Category Archives: Duran Duran

Video Favorites!

As you all know, we ask a question each day on facebook and twitter.  This daily question always has a this or that format.  It is not open-ended and the people just have to pick their preference between the two.  This is a bracket format of sorts until we finally have a winner of that topic.  The topics we have covered so far include favorite song overall, favorite song of each studio album, favorite b-side, favorite merchandise hoped to be made, and now video.  This topic of videos seemed like a logical choice since Duran has made a lot of videos in their career and because they truly are great pieces of film.  On a personal note, I always enjoy seeing what others fans think and prefer.  The results of the top 5 videos weren’t terribly surprising  to me for the most part.  Here they are.  What do you think?  Are these your 5 favorites?

Save a Prayer:
I have to admit that this video is definitely one of my favorites even though the song is not.  It is truly a beautiful video with all of the beach shots combined with the lush colors of the jungle.  Yet, I think the part that really gets to me is the ending when they are all walking towards the large religious statue with bare feet then stare up in wonder.  There is something about that shot that makes me think a bit more than just being pretty.  Is it the awe of religious faith?  Is it the power of humanity to build something so enormous?  Is it showing truly how small humanity is in the vastness of the world?  All of the above?  Something else?
I Don’t Want Your Love:
I was surprised that this one kept moving through even though some of the votes were razor thin.  I have always enjoyed this video.  I don’t know that I would include it in my personal top 5.  The concept of having Duran on trial is an interesting one to me.  Yet, now, I wonder if this concept wouldn’t have been better for Notorious.  The only part that seemed to have a real connection to the lyrics is the dancing couple.  Yes, yes, I realize that Duran was never about having the lyrics and the actions of the video match completely.  I get that.  I am sure the idea is that a cheater, which seems to be what the song is saying, could be exposed and could be tried in a court, especially a divorce court!  All of that said, I, for one, appreciated some of the very nice shots of a certain bass player.  
Girl Panic:
I am fascinated that this made it into the top 5!  Yes, a lot of males seemed to vote for it.  Okay.  A lot of females did, too.  It seems to me that most people were voting for it take this video as a representation of Duran Duran with the luxury cars, five star hotels, parties, etc.  While I could respond to that at length about how I think these images are all stereotypes, I will just refer people to our VERY lengthy blog about this video, which you can read here.  I think it is a super intelligent video in that they are saying a lot, I believe, underneath all of the images with supermodels and fame.  That said, I would probably pick Falling Down for having real intelligence combined with more images with the guys.
Ordinary World:
I am not going to lie.  I am very surprised that this was the second favorite as far as the people who participate in our daily question.  If you notice videos like Rio or Hungry like the Wolf are not included in this list of top 5.  I understand that the garden shots in this video are beautiful as is the wedding imagery, which matches the album cover.  I also get that the wedding implies hope for the future, which, again, I understand.  Yet, I still have to wonder if people chose this video due to the song or was it really due to the video.  As we know, Ordinary World, the song, is a real fan favorite (authors of this blog excluded).  Does the video really rank as the second best of Duran’s?  Personally, it doesn’t.  
Favorite video—New Moon on Monday:
I have to admit that this is my favorite video.  While it is not as deep or as intelligent as Falling Down or Girl Panic, I love that there are different length versions with a real plot.  As someone who is political, who has teaching degrees in history, political science and sociology, I love the storyline of revolution from a government that is clearly tyrannical in nature.  I love the idea of them working together for a cause!  I’m a sap that way.  Is it cheesy?  Yes, clearly, at the end, during the neat little celebration with fireworks and dancing, it is cheesy.  It is fun, though.  Plus, can John Taylor look any better than he does in this video?  I also have to smile knowing that the band hates this one and the fans generally love it!
So, what do you think of the choices?  Do you agree with the list?  What are your top 5 favorite Duran Duran videos?
-A

I Won’t Turn You Out if You’ve Got Someone Else

I have a notebook of blog topics that I keep handy as I never know when an idea, a topic might hit me.  Of course, I don’t necessarily know when I might write about these topics as I will gladly move the more general, can talk about anytime topics out of the way for news or, at least, something new.  This weekend, I had hoped to talk about the packaging in the TV Mania vinyl that US fans who ordered it are now starting to receive.  Unfortunately, I can’t do that.  Why?  My vinyl arrived.  Unfortunately, big time, I am missing the booklet that is supposed to be included.  To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement.  Rhonda tells me that this booklet is a must have.  I’m sure.  I emailed Vinyl Factory and hope that they can just send me a booklet.  If they can, it will still take awhile to get to me.  🙁 

As I thought about this last night, it dawned on me why this happened.  It is karma.  It is psychic ability.  It is some supernatural power that Vinyl Factory or Nick or someone has.  What sin have I committed?  What crime have I done to warrant such a thing?  What stupid loser move did I make?  It is simple.  I cheated.  I have cheated on Duran.  How did I do this?  It is simple.  I bought concert tickets to see some other band!  Oh my gosh!  The horror!!!  It’s true.  I did.  I’m confessing.  I bought tickets this week to see Depeche Mode in August in Chicago.  Now, I’m sure it wouldn’t be that big of a deal but…Depeche hasn’t just been any old band for me.  They have a special place in my heart.  You see they were the first band that I saw in concert.  There, of course, is a reason for that.  As soon as I became a Duranie and saw Sing Blue Silver, I wanted to go to a concert.  Yet, I didn’t know about Duran’s 1984 tour as that it is just when I was becoming a fan.  By 1987, for the next Duran tour, I had moved further away from Chicago and knew that there was no way that my parents would drive me hours to go to a concert.  Plus, there was no way that they were going to let their 12 year old go to a concert by herself and they didn’t want to go with.  Nope.  I had to wait until I was old enough to go to a show by myself.  I was declared old enough by 1990 when I had turned 15.  Duran definitely wasn’t touring then but Depeche was.  I did what any inexperienced concert goer did in 1990 to secure tickets.  I called Ticketmaster when the tickets went on sale.  After calling for hours and getting nothing but busy signals, I got lawn seats for myself and two of my friends as every other ticket was sold.  The plan had been made.  My mother would drive us and drop us off.  Then, we would meet up with my mom’s friend’s son who was also at the show.  He would drive us back.  The venue for this first concert ever was also the first venue I saw Duran play in 1993.  Anyway, when I saw the Depeche dates for this summer/fall, I knew that I wanted to go, especially since they were returning that ever-important venue for me on a Saturday night.  Perfect.

Now, of course, I’m a much more experienced concert ticket buyer and goer.  Heck, sometimes, I think Rhonda and I should write a book about what we learned from being Duran fans.  One whole chapter would be devoted to presales, concert tickets, concert venues, etc.  When I was younger and inexperienced, I would just figure out the time the tickets would go sale then go online and let ticketmaster give me the “best available” and move on.  I know better now.  Research pays off.  I truly do believe that.  First thing I checked out was what were the presales and what did they offer.  I discovered that Depeche was doing VIP packages.  Hmm…how much were they and what did they offer?  Now, as much as I like Depeche and I do, I knew that I wouldn’t be going for a VIP package unless it was truly reasonable and it offered just the right stuff.  I wouldn’t want to break the Duran savings account too much for this.  Here are their VIP packages: 

VIP package: Around $350

  • One reserved ticket in the first 10 rows
  • Exclusive pre-show reception, including appetizers, beer & wine
  • One parking spot per order (where available)
  • Specially designed concert shirt
  • Limited edition tour lithograph
  • Official tour program
  • Depeche Mode VIP commemorative laminate
  • VIP commemorative ticket
  • Exclusive tour gift item
  • Early entrance into the venue
  • Crowd-free merchandise shopping
  • On-site VIP host

Tour package: Around $250
  • One reserved ticket in the first 20 rows
  • Specially designed concert shirt
  • Limited edition tour lithograph
  • Official tour program
  • VIP commemorative ticket
  • Exclusive tour gift item
  • On-site VIP host
Now, for me, the most important thing for any VIP package is the seats.  So the VIP package gives a seat in the first 10 rows and the Tour package gives a seat in the first 20 rows.  I noticed that it didn’t say that the Tour package seats would be between rows 11-20.  Thus, it seemed possible to get a seat higher than row 11 by not buying the VIP package.  I also noticed that you wouldn’t know your exact seat until later.  This is how it worked with DuranDuranMusic back in the day.  Now, of course, with Artist Arena, you know your seats when you buy, which I really like.  A lot of the rest of the packages seemed to be about merchandise, which is fine for those big Depeche fans.  In general, though, their packages seem a lot like the old DDM packages with the VIP parties.  The cost were similar as well.  I am surprised that they didn’t offer better seats, though.  With DDM, VIP got you rows 1-5.  Even now, with Artist Arena, you generally get rows 1-6.  In this case, it doesn’t seem like their packages are that much better than Duran’s, in my opinion.  I did think one thing was weird.  You didn’t have to be a member of a fan club or anything to have access to these packages.  This makes me wonder if Depeche’s biggest fans will buy them or will scalpers buy them and sell for more money.  No matter for me as I opted to just get regular seats. 
My research was not complete.  I looked to see what presales were available.  For Depeche, there were three presales:  Citi Card Members, Amazon purchasers and Facebook followers before the general sale.  Interesting.  I didn’t and wouldn’t know if there were some seats in each section that would be saved for each presale or would the Citi Card Members get the best seats, no matter what.  I had to hope that they did save some as I could only try for the Amazon one.  Before the day of the presale, I had printed out a venue map, which was a good one with rows clearly marked as well as seats so I knew exactly where the seats were when they came up on the screen.  I also checked into various ticket brokers to see if there were tickets available from that Citi presale and there were.  Thus, I knew what I could get that way and what the tickets would cost.  I knew that I had options that way and that I didn’t have to just take whatever came up.  
During the actual presale, the first tickets that came up were in the very back section, row XX or something like that.  Horrible.  Yes, they were cheaper but still.  Horrible.  I tried again.  This time, I got tickets in the front section but all the way to the left side, row Z.  Not horrible but not great.  I debated for the 1:30 minutes they allow you to “complete the page”.  I figured I would try again.  This time, I got the center/left section, row 13 with the first two seats on the center section aisle!  I couldn’t believe it!  Obviously, I grabbed them!  This will be the sixth Depeche show for me and definitely the best seats I have had for them.  The best part I think is that I didn’t need to pay for the Tour package to get them!  I also truly felt my research had paid off.  I knew the venue well enough from the map to know what were good seats and what weren’t.  I knew what might be available and what might not due to those VIP packages and the other presale.   Clearly, I have come a long way when it comes to buying tickets from that 15 year old buying tickets through Ticketmaster’s phone system.  All of my Duran ticket buying experiences taught me well!  I am looking forward to the show because I think Depeche gives a good show and I have these great seats, but I’m also looking forward to walking in that venue that started my concert going.  It will feel like returning home.  Now, all of that said, I’m still blogging about Duran.  I’m editing the last research chapter for the book that uses Duran fandom as the case study.  I’m still planning a DURAN fan convention.  I promise that my Duranieness is still solid and isn’t going anywhere.  Can I please get my booklet for TV Mania now?!  Please?! -A

From Live from London to A Diamond in the Mind!

Yesterday, Rhonda broke some big news about Durandemonium 2013, the fan convention we have been working on.  Saturday’s activities were outlined, which includes a panel with authors in the Duran universe, various Duran games, the dinner banquet, and partying all night long at Late Bar.  Yet, the piece that we are particularly excited about is the one time screening of A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen at a movie theater in Chicago!  Clearly, we aren’t the only ones excited by this as I have seen many tweets from people about what they are looking forward to with this.  For some people, it is seeing their favorite band member on the big screen!  For others, it is about seeing their favorite song played with the surround sound of a movie theater!  For me, it brings me back to one of my favorite moments of 2005, the Live from London screening.

In November of 2005, the band released the DVD of Live from London, a DVD of one of their live performances from Wembly in London in 2004.  This DVD came out after the band had released Astronaut and had completed a number of legs of a world tour, including two in the States.  Many of us were still on cloud nine from having the Fab Five reunite, from having them make a new album and from having them play live.  Personally, I attended a number of shows both in the spring and summer of that year.  Yet, my thirst for the band wasn’t quenched by all of those shows.  I wanted more.  I couldn’t get enough, in fact.  Thus, when they announced that the release of this DVD would be accompanied by 10 screenings all across the States, I knew that I had to go.  I was lucky enough to be within driving distance to go to the Chicago one.  This screening would be on a Tuesday night and I even planned a day off the following day.  The screening took place at a kind of crazy time for me.  First, the week before saw my favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox, and first fandom win the World Series for the first time since 1917!  During the series, I was up late for many nights in a row watching the games.  Then, from Thursday to Sunday, I co-hosted a long weekend gathering of Duranies here in Madison.  You can imagine how much sleep I got!  This resulted in me being sick as a dog with a bad cold and fever by Monday.  Yet, I was determined to go to the screening.  I also figured that it would be low key.  I could just sit back and relax.  Well, it wasn’t that passive…

The theater was full and excitement was high!  Many of us had gotten together before the screening for a pre-screening dinner, which allowed us to have a drink and to feed off of each others’ energy.  Yet, as I found my seat at the screening, I still assumed that it would be a relaxed, calm setting.  In fact, I think I said as much to the people I was with.  I said something like, “I hope people remember that the band isn’t actually here.  No reason to get all excited, right?”  I believe that they agreed with me before we began to discuss which song we were most looking forward to.  Yet, as the lights dimmed and the opening credits began to flash on the screen, I began to feel the twinge of real excitement.  I dismissed the little butterflies inside as I, logically, pointed out to myself that the band wasn’t there so I should calm down.  There was no reason to have the same reaction I get before a show.  No reason.  None.  Yet, I sensed that I wasn’t the only one who was experienced some subtle or not-so-subtle bursts of adrenaline.  The room began to buzz with excitement.  Again, I tried to rationalize the situation, especially since I couldn’t breathe out of my nose at the time.  I kept telling myself to chill.  After all, what kind of geek would I be if I reacted so openly with excitement to JUST a DVD?!

As Sunrise finished and Hungry like the Wolf, the second song, began, the sounds coming from the audience showed me that, obviously, I wasn’t the only one struggling with maintaining control.  I could hear some people beginning to sing while others were letting out little, muffled screams after a particularly attractive shot of their favorite member.  By the third song, Is There Something I Should Know, it was like the dam broke and the tidal wave of excitement was unmistakeable.  It was like everyone was given permission to let loose as every word and every song was sung by the audience after that!  Screams were no longer muffled as *squees* were loud and proud!   Duranie-ness was all encompassing and soon enough, the room felt like an island away from the real world where every fan could express their love towards the band, OPENLY and with no shame.  Soon enough, members of the crowd began to act out the band’s actions as well as just singing and screaming.  I, personally, remember the whole row I was sitting in doing Simon’s motions during New Religion.  We all knew them and could show this, proudly!  These motions didn’t just stick with the band.  At times, the crowd began to mimic the audience at that Wembly show as well as the audiences during the 2005 tour.  Here’s a clip I found on youtube taken at the screening in LA that showed how the audience not only sang along to Save to Prayer but also held their cell phones up to “make the stars come out” like they would do at an actual show.

Clearly, it didn’t take long to realize that this movie theater experience was going to be the opposite of a normal movie theater outing.  I wouldn’t be passive and I wouldn’t want to be.  I wanted to be a fan!  I wanted to express myself just like I would at a concert!  Everyone wanted the same thing.  I fully expect A Diamond in the Mind during the convention to be the exact same way.  We will all get a chance to just be Duranies with other Duranies, excited to sing along, excited to clap during Leopard or Rio, excited to follow Simon’s goofy dance moves at the end of Notorious, excited to reach up for the Sunrise and lots more!  As I look back to the screening in 2005, I was so glad that I forced my sick self to go as I forgot about my stuffy nose and head.  I am also glad that I went as this memory, this experience just makes me even more excited about the screening we have planned at the convention!!!!

-A

***This screening of A Diamond in the Mind is INCLUDED in the ticket for Durandemonium2013, the Duran Duran Fan Convention in Chicago over the weekend of October 18th-October 20th.  If you are interested in attending, you can purchase tickets at the Durandemonium website:  http://durandemonium2013.webs.com/

Lose your head, lose control…

Fans are funny. By that I mean me. And you.

We want the band. We want tours…we want gigs/shows/concerts…whatever it is that you call them…we want to see them in front of our faces as we feel the bass in the floor and the sound waves reverberate off of our bodies as we excitedly scream for more. Having a convention is all fine and good, but I know you guys…you want the band. I have even seen people post things on Facebook (and Twitter) about the convention, saying that “It might be fun, but I’d rather save my pennies for the tour.” While part of me winces a bit, thinking that there really should be more to this than simply collecting photographs and drumsticks…I can’t help but get it. I’m a fan too! The band is the reason we all came together in the first place, even if it’s not the only reason all of us stick around. If I were to announce that the band was coming (They’re not.), I’ll bet we’d sell out tickets fast.

So the question becomes, how to have a great time with the band without them really being there? For people similar to me, it’s really enough to have a couple great nights out with “the girls”. For others, it’s going to take more than that, and we acknowledge the challenge.  As I’ve said – I see the talk on Facebook and Twitter. I know that many of you think that the convention is just one night, and that we have nothing else planned to keep you busy. I challenge YOU to read on and then tell me what you think.

At some point during the last tour – and I may or may not have been enjoying a vodka tonic at the time, I turned to Amanda and said “We should rent out a theater and do a screening of Diamond in the Mind ourselves.” (Sometimes, I say really dumb things.) She looked at me as though I were crazy (that’s pretty much how she normally looks and responds to me…especially when we’re touring or road tripping together.), and then said, “Well you know, the band did it for Live with London. Why couldn’t we?” Exactly.

There are about 2,000 reasons why we couldn’t do it….but we figured it out and got it done.  After some research, phone calls, nail biting and tears (Mine. Funny how I never started crying until I started planning this convention. Hmm.), I am REALLY excited to announce that on Saturday morning (10:30 am, so set your alarm clocks early for breakfast!!) of the convention, we are taking a little “field trip” from the hotel to the Showplace Icon Theaters in Chicago for a special, private “one-time-only” screening of Diamond in the Mind. We will see the DVD the way it was meant to be seen, on a very large screen. This my friends, will be a good time.

I don’t know how many of you went to the various screenings of Live from London in the theaters across the country (I don’t know if these were done elsewhere in the world, so I am speaking mainly to those fans in the US), but this was once again, something I missed. I am really looking forward to this screening – and I won’t lie, the idea of having all five of them larger than life in front of me isn’t a bad thing to consider for the next several months.

Additionally at that screening – we are going to use the theater for an Duranie turned author panel Q&A. The details of this panel are still being worked out – we know who is speaking, but we are still working on the mechanics, but this will be your chance to hear presentations from a few Duranies who have taken the inspiration the band has given them and turned it into something amazing. And they say that fandom and obsession is a waste of time…. we’ll see about that.

Once the screening and author panel is over in the early afternoon, the rest of the afternoon has several options available to you. To begin with, we are working on putting together a list of suggested places for lunch (on your own with the new friends you have already made), and after lunch, you can take the opportunity to explore the city, or you can head back to the Hotel Amalfi for a few Duran themed games we’ve got planned, such as our own versions of Taboo, trivia and even a sort of photographic scavenger hunt thing we call Duranie Road Rules. There will be prizes, fun and debauchery to be had by all…and the best (and probably most important part?)  All of these activities, including the movie theater screening of Diamond in the Mind, are INCLUDED in the price of your convention ticket. 

Don’t forget that on Saturday evening, there is the managers reception at the hotel that begins at 5:30, and our banquet at Harry Caray’s and our club night at Late Bar Chicago immediately follows.

I’ve said this a few times this week, but if you leave on Sunday afternoon and you’re not exhausted, feeling the DD love from a ton of new friends, excited for a new album and tour…and quite possibly hung over, it will not be our fault. This just simply is not a one-night affair. It’s a full weekend, because we are STILL working on things for Sunday to bring the convention to a close. We hope that this pushes those of you who might still be “on the fence” to buy your tickets and treat yourselves to a fantastic weekend with friends. I continue to say this, but I promise you won’t leave disappointed unless you are the type of person who does not like having a great time.

Please check out the Durandemonium 2013 website for information, and Registration on Eventbrite for convention tickets.  We can’t wait to see you in October!

-R

“Rolling Stone” 2022 Interview Part 3

Another day, another soundtrack suggestion for this epic masterpiece…this time, turn on “Undergoing Treatment”.  Cheers!!


We are undergoing treatment
Watching others on the net
Studying our worst actions
They say we’ll get over it
Disappear like disco
To the sight of our few pageviews
Resign to the outer circle
If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever give us an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
‘Til our fandom bites the dust
Laid out on Blogger
They crave our loyalty
Ignored by the idols
Exasperated Estrogen
But why do we still face the music?

If you see us texting about Pippin’s
Don’t ever ask us…

Now and then we get the strangest notion
That there’s someone reading
But it keeps we guessing
Wild ambition can you really blame us?
Can you entertain us?
Can you give a little more?

If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever giving us for an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
But will the doctors ever cure
These delusions of grandeur?


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”**

July 2022
Rolling Stone:  This is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the present and past members of Daily Duranie, one of the world’s longest and most successful fan blogs that is over a decade old and has seen millions of hits from every corner of the globe.  In May, we spoke with C.K. Shortell, a former member of the blog, and last month, we spoke with founding member, Rhonda.  This month, for our final installment, we ask Amanda to fill in the gaps to get a complete picture of this very successful online monster of a blog.  Amanda, of course, is known to be the organizer, the keeper of the dates/time/daily questions of the blog.
RS:  Thank you for speaking with us.  I know this isn’t your most comfortable of venues. 
AP:  True.  Interestingly enough, I have never had a problem speaking in front of teenagers or in front of political volunteers.  Yet, this setting makes me want to hide in a dark corner somewhere. 
RS:  Yet, you felt like you had to do this interview.
AP:  Of course, when Rhonda and I decide on a course of action, we follow through.  Oh, do we follow through.  (rolls eyes)  The blog is evidence of that, isn’t it?  Ten plus years and it is still going strong.
RS:  That’s true.  You and Rhonda have always been described as committed.
AP:  (snorts)  Committed.  Yeah…as in mental hospital, certifiable, committed.  We could have starred in that Falling Down video that people still don’t seem to get. 
 

RS:  Is this why you walked away from it for awhile because you thought you were too committed or that people might think you were crazy?

AP:  (laughs hysterically)  People have known I was crazy for years!  They certainly knew that Rhonda and I were flew to the UK twice in a year.  Heck, they knew it when we praised TV Mania back in 2013.  No, the reasons I left were much more serious than that!
RS:  Rhonda claimed that the reasons you left were for “differences” and how politics always got you.
AP:  Sure, I’m sure that she is partly correct.  Yet, she forgets what life was like then.  This was when the only people who really recognized our hard work were some dedicated readers, mostly friends.  We weren’t making any money from it and the band certainly didn’t acknowledge us then.  Remember we couldn’t even get a picture with the band!!  One single picture!?!  Even when we got front row, it was because we waited for hours in line!  We wrote a blog EVERY SINGLE DAY and got nothing.  I could get pictures, as in plural, with the freaking President of the United States but nothing with that band.  Add on the fact that we were making no money doing the blog, at that point, and I was so tired of that.  Years of teaching and years of volunteering for political campaigns combined with this daily grind got to me.  I wanted a real income and I wanted recognition.  That isn’t too hard to understand, is it?
RS:  It isn’t.  The Clinton Global Initiative gave you the income and the recognition? 
AP:  It definitely did!  When President Hillary Clinton called to offer me the position, how could I turn that down?  When the President recognizes your work and requests your services, you don’t feel like you have much choice.
RS:  It sounds like you left without thinking twice.
AP:  Oh no, it was still an incredibly tough moment.  (wipes tears)  I didn’t want to leave the blog.  It had been a significant part of my life for so long that I couldn’t just walk away without feeling a serious loss.  I would have stayed if I had gotten the recognition for the blog…not to mention those fan events like the conventions or for the books.  Yet, I felt like it had run its course.  I had wanted to get out for a long time.  I wanted to do something for myself for a change.  But, I worried about my friendship with Rhonda when I left and I worried about what was going to happen to the blog.
RS:  You and Rhonda are fine now, though, right?
AP:  Yes, of course.  We love each other like sisters and we still can have such a blast together.  I never laugh at much as I do when I am with her.  Yet, when I rejoined the blog, I realized that our relationship suffered when I walked away.  We had to work on it.  I didn’t really get it even though I should have.  All of the blogs featuring the lyrics to “Buried in the Sand” should have clued me in but it didn’t.  When we talked about getting back together over lunch, I wanted to just go on the road, read some fan favorites but Rhonda insisted on writing new material.  Yet, as Rhonda would say, I was ready.
RS:  What were you worried about with the blog when you were gone?
AP:  Well, @Rhondaslap should be a clear example to show how things moved in a very different direction once I left.  Rhonda and I took pride in our maturity, our intellect, our sense of humor.  Yet, once that twitter handle appeared, I knew things were going to be very different.  Can you believe that someone asked me once if I would consider doing a twitter handle like that?!  I calmly explained that was one reason Chris was no longer a blogger with us.  Although, I think I really knew at that 2013 convention that Chris was after my job.  He went out of his way to make an impact with hours and hours of songs that have truly gripped me in emotional intensity.  I mean, come on, he played ZOOM freaking IN.  Enough said.  The only other songs that he could have added to make more of an impact would have been Come Undone and Hungry Like the Wolf. 
RS:  Are you surprised that Rhonda blamed the band for the change in direction for the blog?
AP:  Of course not!  (laughs)  Truly, if we can blame the band, we will!  In all seriousness, it didn’t help when the band decided that social networking wasn’t their thing.  I wanted to be understanding, and I was for a long time but years after years of watching the fans go after each other in between albums was too hard.  Duran downtime is a killer, truly.
RS:  Did you feel badly that your return the fold resulted in C.K.’s departure?
AP:  I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed and upset.  C.K. handled it like a gentleman no matter what his personal feelings were.  Yet, I definitely worried about the C.K. readers out there.  I know how personal one’s favorite blogger is for the readers.  I swear they will be debating which one of us is the best until the cows come home.  Yet, I definitely wanted us to return to the original lineup.  As you know when we first got back together, we wrote blogs that we thought fit with the older material.  There was nothing better than being with Rhonda.  It felt so nice.  Yet, it didn’t have the same level of success as our older work.  When that didn’t get the attention we thought it would, we brought in a popular publisher that took us in a completely different direction to get us more hits.  This publisher didn’t work like we typically did.  I had to explain to him what sentences were!  What was worse is that our readers didn’t get it.  Luckily, we got a different publisher, a true fan, who could remind us again about what we do best.  With that, the readers returned.
RS:  What’s next for you, Amanda?  Rhonda talked about a side project.
AP:  Well, I guess I wouldn’t blame her.  She has been holding down the fort here for a long time.  Projects outside of the blog only work to help us grow, I think.  That said, my plan is simple, we’re gonna take it back, take back the life we want to lead.  We’re going to make this stand the Finest Hour that we see. 

– A & R, C.K. Shortell




Amanda and I would like to thank C.K. Shortell for sending us one of the funniest blogs we’ve ever (not) written…let this be a lesson to you, C.K….we will take your work and create a monster every time!  

And for the rest of you, once again we feel compelled to remind – all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious…not to mention that it was a JOKE. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations, living or dead…or even undead, is purely coincidental.  

 

 

“Rolling Stone” 2022 Interview Part 2

Continuing with the young man’s delusions of grandeur from yesterday…


Once again, we have a soundtrack suggestion…this time it is “Pop Trash Movie”.  Enjoy!!

Saw a close up of my pretty lap
Overnight tweetsation
Holding technology
From all around the world
If I rewind back to 2010
And stop the blog there
No one knew who we were
But now they’re at our site
We’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for just a few seconds
Part of an internet curse

Reading Twitter going tweet-by-tweet
Might have blurred our vision
Our lives went flashing by
Where did it all go wrong?

We’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for just a few seconds
Part of an internet curse

We’ll write in the hotel for you
We’ll change your lines for you
But now the blog is final you know, it’s time to go
So we’ll have to say goodbye

We’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for those few hits
Part of a social networking curse
We write every single day
And it’s never quite what it seems

(Never)

We’re living in a pop trash movie
I know we’ll make it with this stupid blog – yeah
We’ll all be infamous for those few hits
The apex of Nick’s social networking nightmare – yeah!


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”….**

June 2022
Rolling Stone:  Last month’s article with C.K. Shortell created a virtual tidal wave of emails and response to our offices.  Daily Duranie began as a simple fan blog somewhat late in the career of the band – and somehow outlived the band’s existence and became something quite different.  People demand a response from it’s founders, and we felt it was time to allow Rhonda – infamous for lengthy blogs, biting replies to comments, and a wicked sense of sarcasm (she forced us to print that.) – a chance to set the record straight.
RS:     So Rhonda, why speak now? 
RR:     Well, as I recall – you called me.  I could ask you the same. Why is important that my side of the story be told now and not say, two months ago?
RS:      Fair enough, but what do you say to your readers? You’ve been out of sight for a while now.
RR:     I’ve been writing the blog since September 13, 2010, and it has been a daily blog. Twelve years. Not monthly, not “whenever the mood strikes”. No…it is daily, even on Sunday and even when we’re sick. We never stop. I’m extremely tired and need a bit of a break. I need to be bored. I guess I need to stew in my own juice again and let the creativity happen.  This isn’t goodbye for ever, it’s merely a break. A hiatus.
RS:     Let’s start from the beginning then, shall we? How did the blog begin?
RR:     (takes deep breath) September 13, 2010 – it was my father’s birthday, although he is no longer with us. I think on that day I was feeling very introspective. I felt that I had so much to say.  Amanda and I had been working on our first book together and I felt that we needed to create an audience before we tried getting a publisher. The blog seemed like a logical way to establish ourselves. For a long time, no one seemed to read, much less respond. We did have one incredibly supportive “anonymous” reader who encouraged us to keep going, and that really provided the sustenance we craved. 
RS:     How long then before you met C.K?
RR:     It is so strange to think of him as C.K. Seems so stuffy. I called him Chris. We didn’t meet until the Durandemonium convention in 2013, but I believe he started doing a blog or two for us back in 2012. He had a great wit, wonderful sense of humor and the same biting sarcasm and love for the band. He was a natural fit…..(trails off)
RS:     And his tale about singing ‘Shotgun’ at the convention?
Appropriate way to deal with Silva Halo or Sterling Campbell?

RR:     (drops head to hands and begins mumbling) All true.  Listen, I really don’t want to go into that. (puts hand to forehead) It had been a long night.  I’m sure he had the best of intentions. However…five hours of continuous Silva Halo, Yo Bad Azizi and Zoomin In? Really?! No fan needs or deserves that. No ONE.  Don’t even get me started on Sterling Campbell….It was all I could do not to just finish off all the vodka in the city. After that Shotgun came easily.  EASILY. Let’s leave it at that. 

RS:     But I thought you were a Duranie.  A big fan? 
RR:     Everyone has their limits, my friend. All of us.
RS:     (brief silence) Good point.  Ok, so tell us about the direction after Amanda left.  CK mentioned it was to be an 18 month mission to Africa?
RR:     Yeah. 18 month Clinton Global Initiative Trip my ass.  Damn politics gets her every single time. I love Amanda, I really do. We’ve been writing and business partners for a long time – but we are very different people with two distinct personalities.  For once let’s not say it was creative differences that got between us and just call it what it was: DIFFERENCES.  She didn’t even bother to tell me she was going, although I should have seen the signs.  We never could make a buck trying to blog about a band that never acknowledged our existence.  She wanted to move on and the blog held her back. I know that. (wipes tears)  So C.K. called me, mentioned that Amanda was gone, and that he was my new blogger. I laughed off the phone call at first, knowing that Amanda would never just quit without saying anything.  I thought he was an insufferable egomaniac, assuming that the job was somehow his – but there he was, and he was right about Amanda leaving.  I actually found out by accident, catching an interview with her on TV about her mission.  Honestly.  So there I was, up a creek without a paddle – and Chris was there.  He was damn good and did things with our blog that Amanda just couldn’t. Except that Star Trek and NFL nonsense.  We’re a Duran Duran fan blog. Period.  Trying to tie those fandoms into our blog is like a pop band doing Hip Hop or Urban dance music.  It makes no sense.
RS:     What about the other directional changes with the blog?  How do you answer the critics that say it killed the spirit?
RR:      To be honest, I blame the band.  Way back even in 2013 Nick gave an interview to Katy Krassner where he mentioned that he hoped the future would create less of a role for social networking. He wanted even less interaction with fans, apparently – which fascinated me since it seemed like such a terrific way to create energy where one clearly lacked even as late as 2009. I always wondered if that was their downfall. The fans wanted to have more of an active role rather than a transactional relationship – and the fear of the crazy people won.  The band dropped off of (what used to be called) Twitter, and of course the demise of Facebook – well none of that helped. We only changed direction because we had no choice. The band didn’t allow for any sort of synergy. Shame. I still don’t have pictures with any of them! 
RS:     So tell us about @Rhondaslap.
RR:     (silence)
RS:     We did discuss that this subject would be brought up.
RR:     (interrupts)Yes, I know. I just don’t see the importance. Yes, there was a twitter handle. It started as a joke. Amanda would take pictures of my lap while we’d be road tripping to see the band on tour. Maps, GPS equipment, phones…I guess I have a big lap?!? Chris thought it would be funny to come up with a twitter account for it – and I did tweet from there once in a while. It was sophomoric humor while it lasted, but it ended badly. I understand that everyone wants to know…I have a responsibility to the people around me. To my family. My husband. My friends. There just isn’t anything to say as it is in the past. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, because it is really just this little bit here that matters most.
RS:     But you did sever ties with C.K….
RR:     Well, we did agree that with Amanda returning, there just wasn’t a proper place. He felt that he had plenty of other opportunities and endless talent to share, and we wished him well. At some point maybe we’ll get together and see if the magic is still there. You never know.
RS:     Are you saying there is a chance you’ll do something as a trio?
RR:     Oh, I’m not saying that. Definitely not.
RS:     And the restraining order?
RR:     Oh that? Does that sort of thing actually stop any Duranie out there? Listen, we will always be friends. He is a fantastic writer and I wish him well. I don’t know that we could successfully collaborate with him again.  Chris…uh I mean C.K, is just not used to working as a team on a daily basis. His blogging is so…well…synthetic. I mean, he’s a great writer, and everything he touches turns to gold…but it’s like working with a producer who has only used a beat box and sampled from others. I prefer a more organic approach.  If we ever work with someone again, and that is a big maybe, that person will be a writer but they will never again be part of the business. That’s is just something we couldn’t share. Amanda and I have been together too long for that.
RS:     So what is next for you?
RR:     I’m thinking of doing a side project, actually. I am all about growth, and doing a side project that is completely different from Daily Duranie would give me a chance to spread my wings a bit. Not that I feel stifled by only writing about Duran Duran every single day or anything. Sometimes I just feel like I’m the last man standing.



 

To be continued with the final installment tomorrow…
 
 
The moral of the story is never send us a blog as a joke and assume we won’t use it to laugh at ourselves (and the band), because we will.  
 
**For those who remain confused, all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations living or dead is purely coincidental.
 
 
 

“Rolling Stone” 2022 Interview Part 1

Before reading on, we have a recommended soundtrack for your reading pleasure today.  Turn on the song “Drive By”…
It was the silliest day in April
And all throughout Daily Duranie
creativity stood still
And the clicking of computer keys
Would stretch all the way from East Coast
Back to West Coast.
And they met within cyberspace
Young man was sitting at the computer
On his way to write a fiction
Turned off Red Carpet Massacre
Turned on Pop Trash
And began to hallucinate
Out over the Duranland
He saw the ideas forming
Like great lines of lyrics
Ready to come tumbling down
Any day now
Not a day too soon
(any day now)
And as the music drifted in
From Lady Xanax
His fingers start to type
This is the story of his dream
Write…
(Euphoria, Daily Duranie Euphoria)
 
This is the story of his dream.
The following are excerpts from interviews published in the May 2022 editions of Rolling Stone.**
May 2022
ROLLING STONE (RS):  We’re here with former Daily Duranie writer C.K. Shortell for a glimpse into the workings and history of one of the world’s longest-running and most successful fan blogs.  Let me start by asking–C.K.–to what do you attribute– 

CK:  You can call me Chris. 

RS:  Oh–okay…then what’s the deal with “C.K.”…? 

CK:  Oh, you know, just a pen name…if Nigel can become John I can become C.K.! 

RS:  (silence). 

CK:  You were asking…? 

RS:  Ahem…yes…well, l wanted to start by asking you how you first became associated with Daily Duranie. 

CK:  Well, it all started when Rhonda and Amanda–the co-founders of the blog–allowed me to write a few guest blogs.  

RS: Okay, but legend has it that you really made an impression on Rhonda and Amanda at their Durandemonium 2013 Fan Convention.  Tell us about that. 

CK:  Well…I thought it would be really cool to surprise everyone at the convention. I kept thinking and thinking…what would people want…obviously, I couldn’t get the band there, which would be the number one wish for anyone.  So I did the next best thing: 

RS:  You got a former band member… 

CK:  Yes!  I was able to get Sterling Campbell to do perform a live, 3 hour drums only set that included all material from “Liberty” as well as his take on classic Duran hits!  
RS:  And how did this go over…? 

CK:  People were so happy they were speechless!  It was amazing!  You should’ve seen the looks on Rhonda and Amanda’s faces!  I knew then that this was the start of something special…. 

RS: I’m sure…and wasn’t there some incident…I mean, something special you did at the nightclub?CK:  Yes!  I worked with a producer and created a five hour Duran Duran mix for the DJ to play!  It was a mash up of Silva Halo, Yo Bad Azizi, and Zoom In!  They loved it! And then we ended the night by singing “Shotgun” acapella!

 

RS:  Well that certainly sounds interesting…so was that when Rhonda and Amanda “made you part of the band” so to speak, with regard to Daily Duranie? 

CK:  No…funny you should say that…I didn’t hear from them for quite a while after the convention.  There were server issues or something…but finally, some months later, I learned through some contacts at the Clinton Global Initiative that Amanda was going to Africa on an 18 month teaching mission.  So I wrote to Rhonda—who didn’t know yet—and said, “Hey, I’m your new blogging partner!” 

RS:  She must have been thrilled. 

CK:  Oh she was!  Overwhelmed, really…so that’s how it started… 

RS:  Now there are some who claim that you took the blog in a different direction, that somehow the true spirit of the blog was lost when you replaced Amanda…what do you say to those critics? 

CK:  I respect all the Amanda fans out there, I really do.  And I think we have different talents we bring to the blog.  

RS:  Yes, that’s for sure…well, adding “Star Trek” and professional football as daily topics was certainly one direction to take “Daily Duranie” in… 

CK:  You’d be surprised how many Trek fans are also Duran fans!  And who doesn’t like the NFL?  

RS:  So, initially, you and Rhonda got off to a good start, but then something happened… 

CK:  (silence) 

RS:  You knew we’d have to address this… 

CK:I know. 

RS:You wanted to take “Daily Duranie” to the next level…and so you created a new twitter account that certainly took on a life of its own…Chris, let’s talk about @RhondasLap

 

CK:  Okay—yes, this was controversial—but before you judge me, here me out…we needed money…the label was pressuring us for more blogs, more followers, more hits…it’s all about publicity…the great God publicity… 

RS:  I’ve heard that somewhere before… 

CK:  So…Rhonda and Amanda had posted all these pictures of when they would travel to shows..and there was this running gag about “Rhonda’s lap” and I thought it would be a funny persona to create…you know, like all the stuff in the car is arguing about who gets to be there- 

RS:  Oh, yes…sounds hilarious… 

CK:  And it took off…we got all sorts of followers…revenue went through the roof…Rhonda was  a good sport about it…she would post tweets..the fans loved it!  
RS:  And did Rhonda’s and your families love it too?  
CK:Um…that caused some problems. 

RS: And then you got the letter… 

CK:  Yes…(quietly sobbing) 

RS:  And it said…

CK:  (sobs)…terminate the relationship…unworkable gulf…Amanda coming back from Africa… 

RS:  And that ended your association with The Daily Duranie. 

CK:  (softly) I still read it.   And sometimes I comment.  

RS:  And the cease and desist…? 

CK:  I had to take down the “Rhondaslap.com” url.  And I’m barred from entering the states of California and Wisconsin.  

RS:  Well…I don’t know what to add…what a story.  Thank you for your time and insight.  Daily Duranie is legendary and you certainly added to its…notoriety. Any last comments? 

CK:  The whole experience was so…unreal…to be at the top of the world…and then banished…it makes you wonder…am I dreamin?


-C.K. Shortell
 
 
To be continued tomorrow…
 
 
The moral of the story is never send us a blog as a joke and assume we won’t use it to laugh at ourselves (and the band), because we will.  
 
**For those who remain confused, all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations living or dead is purely coincidental.
 

Media Representations of Fandom: Field of Dreams

It feels like it has been awhile since I analyzed a book, movie, TV show, etc. to determine how it represents fans, fan communities or fandom, in general.  Why did I pick this movie, Field of Dreams?  Simple.  My first fandom, of sorts, is baseball.  I am a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan.  My entire family is.  When I mean my entire family, I mean the fandom goes back a ways as my grandfather used to sneak through the Chicago sewers to get into old Comiskey Park without paying as a kid in the 1920s and 1930s.  I spent many days and nights of my childhood there as well.  Thus, is this fandom of mine genetic or environment?  I don’t know.  What made me think of baseball today of all days?  First, Opening Day of the baseball season is just right around the corner.  The Sox start on Monday.  Second, yesterday, I went to see the Sox play in Milwaukee with my parents, my aunt and uncle, three cousins and their families.  So, then, why this movie?  It is one of my favorite baseball movies.  The main characters live in Iowa and are White Sox fans!

(Spoilers alert):  The movie, Field of Dreams, tells the story of an Iowa farmer, Ray, who starts to hear a voice.  The voice, he thinks, is telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his land.  Once he does, Shoeless Joe Jackson and other players from the Chicago “Black” Sox come to life to play there.  The Chicago White Sox were called the Black Sox when they threw (lost intentionally) the World Series in 1919 in a gambling scandal.  The eight players, including Joe, were banned from baseball after that.  Anyway, after Ray builds his baseball diamond and the players show up, he hears another voice that he believes that is telling him to go see a baseball game in Boston with a famous writer from the 1960s who disappeared from public life.  After watching the game at Fenway in Boston, the two of them travel to back to Iowa together where Ray has to deal with the bank foreclosing on his farm.  Once they arrive, Ray learns that the solution to his financial problems is to sell tickets to people who come to witness the game, despite the fact that not everyone can see the players.  With that, one more ghost appears, his father. 

I’m sure, by now, you are definitely wondering what this movie has to do with fandom other than the fact that there are fans of baseball.  Well, let me explain.  As soon as the movie begins, you learn that Ray’s father was a huge fan of the White Sox and that the gambling scandal of 1919 caused him to “die a little”.  I think that all fans can relate to this feeling.  I think Duranies have related to this feeling for one reason or another.  Some fans might have felt it when Warren left the band and others when Andy left the band.  Some of us felt it when we heard Night Runner for the first time.  We all know what it is like to be disappointed.  As fans, we feel so much towards our idols. They have the power to lift our spirits like no other and can break our hearts in equal measure.  The movie explains this in the very first scene.  Of course, there is more to learn about Ray’s dad and his fandom as the movie continues.  As a single dad, he told stories of baseball.  Thus, Ray, the main character, grew up knowing fandom.  Of course, he, too, became a baseball fan despite the rocky relationship he had with his dad.  About halfway through the movie, we learn that Ray left home after an angry confrontation with his father in which he said the worst thing he could think of.  He said that he could never respect a man whose hero was Shoeless Joe Jackson, a criminal.  Thus, the worst thing he could think of was to insult his hero, his fandom.  This would be like some someone saying something horrible to me about John Taylor just to hurt me.  Again, this shows how emotional fandom is, how personal it is.

Once Ray hears the first voice that he believes is telling him to plow over his corn to build a baseball diamond, he begins to think about his father and about Shoeless Joe.  As he works to make the field, he starts to educate his daughter about him.  Meanwhile, the town looks in on him and declares that he is crazy or a fool.  His wife, while not completely understanding, supports him and his decision.  Truly, I cannot be the only one to see the connection to fandom.  Aren’t we all told we are crazy when do things like go on tour or when we spend hours and hours online talking to other fans?  Many of us are lucky enough to have families like Ray’s wife who might not understand but support us and our decisions with regards to fandom.  For Ray, like some fans, his decisions affect his financial situation since he has less area to grow crops.  This, of course, is what is really deemed crazy to many in the community and even to Ray’s wife’s brother who tells him that he must get rid of the baseball diamond. Again, people who aren’t fans struggle to understand why we would choose to spend money on fandom.  I’m sure there are many who don’t get why all of my vacations and extra cash go to touring.

Once the next season rolls around, Shoeless Joe and other players who have lived long ago show up to play on Ray’s field.  Interestingly enough, Ray’s brother-in-law and mother-in-law can’t see the players.  They missed out on everything because they weren’t believers.  I loved this.  I think this is exactly like it is when it comes to fandom.  Non-fans don’t see what we see.  In the movie, when one of the players, one of the ghosts, come to the aid of Ray’s daughter, the brother-in-law suddenly can see the players.  Isn’t this how it works?  There is one moment when the non-fan sees the light and becomes a fan.  Of course, at this point, they all decide that people will want to come visit and pay money to do so.  They will do it because it is magical.  Isn’t that how we feel about Duran shows?  Here’s a scene from the movie, which really works to explain fandom minus some of the details pertinent to baseball alone. 

The movie also shows two other elements of fandom.  First, it shows the ugly competitive side of fandom.  The famous writer from the 1960s is asked to join the ballplayers, wherever it is that they go after they play.  Ray’s response is much like any fan’s would be.  He thinks he deserves the invitation more.  He has done more to prove that he is a good fan, so to speak.  He built the baseball diamond and brought both the writer and another baseball player with him.  This is a natural feeling that many fans feel or can feel.  One might feel that s/he deserves more attention, more whatever.  Ray, like most fans, realizes that the fact that he doesn’t get to go is okay and that he can be happy for his new friend, the writer.  Second, the movie shows that fandom really is or can be about relationships.  At the end of the movie, Ray’s father comes back to life so that Ray can make things right with him.  What did this fandom of baseball bring Ray?  It brought him new friends like the writer and it brought him back to his dad.  It is what they shared in common and helped to fix their relationship.  Isn’t that what fandom is all about?  Isn’t it really all about relationships that share a common interest, a common passion?  I sure think so.

-A

You Can Run, You Can Dive, You Can Stand and You Can Soar

I am ridiculous.  I think the entire world knows that now, after doing this blog for over two years about being a fan of some band.  Perhaps, the fact that I can admit it is the first step.  My ridiculousness goes beyond this blog to include not only a book that is getting written but to a convention that is getting planned as we speak, or as I type, rather.  We are getting close to giving an update on the activities for Saturday during the day.  As we posted before, Saturday night is booked with the dinner/dance banquet at the restaurant followed up with partying until the wee hours of the morning at Late Bar, a local Chicago club that does an 80s night called Planet Earth.  I so am anxious to announce those Saturday activities that I can provide a hint that Duran games will be a part.  Yet, as excited and ridiculous as I am about the specific plans for Saturday at the convention, I think I get even more excited when someone posts on the facebook event page, on the convention’s twitter or on our facebook page that they are planning to come.  Now, of course, we want as many Duranies there as possible!  The more, the merrier, right?  Yet, there is more to it than that as I see these new attendees discuss travel and hotel arrangements.  Some of them are traveling from quite a distance and others are close by.  Some of them already have set rooming situations and others are figuring it out.  I love all of it!!

Seeing people exchange messages or reply to one another about travel arrangements and hotel rooms so reminds me of every experience I have had since I decided that this fandom was worth traveling and worth stepping out of my comfort zone.  Everyone by now knows the story that Rhonda and I met at the convention in New Orleans in 2004.  It was a big deal for me to fly as I hardly ever did.  I can’t say that I’m a fan of flying but will definitely do it now without thinking too much but back in 2004, I thought the only thing that could get my butt in an airplane was family, specifically nieces.  I have two fabulous nieces who in 2004 were pretty little still and they live far away from me.  Thus, I often didn’t have a choice.  If I wanted to see them, I had to fly.  Seriously, besides flying for that reason, I never did it.  I didn’t have many friends who weren’t within driving distance and, at that point in my life, money wasn’t readily available after paying for graduate school out of my pocket, so vacations weren’t happening.  Yet, in the summer of 2004, I decided to register for the convention and take the plunge.  It was all pretty terrifying, including the flying part.  While I had flown by myself before, I still didn’t feel like an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  Do I remember the anxiety I had about flying?  Nope.  In fact, by Saturday night, I knew that I was right where I belonged, surrounded by incredibly fun people who understood, who truly understood the passion I had for this band.  I know this will be exactly what it is like for those people who are flying to the convention and aren’t routine flyers.  They might be anxious about it, initially, but that will quickly fade as the fun begins.  Now, of course, I didn’t room with Rhonda or any of the new people I met there until 2005.

One of the best things about the convention was meeting all of these great people who I later toured with.  When the dates for the spring Astronaut tour were announced, I will never forget how the group from the convention all talked about which shows everyone was going to do and it was decided that most of us would do the Chicago show with the plan that we would all stay in the Duranie dorm.  I don’t really recall exactly how it was decided about who would buy the tickets or even who was going to share a room with who.  I bought the tickets for me, Rhonda and another friend of ours.  Yet, Rhonda and I shared a room with a different friend.  Looking back, I can almost hear my colleagues pushing me out the door on the day before the show as they were just so sick of me talking about it.  Clearly, I had no anxiety then!  Did I know how it was going to go to share a room with Rhonda and our other friend, Lisa?  Nope.  I didn’t.  I assumed that everything was going to be fine and it was.  In fact, it was better than fine!  We had a great time!!!  My favorite memory of that whole weekend might be sitting at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4:30 in the morning and just giggling at nothing.  (By the way, I’m expecting to hit Tempo Cafe during the convention weekend as it is open all night!)  By the end of the weekend, we were already talking about when we would next see each other.  A plan was hatched a few weeks later to meet up in the fall in Vegas, which we did.  Since then, I have traveled to Lisa’s house and to Rhonda’s house.  What is my point here?  It is simple.  While I didn’t really know how things were going to go with sharing a room, it went splendidly!  It went so well that I have traveled to see them afterwards and continue my friendship with them to this day!  Our friendship became real that weekend!!!

I am proud of myself for taking these chances to fly to a convention and to share a room with people I truly barely knew.  Not only did I have these great weekends but I got real, long-lasting friendships out of them as well.  On a different but still important note, I became a stronger person as well.  I gained confidence in myself and learned that taking a risk is often the best thing I can do for myself.  Truly, I haven’t really regretted any decision like those.  On the contrary, I have treasured those “risks” and the gifts that they have brought me.  As I see people making their own plans or finding roommates, I can’t help but smile.  I suspect that they, too, will gain so much for having done so.  Of course, I also see people made plans together with known friends.  I smile at that as well.  After all, at some point, they had to experience a first time sharing a room with each other and maybe a first time traveling and they, too, learned that it is worth it.  Clearly, they, too, have lifelong friendships from doing so just like I do.

-A

If you are interested in getting a roommate for the convention or potentially finding a travel buddy, post on our convention facebook page or on our facebook event page!  You won’t regret it!

Tickets for the convention are still available!  Go here for information and tickets!!!

Special Katy Kafe with TV Mania

I never get the chance to discuss a Katy Kafe, or so it seems.  Therefore, when a special edition popped up on my radar yesterday, I knew that I had to scrap my original idea about what to blog about to discuss it.  Of course, now that I have taken the time, I realize how challenging it is to figure out how to get started since there is a ton to talk about.  First, let me provide the link, in case you haven’t heard it and would like to.  Unlike most Kafes, this one is not just for DDM members.  If you would like to listen to it, you can go here.  Obviously, my discussion about it will focus on the most interesting moments and this Kafe did not had many of them!

There was, obviously, quite a bit of a discussion about the TV Mania project and how unique it is compared to other bands or to other side projects of Duran’s.  Part of its uniqueness is that there was this family created that truly reflected the society of the 1990s.  One of the questions that they were asked focused on who influenced the creation of their characters, specifically Sassy.  Nick explained how they were truly based on “extreme stereotypes” including the Dad is the “religious freak”, Mom is a “pill head”, the son is a computer hacker and online gamer and the daughter is a fame seeker through whatever means necessary.  While this wasn’t necessarily new information to me, I did find out that this family now has a space on Second Life.  Who knew?!  As someone who doesn’t go into Second Life ever, I had no idea.  My question to those of you do:  Can/have you interacted with them?!  Of course, the project is also unique because of the incredible focus on the visuals and how, musically, it creates a new genre, according to Warren, which I have to agree with.  He explains how it doesn’t fit into the electronic genre of the 1990s and doesn’t fit today.  Of course, the visuals for this project are everywhere.  Many of us are fascinated by Nick’s photography exhibit, which he discusses to some extent.  I didn’t realize that the images were divided into “vicious women” or “troubled women” but featured all the same model, who is the “Sassy” character.  Fascinating.  This is one of those moments when I truly wished that I could see this in person.  Of course, the vinyl packaging is also supposed to be something.  (I will discuss that when I receive my vinyl.  Anyone in the US get theirs yet??)  They also mentioned the video for Euphoria and how there is a video remix of that coming, along with the video for Beautiful Clothes.  I, for one, cannot wait for that!?  Nick also mentioned how there will be a “visual” surprise for What About God?

Speaking of which, the project unlike a lot of music out there really, obviously, reflects on society and popular culture.  While the project came out before a lot of the social networking sites were up, running and popular, they did talk about the current use of twitter.  For them, it is another visual.  They described it as a means to send out random thoughts and images to “stimulate the brand”.  That said, when asked about what they saw the future being like, Nick hoped that social networking still wouldn’t be as important as it is now.  Hmm…so he still isn’t a fan?  Yet, clearly, TV Mania is using it.  Is Second Life not social networking?  This is even more interesting as they introduced this idea of having TV Mania being a franchise with different TV Manias all over the world.  What would that be like?  It would be anyone who is interested in making music using samples, technology, different sounds and combining it with visuals.  There would then be a YouTube channel that would showcase these different ones.  Wow.  There is a lot to think about with this idea.  On one hand, I love the idea that everyone could do it.  It feels very punk rock in that sense.  I also adore the encouragement of art and creativity.  Yet, I wonder about the details.  How exactly would it work?  I’m sure there will be more information to come.

Of course, no Katy Kafe would be complete without some mention about what both Warren and Nick are up to.  Nick, as usualy, sounds super busy.  He mentioned how they were back in the studio with Mark Ronson with the hopes of releasing the album next year.  One personal project he has is to sort his photography archives, especially since they won’t be touring anytime soon.  Yet, the part that caught my attention is how he is working with John on some sort of elaborate musical project with a storyline!  Fascinating.  While they might be the oldest of friends, they certainly haven’t done much together outside of Duran.  In fact, when apart, they seem to have gone in opposite directions, musically, so I can’t wait to see what they could come up with together!  Warren is working with a singer from Stockholm on some sort of Missing Persons project and is busy with his production company. 

This Katy Kafe was jammed pack with both information and with interaction.  Katy, often, didn’t get a word in edgewise as frequently Warren and Nick would just keep discussion alive.  If you are a fan of hearing interaction, then, this is a good one to listen to.  Sometimes, it was hard to pick out the information through all of the interaction and, at times, humor.  I appreciated the little jokes like the idea that TV Mania would tour in 2031 since it seems to take a long time to do things surrounding the project or when Nick stated how it was -500 degrees there.  Oh, Nick.  Try living in Wisconsin the last few months!  There is still snow on the ground that has been around since before Christmas.  All of that said, I can see where Warren fans would enjoy this Kafe more than others.  For me, I just loved hearing that there is more to look forward to with TV Mania and other projects!

-A