Category Archives: Duran Duran

One of Those Days

More on that whole friendship and family thing…

Funny how the best laid plans never seem to quite work out. I had big plans for yesterday afternoon, including giving my son a Pre-Algebra test. (In case you’re unaware, I homeschool my 13 year-old son.) Well, it didn’t happen. We had “kind of a lot” go on, and I found myself on the phone not once, but twice with Amanda in one day. We weren’t even planning for Duran Duran shows!!

No, we’re working with a great team of people to get a convention planned, and while I can’t give you details right now, we’re trying to figure out the “big budget” for the entire event. I’m really not trying to tease you all about the convention details, either. We’re working on a few things, and once contracts have been signed and everyone feels ready, I promise I will shout everything from every rooftop I can find, as well as on this blog. Rather than give you eye-droppers full of information every few weeks, we’d really just like to give you everything at one time. Call us crazy. (We really are.)

In any case, a few things became glaringly apparent to me last night. One, I am not good with money. I mean, I’m good with budgets, but they stress me out all at the same time. I had SUCH a stomach-ache last night. You see, we’re not cavalier about the idea of how much a weekend should cost or the value that should be found within. We know what we would expect of a convention, and we want to deliver. We also know far too much about what kinds of things like this cost. We insist that we do right by our fellow fans, and we insist a lot more out of ourselves than we ever would of other people. So yes, it’s stressful.

While I sat on the floor talking to Amanda, with my computer in front of me and little slips of paper with lists, calculations, and my calculator scattered on the floor around me…I attempted to fold myself basically in half trying to make my stomach ache go away. (it didn’t work, by the way) My nerves were working overtime at this point.  I was desperately trying not to bite my nails off, and all the while – Miss Amanda sounded as cool as a cucumber on the other end. She said she wasn’t at all nervous, and she certainly didn’t sound it.  I think I began every single sentence with “I worry that….” and she had answers for nearly all of it.  If she didn’t have answers, she was certainly trying to be far more creative, where all I continued to do was throw more worry around as though it were confetti at New Years Eve.

What I realized was that it isn’t just our friendship that continues to keep us working together, it is the way we compliment one another so well. Where I completely fail, Amanda is strong. Where Amanda might falter, I tend to navigate well. We are lucky our paths crossed, and believe me, when one of us isn’t around or our attention is suddenly diverted…the other feels the absence. I am not sure I would want to continue the blog or develop our plans for the next year without Amanda’s input. Not only would it never be the same, I don’t think I could completely handle everything without her. That’s friendship.

So I say to the rest of you, sure – this fandom is competitive in a way that drives me crazy. I can’t stand the politics of it all at times. I love the band, I love the music and I love going to shows. I don’t love the vibe that comes over any and all of us whenever the band is around and even semi-accessible. We become a shark feeding-frenzy.  I really hate that, and I try not to get involved.  Sometimes I fail miserably, but I try. All of that aside though, the friendships I’ve made along the way are more than worth it. I don’t have photos with the band, I don’t own drumsticks that Roger has given me at a show. I don’t collect their signatures as though they’re trophies. I have friends. Those prizes are worth their weight in gold and then some.

-R

Flashback to High School

Can we talk a little about high school?

Oh sure, I could make this all about my daughter since she’s 16, in the depths of her sophomore year and about to start drivers education…but it’s really about me. And I matter, damn it.

Recently I did a guest blog for my lovely friend Karen Booth, who is not only a Duranie…but an author.  She has a book coming out in a couple of weeks that I strongly recommend fans take the time to read. (Female fans would probably like it best… but hey, if you’re male and romance novels float your boat, then this is for you too!)  It’s named Bring Me Back and it’s out January 20th. I won’t say much right now other than I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and finished it in one sitting.That is one sitting with three kids running around and a husband attempting to vie for my attention. He lost. This is not fanfic by any means, but astute Duranies out there may notice some interesting details peppered in just the right places throughout the story. Enough said…I send you forth to go buy it on the 20th, and you’ll thank me when you do!

Back to that guest blog of mine that you can find here: Rock & Roll High School. On the blog, I mention my very least favorite (i.e. hated) band in high school. One might think I had to really ponder over the idea of what my least favorite band might have been, even if for just a second. Nope. This was one of the easiest questions I have had to answer all week, coming in just ahead of “What do you want for breakfast?”

My answer? U2.  I realize this probably offends 2/3 of you out there.  Before you hit “send” on that hate mail…the point really isn’t about the band, because I think most of us had a band that we couldn’t stand while everyone around us loved them.  So while you’re fantasizing about roasting me over an open fire, consider who may have been your own “U2″…and then send me a comment letting me know who it was!

U2. Wow did I despise them. The best part of this tale is the reason I hated them so much. Everyone else around me thought they were fantastic. That drove me NUTS. They had the nerve to fill up stadiums when they toured. They sold many albums. They were on the radio every freaking second. I hated them and that sanctimonious attitude that I felt Bono exuded through each tiny pore on his body.

Let’s just set the stage a bit. I’d say the year had to have been 1987. That would put me in my junior year of high school. I was in the marching band. Unbeknownst to the uninitiated, the members of the marching band at my school had reasonably good taste in music. The overwhelming majority listened religiously to KROQ (Richard Blade was still a DJ at this station at the time), and obviously, music played a huge role in our lives. (Understatement of the century, right?)  In March of that year, U2 released Joshua Tree. I don’t think I can really properly explain just how many times I heard “With or Without You” or “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. In a relatively short amount of time, I was ready and willing to sacrifice small children (I would have offered up my younger sister) or even animals to make the music stop. Every single day I would walk into that band room and every single day I was greeted by the drawl of Bono’s voice booming from the supersized club speakers that were in the room. (I never did understand why we needed those speakers. WE were the noisemakers, weren’t we??) If that weren’t enough, I had to hear my fellow band members go on and on about how “AMAZING” this band was and how I needed to get a clue, that Duran Duran was washed-up.

Wait, what?? Did they just use that name in VAIN?

I don’t think it should come as any real surprise that I was a big Duran Duran fan. If this fact shocks you, I’m thinking you might be on the wrong blog…but hey, welcome!! Where was I? Sure, I knew Roger and Andy had already left. Don’t remind me. I knew that the days of Rio and Is There Something I Should Know were behind. I also knew that Notorious hadn’t done quite as well as the first three albums. I was a believer and I had faith. Blind loyal teenage faith! I hadn’t even seen the band live yet, but I was not going away, and I was not giving in to whatever it was that Bono and company were trying to sell. No way. I blatantly continued flying my Duran Duran flag and continued taking hits from the rest of my marching band.  They lovingly (I hope it was lovingly) referred to me as a nerd…which is amusing when you consider that this, my friends, was the marching band. Weren’t we ALL nerds just by default?!? So I was the nerd of nerds. Outstanding. I was ever the over-achiever, even back then. I didn’t care. U2 could go to hell in a hand basket, I was never giving in.

After high school, which ended rather uneventfully unless you count a severe case of chicken pox three weeks before graduation, I moved into my college dorm with my closest friend from high school. (yes that’s right – three weeks. I caught them on the night of my PROM. Isn’t that fantastic timing??  I missed most of my finals and literally showed back up at school just in time to walk for graduation.)  Did I mention that this closest friend was a huge U2 fan?

She was determined to make me see the light. I was determined to resist.  Every Sunday night, she would call it “Music Appreciation” Hour, and she’d put on U2.  Vinyl of course, because even then I was convinced that CD’s sucked.  She would put the music on and sit in front of the speakers, trying to hear even the tiniest of sounds, and talk to me about what the music really meant and how Bono was trying to change the world. I self-talked my way into not openly gagging.  The next school year, I joined a sorority and moved out of my dorm room. Peace and U2 free at last!

To this day, I am still not a U2 fan in the same way I am not a fan of country music. I appreciate their contribution, and I have long since given up changing the station whenever one of their songs is played, particularly if it’s from one of their earlier albums – such as Unforgettable Fire – but I just can’t get on board completely. Call it stubborn…but I call it determined. I determined they weren’t worth my time a LONG time ago…and yeah, I’m slightly stubborn too.

-R

We are Family

It is relatively late evening in California as I sit down to type a blog for tomorrow morning.  Normally I blog the same day as something posts, but news late this afternoon my time caused me to take a moment, clear my head and write something semi-thoughtful.

As many of you may have read by now, it appears we have once again lost a fellow Duranie.  Sheila Germain, known to many of you as NYCredhead, looks to have lost an incredible fight, although as some have mentioned – if anyone could have beaten the odds, it likely would have been her. Amanda and I send our condolences to her family, friends and anyone who had the opportunity to know and love her – online and otherwise.

I don’t like having to send condolences for anyone, and these days, it seems as though it happens far too often. Surely I am not alone in that reflection. I have a difficult time reconciling the idea that I am at an age where friends should be lost, and yet of course I recognize that when your time has come, it has come. None of us get much of a say when this happens, or even how it happens. For control-freaks such as myself: this is not good news.

The one musing that tends to circle above my thoughts on a fairly frequent basis these days is that time is not to be wasted. I try to remember to tell the people who mean the most to me – my husband and children among them – that I love them dearly. Whereas at one time in my life, not too terribly long ago, I might have let a discussion become heated and get the best of me to the point where I would walk away without so much as an “I am sorry”; I’ve learned that those three words have power well-beyond my temper. My opinions or point-of-view(s) matter so much less than my friendships and relationships in the long run…and yes, that even goes for this blog. It’s only a rock band, and it’s only music.

If there was ever a time for me to be thankful, it is when I think back to the moments I have had with many of you, whether it’s trading a good-natured barb here on the blog, a very serious discussion about the merits of burgundy hair-dye on Facebook, or those rare but entirely-too-special-for words moments that I am graced to be in your presence, live and in-person. If I have done anything over the past several years, it is that I have LIVED.

I know the band, every single one of them, are lucky. To have had the careers they have had thus far, and done some of the things they have been able to do…yes, I believe it’s as much luck as anything else. At the end of the road though? I think the fans are truly the lucky ones.  Why? We have one another. We connect with one another in a way the band simply cannot.  When the band is said and done and maybe even forgotten us, our connections, our relationships and friendships…will continue on.

I know there are thousands of different types of fandoms out there. Many of which have ways of communicating just like ours, yet I really believe we’re different. As loyal, enthusiastic and even crazy about the band as we are, when it all boils down after the fur flies, we care about one another. I can’t think of a lot of fandoms that come together as ours does when someone is hurting, and I’m proud that we can be there for one another in times of grief or peril just as when we celebrate. Sure we’ll pull each others hair out if someone dares to cut in front of us at a show or dares to block our way to the band…but dang it we are family.  A sick, twisted and delightfully demented family.

Take time to tell the people you care about just how you feel about them.  As for me, I continue to be grateful that my path through life has allowed me to meet many of you along the way. Yes, my fandom has sometimes felt isolating, but I never would have guessed that beginning in my mid-thirties I would meet so many people and start having such a great time.  When other people, other moms my age started really slowing down, I feel I’m just getting started. There are so many of you out there, scattered across the world that I can count amongst my friends, and I say to you – how lucky are WE? We have a band that unites us, that has become the soundtrack to our lives in many respects, and a world of friendships we’ve made as a result. I am forever glad that Amanda and I decided to start this blog and tell the world how we really feel…and even more so that so many really don’t mind reading!

-R

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 61-64)

We are back to having book club on Mondays after last week’s change due to New Year’s Eve.  It is hard to believe that we are a week into 2013 already!  Anyway, this week, we move onto chapters 61-64, which basically covers 1989 to 1993, or to put it in terms of Duran history, from Decade through most of the Wedding Album.  For John, this time saw him get married and become a father.  The band also re-entered the charts again with the success of songs like Ordinary World and Come Undone.  On that note, grab a beverage and join in on the discussion!

Chapter 61:  Tabloid Fodder
Were you surprised by John’s interview at CNN to promote Decade?
A – In some ways, I was surprised by his inability to answer the question on a career highlight.  I was surprised, of course, because they have had a ton of highlights even by 1989.  Another reason I was surprised is that, as John himself has mentioned in the book, interviews came easy to him.  On the other hand, I can see how it can be difficult to come up with a highlight about your career when your career isn’t in the best spot.  At those times, all one can see is what isn’t good or what is frustrating.  I found it more interesting that he focused on the poster which read, “Absolute Conviction.”  Clearly, John was struggling with his conviction regarding the band.
R – I really believe this was part of his downward spiral.  I don’t know that it was really about just the career, but I do believe it’s easy to blame the lack of conviction in himself on the band at the time.  


What was your reaction to the tabloid story about John being the father to some random girl?
A – I wondered if this story was going to be covered in the book and I, certainly, wouldn’t have blamed John if he left it out.  I actually remember seeing a news clip about this where they showed John and I think, Simon, entering a hotel.  The clip interviewed the girl as well.  It must have been terribly upsetting, both in that it worried him and in the fact that she made it up.  I can only imagine how vulnerable he must have felt at that time.
R – I remember this story well.  I also know of several others from over the years.  Stories of this band member or that one having a child out of wedlock.  Without going into detail – I know of fans who still claim such things.  (Yes, I said fans) I guess for me – in all cases I have to wonder why on earth someone would even go around offering such information, even if it were true.  Maybe I’m just strange, but if I had a child with a band member (which would NEVER happen anyway) I don’t know that I’d feel the need to tell the world, especially if the band member hadn’t exactly admitted to the paternity.  Besides, I’d have my child to protect in that case.  In the case of John though with this girl, it’s mind-blowing how this girl could have worked up the sheer nerve to fabricate such a horrible lie… The only thing I will say is that obviously her parents did not do much to teach her well, as they even gave reports that he’d come to their house often for Sunday lunch. Wow.  I mean sure, by John’s own accounts it could have very well been possible.  Even so…going to the press instead of handling it privately? That’s just gross, in my opinion. 


Chapter 62:  Wedding Spaghetti
Did you know the story behind the naming of the song, Shotgun?
A – I had to laugh when I reread this part after just sending this song off the island on Friday!  I had no idea that it was a reference to the fact that John and Amanda had a “shotgun” wedding because she was pregnant.  I also didn’t realize that this is something that led Nick’s inspiration about having their parents on the cover, which, of course, has led the entire universe to refer to the album as The Wedding Album.
R – Shotgun??  We sent the memory of THAT song off into the sunset on Friday!!  It’s funny because I just listened to this section of the book yesterday in the car and I kind of choked a little when he told this story.  I’d forgotten it from my first read/listen.  Oops.  Sorry John – we voted it off!!  


Chapter 63:  Take Me to L.A.
John revealed quite a bit about the song, Ordinary World.  Did you know all of that and did it change your thinking about the song?
A – I did know that Simon had written Ordinary World and Do You Believe in Shame about his friend, David Miles, who had passed away.  I thought it was funny that John didn’t know the third song about his death.  Isn’t it Out of my Mind?  Am I remembering that wrong?  As for the writing of the song, I never thought about how the song started out on acoustic guitar, which isn’t common for the band.  It makes sense to me, though.  I thought it was fascinating when John said, “I was never a fan of the song, particularly-it had no bassline to speak of, didn’t rock or groove-but everyone who heard it fell in love with it.”  Sigh.  Perhaps, this is why the song doesn’t grab me.  This also shows me that the band truly DOES NOT love everything that they have done.  Good for John to say so.  By the way, I also knew that he wasn’t really involved with the writing of Come Undone.  Hmm…
R – I don’t love Ordinary World. Count me among the minority on that one as well, Amanda.  I have heard the stories about Ordinary World, and I also know what it means to a lot of fans out there.  The best story I have ever heard about that song though, is one that Simon told recently – in fact it was on the summer “tour” you and I did in August. I believe it was in Durham where Simon explained that the song saved the band from the brink.  They really thought they were going to end and then, that song came along.  I can understand how the song has probably come to mean much more to them now as a result, and while I personally would love to go several tours without ever hearing it again – I suppose a part of me can understand why they still play it.  I do wish it had more of a groove to it, though.  

Did you notice how the music business for Duran seemed to change during this era?
A – John mentioned it first when talking about Liberty and how they had to turn in their work to get paid as opposed to having a lump sum to begin with.  I also noticed how he said that now that they all had families there wasn’t this push to get music out so quickly.  Is this really when Durantime began?  If so, I will have a hard time telling them that they need to stop spending so much time with their families just so I get a new album, project, whatever faster.  Lastly, I noticed how the new manager didn’t want to release Ordinary World so quickly.  Interesting.
R – I really don’t think this is where Durantime came from.  I think it came from the days of SATRT, to be honest – because they continue to chase that fame thing.  They obsess over the music to the final detail and continue to try to reinvent themselves rather than embrace who and what they are. They keep trying to one-up themselves, don’t you think?  (During this period of time…not so much the present day.)  I think it’s because of their prior albums taking so long though that their label person was so tight with the pursestrings.  However, I did find it interesting that their PR guy needed an extra six months to set up the release for OW.  Do labels still do that??  Maybe those that actually do promotion for their artists…..


Chapter 64:  Paranoid on Lake Shore Drive
Were you surprised that John wasn’t super happy with the band’s commercial success?
A – I really wasn’t surprised despite his focus in the previous week on commercial success.  I think John was just at a point in his life when nothing was going to feel right, which is such a hard place to be.  I could also see him being torn between his career and his family.  I think that is a battle that a lot of people deal with.
R – Interestingly enough, I can’t imagine how it must have been for the band at the time.  I mean, it wasn’t 1985 any longer.  Things really had begun to change..and even great success wasn’t to atmospheric limits as in previous decades.  Then of course, John’s personal life wasn’t going well either, so naturally these things played off of one another.  When you’re unhappy in one area, you tend to be unhappy in a lot of areas….it leaches…


What did you think about the insight into the band structure at that time?  Do you think that is how they should have organized the band then?
A – I knew that Warren was a member and had been, officially, since the Liberty album.  What I didn’t know was that band business was still decided by Nick, Simon and John only.  That sheds quite a bit of light and makes sense to me.  Warren wasn’t a founding member and wasn’t involved with the vast majority of their catalog at that point.  Plus, it clearly didn’t work out with Sterling so it makes sense to take things slow.  Yet, of course, this leads me to wonder why the same can’t be done with Dom now.  
R – Sticky territory for me.  This period of time was truly when the band lost me for a bit, and not just because of Warren or Sterling.  I just wasn’t feeling IT with the band any longer, and I was in the midst of beginning my own adult life.  I can’t find fault with wanting a 5 piece band, and I can’t find fault with wanting the three “founding” members to be the decision makers.  I only wish they included later guitarists with the same thought to merchandising and credit as they did Warren.  Period.


Final Thoughts:
As I read this last chapter about the band being in Chicago, I couldn’t help but to think about my very first Duran show in Chicago in August of 1993.  I don’t know if this walk on Lake Shore Drive took place around this same show, but I have to wonder.  As I have blogged about before, while I enjoyed myself at that show, I felt that something was wrong.  I even openly declared then that the band should probably break up, that is was time.  Now, obviously, I’m glad that they didn’t but I wonder if I noticed that John wasn’t all that into it.  Heck, maybe the whole band wasn’t into it because they just added more dates that they didn’t want to do.  I don’t know.  As for John, it seemed like family life gave him a bit of happiness but couldn’t really solve the underlying angst.  The band’s success couldn’t solve it either.

Next week, we will focus on chapters 65-69, which should take us up to John meeting Gela.  Until then, let’s us know your thoughts about these chapters!

-A

Media Representations of Fandom–How Soon Is Ever (Part 2)

Last Sunday, I dived into the book, How Soon Is Never? by Marc Spitz.  This book followed Joe, a huge fan of The Smiths, as he discovered the band as a teen growing up in Long Island to his adulthood where, as a music journalist, he developed a plan with his co-worker to get them to reunite.  Last week, I focused on the first half of the book when Joe discovered the band and became a huge fan.  In my opinion, the book expressed what fandom feels like and the emotional investment that happens for those hard-core fans.  Thus, the book was realistic in how it portrayed fans.  The question, now, is whether that same realism would continue as we follow Joe’s plan in reuniting his favorite band of all time.  Will the adult fan be shown without the stereotypes?  The typical stereotypes for adult fans include not having a life or being stuck in perpetual immaturity.  Will this be how Joe is represented?

After The Smiths break up, the book skims past the rest of Joe’s high school experience.  College is also skimmed over.  We do learn that Joe spent his college years writing and taking a lot of drugs.  After college, he got a job in a book store where his colleague, Don, got him back into music.  Don, in fact, had been interning at a local music magazine and asked if Joe would be interested in writing some reviews.  (How lucky is that?!  Can I get paid to blog?!)  Soon enough, Joe discovered that having people read your writing is awesome.  In fact, he stated that it was addictive.  (Hmm…can’t relate to that.  Nope.  Not at all.)  Meanwhile, he got a letter from his ex-girlfriend from high school who gave him his first album from The Smiths.  This led him to open his box of vinyl, including Smiths albums.  The next day, he wore his original Smiths shirt to work where his new colleague, Miki, complimented him on it.  This led Joe to get interested in her immediately and the couple began hanging out together.  During their first time hanging out, they talked about the band and how everything would be better if they got back together.  (How many Duranies out there thought that before the Fab 5 reunited?!)  They decided that their mission must be to reunite them!!!  Their method would be to approach each individual band member.  At this point, they actually had a feeling that this could work!!!

Of course, they had some hope because they were feeding off of each other!  They viewed this as a cause!  Now, I have to admit that this feels very, very familiar to me.  Isn’t that what fandom is, at least when it comes to feeding off of other fans?  I never feel more like a Duranie than when I am with other Duranies!  Isn’t that what happens when fans even communicate online?  I think it does.  In terms of a cause, I know many Duranies who do things to try and get Duran commercial success, for example.  What about the fans who have the cause that sound like this, “This tour, I’m going to get front row.”  (We would never say that.  Nope.)  Again, this totally feels like a realistic portrayal of fandom without making the characters just fan stereotypes.

Now, that they have their cause as fans, as journalists, they began researching online.  Many quotes from band members seemed to fit the idea that they would be open to reuniting, or was that just how it seemed to their fan minds?  Of course, I think many fans do read into what is said to match what they want.  Let’s admit this.  When you are a fan, you aren’t always objective.  From there, they decide to post on every website related to The Smiths.  They felt that they needed to win the support of the fans and to have them join in on their cause.  Again, I can think of examples in our fandom.  What about the petition to get Duran into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?  Isn’t this the same kind of idea?  Finally, after a week when they contacted managers, they heard back from the drummer’s manager and were able to schedule an interview. 

Of course, both Joe and Mike were very nervous about meeting a band member despite being rock music journalists.  It isn’t the same, if you are fans.  During the interview, they talked about being an 80s band.  The drummer, Mike, responded that 80s bands were Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.  (Am I the only one who gets really excited at the mention of Duran in any book?!  One of the chapter titles of this book is a Duran lyric, too!)  They asked him what it would feel like to play again with the rest of the band and he agreed that it would be “magic”.  Clearly, then, he would be interested in reuniting!  From there, they moved to get the bass player, Andy.  For this, they traveled to Manchester, the band’s hometown.  How did Joe and Miki respond to being there?  They wanted to walk the streets to see where the “magic” happened.  Perhaps, they would get a new understanding.  Again, I found myself relating as this is how I felt the first time I walked around Birmingham.  The realism continued.  The interview with the bass player was also productive as he said he could see reuniting for the right amount of money.  Before they left Manchester, they were also able to meet with the guitarist, Johnny Marr.  Johnny indicated that he felt most reunions were about showbiz and that the only way he would do that was if it was away from the spotlight.  Thus, 3 members would reunite if the right circumstance existed!

From there, they moved to the last member, the singer, Morrissey who was living in LA.  For this band member, they didn’t have an interview set up.  They were going to just show up, which led Joe to complain that they were stalkers despite having journalist credentials.  Of course, they weren’t just fans either because they wrote about them.  They were in a strange sort of limbo.  Another Duran reference occurred as Joe began singing Is There Something I Should Know while waiting for Morrissey to answer the door.  He didn’t answer.  At this point, Joe decided that he was done.  He needed to move on and that nothing would really change if the band reunited.  Yet, at the end of the book, Joe concluded that the music still made him happy and that as long as he had that he would never be lost. 

Now, of course, there was way more to the book than what I discussed here.  Like the last book, I focused solely on how fans or fandom were shown.  I found the representation of fans, including their feelings and experiences surrounding fandom to be completely realistic.  It showed how fans become fans and how those strong feelings can and do last well into adulthood.  I find it interesting that both books that I discussed as part of this series seemed to have an accurate representation.  Yet, the movies and tv shows didn’t, really.  Is this an example of the limits of movies and tv shows over books?  Can books show more because they are lengthy?  Some food for thought.  Next week, I’ll continue with the series but I will be looking at Duran songs that discuss fans.  How do they represent us in their music?

-A

Spitz, Marc.  How Soon Is Never?  New York:  Three Rivers Press, 2003.

Interpretations of (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement

Last week when I discussed The Reflex and what the heck it could possibly mean, I also asked what other songs should I examine and try to figure out meanings.  I got many songs suggested to me but one song in particular was given by more than one person.  That song is from the same era as The Reflex and that is (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement.  Unlike The Reflex, I don’t have some huge memories attached to this one.  I will say this.  It wasn’t a song that hit me when I first got Seven and the Ragged Tiger as a kid.  Maybe, it was that I didn’t get it back then as I do remember thinking that the lyrics were goofy.  I like it better now.  Do I have a better grasp of what it could mean?  We will see.  On a different note, I do remember a story I heard on an interview with Duran in which Simon discussed how his pants ripped at the seam during the middle of a concert.  Apparently, he decided that stapling the pants together would help, but did not.  John’s response to this story was to ask Simon if they were performing Cracks in the Pavement! Oh, how, I appreciate that sense of humor!!!  Before I dive into possible theories, let’s take a look at a fan video that was made with the song.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

I shed my skin
When the party was about to begin
I’m light years away but I’m walking back tonight
Of all nights
When I should be feeling just right
Don’t want to be in public
My head is full of chopstick
I don’t like it

[CHORUS]
Something on my mind
Breaking open doors I had sealed up before
Something on my mind
Makes me run when I thought I’d run too far

Somebody shaking my tree
Maybe that somebody is me
I’m standing in the light but
I’m making a break for the shadows
On the cinema wall
They should be mine but I’m not that tall
Now I’m saying this in privaate
If I had a car I’d drive it
Insane

[CHORUS]

I’m looking for cracks in the pavement

Unlike The Reflex, there are not as many interpretations online for this song.  There are a few theories, though.  They are as follows:

*Being high

*Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

*Feeling out of place

*Having a mental breakdown

Those are interesting theories.  Could it be that the song is about being high?  The line about the “head being full of chopsticks” could refer to that.  Yet, it seems to me that I would really have to stretch to get the other lyrics to match drug use.  :A break for the shadows” could be about hiding drug use or hiding when making a drug purchase, but again that would be a stretch.  Perhaps, the theory really is that the lyrics isn’t about being high but written while high.  I have no idea about that, but I tend to think that these lyrics are pretty coherent, if that was the case.

If the first theory doesn’t really fit, what about this idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder?  I immediately have a hard time with this theory because mental illnesses like this were not talked about as much as they are now or even 10 years ago.  Thus, I’m already dubious, but let’s look at the lyrics with that lens on anyway.  Before I do, though, it is important to note, what characteristics are common with OCD.  According to the DSM-IV (manual of mental illness–yes, I own a copy.  I work with children with emotional/behavioral disorders.), a person with OCD has persistent thoughts/impulses/images that cause stress and demonstrate repetitive behavior or acts done to ease that stress.  In all seriousness, typically, the behaviors seen include things like washing hands, counting, checking locks, turning on/off lights, etc.  Now, of course, OCD is often used to describe someone who pays a great deal of attention to detail and has to have everything just so.  (I, of course, have never been described in this way, especially not when it comes to things like the tour binder.  No way.  Absolutely not.)  Does the song indicate any/many/all of these characteristics?  Well, “Something on my mind” and “makes me run when I thought I’d run too far” could indicate persistent thoughts and compulsive running.  Again, though, the rest of the lyrics would be a stretch. 

Keeping to the topic of mental health, does this song imply a mental breakdown?  Obviously, the line about having someone on my mind could be that there is a lot of activity going on.  Likewise, the line about driving the car insane could imply some sort of mental illness.  I suppose the line about having a head full of chopsticks could imply some sort of mental health issue.  My problem with this theory is that not every struggle, mentally and/or emotionally, about one’s life indicates a mental illness or a mental break.  All people struggle, emotionally or mentally, at various times.  That’s normal and this song feels like the person is dealing with something normal/common, at least to me.

What about the third theory?  Could it be about feeling out of place?  It seems to me there are some lyrics to fit this, including lines like “when I should be feeling just right, don’t want to be in public”.  Even the line about standing in light but seeking out the darkness could indicate that the person doesn’t want to be spotted and talked to because the person is feeling out of place.  Heck, even the shadow he is producing doesn’t match.  Thus, this theory out of all of them seems to make the most sense but I think it could be even less complicated than that.  Couldn’t it just be that the person isn’t feeling like himself?  “I shed my skin” could be saying that they are feeling open, feeling vulnerable, emotionally.  This, of course, is particularly problematic when you are leaving for a party.  Instead of being excited about the party, you are thinking about something else, something in the past and can’t let it go, which leaves you feeling like your head is “full of chopsticks”.  In fact, these thoughts are shaking this person, meaning that these thoughts are upsetting.  Perhaps, then, the person decides to try to avoid people and his thoughts by going to the movies but that doesn’t even work.  Maybe, the car reference is that whatever happened in the past, happened somewhere else.  Thus, if a car was available, he would drive to this other place or time but that wouldn’t help either.  It would only “drive” him crazy. 

What do the rest of you think?  Do you think one of these theories make sense?  Do you have a different idea? 

-A

P.S. What song should I tackle next???

Our “Top Ten”…

If the world only worked according to us….

We would vote things off our island. Indefinitely. Some of those things would be songs from the DD catalog. That’s right. Hey now – don’t choke on your Wheaties – but it’s true. There are songs that Duran Duran has written that we absolutely cannot stand. We might even…. *gasp*…. hate. EEK!

Here is the beauty of the situation though – you too can vote things off of your island!  Your list doesn’t even need to match ours, and you certainly don’t need to agree with us.  We would expect nothing less from our fellow fans, and we fully expect all of you to come after us with pitchforks in tow. We don’t post this crap for merely our own amusement, you know!

Before we begin, I must explain two things. First of all, if you are in the band right now and you’re taking precious time from your own personal “hiatus” (We call it “vacation”, but that’s just us) to read this – look away!!  Look away!! We know that these songs are probably like your own children in some way – and we recognize that we’re basically saying we would forcibly rip your child out of your arms and send them off on a boat off into the sunset. (As opposed to tossing them overboard. We’re humorous and sarcastic, not sick minded!!)  So I warn you now – this is not the blog for you today. Secondly, let me explain our methodology.  Simply put, we each made a list of ten songs we’d vote the hell out of here and then compared our lists. Amazingly enough, most of our lists matched! *more gasping* Once we finished marveling over the coincidence, we saw a few discrepancies. There was some cursing, campaigning and crying (Well, we were laughing pretty hard…), and then a list was arranged. There might have been some bargaining around which song would in fact BE number one, which will be explained as we go.

Without further adieu, we give you the Top Ten List of Songs Daily Duranie Would Vote Off Of the Island!

10. Silva Halo.  We feel this was an LSD trip gone awry.

9. Medazzaland.  Just not sure that Simon’s bad medicine trip needed to be commemorated in song, even though this was Nick’s first foray into being the lead voice. Sorry Nick.

8. Hothead.  Rhonda hears this song in her nightmares sometimes.

7. Shotgun.  This song is stupid short.  Why even bother?!?

6. Yo Bad Azizi.  Rhonda takes this one personally. Not only is the song ridiculous, but it is a direct insult of one of her most favorites. Who came up with this plan?? OFF THE ISLAND!

5. Ordinary World.  *gasp* That’s right. We would vote this off, and we would do it while smiling.  We clearly have no hearts or souls. We know. Now, before you hit “send” on that death threat – here is the thing: we both used to like this song. Rhonda even loved it one point.  It helped Amanda get through a hard time once upon a time.  It has been overplayed past it’s prime and it’s just time. It’s time to let the past go, even if only for a little while. All You Need is Now, right?!?  *runs*

4. Zoom In.  Amanda has near constant nightmares of avatars from Second Life coming through her window after her after seeing this performed live as part of the Broadway run. It is no wonder she isn’t rocking in a corner somewhere. We blame this song, and quite honestly – the band too. Besides, it’s a Timbaland song and we’re over him. Also, she campaigned hard for this one to be included….and she is pretty good at that campaigning thing!

3. Night Runner. Rhonda doesn’t believe this one even needs further comment and both of them still shudder from seeing that first “performance” of this one at the fan only show in June of 2007.

2. Skin Divers.  We’ll vote this song off and Timbaland too!!

And that brings us to our number one….Before we get there, let us explain how we arrived at this being the number one, as opposed to the songs in the #2 and #3 slot. The fact is, as much as those songs are indeed despised by at least one of us who happens to reside on the west coast of the US…they don’t receive a lot of play in #duranlive. (thank goodness.  Thank whatever higher power is out there….*knocks wood, starts thinking about what can be sacrificed to please the gods…*)  Number one though, does get an awful lot of live play.

Therefore…we vote off in a final act of defiance…

1. Come Undone!   We are simply over this song. Over. It. Neither of us started off hating this song, well…maybe Amanda did…but the fact is, it’s time to retire this one in favor of others that almost never get played. So we’re voting it off and doing the dirty work for the band. We look at it as doing a public service, really. We know a few of you like the finger licking (Durantigger – we are looking at you), but we are absolutely positively OVER IT. Time to give it up and move on to something written in the current century. Might we suggest some Mediterranea or Too Bad You’re So Beautiful instead???

We can hardly wait for the hate mail to roll on in….but we ask you, before you tar and feather us, isn’t there just ONE song you could do without hearing again?  If you say a quick no – we have to wonder why. Being a fan isn’t about loving absolutely everything. It’s being supportive, but it’s also about being willing to stand up and say “You’ve done so much better than this.”  Call us crazy, but we prefer it when our friends are honest with us. If we all really believe we’re connected to the band, then why isn’t OK not to love something, or to even hate or despise it? We love this band.  (We hope that is pretty obvious by now.  We write a daily blog on being their fans.  If that isn’t enough proof, we don’t know what is.)  We also think they’ve made some mistakes over the years. Mistakes that may have gotten them right where they are nonetheless, but we’re not afraid to make good fun of them as a result.

Truth of the matter is, we hope you not only grumble when you read this, but you laugh. It’s just a blog. We are just a couple of fans that are entirely too outspoken. We don’t make the laws (be thankful for that), and we certainly don’t choose the songs for the band. So much for the dare on the part of friends of ours who think we are far too diplomatic here. (Rhonda just spent a great deal of time looking up the exact post on Facebook to find the right word that was used…)

Wait…is that Come Undone that we see out there in that lifeboat paddling furiously towards (to?) the shore???

-A & R

Pop Trash

Fandom in the days of the internet never fails to fascinate.  There were just certain things taken for granted, even if they weren’t necessarily discussed in detail amongst my friends back in the early 80’s.  It was easy to sit amongst a group of friends and know with reasonable certainty what was “agreed upon”.  It never occurred to me to question basic things…like which songs were the favorites of my group of friends and therefore obviously “the best” (Who really needs music critics when you are amongst a group of twelve and thirteen year old girls?), or which band members were the most fashionable (again, don’t preteens really know fashion?!?), or which band member was indeed the most popular.

My world was very small back when I was eleven, twelve and even thirteen. I read magazines like Tiger Beat, Bop or Teen Beat.  I watched Video One, MV3, Friday Night Videos and later, MTV.  I had a group of no less than four and no more than about eight friends with me at school…and although the cast of characters changed depending upon whom was angry with whom at any given time…these were the people I counted on outside of my family.  It was these girls I trusted to know just as much about the band as I, and it was with these girls that I first learned to share and coexist.

You see, as John Taylor touched upon in his book, it was not enough to say you liked the band – at least not in my experience at Sunflower Junior High in Glendora, California.  Oh no, because the very next question after “Who is your favorite band?” and one answered “Duran Duran” was “Who is your favorite?” The funny thing is that even today – this is EASILY one of the first questions I hear being asked when people meet for the first time.  It’s even become a way of introducing oneself on a message board.  “Hi, my name is Rhonda, I live in Southern California, I’ve been a fan for over 30 years now (who is counting???) and my favorite band member is Roger.”  (Or Dom, as the case might be.)  Back when I was in my formative years, this question of naming a favorite band member signified plenty.  As John mentioned, it was simply not done to have more one person in a group of friends like the same band member.  It had the potential to get very messy when we’d be sitting in a circle at lunchtime out on the quad, discussing the merits of the latest Tiger Beat article.  (Yes, even then we would complain about the interview questions!)  I mean, if someone just openly announced that they were expecting John Taylor to swoop in on his white horse and proclaim his love for them…what would be done if yet another John Taylor girl was sitting in the group?  No no, this just would not do.  So oddly, we found ways to work it out.  We simply chose another band member as our favorite.

In my case, it always seemed that the trouble was with John.  As in, there was only one of him, and at any given time in my circle of friends – there were at least two girls, and very likely three or even four, who were insistent that he was indeed, taken.  As in, “He’s mine. You’ll need to choose another favorite to follow.”  Never did I see this happen with other band members.  There always seemed to be just one Simon girl, one Nick girl, and one Roger girl (that’d be me).  I never had to fight off other girls for Roger – they would say “Oh, he’s just far too quiet, Rhonda.”  I’d smile shyly and say “That’s fine.  I am too.”  And I was. Back then.  Never really had a lot of friends that were Andy girls, but I do remember my friend Terri from junior high being exceptionally fond of Andy – saying he was the only “real man” in the group.  She was twelve.

I came to believe that John Taylor was the prime real estate of the group. It was easy to figure why – those cheekbones should have been illegal and don’t even get me started on his bleached bangs (in the US we call them bangs – I think elsewhere they refer to them as “fringe”, which sounds so much better…).  Alas, I was not a fighter – I was very much a peacekeeper at the time, so I simply found the guy that no one really knew much about because he was so quiet.  Other friends found their favorite, and for the most part we coexisted as our own band of five.  Or eight…which was sticky at times, but we made it work. From what I could tell, even the teen mags sided with John here on the US soil. Naturally much of this might have been my teenage perception at work, but the way I saw it was that John was the “face”, Simon (while certainly no slouch in the looks department) was the outgoing one, Nick was well – king of eyeliner and fashion – the artsy one, Roger was the dark and quiet one, and Andy was the rocker.  Made perfect sense to me and I never once questioned whether or not it was the case everywhere else in the world.  “Everywhere” for me consisted of my relatively small junior high school (I think there might have been 300 kids at the school in total over 3 grades (sixth through eighth grade) and maybe it branched out to my city of Glendora/Covina.  Then again, maybe not.  Like I said, my world was very, very small in the years of 1981-1984.

Oddly, it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I ever started questioning whether or not what I believed to be case law when it came to Duran Duran was really and truly the case worldwide…and it was because of a simple comment that was made on our blog.  The commenter simply mentioned that she had always thought Simon was the most popular.  When I first read the comment, I sat back bewildered and pondered the situation. No, I was certain that it was always John. Although, what she mentioned about Simon’s twitter is in fact true – he does have more followers.  Then in a flash I realized that wait, I’m 42 years old now!!  Do we really care who is the most popular these days??  Should we??

I can’t answer that question.  For me personally as someone who is claiming that their “favorite” band member these days is someone who wasn’t even in the original group – I think I have to let a lot of that just go.  I mean, here I am at 42 and I’m still even claiming I have a favorite!  Obviously some part of me never quite grew up, and I’m just going to own and embrace that.  But, I do wonder if things were the same for every other fan across the continents.  As I traded replies yesterday, the subject of where each of us lived came up.  She is from the UK, and I am from the US.  Maybe that really made the difference. Who was the band member that girls seemed to “fight over” the most where you lived?

The internet has both exponentially expanded my world, and made it infinitely smaller at the same time.  When I was twelve, I would have never dreamed of making friends with people on the other side of the world. I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have the ability to debate serious issues such as the popularity of band members, much less blog about such things to a worldwide audience and getting responses that make me think and even challenge my preconceived notions.  I love that and I hope it makes all of you reconsider some things you once thought to be “law” as well!

-R

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 56-60)

Happy New Year everyone!  We figured that there is no better way to start the new year than to continue on with our weekly discussion of John Taylor’s autobiography.  This week, we focus on chapters 56-60, which basically covers the Notorious and Big Thing eras.  It is interesting how these 5 chapters cover a few years whereas there were 4 or 5 chapters that covered just one year in the early 80s earlier in the book.  Before we dive into the discussion, let’s recap what we know about Duran Duran during those eras.  The Notorious era saw the band continue on as a trio of John, Nick and Simon.  They released a pretty funky album that did well but not nearly as well as previous releases.  Big Thing continued as a threesome and saw even less commercial success.

Chapter 56:  Dead Day Ahead
Do you think that John needed to include a whole chapter devoted to one night of “madness”?
A – When I first read the book, I couldn’t really understand why he went into such depth to one night in 1985, especially since it seemed like he skimmed over the late 80s.  Why include this?  What purpose did it serve?  Clearly, it was a night that really stood out for John.  The storm, the using, and even the phone call to his priest showed the internal battle that was being fought.  John was looking for something, some answer and didn’t find it, not that night, at least.  Nonetheless, I think the chapter really showed this battle and needed to be included for that reason.
R – I really kind of think that for John, this might have signified the beginning of his rock bottom – which in his case took a long while to settle in –  and that was the point of including the evening in such detail. There was definitely some sort of inner battle going on in John, no question there.  I like the detail he included regarding the storm – it was just the right imagery.  

Chapter 57:  In the Dark
After meeting with Roger to see if he planned to return to the band, John stated that he didn’t have time to react emotionally as he was just in survival mode.  Do you think that was an accurate way to describe him and the band in 1986?
A – It seems to me that this chapter really connects to the previous chapter.  In the previous one, John was focused on finding some answer to his life.  In this chapter, John focused on getting the band back as the answer.  I, selfishly, am grateful that he did zero in on that goal.  Nonetheless, I think the “survival mode” statement is an accurate one.  The band and John seemed to be fighting to stay alive.  It was interesting to me that John was the one to go see both Roger and Andy to get them back in the fold.  I have to wonder if Nick or Simon would have been better.  Although, both Roger and Andy seemed determined to walk away so it probably didn’t matter who went to talk to them.
R – Tough part of the book for me to read, to be honest.  In some ways, I think that John believed that if he could just keep the band together, he’d be OK.  By this point, it seemed as though John’s entire identity was caught up in Duran Duran, and to be fair – I can certainly understand why.  John became an adult while he was in the band, he became John Taylor while being in the band.  Separating the two personas was probably impossible.  So for John, saving the band was likely very similar to saving himself.  The trouble of course was that he was missing 3/4 of the problem.

What was your reaction to Warren’s introduction by calling and saying, “Tell them it’s their new guitar player?”
A – I know that this question opens a can of worms, but I had to acknowledge his entrance.  When I read this, I had two thoughts pop into my mind.  First, I’m sure that this level of “confidence” probably does work to get you where you want to be.  Second, it always feels very arrogant to me, which is why I would never use a line like that.  Yes, it means that I don’t tend to get very far in life.  Anyway, it just feels pushy to me, especially since Duran wasn’t really sure what was happening with Andy.  It seems to me that having band members leave is tough, emotionally, and there is some grieving that needs to take place.  When someone takes that place so quickly, I wonder how much of it is a genuine fit or how much of it is an emotional need to have that void filled.
R – *sigh*  Arrogant much?  Yes.  Big shock right?  The one thing that I *will* say shocked me was that Andy had also broken up Warren’s band.  I didn’t realize that.  As for the rest – I’m not even going there.  Everything I ever needed to know about Warren is right there in that one sentence.

Chapter 58:  Notorious
Did you feel like music changed from the early 80s to the late 80s, the way that John described?
A – I do.  As a kid, I noticed that there was a shift in music and culture, but I never really knew if that was due to my personal circumstance or because that was really how it was.  I moved from the Chicago suburbs in 1985 to a small town.  The world felt very different to me on a number of levels.  Yet, it did seem to me that the bands and artists who were super popular in the early 80s weren’t in the late 80s.  John talked about how pop became political and that sobriety became more common.  That would make a difference.
R – There was a HUGE change in music from the early to late 80’s.  At the time I don’t think I recognized it – but looking back, I can see it with extreme clarity.  Even my tastes changed, as I went from being a middle-schooler to graduating from high school in this period of time.  By the time I graduated high school, I was much more into rock, much less so pop.  

Chapter 59:  Surfing Apoplectic:
What was your take on John’s meeting of the Italian actress, Sandra Milo?
A – To me, stories like this showed John’s ability to pick out important moments of his life but also his ability to convey them to his readers.  Clearly, this was a very brief meeting that could have meant nothing to him.  Yet, he got the message she gave him, intentionally or otherwise, which was that he can’t get stuck in his past career highlights.  I think John probably really needed to get that message in 1987 when the band started to decline from the insane early 80s hysteria.  He needed to learn, to remember to keep moving forward.  It may not be like what it was but it can still be good, be valuable.
R – I agree Amanda, John is very good at being able to wade through all of the experiences he had and picking out the small moments that meant everything, and then conveying that to the readers.  I have no idea who Sandra Milo even is, but it’s obvious that the message she gave to John was significant and has stuck with him all this time.  

Chapter 60:  Chasing the Wave
Did you realize what the chapter referred to as soon as you read it?
A – I found this chapter fascinating considering what he had learned from the previous chapter about not living in the past with career success.  Yes, the chapter title did seem to be a clear one with fame and commercial success being the wave and the fact that the band was trying to get that wave throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
R – Chasing the wave…chasing the concert high…it’s what we all do.  I think the mistake is getting caught up in that chase to the point where you don’t enjoy what’s really going on around you.  We all make THAT mistake, too.  

John discussed a couple of theories he had that would make Duran the success again that they once were.  Did any of these theories surprise you?
A – It seemed to me that John really thought that they needed to go back and replicate what they had in the past.  Thus, two things needed to happen.  One, they needed to become a five piece again so that their live performance wouldn’t need the help of others and so that their writing process could return to what it once was.  Two, John needed to be single and available.  I wasn’t really surprised by the first theory of returning to a 5 piece band.  I think we all sort of feel like that it Duran as it should be, even now (*coughDomBrowncough*).  I understand that one, especially when it comes to writing and jamming.  It seems to me that the best Duran is when all instruments are present and accounted for.  That’s very difficult to do if there aren’t players in the studio to push for that.  The second theory about John needing to be single is one that I don’t understand.  Yes, of course, Duran had a lot of teenage followers and a lot of those followers thought the various members were cute.  There were a lot of fantasies about becoming Mrs. Rhodes, Mrs. LeBon or Mrs. Taylor.  Yet, did the fans drop off when Andy got married?  Nick?  Roger?  Simon?  I don’t think so.  So why would John be any different?  Yes, I realize that he was the “most popular” but still…it wasn’t like he had that many more fans.  I am sure that John thought and felt this way and I’m glad that he was brave enough to include it.
R – I think it’s slightly bizarre that John really spent time trying to figure out what the formula for success really was back then…in the same respect that I am amused when FANS do it today.  We just can’t replicate the past, can we?  

I do understand what John meant by needing to stay single though.  I very clearly remember my group of Duranie friends getting more and more turned off by Duran with each member getting married.  Sure, they were a pop band, but they had a very teenage audience – and girls are funny at that age.  They are fickle (Still kind of are, but that’s another observation for another blog post.) and as the boys got married, girls lost interest.  Of course, one could argue that these girls were never really fans in the way the fans are today, and I would probably agree, but the fact is that all of those girls still equaled something in sales and interest, and for the band, sure – that was golden, and so John probably did feel some pressure to stay single.  I don’t know if it really made a difference, but I know what bands like One Direction and even Jonas Brothers…amongst many others… are/were told by their PR people even today. Stay single.  The younger female fans won’t tolerate anything else.  

Final Thoughts:
It seems to me that John is just feeling lost during the late 80s.  He seems to be looking for something and isn’t able to find it anywhere.  He focuses on the band as a means to have a focus but that isn’t met with the success he wants.  At the same time, he pushes away commitment with Renee.  He even ends Chapter 60 with talking about how depressed he was and how he thought that there was too much “wrong” with him.

Next week, we will cover chapters 61-64, which is right before John enters rehab.  Before we get there, though, please join in with your thoughts about these questions or with discussion questions of your own!

-A & R

Our “Best” of 2012…Happy New Year everyone!!

Happy last day of 2012, everyone.  We decided to continue the tradition of chronicling our year with a “Best of” list, and we encourage all of you do review your year with your own list.  Unfortunately, this interrupted the book discussion day, which will just be pushed back until tomorrow!

May your new year bring you nothing but the best of luck, happiness, health and good times…and we hope to see many of you either “on the road”…or at a Duran Duran Fan convention in the Fall in the US.  Place, date & times to be announced soon…we promise!

Rhonda’s List:

Duran Duran Moment:  Wow.  Just one??  I’m really in between two…so I’ll post both:

1. Durham, North Carolina. Not only was the show fantastic, but there was a brief moment after the show when the band got into their vans that I won’t ever forget.  I’m just glad I found my way to the back door to say good-bye to the band.

2. Biloxi, Mississippi. Also in the front row, for the very first time ever, and Simon just HAD to do his super-special White Lines trick. I don’t know why I forgot the moment was coming until I looked over at Dom and saw his eyes widen at just the right moment, only to look up and see LeBon towering over Amanda and I…but just far back enough to where when he sprayed the water up in the air most of it landed on himself and the stage. Of course, we were still baptized, and I looked up to see Nick Rhodes laughing (probably at the face I was making!). Even though I made a mad face and wanted to strangle Simon, I did have to laugh and I still chuckle when I think of the scene unfolding.

Personal Moment(s):  In this category there are bests and worsts. I can’t let the year go by without remembering my best friend from college – Laurie Peralta, who died in a horrific car accident back in August. She is never forgotten and I miss her all the time. Picking up the pieces and moving on is proving to be quite a challenge for all who loved her. Thanks to all of you for your notes of condolence and kindness, they were much appreciated.

I am a proud mom. I have seen my son go from D’s and F’s in school to a 3.5 GPA (homeschooling works for us!), I have watched my little one dance on stage this year, and my oldest performed as Flora in the musical No No, Nanette.  She was a very convincing blonde bimbo – and I say that with all the parental pride in the world.

Finally, I am proud of how much this blog has grown. I thoroughly adore bringing fans together, uniting people, providing a vehicle for making friendships and allowing fans to really have a voice. I hope we do all of you proud.

World Events: The reality is that for me, there is only one event that really shook me to the very core, and that was the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. There just isn’t anything that I can really say about that, except that I constantly think of those children and their families…and I take time to hug my kids a little tighter each day. I also think back to Superstorm Sandy and how people I know of lost their homes, cars, etc. It’s been a tough year for so many people in the world, and I just have to believe that 2013 will be better. I hope.

Album: 

Blue to Brown: Ok. I know what you all are thinking here. Yes, it’s Dom Brown and this being a favorite of mine is probably a given. You’ve got me on that one. However, I am not a blues fan. Or should I say, I wasn’t a blues fan. But since getting that album, I’ve been listening to other blues. Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker…and a few others. Check out Dom’s blues list on Spotify – I’ve been listening to many of those artists on there too, as well as Jimi Hendrix (who clearly has blues roots) and one of Dom’s favorites – Jeff Buckley (although he’s not really blues). Blue to Brown opened the door for me to check out some “new” music that I probably would have continued to ignore otherwise. I still wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of the blues, but…I’m a more educated listener now.

Single: Can someone tell me exactly what a single IS these days? I don’t know that the “chosen” song that is promoted for radio airplay is really of any specific function now. I still listen to radio once in a while, but I find myself turning it off more and more often. I did like M83’s Midnight City before it became an overplayed cliché, and after that Imagine Dragons It’s Time….but that was ruined within weeks for me as well. So I end up turning to Spotify and just playing whatever I come across on there. Much of it…not a “single”, and definitely not on the radio. One song I ADORE that I found via Spotify?? Amor Fati by Washed Out. I love Spotify because I can listen to anything and decide if I love it before I buy it.

I’m adding a category here because I can’t get through the year without mentioning it again….

Book: We’ve all said some lovely things about John Taylor lately. His book In the Pleasure Groove was my best read of the year. It changed the way I look at the band, at John, and even myself and my own dreams. The book is smart, well-written, and even funny at the appropriate times. Reading the book was cathartic (for me).  As an aside, if I haven’t said it before (I have), the smartest thing John Taylor has done in recent years was join Twitter. That connection he talks about with fans in the book? It’s there. I see it nearly every day.

Movie: I always have a difficult time with this one because we really don’t go to the movies that often.  Just last night we went to see The Hobbit, and I also saw Breaking Dawn II, Wreck It Ralph, The Hunger Games and Mission Impossible in IMAX (never ever again).  Truthfully, none of them were “the best” for me.

Gig: Isn’t this a given? So with that, I will say my favorite gig of the year HAS to be Duran Duran in Durham, North Carolina. I can’t even really say if it was because the band was on fire that night, the company – meaning all of the Duranies who came out to pre-party with us at the wine bar that night, or going out Pinhook (a truly terrific dive bar in Durham) afterwards, but it was a fantastic night. The band was on their game, our seats were greatly improved after the first few songs, and I had the time of my life. What more could I want?!?

Another gig like that one. Soon. Please.

Most looking forward to in 2013: There are so many things…I am really excited to go live with our new website, I’m anxious to get started planning the convention, hearing if there are to be summer shows for the band, I can’t wait to watch my son graduate from middle school and see my youngest start kindergarten.  Most of all though, I think I am really looking forward to finishing our book and finding an agent and publisher. Fingers crossed that it will go well.  We’ve worked very hard and will continue!

Amanda’s List:

Duran Duran Moment:  I have a few.  First, I immediately thought of the fact that Rhonda and I finally can say that we had front row.  I think the part of that which makes it a favorite of mine isn’t that it was the best experience ever (I sucked at being in the front but promise to be MUCH better if I have the opportunity again!) but because we had a plan and followed through with it.  We got what we wanted because we were focused and committed.  I think that is a lesson we learned and need to remember.  Second, the John Taylor book talk and signing was so very special.  I debated about going a million times for a variety of reasons but I’m glad that I went.  It was amazing to hear him read from the book right in front of  me and made it all the more emotional.  Then, I was lucky enough to share that experience with so many great Duranies!  It reminded me of the best of fandom.  Lastly, while this isn’t a moment, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that the band is still going.  I am thankful of that everyday.

Personal Moment(s):  I have two personal moments that I’m sure that none of you will be surprised at.  First is meeting the President on October 4th.  To me, meeting any president would be super cool, but this went way beyond that!  To have him hug me and thank me was huge.  It was so nice to have my work valued and appreciated.  Then, it felt so wonderful to see that he truly is as warm and genuine as I had always believed.  The second personal moment surrounded the John Taylor signing in Chicago.  It wasn’t the interaction, which was very nice, of course, and it wasn’t hearing him read from his book or having him sign my copy.  It was seeing him wear the Daily Duranie wristband that I had given him.  I honestly believed that he would just glance at it and put it to the side with everything else that he had been given.  I wouldn’t have blamed him either as I can’t imagine giving so many things from so many people all the time.  Anyway, seeing it on his wrist also felt a bit like validation to me and that what we do here isn’t stupid and means something.

World Events:  My world event is tied to one of my personal moments and that is the re-election of President Obama.  I promise I won’t get political here but to get the result I wanted after working for over 4 years and working a tremendous amount of hours, all for free, was an unbelievable feeling.  It was a feeling of such intense excitement when it was announced that he won my state and won re-election that I can’t imagine getting that feeling anywhere else or for any other reason.  For me, personally, it was also a moment of pride as we turned 13,000 more votes for him in my county than in 2008, which is beyond awesome.
  
Album:  While Rhonda hates the movie category, I hate this one.  I so rarely bought music this year.  I was so swamped by campaigning and politics that the news tends to be my background, my soundtrack.  Even now, as I type this, I have the news on.  That said, it isn’t like I don’t like to hear new music or get excited by new music.  It just hasn’t happened.  I was hoping for the new album from the Killers for Christmas but it didn’t happen.  I’ll probably download that one over break.  🙂
  
Single:  Again, this is just like the album category.  I have songs that really hit me this year but they might not have been “singles” and frankly they might not have been from this year.  I tend to also listen to music to motivate me or to explain how I’m feeling at any given time.  Thus, I found myself listening to songs like Finest Worksong by REM to motivate me during campaign season. 

Book:  I would do better in this category.  In this situation, I’ll echo Rhonda’s choice with John Taylor’s autobiography.  While I can’t say that it changed the way I look at the band or John like it did Rhonda, it felt to me like meeting the President did.  I had all of these thoughts and beliefs about John Taylor that I had believed to be true, had hoped to be true.  Reading the book confirmed those beliefs.  In that sense, it made my John Taylor fan status all the stronger. 

Movie:  I don’t take the time to go to the movies much or even watch a lot of movies at home.  This usually makes this category a very tough one for me.  Yet, this year, I have an answer!  I’m sure you might all guess it, too, and that is the movie, Lincoln.  First of all, it sang to my have a history degree background.  I can’t say that Civil War history or even Presidential history is my thing (I focused on contemporary history, specifically history of social movements of the 1960s and 1970s) but this movie reminded me why history is so fascinating and how much can be learned from history.  Second of all, the focus was on the end of slavery, which is a social justice topic of epic proportions, which is right up my alley!  Third, the political junkie in me loved watching all the political moves taking place.  If all those weren’t reasons enough, the performances, writing and direction were all fabulous.

Gig:  I haven’t seen any gigs beyond the Duran ones I saw this summer.  I thought about going to see the Killers when they were in Chicago but it didn’t work out, which was for the best as I was sick at the time.  So, what was my favorite out of the ones we saw?  Clearly, the answer had to be Durham.  I thought it was the best out of the four in terms of energy, band interactions with each other and the crowd, and the audience enthusiasm.  Of course, I’m hoping that there might be some Duran shows in 2013!!! 

Most looking forward to in 2013:  A lot of my list would match Rhonda’s including getting the book published, having a successful convention, updating and upgrading our website and more.  For Duran, I can’t wait to see and hear what they come up with in the studio with Mark Ronson!  On a personal level, I hope that 2013 brings about some more connections and/or deeper connections. Maybe, just maybe, these connections will help answer some deep questions I have, too!