Category Archives: Fandom

Reconciling Neverland

What would you do if your idol fell so far from grace that their music stopped being played on the radio? Musicals in his/her name were being canceled? What if the music you grew up with, was written and performed by a known pedophile?

There are thousands of blogs I could write this morning. The creativity synapses are firing on all cylinders for me today. So why write about a subject so glaringly sad, frightening, disappointing, disgusting…I could go on and on. How many of you watched “Leaving Neverland” on HBO last night?

I’m writing about it because I feel like I need to, first of all. Secondly, this subject sheds light on an entirely different angle of fandom that I’d never considered before. Oddly, I haven’t even watched Leaving Neverland yet. (We don’t have HBO) That didn’t stop me from researching, reading transcripts from the documentary, and doing a fair amount of pondering and soul searching last night, and again this morning.

The bottom line here is that this isn’t just some ordinary guy. It is Michael Jackson, King of Pop. Up until a very specific time in the 90s, I believed he was “Guardian of The Children”. Then that first pedophile scandal hit the news. Truthfully, I was taken aback, but I have to admit I didn’t necessarily buy into all of it. I do remember seeing footage of very young boys with him – always boys – and taking note. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. After that, Michael’s modus operant was called into question. I never looked at him quite the same. I couldn’t, and I wasn’t even a big fan. He was just very difficult to escape. His fame and persona are interwoven with pop culture in such a way, I don’t think he could ever be erased.

I am not a voyeur of the outrageous. I don’t like watching people fall, and I hate epic fails. My interest isn’t really with Michael, or even with his victims – I can’t begin to fathom any of that. I’m curious about his fans, and not necessarily those that consider themselves “Truthers” – those that insist the accusations are completely fabricated. No, I’m curious about the others. How would it really feel to have your idol fall from grace? What does one do about the music, particularly if their fandom really had more to do with the music than the man.

I try spinning this around to bring it closer to home for me. Once, I was a fan of a band named LostProphets. Their lead singer, Ian Watkins, was sentenced to 29 years in prison for pedophilia. I loved their music, but my immediate reaction was to swiftly delete their music from my music library. I couldn’t separate it, and I didn’t ever want to hear his voice in my ears again. I’m a mom. My most important job – one that I cannot fail at no matter what – is to protect my children. I just didn’t think you can listen to a known, convicted pedo while doing that job. So I didn’t.

However, Michael Jackson, or at least his music, is in a completely different universe. Like many of you, I grew up with Michael as a near constant in my life, through his music and fame. Even during the days of Thriller, when I wasn’t very much of a fan, I couldn’t deny his talent. My sister had his posters on her wall. My older cousins drove us to his parents house multiple times, and would gleefully share tales of seeing him in the backyard! (This was before he bought Neverland). I still have his albums in my music library. Off the Wall is probably one of my top ten favorite albums of all time. I’m not a fan of Michael Jackson per se, but I did love some of his music. I 100% learned to moonwalk when I was in seventh grade because of him.

In a strange twist of fate, one of the victims hits entirely too close to home for me. Wade Robson is a prominent choreographer and dance teacher. He has worked with Britney, NSYNC, and has done a fair number of conventions. My oldest has taken class from him more times than I can count. She didn’t really know who he was, and to put this in perspective – at a convention there are hundreds of dancers, but I knew who he was. I couldn’t even believe it was the same person. I knew him as a fully grown adult. Looking back at photos of him with Michael, seeing him groomed and costumed to look just like Michael’s mini-me….I feel ill thinking about it.

How do I reconcile?

How does one separate the music from the man, anyway? Can we? Should we?

I don’t think I can. Can you?

-R


Hi, My Name is Rhonda

Good morning, Duranies!!!

I have approximately 30 minutes to write about something that could easily take hours, and then I’ve got a full day of homeschooling a less-than-motivated 10 year old (with the attitude of a 13 year old) along with laundry and grocery shopping ahead. Yay me!!

Today though, I’m going to write about being a fan. Now I can hear you saying, “Don’t you do that every day???” Yes, I suppose so, on some level. However, there’s more to it than that…which is really the point I’m about to make.

Those words are all remainders

I had a conversation this weekend with someone who may or may not be known as the touring guitarist for Duran Duran. We had a very short chat about being a fan. As odd as it seems, I think I dislike being “labeled”. Just think about it for a minute. I go through my entire day here at home, and I’m almost never addressed by my actual name. I’m “mom”, most of the time. That is followed closely by “Daily Duranie”, “fan”, and then “dear”.

My name is Rhonda. I don’t really mind hearing someone call me by my real name all that much. That’s one reason why I made sure Dom (yes, that Dom) knew my name back when we met, and not just “that-crazy-fan-who-writes-the-blog”. He meets tons of people all the time, and yet I had the nerve to quiz him several times about my name. More on that later.

He never forgot my name, by the way. For some really weird reason, that small, seemingly silly thing made me see he was a real person. He wasn’t just a musician…a rock star…who didn’t care about the people he was meeting.

I’m changing my name

Identity is huge, isn’t it? For example, I know that I’m identified by this community, most likely members of DDHQ, and perhaps even the band and support people as “Daily Duranie”. They know me as a fan, and a big one at that.

Now, that word “fan” has a certain connotation to it. I’m no dummy. I’m well-aware of both the positive and negative attributes associated with the term. l am both proud, and a little weary of the word myself.

As I explained this weekend, sure, I’m a fan. There’s no getting around that at this point. I write a blog that is happened to be named DAILY Duranie. Some might automatically assume that makes me Mayor of Crazyville. I hate that part. Truly, 100% despise it.

I wouldn’t say that you were ruthless or right

It’s funny. In order to write this post, I keep typing things and then I delete them, thinking it’s too much or that I want to keep the conversation private. The truth is, in order to really explain my point, I have to share the context. I hope this post makes it back to Dom though because he needs to read it. Obviously.

I had just finished saying something to him that his problem (with me specifically) was that he sees me just as a fan. I’m one of thousands in an audience. I can imagine where some of you are going in your heads with those words…let me explain before you freak out. Context is key.

He’d asked me where I was at the shows. I told him I had been in 4th row that night. He was incredulous because he said he had been looking for me. He actually accused me of sitting on *gasp* John Taylor’s side. Indignantly, I replied that I had been on HIS side (thankyouverymuch), and followed up with my comment about being a fan. Making the point that because I’m just a fan to him, I was just one in a giant sea of faces. One of thousands. How on earth could he possibly see me anyway?

Can’t tell the real from reflections

Again, don’t read more into his looking for me than what he said. I’ve known Dom since Andy quit. We met on a plane to New Orleans. Yes, I knew who he was, but at the time… he was just some guy standing in for my favorite guitar player. No one really knew him. Most fans just accepted that he was the session player. Then the band announced the split and that Dom would fill in for a while. Those were big shoes to fill, and I saw how people treated Warren when he joined. Hell, for that matter I knew how *I* felt about Warren. This felt very different. Talking with him on the plane was easy. I couldn’t help but like him. So I’d regularly wave at him when I’d go to shows after that, while he was onstage. Usually, he’d see me immediately. Almost like we were being friendly. Imagine that!

As an explanation that came a few years back, Dom told me I was one of the few familiar and friendly (see? friendly!!) faces he saw at shows, so yeah, he looks for people he recognizes. He mentioned that he usually finds me near the front with all of the die hard fans. Of course now there are many, many, fans he knows. Oh, there’s that word again. Oops. Anyway, the point was that we were teasing one another about his not seeing me on Saturday night, until he answered my comment about being just a fan to him with, “Well, you ARE a fan.”

I visibly bristled. On one hand, he isn’t wrong. I AM a fan of Duran Duran. I’ve loved them since I was ten. I go to shows, write blogs, watch videos, etc, etc. Yep, I’m a fan. No doubt about it.

When all these faces look the same to me

I’m a fan of a lot of people and things. My daughter Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and I attend every performance possible. I cheer for her, buy tickets to see her (Oh yes, even for my daughter – there are no free rides!!), and applaud the competition teams she coaches. I have friends who are in other rock bands, too. Seeing their shows, going backstage, and even wildly cheering for them, are all things I do in support of them. I’m their friend, and I’m a fan of their work. I am proud of what they do.

When I think about Duran Duran though, my feelings are a little different right now. They are people I’ve never really met, beyond a quick hello at a signing. I put posters of them up on my wall, and I’ve waited for them outside of venues. They were my idols, particularly when I was growing up. I never imagined I’d ever meet them, nor did I ever fathom writing a daily blog…about anyone for that matter.

Even so, just as I replied to Dom that night, I don’t really follow any of them anywhere after a show. I haven’t been backstage, or to afterparties. I have ended up at the same place, but only out of silly, dumb, luck. I’ve never “stalked” any of them, or waited for hours in lobbies, or outside of restaurants, or even at their homes. Some might even say I’m terrible at being a fan if all of these things act as the litmus test. I mean, think about this: after meeting Dom in 2006, I have seen Duran Duran approximately 42 times. Out of those 42 possibilities, I have spoken in person to Dom maybe five times, and I think that’s probably an overestimate. I have taken a picture with him just one time. Just once! I’m a fan, but I’m pretty sure I suck at it.

No steel reproaches on the table from before

I would imagine that some might assume from this blog post that I think I’m entitled. I can hardly wait for those emails and comments to come rolling in! That’s not really the point I was trying to make, either with Dom, or in this post. Make no mistake. I know I’m a fan. It’s the connotations that go along with it that bother me, I guess.

Much of that feeling comes from writing this blog. People assume Daily Duranie is synonymous with “obsessive.” I hear the judgment all the time. “Oh, they’re fans.” Sure, some people can be overzealous. I get it. Unfortunately those people tend to be louder than the rest. Then there’s the people who act normally, and are there gathering because they’re friends with one another. There’s even a few people who make it past that barrier and genuinely become friends or even more, in SPITE of originally being fans. *gasp, shock, awe…horror*

I can still feel those splinters of ice

I wasn’t in that bar that night because I thought anybody from the band would be there. Usually, I’m dead wrong about where anyone is going to be anyway! I was there because I wanted to see my friends. Turns out, some of my friends happen to be involved with the band, in one way or another.

So in short, yes, I’m a fan. I’m also a pretty damn good friend along with a thousand other things.

My name is Rhonda, by the way.

-R

(took WAY longer than 30 minutes…)

Standing On A Roof Up Here

This is where it starts

One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.

Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.

Saying goodbye to darkness

I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???

When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.

Now I can see the big idea

Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.

Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.

I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.

One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.

One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!

An empire in a day, built on hope

So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.

The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?

My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.

When I can raise it up again

I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.

I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!

-R

You Can Still Be My Icon

Good morning, world! I hope everyone is having a good start to their respective week. I’m finally able to breathe fairly well again after battling a lingering cold/flu thing, so things must be looking up!

My weekend was rainy and wet, although I did get out of the house on Saturday night to go see a concert. This was our first “date night” in months, and we went to Rava Winery to see a Beatles tribute band called Hard Days Night.

First of all, I’m from So Cal, and I’m used to lights, and plenty of them. Cars, buildings, street lights, traffic lights….light pollution!! One of the things that I’m having a tougher time getting used to here out in the country is that there are relatively few of those lights! It’s harder to see at night, and so while we were driving in what felt like the middle of nowhere, through rain, to get to this winery – I wondered if we’d A. get there in one piece and B. make it back home at the end of the night. (spoiler: we were fine!)

Now is the time to come out

When we got to the winery, it was sprinkling, but my fears about being the only people showing up to the gig were unfounded. There were plenty of people there. I noticed a few things about the crowd. To begin with, Walt and I were on the younger side compared to many. I don’t know if that surprised me that much, but it was worth noting. I went dressed pretty casually (as is the usual with me), but a LOT of people dressed up in their 60s-era finest attire: from go-go boots for the women, to bright floral shirts for the guys. The other thing I noticed was that everyone, and I mean everyone, seemed to know one another. I spent the hour or so before the concert just watching everyone greet one another.

Again, being from Orange County (and there is a point to this so stick with me here), I don’t know very many people here yet. When we go to most concerts down south, it is rare that I know anyone unless I run into a neighbor, which almost never happened even when I’d be at a local grocery store!

Come out of the shadows

As the band took the stage, I noticed a sizable dance floor and commented to my husband that we were not going to be out there for all to see. He agreed, as he was nursing a sore back anyway. I figured no one would use it. I was dead wrong.

Within minutes, the floor was packed, and this crowd of primarily 50-60 somethings were out on the floor, dancing and reveling the night away. Granted, a lot of the women were the ones either dragging their men out on to the floor, or they were dancing with groups of friends while the men snuck more glasses of wine back at the tables with their friends, but it was fun to watch! It reminded me of something so very familiar….

Invariably, when I see family or friends outside of my Duran Duran “family”, the questions I get range from: “Aren’t you getting a little old for concerts?” to “When are you too old to be a fan?” I have to tell you, no matter how well I prepare myself for the questions, I always feel uncomfortable by them. What is the right answer? What can I say that will stop the conversation in its tracks so we can talk about something else? Why do I always feel like I’m wrong for having fun?? No matter what I say each time, I end up feeling icky.

Out on the edge

Well, Saturday night reminded me that age shouldn’t be a factor at all. The table directly in front of us had a group of probably 10 couples, and they were easily in their mid to late 60s. They were locals, and judging from the very loud conversation amongst the men, they were ranch and small orchard/winery owners. I heard one of them comment that they were “checking out the competition” that night as they drank their bottle of Cabernet. I’ve never seen people party it up harder in the first hour they were at a show than this group! They downed bottles of wine faster than I drink vodka tonics. It was a sight to behold. The dancing and laughing reminded me very much of some of the Duran shows I’ve attended.

The way this concert was set up, the band took a short break after about a 45-minute set for a costume change. At that point, a lot of people made their way back out into the rain. I was a little surprised to see that about half of the table in front of us left at that point, citing that they had early mornings ahead of them. Even so, I’d say about 2/3 of the audience stayed behind, and finished out the evening. The dancing didn’t slow down, nor did the imbibing.

My face in the mirror

As the show ended, and we made our way out into the now-pounding rain (I need a better raincoat, apparently!), I thought about aging. I can see the years whenever I look into a mirror. It’s getting more difficult to ignore the lines on my face, or the way my body aches after a full day of weeding or raking. Age is just a number, though. It shouldn’t stop anyone from wanting to have a night out with friends, or enjoying good music, or even cheering on a fantastic band.

My age is definitely not going to stop me from having a great time in a few weeks!

-R

It’s a Lonely Burning Question

Our little corner of the world is certainly small, isn’t it? The longer I am a participant in the fan community for Duran Duran, the more I realize just how tiny it really is.

Unlike most other bands I go to see in concert, with Duran Duran I tend to be more involved. (Shocking, right?) I subscribe to their fan club (DuranDuranMusic), and I tend to buy VIP tickets to most shows because I’m greedy and I want the best seats. I can’t lie about that. The thing is, there are quite a few of you out there – many of you reading, actually – that are right there with me!

I am I myself alone

I don’t make it my business to introduce myself to the “who’s-who” in the fan community. I’m not buddies with each and every person who seems to be attached to the band in one sense or another. I’m not somebody who will go bouncing up to someone I’d call a “well-known fan” just because I recognize them and want to make nice. That’s not me. I hate approaching people as it is, unless I’m comfortable and actually know them.

There’s no way I’m going to just insert myself into someone’s evening just because I happen to know they’re friends with a roadie, married to someone in management, or is actually on “the team”. I would be a horrible politician, and it is very obvious that I’m not the greatest at making connections. All one has to do is look at my LinkedIn to know that I fail horribly at networking. I always assume I’m putting someone out, or that I’d be bothering them. I guess I’ve mostly stayed to myself, as much as one can when they write a familiar blog, I guess??

The thing is, and I’m going to be brutally open about this – the “It” list of fans, you know the ones – they tend to be at most of the shows, they always seem to know where and when to be, and how to get places that normal, everyday fans don’t – aren’t really on our reader list. At least, not that *I* know of. They’re not usually people who will even admit to reading this, or any fan blog for that matter. I suppose we might be a bit too pedestrian, maybe too wide-eyed, and probably far too “Fan” like. With a capital F. I get it.

Got to show now, got to move on

In a lot of ways, I’m more of a watcher than a participant. I remember a number of years back when I was in Chicago for a show. A group of us met up afterward and walked to a local bar. When we got there, the place was packed, to the point where we were turned away at the door because it had reached capacity. We stood outside for a bit, trying to decide where to go next. As I glanced towards the windows of the bar, I saw somebody inside. She was waving at me and kind of laughing. I could guess what she was laughing about. There I was, along with a small group of others, proverbially on the outside looking in. She was IN, along with several members of the band, I might add, and we were most definitely OUT. Weakly, I waved back and tried not to feel like a complete loser. Story of my life.

At every single show I attend, I’ll see quite a few of the same people. Over and over again. I silently marvel at how they’re able to be everywhere. It isn’t jealousy as much as it’s curiosity. I know how tough it is for me to be at the several shows I can attend each tour, and I can promise that from here on out – it will be far less than it was during Paper Gods. (Or so my husband assures) How do they manage?!? Even more so, I’ll watch other fans flock to these people, befriend them, and situate themselves near them. I don’t even know their names or who they are beyond their faces, and yet the fan-community-at-large are already Facebook friends with them, at the very least! On one hand, I’m surprised I don’t know everyone’s name by now, I guess. On the other, I am not one of those super outgoing and bubbly people.

Puts my faith in none of the above

The kicker for me, is when I’m online and happen to be reading a Facebook post or reading through a Twitter thread. As I go through it, I realize that most all of my friends are actually connected, to some of those people I mentioned above. They’re not just “social media” connected, but obviously know them. Or maybe I’m surprised by people who have not really been active in the fan community for very long (not that they haven’t been fans – that’s different), but are very connected to the “A list” of fans and people in the Duran Duran circle. Perhaps I’m shocked when I realize that the reason why so-and-so IS at all of the shows is because she’s married to somebody who works for the band. It could be a million other scenarios, because for as long as I’ve been in the fan community, or have been actively blogging – I know very little about the people within.

I know how people behave as a group. The trends and patterns of behavior are easy for me to recognize. I can, and have helped put together some really fun meet-ups and parties over the years. But do I really KNOW people?

Probably not so much. It is strange how one can blog for eight years and yet really still be on the outside looking in, isn’t it?

-R

I Try to Hold the Rising Floods

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little blog about how I am concerned that my fandom might be dying. In this blog, I explained how I wasn’t falling out of love with Duran Duran. No, I fully expect that I will always be a fan but I wondered if I was on my way out when it comes to the rest. What do I mean by the rest? Would I still want to go to shows? Would I want to talk about the band with other fans? Would I be interested in planning fan events? Would I stop buying Duran merchandise? Would I want to stop writing here? I could go on and on. The basic idea is that I might stop being part of a community of fans.

After that blog, I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t worry or fret. I just decided to continue with what I needed to get done. After all, it was a busy time of year with my two jobs and planning for Christmas. Since then, though, I have taken some time to just get caught up. This means that I have really cleaned my house. The Christmas presents were purchased or created and shipped off, when necessary. I made appointments and planned out the next month or so. On top of that, I listened to some year end Katy Kafes and updated the day in Duran history that Rhonda and I keep for this blog. Every time I checked off one item from my do list, I felt better. My list isn’t done even with my almost two full weeks off but the list is a lot smaller. I’m feeling less overwhelmed.

Since my stress has eased some, I am better able to examine where things are in terms of fandom. Overall, I feel like things are better. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Kafes and found myself smiling throughout them all. The idea of #DD15 gave me some excitement, no matter when it ends up getting done. Honestly, I think that is part of what has made this so tough for me. I have not had much to be excited about when it comes to my fandom. Now, I’m not new to this gig. I know how it goes. It isn’t like there is going to be something in Duraland each and every day that will thrill me. I know this. I recognize and even understand downtime. Heck, I’ve been so busy that I am almost glad that there hasn’t been a lot. I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy it much. It might have even added stress. Nonetheless, I miss having something Duran related to look forward to.

Now, those of you who have been reading this blog know that I do have something Duran related to look forward to. I have a couple of shows coming up in February. My friend, Lori, reminded me that there are less than 50 days until them even. I have to admit that I haven’t given them much thought. Again, I might give the lack of time as the reason and I wouldn’t be lying to say so. But it is more than that. I have missed the friendships that I have grown to associate with Duran Duran and my fandom. It used to be that when there were shows coming up that is all my friends and I would talk about. We became broken records with silly ideas and inside jokes. We had nothing but fun to look forward to. Now, it is different. We don’t talk very much. I wish that we did more, for sure, but I cannot control that. It is hard to develop those funny moments when there aren’t many chances to do so. It seems that we are all busy and have different priorities, for sure. That said, February will be fun. I have no doubt about that. I’m not sure it will be the same kind of good time. It might be more about that escape from reality rather than just letting it all go for a few days. It might be more about the lack of responsibilities as opposed to screaming for band members.

As I type all this, I cannot help but feel older, more settled, less wild. I have worked hard in the last year or so to find that ordinary world that we all crave. I think I have succeeded in that but the one I have made for myself doesn’t have a lot of time and space for my Duran Duran fandom. It felt like something that had to be pushed to the side. Yes, part of that is because I had and have more pressing concerns, but another part is that I didn’t trust that it would be there if and when I reached for it. It began to feel like something in my past rather than my present or my future. Listening to those Kafes made me realize that this feeling wasn’t about the band at all. I still love them to pieces. I look forward to seeing more Duranlive or hearing new music. It had more to do with my life and where I placed fandom in my list of priorities and why. It was still there but much smaller with little reinforcement besides what I got from writing on here.

I’m still not freaking out about any of this. This feeling I have may change. It may grow strong and fandom will take up less and less of my time and my heart. It could also be a situation in which the tiny flame that is barely there might be turned back up to a torch that all can see. Time will tell. Until I know which way for sure, I’ll keep holding the rising flood back from drowning what is left.

-A

Duran Duran Fandom Museum

The other day I got an email about a future Comic Con museum.  Immediately, I was intrigued.  What would this museum entail, I wondered.  From a quick glance, I noticed that the plan is to include various items from all sorts of popular culture like the car from Back to the Future and original comics.  Fascinating.  This got me thinking. While this museum focuses on many different fandoms like TV, movies, comics and more, what would a museum based on Duran Duran fandom be like.

First of all, we would need rooms dedicated to Duran Duran.  I think it would be cool to have separate rooms or galleries per era.  For example, the All You Need Is Now room might look like the video for AYNIN with the tinfoil like walls,  It might have splashes of pink like the album cover.  Inside the gallery, you can listen to all the songs featured on the album.  There would also be video space to watch the videos for AYNIN and Girl Panic.  Perhaps, a mini-concert venue would be created to match the stage setup with A Diamond in the Mind playing on a continuous loop.  Maybe you could also watch interviews from that era along with the behind the scenes footages included in the special edition DVD.  Of course, touring outfits might be displayed along with merchandise examples from that era.  As soon as you stepped into the gallery, it would bring you right back to 2010 or 2011.

What else would need to be a part of the Duran Duran Fandom museum?  As much as I love the idea of celebrating the band, I would also want spaces focused on the fans.  Then what?  One idea I had is to have a mock bedroom from 1984 with the walls covered in posters, the Reflex playing, t-shirts from the Sing Blue Silver tour hanging in the closet with teen magazines spread all around.  The museum could also make it interactive so you could get a copy of a magazine to take home with you or a spot in a mock living room to watch the premiere of a video on MTV.

What elements of modern day fandom would need to be included?  What about something with social media?  I think about how the band had Twitter flashing on the screen before the shows in 2011 and during Tiger Tiger.  Could a room allow that, too?  What about having different screens capture the various kinds of social media or allow fans to be the person behind Duran’s social media for one post or tweet?  Maybe there could be prizes for a museum related Tweetstake?

I have to say that it is super fun just thinking about ideas.  I know that I loved the Only After Dark night in Birmingham which is a night to recreate the Rum Runner with the atmosphere of it as well as the soundtrack to it.  It would be cool to have that as a permanent gallery or event connected to the museum.  There definitely should a be place for fans to go clubbing with music and drinks.  That is a big part of my fandom.

What about the idea of having life size pictures of the band so people can take selfies who might never get a chance in real life?  How about allowing fans to buy or rent touring outfits and then getting your picture taken on a stage like a member of the band?

Should there be an introductory video with a history of the band and what they have accomplished?  What about a gallery about their influences as well as who they have had an impact on?  There must be a gift shop to be able to buy merchandise not only about the museum itself but also cool, unique Duran items.

I truly think that the ideas are pretty limitless.  As someone with a history degree and some experience working at museums (I worked in two different ones in college) and in my college archives, I think I would be up for the challenge.  I could also seek additional school, if necessary, to get another master’s in museum studies as well as seek advice from my sister who was the director of a museum for a while and my sister-in-law who was a historian at an historic site.  Seriously, how cool would that be?!  Heck, it would be super cool just to visit it!  Maybe we should start thinking about taking a collection to get this started!  Meanwhile, do share what you would love to see in a museum about Duran fandom!

-A

Trusting the Process

The holiday season just keeps on giving!!

Sure, the gifts might be small – depending upon how you may feel about pictures of the drummer “in residence” at the studio….

(does that mean he’s moved in for the duration?!?)

(that’s a joke)

(although really…maybe that would be more effective…)

(Ok, I’ve used too many parentheses… and now my WordPress editor hates me…)

The pictures make my day! The more the merrier, actually!  As I wander through my house, endlessly trying to find the holiday ribbon that was probably packed months ago, I will gladly accept even the tiniest of gestures to remind me that all is well. Seeing Roger in the studio, behind his drum kit, works for me!

At some point, the band will settle into the seemingly never-ending process of writing and recording, and the pictures may stop for a while. Until then, I’m going to cheer over every photo we get, and…yes…trust the process.

I don’t know how much “the process” has really changed for the band over the years. Naturally, technology has advanced, but beyond that, I don’t know if they really do things any differently. On this side, fans have the added benefit of being “plugged in”. Earlier albums seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I didn’t know they were recording until something was released. These days, thanks to the internet and social media, we are made more aware.

For me, this is a double-edged sword. I love seeing the pictures. I used to get so excited when they’d post snips of whatever they were working on. Some might even say we – or I – obsessed over details before we really knew they were even going to be real details on an album.  It wasn’t necessarily fair to the band. In hindsight I can say that doing all of that was part of MY process. I needed to learn how to blog. Understanding that I had a duty to be responsible with my words and opinions took me longer than I want to admit. The learning curve was a roller coaster, and at times I crashed and burned.

Balance is important. I might not be able to contain a grin, or a post or two when I see pictures indicating that the band is working in the studio, but I know that it is unfair to the band to dissect whatever new music may arise from this time before any of us even have it in hand. Not only would I be setting an unfair prejudice for their work, it would be unkind to fans. My hope is to be able to report on whatever progress is shared, without interjecting too much “early opinion”.  Overall, while the band is hard at work, I am hoping to be a bit more patient, introspective, and use my time wisely….once I finally unpack and find my holiday ribbon!

-R

Fans are fans: we’re all of the same stuff

I’m taking a break from life to reflect on a couple of very different, yet incredibly similar things I saw this morning.

As I woke up this morning, I grabbed my phone. I got into the nasty habit of doing this back when I worked at our resource center (think school). Sometimes a teacher would call in sick or I’d need to prepare for a sudden change in plans, so checking my phone helped to alleviate the panic I’d feel when walking through my office door a bit later to discover complete chaos. Nowadays, it is primarily that habit that drives me to grab my phone each morning. I check social media, often landing on Twitter to see what the people are talking about.  On this day, I saw a poll from a friend.

The friend – you may recognize his Twitter handle as “GuyFansofDuran” – had posted a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite. Sounds like a normal poll question we’ve all seen before, right? Well, there was a small twist – the songs were listed by abbreviation ONLY, and they weren’t your simple “AYNIN” or “HLTW” or even “TUA”.  No, these were songs that, for the most part, were more obscure, deeper cuts.  I enjoyed the challenge, figuring out the songs fairly quickly and then choosing my favorite. Others may have had a little more difficulty, taking the puzzles in stride and solving them with the help of Wikipedia or maybe even the discography on DD.com.

I don’t think knowing the abbreviations makes me any different from other fans, by the way. I think I just happened to wake up with all cylinders firing today, for a change! There have been other days where I couldn’t even think of what “MOW” or “DYBIS” could possibly stand for, so, take heed.

I loved that a group of fans could look at abbreviations, work through a bit of a puzzle, and continue to have a discussion over worthy answers. It felt to me as though one would have needed to be pretty astute with their Duran discography to easily grasp the answers. However, if someone really wanted to participate – it wouldn’t have mattered, because the answers could be found online. Even so, from what I could tell, most of the participants were fans I recognized from the community. I dare call them fellow “die hards”, and I appreciate our commonalities.

I enjoyed the banter, even though I knew as I clicked on my choice (which I am leaving vague on purpose) that it would be the least favorite.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the eight years I’ve blogged – we’re all different, and I don’t like choosing the same things as everyone else.

Only an hour or two later, my friend pointed out an example of an entirely different level of devotion to me.  Someone had taken the time to make a .gif that flashes through an animation of each of the album covers the band has created over their career alongside a tweet asking which was their favorite. I didn’t take the time to read all of the answers, but the one that caught my friend’s attention was one that didn’t call out a particular album by name, but by its background color.

Sure, one could make some assumptions based on that answer. I don’t know if the person knew the name of the album but didn’t bother to give it, or maybe they didn’t know the album at all and simply liked the color and imagery. I’ll never know for sure, and it would be a mistake to guess. What I can say though, is that in both cases, people engage on whatever level they’re comfortable. In as much as people took time to answer the poll by figuring out song titles, and sitting through the .gif to find a favorite album – fans were engaging.  A point upon which my friend and I agree.

The best fans aren’t necessarily the ones who know every song, every word, and every note. What does “best” really even mean, anyway? Knowing what “era” specific pictures come from based on hairstyles and clothing doesn’t help to rate the quality of a fan. Some fans might not know anything beyond Paper Gods. Maybe they don’t know that Warren ever played guitar, or that Andy left the band twice. They just know the music, or maybe they only know one album. Fans are fans. There is no good, better or best. Rating one another does very little to encourage people to engage.

Listen, I know how it is between fans. I’ve been at more than my fair share of meet-ups. We greet one another and then ask questions like, “How many shows have you seen?” or “Have you met the band before?” Some pose these questions in order to find common ground, others do it as a sort of fan “sizing up” ritual. I have watched eyes narrow, and then widen, while fans tell tales meant to impress of meeting band members, or narrating accounts from the front row.  It is what is done, and to pretend that sort of thing doesn’t happen or exist is foolish.

What I’ve come to know and accept, is that in the end, none of it really matters. Fans are fans. Sure, some know and have done more. Others might not even have enough experience behind them to know the full history of Duran Duran’s career, but they love that one album with the black and white cover, or the one that looks like a map on the back. That’s great!

-R

We believe in the cold grey lights we dream

Hi everybody! I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday to post. I heard that there’s yet another reason to visit Florida in February (besides sun and warmer weather if you’re looking to escape winter!) – Duran Duran is playing in Miami Beach!

While Duran Duran announced a new show, I was busy and mostly unplugged yesterday. In just two very short weeks, my family and I will FINALLY relocate from the very busy OC, to a much smaller and peaceful town about five hours north. Yesterday we went to inspect our new house and do paperwork, which was joyful. The outside temperature was only in the 50s at our new house, even by midday, which only made me MORE excited to get up there permanently!

While I have been packing and worrying about how I’m going to make this all work (We’re moving just a few days before Christmas – and my youngest still believes in Santa!), I’ve also done a bit of reminiscing. We’ve lived in this house for so long that I can’t really imagine otherwise. It will be strange to be somewhere that my two oldest haven’t lived before, and my anxiety has been on overdrive, thinking about ways I can make the move seem less traumatic. Why? Because that’s what you do when you’re me, I suppose. I’m great at making lists in my head at 3:30 am.

All of the reminiscing has reminded me that not too many years earlier, I was in the height of my glory as a Duran fan. I had gone to the UK with Amanda, as she wrote earlier this week. My time there was fabulous. I saw so many new places, met lots of new faces that have now become dear friends. The experiences were both enriching and inspiring. I think about the shows fairly often. The memories are wonderful, comforting, and still manage to make me smile. Even more so though, I think about the travel we did while there. We were trains a lot. We saw quite a bit of the countryside, experienced winter markets, and tried new things. I fell in love with England and Scotland on that trip, and I really want to go back.

I remember walking through Bournemouth, which is a beautiful little town (as is Brighton and everywhere else I’ve visited so far). We walked along the shops and grabbed dinner with friends.  I can’t even remember the place, but the food was yummy and I was finally starting to relax. It began to rain at some point and so I bought an umbrella (I melt in rain, of course). It was zebra-striped and I had it up until last year, when it broke. I have no idea why I remember that so well, but I do.

Another memory I have from the trip was in Glasgow, after the show that Amanda described on her Sunday post. First of all, my blood is Californian, and I wholeheartedly admit that I froze from the second I got off the train in Edinburgh to the time I got back to California a few days later. I just could not get warm. So, one of my memories is of the cold weather. The arena where the show took place felt like it had its air conditioner on, as opposed to a heater, and I wore my big ski jacket until after the band came on stage, and I still remember shivering as the band busted through “All You Need is Now”.

Then after the show, we’d walked over to a hotel nearby, where there seemed to be a large gathering of Duranies. We grabbed seats and drinks, knowing it would be our final hurrah for that trip. As we sat and sipped, we look out the window and saw it begin to snow. Giant, fat, frosty flakes rained down, and while our driver worried about getting home – I remember thinking how magical the night seemed. I love that memory. I didn’t grow up with snow or even cold weather, so for me it was something out of a dream. Kind of like the rest of that trip, to be honest.

I need to break out of my reverie and get back to shopping online, wrapping, and packing!

-R