) and has two daughters aged 15 and 11, four cats, four fish and lives by the sea in Brighton, UK.

Determination

One thing I have always admired about Duran Duran is their determination.  They have always demonstrated a focus on being successful no matter what they are focused on, whether it is an overall career goal or a specific project.  One of my favorite stories of all time in Duran Duran history is the game plan that they had back when they started.  This game plan included the venues they hoped to play and when.  I believe it was Hammersmith in ’82, Wembly in ’83 and Madison Square Garden in ’84.  I believe that they met this goal.  Now, of course, they didn’t stop there.  They seem to be willing to put in the hours to make a quality product.  Sometimes, this time and effort frustrates us fans as we can and often do wait for years for an album to come out!  Somehow, this length of time is acceptable to me when the album comes out and is fabulous.  It is not as tolerable when the album isn’t what I hoped to be.  Nonetheless, the point here is that I admire their ability to be focused and determined.
One thing is certain.  Duran Duran wouldn’t have gotten where they are today if they weren’t determined.  I keep thinking about how Simon joined the band in the spring of 1980 and their first album was released in 1981!  Think about how much work they had to do in such a short window of time!  They also had to do this with minimal money.  Yes, they were lucky in finding their managers at the time, the Berrow brothers.  Yes, they were fortunate to have been signed to a major record label.  Nonetheless, they still didn’t have a ton of time or money to make what is for many of us a fantastic album!  Clearly, this task required determination and intensity!  It also needed teamwork.  They all had to be focused on the goal.  I’m sure that they didn’t always agree but they stayed on course.  To me, this is impressive, particularly when noting their young age, at the time.  Strangely enough, Duran’s early days have been particularly motivating to me right now.  
Today marks the last day before the Get Out the Vote effort here in Wisconsin.  For those of you who are not involved in campaign politics, Get Out the Vote (GOTV) is the last 4 days of any campaign.  These days are filled with tons of volunteers reaching out to the voters through phone calls and going door-to-door.  As a team leader, I have been involved with organizing and getting ready for these essential days on the campaign trail.  I will also be leading the effort at a temporary field office.  If you are still reading, you are probably wondering what the heck the point of me telling you this or how it relates to Duran Duran.  It has to do with little time and money combined with sheer determination.  On my side of the election, we have only had a candidate for governor since May 8th.  This is an extremely short amount of time with which to make the case that this person would be the better choice.  On top of it, GOTV is a relatively short amount of time to get voters out to the polls.  Like the short amount of time and like Duran, our side has very little money with which to accomplish this task.  Many people already have donated resources like clipboards and many have made treats for us to have during the effort.  All of these people are coming together to work together to accomplish something.  Like the band, we definitely don’t agree on everything but we do agree on the goal.  Lastly, the intensity level for an activity like this is VERY high.  I feel like I have been living and breathing campaign.  I bet the band felt the exact same way about that first album.  
The campaign I’m involved with has many parallels to the early days of Duran.  Both have a short time to get the job done.  Both have few resources and both are intensely focused on the goal.  I hope that on Tuesday, I will feel like this determination results in victory.  I want to feel a little like what Duran probably felt like when they got that first album out or when they made those venue goals.  I want Tuesday night to be like Duran Duran’s first night at Madison Square Garden as both are moments of triumph despite the odds against success.
-A

The difference between a wildfire and coals

Does innovation really count for much these days?  After watching what seems to be countless hours of mindless reality “entertainment” on TV these days, one might start to believe there’s just nothing new to be seen. It’s all about the flash, smoke, mirrors and creating good gossip.  This morning I happened to run across a video that is likely to go viral purely due to it’s innovation. (nearly 50,000 views since posted on May 18th, 2012)

This video, done by a group named j.viewz entitled rivers and homes, is a stop-motion video.  The original video was shot just as an ordinary video, and then the post-production team cut that video up into 2000 individual pictures that were then held up by fans during a recent tour of Israel.  Then those photos were put back together to create a stop-motion video.  The song itself isn’t particularly mind-blowing (although its actually very peaceful which in my house is a definite plus these days), but the video is fabulous.  Funny, I seem to recall a few other bands using innovation in video a few years back….and they became the greatest thing (in MY world anyway) since sliced bread.  Huh.  Take a gander for yourself!

So many times I catch well-intentioned fans discussing Duran Duran and wondering what they can do to re-create the 80’s. Granted, those aren’t the words that the fans use, but the intention is all but spoken. They want to spread the word, they want the band to succeed, to sell as well as they did before, to live a life that was a remarkable accomplishment the first time, much less have that same lightning strike again. Words such as “viral videos”, social networking, promotional fan-based organizations are thrown around in such circles, assuming that any one of those things will once again ignite the band into the stratosphere.

Truth be told, none of us have the magical answer(s).  All we know is that for the most part, we saw it all unfold once and we’d love to see the band reach that point again.  It’s my belief that those times weren’t all that they were cracked up to be, but I do understand the sentiment. (The idea of having to fight tooth and nail just to get a ticket to a show, much less attempt to try for the floor sections under the same circumstances of the 80’s doesn’t give me much of a thrill.)  It took a certain sequence of events to unfold in just the right way to account for the happenings of the 1980’s, and while I still have all of the faith in the world in the band, I also believe that it happened at the time it did and the way it did for a reason.  If we had the answers though, we’d be making the big bucks, wouldn’t we??

I suppose the moral here is that we really can’t ever go back.  I can’t count how many times the band has mentioned that they try not look back very often.  I’ve heard and seen the murmurs amongst some that this last album was a sad attempt to capitalize on Rio for a second time. I can’t and won’t agree.  Sure, the intention may have been to go back and use some of the techniques used to create that album – but make no mistake – All You Need is Now is all about the NOW.  For me, this album was a great lesson given at the precise time.  Call me crazy, but I needed this album, and I suspect that a good many of you out there did as well.  Is that not success?  Innovation??

As many of you know I live in Southern California, a place that is well-known for it’s wildfires. (and earthquakes, but that’s another blog for another day) The smallest of sparks can ignite a raging wildfire in the dry brush that resides on nearly every hill or mountain in our area.  The fires tend to move incredibly fast, and swallow everything in their paths.  Wildfires tend to burn everything around them until there is nothing left, and then simply die on their own.  Coals are entirely different.  Coals stay white hot, long after the flames themselves have died down.  They lay in wait until the time and circumstances are right, and once those needs have been met – flames can ignite nearly instantly.  While the wildfire gets instant notoriety and attention (and nearly non-stop news coverage….), coals can go mostly ignored, and then surprise everyone when the time is right.

Innovation is a little like kindling.  It might not necessarily be required in order to start a good fire, but it is much more difficult to create more than smoke on a thick, dead and dry tree trunk than it is to spark a flame with kindling and then use that kindling to light the tree trunk aflame. Then eventually that tree trunk becomes the coal to keep that fire burning forever.

-R

Presales, Birthdays, Showcases and Homeschooling oh my!

Sorry that today’s blog is a bit late – as I’ve mentioned, we’re dealing with some kid issues at home.  Today I spent part of the morning getting my son transferred from his current school over to homeschooling for the next school year, beginning in late August.  This is a huge change for all of us, and after much nail biting, worrying and even a few tears, I think this is the best answer for right now.  Wish us luck, send me wine, and words of wisdom from time to time might help.  Right now my son is cautiously optimistic (which tells me he’s really thinking about what it all might be like), and my husband is supportive.  It’s all I can really ask for.  I just hope I’m doing the right thing.  I have no idea what my schedule will be like, but I would imagine that it will most definitely need to change with regards to the blog – I’m still committed to writing each day, it’s just a matter of figuring out when to write.  I promise to keep you updated!  As for the book, I’ve given myself a firm deadline, and that’s that my portion(s) must be completed by late July.  That’s going to be a stretch, but it is what must be done.

Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

So that Atlanta date….  I was really starting to wonder if this show was going to happen, mainly because it had been so long since I’d heard anything. Secretly I thought maybe I’d missed the news somewhere, and as I mentioned to Amanda yesterday, I figured that if I’d missed it, I was just going to figure it out later because I was busy having a life outside of my extracurricular activities!  It happens, right?  So the word is that the venue is beginning their “Series” on-sale as of Sunday, June 3rd.  That means that this show is being sold to their subscribers in a sort of package along with several other shows, kind of like season tickets.  Then after that, the DDM presale will begin on June 13th.  While once again I have serious scheduling issues with the presale date – it’s my youngest’s last day of school and that means I am at her school that day (not something I can or even want to get out of), I have no doubt that Amanda and I will figure this out.  Of course, she’s going to be on her way to a little vacation with her parents – but you know, it’s not really a fun or a tour unless we’ve got some crazy drama going on, right?  It’s the challenge that makes it worth our time!  If you are not a DDM member, then the public on-sale date (non-series, single show tickets) is on Saturday, June 16th.  Let us know if you’re going to the show because we’d like to do a get-together and possibly look into group rates at a hotel if there’s enough interest!  Assuming Atlanta works out, that means Amanda and I will be touring the cities and highways beginning in Biloxi, onward to Atlanta, and then ending up in North Carolina.  Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

Last but not least, today is Blue to Brown’s big day with their release party at the Cookoo Club in London.  It’s fairly obvious that Amanda and I could not be there, but we send our very best wishes to Dom and his dad for a great showcase.  Have you bought your copy of Blue to Brown yet??  Get out there and get one, then buy one for a friend!  Also, if you want to keep up with the latest Blue to Brown news, “like” their new facebook page!

-R

Disposable Culture

Last week, I brought up a couple of blogs I’d read where a bit of a How To was given on Superfans.  These blogs discussed how to create them, and how to keep them.  My commentary was based on the premise that to cultivate such a group of fans would feel completely synthetic and contrived. I still wonder just how successful the effort will be seen in the long term.  Will fans really stick by for 30+ years, or will it end up being a situation with many “flashes in the pan”?

Not long after writing those blogs, I watched an episode of America’s Got Talent.  It’s not my favorite show, but for whatever reason it was on our television that night, and it occurred to me that the idea of creating a “hit” or the “next biggest thing” is the prevailing drive in the industry these days.  Nothing is allowed to happen naturally.  Not the talent, not the music, not the image, and definitely not the fans loyalty.

It should make one wonder if maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a simple correlation between sales  in recent years and the history of such shows as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X Factor,  The Voice and many, many others. (Research just how many “one hit wonders” we’ve had in recent years.  The numbers are astounding!)  We’re so busy creating stars, buying one or two songs from them and then immediately moving on to the next big thing that we’re completely missing the bigger picture at hand.

My curiosities about the current culture will only be answered in hindsight many years ahead, being both the beauty and curse of history.  I am certain that as my children enter their thirties and forties a band of historians will dissect this moment in time as we have done to decades prior.  Will my children and others in their generation have similar tales to tell about continuing to follow the same band(s) well into their adulthood?  How will future music listeners look back on the beginning years of this century? 

If Duran Duran were at it’s beginnings today, just how different would they be from the band we knew in the 1980’s?  The obvious mentions are of course the image and styling – assuming the band would still be as forward thinking, but would the process be nearly as organic for them, and would fans still be as drawn?

Thankfully, I never have to know.  -R

Guest Blog: Get Snuggly!

By Michelle Coldwell-Simons

How often do you listen to music? Every day? Just on the radio in the car? Plugged in to your generic music machine to go for a run? Me? I listen to music every day.
I always have. I do all those things above. (Except for running. I don’t run. Ever!) I listen to the radio in the morning to wake me up. I listen to the radio in the car to drop the kids at school. I listen to my iPod in the car, blaring out loudly when no-one else is with me, singing along like a mad woman. I listen to music late at night after a few glasses of wine; trying to be a super cool DJ for my very tired husband who is falling asleep and all he wants to do is go to bed……

I listen to all kinds of music too, not just one genre. When I was younger my dad was hugely into reggae and ska. My mum loves the Supremes and Abba. My brother blasted out Pink Floyd. My husband loves old school rap, Jay-Z, Kanye etc. My eldest daughter loves Lana Del Ray and my youngest loves all kinds of music and she seems to know all the words to every song she hears, even if she has only heard it once.  Music is a massive part of my life.
One thing about music that I don’t like is people making assumptions because of my obvious love of Duran.  People know I love Duran and therefore think that Duran are ALL I listen to. Or that because I love Duran the only music I listen to is music from the 80’s. I do listen to Duran. I do listen to music from the 80s. But I also love to listen to new music. For example this week my husband bought the new Maverick Sabre album for me, I think it is superb. I am lucky enough to have won tickets to Radio One’s Big Weekend that is happening in June which features acts like Jay-Z, Kasabian, Ed Sheeran, Example, Jack White and The Ting Tings. I can’t wait!!

But. I suppose I am playing right into the hands of those who assume when I write the next few sentences…….. If I want to get anything done, I put on Duran. I try my hardest to put on something else. I have a huge and varied CD collection and an iPod stocked with many of the aforementioned artists and genres. But it is Duran I put on to get things done. I am listening right now to the Duran first album. (But I hate the fact that the copy I bought on CD many years ago which is now downloaded onto my iTunes contains ISTISK and that was NEVER part of the first album – WHY PUT IT THERE???)

If I have to do some housework, it is Duran I put on. If I have to concentrate on something like writing emails (or trying to write a blog!) it is Duran I put on. If I want to cheer myself up on a rainy Monday ‘cause it’s been pouring on Sunday, it is Duran I put on. If I have had a particularly bad day at work I blast a bit of Duran in the car on my short journey home. If I can’t sleep at night I have created a playlist on my iPod of soothing mellow Duran/Arcadia tunes to help me off to sleep. (Land from Big Thing I find particularly restful).
I don’t even really listen to the tracks most of the time if I am honest. It is because I don’t have to TRY to listen to the music. I don’t have to learn the words. I just let it wash over me; knowing the majority of Simon’s frankly bizarre lyrics, enjoying the incredibly sexy heart beat bass lines John produces, being amused at the little funny tweaks and squeaks that Nick makes, Roger’s loud and powerful drum beats, Andy’s fantastic guitar riffs and Dom’s amazing talent on the latest album…. It’s like my little comfort blanket. It is security. It is an aide to concentration. It is reliable. It is just there in the background to cheer me, soothe me, boost my energy and put a smile on my face.  I know it, I have heard it thousands of times and I don’t have to try too hard to listen. I LOVE that. 
So if like me you love your music and because you are reading this you love your Duran, blast them out with pride when you are sweeping your floors, cheering yourself up in the car or when you are just dancing around your house with wild abandon – I know you all do it! Embrace that Duran comfort blanket, wrap it around you and swaddle yourself in the sublime snugly snuggliness that is Duran Duran.


Michelle was born in 1971 in the East End of London but thinks she is still about 18. Her formative years were spent travelling around London and the home counties meeting Duran Duran at various studio’s and other places of interest. There she met lots of new people quite a few of which she is still friends with today. Michelle writes about her teenage years and beyond with Duran in her Duran Diaries which will amuse and astound Duran fans but bore the butt off anyone else. When she grows up she likes to think that she will write a book one day as well as be a famous portrait photographer. She has been with her husband Gary for 21 years (poor poor man) and has two daughters aged 15 and 11, four cats, four fish and lives by the sea in Brighton, UK.