Category Archives: friendship

Just Like That River: My Online Friend Joel.

Hear them shout across the land

I think I have been trying to collect my thoughts since last night, when I heard that a fellow fan named Joel David had suddenly passed away. We knew one another online, but had never met in person. I suppose I’m still shocked this morning.

We had been in the middle of dinner – we’d started late because of that dreaded Daylight Savings Time nonsense (if you’re on Twitter, you know how much I detest it!). Sure, my clock might say 8pm, but my body says it’s 7pm, and that’s that. Walt and I were still sitting at our counter, watching American Idol (yes, I’ve succumbed) and talking over our half-finished glasses of Cabernet. I saw my phone light up and decided to inspect it. My older kids are far enough away now to where I tend to worry more.(I know I shouldn’t, but I’m a mom. Plain and simple.) I picked it up and drew a huge breath, loud enough for Walt to hear.

Durandy’s news that Joel David had died was bright and easily read – right there on my screen. I re-read his short note over, and over again, because out of everyone I knew of in Duranland – I couldn’t quite believe it was Joel that we’d lost. I would hear from that guy nearly every day. Whether it was a comment on Facebook about something I’d written on the blog, Twitter, or connecting on one of DDHQ’s own status updates – Joel was a mainstay in the community. I appreciated his usually sunny-outlook, and his support.

I’ve seen you on TV

I spend a lot of time online. (Although my phone tells me that my screen time was down 25% last week!) I spend a lot of time talking to people on Twitter, among many other things. It is how I choose to remain connected to the world. Most days – I don’t mind that I don’t necessarily know my neighbors or have friends nearby. I am able to open my phone, get to Twitter, and chat away with people whenever I feel the urge, and I like that. Between my trusty laptop and my phone, I’m pretty set. I’m not someone who thrives by having lunches with friends, or shopping dates – although they’re nice – they’re not a necessity for me. Social media though? Yes, it’s a thing.

I’ve had friends – and yes, Amanda is one of them – say to me that they don’t have time to be online. They’ve got careers and real things to do. They want time with actual people, and I don’t fault anyone for needing that. It is important to have people you’re able to call at 3am that can be there. Online friendships aren’t always the same. They’re not necessarily as deep or meaningful. In some ways, I get it.

It’s true that a lot of my friendships might be superficial. I mean, we chat about a band, so sure, it doesn’t seem like we get into the nitty gritty of politics, or childrearing, or personal convictions (but often times, we do). And no, I wouldn’t call my online friends at 3am. But then again, I wouldn’t call anyone at 3am, except for maybe my mom, my sister, and my kids. From my own experience, good phone calls don’t come at that hour…unless maybe you’re very confused about the time difference. (Listen, my math isn’t that great so….)

Regardless, I get the point. Then again, you’re reading a blog from someone who hates using the phone for it’s originally intended purpose. Just saying.

I know what you’re thinking

It’s true. I don’t have a job, much less a career. I have some spare time (although not nearly as much as one might think) on my hands. While I indeed have some personal thoughts about careers and life-choices that I won’t bore you all with here, I think the main point I want to make is that we all choose how to connect with people.

My path is likely different from most anybody else reading this. Different does not mean “less than”. If you’re looking down your nose at me, or the other people who like being on Facebook or Twitter for the pure social aspect, you should probably rethink your own intentions. I’m happy that I’m online. I don’t look at it as a waste of time at all. It is how I choose to interact with people other than my immediate family. For me, various types of social media have been how I have made, and maintained, 90% of the friendships I’ve had as an adult, believe it or not.

When I first really got involved in the Duran fan community, it was through message boards. I met Amanda as a result of one of those boards. When Twitter and Facebook gained in popularity, I made the jump to those platforms. Then the blog and website came along, and we even still have a message board. (albeit I am hard pressed finding time and remembering to go over there a lot – but I try!) I am on and off of Twitter all day. I can scroll through, respond to things in a fraction of a second, and be off again; even while I’m working with my youngest on her math. You’d think I wouldn’t have to stand over her to get work done, but you’d be wrong. Kids are great.

Two, of a billion stars

Joel is one of those people that I would often see a note, or see a new Instagram post from. He was, from what I knew, a happy guy. He would reach out when he had something to say, and he even checked in with me when I admitted being very depressed last year. I loved seeing his pictures, and enjoyed knowing he was a part of this community. Had I not been involved on social media, I would have never connected with him. For that matter, the same can be said for many of you reading this, or tweeting to me or Daily Duranie on Twitter.

I guess my feelings today can best be summed up like this: I’m sad that I won’t see Joel online anymore. He was a friend, and I felt like he cared. I feel terrible for his friends and family. His loss will certainly be felt by a lot of people. Knowing Joel, I am betting he had absolutely no idea that so many of us would respond as we have.

When she shines, she really shows you all she can

By the same token, I am no longer going to feel less important or impactful because I have time to be online, or because I have made friends this way. No, I am not a big career-person, and that’s hard for me to admit. I wanted a career of my own, but it just never quite worked out. I am probably not changing the world in a huge, noticeable way. However, I have done things to make a part of this world – my teeny-tiny little speck on it, anyway – a little better. More importantly, we ALL have, in ways that are both big and small. We don’t always see the impact we have on others, but I can promise it’s there. Have faith in that, as I try to do the same each day.

I don’t go through life assigning importance to people based on some sort of arbitrary sort of list, pondering over whether or not they’ve contributed to society, or causes, at an appropriate level. However, even if I had, Joel never failed to make me smile. In a world and on platforms that are filled with people so angry they can’t even see the good that is out there – Joel spread happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.

Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand

It isn’t lost on me that our Duranie world is the teeniest bit smaller today. Many of us are sad or are struggling. (Shout out to my buddy Alana – I’m thinking of you!! You too Heather – keep on healing, my friend!) Those are healthy and normal feelings to have and share with others. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We’re not ALWAYS dancing on the sand…but aren’t we lucky to have found a community of people who understand when we do?

There’s always something to be thankful for.

-R


I Don’t Really Know What I’m Doing Here

Sometimes I’m caught in a landslide

I think I’m beginning to realize that it’s over for now. Everyone has gone home, and we’re all coming out of the haze of exhaustion that surrounds us like a snuggly cloak when we’re in the thick of it. We don’t even notice how tired we really are on those mornings in between shows – at least not much beyond saying we need coffee, or that we’re SO TIRED – because we have another gig waiting. That energy tends to keep us fueled up, and ready to keep dancing.

Yeah, that was all fine and good until last night for me. I was tired when I got home on Sunday night, sure. I mean, I left the Vespar bar at Cosmo around 4am (what on earth was I thinking?!?) and only got a few hours of rest before my body decided it was wake-up time. Even so, it wasn’t that bad. Monday night, I’d say the same. I was tired from dealing with school – my youngest is really giving me a hard time at the moment – but I was fine.

Last night though? It was my body telling me that I was done. I had gone on a walk in the late afternoon, charging up the steep driveway from my house and out into the surrounding neighborhood. I just needed time to listen to my audiobook and not think. By the time I got back, I couldn’t wait to be done with dinner so I could go to bed!

My beat’s so in time

This morning I had to take the child to school and run to the store. On the way back I was thinking about the weekend. I had such a great time. That, in and of itself isn’t a surprise. I was in Vegas, my friends were with me, we ate, laughed, drank, danced and talked our way from Thursday straight to Sunday. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.

I think that for me it is knowing that it will be awhile until I see my friends again that makes me saddest. Amanda and I have been friends for fifteen years now – truthfully I think it was just about this time in 2004 when she first posted on our message board about going to the convention. Might have been a few months later, but not much. Our lives have changed a lot since then.

It is unreasonable to expect that nothing will change. I think even the way she and I look at shows or prepare for them is different now than it was in 2005 when we first went to that Chicago show. I didn’t know much of anything then, and the entire “process”, so to speak, felt new. In some small ways, I miss that “brand new” feeling.

I’m out of reach, I’ll talk if it feels right

Nowadays, Amanda and I don’t connect nearly as often. Every once in a while we do catch up – but right now, she’s far busier than I am, teaching at school and managing a local election campaign. I’m proud of her, and I am thrilled she’s going after her passion. Sometimes though, I worry that her joy in doing this – the blogging and the fan thing – has waned. Yet, I understand. Last year I had zero passion for anything, really. Packing boxes is what got me through. I wouldn’t think, I’d just pack. Fandom isn’t something that you can’t pick back up again, though. Sometimes you really do have to put it down for a while in order to fully appreciate it.

Getting together this weekend felt like a triumph, really. I found that I appreciated being there, seeing the lights, feeling the hugs, and seeing the joy in the faces of my fellow Duranies and other friends. It was truly beyond words. Coming home hasn’t really been a let-down, but it does make my heart hope for more to come.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to feel that way once in a while. Participating in fandom can be really fulfilling. I had told my friend Patty, and even Dom at one point that going to these weekend things where we have the chance to hang out together after a show, feels a lot like family reunion. We might be dysfunctional from time to time, but we’re still family.

-R

Live Beside It, Laughing Till You’re Crying

You might have heard that Wisconsin has had quite a winter. Actually, it started out quiet and very mild and then it took a turn. We have experienced almost the entire season’s snowfall in a few weeks on top of having beyond frigid temperatures. This has resulted in six snow days. I have been teaching for a long time and we have never had as much. In fact, the number is double the maximum number of days we had in the past. What the heck. Anyway, when I have been at work, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with our curriculum now that we have a lot less days to work with. This led to a funny discussion.

Before I dive into the details, I have to provide some context. When I first started teaching at this school, the entire United States History Team consisted of women, except one. Even our assistant principal was a woman. Over time, this slowly changed. Now, I look around and realize that I’m the only woman among all men. How did that happen?! Luckily, the men I work with are generally good guys (not that I would ever tell them that!). They are well-aware that I’m a pretty outspoken colleague when it comes to issues surrounding women’s rights and women’s voices. (I do teach Women’s Studies, after all.) While they respect that and do try to check themselves, they also cannot resist to give me a hard time every once in awhile.

Earlier this week, we went over the daily topics for the next few weeks. By doing that, we realized that Wednesday the 20th would not be a teaching day. On that date, our juniors take the ACT. While many teachers proctor the exam, the 9th grade teachers like myself have a meeting. Then, the afternoon is usually open for us to work. This led me to literally shout out in glee. Is it because I don’t want to teach? No. It has to do with perfect timing! The free afternoon will give me time to get the plans for the substitute teacher ready. It will ease my stress at work tremendously.

You can imagine my colleagues shock when they heard me squeal. They know that I’m not usually one to enjoy teacher work days. This forced me to explain that I will be gone on the 21st and 22nd while still giving minimal information about where and why I will be out. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of my Duranie activities but knowing my colleagues, they would twist it, somehow, to give me a hard time. Finally, after too many questions, I told them that I would be in Vegas for Duran. Their response was super predictable. One of them said, “There you go again. Letting your life to be dedicated by a bunch of guys,” before laughing his head off. I laughed, too, especially after I threw a pencil at him.

I wasn’t even mad by the comment but clearly he doesn’t really understand fandom or at least my fandom. Yes, the subject of my fandom is Duran Duran, a bunch of guys. That’s true. Yes, I’m traveling to Vegas to see them live. Absolutely not a lie. While it might seem like my life revolves around them, it doesn’t. While I adore Duran shows and believe that seeing them live in the best way I could spend two hours ever, they are more the excuse, the icing on the cake. Yep. Duran Duran is the best excuse I have to get together with my friends, away from home.

My Duran Duran weekends do consists of hours watching, singing and screaming during those two hour concerts. More than that, though, they consist of spending time with my female friends. There is something that is good for my soul when I am surrounded with other women. While we might have really different lives, opinions, perspectives, etc, we do all have some shared experiences simply by being women and then by being Duran Duran fans. It feels safe.

For those of you who do not know me, let me share a little secret. I very much like to be in control as it makes me feel safe and protected. When I’m around my female friends, there is less of a need for that. Instead, I can let me hair down, so to speak, and just have a good time. This is a welcome relief from the day-to-day experience of what I call “normal.” Besides, who else can I laugh with when it comes to talking about how the aging fanbase needs different touring items now that we are in our 40s? Who else can I giggle with when we begin to discuss some of the band’s more interesting fashion choices or dance moves?

So, in reality, going on tour isn’t really about five guys in a band. No, it is about having a girls weekend spending time doing what we love best.

-A

A moment worth celebrating

Some days are just meant to be celebrated!  I am super behind today already, but I needed to take a minute and congratulate my dearest friend on some VERY hard-fought victories.

A lot of people, including myself – simply vote on election day. We proudly display our “I voted” stickers as though we’ve done something monumental, take selfies and display them all over the net. My friend Amanda takes the process a lot more to heart. She volunteers for campaigns, running and organizing teams of people for canvassing, among a great many other things. In short, she lives, eats, and breathes campaigning. Since 2010, she has been working nearly non-stop to “right” some of the things that have happened in her state. Last night (or early this morning!), election results appear to show that her goal has finally been reached.

My purpose in writing this post isn’t to get into political debate over what anyone else may think or feel is right or wrong…but simply to prove a point that I think has been very lost in this world lately.

Amanda and I kind of sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum, to some degree. I lean more towards right of center. She is most definitely on the left. Yet we still get along, and agree on a great many things. We find common ground because THAT IS WHAT NORMAL, LEVEL-HEADED PEOPLE DO.

I respect Amanda, 100%. I celebrate her victory because she is my closest friend. I wouldn’t set out to hurt her any more than she would me.  I am incredibly proud of her today (although I still would have been proud even if her candidates had not won), and I’m overjoyed that she is able to feel like she can celebrate her hard work. Everyone needs that, and I’m relieved that SHE is relieved.

Sometimes I think our governments, social media, and media in general, are so focused on making sure we see what makes us all different that we forget to notice and comment on all of the things that make us similar. The common ground is there and miles wide, we just need to be willing to find it. That doesn’t mean looking at your friend and saying “You’re the one who voted for the guy I don’t like, so you need to change your thinking and know that I’m the one who is right.” It means listening to one another. It means doing a LOT of listening, and a lot less talking.

Social media is great for talking. Tweeting is really just about who can yell the loudest. There’s a lot of that going on. I’m wondering more about the listening, though. Who is willing to do more of that?

Count me in on that side.

Congratulations my friend. I am thrilled for you, and for your state. I know how much of yourself you put into this election and campaign. It is inspiring to see that kind of hard work amount to so much. I hope you never lose sight of what you’ve accomplished.

Oh, I know this has little to do with Duran Duran. Except that it does. Amanda and I are both fans. Our common ground has ALWAYS been this band. I know of fellow fans who are far more liberal AND far more conservative than I am. Yet when it comes down to it, we all love the band. It’s a great starting point. I strive to remind everyone that when it boils down to it, I really do believe there is more that makes us similar than different, no matter the color of our skin, the loves of our life, or where you fall on the political spectrum. I think that to some degree, we’re all a bit guilty of forgetting that from time to time.

Onward and upward.

-R

Who Do You Need?

Sometimes, it feels like weeks take on a feeling, a theme.  Last week, it was all about political action.  This week, there has been a 360 degree turn, which has led me to think about friendship, support and    the importance of common experiences.  (I hope that you all let me express my thinking for a bit.  I need it.  I promise, though, that I will get to a Duran connection eventually.)

Some weeks at work focus on curriculum development or assessment.  Unfortunately, my week didn’t have anything to do with that.  No, it was about kids who are hurting, emotionally, and for good reasons.  I have had students come to me with suicidal thoughts, mental illness, concerns about sexual assault, and discrimination.  Yeah, clearly, their problems are not surface ones.  These kids came to me for comfort, for hugs, for advice or for a place to vent, to talk, to express their conflicted emotions.  With each one, I offered hugs, my ear and any advice that I could.  As each one walked away, I felt frustration that I couldn’t do more and sadness that they have to deal with these incredibly tough issues.

As I now sit in my living room, I am left thinking about support.  Did I support my students enough?  Did it matter that many of their problems are not ones that I have experienced first hand myself?  I wondered if their families could or did offer better support.  Did their friends?  Should I do more?  If so, what?  Even as I type this, I ache for them.  They are so young and have so much on their plates.  I admire their strength and their ability to pick themselves up to move forward.

As I ponder these students I am so fond of, I think my own friendships.  Do I offer my friends enough support especially when they are struggling?  If not, how can I?  Then, I think about myself.  Things haven’t been awesome for me, either.  Am I as strong as my students?  Do I seek the support that I need like they do and did?  I have to say that I probably don’t as I think I have gotten pretty good at hiding my own pain and putting on a good front.  I let pride rule and I don’t often ask for what I need.  Again, though, I think about my kids.  They didn’t let their pride get in their way.

Is it more than just pride for me?  Is it because I assume that no one would understand because they haven’t experienced what I have?  Maybe.  Does having first hand understanding of something matter? I think of Rhonda.  We have had many conversations over the years about how we are the only two people in the world that understands what it is like to be half of the Daily Duranie.  I think about those blogs in which people have unleashed it on us, telling us not only that we are wrong but that we are “desperate” or “pathetic” or something similar.  If there is a negative comment that gets to me, there is no one better to turn to than Rhonda because she has been there, too.  Our unique experience as the Daily Duranie does bring us closer and causes us to lean on each other at times.  I wonder if that is the same thing with members of Duran.  Have they turned to each other at times solely because they are the only ones who understand what it is like to be a member of the band?  Maybe.

Are their some experiences that are so unique that others couldn’t get it and couldn’t give the amount and kind of support that is needed?  I don’t know.  This is where I fail for myself.  I often don’t share problems I have with people who I suspect wouldn’t get it.  Now, I have to wonder if I am not giving enough credit to other people.  So, this week has reminded me that people can and should ask for help or support when they need it.

-A

If You Leave a Light On…

I am lucky enough to write this blog post on Friday afternoon due to a much-needed and much-unexpected snow day!  Normally, I write the Friday blogs on Thursday nights.  Fridays usually mean work for me followed by running some errands and making my weekend to-do list.  Every once in awhile, I have something to look forward to.  When I’m really lucky, I have something to look forward and the energy needed to enjoy them.  Today is one of those days.  What do I have to look forward to?  I have a Skype conference scheduled with my partner-in-crime.  While some might argue that a “conference” does not sound like fun, I would disagree.  Well, yes, some work will get done (it has to!), but it also gives us a chance to catch up, too!

What is on the work portion of today’s conversation?  Our list is rather lengthy, actually.  Most importantly to many reading this blog, we have some convention tasks to deal with.  Most specifically, we must get a little Kickstarter campaign up and running.  The goal is to get enough funding to meet the down payment for our convention location, the home base for our convention, happening during Duran Duran Appreciation Day/weekend.  This, of course, is key for us to move forward with our planning.  Be on the look-out for that!  The other big topic for us is about the Pop Culture conference we are presenting at next month! EEEK!  Next month definitely makes it sound like it is right around the corner.  We have planning to discuss, in terms of our travel, but, more importantly, our paper and presentation demand our attention, too.  Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to all of it.  For me, none of that feels like work even though it takes time and energy.

Beyond all that, I cannot wait to simply catch up.  I have to admit that I have not been that good of a friend lately to Rhonda or to my other friends.  When I have had a chance to check in, communicate with my friends, find time for them, I just haven’t.  I could describe the reasons for this, but I’m not sure how much any of you really would be interested in that.  I’ll say it this way.  It has taken the vast majority of my energy just to get work related tasks done along with required household chores.  (Let me just ask right now.  Why can’t my cat do the dishes or laundry or pay bills?!  Why is he so useless?  Apparently, he thinks his job is to just be cute!  The outrage!)  Now, I’m hoping that my snow day along with today’s conference helps to push me back to normal.

Once that happens, I’ll be better able to keep up with any and all news in the Duran sphere of the world.  I know that Simon is going to be a grandfather and that they are going to be playing in Dubai soon. Other than that, I feel like I have been in the dark, which is unacceptable to me!  After all, the blog needs me to be somewhat in the loop.  My happiness requires that, too!

-A

The door is standing open

Rarely do I find time to write three blog postings in a single day, but on this Monday, I make the time. For me, this post, which will publish tomorrow afternoon, is about processing, cleansing, and still more processing, I suppose.

A little more than an hour or so ago, I stumbled upon news that another one of our extended Duranie family members has passed. Her name is Lisa Amaral, and I am certain that many of you reading probably knew her. She was a regular on DDM back when it was a busy “crossroads of the world” for Duran Duran fans, and from what I can tell, she was loved by many. To be that kind of person…I don’t know what that is like.

Despite my sadness, I didn’t really know Lisa. We were not friends, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise as I write this. That isn’t the point. I had a great many friends that were close to her, loved her, and are incredibly heartbroken today. Their grief is palatable on every level, and I wish I could hug each one of them.

Back in my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to delude myself into believing tomorrow would always be there. I only had a few friends that died between the time of middle school and college, and just one that I knew well. It was simple to tell myself that someone dying when they were my age was practically unheard of, unless they were very, very ill. I was healthy, young, and had a lifetime ahead of me.

In my thirties, I lost a few other friends. One that was very close to me in my local MOMS Club, and that was a tragic loss. I started realizing, but trying my best to ignore, that a “lifetime” didn’t mean any particular length. You get what you get.  I watched my own father die from a disgustingly evil disease, but even then, I pushed that thought out of my mind because I was a mom and had things to do. Tours to go see. Bands to meet. Friends to make.

Now I am cruising through my forties. The time seems to have sped up with each passing decade.  I have lost a few very close friends, and seen many family members and other friends battle illnesses that are meant to kill. I am still a major procrastinator.  The saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is one of my favorite. I’m awful.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but somehow, I still haven’t. I see friends at events like the weekend in Las Vegas and many times I’m the one standing there…or walking by… hemming and hawing about whether or not I should even go up and say hi. I immediately assume that I’d be interrupting them, or that they don’t really want to be attacked in the middle of a hallway as they’re standing by, waiting for an elevator or chatting with friends. I saw a lot of people I knew that weekend, but very few did I run up to and say hello, or hug, even if I wanted. I was content to either just wave from afar, or say nothing. Yes, I’m shy, but I’m also not very good at approaching people out of the blue.

We don’t know if we have tomorrow. That is a concept I can’t seem to teach myself. I wasn’t friends with Lisa, but I knew her. I knew who she was, and I saw her that weekend in Vegas.  It is unfathomable to me that life can just end without warning in three weeks time, yet it happens all of the time. It’s hard to process that idea.

I don’t like the idea that over the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I will have other friends and family die. I worry that I won’t do the things I should do in the meantime, because it’s easy to slip back into that place where I delude myself into believing I have forever to tell people how I feel. It’s maddening.

For those of you reading who knew and loved Lisa, you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry. A great deal of my friends are posting about their loss, and it is a testament to Lisa that she has so many friends that adore her and are heartbroken.

When these things happen, I always think about how I’m glad I went to the shows I did, or that I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful for the friends that are willing to put up with me, and for those that push me way the heck out of my comfort zones, too. This time though, I’m starting to think that I need to take more chances with my emotions. I need to make sure the people I care about know how I feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

-R

Watch Out For Each Other

Thank goodness it is Friday!  I don’t know about the rest of you but it was a long week on my end.  I couldn’t be more thrilled that the weekend is just a few hours away.  On that note, what Duran related song did I find in my iPod shuffle?!  The first one actually was Faith In This Colour.  Unfortunately, this song won’t work for blogging purposes so I hit shuffle again.  This time I landed on Sunrise.  While my immediate reaction was to go with the line, “The music’s between us,” I opted instead to go for the line, “Watch out for each other.”  Obviously, this song represents the reunion and that line seemed encouraging when it came the band itself in 2004.  Now, though, the line feels a little different to me.  It feels deeper, more personal as it reminds me of friendship.

The line “watch out for each other” reminds me of friendship because, to me, an essential element of friendship is just that.  It means looking out for the other.  It means helping out the other when that person needs it, whether that help is in the form of money, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or a bit of defense when the social media world is less than kind.  When I think of this line being applied to the members of Duran, I think it fits well.
Duran Duran has been through a lot throughout the band’s history.  They first had to deal with forming the band and creating the structure  that would follow their careers.  When I think about what I know about that early structure, it includes splitting the royalties equally, trying to find a musical balance and always presenting themselves as a united group.  Even when they split into the side projects of Power Station and Arcadia, I don’t ever remember hearing negatives towards one half or the other.  The only time during the 80s that I remember a tiny bit of criticism is after Andy left.  Even then, though, it seemed small and didn’t last very long.  The band members who remained, on the other hand, seemed even more united.
This united front remained throughout the rest of the 80s, 90s and 2000s.  I don’t remember ever hearing about in-fighting or negativity towards one member or another.  Even when Warren left and the others came back, I saw respect given for Warren and his work in the band.  The same really can be true after Andy left a second time.  John Taylor had the chance to be openly critical in his autobiography but he didn’t.  It seems to me that the “watch out for each other” mentality has been a part of Duran Duran throughout the band’s history, which I think is admirable.  While they may have had fights or bad blood among some of them, they almost always took the high road with each other, at least in the public sphere.
Maybe some of this is the combination between friendship and work.  I think that often creates a strong bond that is hard to break, privately, and impossible to break, publicly.  I feel that way with Rhonda.  We were friends before we started “working” together.  Make no mistake.  We have been working together.  There is nothing like the pressure of trying to pull off a convention together or to look at someone’s writing with critical eyes.  This blog has existed for a long time, too.  At times, we have gotten a lot of flack over this, that or the next thing.  The thing is that we will always defend each other even if that means taking some of the heat for the other.  We watch for each other.  To me, that is friendship and that is loyalty.
Beyond work related to the blog, our friendship is such that we would watch out for each other in other avenues of our lives, too.  I hate the fact that my job takes so much of my time and energy that I don’t get to check in with Rhonda as much as I would like.  Thankfully, I think she understands that it has nothing to do with her and just that I’m busy.  That said, I believe that  she knows that I would be there for her if she ever needed me.  I would drop everything, if needed.  I believe she would say the same for me.  To me, then, this lyric and even the song really does show friendship and our friendship, in particular.
-A

We’re the Ripples: Friendship in Duranland

Sometimes, without any warning whatsoever, this community will make me have a good case of the “feels”.  Those of you who have teenagers will probably know what I mean. The rest of you, well…just keep reading and you’ll catch on.

A couple of days ago, I was catching up on Facebook by reading my news feed. I noticed that I’d gotten some sort of video thing posted by Facebook notifying me that Amanda and I have been friends for 9 years.  In actuality, it’s been a bit longer than that – I’ve known her since September of 2003 when I met her in person at the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans – but the sentiment was nice, all the same. It looked like quite a few of my friends had gotten similar notifications with other people on that same day. One of them caught my eye because the other person (not my friend, but the person she was friends with) had passed away quite a few years ago.

It’s become sort of common for family members to decide to leave Facebook accounts up for people who have passed on. My friend Laurie’s family has done that, and while I make it a point NOT to visit her page (Though I’ve tried over the years, I just can’t yet. The pain is far too great.), many of my sorority sisters still visit and I know the page provides comfort to Laurie’s mom, in particular. This person’s family must have decided to do something similar. Out of curiosity, I clicked on her page because my friend had noted she met her because of Duran Duran. I found something remarkable and wonderful as a result.

This person was a Duranie and she was apparently well-known and loved, even though I myself have no recollection of her (I’m a west coast Duranie who had mostly kept to herself until this blog came about!) Over the years since her passing, many of her friends continue to visit her page, leaving photos commemorating their memories of her. It turns out that my friend had known this person for 30 years, as a result of being Duranies. The notes were sometimes poignant, sad, and yet there was definitely a silver lining to all of it.

This one band brought these people together, and to this day, this one person had given all of her friends and the people she had touched with her life a remarkable gift of something to remember her by.  Everywhere on the page there were pictures of hearts posted by her friends. Naturally occurring hearts, made from the shapes of leaves, clouds, shadows, light, and love. I had never seen friendship look quite so beautiful. Friendship that began (in many cases) over the bonding that happens when you’re fans of the same band.

I hear about that sort of thing every once in a while, but it still makes me take pause every single time. There are people, very VERY lucky people I might add, who have met people in this fandom and have been friends with them since childhood. Here we are, now in the throes of whatever “middle-age” might be, and some can still say they have childhood friends that continue to love this band and go to shows with them. It blows my mind.  I mean that. Days later and I’m still thinking about how lucky this woman was to have these kinds of friends. It’s funny because in some ways these friendships go against everything I tend to see in this community: the in-fighting, the envy, and the insipid bickering and arguing.

I don’t really know if Duran Duran really understands their impact, and I’m not just talking about musically. They brought so many of us together. I have a difficult time wrapping my head around that, much less writing words about it. These friendships go beyond what the critics said, or whether or not as kids we knew anything about music. One band brought an entire community of kids together from all across the planet, many of us are still here, and a lot of us know one another and count each other as friends and family.  That’s the real gift for fans. Sure, the music is great and will last forever, but nothing will last longer than my memories of the friendships I’ve made along the way. Not everybody gets that. Some people only have the music – and while that’s a huge, enormous thing on its own, those of us who are really entrenched in the fan community have so much more. We have friendship.  For me, those relationships are kind of the bonus silver lining in all of this, and I hope those of you reading can say the same.

I don’t really think about my own mortality much – it’s a pretty depressing thought.  I will say this though: I will consider mine a life well-lived if one day I have the kinds of friends that this Duranie had, who continue to have her memory so readily available in their minds – and their love for her so palatable that they continue to spread that love well after her passing.

It would have been easy for me to have scrolled right past that little note in my news feed that day. After all, it was none of my business – even though my friend had shared it (which is why I saw it) and in some ways I did feel like I was eavesdropping when I looked at this person’s page. That said, it touched me, and I’m glad I did. I’m still thinking about the love I saw that day. Duranies aren’t an easy bunch. We can be petty, jealous, vindictive and WAY competitive.  But sometimes, the friendships and love speak louder than anything else, and take my breath away.

-R

 

Something to Remember: Friendship and DDAD17

Friendship matters. In a world that is moving far too quickly, with relationships teetering towards collapse, a real friend can be hard to find and keep.

Before I ever began blogging, and well before I ever had the audacity to believe I could write a manuscript, I spent most of my days chasing after my two oldest kids. When we first moved to the neighborhood where we currently live, my oldest—Heather—wasn’t even quite a full year old. Gavin came along a year and a half later, and that’s when I joined the MOMS Club. Believe it or not, it’s an international club for stay-at-home moms. Joining the club was the best thing for me because I felt pretty overwhelmed here at home alone. Having somewhere to be each day, whether it was the park or another member’s home for cooking club, or just sitting on someone’s driveway while we let all of the kids play in the cul-de-sac, saved me. I made friends fairly quickly, and some were closer than others, but it still wasn’t enough. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on what I was missing, but it was something.

I stayed in MOMS Club until my oldest was in first grade, I believe, and that’s when I realized I’d moved beyond what they could offer. Playdates and sewing classes bored the hell out of me. What I really wanted was some adult time and a real friendship that went beyond just being moms, and that was beyond the premise of MOMS Club.

Around that same time, I went to the first Duran Duran concert I’d been to in probably seven years. I’ve told the story before, but it was mind-boggling. That reignited a flame I’d thought had long since been extinguished, and I went searching online to see what else was out there. Or who!  I think at the time, I believed I was going to look for information on the band. I  had no idea what they’d been up to since Medazzaland, and I felt like I must have missed something. I joined the duranduran.com message boards and tried to glean as much as possible from the obviously long-time posters there.

For me, dd.com was a tough place. I was very intimidated by the people there, because they seemed to rip everyone to shreds, including one another.  It didn’t seem friendly, and I didn’t want to put myself out there. So I kept searching and eventually stumbled onto duranduranfans.com, which became my online sanctuary.

The story of how I eventually met Amanda has been told over and over, but the truth is, she was somehow exactly who I needed to meet. We are forever bonded by Duran Duran, and now, also by this blog and our experiences. When I met her, I had no way of knowing that she and I were opposite sides of the same coin, or that we would be there to push and encourage one another when needed. Amanda and I are so different in so many ways, you might not even think we’d be able to be friends. It’s just the opposite, though. She is strong where I’m weak, and vice-versa. It is the first real, solid friendship I think I’ve had as an adult.

I’ve run into people over the years who say that they appreciate the ban for the catalog of music, but that we really shouldn’t thank or appreciate them for bringing fans and friends together.  I’m just not so sure. For me personally, it was going to a single concert that led me to find my best friend. It is that same band who continues to push and encourage the two of us to keep going. And let’s face it, if it weren’t for Duran Duran, there would be no Daily Duranie. That alone is worth a thank you, and maybe even a toast!

Since this blog is written daily, we’ve kind of gotten into the habit of appreciating Duran Duran each day.  In many ways, it’s our own moment of zen, now that I come to think of it. In no way can I appreciate them more, though, than thanking them for somehow leading me to an entirely different chapter in my life, complete with a friendship I can count on, and memories I’ll never forget.

See you all tomorrow on Twitter! #DDAD17

-R