Category Archives: fan communities

Spandau Ballet US tour : Too Much Mis-information?

This is dedicated to any fan who has ever had the frustration of not knowing what is really going on…or that the “official” website is always the last to make a statement on rumor…etc.  (Basically, this means you.)

I have a fondness for 80s “alternative” bands. Unlike many Duran fans – I was blissfully ignorant of the apparent “rampant” discord between DD and Spandau Ballet. I liked both bands. Granted, Duran Duran came first in my heart and always will, but I did like Spandau. I owned more than one Spandau record, and would have loved seeing them live. When they announced a tour here in the states – I jumped at my chance for tickets and waited my four months (or however long it’s been!) for the Spandau Ballet US tour time to arrive.

Over the weekend however, it seemed as though I might miss my chance for the Spandau Ballet US tour after all. Timing is everything, and Spandau has struggled to release their movie documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World in a timely manner with their tour. As a result, some of their tour dates have been rescheduled, and for a while, it appeared that the Los Angeles and San Francisco dates were going on the chopping block altogether, as in completely canceled without a chance to reschedule the dates.

Interestingly enough, it was NOT the official Spandau website that broke the news (do I hear a collective gasp?!?), but instead a few “fan-managed” websites that grasped hold of what appeared to be a press release written by their concert promoter.  Not the band. (again, I should hear gasping)  Not only was the news not really official…or unofficial…but it was not concisely written or easily understood. Instead of explaining the situation at hand, the news was simply that the Spandau Ballet US tour dates that could be rescheduled were listed below, and that the first three dates: LA and SF dates, couldn’t be rescheduled. So were they canceled with refunds available at the point of purchase? Some sites assumed that yes, they were. Others said otherwise, and Spandau’s site?  Still not updated.  (Let’s have a slow clap for the band’s website, shall we?)

I went to bed whatever night that was figuring that I probably didn’t have a show to attend and that I’d just get a refund. As sad as this news was for me, on the scale of I’m-going-to-miss-a show up to I’ve-just-traveled-5,437-miles-to-London-only-to-have-the-band-cancel-every-show-I-have-tickets-to-attend…I felt as though I might live. If nothing else, at least Duran Duran was not going to be the only band to ever cancel on me now. I went to bed that night thinking of how I might spend my refund money. (I wish I were joking…)

That next morning though, the news was much different. Turns out that no, LA and SF dates for the Spandau Ballet US tour were still on. Where did I get that news? No, not from Spandauballet.com as you might expect, at least not right away. Nope. I got the news from Richard Blade, thankyouverymuch.  He talked to the band, got the scoop, and shared it with a good many anxious fans who were far more confused and/or angrier than I was at the time. It wasn’t until that afternoon my time that I finally began to see links to the band’s website, which posted an official statement about the Spandau Ballet US tour that makes everything completely clear….as mud…to all fans about what was really happening. What became obvious to me is that the band’s website used the same press release as what must have gone out on the wires prior, and whomever is responsible for that press release should go back to school. I don’t know why it was so difficult to clearly say that the Los Angeles and San Francisco dates were staying exactly as is, that they would not be changing…but that didn’t happen until later, after continued fan uproar… when someone from the band’s management decided to post on Facebook and Twitter to “clarify” that those dates were unaffected.

What interested me most about the entire exercise was how angry  fans were about the lack of information on the band’s website, as well as the misinformation going out about the Spandau Ballet US tour dates. We Duran fans have a nasty habit of assuming that we have it so much worse than any other fan community out there: we don’t get information in a timely manner, we hear the rumors and leaks well-before the band ever decides to respond (if ever), and when things really go wrong – like an entire tour gets canceled, or a band members decides to leave the band, it feels like light years go by before the band figures out what to say as vaguely as possible to make things as clear as…you guessed it…mud! It turns out though, we’re not alone. I would venture to guess that if you asked other fan communities, you’d hear very similar complaints.

I have to wonder…are fans just impossible to please? Far too crafty and investigative for our own good? Entirely too judgmental?? All of the above?

Absolutely.

-R

When you talk about loyalty

If you did not hear the news about the Austin show or the “secret” show in Monterey, California yesterday, you must have been off of the internet yesterday and unlike me – you were probably very productive. Well done!

For me though, the day was, well…busy.  Don’t get me wrong, I like busy. This was the sort of busy that happens after months and months of nothing. This was the kind of busy that takes your breath away for a minute, and you have to kind of snap yourself back into reality, wondering what to announce first, whether or not you should blog, and most importantly…whether or not you should enter a contest, which brings me to the subject of this blog.  Sit back, relax and prepare to laugh.

There are always going to be shows that we can’t do. I, for instance, cannot really book a plane and head off to, say, South America. I would LOVE to do that, I really would, but if the band were to play in Argentina, I would probably have to pass on those shows. Yesterday when the band announced the show in Austin and I realized that the show was actually on a Saturday in November – within striking distance of my birthday, there was a brief second when I thought “What if?!?” It didn’t take me long to come crashing back down to reality when I saw the prices for the show. Not to mention that I’d need to travel and find somewhere to stay, but the ticket prices are pretty high. I can honestly say that Amanda and I have never paid anywhere near $575 for a ticket, and if you know us, you already know that there’s no way we would settle for the cheaper (HA!) balcony tickets at $325 a piece. Been there, done that, I need the floor thank you. For me, dreams of that trip ended. There are always going to be shows that we can’t do.

So, I spent a large portion of the rest of my day helping my daughter Heather start her dance applications for college. I’m going to apologize right now for bringing her up on the blog – because by the time she graduates in May and goes off to college in August of next year, you’re all likely to know her very well! It’s going to be a very stressful year for ME as a mom, and the way I’m planning to work through this is by talking about it here. I’m sorry. I just hope maybe that some of you will understand  and maybe use some of what I share to help your own kids out. Or else you can just laugh at our missteps, because I’m sure there are going to be PLENTY. Anyway, we were working on a dance essay. Let me share the topic: You’re choreographing a dance number for about 15 kids – the kicker is that those 15 kids are ALL YOU at various ages in your life, from 3 years old on up to your present age (which for her is 17). Describe the dance, the kids in the dance and how you might use some of these kids for special parts in the dance. What is your methodology? I sat and watched Heather’s brain basically explode before we started…so that was fun. This is application number ONE of like twelve. It’s going to be a long Autumn.

It wasn’t until late afternoon when someone sent me a direct message that I started paying attention to the internet again. The notification on my phone went off and I knew I’d better check it. Little did I realize that MY brain was about to explode. The message sent me the link to the information about the secret show in Monterey California, and in case you haven’t read it or know what I’m talking about – which is kind of important – here it is! (taken from duranduranmusic.com)

“Duran Duran will be playing a private show at a secret location in Monterey CA on September 3rd at 6pm. If you are a DD VIP member and are in the area (and, most importantly, will be able to attend) please send an email to ddvip@magusentertainment.com with MONTEREY in the subject line. 

Act fast as the deadline to enter is Wednesday August 27th at 5pm. We will randomly select 5 winners, who can bring a guest, and will announce on the Fan Community website on Thursday August 28th. 

Winners will receive all of the details via private email. 

GOOD LUCK!”

Monterey is a little north of me as I live in Orange County – but what’s four or five hours of driving if we’re talking about Duran Duran?? As I mulled over the possibilities, three things came to mind:

1. I can drive to this show. Thus, it’s not REALLY “traveling” (I’ve been put on “traveling restriction” due to some silly thing about budgeting from the last tour….) Besides, it’s not really touring either, because Amanda cannot join me (and this for me is the real tragedy. I can just picture us on a road trip in my car going up to Monterey!!) I know how to split hairs, and this is totally just barely inside the current “Rivera Household Regulations”

2. This is the day BEFORE my kids start school. Thus, it is really still Summer! (never mind how I’m going to get my kids to school that following day)

3. I am not currently a paid member of Duranduranmusic.com.

Wait what?  Hold the phone…what?!?

That’s right. I gave up my membership quite a while ago. Truth be told, and I’ve blogged about this many, MANY times here – I felt that the management of DDM was well, awful. I know that we’ve gone through a couple different fan club management teams now, and I’ve noticed very little by way of actual improvements – but it was a couple (few?) years ago when, in a fit of disgust, I said no more. I would NOT pay money to an organization that couldn’t keep track of who was a member, who had paid, and most importantly – that did virtually nothing for it’s members. That’s not to say I didn’t love Duran Duran or that I felt as though they had anything directly to do with what was happening with DDM, but I had to make decisions based on what *I* knew. So I quit. I didn’t renew, and up until yesterday, I didn’t feel that I was missing anything. Amanda still had her membership, and when we bought tickets, she simply used hers. Other than that, she really didn’t use DDM much.

So, I sat there pondering point number 3 on my list. I alternately bit my thumbnail (horrible habit) and chewed my bottom lip (another terrible nervous habit of mine). Do I join? If I join, will it count? Can I still enter the contest? If I join, does it make me look like an ass for not renewing until there was a contest? I hate being a hypocrite, so how do I feel about DDM these days anyway? More lip chewing and nail biting.

I’m sure many of you would have bought the membership without even thinking twice. Still more of you already HAVE your membership and are probably thinking that I’m an idiot for not having one, but that since I’m not currently a member that’s my problem. You’re absolutely right on all accounts. Fair enough. For me, it’s the principle. I spoke with my dollars – the fan community sucked and I wasn’t going to pay for it. Has that really changed?

The ONE thing that has changed is that DDHQ brought DDM back in-house. They know what’s going on there because they’re the ones managing it. Now whether that’s going to be a resounding success or a disaster remains to be seen, but there is some comfort (at least in MY head) that the band’s management is now directly involved. That doesn’t mean it will be perfect, but you know – it might be improved. The platform itself is great, they just need people to run it that actually care. So, as I thought about that, I found myself filling out the information to rejoin.

So I did the one thing I swore I’d never do again…and that was be a part of DDM. Damn it. That said, I have a blog and I’m not afraid to use it. I’m truly hoping that the site becomes a source of pride and somewhere for fans to gather rather than a laughing point amongst fans, but in either case I’ll be watching and reporting.

In the meantime, I’m trying very hard not to think about that contest. I typically have terrible luck, so while I’m crossing various appendages hoping that I win, I also realize that the chances are slim.  But, you can’t win if you don’t play, right?

-R

 

 

 

 

 

We Lived in Hotels. We Lived on Cocktails.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

Now the Time Has Come

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

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

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

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

-A 

Album Favorites!

As I am sure many/most/all of you know, we do a “daily” question on our facebook and on twitter.  The question is usually a this or that type question.  For quite awhile now, we have been doing a poll of sorts about songs on the albums.  Thus, we simply ask, “This song or that?”  In reality, this has been a bracket of sorts with losing songs being eliminated until we get the favorite song per album.  Because Duran has such a large catalog and so many songs, this process of going through each and every album has taken quite a while.  Yet, finally, today we have the results, of our friends/followers collective album favorites.  We will present them here with clips for everyone to enjoy!

Duran Duran (self-titled) winner:  Careless Memories

Clip is from the Chichester Festival in 1981 (November 30, 1981)


Rio winner:  New Religion

Clip is from Hammersmith ’82 (November 16, 1982)

Seven and the Ragged Tiger winner:  The Seventh Stranger

Clip is from As the Lights Go Down (Spring 1984)

Non-album tracks winner:  Wild Boys

Clip is from the Montreux Pop Festival (May 10, 1985)
Notorious winner:  Vertigo

 
Clip is from Working for the Skin Trade (1987-1988)

Big Thing winner:  Do You Believe in Shame?

Clip is from Seoul, South Korea (February 11, 1989)

Liberty winner:  Serious 

Clip is from Italian TV (1990)

Wedding Album winner:  Come Undone

Clip is from MTV’s Unplugged (November 17, 1993)

Thank You winner:  White Lines

Clip is from a live broadcast (1995)

Medazzaland winner:  Out of my Mind

Clip is from Greatest:  Live at Wembly 1998 (December 21, 1998)

Pop Trash winner:  Someone Else Not Me

Clip is from Italy (2000)

Astronaut winner:  Sunrise

Clip is from Live from London (Wembly Arena Spring 2004)

Red Carpet Massacre winner:  The Valley

Clip is from Songbook (January 28, 2009)

All You Need is Now winner:  The Man Who Stole a Leopard

Clip from A Diamond in the Mind (December 16, 2011)

On that note, I did want to acknowledge the runner ups.  They are in order from the first album to the most recent album:  Sound of Thunder, The Chauffeur, Of Crime and Passion, A View to a Kill, Winter Marches On, I Don’t Want Your Love, First Impression, Ordinary World, Thank You, Midnight Sun, Last Day on Earth, Chains, She’s Too Much and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.  Now, many of you might be wondering what we will be doing next.  First, I plan to have the winners battle each other so that we know the order of album favorites.  After that, I will be asking about b-sides.  Perhaps, I will look into demos.  Then, of course, we have a ton of songs left with the various side and solo projects (Power Station, Arcadia, Neurotic Outsides, The Devils, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, and Simon LeBon).  As always, I have enjoyed seeing which songs people prefer and look forward to the ones to come!

-A

Do Crowds Just Make You Feel Lonely?

I have had a long day.  On top of all day of canvassing, I am clearly fighting some sort of bug as I have a sore throat and had a fever most of the afternoon.  I realize that this is because I’m run down and that I need to sleep for about a decade.  I had ideas about what to write about, but I have decided against all of them.  Some of the ones I decided against just weren’t all that interesting.  Others, I feared controversy and since I have no time or energy to react, I opted not to.  Yes, I’m chicken.  I can go talk to voters and volunteers for hours at a time but have to face angry or annoyed Duranies, no thank you.  Ha!

When I look back on the reading/signing event on Tuesday, one part that I don’t think I mentioned much in my long blog was meeting and talking with other Duranies.  I did admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd, initially.  I’m not sure why that is, but I have always been like that.  Crowds and people can be too much for me.  It isn’t that I don’t want to be social.  I’m just not that good at going up and introducing myself.  I won’t lie.  I’m much better after I have had a glass of wine or a vodka tonic.  How sad is that?  Of course, I would have been better with Rhonda there.  Yet, I didn’t have either of those cushions/crutches there.  Again, this is particularly amusing since I lead a team of volunteers and since I teach groups of children.  For some reason, I’m able to overcome my awkwardness in those settings.  I think it is because I have a job to do, a focus.  Duranie events are about being social.  Old childhood fears return as I wonder if people will like me!  LOL.  Then, of course, since doing the blog, I’m never sure how people are going to take me.  That said, when I was able to let my guard down and be social, I had a really good time, which was really the point of this blog. 

There is something to be said for being around Duranies.  We understand each other without having to say much.  After all, we share a common interest and this interest is such that it isn’t a little interest but a big one, one we, generally, feel intensely about.  For example, everyone I was in line with the signing was excited and slightly nervous.  We all talked about what we might say, how we looked, etc.  Dinner discussion was filled with stories of past Duran experiences, like past concerts or past meet and greets.  We didn’t really talk much about our lives beyond Duranland but we didn’t go to an event like that to have real life interfere.  It is quite the opposite, in fact. 

So, as I was sitting here together struggling to organize 184 turfs of voters and 40 plus volunteers at any given time, I thought back to Tuesday and how much fun I had.  Of course, it was fabulous because of John Taylor.  That goes without saying, but it was definitely the other fans that made it better than fabulous.  I, then, thought about how I won’t go three years for an album and/to tour to be with Duranies again.  I won’t.  That’s just silly and would make me unhappy.  While Rhonda and I discussed plans for some events, there is nothing that is stopping me from trying to get together with Duranies nearby, right?  Maybe, that is the just the thing that I’ll need to have to look forward to once I have my life back.  Heck, maybe, I’ll pressure Rhonda to come visit then, too!  😀  Thus, Midwest area Duranies, I want you to start thinking about when might be a good time! 

-A

Chains

It is pretty funny when a quote affects both Rhonda and I so much that we both have to blog about it, but that is what John’s quote from the speech he gave at his former school did.  The quote was the following:

“For me, passion is the most important asset a person can have. To work with feeling for something. To care. That’s why I think it is most important that we connect with what it is we want to do- not someone else’s idea of what we should be doing with our time and our lives. Sometimes people are old and grey before they realize they have been following their parents dream, not theirs- and they wonder why they are so unhappy.

Find your passion and you will find happiness, because there is nothing more important in the adult world than enjoying your work. That has been my experience. And if you enjoy your work you will find work, because you will be appreciated wherever you go. ”  -John Taylor

Yesterday, Rhonda blogged about how this applied to her life and her discovery about her own passion.  This quote also caught my attention, especially after the questioning I have been doing with my own life lately.

I, too, feel like I have a passion.  For a long time, I have felt my passion was my work, my career.  I have been a teacher for a long time.  In many ways, I find it hard to believe that I have been in classrooms since 1997.  I thought experienced teaching would feel very differently than it does.  I went into teaching for a pretty unique reason.  I wanted to make a difference.  Yes, I think that a lot of people go into teaching for the exact same reason.  The difference between my reasoning and most is that I wanted to make a difference in a broad, whole society, big picture sort of way.  I had spent most of my college years reading, analyzing, writing and researching about social movements.  Thus, I thought teaching would be a perfect way for me to do my part to continue the necessary progress of many social movements that I studied, including the Women’s Movement, Civil Rights, etc.  In particular, I chose to focus on students with disabilities who also lived in poverty.  Many of my students are also students of color.  Such an idealist I was!  Then, as settled into my teaching career, I took on something else, something more.

In 2008, I decided to get involved with a political campaign.  (I’m sure you can guess which one!)  I found this work fulfilling.  I can organize well.  It truly is my strength.  I can also lead people and explain things well, especially since I have been doing that for years in the classroom.  On top of that, I loved the intensity of it.  Loved it.  I also loved the win.  I had only felt that kind of high at concerts of a certain band we all know.  After election day, I couldn’t let it go.  It seemed like such a logical addition to my work in the classroom.  Fast forward four years later, I’m still teaching.  I’m still politically organizing.  Teaching is more than a full time job.  That said, I’m in a new position this year, which definitely is less stressful and does not require as much time after work.  Campaigning, though, is taking up about 20 hours a week.  If you are doing the math, that equals at least about 60 hours per week.  I’m sure you are all wondering why I’m “sharing” so much here.  I’m getting to the point, I swear!

What I have left out in this story of my “career” is this.  Rhonda and I started thinking about the book, seriously, a few years ago.  Soon, we started writing, reading, researching.  It worked well for me, for Rhonda.  Then, we added this blog.  Still, all was good.  We added twitter and facebook.  This year, we started adding the today in Duran history and the daily/weekly questions.  I get up an extra 30-45 minutes to do that everyday.  We have more up our sleeve and just need the time to finish the book, get it published and do other related projects.

So what is the point?  How does this connect to John’s quote or to the title of the blog?  Here’s the deal.  I thought my passion was to help others, to help make the world a better place.  I am proud of the work that I have done both as a teacher and as an organizer.  If I died tomorrow, I would know that I have done my part.  Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure if that is my passion.  Was it ever really my passion?  Did I just want it to be?  Would it still be if I wasn’t just exhausted, both from working so much and from working so intensely for so many years?  I don’t know, for sure.  The only way to really be able to answer that is to step away for a long time.  After doing some soul searching, I think I know a little bit about where my passion really lies.

I love doing this blog.  I love writing the book and I’m damn proud of all that we have done so far.  I enjoy doing the daily tasks on twitter, facebook and here.  It has become a third job of sorts as it is also time consuming and believe that it could be a lot more.  Right now, 3 weeks into the school year and 46 days until the election, I find myself wishing I could just dedicate myself to this, this crazy thing that Rhonda and I created.  Is it because this is about Duran?  Sure.  Of course, the band is part of it but it isn’t just because of the band.  It is a lot more than that.  Is it that I  am uninterested in my other jobs?  No, it isn’t that.  I still love watching and talking politics.  I enjoy being with kids and teaching them.  Yet, I’m just not feeling the passion there.  Maybe, in many ways, the true passion here is for writing, researching, reading, organizing around something.  Something that matters.  In our case, it is reading, researching, writing, and organizing in order to make OUR world, OUR community better by bringing people, Duranies, together for fun, for discussion.  After all, part of what Rhonda and I wanted to do with this, with the book is explain our lives as fans and to show that being a fan is good, is worthwhile.  Now, if I could just figure out a way to pay my bills this way…maybe those chains of the other careers could be lifted.

-A

DDM: Fan Club? Fan Community? Both?

I originally planned on posting a guest blog today as I’m in Boston visiting my brother but after reading everyone’s comments to the blog yesterday about DDM, I felt like I had more to say (Don’t I always?!) Anyway, one thing I truly love about doing this blog with Rhonda is that I have always pushed to think. I am forced to think when I write and then I think when I read your comments (here, Facebook and twitter). Yesterday’s blog post focused on one aspect of DDM: Member extras. It wasn’t about the presales and it wasn’t about message boards. Nonetheless, people’s responses to the blog did bring up the boards and the presales. One other large aspect that seemed to come up is cost, which in turn brought out the idea of exclusivity vs. inclusivity. This blog then asks more fundamental questions surrounding DDM and the “official fan community.”

As we all know DDM is Duran Duran’s official fan community and it costs money to join. Before we dive into the various aspects of what DDM has to offer, let me ask this. Should fan communities cost money? Obviously, in this case, the fan community costs money with the idea being that it offers things to the members. This idea isn’t new. Lots of things work like this and I can think of many examples. People buy gym memberships in order to use the various equipment, take classes offered there, use the pool, etc. You pay for these opportunities. This is designed in the same way. It is done with the idea being that if you offer the right things and things that cannot be provided anywhere else, people will pay and join. Should fandoms work that way, though? Why or why not? I’m sure from a band’s point of view it is a way to get money without the hard work of recording an album or playing shows. I can understand that. I can also understand the fan’s desire to join a fan club or community. Certainly, I get that. I want to admit that I’m a fan. Isn’t that how the first fan clubs got started, as a way to show one is a fan and to find other fans? Yet, as soon as money is involved, it could start to exclude people. It may no longer being about being a fan and now becomes a fan with money. Yes, I obviously know that DDM isn’t a fortune. Yet, it does cost and that extra might be too much for some.

The next question that comes to mind is what should a fan community do. The more and more I think about the fact that DDM calls itself “Duran Duran: The Fan Community”, the more and more I question their use of the word, community, to describe it. Is it a community or a club? What’s the difference between the two? To me, a community involves people interacting with each other. A club means that people join something and may or may not interact. Clearly, DDM tries to do both. They push the community by having things like the message boards and they push the club by offering presale tickets and other items like Katy Kafes. Is this what DDM should be doing? Should they be trying to do both the community and the club? If they should be a club only, what features should they offer? What should they offer if they focus on being a community? Perhaps, part of the problem is that they don’t have a focus. There is no real game plan.

A couple of things that came up yesterday in the various comments is that DDM is no longer, if ever, really able to come up with a community, which is ironic since they is what it is entitled. People want a place to get the news about Duran and they definitely don’t feel like they get that there. Then, if it is going to be a community, a place for fans to come together and interact, how should that be done? I’m happy that a number of you feel like this place is a better place for community. People mentioned that they are able to freely speak their minds without worry. Yes, people may disagree but it is done respectfully. Rhonda and I would like to think that we have helped to create this open and respectful environment. It should also include EVERYONE, no matter where you live, what your favorite Duran stuff is or isn’t, no matter how many shows you have been to, no matter how many times you have met or haven’t met the band, etc. This leads back to the first question. Should being part of a fan community have anything to do with money? Should having the ability to talk to other fans be based on a fee? What about those VIP tickets? People complain that there are not guaranteed meet and greets with VIP tickets, which is a valid point, but what about the fact that not everyone can afford those? Does the way DDM runs create an exclusivity between fans with the money factor? Obviously, the idea of joining a fan club is a way to differentiate oneself from a non-fan. Does DDM do this or just keep us, fans, separated from each other?

I don’t have answers to these questions but I do think they are fundamental questions. What should Duran’s fan club be like? Is that the same as the fan community? Should it be? How should it be done to include everyone? What do you all think? -A

What Should Fans Expect from the Band

Yesterday, I brought up one of, what I consider to be, the taboo subjects in Duranland:  What should Duranie be expected to know.  Another taboo subject that seems to come up again and again in Duranland is what fans expect from Duran Duran.  Let’s face it.  We all expect many things from the band but they are definitely not the same and I may not understand why you want thing x from them and I might not understand what you want thing y from them.  So, let’s talk about what we, the fans, expect from Duran Duran.

First, this goes without saying, but, we all want good music from them.  Will we all agree as to what that is?  Nope.  Yet, how much of their material should be deemed good?  Should we expect every album or every song to be at a certain level of quality?  For example, not everything is going to be as good as Leopard but everything should be as good as All She Wants Is.  I don’t know.  Is it fair to expect, at least, every other album to be good?  Perhaps, we want every album to have a certain vibe to it?  I don’t know.  This seemed to be a particular issue during the Red Carpet Massacre days.  There seemed to be quite a bit of tension in the fan community.  Yes, some of it was between the fans who liked the album and those who didn’t but there was another kind of tension as well.  Some of that tension was between the fans who thought/felt we should always support Duran, no matter what, and others that thought we should be able to criticize the band and their music. 

Second, should we expect the band members to be on social networking sites?  If so, should they be on both facebook and twitter?  Should they participate regularly; and how do you define regularly?  What if they are only on social networking sites when they are going on tour or trying to sell an album?  Is that okay with us?  While this question might, again, seem like one with obvious answers, it isn’t.  Some fans feel like band members should be on social networking sites as this might be considered part of the job in 2012.  Others feel like it is a great thing that they are and that it enhances the connection between band and fans, but that it is not necessary.  Their only job should be to make music and try to sell it by going on tour, promoting songs/albums, etc.  So, I’m asking.  What should we expect of them?  Let’s have that debate about what is fair and reasonable.

Third, should we expect the band to want to meet fans?  In what capacity should this be done?  Should the band have meet and greets at every show?  Some shows?  Why or why not?  What about in public?  Should the band welcome fans when they are out at a bar or a club?  What about at their hotel?  Should they be approachable then too?  Then, when meeting fans, should they be willing to sign autographs and/or take pictures?  Should there be limits?  Again, on the surface, this question about the band meeting the fans doesn’t appear to be one that would create friction, but it does.  Some people feel strongly that the band should be left alone in public.  Others are passionate about the idea that part of their job is meeting fans and being willing to sign autographs and take pictures.  Then, likewise, those two sides may get annoyed or bothered by the fans on the opposite side.  So, let’s really talk about what we expect from the band.  It would certainly stop some potential bad feelings if we knew what people thought about the issue. 

Lastly, what should fans expect when it comes to the team surrounding Duran?  Should they be held accountable, even if they are far removed from organizations like Artist Arena, or should we understand that they don’t oversee every little aspect of Duran Duran?  Some fans obviously expect that Duran knows and does something about the people that are working for them.  Others think that they have a lot on their plate so they can’t pay attention to everything that is happening.  Perhaps, both sides get annoyed with each other then.  One side thinks that the fans who complain to Duran about their team are being negative and the other side thinks the positive fans are naive and being taken advantage of. 

So, readers, I ask you.  Where do you sit with the question of the day?  What should we expect from Duran?  What about those fans who don’t agree with you?  How can we get consensus about issues regarding the band?

-A

What Should Every Duran Fan Know?

About a couple weeks ago, I posted a blog about taboo subjects in our fandom.  In this blog, which you can read here, I argue that our fandom does not talk about some difficult subjects and this leads to problems, to misunderstandings, to drama.  If we truly wanted our fan community to be united and as drama-free as possible, we would welcome these discussions.  Of course, I did get quite a bit of feedback from this idea.  The question that came up is that what would the point of the discussion be.  My answer was simple:  To come to some sort of understanding and to make that understanding explicit and clear for everyone.  While not everyone would follow it, there would be some sort of established and known expectation.  Thus, if someone chose not to follow it, that person would expect that there would be some sort of reaction.  This, after all, is what happens in real life and in real communities.  Let me give you an example.  In the United States, it is expected that if people are outside of their homes, they should wear clothes.  The vast majority of the people agree with this, at least, as far as I can tell.  Does everyone?  Nope.  There are people who wish to be free of clothing, especially since nudity really isn’t hurting anyone.  Some of these people who disagree will do nothing but disagree, privately.  Others may try to find places where nudity is allowed like nude beaches.  Still others might just openly rebel and wear no clothing out in public.  Those people are aware of the expectation and what would happen if they choose to wear no clothing.  Yet, cultures also have subtle rules and expectations over behavior.  Many of these subtle rules are explicitly taught and some are learned by observation.  The same is true for Duranland.  There are explicit rules with the biggest and most obvious one being Duranies should think that Duran music is good.  Yet, there are areas within the fandom, within the fan community that a consensus hasn’t been reached.  People just decide on some position and get annoyed, bothered or angry at fans that do not follow the same position, philosophy or rule.  This is where misunderstanding comes in.  One area that is unclear is knowledge.  What should all Duranies know about the band, the band members, etc?

I already hearing many of you responding to this.  We shouldn’t dictate how much fans should know!  Everyone is different!  People can’t be expected to know everything!  I’m not saying that anyone, especially ME, should decide anything.  I’m saying that we should talk about how much Duranies should know and what they should know.  Maybe we will never come to an agreement but, at least, we can find out how people feel about knowledge.  We can, at least, come to an understanding.  I am starting the conversation here.  I don’t have answers to these questions.  I just want to stop some of the disagreements and disappointments that seem to happen.  Let me give some examples to explain.  Fan number 1 asks John Taylor on Twitter about what his favorite wine is.  This fan is not aware that John no longer drinks.  Fan number 2 says either out loud to that person or other fans behind fan number one’s back something along the line of, “How does this person not know this!?”  Fan 1 simply didn’t know.  Fan 2 is bothered by this because s/he does not want John to be put into an uncomfortable position.  Is either fan wrong?  Is neither fan wrong?  How should fans handle a situation like that?  Here is another example:  Fan number 3 has never heard the Astronaut demos.  Fan number 4 is horrified by that since in his/her experience and knowledge they are available in countless locations online!  Again, did either fan do or say anything wrong?  I don’t know.  Here is what I do know.  Knowledge is deemed somewhat important in this community.  After all, we wouldn’t get upset with interviewers who ask questions like, “Are Roger and John brothers?”  Also, the situations I described above happen all the time.  In too many cases, the responses cause hurt feelings whether that was intentional or not.  Wouldn’t it be better to decide what is important to know and how we should handle it if people don’t know things? 

So, readers, I ask you.  What do you think Duranies should know about the music?  Should they have heard every official album?  What about side projects and solo work?  What should they know about the band members themselves?  Should they know, for example, that Nick doesn’t like sports or that Simon has three daughters?  What about new fans?  Should we have some sort of understanding towards them?  Maybe, it isn’t how much fans should know but what they know?  Then, based on our community agreement, could we also come up with a way to respond that is respectful and kind as this is part of the problem as well.  For those fans who do know more, they don’t always respond in ways that are constructive to the fans who know less.  Too often, the comments are destructive and hurtful.  Let’s face it.  The reactions are so intense because fandom brings out intense emotions.  Duran Duran, in our case, matters to us.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing anything with the band or their fans.  Yet, there has to be a way for us to focus our intense feelings on being excited about the band and not being bothered by other fans!

-A