Category Archives: Fandom

Teasing Like…

This has to be the latest that I have blogged in a long time.  I have a good excuse.  About a month ago, I ate some almonds at a work related function.  Those stupid almonds broke a piece of my tooth off.  A week later, on the day of my dentist appointment, a larger piece broke off.  Unfortunately, this piece was right above my nerve.  My dentist gave me a temporary filling, hoping that my tooth could handle that.  The answer, unfortunately, was no.  By last weekend, it started to hurt and I knew that a more substantial procedure would be needed.  By Friday, I experienced a great deal of pain along with swelling and a fever.  An emergency root canal followed along with now a week’s worth of antibiotics.  This weekend has meant a lot of sleeping as I wait for the recovery, which is why this blog is so late.

My attention span has not been great enough to get much grading done or household chores, but I have had a chance to take brief looks at social media.  I noticed a couple of fun tweets from that band.  You know the one.  Here is the one that really caught my attention:

I cannot tell you how much I needed a tweet like this!  First of all, I love knowing that the band (or the majority of the band) is together.  That always makes me smile.  Then, of course, John’s quote resulted in a good giggle despite my soreness.  I have to say the idea that John was “unsettled” by Simon driving and Nick putting on the tunes is one I can relate to.  I think I might equally unsettled by that.  Now, before Duranies come after me, I have no idea if Simon is a scary driver.  I doubt that Nick would pick music that I wouldn’t appreciate.  No, I love the idea that John is teasing his friends.  After all, isn’t that what friends do?!  I know that I do that with my friends.  Rhonda and I give each other grief whenever we can.  Why?  Simple.  It is fun.

We have also been known to the give the members of Duran a hard time as well.  (Some band members receive our attention in this way more than others.  coughSimoncough Cheers!)  Now, I know that this bothers some out there who reads our blogs.  After all, it is one thing for Rhonda and I to give each other a hard time but a totally different deal to do the same to Duran Duran.  The assumption here is that we are no way, shape or form on their level so how do we dare.  I don’t really get that feeling.  Yes, obviously, they have fame and a hell of a lot more musical talent than I do.  That’s true.  They are still human beings, right?  On top of that, don’t tweets like this seem to be saying that they welcome this sort of thing?  I tend to think so.

There are teachers at school that are always serious with the kids and expect the kids to always be super serious and respectful back.  I’m not like that.  I like to give my students are a hard time and I welcome them giving me a hard time back.  It makes the day-to-day grind of the school year much more fun and bearable.  Some teachers disagree, though, because they feel that kids should not treat teachers that way.  Kids should just treat teachers as respectable elders.  I think my students respect me.  That respect does not get ruined if they give me a hard time, in a fun-loving way, at least I don’t think.

The same is true with the members of Duran.  Just because I tease them on here does not mean that I don’t respect them.  It is the opposite, in fact.  I adore the fact that they tease each other like this. To me, it shows that they are comfortable in their own skins and comfortable with each other.  It makes me love and respect them more.

-A

Hands out, hearts open, hand up

Last night, I went to go see the Quarteto Nuevo at Cal State Fullerton. This is a chamber jazz (!!) group, and they play everything from traditional chamber music, to traditional jazz and even a lot of world music. I loved it. There was a soprano saxophone player, an acoustic guitarist, a percussionist that played a Peruvian drum along with several other percussion instruments, and a cellist. The sax player is actually on staff at Cal State Fullerton, and the best part was that they collaborated with a dance group from Fullerton – and my oldest was one of the dancers. I’ve seen Heather dance thousands of times, but I have to say that last night’s performance was one of my favorite pieces. The name of the piece was called “Women’s Dance”, and the whole idea was about how women support one another.

When I thought about writing this post, I was going to focus on the ideas of improvisation and trust. But, that whole “women supporting women” thing seems far more timely!

I’ve written this blog for seven years and five months now. Yes, I’m counting. Amanda and I have seen the blog go from being unnoticed, to getting a lot of praise, to people openly hating it (and us), and now we’re at a point where we have a lot of readers, many of whom remain silent. Make no mistake, I accept full responsibility for the road the blog has taken. These things didn’t happen “to” me, they happened as a result of what I’ve written or the expectations that people have had of our writing. I’m not apologizing, and I’m not disappointed.

What I am though, is fascinated.

You all have to know that this fandom is weird. It’s bizarre enough to attract a few people to write about it. We’re unique because for the most part, this has always been a female-dominated fandom. Most of us have been fans since childhood. Plenty of us, myself included, can count one (or more) of the band members as our first crushes. The emotionality that goes along with those pubescent dreams tends to fuel a devotion that spans decades. That loyalty is not only crushing to outsiders, but on occasion, it pulverizes other fans that happen to be in the way. We women can be very territorial, and we’re punishing to those we believe to be trespassing.

My argument is simple: there are only five band members. Only the elite few have even the remotest chance of being accepted into that precious inner circle (this is not to be confused with having a shot at a one-nighter). Rather than giving a hand up to our fellow fan, many see this as competition, and push one another down. I see the comment “If I can’t have him, no one can” quite often. Truth be told, pretty much none of us can have any of them. We’re just hurting ourselves in the process of figuring that out. Instead of seeing fandom as an opportunity to find friendship, many times we’re looking for ways we can shove each other out of the way. That might have been fine when we were thirteen and not very wise, but now? What are we really doing to ourselves?

We’re judging. We’re openly promoting ourselves on social media. We’re flaunting our feathers, hoping for attention from males who, quite honestly – have no interest in most of us. Funny how amongst many in the animal world – it is the males doing the flaunting. Maybe, just maybe…we’ve been doing it all wrong.  The band is married to, or are dating models and people who have already figured out how to carve a unique path for themselves in this world. I’m not saying we have no chance at that, but let’s get serious…most of us don’t. Yet we judge. We mock. We take any opportunity possible to make sure that the few who might be sticking their neck out a smidge farther to be seen know that they don’t really matter. Instead of supporting one another and giving a hand up, we’re pushing one another down. When will we learn our lesson?

During a time when the #MeToo movement seems to be plowing full steam ahead, I find that our fan community is nearly the antithesis.

Last night, I watched Heather dance with her group. They twirled in circles, hand out, heart open in celebration of one another. I’d never seen anything quite like it, in many aspects. They grasped other dancers, lifting them joyously with one step, and then being lifted themselves in the next. It is a piece that will stay in my thoughts for a long time.

Once upon a time, Amanda and I had a link page on this site. We wanted to create a sense of community, and yeah – we felt like we bloggers and website owners needed to stick together. Over time, sites went down, blogs closed, and the links were stale or broken. Rather than work to fix it, I took the entire thing down. I think it’s time I work to get it back working.  Daily Duranie is a place of inclusion, and to not have a link page says something far different. If you’ve got a website and want to participate in a link exchange, let me know.

-R

I don’t own Duran Duran. Do you?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve seen some weird reactions since Monday, the day that most of us discovered that Simon was going to become a grandpa in June.

I’ve seen everything from joyful congratulations to downright lamenting age, and trust me – I’m right there with all of you. I’m sure to some degree, Simon might be too. After all, it is HIS daughter having the baby! My goodness, as thrilled as I might be to become a grandma (NOT ANY TIME SOON!), I think I’d still take a hard look at myself in the mirror. I think that’s probably normal for anyone.

While I think we might all be incredulous over how quickly time has passed, I’ve also noticed something different that I can’t quite put my finger on. In addition to the posts, tweets and comments of congratulations and joy, there’s been this weird sense of almost a sort of….ownership…familiarity? I’m not even sure those are the right words, but it is something I’ve noticed before.

Most fans have been so since their very early teens. Sure, there are some that have joined the family more recently, and I’m not discounting them – but a lot of us have been around for decades. I have to wonder if that hasn’t given us a false sense of familiarity.

I mean, it isn’t as though we know Saffron personally (for the most part). It is wonderful to send congratulations, but can you imagine what it must be like to be a member of that family and have people you have never even met telling you that if they had their preference, the baby would be a healthy girl? Or boy? It must be overwhelming, whether or not you and I think that Saffron, as Simon’s daughter, must be used to it by now.  I guess part of me wonders why should she HAVE to be?

By the same token, we fans are pretty damn overwhelming to the band, too. Can you imagine having some self-proclaimed blogger write about you every day? Complaining about how long you’re taking to write and record an album, then…just as the album is released, she criticizes it? Who in the hell does she think she is? Good question.

Yes, I think about these things a little differently now than I did a few years ago.

I can’t really find fault with people wanting to express their good wishes. Hell, I did the same thing. I posted a note and even wrote a blog. But after I published, as I washed my face and climbed into bed after a long day, I started thinking about how overwhelming it must be at times.

A few weeks back I was chatting back and forth with a friend of mine who also happens to play bass in a Duran Duran tribute band. We were talking about my absence at a lot of their gigs these days. I explained that I got tired of getting that feeling of entitlement from some of the other fans at their shows, and the attitude of “ownership” that went with it.  Here’s a band, a TRIBUTE band at that – and they still have fans who believe that because they’ve gone to every gig or most gigs, that they have somehow proven that they’re more worthy than others. My feeling is that I just want to listen to their music. I don’t need the rest of the crap that I feel at shows from the REAL band. Forget that nonsense.

The knowing looks, the narrowing eyes when one describes meeting the band or being in a situation that someone else hasn’t, the one-upping through Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and all of that. Gah! I just want to go to the show, enjoy the music, and not worry about the rest. I don’t want to have to “prove” why I am  worthy to be there, or why I am deserving of whatever experience I’m enjoying at the time. It drives me crazy. Sometimes, this community seems to be more about proving yourself than it is about just enjoying the band.

I admit it, sometimes, it is difficult to remember that my only “duty” as a fan is to enjoy the music. I am still learning how to approach it all.  As a blogger, it is easy to fall into the trap of critiquing more than enjoying. I know this because I’ve been in that pit before.  I much prefer writing in a way that celebrates (In some way) everything they’ve done rather than finding fault. It’s a slippery slope because, let’s face it, that isn’t the way I’ve always written. I’m not going to apologize or make excuses except to say the blog has been a journey. I’m learning, like it or not.

It is easy to feel like I am a big part of the history of this band because I’ve been walking with them since 1980-something. I feel like I know them, even though I really don’t. Many of us feel that way. I’m sure they are used to people like me, stepping on their every word. Even so,  I’m calling myself out here as much as anyone else. I don’t own Duran Duran. I might be a hard-core fan in desperate need of a new hobby, but that doesn’t mean they know me, or should abide by anything I write.

Hard truths for a Thursday.

-R

 

The Range of Fandom Responses

Recently, when I have taken time to glance through social media, I have been seeing a lot of posts from friends talking about going to see the Killers live.  On one hand, those posts (pictures, videos, comments) make me smile.  After all, I get how fandom fills one’s heart and brings nothing but happiness.  On the other hand, it makes me a little sad since I couldn’t go see them myself this tour.  They played in Chicago and Minneapolis during semester finals week.  Those cities are the ones I can easily get to.  Unfortunately, that is the one week that I absolutely cannot be gone.  I have to give the finals and, more importantly, I have to grade them.  Work had to come first.

As I type that, though, I have to acknowledge that it would have been a different story if it was Duran.  I would have done what I need to do to get there.  Thinking back, I have bent over backwards to get to Duran functions even when the wise decision would have been not to go.  The most obvious example was the John Taylor book talk and signing that took place in Chicago in October 2012.  Life was a little…lot….super crazy then.  I could not afford to take a day off because Election Day was around the corner and I needed to be gone for that.  I had also taken time off earlier in the month to attend a President Obama rally (and to meet him that day).  My students needed me to be there.  So I did what must be done.  I drove to Chicago, attended the function, and drove right back home.  This, of course, led to more exhaustion and eventually falling ill a week or so later.

As much as I love the Killers and other bands, I won’t bend over backwards in the same way that I do for Duran.  It is as simple as that.  This reminds me of another time when I asked friends who would be into seeing Depeche Mode with me.  At that time, I had a friend say to me, “I love Depeche like you love Duran.  They are my band.”  Okay.  Cool.  I can always appreciate fandom.  Plus, I figured this meant that she was totally in for Depeche.  Funny enough, though, when it came to the actual purchase of tickets, she folded.  She wasn’t willing to part with the $150 or whatever the ticket cost was. If it was Duran, I wouldn’t have hesitated with that $150 ticket price.  Does that mean that the original statement about Depeche being her Duran was wrong?  I don’t know.  I cannot really compare someone else’s fandom to mine.  After all, some might say that I have taken this fandom thing way too far.  This blog might be one example.   Who else keeps up a daily blog for 7 years other than the two of us?  Who else is planning another convention?

Fandom is really a personal thing.  What one person is willing to do might be very different than what someone else is willing or able to do.  For me, I am willing to sacrifice a lot if it means going to something Duran.  While I love other bands, I’m going to be pretty limited in what I would want to do.  Some people, on the other hand, might be really strict at all times even with the band they love the most.  Still others might be open to doing a lot for a lot of bands they love.  This range of responses is part of what fascinates me about fandom.  I know that fandom is about having a passion for something or someone.  How that translates in real life actions depends on the person.

-A

Can You Hear Me Now

It has been a long week, one that I alternatively spent either super busy with work or contemplating.  The two activities are connected, of course.  The fact that I have worked way too many hours on top of criticism of my work led me to ponder a lot.  Finally, yesterday, a thought came to my mind.  I had this thought while writing directions on the chalkboard for my students who were about to take their Women’s Studies final.  I wanted to find a quote or some inspirational phrase for them to leave with.  As I thought and began searching for the perfect statement, I remembered how often we talked about the importance of voice, of not being silent or silenced.  While I emphasize this in class, I’m not sure that I’m really living it in all aspects of my life.

When I tend to think about who I am, the three things that immediately pop up are fan, teacher and activist.  Do I have a voice in all areas or am I silenced?  Let’s take it one at a time.  As far as my activism goes, I generally do feel like I have a voice.  Last year on this day, I was driving to Washington DC with a few friends to participate in the Women’s March.  I’m proud of that.  Today, I will drive to Milwaukee to participate in another women’s march.  So that area of my life seems solid.  What about the other two?

Teaching is a far different story.  It is an intense job that takes up both a lot of time and my energy.  Honestly, I feel like I could talk about my job not just hours but days.  Maybe weeks.  Yet, I often find myself only dropping hints, little thoughts, bits and pieces.  The reason for this is simple.  As much as I am bursting to talk about my job and everything that goes with it, I cannot.  It isn’t a simple job of “do I like it” or “do I hate it”.  It is a job that everyone thinks they know about but the only ones who really do are the ones who have done it themselves.  The public watches and uses what teachers say to fit whatever beliefs they have about education or teachers.  Thus, I don’t say more.  I simply cannot explain the full spectrum of thoughts and feelings I have about my job.  There is too much there.  Does my being silent about my job hurt me?  Probably.  Yet, I lack an alternative.  For now.

So, what about this?  What about blogging?  What about being a fan?What about being a Duranie?  Hmm…I never really thought about my voice when it comes to fandom.  When Rhonda and I started doing research on fandom and applying what we had learned to our fandom, the reason was simple.  We wanted to better understand ourselves and our fan community.  The plan, of course, was to share our learning with others.  Then, we added this little blog here.  In thinking about both book work and blogging, clearly, we have found means to share what we think and feel when it comes to our fandom.  We have spaces for our voices.  Many people can choose to read this blog or participate in social media with us, giving our voices acknowledgement.  As the blog moved from infancy to what we have now, a place in which not only our voices are heard, but a place where other fans can be heard, too.

When I think of teaching and being a political person, having a voice is a big deal.  When I think about fandom, it is a big deal there, too.  I think about how often fans have been criticized or mocked for having such passion for whatever it is that they love.  This has led a lot of fans to be silenced.  Too many hide that passion, that love.  Rhonda and I chose not to do that here.  We give voice to our love for Duran Duran.  We don’t hide it here and never will.  On top of that, we welcome others to do the same.  In thinking about the stigma that too many adult fans face, it seems to me that one way to fight this is to speak out and speak up about being a fan.  I am a fan.  I love the band, Duran Duran.  If being a fan seems normal, common, won’t that stigma die?  I sure hope so.

What do the rest of you think?  Is it important for fans to find and use their voice?  What other ways can fans speak out about their fandom?

-A

Time for Temptation: Hooking the Youth

I spend a lot of time with young people, teenagers specifically.  While my work contract requires that I teach for 5 hours a day, in reality, there are teens in my room for more than 7 hours a day.  Some kids are in my classroom doing work and others are there just to hang out.  I figure that every kid who is in there has the chance at learning about Duran.  After all, there are lots of little details that show my fan status, from the Duran tumblr holding my morning coffee to my computer wallpaper.  When all goes well, a kid or two will ask me about the band.  This gives me a necessary window of opportunity to share about the greatness of Duran.  Has that made any fans?  I don’t know, but I won’t stop trying.

Interestingly enough, I have sort of stopped trying with my nieces.  When they were younger (now they are 19 and 15), I used to give them Duran tunes for birthdays with the hope that one or more songs might grab them.  I had hopes that this would work when my oldest niece started to like the Killers.  I thought the leap to Duran wouldn’t be too great, but alas.  No luck.  So I stopped trying to push the issue.

Now, though, I have a little reason to hope.  Last summer, after having conversations with my youngest niece over the TV shows, Buffy and Angel, we decided to watch the entire Angel series together.  We would decide on how many episodes we would watch per week and then on Sunday we would talk about them.  I enjoyed sharing an activity like this with her and didn’t want it to end when we finished the final season.  I had to come up with something else.  After hearing my niece talk about aliens, the choice was either going to be X-Files, which is really long, or Roswell.  While I adore X-Files to this day, there is a special place in my heart for Roswell.  When this show aired on TV, I watched out of boredom but soon got hooked.  I appreciated the cheesy dialogue and the undercurrent of outsiders as heroes.  Soon enough, I jumped into the Roswell fan community and made some good friends.  One of the people I met actually reminded me about Duran, which led me back home to this fandom.  Roswell reminds me of the best of fandom.

I was unsure about how Roswell would go down with my nieces.  Like Duran, I had tried to show my nieces the show a few years ago when I was there visiting.  They thought it was okay but didn’t really want to watch more.  This time, I thought, they might give it more of a try because of how we are watching it.  So, we are two weeks in and they are hooked!  In fact, they have watched more than they were supposed to for the week.  This, of course, entertains me so.  In talking to the eldest niece who is about to return to college, she is sad that she won’t get to see more.  I invited her to come watch more episodes here with me.

Perhaps, there is a lesson here.  Could it be that getting someone into a TV show or a band is not about basic exposure but something more?  Could it be that there needs to be a reason to really watch or listen?  Could it be an issue of timing?  I’m not sure what has made Roswell work right now.  I just know that it has despite earlier rejection.  This tells me that I should not give up on my nieces or my students when it comes to Duran.  Maybe, someday, something will click there, too.

-A

Expectations are just future resentments: 2018 and DD40

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m still trying to settle into the expectations of 2018. I went to work yesterday and survived. I’ve got to say, I’d be way happier about that if the day didn’t hadn’t begun at 5am. I also found out that I’ll still have a job next year.

It’s a long story, but in short, my school has secured it’s charter. There are going to be a lot of changes, one of which is that my particular region, or campus, will be expanding. The powers that be are looking at the possibility of my role being full-time. On one hand I’m thrilled because it’s touring money. I need that! On the other, I’m considering the expectations for this blog and writing in general. Time is of the essence, and I have had none lately. With the added wrench of my husband’s continued job search, who knows what will happen! We will see in the coming months.

Situations and plans change all of the time. One of the worst things to do is attempt to make plans, so I’m finding. One day I’ll blog about something I’m hoping to do, and the very next, the earth beneath me explodes, and I’m realizing that nothing is going to work as I’d written. Expectations are future resentments, so I heard once upon a time.

It is not a big shocker to read or hear that Duran’s plans for #DD40 are changing. But are they really changing?  Or, is it just that fans had huge, unverified expectations for what 2018 might bring? The supposed “build up” for the 40th anniversary seems to have been something that fans invented on their own.  While it was mentioned a few times over the course of the past year or two, the band itself never focused on it the way the fan base seemed. Perhaps fans let their imaginations run wild with anticipation over what might come.

I don’t think it’s very surprising that Duran Duran is not giving us a firm idea of when or how they plan to commemorate the occasion. The fact that there are only going to be limited dates in 2018 shouldn’t be a concern. No, it’s not a full tour. Why did anyone jump to the conclusion that it would be?

In listening to the end-of-year Katy Kafes,  the band tried to readjust  expectations. Not only was that fair, but wise. There have been some pretty amazing things mentioned about what the band is going to be doing to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The trouble is, none of that information came directly from the band. It was all assumption, rumor, and flat-out wishful thinking on the part of fans. The band never actually said they were going to tour non-stop for the next three years, for instance. Just because John Taylor said they’d probably celebrate beginning in 2018 and culminating in 2020 never meant they were going to be on the road the entire time. John didn’t elaborate publicly,  so any assumptions made based on that comment were simply that – assumptions.  Furthermore, there have been no press releases saying they were going to release Reportage, invite Warren back, sing Kumbaya with Andy, or release an anthology.  In truth, the band itself has said very precious little, at least publicly. Given the voracity of this particular fan base, I don’t blame them one bit.

The band didn’t cancel #DD40. 1978 happened whether the band acknowledges that specific timeframe of the inception of the band or not, and it isn’t as though a huge celebration was planned.  Simon simply mentioned that this year was only the beginning – and he did use the word “only”, should probably clue overzealous fans in. Yes, 2018 is the beginning, just as 1978 was just the beginning. Duran Duran went through a few alliterations before coming to be the Fab Five as we knew them in the 80s. It isn’t a surprise that for their 40th, they are going with 2020 as the “official” date. It’s called business.

Let’s just think back on 78-03, or as we all call it – The Reunion. Naming that tour as 78-03 was convenient. With the press that the band reunited and that it was the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, it was a golden marketing moment. They needed to get out and play live, and there was the reasoning for doing it. Simple, and the crowds went wild.

This time though, timing is likely different. Duran Duran likes to tour  with new music. Simon didn’t join the band until later on anyway. Since they’ve been saying for a year or more now that the celebration would begin in 2018 and culminate in 2020, it would seem to me that not much has changed, and rest assured nothing has been “canceled”. Once again, the band never said there would be a gigantic tour, that is something that only fans have said. It is easy to make the assumption that the band would tour their 40th anniversary, but it is still just an assumption. Expectations are indeed only future resentments. Watch your footing.

While many are lauding their plan to write and go into the studio this year, Daily Duranie sits here applauding it. How many of your favorite bands are still writing?!? How many are still recording forty years in? Not many. Why are people finding fault with that?

I have even seen groups surveying the fan base about what they want, and then making incredibly leading statements that perhaps the band is actually going to listen.  If only the world actually worked that way. There is far more involved with merchandising than simply what diehard fans may want. If the world worked according to diehards, the set list would change for each show. Talk about setting someone up for a big fall! It is no wonder that John, Nick, Simon and Roger never go into great detail about their plans, and that most of them even mentioned that there would be limited dates next year. Dialing back the expectations seems to be the right way to go because the high level of expectation is palatable. Even as we wrote Daily Duranie over the course of the past year or so, Amanda and I wondered how it would be possible for the band to meet fan expectations for the 40th. In reality, they couldn’t.

It is entirely possible that fans are putting an awful lot more pressure and stock into this 40th anniversary than the band might. This is not a band rooted in nostalgia, no matter what the rest of the world may believe. Duran Duran continues to look forward, not back. This is why they are going back into the studio and creating  more music, whether it’s a full album or even a few songs. I don’t care how long that takes.

Not that long ago, someone mentioned to me that the band has nothing left to prove, that they write and perform for the sheer love of doing so. I’ve thought a lot about that, and damn, we’re lucky they do. Forty years and counting.

-R

Back to work in so many ways!

Today is my first day back at school after the holidays. I think it is fair to say that I’m not ready, I’m going in under protest, and I nearly pitched a fit when the alarm went off at 5am.

The whole “I need a paycheck thing”…gah. Gotta go to work. So I am, with a smile on my face and all the hope in the world that I have a great week ahead. At least my co-pilot (my youngest) will be with me today. The very best thing about my job is that when I walk out of the office to supervise recess, I see her smiling face as she runs to give me a hug. That pretty much makes the whole thing worth the effort, every single day.

It’s not just my paying gig that keeps me going, though. I have big plans for this blog, as well as the whole “Daily Duranie” platform in general. First off, Amanda and I have a paper to write, and a presentation to prepare for the Pop Culture Conference in March. That is huge, and likely the most important event I have this year, at least in this moment. I would like to also revamp this website because it has been the same for a few years now, and I think it is beginning to look a little stale. Also, Amanda and I are beginning to work on ideas for a little something that we’re not ready to put out in the world yet. I’ll just say that I am hoping we can all get together, even if it’s not for a show, exactly.  As I said, we aren’t ready to announce anything, but watch this space. I’m also hoping that

Then there’s the personal stuff. It’s always a balancing act between Daily Duranie and my everyday life challenges: jobs, homes, moving, not moving, birthdays, children in college, health and happiness…the list goes on. The first of January is always a time where I feel like I’ve got to clean up, clear out, and start fresh. This year is no exception, but I will say that this time, I feel like I have a little more “fight” in me. I don’t know what that really means, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Bring it, 2018. I’m ready to get back to work!

-R

Happy New Year 2018!

I drove home yesterday morning from a wild weekend in Vegas. I’m always tired at the end of a weekend like that, but yesterday I was also stressed (I have been writing that word a LOT lately and I really hope that settles down some in 2018).  But more on that later.

The weekend was fantastic. I saw friends, rocked out with a couple of different bands, and for a short time, forgot all about anything else and lived in the moment. I do have a list of people to thank and acknowledge, so bear with me. I know that we’ve already thanked these people but I’m doing it again because they deserve it!!

  • Thank you to Jason for offering up his Hard Rock Live to us for our Daily Duranie meet up. Above and beyond the call of duty in every single way. I don’t know how to return the favor. We can’t thank you and the management team enough for your kindness and hospitality. You made my whole weekend, and I’m not even kidding about that. (no offense Duran Duran, I’m getting to you…I promise!)
  • Thank you to Noelle Kahn for being a ROCKSTAR and jumping in to help Amanda and I out with selling raffle tickets that night. As we said in our video, logistics at these events are something we tend to forget about. If we’re busy selling raffle tickets and wristbands, it makes it very difficult for us to be good hosts. So thank you X 1000.
  • It was fantastic to meet Durandy for the very first time, and to see Kitty (Gimme A Wristband) again. They continue to inspire and remind me why I do this, even when sometimes I feel like none of it matters to anyone but me.
  • Lisa (I am being vague on purpose, but I hope your feet are doing better than they were on Saturday night when I last saw you!), both Amanda and I want to thank you for your kindness.  I know you probably feel like what you and your friend gave us was just a little thing, but it was not. People will go nuts. However, what we really appreciate even more, are the words of support from both of you. It matters more than I can properly articulate.
  • Lori and Suzie, I adore you both. I’m glad you’re my people and I hope that continues for a very long time…. you get me and haven’t even stopped to have me committed yet. Thank you for just going along with my obsessive behavior and letting me figure it out for myself that it was going absolutely nowhere. It was a good fantasy while it lasted. 😀
  • I feel very lucky to have friends that have my best interests at heart. Those of you who “show up”…whether in person or from afar, matter so much to me. You’re there when I need you, and I just want to look you virtually in the eye, since I can’t always in person, and say thank you. I mean it. You all know who you are. The hugs, the chats, even the quick smiles and waves in passing helped me to de-stress.
  • So glad I got to meet so many friends, readers, and twitter pals!

So about that show. Yes, we were in the sixth row, and yes, they were great seats. Nothing I’m about to write should get in the way of that fact. Our distractions of not one but two near-fist fights in the aisle next to us, as well as the constant persistence of people trying to get closer to the stage and the sea of people in front of us who insisted on seeing the entire flipping show through their iPhone as opposed to just watching it with their own eyes definitely provided challenges to enjoying the show.  And then there was the family of four – two parents and two very young children – behind me who were very upset when the concert started and everyone stood up. They left after the first two songs, and I felt bad because the wife clearly wanted to stay, but the husband was furious with Amanda and I because we stood up. I saw a lot of the show by peering into the space under the very tall gentleman’s arm in front of me,  as he held up his phone to video. I had to laugh, because in the end, it didn’t matter. I was seeing Duran Duran live onstage over New Years weekend! I am incredibly lucky, and I know it.

I especially enjoyed Hold Back the Rain because I could see the video screen on the wall behind the band, which showed a collage of pictures of a much younger Duran Duran. I won’t even lie about how emotional I felt when I thought about how that was my childhood up on that screen. I still have trouble getting my brain to accept that the people up on that video screen are in fact the same people on that stage…because there’s no way I could ever have gotten even this close (in proximity at a show) to those guys. There’s no way that I could possibly operate a website dedicated to that band. They were the Gods of my teen years. My brain does not compute!

If that weren’t enough, the sound was FANTASTIC. I’ve sat much farther back at some shows and yet the sound has been less-than-optimal, even if it should have been mixing well at that point.  Of course, when you’re in the front, you hear a lot from the monitors themselves and the sound doesn’t mix well at that point either. However, from where I was sitting this time, it was incredibly clear. Louder than heck, but clear. I had the chance to hear subtle things in the music I hadn’t before. Dom’s guitar part in Hold Back the Rain, John’s bass in the same song, even Sunrise and the tiny snippet of Universe Alone sent shivers down my spine. I loved the show, but there was something else on my mind that night.

Right before the show as we stood having a drink in The Chandelier, my sister-in-law texted me letting me know that my niece was in the hospital. She had been going upstairs and suddenly fainted, falling straight back and hitting her head on their tile floor. She is my only niece, and I adore her. It’s the kind of accident that a parent would have on replay in their head forever, because you want to rush to grab them but can’t get there in time. She’s in ICU now with a skull fracture and a slight brain bleed, but the most frightening part is in the process of evaluating her, they discovered an irregularity in her heart beat. It is a little more involved and more serious than I need to explain here, but she is seventeen, and is getting a pacemaker. 2018 needs to be a healthier year for my family. Enough is enough.

After the show, I tried to put my worries aside and enjoy the final evening out. Easier said than done, of course. Even with a couple of distractions, I had made the decision to get up early the next day and drive home. By 2am, my exhaustion took over and I went to bed, even though I still had people I wanted to see.

It is difficult for me to admit, but this time, the show wasn’t the highlight of the trip for me. Before anyone complains, let me explain. That doesn’t mean the show was bad or that I’m slagging off on the band. In fact, it wasn’t at all. It was just that this weekend, I really needed my friends, people who actually know me, not just the Rhonda who runs Daily Duranie with Amanda, or Rhonda-the-Duran-Duran-fan, but ME.  There might not be many people out there like that, but there are some, and I think they know who they are. I have pictures with people I haven’t seen in many years. I received great big bear hugs from wonderful, generous, kind, fans and friends who care about me. Each one filled my heart and reminded me that I belong with this fantastic tribe.

I had time to stop thinking about how awful the last quarter of this year has been and instead, look ahead to the possibilities of 2018. In truth, the band contributed. Simon said nearly those same words before he introduced Ordinary World. They helped me. I think they even helped him. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people, but the one thing the New Year seems to do – crazily so without fail each year – is give hope for better things to come. Right now, I’ll take it. ]

Happy New Year everyone. I hope I see many more of you this next year, even if the band doesn’t do many shows.  We may or may not have an idea up our sleeve to pass the time … stay tuned.

-R

And She Wonders How She Ever Got Here

The weekly lyric day blog post is here again.  Once again, it is taking place on Saturday rather than Friday.  The reason, of course, was to cover the brand new Katy Kafe with Nick.  Duran news definitely takes priority.  My shuffle today landed on the song, Girls on Film.  That is not exactly a song that I often pick to describe my life in pretty much any way.  Still, I was able to pick out a lyric when I really examined the lyrics.  I chose the line, “And she wonders how she ever got here.”  While that line has to do with experiences models go through, it sure could fit so much more.

When I stop or take a break from my never-ending to-do list and look around, I’m sometime surprised at my life.  Tell me that I’m not the only one, right?  If someone had told me thirty years ago that I would be teaching high school right now, I wouldn’t be surprised by that.  I would expect that.  What I wouldn’t expect or didn’t expect was that teaching has not gotten easier.  It is just the opposite.  I kept waiting for that magical time when I would not have so much work to do, but that has never happened.  Weird.  Still, teaching seems and feels normal, especially the high school history part.  Very deliberate choices led to this career of mine.  No, it is the rest of my life that leads me to wonder more about how I got here.

I figured that I would be politically active, in some way.  Voting would be a normal part of existence.  Again, what I didn’t expect was to be involved as much as I have been in the last ten years or so.  I didn’t expect to be motivated by a potential presidential candidate as I was by President Obama.  The movement against Governor Walker’s plan to stop unions for public employees was not anything that I expected.  As someone who was/is directly impacted by this, I had no choice but to get involved.  I feel the same way now.  Are the choices I have made ones that directed me to this now?  In some ways, sure.  In other ways, I am just reacting to the world around me.

Then, there is probably the weirdest aspect of my life.  This.  Fandom.  While I always had fan tendencies, I would have never imagined that fandom would be such a huge part of my life.  I figured that there would be bands or tv shows or movies or something that I would like but none such as what I feel for and about Duran.  Even as a kid, when Duran posters made up my bedroom wallpaper, I believed, somewhere in the back of my mind that I would eventually let it go.  I had no idea when that would happen or why, just that it would.  After all, I didn’t know anyone that dedicated to a fandom, for that long.  I had no real examples of it.

Even if I could have imagined myself being a big fan of Duran still, I’m pretty certain that I had no clue that I would express that fandom in the ways that I do now.  Again, I didn’t know anyone who traveled to go to concerts.  Heck, I probably would have thought that was weird, too.  What about the idea of writing a daily blog?  Or a book about fandom?  If someone had told me all of that, I would have asked the person how long s/he had been doing crack because that would be the only explanation.  So, how did I get here??

That is the big question, isn’t it?  How did I get here?  When I think about my adult fandom, the first step in this direction is becoming a fan of the now-long canceled TV show, Roswell.  The show’s focus on alienation while seeking connection with others grabbed me–probably because I was searching for any and all connections in a new city.  This led me to seek out other fans online.  Some of those fans traveled for fan-related events, something that was shocking to me then.  It opened my eyes to the possibility of doing really crazy but fun things in the name of fandom.  More specifically, one of those fans was also a Duran fan who reminded me about how amazing Duran is.  That’s all it took to awaken my fandom once again.  It didn’t hurt that the band had just reunited and a new album and tour was on the way.

From there, I sought out other Duranies online.  That led me to DuranDuranFans, a message board where I met Rhonda, and learned of a fan convention in New Orleans in September 2004.  I couldn’t resist the idea and jumped at the chance to go.  There I met Rhonda in person along with other friends of ours.  The Astronaut Tour of 2005 gave an opportunity to really get to know those fellow board users.  Rhonda and I discovered that we toured well together and could cause each other to laugh and laugh and laugh.  Obviously, then, we knew that we had found our touring partner for life.

Okay.  This tells me how I got to be good friends with Rhonda, but how did we start this blog or think about organizing meet-ups or writing a book?  The answer there is actually pretty simple.  We spent a lot of time talking, thinking and analyzing about what we saw and felt on this crazy fandom journey.  While we were trying to figure out what made fandom tick, we also wanted to help make it better, at least in the small ways we could.  Were we perfect with this?  Far from it.  That said, we did learn a lot along the way.  Now, all of this is part of my life.  I cannot imagine it any other way.

-A