Category Archives: Duran Duran

A little Durandemonium, anyone??

Big day on the blog.  As some of you might have already seen, we have finally signed contracts for the convention and we have some fantastic plans ahead!

Today, in fact right after I’m finished publishing this blog – our brand spanking new website for the convention will go live.  I won’t lie – it’s not finished.  I tried, but at 2:30 this morning sleep finally took over.  I will still be working on it throughout the day as we finalize the last few things we need in order to give you accurate (and absolutely final) pricing on the convention.  I don’t think anyone wants to be charged any more than necessary to come to this shindig – so please bare with us just a bit longer on that front. Trust me, it will be worth it.

However, we do have a ton of information to share – and still more that is in the works in varying stages!   I will do a basic run-down here, and then leave you all to your devices to go to the website.  What I do want to share with you a bit though is our vision.  There are a number of people who have put their hearts and souls into this project, and we could not have possibly gotten to this point without their incredible help.  Amanda, Julie, Lori, Kevin, Laura, Melissa and Kimberley have done everything short of going right into the cities we looked at to find the perfect “home” for this convention, and I really can’t thank them enough. Going into this project, we wanted to do something different.  While the band is truly a huge part of our lives and it is what brought us all together – it is each of us that make this fandom unique, yet Amanda and I have seen what the competitive nature does to people.  It makes this fan community one of the harshest places to try and survive at times.  So from the onset of Daily Duranie – even then – we wanted to try and bring fans together.  We want to make this about one another, less about being the “ONE” to get closest to the band.  So planning this convention is about creating an atmosphere, creating a vehicle – so to speak – that allows us to make connections with one another.  Hopefully at least some of those connections turn into lifelong friendships.

With that in mind, I am very proud to announce our 2013 convention!

Durandemonium 2013: The Music Between Us

Date: October 18-20, 2013

City: Chicago, Illinois

Hotel: The Amalfi Hotel

This year, we are working with The Amalfi. You all will adore this place. Not only is it super sleek and has a fantastic elegant vibe about the place, they have a Managers Reception each night for hotel guests.  This isn’t any ordinary reception though.  It’s a premium open bar from 5:30-7 each night along with hors d’oeuvres. Their signature drink is the Amalifi-tini, a sort of citrus-based martini. I look forward to having one with you. Probably EACH of you by then!  In addition, every morning this hotel offers a continental-style breakfast to it’s guests.  Once again, this isn’t just an ordinary “hard as rock” croissant and a cup of coffee that could have been more aptly named “tar”, this is breakfast located on each floor of the hotel!  Talk about service!

On Saturday night, we are having a banquet/party/dance right across the street at Harry Caray’s in a private room upstairs!  I am especially thrilled about this opportunity because Harry Caray’s is a great Italian steakhouse, and so the food will be fabulous – not like the lukewarm hotel buffets that cost an incredible fortune but have very little flavor.

I could go on and on, but really – what I need to be doing is working to finish the convention details!!

If all goes well and my offerings of sacrifice have pleased the gods – we will open registration on FRIDAY. Yes, this Friday, March 1st. If that changes, we will let you know IMMEDIATELY. We are working with EventBrite, and there will be links posted here on the blog, on the convention website, the Daily Duranie Facebook page and Twitter, the Durandemonium 2013 Facebook page, and the Durandemonium Twitter.

As you can see, there are a lot of pieces to this engine that all have to run together well in order to work. Timing is key, and I’ll be honest – timing has been an issue for me this week, as in I have none. Like all of you, I am mere mortal and I’m just a fan trying to make this work.  Please have patience as we get this going, and please feel free to ask questions if needed.  We are here to help you have a great time.

Listed below is the link to our website.  We are also devising a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the convention, and once those are ready to go I will gladly share them with all of you as well.  No matter what, you can always count on accurate information on the website, the Daily Duranie Facebook page, and of course @dailyduranie on Twitter!

Durandemonium 2013 website:  http://durandemonium2013.webs.com

Convention email: durandemonium2013@gmail.com

-R

We’ll all be famous for just 15 minutes…my love/hate relationship with rumor.

I have a love/hate relationship with rumor. Maybe I should write that as hate/love. I really detest hearing rumors because they tend to be time wasters. More often than not, they are completely ridiculous and I have to wonder what happened to creativity. I mean, if you’re going to spout rubbish, let’s be a little unique, shall we? On the other hand, I love to sit back and wonder how each little piece of created news began. I also like to be the one cracking the rumors (don’t we all?), but more often than not I’m usually left wondering if it’s true only to be told otherwise. I can’t get over my natural curiosity for such things though. Where most want the rumor to be proven (whether true or false), I’m sitting there wondering who really started such a thing…how it happened…and why. What did that person think they were going get out of starting such a thing. Did they just figure if they flung enough mud, something would stick? Yes, I really spend time thinking about that as everyone else is in a panic.  Then I start in thinking about the panic and how quickly it spreads like wildfire. I know, I’m “unique”. (That’s a nice word for crazy in this case. I know.)

My personal opinion of rumors in this community is that we get bored with not hearing any news and so we decide to make up our own. I kind of think in some respects this is narcissistic behavior raising it’s ugly head. People like being the center of attention and you know, if a well-placed news tidbit gets us noticed, what harm could it do??…and besides, it could be true. What seems like something so innocent – like simply giving our opinion on something – could easily wind out of control. Once upon a time (back during the writing and recording of the RCM album – which I personally felt went on about 18 months too long.), I remember some crazy rumor flying through the community about the band working with Kanye West. I suppose that it was very possible that phone calls had been exchanged between Kanye’s people and Duran’s. I don’t know – that’s why I get paid the big bucks. (Oh wait….)  Anyway, I was pretty frustrated at the time and mentioned on our message board that I bet I could start rumors about the band working with Britney Spears and that it would fly.  Not long after that I did a search (Yes, I had free time back then.) on Duran Duran working with Britney Spears. Lo and behold – news items popped up citing “rumors read on fan message boards”. Honestly people. If you’re going to use MY completely fabricated, totally false rumor, at least credit me as the source. Dammit. See how quickly things start?

Not too long ago, there was a rumor circulating – and maybe it is still out there – that John is leaving the band. I felt pretty sure that wasn’t happening. The rumor made no sense, and aside from his continued (and very much noted) absence from Twitter, as far as I can tell, that rumor was a complete waste of time. However, every now and then, I still see people chatting about the possibility. Their theory? Well, he’s not on Twitter, now is he? I often wonder if people have ever heard of taking a break. Maybe he needed time to get his own personal priorities back in line? Maybe he just saw Twitter as a time waster and he needed to move on. Perhaps something spurred him into realizing that he needed to be present in his own private life. Sometimes things happen that we aren’t necessarily privy, which I recognize is a very tough concept for fans. He has this entire other life of which you and I are not a part. I also know I’m not too worried. I figure he’ll either come back when he’s ready, or he won’t and I’ll still wave to him at the next show. Either way, I think he’s still in the band and I think that while the rumor annoyed the hell out of many of us, we need to just relax a little.

That brings me to just this past week, when I started noticing discussion on Twitter that caught my eye, but I didn’t get involved until I started getting personal messages. I hesitate to bring it up, but I think it’s worth noting if only for the sheer magnitude of seeing what gets the community riled up. The discussion has been something about hearing that Warren was back with the band again, and people wondered what would happen to Dom. Oh boy…here we go, right? First of all, I have no knowledge of any of it, whether it’s true or not. However, let’s just look at some facts, just for fun. TV Mania is coming out with their album on March 11th, correct? Warren at least appears to be helping out with the promotion of that album’s release, and seems to also be helping out with the @TVManiaMusic Twitter. Maybe…because we still can’t really tell for sure who the creative genius is behind all of that. The 20th anniversary for the Wedding Album (Duran Duran) took place on February 23rd.  Warren offered a beautifully written piece on his thoughts of that special anniversary, as did the rest of the band. Then Katy (who I honestly don’t think realized what was going on in the fan community with regard to this rumor) mentioned how fun it was to work on that piece with everyone. Then finally, someone let me know that Warren was hanging out in DD’s Second Life.  Somehow all of those things, as disjointed as they seem to me – have made some people in the community believe that Warren is back in Duran Duran, and they just haven’t told Dom yet. Or the fans.  Can you just envision my eyes rolling right now???

I know I’m not commenting unless this really becomes news, and this my friends…is not news, it’s wild guessing and assumption at this point. It’s only worth mentioning because it is another example of just how quickly rumors spread and grow out of almost nothing. Stop the insanity!

We must really and truly be bored…which is why I will close this with a bit of news:  Mark your calendars and plan to be in Chicago, October 18-20 for a DD fan convention!!  More details to come this week!!

-R

A View To an Oscar-sized Snubbing

If you were on Twitter last night, you are probably well-aware that many fellow Duranies were also online, doing our own running commentary of the Oscars. While I had much to comment on last night, today’s blog is about one thing: I want to know who Duran Duran angered, whether recently or long ago, so much so that A View To a Kill was completely and totally snubbed during the Bond Tribute last night.

To be fair, other theme songs were completely ignored as well. I only heard the opening chords to Live and Let Die (it was a ten-second glimmer of hope I had that faded very quickly!), and aside from the familiar melody that pervades nearly every Bond theme song – there wasn’t much to support Halle Berry’s comments prior to the tribute that they were celebrating the music that fifty years of Bond has brought to the world. However, the one fact that continues to sting, even this morning as I collected my thoughts for the blog – is that A View To a Kill continues to be the only Bond song that has ever made it to Number One on the Billboard Hot 100. Take that, Adele (although I still love your music!). A feat that at least this fan feels (along with countless others, including one Katy Krassner that made their feelings known last night) should have been recognized. Would it have really hurt SO badly to admit that Duran Duran contributed the one thing that no one else has been able to accomplish? I think not.

Let me drive the point home just a little more: AVTAK was released in May of 1985. It hit the number one spot in the US, Canada, Sweden and Italy. It was number two in the UK, Ireland and Norway. Duran Duran was nominated (along with John Barry) for a Golden Globe in 1986. I attempted to find sales figures but those are pretty sketchy (there are several ballpark figures out there and there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason as to how they were reached, so I didn’t dare include them here). Apparently A View to a Kill went at least gold in Canada, selling 50,000 copies. It sold over 250,000 in the UK. Seems to me the song was liked by a few people out there.

However, even with all of that in mind (prepare yourselves, Duranies) – AVTAK still is not in the top five best selling Bond soundtracks of all time. Skyfall by Adele, has sold 1.5 million digital copies to date – nearly as many as all other Bond theme songs combined. Even so, this is 2013. Copies are downloaded these days, so it does make sense to me that Skyfall has been downloaded that often. I think that had the same opportunities been present back in 1985 – we’d have some comparisons to make.

I sat in deep disappointment along with a touch of anger last night while I watched the Oscars. Don’t tell me that you’re celebrating Bond’s music when you ignore nearly all of the Bond themes to date. The one bright spot during that part of the show occurred when Shirley Bassey took the stage to sing Goldfinger -brilliantly I might add, but as I noted last night – many, many viewers (and not all Duranies by any means of the word – I had retweets from DJ’s, music historians and even other celebrities) commented that Duran Duran should have been there (or telecast from Zurich!) to show the world what it really means to write and perform a number one Bond theme that has more than survived the test of time.  

Shame on the Academy for not giving history its due.

-R

TV Mania, Side Projects and Cost

This week, despite Duran downtime, has actually been pretty busy in Duranland.  Obviously, the Wedding Album’s anniversary has been a big focus but there has also been a preorder for TV Mania.  A press release is up on dd.com, which I have linked here.  The press release describes the project but the big thing to note is that it was a side project of Nick and Warren’s in the mid-1990s that did not see the light of day until its upcoming release.  There are three ways to purchase the album.  The highest priced item is the box set, which includes:  a limited number of copies signed and numbered by Nick and Warren, box with screen printed cover illustration by Vania Zouravliov, a polaroid taken and signed by Nick, glossy photo of TV Mania, drawing of Warren’s on black PVC, booklet, white vinyl with remixes, and black labels.  The second highest priced item is the vinyl, which includes gatefold sleeve with cover by Vania and inner photo of the band, booklet, white vinyl, one remix and black labels.  The last option is to buy it on iTunes. Now, that this project is available for preorder, I started to think about a variety of topics related to it, including the fanbase’s reactions to side projects, in general, this side project, in particular, and the financial aspect connected to fandom. 

It seems to me that this fandom has a strange relationship with side projects.  Some people seem to get really into whatever side or solo project is the current one.  Others seem to ignore them.  Still, for others, it depends on where they are with their fandom.  For example, they might really be into it simply because their focus on Duran and Duran-related projects is high.  Yet, if a project happens when their interest isn’t high, then it gets basically ignored.  Now, I’m not criticizing or judging any of these reactions.  I’m just pointing out my observations.  Let me dive a bit deeper into all three groups.  Of course, there are fans who buy or get excited by anything the band or its various band members have ever done.  They buy anything and everything connected to the band.  I can understand this.  Perhaps, for these fans, if they are fans of Duran, they are fans of the individual members, too.  Thus, every project is worthy of attention.  The second group just seems to ignore the side and solo projects for the most part unless they really like the bits that they hear.  For them, these projects do not feel the same as Duran so there is no need to focus on them.  When asked about the projects, these fans would simply say that they don’t like them.  Lastly, the final group varies depending on where they personally are with the fandom.  These are the fans who might have really been into Power Station (the 1985 version) and Arcadia because they were huge fans in the early 80s but didn’t and don’t care about The Devils or Neurotic Outsiders.  There is no desire to go back and listen to them.  If these fans are paying attention now, then they might be interested in TV Mania, but wouldn’t have cared 10 years when Duran Duran was far from their minds. 

Now, of course, part of any fan’s feelings towards a side and solo project is the emotional piece as well as musical piece.  We all know that side and solo projects can either fill up extra time that a band member or two has or it can work to separate the band.  They can and have changed things.  I won’t lie here.  I am not quite in the first group of fans.  I don’t buy or get into every project in the same way.  Then again, I haven’t been into all Duran albums in the same way, either.  I do take the music and style into consideration in terms of how much I love it or am into it.  That said, I will listen to it all.  I will give it all a shot.  That said, I wasn’t super excited about TV Mania.  On a musical level, I was not a fan of a lot of what Nick and Warren came up with during Medazzaland and Pop Trash with Duran.  I also don’t want anything to rock the boat.  I like where Duran is NOW.  I don’t want to go back to 1993, 1995 or 1998.  I don’t.  I understand that there are probably plenty of other fans who preferred those eras to this one.  I get that.  I will say, though, that while I will attempt to have an open mind when I listen to this album (and I did preorder it, by the way), I know that I already have feelings about it.

No matter one’s level of excitement about this side project, one must acknowledge that to hear this project, money is needed.  On one end of the spectrum is the iTunes version and on the other end is the box set.  My understanding is that there are not a lot of the limited numbered box sets left.  This means two things to me.  First, it means that there are a lot of fans who are excited by this project.  Second, it means that they are willing and able to spend a significant (in my opinion) amount of money for it.  Again, I have no judgement here.  It just weighs on my mind as the convention committee has spent a great deal of time and energy lately thinking about costs and what people are willing and able to spend for what.  I don’t have any grand conclusions here other than to say that this does make me wonder.  Are there fans who will and can buy everything?  Are there fans who can’t or won’t buy much, if at all?  What factors go into the decisions to buy for all the fans in between?

One thing is certain.  All side and solo projects in Duranland bring up issues, questions, and discussion points within in our fandom.  It should be an interesting ride from here.

-A

From Past to Present to Future…

This past week, I have seen an incredible numbers of posts, tweets, comments and more regarding the 20th anniversary of the release of the Wedding Album.  Today, the posts and tweets increased as 20 years ago today the album was released.  There have been articles written and a blog written and posted on dd.com as the members of the band and those working with the band reflect on the album and its significance.  All of this made me think about what the album meant for me and what anniversaries mean for the band and its fans.

When I read the blog that was posted on dd.com, which you can find here, I couldn’t help but to realize that most of the reflections were very personal.  John talked about how his daughter was born during the making of the album.  Nick Egan talked about his thinking through the video shoot for Ordinary World.  Comments from Simon included how he listened to the album as a whole for the first time.  Of course, at the same time, everyone agreed that it was a special album that meant a lot to the band and their career.  I don’t think there is any Duranie out there who could argue against that.  We all know that Duran had lost a lot of the spotlight they had in the early 80s.  Albums like Big Thing and Liberty didn’t get them attention, strong album sales or hit songs.  The Wedding Album, on the other hand, did get them all three.  For the first time in years, the band was back on the charts and back in the spotlight.  It renewed their confidence and belief in their ability to write great, meaningful music.  One could wonder what would have happened to Duran had they not had this.  Would they have called it quits?  We will never know.  Nonetheless, we all can appreciate what the album did do for the band.  Of course, it also affected the fans.

Based on a lot of the posts I have seen from fans, they are much like the band and their colleagues in the blog post on dd.com in that they are all related the album to themselves and their fandom.  For many fans, this album was the one that brought them into the fandom.  For those fans, there is no album that means more.  I get that.  I look back at Seven and the Ragged Tiger in fondest for the same reason.  For other fans, they liked the band before but this one really made them a Duranie for life.  Again, this album means a ton to them.  Some fans just love the songs so much.  Whatever the story is, the anniversary makes them think about what the songs and album means to them.  I’m no different.  In hearing that it was the album’s anniversary, I immediately thought about what it meant for me.  My story is simple.  It was the first time I saw the band play live.  That said, my friend had to ask me to go.  Duran wasn’t as much a central part as it is nowadays.  I was more focused on graduating high school and getting ready to go to college.  I went to the concert with 3 friends and had a good time.  That said, as I am sure you all know by now, I didn’t leave the show having my inner Duranie awakened in a big way.  Nope.  I told my friend, “That was a good show but something seemed wrong.  Not sure what it was but it didn’t feel right.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the band isn’t around much longer.  Maybe it’s time.”  I  know, I know.  Blasphemy.  Maybe I shouldn’t mention that in this blog post but it is true.  That is what I said.  Now, that didn’t stop me from listening to the album.  None of the songs really grabbed me then.  Later, I saw the beauty that Ordinary World was once I was able to relate to the meaning of the song.  Now, as we all know, the songs that are most often played from this album (Ordinary World and Come Undone) are not my favorites and that is an understatement, of course, when it comes to Come Undone.  I much prefer Too Much Information and Breath After Breath, which I think are too often overlooked.  No, this album isn’t my favorite but it is important in my history as a Duranie and important in the history of the band.  I can’t and shouldn’t ignore that.

Despite my experiences, I can appreciate the album and definitely celebrate the anniversary.  I think it is important to look back at events and their significance.  Maybe, this is the historian in me.  Perhaps, it is that all of my history and social science classes have taught me that what happens in the past can and really does matter for the present.  Does this album matter for Duran and their fans?  Absolutely.  Duran and its fanbase are where they are because of it.  It was a big part of their story and their success as a band.  If one is to appreciate the present state of Duran, one must acknowledge anniversaries like this.  Thus, I’m thrilled to see everyone’s posts and tweets about it.  I love hearing about what the album meant to different people.  Likewise, I love that the band and their colleagues took the time to look back, to reflect, to celebrate this huge chapter in their careers.  This reflection, this remembrance will, I’m sure, weigh in their minds as they begin to think about the next chapter.

It is interesting to me that on this anniversary I have noticed a few tweets from certain people like Simon, Dom, and Simon W (sax player).  These tweets have made reference to being in Zurich.  Now, of course, they could all be in different parts of Zurich.  Maybe they aren’t with each other.  That’s very possible, right?  Sure.  It has also been pointed out to me that TV Mania has gone quiet.  Huh.  Of course, this has led people to wonder if there is something going on and what it could mean.  Now while I do appreciate the focus on the past, I won’t lie.  The thought that the band or some of the band might be together excites me more.  What I appreciate the most about the past is that it has led the band to NOW, the present.  What excites me, what brings a smile to my face, what increases the bounce in my step is the FUTURE.  I cannot wait to see what the band in its current form can come up with.  Then, maybe in 21 or 22 years from now, we can rejoice in this upcoming album’s anniversary.

-A  

We Lived in Hotels. We Lived on Cocktails.

The title of this blog post is from John Taylor’s song, Heyday.  It fits with the focus of this blog.  As many of you read yesterday, we have been busy trying to get the big detail regarding the location for the convention set.  Obviously, we have spent a lot of time trying to get a hotel that would work for our purposes.  This hasn’t been an easy process as Rhonda stated.  In fact, there have been times when one or more convention committee members threatened a less than nice response in regards to certain hotels.  Hotels were becoming a truly “bad word” in my/our world.  That isn’t right.  I shouldn’t have negative feelings towards hotels and I certainly shouldn’t have negative feelings towards hotels filled with Duranies!  In fact, some of my favorite times have been in Duranie dorms/hotels.

I have been hanging out in Duranie dorms or hotels filled with Duranies for years now.  I have been in hotels as part of tours, as part of conventions and as part of meetups.  All experiences have been so fun!  Interestingly enough, my first experience in a hotel with other Duranies was, indeed, at the convention in 2004.  I thought the hotel that was chosen was super cool with fun bathrobes, fascinating decor and the ability to have a fish in the room as your “pet”!  Yet, when I think back to that convention and my room, I think about the Duranies “next door” who frequently came over to chat.  I remember how we showed off our goodies after the vendor fair.  I swear I got more and more excited seeing their reactions to my purchases!  At that point and time, I knew that while the convention had “official” activities, the party was ongoing as we told stories, talked about the new album, listened to music together and more!  This, of course, really made me happy as one of the biggest reasons for me attending was to meet and get to know other fans.   The hotel setting certainly allowed that!

This experience gave me a real taste to what a big part of touring is for me and that is staying at the hotels with other fans.  I wanted more of Duranie dorm life and I wanted it right then.  Thus, when tour dates were announced in 2005, I was ready to book hotel rooms wherever others were going to be.  Awesomely enough, my first show of that tour was in Chicago in March of 2005.  The Duranie Dorm was nearby the venue and was quite the party!  I swear that half of the hotel lived in the bar, which was right off the lobby!  There were screams of excitement with every new Duranie who came in!  We were so loud, in fact, that we were reminded that “there were sleeping rooms down there”.  After the show, we partied hard.  In fact, they ended up closing the bar early in order to get rid of us.  Did the party end there?  No way.  We all went to someone’s room to continue the conversation and fun!  Thus, if the convention got be interested in hotels like this, the Chicago Duranie Dorm of 2005 got me hooked!

The following year featured a meetup in Chicago again.  Once again, the group all stayed in the same hotel.  What did this mean for me?  It meant ridiculously late nights and lots of talking and laughing!  I remember, for example, Ms. Rhonda carrying a bottle of gin into a hotel room filled with Duranies and saying, “Gin brings the world together.”  That night, I couldn’t agree more!  Were these hotel room visits part of the meetup?  Nope.  Did they add to the experience?  Of course!  Heck, we were so silly that we had placed a Duran picture outside our door in order to show other fans that Duranies were there.  Did that picture survive the weekend?  Sure did.  In fact, it featured some lip marks as a Duranie or two or ten kissed the picture while walking by!  We couldn’t help but to laugh at that once we realized how much love that picture got! 

2007 found us in New York City for the “Fan Show” or the show for DDM members.  Again, the Duranie Dorm/Hotel was a nearby hotel.  This hotel wasn’t the best that I have ever stayed at.  In fact, I remember laughing at like 5 in the morning over the fact that the sheets didn’t really fit.  I also remember the fact that it was attached to this diner or the diner was part of the hotel.  It seemed like any day or night you could go to that diner and find other Duranie!  While the show did not live up to expectations, I had a great time with other fans!!!

Perhaps, this is why we really wanted Duranie Dorms/Hotels for the summer tour.  Thankfully, we were able to have one in Durham.  These hotels with all the interactions between Duranies seem like small communities in which we might not know each other at first but allow such great moments while people do get to know each other.  While there are a ton of things I am looking forward to with the convention, the hotel is one I’m looking forward to the most!  There will definitely be an all night party in room 7609…

-A

Sometimes she wonders, and she laughs in her frustration

I’m not supposed to be talking about convention stuff yet, by my own rules.  *sigh*

Oh to have foresight….

In any case, I just want to reassure anyone who is interested that yes, we’re still working on it. In fact, we’ve been working on it since January!  Can I just tell you that it is not nearly as easy as it might seem? I’ve mentioned before that I’d worked on a fan convention for DD, and I have to say, aside from a few minor bumps, that convention fell together fairly easily. I don’t remember major issues with booking a hotel, coming up with a deposit, or much of anything.  I suppose my memory could just be overly kind, but I really don’t remember pulling my hair out much. We were all concerned about the event going over well, but that goes along with the territory, right? Well, live and learn.

This time, I just thought we’d call some hotels, get some rates, sign a contract and be done.  At first, that’s exactly what it felt like, too! The trouble started when we realized that we weren’t getting a lot of hotels to call us back or contact us. Those that did contact us and seemed like they had reasonable prices wanted nothing short of Amanda’s signature, in blood, along with promises of her first born and next of kin would be owed to the hotel. I don’t mind sharing that most hotels no longer offer reasonable cancellation policies. Once you sign on the dotted line (in the aforementioned blood), you are on the hook for 80-90% of the total anticipated revenue. Yes my friends, that means sleeping rooms as well as the agreed food/beverage minimum. I can do the math for you, but we’re talking about many MANY Duran Duran tours worth of savings should the convention fall-apart along the way. Not just a couple thousand dollars, but tens of thousands. That’s not just a small risk, it’s suicidal for a couple of bloggers!  We’ve been asked to provide insurance policies of at least a million dollars in the event of an accident…and some other very crazy, yet necessary assurances.  I keep reminding myself that we’re not a company, just a couple of fans who are trying to have a really big party!

So we’ve been working very diligently since January 2nd to find a place, and our team of convention planners have been doing such an amazing job trying to find a place.  It isn’t just Amanda and I working on this – we have six other people in on this deal with us, and we don’t know what we’d do without every single one of them. There have been many hours of blood, sweat tears going into this, and we’ve barely just begun. We are so determined to make this work and yet there have been times when Amanda and I have had to give ourselves pep talks, and read pep talks from the rest of the team, to keep going. Where there is a will, there is a way.

That brings us to today, where we finally are at a point that we’ve been at before but not with nearly as much certainty – where I think we might actually have a hotel and all of the details (such as cost, city, place and date!) to share early next week. I can’t give you that information today purely because there are a few different dates we’ve looked at, depending on the hotel and I don’t want to say one thing here and end up needing to do another next week.  I can promise you that this will be a great time that no one should miss. The other thing I can tell you is that the band had better not decide to tour or do dates in the US during Autumn, or else!

I’m looking at all of you: Nick, Simon, John, Roger & Dom.  I didn’t think I’d ever say this – but don’t you DARE think of doing a show during Autumn!

With that in mind, I have some numbers to crunch.  We want to give everyone the best bang for their buck and pick the nicest hotel that we think most people can still afford. Conventions are not cheap, and we are trying to do right by everyone. This is going to be a weekend of fun, laughter and even a little pampering.  It will likely be one of the only, if not the only weekend that we can all get together for a Duran event for the next year since the band isn’t touring – and we want to do it up right.

-R

Has it really been 20 years?

Is it really possible??

This morning, during my morning “catch up” on Facebook and Twitter, I came across the oddest post – something about it being the 20th anniversary of The Wedding Album.

I respectfully request a recount.

As I sit back and try to sort through the cobwebs in my brain to find the dusty box holding memories of 1993, I seem to recall that this was the year I graduated from Cal State Fullerton. I have no memory of hearing Come Undone or Ordinary World on the radio for the first time. I just know that I was shocked that the songs actually charted or that I was hearing “new” Duran Duran at all. It’s true. I thought the days of Duran Duran gracing the Top 40 had long since ended, and at the time – I really wasn’t keep up with the activities of Duran Duran. I was beginning my own life, worrying about what was going to come next, and from what I can remember – I was going through “On Campus” interviews, trying to find a job after college, because I was about to graduate at the end of May. Joy.

Of course, Simon has said several times that it was Ordinary World that saved the band at this point.  I can certainly understand why that might have been the case, and I can’t really imagine what it must have been like for the band at the time. They had gone from being the biggest band in the world to somewhat of a nostalgic novelty – we’d hear Rio when a radio station wanted to play an 80’s “Flashback”, or Hungry Like the Wolf when we’d go to see an 80s cover band. I would cringe in sheer disgust. Good times. When I started hearing Ordinary World on the radio with regularity – probably long after it had actually played for the first time, I know I felt pride right along with the sense of shock that they had found their way again. Perhaps their best days weren’t really behind them after all.

Once again, this was 1993. The internet wasn’t really a part of my life yet. I remember Walt, who at this point was still just a boyfriend, knew all about BBS (online bulletin boards – a precursor to message boards), but I had no interest. There was no way to really find out what the band was doing unless I were lucky enough to come across news about them on the radio or a magazine interview. Truth be told, I didn’t try very hard either, so once again I fell away. Every now and then I’d hear they had a show planned somewhere, or a new album coming out – but mostly there was nothing. For me, Duran Duran had effectively been put in a box marked “Childhood Memories” and placed on a shelf in my closet, where it would get delightfully dusty for the next several years.

So for me, it is hard to believe that yes – this was twenty years ago. Twenty years seems like such a long time on one hand, and on another – it went by remarkably fast. It really does not seem like that long ago I was driving into the school parking lot or walking across the campus for class. How could that much time have passed since Walt and I spent our weekends walking around the streets of Hermosa Beach where he lived, or going to Fashions – the nightclub on the Redondo Beach Pier where we met? (That nightclub is now called The Brixton) Time flies, doesn’t it?

My mother warned me that this would happen as I age. I am not amused.

-R

John Taylor’s Writers In Treatment 4th Annual Experience Strength and Hope Award

By Krista Hamby (With special collaboration from Christina Alva, Nicole Cosand, Sandy Fong & Ellen Shen)

Photo: Christina Alva

When an announcement was made back in December that John Taylor would be receiving the Writers in Treatment Experience, Strength and Hope Award, I immediately wanted to attend and said so to my Duranie posse. Christina, Ellen, Sandy and I decided we would drive down from the San Francisco Bay area and meet up with our Southern California friend Nicole, to attend the event. We all felt a desire to be there to support JT. We are proud of him and his recovery. Though we are not personal friends of his, and we would not be recognized by him at all, we all felt like we had gone through this journey with him, albeit from a distance. We wanted to share in this celebration of his achievements.

A couple of days prior to the event, attendees received an email from the event coordinators indicating a suggested dress code of “evening casual”. What on earth did that mean??? Luckily, the email offered clarifications: men no tuxes or t-shirts; women, no gowns or Birkenstocks. WTF?? That was random!
Photo: Krista Hamby
So we made our way to sunny LA! The event was held at the Skirball Cultural Center in the West Los Angeles hills, somewhat of a traffic nightmare. But we made it! We arrived close to the start of the reception, and it wasn’t too crowded yet. They took our tickets and gave us wristbands for admission (I said–gimme a wristband!!). We hung out in the reception area, talking, eating light hors d’oeuvres, and people watching. There were several celebrity attendees, including Master of Ceremonies Ed Begley Jr, Kurtwood Smith (“Red” from That 70s Show), Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Ione Skye & Ben Lee, Julie Anne Rhodes, Michael Des Barres, Steve Jones and the fabulous Patty Palazzo!! There were only a couple dozen Duranies in attendance. Most people present seemed to be a part of the recovery community. One person asked a friend of mine if she was in recovery; she replied, “No, I’m a Duranie.” No 12-step program for that!! We were not sure what to expect from the event, and it was nice to mix and mingle with “real people” and celebrities in such a relaxed environment.
Photo: Krista Hamby

I happened to turn and look at the door just as JT & Gela came in (psychic sixth sense??). John checked them in and began milling about. He posed for pictures with a couple of people, said hello to people he knew, did a little interview (no idea if/where this will air) and made his way to the backdrop for the paparazzi. The whole time he seemed happy and engaging, and very casual and unpretentious. This was in contrast to Robert Downey Jr, who came in with security that escorted him directly to the paparazzi and told attendees not to photograph him.
Photo: Christina Alva

Photo: Ellen Shen

Photo: Krista Hamby
After a while we left the reception area and entered a theater-like auditorium. The first several rows were reserved, so we sat toward the back. It was a very intimate space. Before the presentation began, a video played showing some funny clips of JT eating sushi and trying to speak Spanish.
The evening consisted of not just JT’s award presentation but also celebrated the work of Writers in Treatment, the REEL Recovery Film Festival, and other recovery programs. The whole evening was a fundraiser for Writers in Treatment’s Jewelle Sturm Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides rehabilitation treatment for women.
Photo: Krista Hamby

As for the award, Robert Downey Jr took the podium in an Iron Man t-shirt and blazer to present (the award) to John. He spoke about his own recovery. He spoke of the fact that he has been good friends with JT for several years, and that they share a mutual friend in Jonathan Elias. He joked that he was able to read In The Pleasure Groove in its entirety while stuck in traffic that evening. Robert also clarified that he was NOT a Duranie, stating that if he were he would be jumping off of the stage, sitting in John’s lap and saying things like, “on page 17 of the book, you were talking about me, right??” (Uh, I’d never say something like that..OK, I did. Ha ha) He then introduced the man of the hour, John Taylor.

John Taylor took the stage and Robert Downey Jr left without presenting John anything. John joked that he had practiced his speech holding an award and didn’t know how to proceed with nothing in his hands. Robert then handed him a guitar as a stand-in award, for which JT thanked him. It was a funny moment. Robert did eventually hand JT his award plaque, and then sat on teh side of the stage for John’s speech. John had been sitting in the front row with Gela, Michael Des Barres, and Steve Jones. John said that Steve Jones (Jonesy) has been his strongest and longest sober friend, and dedicated the award to him.
Photo: Krista Hamby
Photo: Christina Alva
John took a moment to make fun of the event’s dress code, saying he had been dressed in his tux and Gela had on her Birkenstocks, and they hadn’t known what to do! He said that he had to hold Gela down to strap on her boots! Joking aside, JT made a point of thanking Gela for her supportiveness during their time together. (Note: the man himself was dapper in black suit and tie with a white shirt and suspenders. No brown loafers!!)
Photo: Krista Hamby

John shared that when he decided to write In The Pleasure Groove he knew what the publishers wanted and he knew what the fans wanted, but he felt he had to include his recovery to be true to himself. He said that his ghost writer was also sober. When they had a bad day writing, they went to a meeting. When they had a good day writing, they went to a meeting. They worked the program throughout the writing of the book. John said he was very privileged to have had the ability to afford treatment and not go hat in hand to an employer to ask for assistance and time off. Then he joked, “Well, I did have to go to Nick Rhodes.”, but said that Nick was very supportive. JT expressed several times how lucky he was to have the resources available to get treatment, and that he hoped access to treatment becomes more universal in the coming years. John ended his speech with the thought that if his book helps one person seek treatment, it was worth writing. Then he posed for pictures with the award and Robert Downey Jr, and received a kiss from Robert before leaving the stage. Alas, WE HAVE NO PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF THE KISS!

Photo: Krista Hamby
The Writers in Treatment founder, Leonard Buschel, then accepted his own award. During his speech he talked about a swanky sober birthday celebration that JT hosted for himself, complete with photo.
The night also included a performance by singer Divina, doing a unique and moving rendition of Red Carpet Massacre, as well as a version of Hungry Like the Wolf and Save A Prayer (dedicated to John’s parents with the “one night stand” line omitted.). The finale was a very funny Bobcat Goldthwait, who stated he did not know JT and once attended a Duran concert in the 80s, but left for a Romantics show because Duran was not punk rock!
The night was enlightening. There was a lot of love in that room.
As we left the venue and were walking to our car, a beautiful black Aston Martin had to stop as I crossed in front of it… Good night, Mr. Taylor.


Krista Hamby lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently celebrating her 30th year as a Duranie.  Some of her closest friendships have been made through the Duran fandom. She and her Duranie Posse have traveled near and far for Duran Duran shows, radio station appearances, book signings, and now award ceremonies! Between tours they assemble for non-Duran related get togethers, such as girls’ night out and baseball games (Go Giants!). They are a bunch of crazy Duranie sisters like the rest of us, and we love it!

Now the Time Has Come

It has been a good weekend, which surprises me since I didn’t do much that was terribly exciting.  I had brunch at a friend’s house but that’s it in terms of a social life.  Nonetheless, it was still good.  How come?  Remember Friday’s blog?  I was feeling distant from the fan community and couldn’t get much done.  While the weekend didn’t end those feelings, I found myself making some moves to help.  First, I got some work done.  What kind of work?  Well, I obviously blogged some.  LOL.  I also got some reading done and some writing done on our book.  Truly, I always feel better when I am productive.  In fact, I would go so far to say that I work so much that I feel a little…or a lot, lost when I’m not.  I know, I know.  That isn’t normal.  I’m okay with it, though.  The other thing that happened was that I slept in.  Despite my need for work and to be busy, I also love, love, love my sleep.  While I can survive on very little (ask my dear friend, Rhonda!), I do love to sleep.  When I get plenty of sleep, I have these fabulous, very vivid dreams. 

What did I dream?  It appeared that I was in some sort of resort town, which felt near Vegas.  In this town, bikes were the main way of transportation and all of them were designed for 2 people.  The first person to ride with me in my dream was my now deceased grandma.  Her presence made me smile, though, as she was capable of getting around and seemed quick, mentally.  This is, unfortunately, not how she was at the end of her 97 years on the planet.  The second person, though, was a relatively new Duranie friend of mine.  It seemed like there were an exchange of typical touring partners.  Instead of Rhonda being with me, she was with a different Duranie and I had a different person with me as well.  This didn’t bother me as we met up in some sort of very large and very pink/red suite in our hotel.  This wasn’t a standard room but one that was filled with furniture but other very interesting artifacts.  In fact, it reminded me of a local Buddhist temple that I have been to a few times.  Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t see anything related to religion but the suite in my dream gave me the same feeling.  In the suite, we sat and waited as more and more Duranies showed up, including Rhonda and her touring partner.  We talked about how much fun we had as we waited.  Finally, some of Duran’s people showed up.  The band wasn’t there but would be the next day.  It sounded like they were playing in Vegas on this night.  The other thing that I distinctly remember from this dream is that the Duranies who were there were Duranies who didn’t always get along with each other.  In this dream, though, everyone seemed to.  Truly, it felt very nice.  It felt relaxed, happy and warm.

When I woke up from the dream, I knew what I needed to do to truly get back on track.  I needed to be with Duranies.  Think about it.  When does one feel most like part of a fan community?  Simple.  One does when with other fans.  Now, of course, we are still working on the convention and that will be a tremendous time for fans to come together to celebrate our fandom.  In that situation, we expect that people will travel in order to attend such a party!  I know that I will be!  What do I do in the meantime?  I need an injection of Duranie-ness!  Maybe, other people do, too.  Thus, I will plan a Duranie get together!  If you are near Madison, Wisconsin, and would like to come, let me know.  I know that there are many Duranies in the area or close to the area.  I would have it on a Saturday, of course.  Ideally, it would be sometime between now and the end of April.  I’ll go to whatever Saturday works best for most people.  What will we do?  I don’t have everything thought out but I would expect some Duran viewing might take place.  Maybe Duran games.  Food and drinks would be a must.  I would encourage people to share stories, pictures and more.  It would be a mini-celebration of our fandom and one that I would hope would get people ready for the much larger, much more significant convention to come!  Again, then, if you are nearby and want to come, let me know and let me know what Saturday works best for you.  Then, I encourage other areas to do the same.  In fact, if you plan a Duranie get together in your hometown, let us know!  We might even encourage you to blog about it!  😉 

Ah, I feel better.  I don’t feel completely where I should be but I do feel better.  I was productive, got sleep and made a plan!  Plus, now I have something Duran related to look forward, too!

-A