Category Archives: Facebook

Duranie Smackdown

The Duranie Smackdown began a couple of days ago on Facebook.  It started innocently enough with a friend of mine saying that she had been “rockin'” out to AYNIN on her status.  My plan was to comment with a simple statement of support but before I could even do that, I noticed that another person had made a comment wondering if the band could “sing on key” or “play their instruments”.  How could I let that go?  I couldn’t and responded with a positive comment to my friend who was enjoying the album and another comment about how Duran had written and performed their own songs very well for over 30 years.  Now, the other person could have just left it at that, especially if she didn’t want a debate, a battle, a lively discussion.  She didn’t.  She followed up her first comment with another one about how Robert Palmer could sing on key but that Simon “always had a pitch problem”.  As for the rest of the band, she said that when she saw them live in 1984, they were definitely still learning their instruments and that she had more musical skills than them!  Insert lots of eye-rolling here.

So, I took on the job of educating her.  I explained to her that Robert Palmer was the lead singer of Power Station only.  I gave her some facts about how Duran have sold a ton of albums and have received lifetime achievement awards.  Her response was that the Reflex was off key and that I shouldn’t use their album sales as a means to show their talent because, according to her, Vanilla Ice had sold a lot, too.  Oh boy.  More eye-rolling.  She ended that comment with a statement about how she isn’t the only person to think this way.  Great, is she trying to say that she is a critic now?  Whatever.  I, of course, informed her of what I think the issue was with the critics in that they never gave any respect to Duran because GIRLS liked them.  She returned to make more comments, including that anyone who doesn’t hear that Simon is off key should go to the ear doctor and that I had provided her with lots of laughs.  That did it.  I calmly explained to her that it is fine to have a difference of opinion about music since like all art, it is subjective but that there was NO reason for her to be insulting.  Here’s where my friend and fellow Duranie (not the person rockin’ out to AYNIN) enters the picture.

My friend came in to be supportive and because she, too, thought that this person had gone too far.  She pointed out to the hater that there are things that she likes that her friends would think are horrible, too, but that they probably wouldn’t insult her about it on Facebook.  Of course, this person turned the situation around to where she was the victim as she said that my friend “baited” her and that we took it to a low level.  She claimed that she was just trying to have some witty banter but that we probably aren’t capable of that.  (My eyes were rolling around so much that I’m surprised they didn’t fall out!)  I couldn’t let that slide, either, and commented that she would have been more mature to have just said that she apologized for insulting us. 

So, what is the point of me sharing this story?  First, it reminds me so much of what elementary school felt like.  I will never forget sitting at lunch and debating who was better:  Duran Duran or Michael Jackson.  I was always on the losing side of that battle as there were a ton more Michael Jackson fans than Duranies where I grew up.  I can recall trying to explain to my classmates that Band-Aid came out first and was better than USA for Africa who just copied Band-Aid on the cause.  These classmates of mine didn’t want to hear any of the facts.  They couldn’t just accept that we had different taste when it came to music as it almost always went to the fact that Duran were “sissy like”.  (I usually argued at lunch with boys, by the way.)  This conversation felt just like I had gone back in time.  Of course, the really sad part is that this person is a grown woman.  My classmates had an excuse–they were just kids. 

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t criticize Duran Duran as a whole or Simon, specifically.  The world knows that I love to give Simon a hard time as much as possible.  That said, I always do it from a place of love.  I know that they are capable for greatness so when they fail to reach that, I’m disappointed and I say so.  Now, this person doesn’t get that right.  She isn’t a Duranie.  She isn’t saying those things to give Simon a hard time.  Nope.  She is saying them to be mean—to the band and to their fans.  What does this say about me as a Duranie?  It says that I will ALWAYS defend them to the non-Duranie even if it is about things I disagree with.  I would argue that RCM was a fabulous album with a non-Duranie, for example.  I think that part of being a serious fan is about being passionate about something.  I’m passionate about Duran.  This passion can form into loving criticism with other Duranies or into fierce protection with non-Duranies.  That’s how it always has been and always will be.  

-A

The Great and Powerful Oz

I’m really not one to live in the past, although my memories are priceless.  I was reading facebook today, and something that one of my friends posted caught my eye.  Apparently John Taylor (who is quite obviously addicted to facebook and twitter like the rest of us….which amuses the HELL out of me because not long ago he was pretty anti-all-of-it) was holding some sort of twitter Q&A chat. (through tweetdeck, which is something I really need to check into, and I know I’m late to that party – I like that it can update both twitter and facebook at the same time!)  Naturally, yours truly missed it by mere moments – I was doing my motherly duty and picking up my little preschooler and playing with her at the park.  In any case, one of the responders to his posts commented that she wondered what it would have been like for her in 1984 had she/we been able to actually communicate and interact with the band like we’re able to now.

My first thought?  Complete and utter chaos.  😀  The technological gods knew EXACTLY what they were doing by not allowing that sort of knowledge out there back then.  They were saving us from ourselves!

After giving that a good chuckle, I thought about it a little further.  Barring the fact that at this time in 1984, I was 13 years old and my parents were so strict with me that I didn’t even have a phone in my room much less access to any another kind of communicative device – and barring the fact that at 13, I probably wouldn’t have had anything other than “I LOVE YOU ROGERJOHNNICKSIMONANDANDY” to say – let’s just think about what it might have really been like for all of us.  What would the community have been like?

I think that kids today, generally speaking, are a lot smarter than we were back then.  I’m a mom myself, and I can honestly say my 13 and 11 year olds are worlds ahead of where I was at 13.  They know what’s going on in the world – I think I barely understood who my President really was, much less paid attention to political decisions other than “Is Russia going to bomb us?”  My kids know things that I don’t WANT them to know, as well as everything I think they should know. (but in a whole lot more detail than I’d planned, of course)  They have far more information at the tips of their fingers than we did at 13, and with that knowledge comes a lot more cynicism, a lot more maturity – whether they are emotionally ready for it or not, and a lot less innocence.  Truly, when I was 13, I didn’t even consider whether the band was partying it up with a powder keg of cocaine or otherwise.  They were just the band, and yeah – I believed they were perfect.  (ignorance can really be bliss)  I think it would have been earth shattering to my 13 year old psyche to discover through interacting with them that they were actually human and had problems and moods like the rest of us.  My own daughter at 13 doesn’t have that blissful ignorance at all.  In fact, she’s downright disgusted when I tell her about how high the pedestals were that I had the band placed on.  I get a whole lot of “Oh Mom!” and the head shaking…wow.  I kind of think that it would have been a real shock to see them as humans back then, don’t you?

Then there’s the other fans.  I don’t know that I really quite understood just HOW popular Duran Duran was with other people until I went to a signing that John Taylor did during the Power Station days.  I know that’s tough to believe, but it was just really impossible to have a real handle on just how big the band was from my living room.  Sure, I had friends at school that liked them too, but even so – my world was so tiny compared with the REAL world…. (hey, I didn’t even go to my first concert until that same summer – Power Station at the then called Irvine Meadows Amphitheater)  It was at a store in Van Nuys and I went with my cousin.  I think we’d gone to the Power Station concert the night before or so – or it could have been the day before the show, I really don’t remember.  We figured the line would be long, but I guess we figured it wouldn’t be THAT long.  Ha.  It was about a hundred million degrees outside, and we stood in the longest line I’ve ever been in.  Ever.  I don’t even think we got there that early (I’m sure people probably camped out to be in that line, which never even occurred to the two of us!), but when we arrived, we just went to the back of the line and stood.  The line didn’t even seem to really move much, and even after we’d been there for what felt like hours – someone came out and told us all that John had already left.  I especially loved the girls who came out clutching their signed records, looking at us and laughing.  Some took the time to come over and tell us just how fabulous John was, and how we totally missed out.  Nice.   I was crushed, as was my cousin.  I learned very quickly that day that Duranies are a fairly rabid bunch.  They are dog-eat-dog, and I don’t think that has changed much in our years.  We certainly haven’t mellowed out that much, even if our numbers aren’t quite as “vibrant”.  So back in 1984, when there were god-only-knows how many of us, I can’t even imagine what we’d have done to one another with the computer as a way of communicating.  I would think it would have been impossible for John to have even tried to do a chat.  He’d have had trouble getting words in edgewise!

There would have been good things to have come from this form of instant communication, though.  We would have known when albums were coming out, we would have known of tour dates sooner, (even if we’d still have had to go and camp out at Ticketmaster outlets in order to get them!)  and I think we would have learned far more about the band.  Err…that probably goes back to point #1.

The fact is, as much as I would have devoured every bit of interaction and communication available from the band back then, there was something to be said for not knowing EVERYTHING.  I think there still is.  It leaves just a little bit to be anticipated, wondered about, and desired.  I really don’t want to see the Great and Powerful Oz working behind that green curtain.  Sometimes the mystery really IS the magic.

I’m off for the weekend, and I’m leaving you in Amanda’s capable hands.  This would be the cue and reminder for the band to go ahead and release tour dates in about 24 hours.  I’ll be behind the wheel of my car, destined for Vegas.  There’s no way I’ll be able to communicate with anyone…….  😉

-R

Never say Never!

So, the past 24 hours have been crazy.  CRAZY.  Let me indulge you in a bit of the glamorous life of Rhonda… my husband (and if you’re reading this Walt, I’m ready for you to come home.  Now.  Thank you.) is in China.  Or Taiwan.  Or maybe somewhere else in Asia today.  I don’t even KNOW what the day is there.  Regardless, he’s not at home.  This is the week before my kids are out on holiday break, and as a result – every single teacher thinks it’s OK to pile on 40,000 projects that were all due this morning in the case of my son, and in the case of my daughter – she is a dancer at OCHSA (Orange County High School of the Arts) and this is performance week.  The school is about 20 miles from home and guess who is driving her back and forth to school, then to the theater which is another 20 miles in the other direction from home.  Today I was up at 6am, ready to begin driving at 6:45.  The youngest was not happy to be up an hour earlier than normal, but then, neither was mom.  😀  I figure I’ll finally be done with my own chauffeuring duties by about 10pm tonight, which means both mom and little one will be getting to bed way later than normal only to start over tomorrow bright and early at 6am again. We make due, right?  I rush the oldest, along with every bit of stage makeup and costuming she needs to school (I won’t see her again until after 9pm tonight), get back home by 8:10 to make sure the boy is up and gets off to school. That’s when I take a brief second to check facebook, only to see that my sister has sent me a note because she noticed that John Taylor, of all the people on the planet, is now my “friend”.   She has to give me a rough time about that because clearly my sister (5 years younger but who is really counting?), thinks it’s hilarious.  I think it’s a sign of the world coming to a swift end – because seriously who would have ever thought that John would have a facebook and actually chat up fans?!?  (kidding John. It’s your turn for some teasing here.)  So, as I’m typing a quick witted response back to my sister, my son pokes me and says “I hate to break into your little Duran interlude here Mom, since you’re clearly conquering the planet of Duranie now that you’re facebook buddies with John Taylor or whatever that bass player’s name is, but it’s time for me to go to school and you have to carry my adobe brick!”  With that, he thrusts a cookie sheet into my arms, upon which sits the most massive clay brick I’ve ever seen.  The damn thing must weigh 25 pounds.  (thanks for making that brick with him, Walt!)

What’s the moral here?  Just when you think the day is going well – you end up with a huge weight thrown at ya. Trust me, nothing brings you back down to Planet Earth (pun is TOTALLY intended.  This is the Daily Duranie blog – of course it’s intended!!) faster than your kid shoving a brick into your arms.  😀    He’d better get an A on that damn thing, that’s all I have to say!

So, have any of you friended John Taylor on facebook or started following him on Twitter yet??   Pretty crazy cool stuff going on there.  I don’t mind mentioning that just a year ago, give or take a month or two – I sat and listened to him at the internet conference at UCLA (actually I was at home, but I still listened!).   He spoke very eloquently about how much things have changed in the music industry since the internet began.  This is true, and I don’t think there’s a fan out there that hasn’t noticed obvious differences.  The sheer amount of information that can be gained just from a mouse click is overwhelming.  There is very little that a celebrity can do that isn’t broadcast widely online, and I have to admit that there’s a certain amount of mystery that has been lost due to all of this fantastic social networking.  It’s much harder to keep an idol on that proverbial pedestal.  I find that my oldest doesn’t tend to follow one person or one band like I did (er…do?), and this is partially because of the fact that so much information is out there, she finds out things that she doesn’t like about whomever it is that is the favorite this week – and unceremoniously moves on to whomever she loves next.   For my generation, it wasn’t like that.  Hell, I remember the first time I heard that the band loved cocaine…I was shocked!  (yeah, I was pretty naive as a kid.  Sue me.)  Nowadays I would imagine I would have found that out far earlier than I did as a teenager.   John also spoke of how there is a loss of anticipation and desire when everything is so readily available through the internet.  He used the example of going to see a band (I think he used The Clash as the example, but if I’m wrong don’t send hate mail!), and feeling that connection that we’re all used to feeling at a show – and the only way he could recreate that connection was by going out the next day and buying an album.  Today, we don’t necessarily have to do that…and with twitter and facebook, it’s probably not necessary at all.  Does that translate to lower album sales though?  Hmm..    The point being that while the internet has opened huge doors and made our world a lot smaller today than it ever was when I was growing up, it has also permanently changed the entertainment industry, and not necessarily for the better.

Fast forward to yesterday when John finally caved and started a twitter account, or a week earlier (?) when he started his facebook page.  What changed?   Well, I can’t say – I’m not John Taylor, and I haven’t had the luck of sitting down for a chat over a cup of coffee with him, otherwise I’d ask. (I’m American.  Coffee is where it’s at!)  I do know from the experience I’ve had working with some other bands over the years – none having the stature or history of Duran Duran – that young fans insist on the connection that’s made through social networking.      Video doesn’t cut it anymore, and apparently neither does print and tv media.  I would venture to guess that in just the same way he realized that video was the way to connect to fans back in the mid-80’s, he’s realizing that spending a little (or a lot) of time on facebook and twitter is going to do the same today.  I don’t think it’s sticking my own neck out to say that facebook and twitter is only as intrusive as the account owner allows.  No one is forcing anyone else to tweet about every moment of their lives, or to put anything out there that they don’t want out.  I know this is difficult to imagine, but even little ole me – someone who is not a celebrity nor a “wanna be” celebrity keeps the private things private, so I would expect the same from John Taylor, Simon LeBon….or even Nick and Roger if we can ever get them tweeting.  😀

I’m happy to see the band getting involved with the fans after all of this time.  For the past few years, I have been openly suggesting that they are missing the boat with regard to social media.  I don’t know if the original intention of the band or their management, PR, etc. was to create a demand in the fans by making sure the band was always just out of reach – but the intimation was always present.  The one complaint I heard over and over during Astronaut and then especially after the epic fail of Red Carpet Massacre (sorry guys, I write it as I see it from the fans point of view as a whole),  was that the band still felt they were above all of us (the fans), even though clearly at that point – it’s not 1985 anymore and they aren’t on top of the world anymore, much less playing for stadium filled crowds of 50,000.  Of course I write that, then think back to stories I’d heard and witnessed during the tours of Astronaut…we might be a smaller fan base, but we still make the noise, don’t we? The bottom line here is that I think that by giving the indication that they aren’t too good to chat it up with the fans, they’re going to be doing themselves a world of good in the long run.  I don’t really know if the band realizes just how many fans they may have lost over the course of the last 10 years JUST because they gave the impression that they didn’t care about their fans, only their bank accounts.  That might not have been what they intended at all, but unfortunately – that’s what was communicated on many different levels, whether by the band themselves, or their management simply by NOT communicating.  Hello 2010.  

This is the dawn of a new beginning where I hope that by making the effort to reach out to the community, we can make the same effort towards the band by not acting like complete idiots when we see them.  ……  Before you rush John, Roger, Nick or Simon after the next show, take a deep breath, remember that we’re not 12 anymore and that if you act like an ass, THAT is what is going to be remembered.  Not the fact that you own 12 drumsticks or have pictures with every single band member.  Hell, I still don’t have pictures with ANY band member!  😀

Hey, dreams are free, right?  😉   And anytime one of those band members wants to sit down over a beer, glass of wine or a cup of coffee and chat….let me know, I’m here!

-R

Can I Become a Professional Duranie?

This blog post is obviously a bit late tonight.  While this time of year is always a busy one, right now, it is especially busy, if you are a Duran fan.  As you all know, Duran Duran released a new single and is on the verge of releasing their 13th studio album on December 21st.  This would be exciting in and of itself.  The new song would provide plenty of discussion among the fans on various message boards and social networking sites.  Of course, the discussion might also include speculation about the other new songs, possible touring and more.  All of that reading and posting would take up time.  Lots of time.  Yet, it seems to me that Duran is finding other ways to keep us busy as Duranies on a daily basis now. 

Today was a good example of this.  I know that I saw and heard a new snippet of a song, “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” on the band’s official website.  Roger posted pictures from the video shoot on facebook.  There were more tweets, including one from John talking about how almost all of the reactions to the song were very positive.  Then, there was a live twitter chat with Simon and Katy where the fans could ask questions of Simon live and he would respond to them.  This isn’t all, I bet.  I suspect that I probably missed a thing or two.  Now, I’m not sure how the rest of the Duran world is feeling but I’m struggling to keep up.  I’m having a hard time finding a balance between keeping up with Duran news and real life.  I admit that I had gotten used to nothing much happening after the RCM era past and I am having a hard time realizing that in this is a new era of Duran Duran.  This era appears to be an extremely busy one.

Do not get me wrong here.  I am not unhappy with all of the Duran happenings.  On the contrary, I love reading about something new and discussing it with other fans.  Love it.  Since the single came out, I have spent more time on the phone and on the computer than I have in weeks in order to discuss the new material!  I have even found myself up late way.  Now, somehow, this lack of sleep hasn’t impacted my working performance yet.  The key word there is “yet”.  I suspect that all of my excitement about the new material is helping with the tiredness I should be feeling.  Anyway, despite all of the time spent on the latest Duran information, I don’t feel like I know everything.  Up until recently, I would have said that I was able to hear or read about every little detail about Duran Duran.  I never feel caught up!  Now, I feel lucky if I caught between 50 and 75% of what is new.  Today, I heard about so many things that I couldn’t even figure out what to blog about!

Where does that leave me now?  Well, I could wish for Duran to settle back down and just give us a piece of information once every week or month, but I don’t.  I LOVE all of the action taking place and cannot wait for more action with both the album release and tour dates (hopefully and soon!).  What is another choice then?  I know.  The band could just hire me to be a professional Duranie.  The job would allow me all the time in the world to see what is happening in Duranland and to respond to it.  Alas, I doubt this will happen so I’ll be left with trying my best to keep up while making another pot of coffee!

-A 

Promotion

It seems to me that promotion for this album has included some typical promotion tools and some new ones.  I have seen the official website’s list of what media appearances Duran Duran will be doing in regards to their upcoming album.  I, for one, am excited to see the pieces in Rolling Stone magazine and in USA Today, simply because they will be available here in the States.  Of course, I’m hoping that they will also do some more TV appearances beyond the Today Show one.  It sounds like they have some TV appearances planned in the UK.  Perhaps, they will also do radio interviews across the world as well.  These are the typical promotion tools for them.  The fans expect these.  Yet, in 2010, the world of promotion has changed.

This weekend, the band’s official website advertised banners for people to put up on their websites and whatnot.  Some of you may have noticed that this blog is sporting one as well.  What is the point of sharing these banners?  Clearly, the point is to have fans advertise for the album on their websites.  I have also noticed how much advertising is being done through social networking sites like twitter and facebook.  Every time Duran tweets or posts on facebook, not only do Duranies see these but they then share themselves.  Then, perhaps their friends become interested or even pass them on.  It is hard to know how many people actually see the tweets and/or posts.  It is actually quite a nice way to promote something.  When friends share something, it seems a lot less like trying to sell something and more like genuine interest, which has a greater appeal to others.  Plus, I have first hand experience that this type of promotion is actually working.  Last week, I went out to dinner with some friends.  They are not Duranies.  Yet, we are friends on facebook and they have seen my status updates on the band and/or album.  They have seen the pictures and videos I have shared.  They have seen my interest and, frankly, my excitement about the current state of Duran Duran.  So, in the middle of dinner, my one friend says to me, “So.  You seem to be a fan of this Duran Duran band.”  I laughed and explained that I was not only a fan but that I blog about them!  Her response was, “Well, after all of your posts, I, too, feel like I should be buying this album that is coming out!”  I confirmed that sentiment!  While there is no guarantee that she will buy the album, she is curious now.  She is much more likely to check out the songs and videos now.  Maybe then she will like what she hears and will end up buying it.

The world has changed.  Regular promotion of TV, print and radio isn’t going to be enough in 2010.  MTV isn’t out there to show videos as it once did.  People do not rely on those sources to find out what is new.  Social networking sites do a lot more for finding out the latest.  Perhaps, the band and their management get this now, which is why they are embracing social networking sites now.  It will be interesting to see how successful this shift of promotional tools is, assuming that the album will be of a good quality.

-A

Welcome to the 21st Century!

My kids say that to me constantly these days.  At first I suppose it was funny, but when they started referencing the fact that I was born prior to the internet being “born”….well, let’s just say they ran from me as they were laughing.  The sad (or not so sad) fact is that it’s true, I have seen many a technological dream become a reality in my lifetime.  The same could be said for most of Duran Duran’s fans, and most certainly those who have been around since the very beginning.  At one point (that doesn’t seem nearly that long ago!), fan communities were called “Fan Clubs”, and they communicated with fans through good old snail mail with a stamp and envelope.  Bands communicated with their fans through doing TV, radio & magazine interviews, through the rare newsletter sent to their fan clubs, and of course through their music.  There was always some sort of barrier, whether inferred or actual, between the fan and the band.  Of course, this was also back in the day when we actually bought record albums, or CD’s – Tower Music or Wherehouse Records were not only places we would spend precious hours pouring over each aisle of record bins, but also where we would stand in line for hours waiting for tickets to go on sale, or for our favorite musicians to make an appearance to sign record albums.   I can remember standing in line for hours waiting for tickets for a concert to go on sale, only to see a few people go in, buy tickets and have a clerk come out to tell us they’ve sold out.  (this was before the dreaded randomly numbered wristbands were handed out, and before Ticketmaster took to the internet!)

It’s a very different world today, indeed.  Not only do I have the luxury of buying tickets to just about any concert or show in the relative comfort of my own home, but at any given moment I can check in on Twitter to see how Boy George is spending his day, read about what project Curt Smith of Tears For Fears is working on, or read how Cookie Monster is handling his cookie addiction!   Facebook has brought the friends of my youth back into my life so that they are not only a part of my past, but also my future.  I can read how my dear high school friend is moving to another state, or get an update on what The Killers are doing – all in one place.  
Duran Duran has never been the type of band to shy away from technology.  Let’s face it, they are the band to make MTV a household name to many of us; they were the first band to make a song available to be purchased and downloaded online.  While I feel as though they have embraced technology, I have felt that to some degree, they’ve been extremely slow to warm up to the idea of interacting with their fan base online.  It is true that they’ve had message boards – duranduran.com had an online forum for several years before shutting down a few years back.  Duranduranmusic.com is their paid fan community, and for just $35.00 a year a fan can have unlimited access to the message boards and exclusive news bytes, contests, presales and other “goodies”.  Even with all of the ways that fans can interact with one another, the band has remained relatively out of reach for most, if not all fans.  There would be the occasional bit of news sent out through newsblasts, or perhaps an update video posted on DDM or even more news given out through Katy Kafe on duranduranmusic.com – but as a long time fan, I always felt that the band was missing out on one of the best and easiest ways to reach out and interact with their fans – through the internet!   The band eventually did set up a facebook page and a Twitter account, but their attempts to actually use the twitter account properly were dismal to begin with.  Rather than the band sending out a “tweet” once in a while – we’d get a post of a picture, or a post to remind us to check into dd.com for updated news.  It was as though the band (or more accurately the people who worked for them) had no idea what twitter was really used for.  Of course, I write that knowing that at first, *I* didn’t really get the point of twitter either.  Honestly I think the learning curve for some of this stuff gets steeper and longer with each decade of age!  Their facebook updates were a little more successful, but for the most part – the updates would be much of the same that would be posted on dd.com.   Many fans would be upbeat and thankful to see some updates, but on the boards, and in private – many of us lamented at what the band was really missing.  
These days, bands have to do their part to connect with their fan base.  It’s not enough to put out an album, do a tour and think that the fans will just willingly follow along for the long haul.  (Those were the days, weren’t they??) Fans, especially younger fans, want more. That doesn’t mean that you have to be another Britney Spears or Paris Hilton and tweet absolutely everything, but it does mean that the band has to at least appear as though they are willing to share what they’re working on.  It’s a tough balance, admittedly – and I can’t fault the band for not jumping in with both feet.  
Lately, however – I’m seeing a new and improved Duran Duran.  Gone are the days where virtual cobwebs were showing on their Twitter account – and even Simon seems to have remembered his Twitter!  Just last week Duran Duran not only wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, but we actually saw a few times where the group (or someone working for the band, of course!) asked us WHAT WE THOUGHT.  A dangerous question to ask any Duranie, in my opinion!   They’ve been replying back to fans, and genuinely trying to interact.  A definite improvement.  Granted, I don’t think it’s actually ever Roger, John, Nick or Simon (well…actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon is doing his own tweeting) that’s interacting – but that’s not really that surprising.  It’s the thought that truly counts, and it’s all about Public Relations.  
That brings me to the “why”.  Why have the band decided to finally jump on board and throw their fans a virtual bone after all of this time?  Why not just continue to appear as though they are out of our reach and continue to create more demand?   Let’s at least be honest and recognize that, at least at one time, the fans were so hungry for the band that they couldn’t be seen in public without being mobbed.  It’s really not all that different these days, much to MY chagrin as a 40 year old fan.  Seems to me at that our age – we should be old enough to know how to act in front of the band, but I digress.  Is it that they finally recognize that by keeping themselves out of reach, both in person and online in various methods, that they aren’t creating a demand as much as they’re creating a real gap between themselves and their fans – many feel as though they act far more elitist than they really should at this point, and it’s turned fans away.  Could it be that the band recognizes that their fan base has shrunk to the point where we’re a manageable mob?  Or, perhaps the band realizes that it really is the music that has brought us together – and that is something that should be celebrated after 30 years, not something that they need to hide from.   In the past week I’ve gone from thinking that these are signs of the apocalypse, to wondering if the band has been taken over by aliens, to realizing that maybe, just maybe, they are giving this the old college try.  
It’s really hard to say, but I must thank their PR person for guiding them, and I thank the band for giving it a chance.  It might even work – and they may find that they can interact with us without fearing for their lives in the process!  😉  

We Tip our Fedoras to the Lizard King!

A few days ago, an announcement was made on the longtime Duran Duran fan-managed website, Lizard King.  The site is closing in November, after a commendable 13 and a half years.  I have to admit that at first, I was shocked and saddened to read that the site was closing.  Lizard King was the very first site I ever stumbled upon when I discovered there was an entire online community of Duran Duran fans to connect with.  I learned more from that single website than I could have ever thought possible!  I remember doing a web search for Duran Duran websites after I’d come home from a concert at the House of Blues in Anaheim – I want to say it was March of 2001.  (don’t bother sending me hate mail if I got the date wrong – I’m a mom, and quite frankly I’m lucky I remember all of my children’s names and birth dates these days, much less the exact date of a Duran Duran concert.  No joke!)  The search brought up the official Duran Duran website along with several other fan-managed sites, and I clicked on Lizard King because it sounded the most interesting.  (yes, I really DO get sold on things because of the name!)  I always thought I had a pretty wide breadth of knowledge regarding the band, but once I got there – I found out pretty quickly that I was a complete failure in Duran Duran intelligence.  I was mortified, embarrassed, and a VERY quick study!  For example, (and I’m a little surprised I’m admitting this in a public blog – but so be it.  I’ve seen the worst of the Duranie behavior, and I think I’ll live.)  I had not one clue of a song called  “Fallen Angel”, much less “Falling Angel”; I knew next to nothing about Warren Cuccurullo other than he took Andy’s place….and I didn’t even OWN Pop Trash at the time.  There was a lot more I learned just from studying Lizard King’s site and reading the message board, and I credit the site with saving me from certain public flogging on other message boards.

As I said, at first I really was shocked to hear of the closing, but then I really gave it some thought.  The very website that I ended up making my online “home”, so to speak – shut the actual website down a few years ago now.  The message board is still up, but I’ve often wondered when the day will arrive that the owner will shut that down as well because it just is not getting the traffic it once did.  There are just so many other resources available now that were not even 5 years ago, videos can be found via youtube and probably many other sources online, pictures are in thousands of different places and websites online now – there’s no need to set up a site with a picture galley.  Information-wise, google is our friend now.  Anything we want to know about the band can be found by a few keystrokes – and I have to say that back in the year 2001, or even back in the year 1997 when I was a brand new stay at home mom with nothing but AOL to rely on, we were not nearly that lucky until Lizard King came along.  I suppose I’m somewhat short changing the band’s official site by making such a broad statement, but Lizard King’s information was so complete even back in 2001 that I felt even the band’s website was behind a bit.  So now we’ve come to a point in time where a lot of websites, and not just Duran Duran related ones, are shutting down because they are redundant to what is already available.

It’s not even just websites now – I hear of forums shutting down every day, and it’s due to places like Facebook or Myspace (to a lesser degree).  I can’t share with you the number of times I’ve read posts on message boards from people who say that they spend the majority of their time over on Facebook – and they just can’t make it to the boards any longer.  I applaud the accessibility of Facebook, really I do, but I also wonder if we’re not hurting ourselves in the long run by allowing our boards and websites to be shut down.  I’m a “friend” of Duran Duran on Facebook – and yet I very RARELY see posts from people I actually know from the Duran Duran message boards I’m on.  With that in mind, I’m wary of posting too much right on facebook – there are SO many “friends” of Duran Duran – I don’t know them, and I would venture to guess that I haven’t met most of them either.  There’s a lack of privacy, a lack of intimacy, and a lack of a true connection when you’re just commenting on something the band has posted on their facebook page.  It’s far different when you’re a member of a message board – even if it’s a completely public board, there’s a group of posters that end up being the most “active”, and you tend to form bonds and connections with those people.  I just feel that on facebook, it’s far more difficult – yet I’m a very active fan in general.  Imagine how hard it must be for someone who has just discovered the band to try and “meet” people on Facebook.  Nearly impossible, really.

At the end of the day, it is the fans – you and I – who are going to keep these message boards running.  It is going to be you and I who promote the band, who continue to be the so-called “goodwill ambassadors” for the fans who are new to the community, and those who decide to come back into the fold.  I just hope that we continue to have places of our own online, because I know that at least for me (and surely I am not the only one), the websites and message boards have been invaluable for me to catch up the band, connect and bond with other fans, and immediately get a real sense that even at the age of 30, 35 or even 40 – it’s OK to still be a Duranie.  That, my friends, has been worth it’s weight in gold.

 The bottom line is that although I am sad a part of my own history with the band is ending, I suppose I need to be honest with myself and say that I guess I’m not surprised.  All good things must end, and better things are always right around the corner.  Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication, Lizard King!