Category Archives: Fandom

Four Days to go till Rancho Mirage!

In between sneezes, I am attempting to blog about Rancho Mirage. I think Spring has arrived in California. The outdoor thermometer is forecast to hit 85 degrees (Fahrenheit). Daylight Saving Time means that it is still dark at 6am. Lastly, my allergies indicate that yes, pollen is indeed in the air. Yay.

The good news is that it’s Monday. Not that I’m a fan of Mondays, but in this case, I only have four days until Thursday. This is important because Amanda arrives on Thursday, and that is when the fun begins! Rancho Mirage, here we come!

My weekend was spent doing the necessary prep work for this trip. Waxing, tweezing, coloring, exfoliating….you get the idea. These things take time! I picked out my wardrobe for the weekend, and today I need to take the time to figure out who needs to go where and when while I am gone. It is a crazy time of year for me to be taking off for a weekend, but I’m doing it anyway.  I spent some time trading messages with Amanda and our roomies for the weekend, too, as we made plans for stocking our own personal in-room bar, and deciding how to spend the daylight hours (likely near the bar at the pool).  I also downloaded Snapchat, figuring that since Amanda and I would be together this weekend, it might be fun to upload photos there (find us as dailyduranie). I can’t even imagine what might be posted by the end of the weekend!

It would appear that all that is left to do is to get through the week ahead. #Duranlive time came upon us so fast, as it usually does, I almost want time to slow down a bit now so that I make sure to enjoy myself. So often I get so focused on the driving from show to show and all of the extraneous stuff needing to happen so that we can get from place to place, I’ll forget to relax and have fun. This time, I really have no excuse. I want to slow down, take a deep breath and savor the time. This really isn’t just about seeing the band, it’s about seeing friends. Sure, I’m looking forward to seeing the band. I have a special place in my heart for John, Simon, Nick and Roger….and of course Dom, Anna and Simon W, too.  It’s just that I will spend about 4 hours (give or take) seeing them over the course of the weekend. The rest of the time is for friends.

Time will tell for sure, but I think my outlook for weekends like this has changed quite a bit since that first show in Chicago with Amanda back in 2005. I can remember how excited I was to see Duran Duran take the stage. We were in third row, pretty much right in front of John. I can remember when they all came out to the front of the stage, as we heard the loud heart beat begin a rhythm that continued throughout the show. I shook so badly and felt so incredulous that they were really right there in front of me as I stood in third row, I couldn’t even hold my camera straight. Having the band in front of me doesn’t give me quite the same sort of shock it once did (although the excitement is still there!). I can remember the two of us conspiring and planning to find the band. We were positively giddy, and stood outside of the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee just so we could get a glimpse of them leaving. Then raced back to our car so that we could follow them. (Yes, we were those fans and no, I don’t think we caught up to them on the highway…but we tried.) Ridiculous? Absolutely. We laughed the entire way back to Chicago.

Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to see them after the show, but I am saying that I think our days of driving at crazy speeds from Milwaukee back to Chicago might be done. I like living, first of all. Secondly? I’m weird. The last thing I want is for those guys to think I’ve been hanging out somewhere waiting for them all night. Well, unless I’ve been waiting in a GA line for their show. That’s different!  I’ve run into one or two of them (never all of them at one time, and some of them I’ve never run into at all) now to decide that the whole scene makes me feel weird, which is why unless they’re staying where I’m staying and it’s serendipitous, I doubt I’m gonna be seeing much of them. While at one point I might have been disappointed, this time, I’m really fine. Yep, I used to obsess about where they might be, and in hindsight, I think I ruined plenty of my own trips that way. Their job is to play a show, and my job is to have fun. Done.

That is of course, assuming I can get my work done by Friday so that I can leave this house and head to Rancho Mirage guilt-free, which cannot happen if I don’t get started, so off I go!

-R

 

It’s a Chain Cuts Across My Soul

Work has been super busy this week.  This is mostly due to the fact that my students are starting a project next week and I have had a bunch of meetings.  Luckily, I have a student teacher this semester, which helps divide up the work somewhat (and gives some work, too!).  Last night, my student teacher and I left the school after 6 pm after working on some materials.  As we were leaving, she began telling me about how peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are her go to food.  This, of course, led me to tell her about a hotel in New Orleans that Rhonda and I stayed at in 2006 when we attended the Voodoo Music Festival which served PB & J sandwiches every evening.

The answer to the next question is yes.  Of course, I proceeded to tell her all about that experience, in which Rhonda and I along with others literally stood for hours without food or water while trying to avoid crowd surfers. I attempted to explain that the only reason we put ourselves through such hell was for Duran Duran.  Then, I explained that Duran is more than my favorite band and mentioned this blog.  As I stopped talking, I wondered what her reaction would be as many tend to give weird looks or ask me if I am a groupie or both.  Instead of any of that, she said, “That’s good.”  It was my turn to look confused.  Huh?  She went on to explain about how it must be good to have something else to focus on besides work.  I nodded.

As I drove home, I thought more about what she had to say.  The more I pondered her reaction, the more I realized how right she is.  Is it good that I have Duran in my life?  That I do this blog?  I think so.

I recently edited my Twitter profile in which I described myself as a teacher, an activist and a Duranie, but not necessarily in that order.  During the school year, yes, typically I most often consider myself a teacher first.  I spend a LOT of time, energy and thoughts on my classroom, curriculum and students.  My school day lasts much longer than 8 or 9 hours a day.  Yesterday, for example, I was in the school building from 7:45 to 6:15.  I also had some grading to do when I got home.  On top of that, when public education and teachers become the topic of discussion on the state or national level, I am included in that conversation.  I take it personally as it generally has been my life work and a huge part of my identity.

Lately, a lot of my “free time” (Ha!  I don’t really have much free time but you all know what I mean.) has been spent on political activity, including reading a lot of current events, contacting legislators, planning meetings, contacting other organizations, and more.  I can and am sucked into political activity easily.  This connects with the teacher in me.  As a history and women’s studies teacher, I feel it is essential to be an example to my students about the importance of being engaged in one’s community, city, state and nation.  My undergrad studies focused on social movements as it is something that fascinates me.  Thus, if I’m not thinking of myself as a teacher, I’m thinking of myself as an activist.  While I love both of those parts of myself, I recognize that both suck the energy from me.  They exhaust me, mentally and emotionally.  I have a friend who is constantly saying,  “You are terrible in taking care of yourself.”  She is right.  I am.  I don’t take care of myself, putting my students and community/country ahead of what I need.

This is where Duran Duran enters the picture.  In many ways, being a Duranie is most selfish part of myself.  It is the aspect of myself that allows me to have fun, to take breaks, to escape the world.  I suspect that going on tour, writing this blog, organizing fan events is what has allowed me to give so much of myself as a teacher and a community organizer.  Thus, my student teacher is right.  It is good that I’m a Duranie and that I write this blog.  I am then given the opportunity to pause from my reality even if I think I don’t “need” it.

-A

My Last Post of 2016. What is to be gained?

This is my last post of 2016. I don’t post again until Monday, January 2nd 2017, so have a wonderful New Years, everyone! I don’t know what Amanda has planned for her blogs this weekend, but I would imagine they’d have something to do with traveling and seeing some band from the UK a couple of times.

There’s a part of me that is jealous, but another part—the saner portion of me—that is a bit relieved I’m staying home. It’s not about the band, because I would love to see them and my friends again.  No, my relief is about the not having to pack, schedule out the time while I’m gone, get on a plane, and then come back before I have to be at work on Tuesday, that makes me a little relieved I’m not planning a trip across the country.

I’ve seen many say that 2016 has been a tough, cruel year. The loss has been pretty tough to take. While I don’t typically lose family members every year, invariably there is a celebrity figure or two.  They pass on, and we all stop for a moment to pay our respects, then life simply moves on.  This year, I daresay the loss seems to have felt more acute. Whether it’s the number of people who have left us, or the people themselves, 2016 has been a roller coaster.

I’ve seen so many people tweet that we need to wrap every member of Duran Duran in bubble wrap, as if that will somehow protect them from the dreaded 2016. I’ve said similar things myself, in jest, as if adding humor to the situation will make it all more palatable. The reality is that there’s nothing any of us can do to make this stop. I’m 46, and many of my idols, including the band, are hitting their mid to late 50’s now. Many others are even older. I remind myself that my own father died at 68. Death is a certainty, it’s a matter of when. And that thought is pretty damn depressing.

How many of us actually sat down at the age of thirteen that we’d have to someday see all of the celebrities and people we admire leave this earth? How many of us really thought about the day we’d read online that George Michael passed away? Or David Bowie? Or Prince?  I know I didn’t. I never gave mortality much thought. I lived in the moment, and didn’t think too far beyond what I might wear to school the following day.  Blissful ignorance of youth.  And then we grew up.

It is 2016. Many of you reading are also in your 40’s. This year alone, we’ve felt the loss of many legends and heroes. Death has this annoying way of forcing you think about life, and I think we all want to be able to blame some THING for why so many people are dying this year. So, we blame 2016. I highly doubt we’ll wake up in 2017 and the Grim Reaper will have decided to take his talents elsewhere, but it is how we make sense of things that really have no answer.

I suppose that I’ve come to the conclusion that this constant parade of RIP’s and tributes will not have an end until I leave this planet myself. I’m at middle age, my heroes are either my age or older, and none of us live forever. I can remember my grandmother sitting in her chair in my childhood home, watching the news in the afternoons during the summer when she’d babysit my sister and I.  Occasionally there would be news of a celebrity death, and invariably she’d take a sharp inhale of breath, shocked by the news.

She’d softly say something like, “Well, there’s another one gone. Soon there will be no one left.”  Then she’d look over at me and my sister, playing with Barbies on the floor and muse, “Getting old is terrible, Rhonda Lynn. You can’t move, and your friends die constantly.”

I can remember looking at her then looking over at my sister, who couldn’t have been much older than five or six. I’d give her a tiny smile and then roll my eyes. Why? Well, we were never going to get old!!

I don’t blame people for wishing 2016 away, mind you. There are a number of reasons for wanting this year to just end already. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that by this time most years, I’m ready to get on with it already. On the other hand, I’m also trying to be careful not to wish my life away. I have things to look forward to in 2017. A girls weekend in Rancho Mirage, seeing Duran Duran again, my son’s graduation from high school, more college acceptances for him (I hope!), and then seeing him walk onto his college campus for the first time.

Even with all of that, I’m trying very hard to put the art of enjoying each day as it comes into practice. I don’t like saying the words “I can’t wait” anymore (although I still say them out of habit) because as it turns out, I CAN wait. Anticipation isn’t a bad thing. It heightens and stretches out the enjoyment of what is to come.

If there’s anything to really be gained from the loss we’re all learning to accept these days, it is to learn that time isn’t to be wasted. There’s not an infinite amount somewhere. When your cup runneth out, you’re done. One of the first things I said when I heard about George Michael—after shouting “NOOOOOO” and grabbing my phone, of course—was that I never saw him live. He was one of my favorite artists, and I never bothered. I didn’t buy the ticket. Granted, I am sure I could cite reasons, and timing would be at the top of the list, but the fact is, I didn’t buy the ticket.

I lightly pounded my fist on the dining room table, startling my mom in the process, and proclaimed that no one could or should ever tell me again that I go see too many shows, or that I shouldn’t spend the money, because once these people are gone, they’re gone. I really don’t know if the sentiment was understood. My family was never into concerts the way I am, and they don’t really understand my obsession with Duran Duran anyway.

What it all boils down to is that in 2017, I’m buying the ticket. Before my husband has a fit—that’s a euphemism. I’m going to seize more of the moments. See more of the people I want to see, do more of the things I want to do. Fear plays a huge part in my life, and my goal for the year is to live just a little bit outside of that box. Instead of just dreaming, I’m going to try doing.

Happy New Year! Be safe and have a fantastic time if you’re headed to the shows in Cancun or DC!

-R

Give Me Strength: Giving Appreciation

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with my parents where we ate a full vegetarian meal, watched Star Trek Beyond and played some games.  It provided me necessary down time and the comfort of being with those who provide unconditional love and support.  Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday but I do appreciate having the time to stop and appreciate what one has in life.  This year, this feels more important than usual.

So, what am I grateful for?  I’ll start with the obvious.  I’m thankful for my family.  I have always felt very fortunate to have parents, in particular, who support me in so many ways.  Last year, at this time, my mom was finishing treatment for cancer and this year, she has been cancer free.  My father, who has a chronic illness, has been able to manage it better.  I’m thankful, then, that they are as healthy as can be and still able to be there for me.

This year, I also learned to really appreciate my job.  I often complain about the daily grind of education and teaching.  Don’t get me wrong.  Teaching is exhausting and requires far more work than a full time job.  I wish I could change that time commitment on top of all of the district, state and national demands and criticisms.  That said, my colleagues and my students have renewed my spirit in ways that they may never understand.  Now, I feel like we really are a big, weird dysfunctional family trying to make it through each day, each week, this school year and beyond together.

Of course, I am very grateful for my friendship with Rhonda.  While we may not live close to each other or are able to speak everyday, I know that she is supportive of me.  She may not always understand all of my choices or me of hers, yet, we still support each other.  At the end of the day, that foundation matters a lot.  It can overcome whatever challenges pop up–whether those are busy schedules, differing viewpoints or something else entirely.  Without this friendship, so much of what I have done in the name of fandom would have never taken place and I would have had a LOT less fun over the years.

This leads me ot appreciate Duran Duran and my fandom.  During this summer, Rhonda and I were able to attend a number of shows.  While I felt like I appreciated them then, now I really do.  I distinctly remember a moment at one of the shows this summer when I realized very clearly that there is nothing that brings me joy like being at a Duran Duran concert.  It is where I am the happiest.  Duran represents fun and good times.

The majority of my life is such that I’m serious a lot.  I work more than I should.  I focus my energy on being politically active.  No, those tasks don’t bring me joy in the traditional sense but what they do bring is immense satisfaction.  They bring a real purpose to my life.  I feel fulfilled when students really learn something and when they become politically active themselves.  The high that results from fighting in some sort campaign cannot be easily explained.  I cannot walk away from that aspect of myself.  Yet, Duran, fandom and fun provides the necessary infusion of energy and joy that keeps me going.  I need both in my life.

I then look forward to the two trips I have coming up to Washington D.C.  At the end of the year, I’ll venture there to see Duran Duran play a couple of shows and I will get the burst of energy and good times that I need.  Then, I’ll return to the city a couple weeks later to march in the Women’s March on Washington.  I am grateful to all that will make both happen from my colleagues, to my friends, to my parents, to Duran Duran and to other activists.  I appreciate them all.

-A

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