Category Archives: Fandom

Brothers and Sisters We Can Take It

Lyric Saturday has brought an interesting lyric to respond to.  Actually, I picked the song last night when I was sitting in my local Barnes and Noble, offering free gift wrapping along with my school’s Gender Equity, a student club that I advise.  I asked one of the students to take a look at the lyrics and pick something that grabbed her.  Her choice:  “Brothers and sisters we can take it.”  Hmmm…

The first thought that popped in my mind when I read the lyrics was work.  Perhaps, that was the first thought because I felt like I was still at work since I was surrounded by teenagers.  Still, the lyrics could definitely represent teaching.  At work, I’m surrounded by staff members who work hard everyday and take whatever is thrown at us, whether that is criticism by the public or parents or new state mandates or kids demonstrating less than respectful behavior.  We take it all.  Plus, the “brothers and sisters” part reminds me of our teaching union as union members refer to each other as brothers and sisters.  That said, the lyric could also relate to politics.

Politics is not for the weak.  Political candidates must know that they will face extreme criticism, negative attacks and more.  Likewise, political campaigns, as representing and working for a candidate, have to deal with the same negativity.  Heck, at this point in time in the U.S., I don’t think that people have to be part of a political campaign to feel attacked on the political front.  As much as it sucks, I think that a lot of us have to have that attitude that we can take it and will keep standing and fighting.  What helps many to project that strength is due to the unity they feel with others and knowing that they are not alone in the fight.

Yet, beyond all that, the lyric could definitely also relate to Duran Duran and their fans.  How so?  Well, from what I have heard the song has to do with trying to get an album/single to make the charts. If that is, indeed, the case Duran Duran and everyone on their team has to be prepared to take whatever is thrown at them, including those bad reviews and criticism from so-called music journalists and critics.  Certainly, Duran Duran has had a ton of criticism throughout their career.  How many reviews have I personally read calling the band names or dismissing their music or making fun of this, that or the other?  I’m afraid the answer to that is more than I can count.

Beyond the band, the fans have certainly faced our own judgment for being Duran Duran fans.  As a kid, I remember spending hours defending the band.  I have vivid memories of explaining to kids at school how cool they were because of their videos, the fact that they wrote and recorded their own music and more.  Strangely enough, as an adult, I have had similar conversations with friends and family members who want to dismiss the band due to the use of keyboards or the fact that they wore make-up or whatever.  Then, of course, some of this disapproval carries over to how I express my fandom now.

For many people, it is bad enough to be a fan of Duran Duran, but to blog about being a fan?  Wow.  That often equals true insanity, especially when people find that out that Rhonda and I blog each and every day.  It is almost funny to watch people’s minds get blown when they realize that I also travel to go see shows.  Too many people cannot wrap their heads around the level of dedication that I have to this little fandom of ours.  Again, though, like with teaching or being politically active, I believe that having other fans on the same side as me fortifies me to be able to take whatever negativity is thrown my way.  Perhaps, Duran Duran experiences the same thing with having an army of fans behind them.

-A

Your Rhythm Is the Power to Move Me

Finally, I am getting to Lyric Day on Friday again!  During the last couple of months, I have found myself pushing Lyric Day to Saturday or Sunday or never.  This week, though, I’m on it!  So, what song popped up when I hit shuffle:  I Don’t Want Your Love.  As soon as I see it, I cannot help but to smile.  Oh, yes, I can use this song!  From there, the lyric I would choose was obvious, to the say the least.

Every time I hear this song, the line, “Your rhythm is the power to move me,” always grabs my attention.  How could it not?  It feels like it screams fandom to me.  It yells Duran Duran fandom, more specifically.  You know, fandom is a funny thing.  I think that being a fan is my blood.  My parents taught me fandom from day one as I watched them be White Sox fans.  Then, I saw my brother obsess over comic books and Star Trek.  I learned that fandom was good.  I even learned to be a Sox and Star Trek fan.  Now, decades later, those fandoms remain.  While I wouldn’t say that my youngest niece is a serious fan, I see some signs that she could be if the right thing grabbed her.  She likes lots of different things and can and does focus on those things in the way a fan would.  For example, for a while, it was Harry Potter then Buffy.  Yet, nothing has really stuck.

In my adult life, I have had some interests that have caught my attention.  Sometimes, those interests have lasted quite a while.  The TV show, Roswell, had my attention for years until I finally let it go.  I adore the X-Files and will get super excited when the next season starts, but those just aren’t the same as that Duran fandom.  The rhythm of being a music fan is just different.  With fandom surrounding TV or books or even movies, it is all about the love of a story or characters.  Most fans of those watch and rematch various scenes that they like.  Perhaps, those fans write fanfic to add to the story or to fill in the gaps.  I can understand all of that.  I, too, have loved specific characters on shows, for example, but the fan fiction train was never for me.  While I enjoying reading some, I couldn’t write it and got tired of reading the same old things.  Therefore, once the show is over or off the air, it is much hard for me to stick with the fandom.  This, of course, is the story of how Roswell died for me.  I didn’t wake up one day and determine that the show sucked.  No, I found that it could no longer keep my attention, no matter how great some of the fan fiction was.

Music fandom has been different for me.  Perhaps, part of the reason that music fandom resonates for me is because it was my first fandom.  While I appreciated those family fandoms, Duran was mine and all mine.  I discovered at a young age that their music moved me. When Duran writes one of those amazing tracks that stay with you long after you listen to it, I fall in love all over again.  Truly, Duran’s music affects me longer and stronger than any show or any book ever has.

Of course, I think that beyond the music itself, which is super strong, is also how I participate in the fandom.  For movie/TV/book fandoms, it feels very passive for me.  When I was into Roswell, for example, I had get togethers with friends but for the most part, I watched clips and read fanfic.  I would go online and dissect all of the little scenes but that was it.  I didn’t do much with it.  My Duran fandom, on the other hand, has motivated me to not only go to as many concerts as possible but also to travel, to write, to blog, to plan events.  The band’s rhythm have motivated me in ways that I could have never imagined.  Sometimes, I think back to when I was a kid watching Duran videos and I just start shaking my head.  Would my 9 year old self believe that thirty years later I would have seen the band a bunch, write about being a fan and more?  Somehow I don’t think so. Yet, it is true.  They have the power to move me and have for a long time.

-A

I’m Thankful…

Yesterday, Rhonda wrote a heartfelt blog about what she is grateful for during this Thanksgiving holiday so I figured that today might be my turn. Like Rhonda, I’m very thankful for my family. I’m lucky in that I have amazing parents. That fortune is increased by the fact that they live near me so I am able to not only enjoy them as people but benefit from all the little things they do to help me out. As they get older and need more and more of my assistance, I want to always remember that they deserve my love and care even when my patience is thin and I have more on my plate that it seems like I can handle. This year, my nearby family grew when my oldest niece arrived in Wisconsin to attend college here. To say that I am overjoyed by having her close by is an understatement. Like with my parents, sometimes, this has means that she needs me for some purpose, but I would gladly sacrifice my time in order to have her close. After all, she and her sister have spent their formative years in North Carolina far away from me. I missed many of the big moments and countless small ones over the years. Now, though, I get to be a part of seeing her finally come into her own and reach adulthood. She has become an amazing person who is getting smarter, more confident and stronger with each passing day. This Thanksgiving, in fact, I got to spend it with her and a couple of her fiends, which was fun.

On top of my personal family, I have to acknowledge my work family. It isn’t easy being in education these days. Heck, it wasn’t easy being a teacher 15 years ago but the last 7 or so have been especially difficult for reasons that I won’t go into on this blog. Let’s just say that we are being asked to do a lot more with less and have very little holding us up in terms of outside supports. The job requires more of my time, energy, and emotions and the kids are getting tougher too (through no fault on their own). Throughout it all, my colleagues have been there for me. When things were getting really bleak, I had colleagues checking in, giving me stuffed animals to represent strength, offering to help and more. Truly, when I think about what keeps me going in teaching, a lot of it has to do with them. Of course, the other factor is the kids. While I struggle to reach them all, there are a number of students I have gotten to know pretty well over the years. Being a part of their struggles and their successes also keep me moving forward. I’m truly the lucky one to be their teacher.

Yes, work does take up a lot of my life. Just last week, I calculated that I worked 58.5 hours, which didn’t even seem so bad to me until I realized that it was more than 18 hours OVER what it should have been. It was like I worked an extra 2 days. No wonder I’m super tired all the time! While I wish my job wasn’t so time-consuming and stressful, there is a part of me that is proud of the work that I do. I believe that I’m a decent teacher. My kids, generally, learn from me and, more importantly, become more passionate citizens of the world. That is all I can ask for. If that wasn’t enough, I’m still involved and working, politically. I have to keep fighting to make the world a better place, both in and out of my classroom. I’m grateful to those people who work along side with me, telling me that I’m not alone and to keep going.

Beyond all the fabulous people at my jobs, what really helps to keep me going is my fandom. First, this blog helps on a daily basis. I love that it forces me to stop and think about something other than work or politics. Every morning I do the question of the day. It makes me sit down and take 10-15 minutes in the morning to clear my head, which probably saves my sanity and my students first hour. Then, on the weekends, when it is my turn to blog, I can take longer to think about all things Duran. During many weekends, it is my break, my time away from grading or household chores. While it is something on my “to-do” list, it isn’t really a chore. I look forward to it and I often find myself thinking about what I’m going to write about or how I’m going to write about this topic or that. There is always a corner of my brain thinking about Duran, fandom and this blog. This also means that I allow myself to check in with Duranland during the week so that I can comment in future blogs. I might not always have time to respond or make comments but know that I’m always watching (as much as I can) and thinking about what I see, read and hear related to this fandom. Again, this probably keeps me sane. (No comments, Rhonda!)

Beyond the time spent during the week on my Duran fandom and blogging, there are the times I go on tour. I truly cannot think of anything that makes me more happy. Touring is the one time that I can (and do!) push everything else to the side. When I’m on tour, I’m not thinking about anything on my to-do list. I’m not worrying about my parents or about kids at school. No, I can take a break and just HAVE FUN. People will always ask me, “Why are you going to another show? Don’t they just play the same songs?” The answer to that is yes. They typically play the same songs. While the setlist matters somewhat, it isn’t the big reason. No, it is about that fun that I have. Of course, I wouldn’t have fun without the people with me. In 2005, I discovered the best touring partner around. Sometimes, when I think about it, I cannot believe that Rhonda and I really tour so well together. We trust each other when it comes to money, buying tickets, reserving rooms, etc. We approach traveling in similar ways and have the same general philosophy when it comes to partying, staying up late, etc. More importantly than all of that, is that we enjoy spending time together. We know that when we are together we will laugh and laugh and laugh. Truly, I get more laughter in during a touring weekend than I do all month long. I swear! I will always be grateful to have her in my life—not just for fun touring but also because we share this blog, planning meet-ups and conventions and writing. I couldn’t ask for a better fandom partner. Rhonda and I have also been extremely lucky with the friends we have made. In a little over a month, we will descend onto the city of Las Vegas with our friends, Suzie and Lori. Much like touring with Rhonda, they are easy people to tour with who are also a lot of fun. Let’s just say that we all appreciate our vodka! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have another opportunity to hang out with them this year. So lucky to have found them.

Of course, none of this would be possible with the band that started it all. From the first time I heard their music until now, Duran Duran gives me such joy. When I hear their music, I’m reminded of good times, great experiences, and the most fun I have ever had from the little moments of my youth to the silly times of today. I recall the joy of getting a new album, putting up a new poster or tuning into MTV to catch a new video with my childhood best friend. Now, when I think of my fandom, I think of the lovable teasing about fashion choices or giving cheers in a hotel bar. I am reminded of leaving notes encouraging the playing of Planet Earth while watching closely the stage location for every JoSi or DoJo moment. Overall, I am grateful that this band entered my world and refuses to leave even after three plus decades.

-A

You Caught Me in Your Web of Youth

It is Lyric Day Friday!  My shuffle resulted in the song, Love Voodoo.  Like many Duran songs, when I looked at the lyrics, many, many lines could have been chosen for the inspiration of the blog post.  Before I got overwhelmed, I decided to focus in on the first one that caught my attention.  The line, of course, is “You caught me in your web of youth.”  It immediately reminded me of fandom, my Duran Duran fandom, to be specific, despite my lack of youth and the band’s lack of youth.  Still, I became a fan as a kid when the band members were really young, themselves.

Whenever my students find out that I’m a Duran Duran fan, they want to know right away how old they are and if they were any good.  Yes, they use the past tense.  It makes me crazy.  I immediately correct that assumption and explain that the band still creates music to this day.  As for their second question, I have tried to explain that they were the most popular band when I was a kid.  Each time I tell that, I feel inadequate in convincing them of the truth of my statement.  I try to reassure myself that no matter what I say, they cannot really get it.  They weren’t around then.  After that, the next common questions are, “Why do you like them?  Have you liked them for a long time?”  Again, I try my best to answer but never feel like I capture their appeal.

I cannot remember the first time I heard or saw Duran Duran.  As a kid, in the early 80s, I do remember listening to B96, Chicago’s Top 40 radio station.  I recall turning the dial on the TV to MTV or staying up “late” to tune into Friday Night Videos.  I’m certain that the first place I saw/heard Duran was on one of those sources.  I doubt it was anything from the first album.  I simply was too young and wouldn’t have tuned in then.  It could be something off of Rio.  I’m not sure what exactly.  The first songs I remember really connecting with are the first couple of singles from Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  One memory that stands out in my head is hearing New Moon on Monday on the radio at my then best friend’s house.  If my memory is accurate, I was staying there overnight while the rest of my family was out of town, trying to look for a house for us to move to, which would bring us closer to my dad’s new job.  I distinctly remember laying in my friend’s bedroom, trying to go to sleep while the radio played softly, when that song came on.  While I liked the song, it wasn’t until their videos that the band really caught my attention.

To the kid version of me, every video I saw seemed so cool.  First of all, I was drawn to the way they looked.  At this point in my life, I was living in a Chicago suburb, a working class suburb, no less.  People in my neighborhood, in my suburb did not dress up.  They tended to work in blue collar jobs, in factories.  Even my dad, who was a manufacturing manager, did not really dress up to go to work as he worked in an office within a factory.  He wore steel-toed shoes for protection and never wore his wedding ring, in case he used the machinery.  The only time I remember my parents, extended family or neighbors really dress up was for something like a wedding, a very special occasion.  On top of all of that, even their dress clothes weren’t fancy or anything fashion-forward.  No, they all dressed rather conservatively and all people stuck to their assigned gender role.  Women wore dresses with pantyhose and short heels while the men picked a suit jacket and button down top.

This, of course, is the exact opposite of Duran Duran.  They wore colorful clothing that was unique and fashion forward.  I remember thinking to myself that I would love to dress like them, but that my family could never afford style like that and that I wouldn’t even know where to go to get clothes like that!  Their fashion choices included things like fancy belts, leather pants, and fedoras.  They looked nothing like the men and boys I knew.  Heck, I also adored that they didn’t stick to their gender.  I never questioned the make-up.  I just knew that I liked what I saw.  Overall, they oozed cool.

If that was not enough, the videos and concert footage showed a group of friends who had so much fun.  Goodness, just writing this brings up scenes from Sing Blue Silver where the band is laughing and having fun together.  While I didn’t need to see them having fun or being with a group of friends to think they were amazing, these images added to the coolness to create a package that I had no choice, but to fall hard for.  As a young kid and preteen, I wanted to be them.  I longed for my upcoming teenage and young adulthood to be the cool that my childhood was far from.  The fantasy I focused on then wasn’t about becoming one of their wives but about being as cool as they were.  That was more important to my geeky self.

By the time 1985 rolled around, I was definitely caught in their web of youth.  They showed me that everyone does not have to be like those around me.  No, there was a whole colorful, cool world out there.  As a kid, it gave me something to look towards to determine what to do, how to dress, etc.  Obviously, this web that they created is a strong one as I’m still here, over 35 years later.

-A

And Steaming Crowds They Gather and They Shout

My lyric day blog is a day late again.  I wanted to write a blog post about my decision  to go to the Vegas show first.  Today’s shuffle brought me a fan favorite, New Religion.  Then, I had to pick a lyric, which really isn’t all that easy for this song.  There are so many lines I could have picked.  Nonetheless, I went with the line, “And steaming crowds they gather and they shout.”  First of all, it is a good one.  Second and more importantly, it seemed pretty dang fitting this week as the news of a show was the topic of discussion.

Yesterday, my students watched a video about treaties the United States had with Native Americans and the lasting impact that broken treaties and more on the native people.  The video I show is one of my favorites.  The speaker is filled with dramatic pauses, emotional reactions, as well as visuals that enhance the message.  I want my students to feel the importance of Native American history.  If I could cue a classic musical soundtrack to increase the emotionality of the moment, I would.  Honestly, it is one of the aspects of history that I enjoy the most, the drama involved with the story of world events.

Why did I tell you that?  What does it have to do with Duran?  Or the song lyric I chose?  Simple.  I wish that I could convey the importance, the significance, the meaning of Duran Duran and their history to non-fans.  Just last night, I was listening to music while I did some things around the house.  The first song that came up was Planet Roaring.  Every time I hear that song, I wish that I could play it for each and every friend and family member I know so that they could understand the emotionality, the passion that Duranies feel at a show and feel about being Duran fans.  I want to use that song in the way that images and quotes were used in the video I showed in school.  For my students, those elements made it so they cared, so that they understood on a deeper, more emotional level.  I would hope that songs and lyrics like the one I have chosen would do the same thing, at least in my fantasy.

Many times, I think about posting a song like New Religion on my Facebook or other social media to try to explain my fandom.  The line about the crowd gathering is an essential piece of it.  Something magical happens at a show.  I have been lucky enough to attend shows in lots of different places.  No matter where the show is, it always feels the same.  We do all gather and shout, from casual fans who like a few songs to the hardcore fans who have traveled to be there.  Shows are essentially a  crowd who are screaming, shouting, singing, dancing together to music that matters to them.  Each person makes up the entity that is much bigger than them.  The Duran phenomenon is made up of the band members, the supporting players and the fans.  We are part of something significant and the concerts show that.  To me, each show feels that monumental, dramatic, historic.

I just wish that I could adequately explain or show this to friends and family who don’t get it.   Until I figure out a way, I will stick to the songs that seem to capture that feeling of significance for me.  New Religion is definitely one of those songs.

-A

Good seats, white flags and the Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party

Sometimes, I can be so naive it ends up being a little embarrassing.  Yesterday morning, I participated in the pre-sale for The Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I knew going in that the show was probably going in high demand, but I felt that with the DDM VIP membership, I’d have half a chance at good seats.

Let me define “good seats” for you, because I suspect my definition might be different from yours. Basically, I want to be closer to the front, not necessarily front row probably within the first ten rows, and in the middle. I’ve sat on both sides before, and while they’re not terrible, I like the middle best. Chances are, this has something to do with Amanda’s favorite being John and mine being Dom. Middle is what suits us, as the compromise. Before each pre-sale, we call one another and decide on how far over we’re going to be wiling to go, and how far back we’re willing to sit.

This time, since purchasing VIP meant that I’d be giving up food for the next few weeks (joking), we felt that spending $400 a ticket on something like 8th row was too much. That doesn’t mean that one of you should feel terrible for doing so, its just OUR limit. Yours can be different and that’s fine. No judgment.

Our trouble began when we found out the password was “Simon”. I joke, but Amanda and I agreed the pre-sale would either go really well, or be a disaster, and if it was the latter, Simon cursed us.

Dammit!!

From the get-go, neither of us were getting the VIP packages to show up once the sale began. Then once they did show up, we quickly tried clicking on seats. We’d select the tickets only to be told they couldn’t process the transaction. Then we’d get bounced out of the pre-sale and would have to re-enter the password, only to see that the seats we’d just try to buy were still available. We did this for five or ten minutes, panicking the entire time. I decide to tweet Duran Duran and tell them that I think the system is broken.

This is where my naivety came in. First, I was dumb enough to believe that anyone at DDHQ or DDM actually cared. Yeah, I know I wrote all about how they care yesterday. That was before pre-sales and as I said yesterday – this part IS business. The truth of the matter is, it’s not their system. It’s Ticketmaster’s system. DDHQ couldn’t fix it even if they knew what was wrong. I know that.  I just thought they should know that no one seemed to be getting anything. Secondly, never once during all of this did I consider that perhaps it’s just bad luck on my end. I wasn’t meant to get tickets today. Some people get them, others don’t. This happens for every single resale.  I just thought something was really wrong, like a server issue. What was probably really “wrong” was that other people, whether bots, scalpers or real people with quicker computers or phones or whatever, were probably grabbing the tickets from me. I was stupid in thinking that once I selected the tickets, they were in my basket. Nope.

This happened over and over again for over a half-hour. Never mind that it continued to require me to type Simon’s name over and over and over again, which was also really stupid. I suppose those are all measures to stop bots and scalpers, but I doubt it.

Then suddenly, I had third row seats. I was able to get through to the next screen to begin the actual payment process, and then Ticketmaster decided I needed to log in. I was amused at first because I’d already logged in and even in the corner of the screen it said “Hi Rhonda”. Yep, that’s me, I thought. It’s STILL me, motherfucker!! 

(I curse like a sailor during pre-sales and today I was pretty damn tame until that moment. My mother would not be proud.)

So, I typed in my password.

Nope, Ticketmaster didn’t recognize that combination. OK, try it again. Type slower, Rhonda.

Nope, still doesn’t get it. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Ok, asshole hamster working behind the scenes….I am the same freaking person I was an hour ago when you let me log on. GIVE ME MY TICKETS!  Why do I even have to log in? Can’t I just be a guest??!

(Yes, the song “Be Our Guest” came into my head at that moment.  Get your head in the game, Rhonda, I thought firmly, trying to redirect myself from the ear worm. You have no time for Disney movies, you’re buying Duran Duran tickets!!) 

Amanda saves me at this point from throwing my laptop. She suggests I use her password. Surely that will work, I thought.  I type very, very, carefully.

Nope. I try mine again. Denied again. It now says I’m locked out of my account. Bye-bye tickets. My stomach begins to do flip-flops and I can feel myself suddenly get very tired and a cold, clammy feeling washes over me. I am worried that if I keep trying Amanda’s, she’ll be locked out as well, so I stop. I tell her to keep trying, and I set about requesting a new password from Ticketmaster. Oddly, they sent it to me right away, even though I’d been locked out. I reset my password, time ticking right by. I logged back on. Everything seemed normal, except there were no VIP package seats available whatsoever.

From then on, I pulled nothing that was VIP.  Keep in mind, we are now about 40 minutes into the pre-sale. The realization that I’m not going to be getting VIP seats to this gig begins to dawn. I tell Amanda I’m done, that I just won’t go, this is a sign from the universe, and that I’m too tired to go on.

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

While all of this was happening, the other two people in our four person extravaganza struck gold. Literally, because they pulled two good seats in the third-row for themselves. Amanda and I were happy for them, but we were feeling pretty dejected at the same time. I mean, it sucks when things don’t go right. That’s not just me being a poor sport, it’s reality. It’s a bummer when you can’t get what you want. Ticketmaster and I are no longer friends, and I’m really not sure we ever were.

One of our friends sends a text, “Do you want us to keep looking for you?” I’m halfway tempted to say no, that I’m staying the hell home and that I hated Duran Duran, which is untrue on even the worst of days.  I didn’t really hate them. I hate the process. Trust the process,  my ass. (Sorry John.) I’m sick of this pre-sale nonsense. But I said none of that. Instead I said “Sure.” I figured they wouldn’t find anything or they’re just being kind, or that like us – they’d see tickets, select them, and be told they couldn’t complete the transaction at that time.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I continued to go through the motions of selecting, being denied, refreshing the “best available tickets”, entering the magic word (I have never typed Simon’s name so many times in a single day. Ever!), selecting different but still good seats, and being continuously denied. It was awful, and as Amanda cheerfully pointed out, “The very definition of insanity.”

I did not laugh or share her cheer. Instead, I groaned.

Our friends texted back saying they’d found a pair of tickets but they were way off to one side, and then another pair to the other side at the very edge of the stage. Nope. While we wanted to be at the show, neither of us felt comfortable paying $400 for tickets that were going to be staring at speakers or the wings of the stage. Picky? Probably so, but again – they’re our standards, they don’t have to be yours. I was just about to say goodbye to Amanda and head out to a piano lesson when I got another text about good seats in the sixth row, just to the right of middle by a few chairs. They were good, just back a pinch more than we’d agreed initially, but things change over the course of a pre-sale!

“Take them”, Amanda said. I could hear the white flag being raised in her voice. We were both pretty spent.

We’re going. We have good seats. We’re not complaining about our seats at all. The process though, kicked our asses.  While I’d heard about bots and scalpers buying up seats en mass before, I haven’t ever had this much of a problem getting VIP tickets in the past. It was a genuine mess for us this time.

Later on, someone pointed out to me that it was just bad luck, not operational issues.  They felt I shouldn’t have tweeted the band about it because it made me seem whiny. This person continued to say “It was your turn, and about time for you to have bad luck.”  The insinuation was made that Amanda get to do more than anyone else in this fan community and that they’re sick of seeing it. First of all, we don’t go to everything. We do what we can do. You do what you can do. But to go around wishing for one of us or the other to have bad luck is just mean.  I know that life isn’t always easy or peachy keen for either Amanda or me, but perception is everything. Point taken.

Sometimes pre-sales are really hard, and other times Duran Duran and/or the venue doesn’t use Ticketmaster as the agency and it all goes smoothly. We don’t expect to have good seats every single time. Overall though, Amanda and I aren’t going to be salty (my new favorite word, courtesy of my son) about this. We’re going to Vegas. We’re going to hang out over the holidays, exchange our gifts in person and drink at our own freaking Daily Duranie holiday office party, and everyone is going to be invited. What could be better than that?!

-R

 

 

You’ve Got That Thing That Makes Us Smile

I love the days when the blogs just write themselves. 🙂

I hopped on Twitter and Facebook this morning before preparing myself to do battle with a pre-sale a bit later. Blogging is an issue today because I’m short on time. I had no idea what I’d write about, primarily because writing about pre-sales, or the aftermath, is so passé. Been there, written it a thousand times. I’m sure I’m probably do it again. Just not today. Maybe. Oh, and yes, I’m participating in the presale I told Durandy not TWO days ago I was rethinking.

I just can’t stay home. It’s that simple. Let’s hope the ticket gods are kind.

To my surprise, Duran Duran posted a fan video this morning for Face For Today. Now, this is not your ordinary music video tribute to Duran Duran. No, this is truly a FAN video, and if you watch it, you’ll see why. For me though, I could get no further than 2.5 seconds into it before I felt some strange gooey feeling go through me. I suspect it might have been my ice-cold heart melting, but I’m not sure. 😀

(I know it’s wrong to include emojis in a blog. I don’t care.)

I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, but if you haven’t watched it, you should.

Addressing what I’m thinking or feeling right now without making too much comment is a challenge.  I’ll start here: over the years, I’ve seen a lot of comments from fans saying that the band doesn’t care. In fact, I have made comments similar to that (I actually think those very words have come out of my mouth from time to time, if not my fingers here on this blog). For fans, it is shockingly easy to come to that revelation. We all sometimes feel very far removed, and the music business itself isn’t really set up for human emotion at times. It’s run like, well, a sometimes vile and filthy business. I think that while fans forget that this is all about the career of four or five people (many others behind the scenes, I might add), the true business of Duran Duran may sometimes forget that fans are people. We’re not just dollar signs in the appropriate column, or part of a target demographic. We also aren’t just complaint bubbles with faces attached. The scenario is equal parts push and pull.

During the rarest golden moments, all of that extraneous, icky stuff that blinds us all falls away. We’re left to see one another, our faces beautifully vulnerable and real. That’s what this video is about, and I loved every minute of it.

The band cares. They can’t always show it in the same way that I cannot break down every single time a child hurts themselves at recess, or cries in kindergarten because they miss mommy, or is in emotional pain because my office is the only place they feel safe. That doesn’t mean I’m emotionless, it just means that sometimes we have to get the job done, still preserving a little something for ourselves at the end of the day.

Sometimes, it’s nice to see that those four guys: Simon, John, Nick and Roger, see us. They know we’re there even if they can’t always acknowledge it. I won’t copy their words, but the music really is between us. Nothing, and I mean it when I type the word nothing, in my life has ever inspired me more than witnessing the phenomenon of what happens when people come together to celebrate a band and their music.

Amanda and I aren’t in this video. We are just a couple of idiots who saw the call go out for selfies, and never got it together. Truth be told, in my own head – I saw no point if I couldn’t take a picture with her.  I never said these words to anyone, but without offense to the band, we’re a package deal. My face is really nothing without hers when it comes to this band. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t know her and our lives didn’t revolve (somewhat) around Duran Duran. Besides, in some weird way, I kind of like that this video is about everyone else. Yes, we’re fans, but YOU, dear reader, are the real story.

I saw so many familiar faces in that video, and yes, it made me smile. So many beautiful people from all over the world uniting. If that’s not inspiring, well, I just don’t know.

-R

 

The First World Problem of Front Row

So the pre-sale for Vegas is tomorrow. Amanda and I, along with our touring buddies, have a plan. The general plan is simple: get tickets.

Let’s be honest here, shall we? I mean, I’ve already admitted I’m an addict—so really, there’s no holding back now. Why bother? I’d love front row. Who wouldn’t? There isn’t much that is more intoxicating than being in front of the band and having them lock eyes with you. Unless of course you’re a straight guy, of course. Somehow, I don’t think it’s the same for them in that respect and hey, that’s cool. But truly, to be there, in the moment, with that electricity swirling about in spitting distance from the stage (yes, I said that), is something special.

Is it worth $500 or more, though?

(I winced as I typed that, just so you know.)

Here’s the thing – I know that some people will pay $500 or even more and not even blink. I have actually come close to paying it myself. Sometimes though, I have to wonder if I’m being stupid about the entire thing. It’s a lot of money. a LOT. Is it better to do one or two shows and have awesome seats, or is it better to do ten shows and sit back about ten rows? It’s the question I tangle with each and every time concerts are announced. Fifteen years ago, I would have bought ONE VIP ticket for the entire tour. The rest of the time, I would have sat wherever I could get tickets, and that likely meant back in the second or third sections away from the stage. Having seats in the 13th row would have been amazing!! But then in 2012, something miraculous happened. I ended up in the front row at a show. The first time, I was so in awe, I stood there, frozen to the rail. The second time, I let myself go completely and it was the best concert experience I’d ever had, until the next time it happened…and the next.

I’ve been in second and third row, too. The feeling is incredible. And addicting. Obviously. But its expensive. Not as cost prohibitive as the front, but the sticker shock is still painful. As much as I appreciate the intensity of the fan experience from front row,  there is a small part of my brain whispering furiously at me that I should have NEVER sat in that front row (or even second or third row) to begin with, because now that I’ve been up there, nothing else lives up!

#firstworldproblems , right? I know. I’m lucky to have even had the chance, don’t get me wrong. Some people in the world have no clean drinking water, and I’m here writing about feeling like I’ve got to have front row. It’s freaking annoying of me, and how dare I have the audacity to address such a trivial thing. Yep, all of that is 100% truth.

Guess what? Right now, you’re reading a daily blog about being a fan. I’m writing it, but you, my friend, are reading it. Welcome. Try the Kool-Aid, it’s great!

So the struggle is real for us, the Duran Duran addicts. I’m assuming there might be a few more than just me out there in the world, circling about. I don’t actually know what will happen tomorrow (isn’t there a song about that??), but I do know that I’ve already got a hotel room booked, and other plans made. Even if I were to end up with zero tickets in my cart – which is always a possibility – I’m still going to Vegas that weekend. I’ll be the seat warmer at the bar, and that might actually be more expensive for me than going to the show in the long run! (Actually, that’s the excuse I’m gonna use when my husband asks about the price of my tickets!!)

-R

 

 

 

 

 

The Last of My Most Joyful Moments of Fandom

Last week, I started my list of the top ten most joyful moments of my fandom.  This week, I’m finishing the list.  If you are interested in reading the first five examples of pure happiness you can go here.  If you want to read Rhonda’s, you can go here.  Likewise, I appreciated those people who shared their happiest moments in this Duran Duran fandom of ours and welcome more!

Nights That Last Forever:
One of the things I like the best about our fandom is that we have plenty of opportunity to go out and have fun!  On occasions, this fun has lasted all night or almost all night.  Rhonda mentioned one of those nights in her list, which was the Saturday night of Durandemonium, the convention we organized with friends in October 2013.  Another night that comes to my mind is the night we saw Duran play a whole four songs at the Andre Agassi charity concert in Las Vegas in October 2005.  After the show, we ended up at a club literally enjoying vodka tonics and dancing all night long.  The fun ended with breakfast at like 6 am.  Perfect.

Nightclubbing:
Over the course of the years, Rhonda and I have spent quite a bit of time in nightclubs, specifically ones that have 80s nights.  Durandemonium included one of those at Chicago’s Late Bar.  Birmingham hosts an Only After Dark, an event to recreate the Rum Runner, both in style and in musical quality.  Even our summer included a trip to San Francisco’s Cat Club that had a Duran focus after the show.  Each and every time I find myself at a club like those I just feel happy.  I let the music overtake me and I dance without any concern in the world.

Concert interactions:
Who doesn’t attend a Duran show hoping to have an interaction or ten with a band member or more.  Over the course of my fandom “career”, I have been lucky enough to have a few.  I think back to the Sears Center show in Chicago in October 2006 when I would swear that John Taylor told us to keep singing in our like 8th row seats.  It also makes me think of all the time we have had the (mis)fortune of being victims of the White Lines spit moment from one Mr. Simon Le Bon.  Heck, the show in Paso Robles in July 2016 featured that and more as Simon came to the front of the stage, looking as if he would spit any second before swallowing the water he had in his mouth.  Good times.

Unified Crowds:
Rhonda mentioned the Glasgow show in December 2005 when the entire venue clapped in unison to the Man Who Stole a Leopard.  At that moment, I felt like I was only a tiny part of a much bigger and more important entity.  I felt like I was part of something super special then.  Other examples include every time I see the audience light up their cell phones during Save a Prayer or shout out “switch it off” in Planet Earth.  Those magical moments keep me going to concerts.

More to Come:
I have to admit that one thing I really love about our fandom is planning for future events.  Of course, every time we get to plan for a show or tour is special.  I love every moment of the planning or plotting as we call it from announcing that there is an official Duran alert to making decisions about what we can and should do, to deciding hotels, ticket plans, etc.  The flurry of exchanged messages make me excited for what is to come.  Here’s the thing.  Any Duran related event or happening brings the possibility of having another one of my most joyful fan moments.  Heck, even less than awesome events, are still great.  Those times of planning means that something amazing is just around the corner.  They are the promise of future fun.

As I finish up my top ten most joyful moments, I realize the best part. I have a whole future of moments waiting to happen.  I’m hoping that by the time this “ends” I have a whole series of magical moments that brought me joy.  I feel very lucky that way.

-A

Feelings Are Good

Normally, lyric day takes place on Fridays.  This week, though, it is happening on Saturday.  Why?  I couldn’t write Simon’s birthday blog on any day but his birthday.  I had to write about Simon’s birthday yesterday.  I had to.  Therefore, I chose to do lyric day today.  As always, I hit shuffle and the first Duran related song that popped up was John’s song, Feelings Are Good.  Normally, I would take a look at the lyrics and focus in on one specific line.  This time, though, I’m going to address the chorus and title:  Feelings are good.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with emotions.  As a kid, I was pretty emotional.  This led to a lot of grief in my world.  Other kids saw that I was sensitive, emotional and used that against me.  Many kids thought there was nothing funnier than making me upset by pushing a button or two.  My older siblings probably needled me a bit, too.  Initially, this didn’t stop me from being emotional.  Often, these interactions would get me more upset, which only encouraged other kids to do more of the same.  At the same time, I heard from a lot of adults that I needed to learn to control my emotions.  The message was clear.  I was smart but if I wanted others to take me seriously, I had to keep my emotions in check.  In that case, these adults were offering me good advice, in many ways, even if I couldn’t quite grasp what they were suggesting.

As I got older, I began to do exactly what the adults thought I should do.  I got my emotions under control.  Then, I started teaching.  Truly, being a teacher means hiding a lot and putting on a mask in front of students.  I cannot necessarily show the kids how I feel about a huge list of issues.  The me I show them is professional and positive.  It appears as if I have it all together when that is usually as far from the truth as possible.  Basically, teaching is like being an actor, to some extent.  Some might think this means that I’m not genuine but it is really about putting my students’ needs above mine.  When I first started teaching, I wasn’t very good at this. I still didn’t really know how to hide my feelings and there were many days in which I found myself in various offices crying for a variety of reasons.  In the last five years, I can count the number of times I have cried at work on one hand.  Now, I have gotten very good at this skill.

Some people might say that I have become too good at it and that this hurts me.  People cannot get to know me in the same way because I appear closed off.  I seem less human then.  The funny part is that the emotional child still lives inside of me.  I still feel a lot.  My heart is squeezed frequently for all sorts of reasons and I do wish that people understood that about me.  Just because I don’t show a lot about what I’m feeling now doesn’t mean that I’m not feeling something within.

You might be wondering why I am telling you all this and how this relates to fandom.  Let me explain.  Fandom is the one thing that allows the mask to slide down.  It allows me to feel all that I can.  On top of that, fandom makes me feel so much that I don’t hide my emotions as much as I can in the rest of my life.  I just can’t.  It is also the area in which I don’t let myself think too much.  I’m more spontaneous.  I have heard from a number of people over the years that Rhonda and I are pretty enthusiastic at a Duran show.  I think that is true.  It is the one area that I don’t feel like I have to hide or carry myself in a ultra professional way.  No, concerts are about feeling and showing those feelings.  They create passions and excitement that cannot be hidden easily.  Goodness know that I have tried to hide some of enthusiasm but fail each and every time.

Now, as someone who feels like I have to present myself in a certain way at work, I appreciate fandom more.  I like that it makes me feel so much that I cannot hide it.  I don’t want to hide it.  I like that it makes me feel so much joy and happiness that it is like my heart will burst.  I appreciate that I cannot hide how much I like Duran Duran.  In many ways, fandom gives me an emotional freedom that I long for, that I need.

As I have tried to balance the profession teacher persona with the enthusiastic, over-the-top fan, I have learned that feelings can be good and that there are times when it is important to hide emotions but there are times that all those feelings must come out.

-A