Category Archives: Fandom

When the curtains are pulled back: a little thankfulness

Yesterday I wrote about appreciation. I have great appreciation for the fact that I’m starting to have fun with this fandom thing again. I can’t really say how long it’s been that I’ve actually wanted to carve time out to sit down and watch, say…Live from London, or Sing Blue Silver, or even Diamond in the Mind. I’m starting to feel that again, and yes—I definitely appreciate that feeling.

Today, I’m going to write about being thankful, because I am.  Just yesterday, I saw something on Twitter about airline pilots at O’Hare airport in Chicago. They are going on strike over the weekend. Political statements aside here—I feel for the travelers because their plans to get home, or get away, might be entangled in a giant mess.  When I read the tweet though, my mind immediately went back to 2012. I was supposed to fly to O’Hare to meet Amanda and then we were going to fly on to Heathrow so that we could go to four DD shows in the UK.  On Black Friday, I spent a lot of the day on the phone with Amanda. We were freaking out because there was to be a huge public workers strike in the UK, and naturally that was planned for the day we’d arrive. Anyway, I smiled at the memory and tweeted it to Amanda – saying that at least we wouldn’t have to worry about that kind of thing this year.

Amanda is going to DC over New Years, and she’s going to see Duran Duran. She’s going with someone else, and yeah, it’s weird. I’m somewhat wistful about the entire thing.  She’s gone to shows without me before, as I have without her. The difference is, she’s traveling by plane for this one.  Normally, in fact, I can say that since we met – if I’m traveling to see the band, it is with her.  We go together like peanut butter and jelly. That’s not happening this time. On one hand, I want to go. On the other hand, it has been one HELL of a year for my family. It’s been one hell of a year for me. I need to be here and I need to be thankful for what I have, and what I’ve done. But yeah, I wish I were going…but I’m very thankful I didn’t spend the money on tickets at the same time.

For a long time now, Duran Duran was sort of a job for me without it actually being a job. I’m not saying this to complain, I’m saying this to point out my stupidity to others. Lately, I’ve been enjoying doing things, like actually gawking at the band.  I’ve watched some videos. For fun! And…I’ve been listening to their albums. FOR FUN.  I realize that to many of you this is like, well…breathing. It used to be for me, too. I’m getting back to that, and dammit I am thankful.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pay some respects to my touring drink of choice, vodka. (although wine still comes in at a very close second, followed by coffee and then iced tea. Caffeine surges through my veins. ) Time for truth for anyone who might be concerned: I don’t drink often. Even so, when we tour, we TOUR.

I am thankful that I get to have my three kids and husband together with me for a few days this week. That’s unusual for us anymore, and we’re going to one of my favorite places – Paso Robles.  Yes, there will be some wine tasting, but also a lot of laughter and love.

Amanda and I have been friends since 2004. That is twelve years. I wouldn’t say our friendship is necessarily complicated, but our lives certainly are. There have been moments when I haven’t felt as close as others, but I value our friendship. We are proof that you don’t necessarily have to be the same in order to be friends – our mutual respect, love, and loyalty is what carries us. I’m lucky I found her.

I feel particularly thankful that I have met so many wonderful Duranies over the years. Some, if not most, have flowed in and out of my life, their time with me not always a constant. What has been really eye-opening for me though, is that in every case, they’ve had some sort of life-long effect on me. Whether teaching me to be more open-minded, or to embrace the adventures that life has to offer, or even to be more forgiving and careful with the feelings of others, I’ve learned something. Thank you.

I am learning not to take what I’m about to say for granted – but I’m really thankful for those five guys (ok, six or seven guys) who have been, or are in Duran Duran. I may not know all of them personally, but they have also been invaluable to my life in some way.  Even in the few instances that I have been around a couple of them – they managed to give me something to think about for the long-term.  They gave me something to look up to when I was young, something to aspire to when I most needed it, and reminded me that yes – even though they are rock stars, they really are human. I am particularly lucky that they happen to create some decent music, too.

I know it’s a day early, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US and celebrate. If you’re elsewhere in the world, thank you for allowing me to indulge!

-R

 

When the lights of hope are fading quickly

Yesterday was Thanksgiving at my house. Actually, that was the second time we celebrated—on Sunday, we were at my sister-in-law’s home with her side of the family. We’re celebrating early because we’re going to Paso Robles for the weekend, and I’m excited because all three of the kids are going with us.  Sunday was lovely, but my oldest, Heather, had told us she wouldn’t be there. She was on campus, working backstage as part of the crew for a show. It is part of the requirements for her major and requires a lot of time, including striking the stage, which was happening that night. We’d agreed as a family to then have our Thanksgiving yesterday when Heather could be at home.

We had just finished our meal on Sunday and were talking with family when the doorbell to my sister-in-law’s home rang, and someone shouted out “It’s Heather!” I was in the living room and heard the commotion at the door, and thought to myself, “Who’s Heather?!” Then I saw the long brown hair and knew.  She’d gotten off much earlier than expected and came as a surprise. It’s ridiculous really, because Heather lives just a half hour from me and I have seen her, although since the beginning of October she hasn’t been able to come home and stay, but I was still overjoyed.

I’m finding that more and more often, I cannot get all three of my kids, my husband and myself into the same room for any length of time. There are too many independent parts, so invariably it ends up being my husband and I with one or two of the kids. One is always not available, and this is likely not to improve any time soon with our next one getting ready to graduate from high school. I treasure the very few moments I get, and there is something incredibly special when all three of my kids are together here.  I used to find fault with my mom when she’d complain how she never saw my sister or myself—I get it now.  Something that was at one point commonplace or expected (and sometimes even dreaded – imagine that at one point, we’d divide up the kids between Walt and I so that it wasn’t quite so crazy!) is now something I yearn for.  (we will see if I still feel that way Sunday night!)

Lately, I feel that way about Duran Duran, too. I wrote the blog, went to a lot of shows, and while they were all fun, I’m not sure I actually appreciated them. I mean, of course I loved seeing the band play, or hearing new music or seeing a new video.  The only way I can explain myself, is to say that at some point, I stopped really listening for enjoyment. Weird words to use, maybe, but they’re truthful.  I can remember back to when I saw Duran Duran in Costa Mesa in 2003, or several weeks later when I saw them at 4th and B in downtown San Diego. I was so excited at the mere thought of being in the same breathing space that I couldn’t sleep the night before.  I listened to their albums here at home, in the car, whenever I could.  I think my mind would be on them (leading up to a show) so much that I’d dream about running into them somewhere crazy, like at a gas station!

Somewhere along the line though, that stopped. It is similar to when I bought annual passes to Disneyland when my kids were little (and the passes weren’t so darn expensive!).  It was great at first, but it got to a point when Walt and I would tell Gavin and Heather that we were going to the park for the day and they’d complain.  (Yes, complain. I mean, who wants to go to Disneyland when you can stay at home and play video games, right??) That was the last year we bought passes, I might add.

Don’t get me wrong, I never complained about seeing the band. That would be monumentally stupid since I was the one buying the tickets! Nobody forced me to go, and I always had a blast. I just think the idea of going to show after show lost a little of that magic, and I did it to myself, really.  I started comparing venue to venue or being more annoyed by the silly, trivial things about going to shows. I stopped listening to Duran Duran in the car.  I certainly never listened to them here at home. I didn’t watch their videos very much, or if I did – it was solely for blogging or researching.

In a sentence: it stopped being fun.

I felt it happen. I think a lot of you probably saw it happen through my writing. Instead of being fun, it felt like a job. That isn’t how this is supposed to work. I didn’t know how to turn it all around, until I had no other choice.

You see, as so many have rightfully pointed out to me, touring is expensive. I’ve recently had to get real and cut back on my expenses. I stopped writing and rewriting a manuscript Amanda and I had been working on because the last one that seemed like it had a good shot was rejected. After putting so much hard work into it, I had to stop. My brain was tired and I was emotionally SPENT. I wasn’t even sure I could keep writing this blog. Then I got a job, and little by little – I was forced to put the blog and even my love for Duran Duran on the back-burner.  I’ve been feeling this way since August for sure, but if I really think about it, I think I’ve probably had these sorts of feelings since before Paper Gods was released.

 

Yesterday, I blogged about Notorious.  As I was writing, I realized that  I probably hadn’t listened to that album in years. Not the whole thing, and definitely not just for pleasure. I put it on. I finished blogging, and then set the table for Thanksgiving. I found myself singing along, not really deeply listening for every single guitar chord or synthesizer track – but just enjoying the music. I really enjoyed it.  Two nights ago, I woke up after having a dream.  I’d run into Simon somewhere and he took down my name because one of my shows had been canceled and he was going to help me out. (clearly a dream, right?) I haven’t had a dream about Duran Duran…or really ANY dream….in many months. Most importantly, I’m thinking about blogging again. Thinking about what I want to write.

No, I’m not planning to see the band live any time soon, unless they come to the west coast again…but I feel like I’m enjoying being a fan again, and I’ll take that over a show any day. I suspect the next time I do see them, I’ll be far more appreciative. That isn’t about being Daily Duranie, or blogging, or trying to write a manuscript. It’s about just being me. A fan.

-R

 

Don’t worry if you’re confused

My goals with this post today are as follows : first, I want to clarify a couple of things going on here internally, and secondly, I want to explain where we’re headed from here.

I was asked something privately this weekend, and I want to make it clear that Amanda and I are fine. We’re still friends, and we still run this blog together. She and I met in 2004. That means we’ve been friends just over twelve years now. Friendship changes a lot in twelve years. In that time I’ve had a baby and sent one – soon to be two children – off to college. She’s moved, had a parent fight cancer, and changed jobs. I’ve gone back to work, she has volunteered on multiple electoral campaigns…and we’ve gone to over thirty shows together. Lately though, yes, we haven’t spoken much. It’s not because we haven’t wanted to…but because we’ve each been busy and we live in two different time zones on two totally different schedules. As Amanda mentioned yesterday, priorities change. When I started the blog, I could give it nearly all the time I wanted. Now? I can barely eke out the hour or two I need to write on Mondays and Wednesdays, much less Tuesday and Thursday. It is a problem. I’m not giving up the blog because it’s one thing that is for me – it is a source of my joy. But yes, there’s been some growing pains in figuring out how to make it work better. No argument there, but both Amanda and I will find the answers. Thank you for your patience and encouragement.

The blog has run the full gamut: it started as an experiment, got serious, and now we’ve pushed it back into hobby territory. It is back to being a fun thing that we do because we enjoy, not something we do because must. That’s a good thing, overall.  Duran Duran is something we enjoy, and hopefully our writing will reflect that. After all, if it can’t be fun, why do it?  We put a lot of ourselves into writing this each day. This blog isn’t JUST about Duran Duran. It’s about us and how we fit that fandom into our lives each day.  Fandom changes a lot over ten years or more. This Autumn, fitting it in has been a challenge, no doubt there.

Going forward, I plan to write as I always have done. Granted, it is difficult to write blogs about the band and fandom when the band is on a vacation or isn’t doing anything public to speak of. In those cases, you’re likely to find blogs about the date in Duran history, which is absolutely fine. There is a lot of history to cover! Additionally, we are always looking for bloggers. If you are someone who would like to dedicate themselves to writing one or two blogs each week about being a Duran Duran fan, please let us know via gmail. Guest blogs are also welcome.

Lastly, I just want to come out and publicly support Amanda. She and I do not always agree, but I wholeheartedly encourage her to do whatever she feels she needs to do.  This isn’t about whether we’re conservative or liberal; democrat, republican or libertarian. It’s about being human. I know this fight may very well take her away from the blog from time to time in the same way that my family and responsibilities take me away. No matter, this is her home, and I completely encourage and support her right to speak out, even if I do not always share the same level of passion. I’ve been lousy at saying I support her lately – it seems like I blink and another week has already gone by,  so I felt like saying it here would be best.

-R

 

 

 

Fandom is a Luxury

Fandom is a luxury.  It is “great comfort and extravagant living,” to quote the google dictionary.  For some, it is a luxury because it is and always will be connected to money, finances.  People must pay money to own music, to attend concerts, to even own a device in which to hear it on.  While, yes, I suppose there are opportunities to hear music without money, it still seems to me as something that really requires some money.  The luxury of fandom involves more than money, though.  It requires emotional availability and time.

Fandom is about passion and about having intense feelings for someone or something.  In the case of this blog, we have strong emotions about Duran Duran.  We can feel great joy with new music from theirs and significant worry when one of the band members is ill or has to cancel shows.  Our lives are such that a part of our emotions can and is used up by fandom.  While certainly both Rhonda and myself have had significant events happen in our lives that were/are extremely taxing, emotionally, we have been able to save some of our emotions for Duran Duran and the Duran fandom.

Likewise, we have always been able to maintain some time for fandom.  The question/comment that we most frequently receive goes along the line of “I don’t know how you have time to blog everyday.”  We have made the time.  We have squeezed it in despite our busy schedules.  While our days are filled with lots of obligations, we have made this one of those “must dos”.  We don’t have to and never had to.  The lack of time never locked us out of our participation in fandom.  Sometimes, it made being a part of the Duran fan community challenging but never excluded us.

Now, though, I fear that is changing, at least on my end.  If you have been reading this blog  for awhile, you know that I’m the political one, the one who not only votes for the candidates of my choosing, but also campaigns for them.  If you know that much about me, then you also are aware that I’m a teacher.  I teach United States History and Women’s Studies.  The school I work at is extremely diverse, the most diverse in my city with about equal numbers of whites, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and even some Native Americans.  Likewise, all genders and gender identities are represented as are all sexual orientations.  We are also a religiously diverse community with all major world religions represented.  I feel extremely lucky to teach in this beautifully diverse community as I know that I learn from my students and colleagues each and every day.

Based on what I just shared, then, it will come to no surprise that I’m struggling with the election results as are my students.  Most of them are terrified about what is going to happen and if they will continue to be safe.  All day on Wednesday my room was filled with extra students looking for additional support and giving it in return.  (If there is any silver lining, it is that unconditional love and support given to and from my students, my colleagues and my school.)  That morning, my attitude was simple.  I wanted to give up.  I am tired of fighting.  Yet, at lunch, one of my students turned to me and said, “Now, what do we do?”  She looked to me to lead her and others as I have done in the past.  I knew then that I must fight on.  They need me.  My community needs me.

What will this fight entail?  I’m uncertain but this much I know.  I will do more than post on social media.  I will actively engage with elected officials and I will work to get strong messages of unity out there.  I will do my part and push others to do theirs.

I’m sure you can see where this post is going.  Fandom is a luxury that I might not be able to afford much moving forward.  My days were already extremely busy.  I used to prioritize my participation here and on various social media sites.  Now, there will be times in which I will put political action higher on the list.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be a member of the Duran fan community or that I don’t want to participate in fandom.  I do want to and plan to, as much as I can.  When I am able to, it will be good for me.  Fandom will provide me the breaks and joy I will need moving on.  It will give me strength.  Hopefully, then, someday, I will be able to have the luxury of fandom full time, once again.

-A

All Over You As They Say: Tomorrow is Election Day!

Tomorrow marks a day I have been awaiting for over 500 days now.  It is Election Day, and that means the end is nigh. No, I don’t mean the end of the United States or the world… I mean Decision 2016 will finally come to an end. I don’t know what will happen in the days following, but I do know that the political ads on television, radio, and other media will finally end. That alone is worth celebrating. For what has seriously been over a year now, celebrities of all kinds have voiced their feelings, concerns, and even a certain amount of vitriol on every type of social media. Musicians, including but certainly not limited to Duran Duran, have used their own on stage soap boxes to comment on our election, regardless of where they’re from, or their right to vote (or not) in our elections.

I have no shame in writing that the idea for this blog came from Lori Majewski. She asked on Facebook if fans mind seeing musicians making political comment. The answers and opinions were widely varied, as you might have expected.

As I’ve commented before, my views are unlike many other DD fans. I vote as a Libertarian these days, because I lean conservative when it comes to fiscal (money) issues, but I am also socially liberal. I am not here to tell you how to vote – only to admit how I vote so that no false assumptions are made as I continue writing.

I pondered Lori’s question as I read some of the replies posted. On one hand, I really believe music and politics go hand in hand. Throughout history, music has been used within cultures to describe, create, and foster social change. That doesn’t happen without people willing to put their opinions out there. Punk didn’t just “happen”. Gospel music didn’t just come out of nowhere. Someone had to come up with the words, thoughts and feelings.

I believe music has the potential to change people. It is what I believe to be the great common denominator. Music brings people together, and it is the essence of what is truly good. Even when the message isn’t one I necessarily agree with, I recognize that there are many others out there who probably need that message communicated.

Additionally, music has been used to make people aware. I think about Bandaid, USA for Africa, LiveAid, FarmAid, even Rock the Vote.  So in one sense, yes it’s OK with me if a musician I admire makes political comment. I expect it!

However, there is also a part of me that dreads seeing it. This comes into play when I see celebrity after celebrity trying to tell me, the voter, what is the “right” way to think or feel. I really dislike the parade of musicians and celebrities that come out in favor of one side (and in the US – I don’t think it’s any shock that they’re mostly Democrat). They use their celebrity draw to influence the vote. I’m equally bothered, if not more so, when the musician or celebrity isn’t even from this country. Should they even have an opinion? I suppose it’s a slippery slope. Yes, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. It would be wrong of me to insist that they never voice it. But, I’m still bothered by it, whether or not I happen to agree with their stance. As I said—it’s a slippery slope.

For me personally, it is rare that I find a celebrity or musician who I identify with politically. I’ve gotten used to the fact that I disagree with not only most of my friends, but also a lot of the musicians I admire. I think there is a real risk of turning people off when you wear your politics on your sleeve, but more and more often—I’m finding that it doesn’t matter. This particular election cycle has been ugly. I’ve seen celebrities fire right back at hate and anger with their own hate and anger, whether they’re talking to someone who was once a fan or not. It is a little jarring to see a celebrity tell someone to F*** off on social media, because that someone was rude, and there is plenty of that going on anymore. It’s like we forgot how to be kind to one another, regardless of what “side” we’re on.  In our own community there has been a little of that, which has been equally disturbing.

I don’t think it’s a secret that Katy is outspoken with regard to her feelings for Trump. She has her own Twitter account and is not afraid to use it. Some fans haven’t always appreciated her candor, and voiced that opinion in return. She has since changed her account name (can’t blame her), but some fans really believe that people like Katy should keep their opinions to themselves because they represent the band. I have to wonder if it’s really that people believe that political views from people like her should be kept private, or if it’s really just that fans don’t like the message she’s conveying, so therefore it shouldn’t be said.

Ultimately, I am more concerned about the state of my country after election day. Tomorrow, someone is going to be elected the next US  President. Immediately following, we’re going to have to undo a lot of damage left in the wake. I’ve seen many of my friends say that they’re not sure we’re going to go back to being nice to one another. Many others say that they don’t really want to just be nice again, because they feel very strongly about the positions one candidate seems to convey – and if someone agrees with him even enough to vote that way, they want no part of that person. I have seen the other side say nearly the exact same thing, that there’s no going back.

I think that attitude is just sad. The candidate is one person, regardless of whether or not you agree with those views. I voted for neither of the main candidates. I usually don’t. If I said I wasn’t going to keep talking to people based on the way they voted, I’d be out of friends by now! The people who are voting come from several million different walks of life, with millions of difference circumstances. It isn’t all black and white. The last thing we should be doing is ignoring one another and assuming it will all go away with election day. That’s the thing with music. It speaks when some of us just cannot find words. Maybe it is time we start listening.

-R

Before I forget – thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes left for me on Facebook and Twitter. It has been a strange birthday this year – my daughter is at school and there’s been no time to really celebrate, so your message brightened up my day and I truly appreciate them. Thank you!!

Now This May Come as No Surprise

The other day, we had a guest blog that contemplated whether or not Paper Gods marked the beginning of a long-term exit strategy for the band. After all, they certainly can’t keep playing forever, can they? (All due respect to the Rolling Stones…and even Paul McCartney on that one…)

I have to admit that when I posted the blog, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had chatted back and forth with Jeff, telling him that I felt like his ideas would be in a safe place here, and I really believed that.  However, one cannot ever know for certain how something will be interpreted. Once you publish something and it’s out there, it really doesn’t belong to you any longer.

I was both pleasantly surprised…and perplexed…by the responses. While there were some that hoped “out loud” that he was wrong, there wasn’t a single “call to arms”.  No one called him names, questioned his fandom, or did much of anything besides encourage him. I was relieved.  I was also surprised.

In the past, Amanda and I have floated similar ideas past the fan community. They were shot down in a hail of proverbial bullets. Granted, timing and wording likely have everything to do with why that may have happened, but I would not be doing MY job as a blogger if I didn’t just throw it out as a conversation starter. Why is now so much different? Are we ready to accept the possibility as a community? Why is that?

As for me personally, I am not ready to say goodbye …but I don’t know if I would ever really be. In other words, I’m not ready for the band to quit, but if they do, I suppose I’m as satisfied as I’d ever be. I’ve been ready to at least entertain the notion though, for a while now. I don’t know why that is, but I suppose I’ve sensed the possibility lurking behind each new corner. I hate being surprised, and so my thinking has been that if I prepare myself…I’ll be ready. Just in case.

I agree with much of what Jeff said the other day.  I have felt like this entire album cycle has been, well…weird. Like my friend Michelle mentioned on Facebook, I don’t know why. I can’t put my finger on it. I keep thinking that maybe it’s just me. The shows have been fun, the album is good, but there’s something just different about it all – and maybe the difference is me.  The odd thing is that more than a few have mentioned the same thing to me in passing. Weird.

Yes, as I read through Jeff’s blog, much of it made me nod in agreement. I can’t ignore some of the more obvious things that make me think they’ve got an exit strategy. I don’t understand the way the band has decidedly pulled back from fans, whether its ducking in and out of a back door at a venue or hotel, or the way they’ve stopped engaging (for the most part) on social media. The setlist never freaking changes. They play their hits because it’s a cross-section that pleases everyone. I’ve wondered if the reason they never found a new guitar player is because they knew it would be a short-term thing. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all just a coincidence. Maybe it’s fans reading way more into it than they should. I really don’t know, but I appreciate the conversation more than any of our readers could ever know. Sometimes, it just feels better to get the words out and have an honest chat with people who share the same emotionality. It’s been especially nice not being flooded with nasty notes about his blog, too.

I share many of the same questions. I have none of the answers, unfortunately.  Whether it’s an exit strategy or not, all we can really do is continue to enjoy the music. The one thing I know for sure is that the music will continue to live long after the band plays their final chord as Duran Duran.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I intend to keep right on enjoying!

-R

 

I was in that crowd of “everybody” once

The very first time I traveled to see a Duran Duran show was in 2005. I met my friends in Chicago and saw them at the then-named All-State Arena close to O’Hare. Prior to that, the farthest I’d gone to see any band from my house in Orange County, California was probably San Diego, about 50 miles away.  So, it has only been for the past eleven years that I’ve traveled to see a band perform.

My two oldest children were eight and six the first time I left them to fly to Chicago. My absence threw the house into an uproar, as it did each time following that trip. I rearranged schedules and passed off parenting and household duties. I’d leave my role of Mom behind and sink back into the comfort of just being myself—a Duranie. In some ways it was a relief to have time to myself, and in others, I always felt like I was misbehaving or shirking my responsibilities. It was a near-constant state of emotional tug-o-war.

Despite the obstacles, I managed to see Duran Duran over thirty times in that eleven-year period. I don’t even know the exact count offhand, because for me—it doesn’t matter much.

As an aside,  I’m not great with details. I’m a big picture person. Amanda is the detail person. She takes pride in knowing those things, and I think she must like being able to give exact numbers. I’m not like that, and for a long time I’ve felt inferior to her as a result, for that and a number of other things that don’t matter right now. I’m realizing now that I’m really not inferior. I’m just me…but I digress.

My point is I’ve done a lot in a relatively short period of time. That “measure” comes from nothing but how I feel about myself. There are tons of Duranies who have gone to hundreds of shows and never miss a chance to see them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about ME.

I’ve definitely missed shows and tours over the years. I don’t ever try to do them all. I pick and choose. I started out doing one or two shows for a tour. It was “reasonable”. Then I went for a couple more. Maybe a long weekend’s worth. Then I traveled to the UK twice in a year, and that’s when I’d say things got out of hand. It was at the same time this blog started to gain an audience, and while leaving my house was difficult, it wasn’t impossible. I took full advantage. It was fun, I got to meet a lot of people. I like seeing people who I recognize in nearly every city. I also knew that at some point, I’d have to stop.

Thinking about the present day, I didn’t have too much of a chance to catch up on social media until yesterday evening. I checked out Twitter and Facebook, seeing that a lot of people commented on their tickets for the National Harbor shows. As expensive as the tickets might be, fans still find a way to go. I know how this is—I’ve done it many times. As one friend said as she lamented on why she caved and bought front row seats, “Seems like everyone is going.”

I’m not. I was one of those “everyone’s” once, though.  I remember getting messages, so many times over the years, as Amanda and I would announce what shows we were attending. The verbiage was always similar: people would say they were happy for us, but that there was no way they could pay that much or be gone that long, etc.

In Duranland, there are two basic public responses to those types of messages or comments: one either shows some empathy by saying they’re sorry that so-and-so can’t go, or one shines it on with a full-blown explanation of how it comes down to prioritizing, and that for you it comes down to making the band a priority.

I’ve SAID those words myself and I wish I could go back and slap myself for being such a bitch, excuse my language. Duran Duran is NOT a priority. Food is a priority. Housing, rent, etc is a priority. Your children are priorities. Children with fur are priorities. The band? That is pure entertainment. It is fun, and that is all it is. I said the line,  “I work so hard and I deserve the reward” more than once.  We all deserve a lot of things, so I need to just shut up. Not everybody gets to reward themselves, am I right?

I work my ass off every single day with homeschooling, being a housewife and all the “glory” that provides, and then working at a school. But when the money isn’t there for rewards, it isn’t there. For example, right now I work that part-time job. You’d think I would be able to use that money as “fun” money. Well, I would like to think that anyway.  I was a stay at home mom for years and years, and we made ends meet just fine. This should be extra. Except it’s not. That money – and I mean every last cent of it, goes to pay for my daughter’s housing at school. There’s none left for “fun”. I highly, highly doubt I’m alone there. I should have been a LOT more empathetic with my own thoughts and comments over the years.

Not that long ago, someone called me out here for the amount of shows I’ve done over the years. They said I’d thrown a lot of money into this. Yep, I have. I think the comment was in response to a suggestion I’d made to the band to do a residency, but the sentiment still applies. I have spent a boatload on the band. I don’t regret it. I had my fun, and I made memories that will last a lifetime. But I also recognize and appreciate that not everyone can or should spend that kind of cash. I recognize the need for Duranies to judge one another. It comes down to some sort of competition and it pisses people off to see that others can do more.

I’ll get “real” with you all about doing more. For a long time, I was convinced by the concept of “More”.  If I spent more money – if I went to more shows, if I traveled more often, if I got more front row, if I met more people, if I did more VIP parties, if I was more recognizable within the community, I’d somehow BE someone. Those things didn’t make me anything but cash-poor!I don’t know the band any better now than I did before. I’m the same person now that I was before. I’m still shy. I still have a terrible sense of self-worth. I still doubt myself on a daily basis, and I still self-sabotage.

That said, I know more people now. I’ve done a lot of writing, even though  neither of the manuscripts I’ve written have been published. I’ve seen things. I’ve experienced things. I think that as a whole, I’ve even learned things. I’ve spoken directly to Simon Le Bon and survived. The blog is recognized by many.  Doing more though, didn’t make me any more of a person. I didn’t go from being an unknown wallflower to one of the most popular and well-liked Duranies, for example. (in fact I’d say I’ve gained more than a few enemies as a direct result of this blog and my activities over the years. People don’t always love me and I know it.) Spending more on the band didn’t push me into the inner-circle of well-known fans (to the band).  I don’t have a great job, or a burgeoning career as a result of “all I’ve done“? It just made me a ton of memories…and according to my husband, slightly poorer. 🙂  (I laugh because I must – but he is right.)

So I’m not in the crowd of “everyone” anymore. I don’t think I will be for a long while. My exact words on Facebook last night were that I wouldn’t be traveling or attending a show anytime soon unless they are playing in my backyard for free or I’ve won the lottery, and that’s probably true. My two oldest are now nearly 20 and 17. One is in her second year of college and the other is in the middle of application season. I’m just hoping we can pay for school, applications and still be able to afford Christmas, to be honest. Yes, I will miss being at the shows. Yes, I will miss traveling. Yes, I will miss screaming for the band. But I’m learning that doing those things doesn’t make me a fan. They aren’t what makes anyone a fan, or what makes a good manuscript or a great blog. They’re just points along the way.

-R

 

 

The Power of Music to Connect and Heal

I am a sucker for heartwarming stories. I believe in the healing power of music, and I know firsthand how much I treasure my fandom. So, when I stumbled across a beautiful story featuring all of those elements, how could I not share?

This story shared with me on Facebook because my friends know I’m always on the lookout for good stories about fandom. In a world filled with near-constant negativity (and election sound bytes, which these days are always negative) – I need the occasional pick-me-up to remind me that the world isn’t all bad.  I would imagine our readers feel the same. Daily Duranie is all about “the good stuff”.  Fandom, for that matter, is the happy place!

So, before I go much farther – here’s the link to the story.  While you read, I’ll be sitting here with my coffee.

First of all, I realize this isn’t a story about Duran Duran. That said, I think every one of us has something to gain from reading. Music heals. I’ve said those words over and over again. This story is just further proof.  The power of music is undeniable. It brings people together, it fights evil, and when many of us cannot get past our differences—it is music that can bridge the gap.

It wasn’t so much that Bruce did anything special. After all, they went to a book signing and spent the same amount of time with him as anyone else. This isn’t really a story about the artist as it is about the family and their journey.  But when you think about it, out of all the music they could have played for their daughter while she spent those six months in the hospital, they played Bruce Springsteen. Tom, Juniper’s dad, was what I would consider to be a pretty hard-core fan.  They mention that he followed Bruce on tour for forty years. It was second nature to play the music that likely comforts him for his daughter. I would like to think that I would have done the same, as would likely many of you.

We all know the music that connects with our heart, whether that is Springsteen, Duran Duran, or something else entirely.  When we take the time to share that with our children, we are giving them part of ourselves. I have no doubt that my kids will always equate Duran Duran with me, long after I leave this planet.  While yes, some days that might be a curse (!!), on other days – it is a gift.  In the case of Juniper and her family, that music not only connected her and her parents when she was so fragile should couldn’t be held, it also healed.

I can’t think of anything else more beautiful than that. This is why music is so powerful.

-R

 

 

 

Wristbands and Mother/Daughter Moments

It was twelve years ago today….or rather…last night…that I stood in a very long line with my oldest daughter, who was seven at the time. We were waiting to purchase our copies of Astronaut, and hoping to get wristbands for a meet and greet a few days later.

If I remember correctly, I had taken my daughter out of school early in order to drive up to Hollywood and wait in the line. I remember the entire process being a pain because Heather was on a competition dance team at the time, and it was all cutting into her dance classes. I had no fear of taking her out of school, but dance class? Oh my.

By the time we had gotten to Hollywood, the line was incredibly long.  We had several hours to wait because the album didn’t go on sale until midnight. I wasn’t sure we’d even get a copy, much less wristbands. As we stood in line talking with a new friend, trying to convince ourselves that we would not come away empty-handed, I silently reminded myself that it didn’t matter if I ever met the band, and that the important thing was that I was there with Heather, sharing a very important, yet pretty secret (at the time) part of myself with her.

Given her age at the time, I know she got bored and tired as we stood there, but she also learned a lot about her mom. I could see her widen her eyes with wonder as people would talk about their experiences seeing the band, and she would watch how I would react when people would talk about meeting band members. She listened carefully when I would reminisce over my memories from junior high school, or my first concert. I think she could see just how much the band meant to me—and that wasn’t something I’d ever really talked much about at home.

I’d just gotten home about a week or so earlier from my first convention in New Orleans. Duran Duran was a fairly new subject in our house—prior to the convention planning, I really didn’t bring them up often. I was a mom, busy with kids and activities. My outside interests didn’t really come up much. For my kids, and even Walt to a certain extent, the convention was the start of it all, and even then, they had no idea.

(some might say they still don’t!)

Every single year that passes, I take the time to remember that night, and naturally the one that followed later in the week.  It was the first time I’d ever driven up to Hollywood just to buy an album. I felt like such a bad parent for being bold enough to sign Heather out of school a little early (I’m a rules follower!), but something in me just clicked. I wanted her there with me.  I wanted to show her that being a fan, even as a mom, was still OK.

As the line finally started to snake in and out of the aisles of Virgin Records Megastore (unfortunately it too is gone now), Heather got excited. The store had the album playing, there were videos (I think it was Sunrise) playing on the monitors, and the atmosphere was as celebratory as possible. After all, this was the first album from the Fab Five in twenty-five years! With every step closer to the cash register, I could feel my excitement growing ten fold. I got to the point where I could hardly stand still, because I knew that I was going to get Astronaut on vinyl, and wristbands were going to be in the bag with it!

Heather and I came away victorious that night, but not just because of the music or the wristbands. It was the first time that I can remember where I felt like I could actually talk to her. That doesn’t mean we were best friends after that. She was seven and I was a parent, but something about that night gave her a little more insight into who I was as a person. Just in the same way that spending so much time with her training in dance has given me a lot of insight into who she has become as an adult. We’ve been close ever since, and she is still one of the first people I will talk to about my Duran Duran adventures. She reads the blog, follows us on Twitter and sees how others react.  I think it can be tough sometimes to parent and not have some regret over things that were said and done, or even things that weren’t said or done.  I have zero regrets for sharing that time with her.

It’s a good memory to reflect upon.

-R

 

Come Down From Your Pedestal

Never have I been so glad as to talk about something other than politics.

Like many of you, I spent my weekend glued to TV. I’m a news junkie. I won’t lie. By last night, after the debate, I needed an intervention. 🙂 It doesn’t really matter where my views lie, but I will say I’ve been outraged since Friday.

Unlike my dear friend and counterpart, I’m not really politically active. I vote, I watch the news (sometimes obsessively), I research the things I will be voting on. But I don’t campaign, I don’t volunteer, and no – I don’t donate to campaigns. I don’t put bumper stickers on my car, I refuse to put signs on my lawn. I don’t even post memes online, although I have been known to tweet a few politicians directly and let them know how I feel in no uncertain terms. Other than that, I leave “politicking”, so to speak, to others.

I miss the days before social media when it comes to politics. I had my voting positions, my friends had theirs, and no one really talked about them. They were private. I didn’t feel ashamed when some politician from my party did things that were wrong. I blamed the person, not the party, knocked the politician off of the proverbial pedestal I may have had them on, and went on about my day without scorn from others. These days, it’s very different and hard to escape.

The thing is, for both Amanda and I – Daily Duranie is our baby. It’s our safe place, and it’s kind of an island. Amanda and I have agreed (although we’ve never really had a discussion – we just “know”) to leave politics at the door. Nobody comes here looking for those types of discussions, and I’m thankful for that.  I see enough of that on Facebook and Twitter!

That said, the political climate of the world sometimes has a way of lending itself to discussions here. Yesterday for instance, Amanda talked about how the band isn’t known for saying and doing some of the things we’ve heard from other notable celebrities as of late.  I think she’s right, to my knowledge I haven’t heard those things.

I’m no innocent at the age of 46. I’m well-aware of storied tales from the 80s and beyond. I’m just glad, to some extent, that I haven’t had personal experience with much of it. When I read Amanda’s blog yesterday, I thought about how I might feel if I heard a band member talk the way Trump did in his now infamous video. I wondered if I didn’t still have the band on a pedestal.

I won’t lie, I expect certain behavior from the band. I expect them to act like gentlemen, and to behave with some decorum when needed. That doesn’t mean we don’t all have times where we’re laughing and partying it up, but for me—there’s a pretty big line between that and what was on that video, for instance. Yes, I’ve seen things in the years I’ve even been nearby the band after the shows, though.  I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that celebrities get away with a lot. Even so, I remain very thankful I haven’t seen too much. I still feel they live up to the type of people I want to be around, and yet I am fully aware that alone might be a bit of a pedestal for them.

Maybe that’s the mystique talking. Would we all still like them as much if we knew they behaved differently?  Isn’t that always the question?  We (the public, the fans) assume that the Simon Le Bon we see on stage is the same Simon Le Bon that we might run into off stage, and when it is not—hell hath no fury like a disappointed fan. Isn’t that really the issue? Very, very, few of us are able to make the distinction between the person who is onstage playing the “part” and the real person offstage. I would imagine that goes for even some celebrities themselves. If they didn’t know themselves and who they really were before fame…how on earth do they manage WITH fame?  Those pedestals can be pretty high, and for me, it’s worth considering if I’m being fair.

For me personally, these are much easier concepts to think about than politics today. I appreciate the breath of fresh air, and I hope others do too!

-R