Category Archives: friendship

Lost Souls Diamonds and Gold

One of my favorite scenes in Duran’s Sing Blue Silver documentary is when John Taylor is woken up to do an interview.  During that interview, he comments about how the tour (he is referring to the 1984 one) was “never an assured tour”.  I always took this to mean that the band didn’t really know how the tour was going to go.  Would the fans show up?  How would they react?  No matter how many times I see that scene, I find myself shaking my head.  How could they not know?  Of course, the fans would show up and love it!  Duh!

Yet, this past weekend, that quote floated through my brain quite often.  After all, I, too, felt that way before this past little mini-tour of ours at Agua Caliente.  I didn’t know how it was going to go, which was weird and felt very odd.  In the days leading up to going, I found myself struggling to get excited in the same way that I normally do.  Yes, I looked forward to it but it wasn’t the usual jumping out of my skin in excitement.  Was I losing my Duranie touch?  Looking back, I think it had more to do with me.

Life hasn’t felt very friendly lately.  I lost a lot of motivation for many things and to be honest, my friendship with Rhonda felt strained.  I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific but we were distant from each other due to lack of time, lack of effort, and lack of understanding.  I knew this going into the tour.  In fact, I told some people that I fully expected this to be my last one  This wouldn’t be because I wouldn’t have fun or because my love for Duran would end.  I just thought that maybe it had run its course or it would seem like too much effort.

As the weekend began, I told myself to have no expectations other than having fun.  The weekend didn’t have to be perfect (whatever that even means) to be great, I figured.  If you read or watched our blogs last weekend and beyond, you are well aware that the weekend definitely exceeded my expectations.  The shows were so much fun.  While, yes, I grumbled and complained about the lack of Planet Earth, I didn’t let that tick me off (too much).  I figured that it gave me permission to give them a hard time back, right???  I sang.  I danced.  I screamed.  It was glorious.  Yes, I wished that we had at least 18 songs and, yes, I wish that Sunrise or Careless Memories or Planet Earth was on the setlist.  Instead of complaining or wishing for something else, I appreciated the heck out of Only in Dreams and Is There Something I Should Know?.

Then, there was everything surrounding the shows.  I loved having drinks with friends, seeing people I only see at Duran functions and being reminded that everyone connected to Duran makes a community, a family of sorts.  I got to know people better and I got to meet people for the first time.  And, yes, I was reminded of why Rhonda and I tour so well together as we were the last ones standing on both nights.  Perhaps, there is also a lot less vodka in the resort after we had been there (along with our fellow vodka drinking friends!).

Of course, Rhonda and I had a chance to talk as well, which was much appreciated and needed.  I feel confident that the conversation reminded us both to be supportive of each other even if we don’t always understand the other’s choices.  Since then, things have felt very normal, which is so nice.  So much has not felt normal for me for a long time.  I have been focusing on fighting to keep the normal as I feared that many changes, significant and negative ones, would be coming down the pike.  While I don’t regret that and embrace that part of myself that must fight back, I must also remember what is part of my normal, what I am working to keep.  My normal means that Duran Duran and fandom plays a significant part.  It includes touring when and where I can.  Having fun is necessary to keep going during the less than fun times.

The weekend, the mini-tour, reminded me that I can wear more than one hat at a time.  In fact, it is required.  I remembered how much fun touring is and why my friendship with Rhonda matters as much as it does.  It gave me motivation to keep working on a dream, in one way, shape or form.  I don’t know that I can say that the weekend was perfect or the best tour, but it really was damn good.  Even better, it didn’t even end before I started to plan for the next one.  That is the ideal way to be, isn’t it?  Lost souls diamonds and gold, indeed.

-A

…And We’ll Remember

Twelve years ago today I drove to Chicago to join my new Duranie friends for a weekend of fun and Duran Duran.  While I had met many of these new friends months prior in New Orleans, the weekend in 2005 was the first time I would attending a Duran show with any of them.  When those Astronaut tour dates were posted, we made plans quickly, including deciding to gather in Chicago to not only see the show, but to buy those more expensive VIP tickets.  I purchased those tickets for myself, Rhonda and another friend of ours.  In reality, I had no real idea if I could trust them to pay me back, but they did.  I had no clue if I could really hang out with them for an entire weekend or whether or not Rhonda and I would share a hotel room without a problem.  I took a leap of faith.

By 5 am on March 20th, 2005, I knew that it Rhonda and I were able to not only go to shows together but could travel “on tour” well together.  During that weekend, I laughed more than I had for an entire year, I swear.  I had so much fun that I wondered if it shouldn’t be illegal.  I almost questioned my grip on reality because it exceeded every expectation I had.  The joy I felt was pure and fulfilled me in a way that I wasn’t even aware that I lacked.  To say that the weekend changed my life would be an understatement.  Everything changed after that.

When I look back at the 12 years that have transpired between then and now, I almost cannot believe it and I certainly wouldn’t have believed it then.  Rhonda and I have shared so much.  We have traveled to the UK twice together.  We have seen shows ranging from Glasgow, Scotland, to Toronto, Canada, to New York City, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, to San Diego, California and more.  Beyond those shows, we started this blog here.  The Daily Duranie became way more than just a simple, little blog about Duran Duran.  It became about fandom and about us and about our fan community.  The blog has become a part of us and who are are, both as individuals and as a pair.  I think ending the blog would feel like cutting off an arm or at least a finger.  I would miss it.

Beyond the shows and the blogging, we also organized many fan meet-ups and a weekend long convention.  We have written two full manuscripts and have come up with many more ideas.  The love that we had and have for a band blossomed, bloomed into real action on our parts.  We have criticized widely for our approach, our questioning, our criticism.  We have also been praised by our dedication (or insanity).  We have been accused of being too negative by some and thanked for keeping the fandom going.

Rhonda and I met in New Orleans in September of 2004.  While that weekend included some amazingly fun activities as well as an acknowledgement that we were kindred spirits when it comes to Duran Duran, it didn’t create the domino affect like that the weekend in Chicago in March of 2005 did.  A convention is a one weekend off event.  It is not something that can be easily replicated.  Shows, though?  They happen more often.  Tours provide us the opportunity to relive that first weekend over and over, at least to some extent.  That first touring weekend started a snowball of fandom that has grown even as it has changed.  It solidified the beginnings of a friendship that has meant the world to me.

Now, on the anniversary of that date, I wonder what will come next.  Will the snowball of fandom continue to get bigger?  Will it stay the same in size while totally changing shape?  What about Rhonda and myself?  In many ways, our friendship has been tested a lot.  We have faced rejection, been ignored, the receivers of some insulting and hateful comments over the years.  Beyond that, we recognize that our “real” lives are often pulling us in opposite directions while we continue to work together and to be friends.  I don’t know exactly how we will navigate the next twelve years, I just know that I hope we can continue to do it together.  After all, we aren’t done with Duran Duran yet.

-A

With you my friend: International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.  Coincidentally, I’m at home today, and my youngest is sick – I think she’s got the flu. I am not planning to go on strike (I’m a mom and that just doesn’t really work), but I had planned to casually work in a little reading about some prominent female historical figures today. She’s sick though (and still sleeping!), so that will have to wait.  Meanwhile, the blog awaits…

So, here I am, eight days away from picking Amanda up at LAX, and, like before every other trip or weekend away I’ve taken, I’m beginning to worry that I shouldn’t go. Now, of course, I *am* going – so Amanda doesn’t need to be concerned about that, but I put myself through this torture every single time. I’ve been planning this weekend for a while now, and I carefully set the time aside, saying to myself that I wouldn’t let a single thing get in the way. I should have just started laughing as I thought that to myself, because inevitably, something does. In this case, it’s a few things – and now I have to leave those things to my husband while I go off and have fun.  (Truth: I will have fun.  Untruth he seems to assume: I won’t think about my family the entire time.) I’m already worried about missing a couple of things and I haven’t even left yet. Sometimes I really wonder why I plan these trips because of the amount of worrying I do before I go.

I’ve been majorly stressed out lately. Things are really crazy at work, and things are even more so here at home. My oldest is going through serious heartbreak, my son is waiting for college admissions decisions, my youngest is getting ready for Certificate of Merit testing for piano, amongst quite a few other things. As much as I worry about going, I know that I very much need to go, and this is really normal for me. Just ask Amanda.

Speaking of Amanda, I’ve gotten so caught up in work and stuff going on around here that I haven’t even really thought about the things I need to do to get ready for the weekend.  I don’t even think Amanda and I have really talked much about the trip at all, which is crazy! Normally by now we’ve carefully planned each minute of each day, and this time, I feel like we’re both just gonna show up and let the weekend unfold however it does. In a lot of ways, as much as it’s really different from what we’ve done in the past, where we’ve obsessed over most details, maybe we both need a little spontaneity.    The last six months have been so strange. I went from talking to Amanda nearly every week to talking with her only a few times since August. I don’t check-in nearly as much, although from time to time we still trade texts. Sometimes, I only know what is going on with her from what she writes here on the blog! I feel like I’ve been caught up in a vortex: homeschooling, working, eating, sleeping, cleaning house and repeat, without a lot of anything else.  On one hand, it has actually helped my blogging, because I don’t take it all so seriously.  I write what I want to write and I don’t think about much else.  On the other, I have no idea of what is going on outside of the little bits and pieces I catch in between what’s going on here with me.  I’m looking forward to a weekend where I don’t need to think, and I can just sit and gab with friends!

In 2005, I flew to Chicago on the 17th of March. I landed at O’Hare around 9 or 10pm, I think, and then took a shuttle to what was then the Doubletree near O’Hare. We called it the “Duranie-dorm” because it was the hotel that had a group rate for Duran Duran fans coming in for their show the following night at what was then called the All-State Arena. I walked in to the lobby and fell into a chorus of hugs and laughter from women that I had previously met in September at the Duran Duran Fan convention in New Orleans. I had never felt so welcomed in my life, and I mean that. I can remember standing there fighting back tears (I rarely cry), because I hadn’t felt that kind of acceptance, friendship or love in a long time. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and while I didn’t really think much about celebrating that night – I stayed up and practically reached for the Sunrise with this group of friends. Amanda was in that group of women that night, and we’ve stayed friends ever since.

I am so lucky.

Twelve years later, and this time, Amanda and I will be arriving at the Agua Caliente resort, ready to see Duran Duran on stage and mingle with friends. There will not be the same group of women waiting for us. Many, if not all of those women, have since moved on. While I think our exuberance for the band isn’t exactly the same now (for example, I’m probably not going to be sporting those same light-up horns I wore in Chicago and Milwaukee at the show in Rancho Mirage), our love for this band and their music is pretty damn strong.   Through thick and thin, we’ve managed to be Duran Duran fans, remain great friends, and even write a blog for six years. You want to talk about the strength of women today? How about that??

So, on this International Women’s Day – I am going to think about my friendships with other women, and how together we really are stronger. Yeah, sometimes the road to get to where I need to be is tough. However, I know that I need my friends, now more than ever, and I’m looking forward to revitalizing that bond….and how better than a weekend with Duran Duran??

-R

No One’s Getting Left Behind

This has been a big week for us.  Perhaps, you heard that we started a little message board.  If you missed that piece of news, you can get all of the details on this post here.  We are a couple of days into it and I am already thrilled that we decided to go ahead and do one!  Of course, as Rhonda explained in her post, the point of a message board is to not only foster communication and dialogue about our mutual interest in Duran Duran but also to create a real community.  I have found in all facets of my life that connections between people really matter.  At work (teaching high school), relationships mean everything.  Studies have shown that students are more likely to work harder and learn more from teachers they feel that they have a connection with.  I know that my job is far easier and more enjoyable since I have people I work with that I am friends with.  Look at Rhonda and myself.  We work really well together.  Would we, if we didn’t have the close friendship that we do?  I doubt it.  Yes, we might respect each other but I think we work harder since we not only feel some obligation to ourselves but also to each other.  This need and importance for connections even mattered on the campaigns I worked on.  Everyone in the Obama campaign, for example, from the top down to neighborhood team leaders worked to develop and keep connections while keeping focused on the goal.  This strategy really worked at President Obama won handily twice.  I’m sure the friendships between the members of Duran matter, too.  What is my point?  Connections can and do matter.  They really matter with fandom, too, and I am already seeing many connections being formed and renewed on our new, little message board!

Once upon a time, Rhonda and I frequented a little message board named DuranDuranFans.com where we met and met many others whom we now call friends.  While we both spent time on duranduran.com’s then message board and on DuranDuranMusic’s message board, the one on DDF felt like home.  Why?  Simple.  The connections were richer, deeper there.  It felt less competitive and less judgmental than other boards.  Instead, the atmosphere was one of support and friendship along with a heavy dose of laughter.  I’m already getting that sense on our new home.  I’m seeing people from DDF coming back and reconnecting.  I’m also seeing friends from other boards doing the same.  This makes me beyond happy–for them, for the band and for myself!  I hope that everyone who comes to hang out finds lots of great friends!  I still think it is pretty funny that I technically “met” my best friend on a Duran Duran message board.  Wouldn’t it be cool if others could say that about ours?!

I truly do believe that the increase in quality and quantity of connections really work to keep fandom going!  Obviously, message boards are such in that they create tons and tons of topics to discuss all the time.  In this case, the discussion will almost always surround Duran Duran, in some way, shape or form.  The members think and talk about Duran each time they log on.  Thus, Duran is always on members’ minds.  Beyond that, frequently, message boards can be places in which excitement is reinforced!!  For example, I can already see how our excitement for the UK fans and those going to the UK for shows will be increasing in intensity from here until the end of November.  Then those fans will take all that energy to the shows with them and sending it back to the band, making better, more enjoyable shows for everyone!  The better and more fun people have at Duran events, the more likely they will go to other events, right?  Simple.  Give the fan/customer something of value and they will keep coming back over and over again!  That can only help ticket and album sales!!  It is a win win!

I’ll be really honest here, too.  I think the message board is also a win for me.  If more fans stick around longer, then I hope that will encourage Duran to stay around for as long as possible, too!  I don’t want to imagine a time in my life when I’m not blogging, doing fan events, talking about Duran, buying their music and other products and touring.  It would be like going from technicolor to black and white.  My life would be very dull.  So much of my life surrounds this fandom that having it end would be like cutting off an arm.  I would be missing something very significant!  On top of all that, I’m really looking forward to connecting with people myself.  I LOVE making Duranie friends and I don’t get to do that much as much as I would like in the world of social media now.  For example, I keep my personal twitter locked down–not because I’m that private of a person but because I teach TEENAGERS.  I don’t want my students to see what I’m tweeting about!  EEK!  Talk about scary!  That said, if any/all of you want to follow my personal twitter (@apustz) feel free to send a request.  I welcome Duranies!  Anyway, I’m hoping the message board will provide another area for me to wave my Duranie flag and get to know people!

On that note, I’m off to go check the board and see what people are talking about!

-A

This is How We Stay Connected

Well, I’ve hit the wall.  Or maybe I should say I’ve hit the door. I can’t really decide at this moment.  What I can do is describe how I’m feeling. It’s that point where I finally come down from the concert high and realize that I have at least months, if not years, until the next road trip, tour, concert or band member sighting.

That’s depressing.

The thing is, with all due respect to John, Simon, Nick, Roger AND Dom (can’t forget him!)…it’s not even necessarily all about them. It’s knowing that it will probably be six months to a year before I see Amanda again. (Does anyone else find it even mildly perplexing as to how we can run this site even though we are hardly EVER in the same state, much less the same room?!?) It’s realizing that evenings spent laughing over a table filled with, well…empty glasses…are a long way off again, never mind the days spent driving while trying to compile “just the right” set list to either drive people crazy, or make them laugh. (I think that depends on whether it’s Simon LeBon reading or another fan reading…and maybe not necessarily in that order!)  It’s recognizing the absence of friends. Even though I chat with most of them online each day at some point, it isn’t the same as being able to walk up to one of them and give them a hug or look at one another during a show and know we’re thinking the same thing. I miss them.

I’ve unpacked my bag, done laundry for everyone in the house, cleaned up the whirlwind I walked in on Sunday night, and have even caught up on and cleaned out emails and texts. I’ve looked at pictures, sat back and smiled at some particularly amusing memories, and wistfully daydreamed about others. I’ve bought groceries, and aside from a morning spent in urgent care (it turns out I will live), my life went back to normal just as quickly as the few days away seemed to pass. The band has since moved on to New York. Another album signing, another festival, and they’ll be headed back home to regroup before the UK shows take place in November. Life always seems to return itself to normal, no matter what happened the week prior.

I just don’t know how I get through this each time…whatever “this” is. I suppose it’s a bit of concert let-down. At first, I suppose I strive to keep talking about the shows or anecdotes from the road trip, as though by mentioning them it will keep everything fresh and alive. Then I start noticing the absence of people I care about, whether it’s that they don’t really tweet much, or that I don’t see them online very often, or just that I can’t pick up the phone every time I need to chat. I start thinking about how long it might be before I see them again, and what I can do in the meantime to make it easier. Let’s face it: Amanda is my best friend and we honestly spend about a week together (give or take a day or two) over the course of an entire year in the same place. Skype helps, but I don’t have the opportunity to Skype with everyone I miss. Yeah, it’s pretty depressing and I hate going through it. So what can really be done?

Well, for Amanda and I: we run this blog. It takes up a lot of our time as is, and invariably when we’re together, we come up with a brand new list of things we want to do, need to do and HAVE to do in order to keep it all going. I have to laugh because since I’ve been home, I’ve worked 10-hour days trying to catch up, clear out and read up on some things we’re hoping to do. While doing that now infamous road trip last week, we came up with brand NEW crazy ideas to pass the time, like a pumpkin-carving contest and adding a message board.  Our theory is basically that if we can’t have a Duranie community living in each of our respective towns, we can create one in a central place online. No, we’re not duranduranmusic.com, and this is not a fan club…but we are a community, and anyone can join. So that’s our goal going forward: to continue making this little blog into a real community. We’re going to run contests, have discussions, start a forum and continue planning for future meet-ups and even conventions; because as fans ourselves, we know what we want in a fan community. We’ll also stay funny, because well…we amuse ourselves, sometimes beyond reason!

No, I really can’t tell anyone here in the US for certain when John, Simon, Nick, Roger and Dom will be back for more. I don’t really know for sure when or where our next road trip or meet-ups will take place (But I will just throw this out to the powers that be – the more notice, the better – even if it’s just the name of the city, because that way we can plan. We can put together a trip plan, figure out meet-up times, and even do room blocks at hotels, which ultimately helps everyone in the long run). I only know that more is to come, and until then, we’re going to try our best to keep everyone busy.

In the meantime, if you happen to be well-versed in websites and have direct experience adding message boards to existing sites…shoot me an email.

-R

 

Paper Gods CA Tour: The Aftermath

It is fun to get away, and really nice to come home. That is exactly how I would characterize this past little road trip on all accounts. In some respects, being with friends and seeing #Duranlive again really felt like coming home; and in other ways, walking into my house last night after a long weekend of driving 1200 miles, some mild debauchery was really welcome. I’m tired!!

For a lot of fans, the joy of a tour comes from seeing the band. This is obvious – I mean, one goes to a show and sees the band play. Done and done, right? Then there are the other people, like me, who have gone to “more than a few” shows over the years, and have made quite a circle of friends as result. The shows go from being solely about the band to being about having a reunion of sorts.  It isn’t all about the band any longer. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a huge part of the allegory (indirect storytelling, usually used in reference to large paintings). The band is like the background, and the connections, relationships, and friendships are the details.

This past week was a perfect example of the community that this band has created, whether by design, or circumstance. I drove to Hollywood on Tuesday to see Duran Duran at the Jimmy Kimmel show, and as I walked in the 93 degree heat to the back of the theatre, I immediately saw friends. Suddenly the afternoon wasn’t defined solely by the torture of standing on a very hot sidewalk while trying not to melt; instead we talked, laughed, and maybe even squealed in delight when we saw the band arrive, caught a glimpse of Mr. Hudson and Dom speaking on stage (We were peaking through the chain-link fence bordering the property!), and especially when we heard the sounds of “You Kill Me With Silence” mixing with the exhaustive late-afternoon heat. Even without Amanda present, I felt completely at home with friends I hadn’t seen since April or prior as we filed past security and found space to stand in front of the stage. When the band finally filtered onto the stage, it was clear they were just as happy to see us – smiles of recognition and surprise exchanged, as the next layer of details began to be added to our story.

During the next 24-hours, Amanda arrived (it is so nice to have both halves of Daily Duranie together!), our friend Heather arrived from Canada, and we found ourselves doing more laughing and talking over, yes – drinks – at more than one bar in the city. (I even got Amanda to eat at In-N-Out, which was a MIRACLE!!! She had grilled cheese, since she’s a vegetarian. She survived!)  The next day we paid (Ok, I paid) for the activities of the day prior, and then we hosted our fan meet-up at the Hollywood-Highland Hard Rock Cafe. I never quite know how these things are going to go. I’m not confident enough to assume that everyone who RSVP’s is actually going to show up, so I spend at least part of the time worrying. I needn’t this time, because we had about 50 DD fans show up to celebrate with us. It was fantastic! There were friends from near and far, and some as far away as Canada. We loved seeing people come up to our area as virtual strangers and end up leaving with new contacts and friends – that is the whole point! We’re proud to be a small portion of the catalyst that brings people together. We sat at a series of lined up tables, talked, laughed and reminisced our way through bad service until it was time to leave for the VIP party at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Bowl itself was another story – 17,000+ people is “kind of” a lot, and I found it to be a giant clusterfuck of activity. Not that it was a bad thing – but after floating with the crowd through the gates and up to our seats, I just stayed put. Even so, friends were tweeting throughout the venue, and it was clear that many of us were all there together to support the band. There’s something incredibly unifying about that. I know the band probably loved the idea of so many “new” people in the crowd for them (and rightly so!), but as a long time fan, there was a part of me that loved knowing so many diehards (like me) were there too, experiencing and probably exhibiting the same pride and affection that I felt that night. That’s good stuff!

After the show, there was a cocktail party for the band and friends, family, and industry types. As I’m sure most know – Amanda and I were shockingly left off the guest list!! (read: sarcasm.) I had a male friend ask where I was that night because he was at the party and spoke with one of my close friends. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but let’s face it: I’m no celebrity or rock star, and no “friend of mine” offered to get me in. (cough, cough) So once again we floated back down the hill with the crowd, got into our shuttle, and spent the next 45 minutes in traffic waiting to get back to our parking spot at the Hollywood-Highland Center (next time, I’m walking). Then we changed into proper driving attire (read: comfortable), and boarded the Duranie “bus.” (my car, which is not really a bus at all) for a 3-hour drive before we stopped for the night. We spent that trip listening to Duran Duran, talking about the show (it was our friend Heather’s very first DD show ever), exchanging texts with a friend who was at the cocktail party, and dishing over the shows to come.

Our next bit of activity took place the next day as we cruised into Berkeley. Another Duranie friend (that we’d never met in person, no less) did us the kindness of planning a get-together for dinner before the show in Berkeley, so our pre-show was once again spent with friends – both old and new – laughing about everything under the sun. By the time we walked back up through the UC Berkeley campus to the venue, we were in a great mood, tired or not, ready for a fantastic show ahead. As we sat in our seats that night, anxious for Duran Duran to take the stage, several really great friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time came up to see Amanda and I. I loved seeing everyone, and it reminded me that our Duran-world is small and closer-knit than we might think.

After the show, Amanda and I agreed to go for drinks (As the bus driver, I had water, thankyouverymuch.) with our friends Melissa and Julie. We walked back down through the now very much drunken side streets of UC Berkeley on the way to find a bar.  I’d forgotten the fun of Friday nights in a college town, and I’d also forgotten that we were about twice the age of most of the kids present, but we still found a great place to hang out for a while as we relaxed and rehashed the show, and only got a few sideways-looks from the kids who showed up for beer and giant-sized Jenga.

The next day, we started our long trek to Rancho Mirage, which is in the California desert near Palm Springs. 7-and-a-half hours is a long time to spend in the car, even if it’s MY car.  Even so, we spent our time wisely: devising a set list of epic magnitude, that we then tweeted directly to Simon, John (yes I know he’s no longer active on Twitter.) and DDHQ, similar to what we’d done in the days prior. Why? Because yes, we are as obnoxious as possible sometimes. As Amanda and I made the initial list of songs, and then meticulously discussed the order in which the songs should be presented (we even created a medley), our friend Heather remained mostly silent in the back seat. Out of nowhere, Heather mused, “If people only knew how much time and energy you two spend on every single detail…” Amanda and I just started laughing. It was a silly set list, but we wanted it to be perfect.  Can you think of a better way to spend 7 hours in the car?!?

Saving the best for last, we arrived at Agua Caliente and hauled our luggage upstairs to the room where our friend Shelly was waiting. We didn’t even make it all the way down the hall before Shelly was out the door, into the hall and hugging us. It was like coming home. We quickly ordered pizza, changed clothing and got ready to go downstairs for another Daily Duranie meet-up in the bar. We arrived at Rendezvous to Shannon and her friends waiting at a table. We quickly commandeered our own table, ordered a round for ourselves and let the party unfold. So many Duranies showed up that night – I lost count, but it was fantastic. We met new friends like Liz “@Adora2000” and Suzie “@STOgonewild” along with many others that I am completely forgetting…and still an absolute ton of longtime Duran fans reuniting, hugging, giggling, talking, and contemplating our collective journey. We talked Paper Gods, band members, touring band members, future touring hopes, and leather pants, of all things. Before we knew it, showtime was upon us and we were ready.

Post-show saw continued festivities in Rendezvous (liked the hotel, did not enjoy the cigarette smoke in the air which threatened to leave me sans voice), with a somewhat smaller, but louder(!!) group of fans. Amanda and I were treated to a few rounds of drinks by a reader named Richard (thanks again!!), and LOTS of laughter. Despite( or even in spite?) of it being the last show for a while, we remained joyful, replaying the entire show, elbows on stage and all, over and over as we sat at the table until wee hours of the morning when a few tweets from a certain guitarist signaled that the band had made their way safely back to Los Angeles and on to whatever came next. For Amanda and I, it meant a short night of sleep before once again climbing back into the Duranie bus for a trip to LAX.

Today, I’m at home.  I’m about to get ready and get in the car one more time to drive Heather back to LAX so that she can board a plane bound for Canada. I’m in disbelief that the good times have ended, so I’m simply saying I need to give the band a break from me for a while. I mean, there’s only so much of me one can take, never mind the rest of you, who seem to keep coming back and reading again and again, of which Amanda and I are so thankful.  Seeing the band again was so fantastic, and I have a whole set of memories about the shows and interacting with them that I haven’t even began to touch upon here, but I wanted to share the memories I have with a lot of YOU from the weekend. In the end, those moments matter just as much, if not more.

Simon said something at a couple of the shows that really struck home with Amanda and I, because we’ve said it many times! He talked about how after they create the music, they really give it to the fans and it becomes ours. Then they go on tour, and share it with us – and it becomes a sort of cyclical process where they give the music, we take it and then we give energy back to them – it’s really synergy in that respect – but the point is that we’re part of the cycle.  Amanda and I have talked about that many times here on the blog (MANY. TIMES.), and I want to encourage everyone – when they announce tour dates, find the time and go. I can’t create a proper picture in words of what that band does at a show, or how I feel when I have had a long weekend with the friends I’ve made as a result.

You just need to go, and I’ll see you there.

-R

One day at a little street cafe…

We talk a lot about fandom experiences here on the blog. Let’s face it, there really isn’t anything more exciting in fandom than finally being able to say you met your idol…and I don’t think Duran fans are exactly immune. I’ve written many words on the subject of the measures we go through to meet our idols, and as most readers know by now, Amanda and I suck at meeting the band.

I’m here to tell you that the struggle is real, and I have a personal story to prove my point.  Prepare to laugh.

Amanda and I got together over her spring break from teaching here at my house.  The plan was simple: we were going to the David Lynch show in LA together.  Amanda was to fly in on Monday night, and then, due to some last-minute arrangements, we were to drive up to LA on Tuesday and come home the day after the show, which was Thursday.

Monday arrived, Amanda landed in “The OC” safely. Tuesday, we got up, I got my youngest off to school, packed and we were on our way. We made the drive to the hotel safely, got settled in, and did what Daily Duranie does best: we went to the lounge.

So our hotel, the lovely Luxe Center City (across from Staples Center and LA Live – thumbs up from me!) has a lounge with an outdoor patio. They were running what I feel to be an obscene special for pitchers of yummy white sangria, so we did what any Duranie should do.  We ordered the pitcher and figured we’d stay awhile.  Pink sunburnt faces and about three hours later, we were ready to check out the lay of the land.

The Theatre at the Ace was really about .71 miles from our hotel, and it was about a 15 minute walk if you were lucky enough to time the lights correctly. I know this because we made this walk about 45 times over the next two days. (a slight exaggeration, but not by much…) I amused myself each trip by joyfully pointing out the Mayan Theater to Amanda. Every. Single. Time…well, at least up until the time I nearly face planted on the sidewalk for not watching where in the hell I was going and tripped over a crack….in the sidewalk.

By the time we get to the theatre and see that yes, it really is right next to the hotel and that no one seems to be around, we both realize we’re thirsty.  We decide we’re going to sit outside at a really nice cafe next door (but attached to The Ace) because it’s a nice day and so we settle in.

Here is where the story goes from mildly amusing to just well…I’ll let you all decide for yourselves.

I check my phone for messages, mainly from home, because my children and husband honestly cannot seem to manage without me for any length of time. Thankfully, at least at this moment, I am free to resume my short holiday and so I look up. (In some ways I almost wish I were doing this blog by video so that you can see my facial expressions.) I see someone I think I recognize walking up to say hi to some crew members two tables down from us at the cafe. It takes my brain entirely too long to realize that yes, it’s Dom…and even once my eyes register who it is, my brain refuses to believe.  What do you think I did then?  Yell out his name?  Smile his way? Grab my phone to take covert pictures and tweet them randomly?  No. Let me reenact the scene for you.

Me: (whispering emphatically) “Oh my GOD. Amanda. It’s Dom. It is Dom and he is like…right there. It. is. Dom.”

I literally turn my head away from Dom’s direction so that he can’t really see my face, but not before I get a really good look right at him. I was worried he’d see me because well, gee…I don’t know, but it turns out that on this particular day, Dom isn’t incredibly observant…because I’m pretty damn sure he’d recognize me and know exactly who I am right off the bat.  Instead he pays zero attention and just talks to the crew.  For some reason, I’m thankful.

Also, I kind of think I must have been trying to talk without moving my mouth too…which is even more hilarious when I think back. LOL

Amanda: (also whispering) “Yes, I can see that, Rhonda.”

Me: (pauses) “Wait, how?”

Amanda: “I can see him in the window of the damn cafe, Rhonda. Say something to him. Here’s your chance. Say something!!”

Me: “No!!! I can’t. I think I’m hyperventilating right this second. Oh my gosh I gotta breathe. I’m going to faint. If I go down it’s going to be really obvious and I will look like an ass!!!….” I grip the table and try to take a deep breath without looking like a complete imbecile, but of course it’s too late for that as far as my partner-in-crime is concerned. I am sure that had I looked at Amanda, she’d have been rolling her eyes at my drama.

This is no joke though. At this point, my heart rate was nearing warp speed and I could feel it beating through my chest as though it were about to take flight without the rest of my body in tow. My head started getting really dizzy. You know that moment right before you faint where you realize you’re going down and that there’s nothing that can be done? Yeah?? THAT.

Amanda (interrupting): “He is leaving. Yell at him. I’m going to call him…”

Me: “No, no. It’s…it’s not right. We can’t!”

I look up just in time to see Dom walk right the fuck past me and into the hotel. 

I look over at Amanda to see her sitting there, lips pursed. I knew I was in big trouble. I took deep breaths…not because I was still in danger of fainting (Oh hell no. That ended as soon as Dom walked away,) but because I knew what was coming.

Me: “Oh wow. Yeah…I know…”

Amanda: “I should have just called after him. Why didn’t you do anything?”

I tried to explain that I just couldn’t move. Honestly, had I been able I think I would have scrambled out away from the table and ran from him when he walked up. My shyness was in overdrive that afternoon. The thing is, I wanted to say hi. I really did. I just couldn’t. So I tweeted (by DM) a friend who was insistent that this time I was going to meet that band and get pictures no matter what. I had to tell her I’d failed. Here are some edited pieces from that conversation…

 Me: So we are at the cafe connected to the Ace. A couple of crew are sitting one table over to my left and Dom JUST walked by.

Friend: FOLLOW HIM!!!!!

Me: He stopped, talked to the crew and then went inside. I looked at him, immediately started to hyperventilating and couldn’t open my mouth. As I sit here I can’t seem to feel my fingers.

Friend: OMG Rhonda!!!!!!  That was the opportunity!!!

After reading that, I look over at Amanda. She is still not happy. I’m thinking she is going to ask me for my Duranie card and tell me to grow a pair at some point in the next thirty seconds, but somehow that moment does not come. She stays mostly silent, probably waiting for me to return to my senses and acknowledge my own dumb-assery. I look back down at my phone and type a reply.

Me: No, he will have to come back down here at some point.

(incidentally I don’t know what I was thinking here…did I think I was going to sit my ass there at the Cafe until Thursday waiting???) 

Me: Amanda was shocked he didn’t see me. LOL

Friend: Girl, GET ON THAT. And quit drinking!!!! :p

Me: I haven’t had anything to drink in about 2.5 hours! And I am completely sober. That sangria was that strong. At all.

Friend: Coffee. Now. You aren’t thinking clearly. LOL

Me: I am drinking iced tea thankyouverymuch.

Friend: :p You had better have a fucking photo by the end of the night!!!!

This was the point when I started realizing what I’d just done. I’d thrown away the one chance I thought I’d get. I mean, I don’t live in the UK. I can’t just head on down to his studio or show up at one of his shows, and even if I could, I don’t think I would purely because I am not a stalker. Sure, I will go to show after show. Yes, I will try to get as close as possible at shows, and always sit on his side. I might even hold up signs for him. Definitely, I tweet to him on occasion and I also tease him mercilessly, never really knowing if he even reads my tweets. But I’m not a stalker.

I also make no sense. I start feeling a mixture of frustration and sadness, knowing that I am probably not going to get that second chance, and that once again I over thought before I acted. I try to cover though because I’m not going to ruin our trip just because of my own idiocy.

Me: I know I blew it but he seemed like he was in a really big hurry and it all happened so fast… and I am an idiot.

Friend: :'( I get that. It’s intimidating.

Me: literally he was not five feet from me.

Friend: Maybe I was wrong. Maybe you should drink MORE.

In the meantime, I apparently did in fact “grow a pair” because I tweeted Dom. Yep, right @ him.  Because… if you’re gonna feel like an ass, you may as well do it all the way… I told him that I’d just seen him and that he walked right by.  I did sort of leave out the fact that I nearly ducked under the table as he walked up and that I almost fainted because well, who really needs details like that??  He explained that he was really spaced-out from jet lag and that I should have said something.

No kidding? Ya think??

Now, I will tell everyone that yes, I did finally get that photo with him, and that yes, he was very kind. I know everyone is waiting to hear that story – but the truth is that there isn’t much to tell, and what there might be are just memories for me to keep. I will say one thing though: I had a tough time hearing and understanding him, and he had a really tough time hearing me because we were in a pretty loud bar. So that went well. I felt like I was screaming at him and then trying to decipher what he said in return.  I am still thinking of things I could and should have asked him or talked about that had nothing to do with music and especially not Duran Duran. (I really wanted to know if he was watching Better Call Saul, for instance!!)  It is just that when you get in front of your idol, whether that is Simon LeBon or Dom Brown or someone else entirely – your brain freezes, or at least mine did. I just wish I could have gotten past that fan-girl brain freeze quickly enough to show that I’m a real person. I’m not really just a fan girl after a photo and autograph. I really didn’t need to only talk about Duran Duran or what I thought about the show. But, before that could happen that night, we were interrupted by someone else, and that’s the way it goes.

I still don’t think he knows that I was seeing the world spin or that I was honestly and truly going to faint had I even attempted to say his name out loud that day in the cafe. I have laughed about The Incident over and over with Amanda – who I think has mostly forgiven me at this point – but I can’t promise it wouldn’t happen again. What’s bizarre is that I’d already met Dom before and had a full conversation with him many years prior (on a plane), and for that matter I’ve “met” all the band members when they signed my Astronaut CD many years ago. Never reacted anything remotely like  I did that day.

Truthfully, I am incredibly shy in person. Horribly so, in fact. I have a really hard time meeting new people. I hate mingling at parties. I used to be so bad that I wouldn’t even order my own food at restaurants. I try to hide it very well, and of course I’m super brave online, but for some really weird reason that day – ALL of my insecurities came out to frolic in the warm sun at the same time! Embarrassingly enough, it reminded me of what it was like in middle school as I would sit with the rest of my really awkward friends and see the boy I secretly thought was really cute (and way the hell out of my awkward, nerdy league) walk by.  How dumb is that?!?

I am 44 years old. I’ve been married a week shy of twenty years. Mom of three. My oldest is 18. You’d think I’d have grown up by now.

Somehow though, I’m still glad I didn’t.

-R

 

 

 

 

Amanda Wins!

I have the best friend ever. You all can stop competing for the title, because Amanda wins, hands down. I pale in comparison.

This past Saturday, Amanda and I finally got down to exchanging holiday gifts, because you know, the holidays are year round when you’re Daily Duranie. (I don’t know why. I just wrote that because it sounded reasonable at the time.) I will not tell a lie, back when it really WAS Christmas, I had no interest in any of it. If I could have gotten away with forgetting the whole deal and just ignoring the festivities, I would have gladly done so. It was just one of those times, and unfortunately – much of that feeling continues around my home these days. I go through the motions of each passing event, hoping that I will come out the other side with my typical sunny and rosy…hmm….reasonably positive…ok…my normal “hoping for the best, expecting the worst” attitude restored.  So far, I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m trying my best. No, this is not chronic depression, this is just me trying to get through a very stressful time at home. We’ll just leave it at that and move on.

As I was saying, we Skyped and exchanged gifts. I am here to tell you that Amanda has “won” Christmas. The rest of us, including Santa Claus, can quit right now. Amanda took it upon herself to create a book commemorating the ten years of friendship she and I have experienced. The good, the band (that’s not a typo), and the downright hilarious.

This is no ordinary book. This is a full color, hard-bound 154-page (including our picture on the last page) printed book in a  8.5×10 landscape format. It has a full dedication that I won’t copy here, and the book includes photos, pictures of our concert tickets, quotes that we’ve said over the years to one another, anecdotes that she found and copied from old message boards that we were a part of, old blogs that we’d written, emails and private messages.  It is truly a complete representation of most everything that she and I have been together in the very short ten years that we’ve known one another. I was completely flabbergast when I opened the package, and I pretty much remain that way this morning. I spent much of the past two days reading every single word in the book – I can’t believe she put this together (but now I know why she’s been so busy!!!), and mostly – I can’t imagine why she would do this for me, but I’m awfully glad she did.

I also have to thank Amanda’s sister, Jenny…more than I could ever put into words here.  Her company, Interwoven Heritage Services, puts projects and oral histories like this together, and I know her help was invaluable, as was her time. If you ever consider putting your own story in print like this, I highly, highly recommend checking them out.

If I could, I would scan the entire book and show everyone right here on the blog. The reality is, I think we’d offend a great many of you in doing so. My husband, for instance, was quite surprised (not pleasantly, I might add) to read that his wife curses like a sailor, and drinks like a fish. (I really don’t. Much.) The fact that he was surprised by such things doesn’t really worry me as much as his actually reading this book does, to be honest! The band might not enjoy knowing that we have actually considered suing them for emotional distress more times than I can count. Fellow fans? Well, you’ve been the source of many a good laugh over the years. As have Amanda and I ourselves, I might add. We’re damn funny, at least in retrospect.  That said, I do want to show off my gift, at least in part.

Front cover of my gift
This is the front cover

So as you can see, Amanda chose some of the pictures we’ve taken over the years – you have probably seen most of them on this site.

But then there are the pages themselves. Like any good book, she starts at the beginning….

From the Astronaut tour that started it all

While this wasn’t the first time we’d met – it was the first “tour” we ever did together. Two whopping shows (together – Amanda did a few more with other friends while I went back home!) and we were hooked, both to getting to as many shows together as possible and touring together…because as I say here, “Once you find people you can tour with – you stick with them.”

John Taylor page

 

Our next tour together was for Chicago in 2006, right after they’d announced that Andy and the band had parted ways again. As you can see here – John Taylor is one full page, while the memories of that show, written by Amanda on the other side. Again – that story is from this blog.

Durham page from my book
Amanda tried to include as much as possible – including a screen shot of John’s response to something I’d tweeted him about our travels!

She really did her best to tell the full story of what we’ve done so far…with hopefully more to come!

Convention pages
She even spent time looking back at the convention, since that took up the better part of a year to plan!

So those are just a few pages from what I think is the kindest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received and certainly do not deserve. I’ll let you all in on a little secret – I have to give Amanda a huge apology. For the past several months, probably since late-September, I’d really lost hope that we’d ever find a publisher for our manuscript. It was just too large of a project for me to compile on my own and send, and it seemed to me as though Amanda had no interest or time to put into it once she got started in her new job. Sadly, I put the book on the very back burner, and chalked it up to being yet another experience I had only seen part of the way through. I was disappointed that I didn’t see it through, but I felt like my heart wasn’t really in it if she wasn’t able to be dedicated to it either. It never occurred to me that the reason she wasn’t working on it was because she was basically writing and editing an entirely different BOOK!  So, I have to apologize to her. I’d lost faith in our project at a time when I really should have been asking more questions!  Someday that monster manuscript is going to be printed!!

We talked a little on Saturday about what might be coming next. Only the band knows for sure (and I honestly have my doubts about whether or not they even know!)…but I have to thank Amanda so much for this gift. It not only reminded me of just how much fun I’ve had over these past ten years, but it also rekindled a bit of my love for the band. I’d really kind of forgotten…which is EXACTLY why they shouldn’t wait so long between tours and albums, but at this point I think it’s like herding cats to get them to really see. Either they can’t see it because they’re so stuck on the whole “we’re a rock band and you are just fans…what could you possibly know?” thing….or they just really cannot even begin to understand how integral THEY are to OUR lives. Their history is really OUR history, and if nothing else, the book Amanda created for me really demonstrates that point. Someday, I hope to show at least one of them this creation and maybe then it’ll hit home. Here’s hoping they won’t be offended my my creative use of the word “bastards” in there…. 😀

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Time is a River

I’m coming out of hiding today to make mention of a very special “anniversary” of sorts.  For those who have known me since the hallowed days of DDF – you might already be aware.  If not, allow me to age everyone properly.

On this date, TEN very short years ago, a little convention began in New Orleans called 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention.  It began on what was a Friday night and went straight through to Sunday, and for me personally it was a completely life-changing experience.

I hear a lot of you right now: Who really says that?!? I mean, it was really just a big party, wasn’t it? Who checks out of their life for a few days to go have fun, only to come back saying it completely changed the whole course of their life?  Believe me, I see the irony there, and I would normally agree with the naysayers out there. Except of course, I was there, and through much soul-searching, I see how the event really did change me.

Maybe it wasn’t so much of a change as it woke up my “inner-Rhonda”. I’ve written about this so many times here on the blog now that I worry it’s lost it’s appeal.  All I really know is that I really do believe that there are moments in our lives where we come upon forks in the road, and the direction we choose makes all the difference. This convention, and choosing to not only attend but to help organize it, really did change my direction. I will always hold that weekend, along with the months of planning prior, very dear to my heart.  So much has changed since that weekend in 2004, and yet I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I met Jessica, Mac, Amanda, Mags, Lisa, Krissie, Carla…and so many others in person.

I spent time yesterday and last night thinking about the convention and specific little things that happened, hoping to come up with a list. Maybe those who were there that weekend will have others to share…but here are some of mine:

*Having Jessica meet me at our hotel room that night. From the very second I met her, I knew I’d done the right thing when I got involved planning the convention and flying to New Orleans to attend.

*Sharing a hotel room with Lisa, Mags, Jessica and Carla.  We all fit and had a great time! This was also, I believe, the first, last and only time that I attended a Duranie event without sharing a room with Amanda (she cannot say the same!)

* Seeing Jessica’s red hair and watching it fade throughout the weekend. I don’t know why that sticks with me so much, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be the type of person that would die my hair vibrant red. (I eventually did not that long ago…and my red streaks faded to magenta right away too. LOL)

*Laughing at Lisa and a few others suck helium and say “Good evening and welcome to our show!” as we decorated for the dance party on Saturday night.  Some might roll their eyes and say “because that’s never been done before”…but the thing is, for me, I’d never seen anyone do it before that night.

* Listening to Mac tell us how Bourbon Street roped her (and a friend) in and tied them up.  I think Mac became my hero that weekend.

* Displaying all of my Duranie pins and t-shirts with pride that weekend. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I felt comfortable wearing a Duran t-shirt without people giving me strange looks, and if you know me – you know how self-conscious I can be.

*Listening to a copy of Astronaut before it was released *gasp* and declaring that the band “had ruined”  What Happens Tomorrow (compared to what I’d already heard them do live).  That’s right, even back then I was filled with nasty little opinions that I couldn’t keep to myself!

*Standing up and giving a speech in front of the crowd that night. Even though I had been president of my local MOMS club and involved in PTA for my kids school – I was nervous to be standing up there, but it was the very first time I can ever remember feeling like I really did fit in.

* Watching all of the men (both Duranies and Duranie husbands) grab chairs and sit down right directly in front of the screening area to watch The Chauffeur when the video played at the dance party.

*Buying drinks with Amanda at the dance party. I can’t remember if I was drinking gin and tonic or vodka and tonic that night (both are favorites)…but we very clearly started a tradition for ourselves.

*Commenting on Amanda wearing these boots with (what I felt were) high heels all over Bourbon Street. I don’t wear heels – ever – due to horrible neuromas on the bottom of my feet, so I marveled at how she could walk in those things. I was wearing flip flops, which are still my shoe of choice!

* Singing Rio on stage at what was then Howl at the Moon. (I’d say “Thank goodness there’s no video of that”….alas…it’s out there somewhere.)

*Saying good-bye to everyone on Sunday morning. I had such a great weekend, and I secretly worried about whether I would really see any of them again. How do you bond so quickly with people you’ve met in real life only once?  That Duranie connection runs very, very deep.

Thinking about that weekend makes me want to do it all over again. I swore I was done with New Orleans after Voodoo…but I don’t know….

Happy memories, everyone. I continue to thank my lucky stars that I met you all. Despite, time, distance and changes – my love and friendship runs very, very deep.

-R

I Took You Home

It has been a week!  Between the first week at a new school and a new job for me and all of the, shall-we-call-it, dialogue in Duranland about corporate gigs, performances, and retweets, I’m exhausted.  No, I’m spent.  Wiped.  Drained.  Fatigued.  After allowing myself to sleep in, I began searching for a pick-me-up, something to renew my spirit.  Then, it hit me!  We had a couple friends get their orders from Cafe Press from our store and they shared their excitement with us!

First, our friend, Julie, showed off her fabulous, new Daily Duranie traveling mug!  By the way, I, too, ordered one of those and LOVE it!  It is super well-made and I love how the top can act as a handle, if you want that.

Julie Travel Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, our friend, Al, modeled his cool, new Daily Duranie tank top!  I can’t wait to hear what gets asked or said to him when he wears it out in public!

Al Tank Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is this kind of thing such a pick me up?  Not only do I love that our friends have products that they like, which is part of the reason we opened a store, but it is so nice to know that we have friends like these.  Their support means everything to us.  Seriously.  When things get intense and they really did this week, this support helps keep us going!

If you, too, order from our Cafe Press store, we would love to get pictures of you with the products!!!

-A