Category Archives: friendship

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

 

 

#DDAD17: Party and Appreciate DD This Thursday!

If you are looking for hard-hitting Daily Duranie news today, I’m about to totally rock your world. After much discussion and logistical planning,  we are ready to announce that Amanda and I are hosting an online Duran Duran Appreciation Day (#DDAD17) par-tay!

Amanda and I have been spending a lot of time working while on Skype this summer. It’s the next best thing to being in the same room, and we’ve grown accustomed to this method over the years. I don’t know what prompted the topic one day while we were talking, but I said something about how I wanted to spend just one day this summer watching videos together and acting like idiots online. It’s pretty much what we do when we ARE together (just imagine those long car rides getting to shows). I just want one more day of that before we both go back to work, because no matter what we say now – by October we’ll both be saying things on the blog like “We miss our friends. We haven’t talked to one another in months, etc. etc.”

The thing is, if I had to pick one thing to really appreciate Duran Duran for giving me – it would be my friendship to Amanda. Yes, yes, the music is fantastic. Of COURSE. Many people will focus on that for Duran Duran Appreciation Day, and I think that’s wonderful. But the most important thing for ME has been friendship. And if it weren’t for Duran Duran, I would have never found Amanda.  I know it seems like such a strange thing to thank a band for, but I am pretty sure they get it. I think they’ve seen us enough to know, and I will never be able to thank them enough.  I suspect there might be another blog on that whole friendship thing tomorrow….

The other thing is, we’ve hosted similar parties in the past. They’re always at weird times because of the time differences around the world, and more often than not they’re during the week because Duran Duran Appreciation Day falls during the week most years.  As result, most people can’t really join in for the entire time.  Ultimately it dissolves into Amanda and I, drunk by 2pm my time…tweeting away with no one answering and yet we’re cracking ourselves up.  It is either amusing or maddening, depending upon your patience level.  The fact is, WE have a total blast being idiots, left to our own devices, and so this all comes down to the two of us.  As our good friend Patty once told us, “If you’re not having fun, it’s time to go.”

With all of that in mind, we invite you to join us in an afternoon/evening filled with Duran Duran videos, trivia, merriment, friendship, and joy.  The best part is that this will cost you nothing, and all you need in order to join in is a reasonably decent internet connection.

Beginning at noon PDT time (that is: 2pm central, 3pm east coast, 8pm UK…and so on), Amanda and I will be on Twitter, watching a specially compiled Daily Duranie video play list, making jokes whenever possible, drinking vodka tonics, and basically cracking ourselves up.  We would love to have fans from all over join us, or pop in and out as you’re able.  All you need to do in order to properly celebrate the day is find us on twitter at @dailyduranie, and use the hashtag #DDAD17. We’ll let you know when we begin the special playlist, and if you join late, we can accommodate that by throwing out the names of the videos we’re watching.

On another note, originally someone had suggested doing a Google Hangout and doing drunken Duran Karaoke. While this was an amazingly fun idea, the logistics aren’t that simple. Hangouts only accommodate up to 10 on a video call, and really – isn’t the point to be able to WATCH? I wish I could say we had the hookup to be able to host such things here on our site, but according to my IT guy – we are not a Fortune 500 company, and our yearly operating budget is “slightly smaller” than that. So videos and Twitter it is!!

(He means we operate in the red, which is true.)

So, check us out on Thursday, 12pm PDT, 8pm UK time.  We don’t currently have an ending time because we’re not sure how long this will go. If people are still around and willing to chat with us at 5pm (8pm east coast, 1am UK time), we’ll stick with it. If it’s 8pm and we’re still at it, fine!  If not, we’ll close shop, take some Advil, and sleep it off!

Hope you can join us, even if you’re just gonna pop in and out at your leisure!  #DDAD17

Cheers!!

-R

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