Category Archives: DuranDuranFans.com

I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all over…

Don’t tell my kids, but I really hate rules….which is why I’m breaking one of mine and posting not one, but TWO “for real”, as in “I am sitting down and writing right now” blogs today.

After I’d already published my first posting for the day, I went over to check out Facebook, and a very poignant and much needed post grabbed my attention. My friend Jessica posted that ten years ago this week, she stumbled across a post on dd.com that beckoned her to a brand new message board, aptly titled duranduranfans.com.  She surmised that making the decision to join that board brought her many new and exciting experiences, and of course – a lot of friends.

I, too, found that post on dd.com. I remember exactly where I was in my house at the time, (upstairs sitting at the desk in our hallway…working on an art history thesis project.) and just how quickly I followed the link.  The funny thing is that the main reason I liked DDF (as it soon came to be called) was because unlike dd.com – the owner of the site (Robin Burks, who is also the owner of fangirlconfessions.com) chose to design the site with a white background – and it was much easier on my eyes than dd.com.  But, the longer I stayed, the more I noticed how much friendlier the place became.

Unlike dd.com – on this site, I was one of the original members. There’s a handful of us that can probably claim being there from nearly the beginning – and what I feel is truly unique is that for the most part, we’re all still friends. I consider many of those people to be among my most true-blue friends in the universe.  That doesn’t mean we all still chat daily, but I really do believe that if I needed something – I could call out for these women and they’d be there, Duran Duran or not.  (In fact, I’d say that for most of them – Duran Duran isn’t even really in the picture these days. They’ve moved on, and I’ve somehow stayed put.) But because we were the original members of this small board, I think that the “lizard mixture” of our personalities is what gave the board it’s flavor.  Since the core group of us participated and made ourselves  continually visible (and integral) to the vitality of the board – others were encouraged to play in the sandbox the same way, and I’m proud to say that 99% of the time, that is exactly what happened.

As I said before, many of us have moved on now. People finished school…started careers…got married…got divorced…started over…quit the band……wrote books..had that third baby they didn’t think they would be having(ha ha, says the mom!)…and some were even crazy enough to start a blog.  I can’t honestly remember the last time more than a few of us were in the same room together.  Maybe it was Jessica’s wedding?  That’s sad.

The thing is, and this is really the point I want to make here above all else – for that brief time when we were ALL fans and when we were ALL trying to find our little space in this community to exist together, we found one another and it worked. I run into people all the time that tell me they can’t be friends, like “real” friends, with other Duranies because when the band comes around – it’s all out the window.  Every fan for his/her own self, right? Well, that just doesn’t have to be true. I know, because I lived it.  I keep living it. The band did (and still does) an excellent job of providing background music, but when it came down to the friendships I made, I give the band no credit. I found good people, whom I love and adore to this very day.  When it comes down to it, I wish that for everyone – which is why this blog exists and keeps working like the Little Engine That Could.

I had no way of knowing back in 2004 that one teensy little click from one message board to another -one little link – would change my life so profoundly. I don’t think I can ever really articulate in words what making the decision to log into duranduranfans.com would eventually do, and continues to do for me. I’ve met so many people and had the opportunity to do so many things that I am positive I never would have done otherwise. In 2004, I was this meek little housewife with a very much buried wild streak that never really got to see the light of day. In a lot of ways, I’d been beaten by the world.  The light I had within was pretty dim at that point, I have to say. Something changed as I continued to grow strong friendships with other fans. I became reacquainted with the person I used to be, well before I ever met my husband or became a parent…and I really kind of liked her.

Ten years. In many ways, it still feels like yesterday, which is why it was so astounding to me to see that Facebook post today from Jessica.  But in other ways, I honestly don’t remember my life without any of you in it.  I just know how incredibly lucky I am to have you with me, whether in person, online or in my heart.

(and I still miss that damn message board, the Late Bar, and even that infamous poster named Moocher!!)

-R

Friends of Mine (I DO think myself lucky, actually!)

Good morning everyone!  5:30am hurts after only a few precious hours of sleep…just in case you didn’t know, I just thought I’d share.  Ugh.  I really don’t have insomnia but a few times over the course of an entire year, but when I get it – I get it and I end up stuck there for a bit.  That’s what’s happening right now.  Too much going on, the brain doesn’t shut off and I end up having to read until I get tired.  I don’t do sleeping pills of any kind simply because they end up making me feel worse, and being the only parent here with three kids right now – I can’t afford to be groggy.  I can’t wait to see how I’m going to feel at 3pm today.  Eek!

On this date in 2004, a convention was underway in New Orleans.  The 78-03 Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention was held at the Hotel Monaco in New Orleans.  Unfortunately the hotel is no longer there, it experienced a large amount of damage during Hurricane Katrina and was not rebuilt. This convention was very special to me personally for a number of reasons – not the least of which being that it was where I met the other half of Daily Duranie! I met so many wonderful people there “in person” for the first time that weekend in 2004, people who I continue to stay in contact with to this day.

For me, the convention was nearly a rebirth, and most certainly cathartic. I’ve read so many articles, essays and books that claim that fandom is as much spiritual (in an obviously secular way) as it is anything else.  I have to say that when I look back on that weekend, I remember how it all felt for me – and yes, it really was very much like a spiritual awakening.  It was like getting reacquainted with myself, finding “my people”, and realizing that I did in fact belong somewhere.  In college, I took an entire course called The Sense of Place.  (I can feel your jealousy from here. I know, I know..you wish you had been me.  It’s OK.  Really.) In this course, we studied what the word “place” really meant in a very non-literal sense, and what lengths people will go to find where it is they belong.  For some it means going back home, for others it means wandering the planet, and for others it means never leaving the house they were born.  In hindsight I have to wonder why the professor never thought to include fandom in our course of study, but that weekend, I finally understood what the professor meant during our course. (Too bad I had taken the class nearly ten years prior…better late learning than never!)  I had found my place.

Too many people wander aimlessly in this world, wondering where exactly they are supposed to fit in.  I feel for those people, because for me – I spend a lot more time trying to adhere to the rules, towing the line, and doing what is expected than I do feeling like I actually belong somewhere. In this regard, writing the blog and being a fan has been quite the journey of exploration and discovery, and yes – it really has become a source of therapy. Amanda and I have had the opportunity to meet many other fans now, and without fail, nearly everywhere we’ve gone we’ve had a fellow fan come up to us, thank us for the blog (which blows me away every single time) and tell us that they feel like they finally belong somewhere.  I can’t honestly believe that’s because of our writing, but if planning events and making people feel welcome helps someone else to feel included, I am thrilled. That is the whole point.  The ONLY point.  I love seeing fans come together and watching forever friendships being made.

So I need to thank a group of people, because without their persistence, strength and wisdom, that convention would have never occurred, and as the story goes – the rest of my journey probably wouldn’t have began.  These women, and possibly a few men out there – and I’ll just collectively call them DDF’ers (before anyone gets wise-ideas, DDF was our message board – DuranDuranFans.com!) so that I don’t risk leaving any single person out, were responsible for pulling together a convention on a shoestring budget from nearly every corner of the United States.  We had a great time, and when I’m feeling really low – I’ll go back and look at the pictures I’ve got just to remind myself of how much fun I really had, and how far we’ve all come.

I still haven’t forgotten about that video of Rio – karaoke style, girls.  I trust it remains under lock and key. It’s for the greater good.

-R

A Good-Bye

Before anyone starts to freak out or celebrate – it’s not me or Amanda!!!  It’s a message board, and in fact it’s the message board that brought Amanda and I, as well as a horde of other Duranies together.  The message board is DuranDuranFans.com, along with its owner and developer, Master Grand Poombah RobinRobin (her screenname, of course!)….Robin isn’t going anywhere of course, but this post is as much about her as it is the message board.

Back in 2003 (I’m hoping I have the date correct!), RobinRobin did the Duranie world a huge favor and started a little website – the aforementioned (love that word) DuranDuranFans.com, affectionately shortened to DDF.  Those of us who were barely treading water on dd.com along with many, many others in the Duranie Kingdom, found our way onto that message board.  I can remember the very day I wandered yet again onto dd.com only to see a thread from Robin requesting that a few come on over to DDF and check out the message board client she’d set up.  I figured it couldn’t be any worse than dd.com and went over, only to find a much calmer and easier to read set up.  I quickly made friends with a few Duranies, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about planning a convention. Suffice to say, I didn’t go back to dd.com much after that.

In 2004, that convention happened – it was held in New Orleans at Hotel Monaco (the hotel was closed after Katrina due to damage and never reopened).  It was there that Amanda and I first met in person, and truly – it’s where I met most of the Duranies I continue to keep in touch with to this day.  I continued to call DDF my second home for many years following the convention, and I will always be extremely thankful to Robin for the time, energy, support, friendship and emotion she poured into the site.

As time wore on and sites like Facebook grew in popularity, I found myself drifting farther and farther away from DDF, and during the last year I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve visited.  The friends I made there are STILL my friends now – in fact most all of them are my friends on my personal Facebook page and they are the people I am most tickled to read about in my news feed each day.  Embarrassingly enough, I found today that I can’t even remember my proper password for DDF – a sure sign that it’s been far too long since my last log in. For many years that board was the very first place I’d check in the morning.  Forget going to dd.com for the news – DDF would have the best news first!  I can remember spending many an hour trading posts and laughing so hard… my house would be devoid of other family members, and yet I never felt alone.  We had a chat room on the board that for a while became a gathering place on Monday evenings – we called it The Late Bar (aptly named!) and we even had a made up bartender there named Woody.  It’s where I first fell off my virtual barstool, and where I am positive I left my sanity behind.  We had many a game on DDF, one of which being that each Monday, we’d pass the torch from New Moon on Monday.  Actually, it was more like we’d “grab” it from one another and claim to take a band member along with us.  Guess which band member I chose???  😀  Well Roger…. let’s just say you’ve been around the block more than once.  😉  There are stories and threads that when I think back on them, I will still laugh about fondly.  All of those picture threads we had going…the time we found the nekkie pictures of Simon…(yes, we’re grown women.  We sometimes have a difficult time remembering that and yes, my husband would be appalled.  Not surprised, but appalled all the same.)  Reading all of Jessica’s updates from the 2005 tour (AIR HORN)…good times were indeed had by all.  When something happened to one of us, it happened to all of us, whether we wanted it to or not.  In October of 2007, I was shocked out of my gourd with the discovery that I was about to be a mommy to baby #3.  I was about to turn 37 and trust me – having a baby was not something I was anticipating.  My relationship with my husband wasn’t on the best terms at the time and the people I turned to first, even before I told my family, were my friends on that board.  If it hadn’t been for those women, I am not at all sure I would have made it through that time.  They made each day worth living and my sadness, frustrations and anxieties were shouldered by all of us, and I’ll never ever forget that.

DDF was truly a home for anyone who wanted somewhere safe to talk about the band.  We tried our best not to judge, we expected everyone to play nicely in the sandbox, but we respected opinions as best as we could – understanding that we wouldn’t always agree…and there were many times when all we could do was agree to disagree.  Our friendship mattered more than the band, and really, isn’t that the point?

Message boards have waned in popularity since Facebook and other social networks like it began, while groups on Facebook (and perhaps other sites) have sort of taken over where they have left off. It’s a subject Amanda and I cover at length in our book…in fact I’m in the midst of writing that chapter right now and to a degree there’s poignancy and sadness in seeing that DDF has also fallen victim to progress.  DDF and message boards like it have served their purpose well, however.  I’ve made very good friends with people from all over the country that I might not have ever met otherwise, and I have all the hope in the world that these friendships will continue throughout my life.

I raise my glass (or cup of tea because it’s not even noon my time yet!) to DuranDuranFans.com.  Robin, you did an amazing job with that message board, and I will truly miss it.  There just aren’t enough words to explain just how much that website and that message board changed my life.

-R