Category Archives: friendship

Amanda Wins!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Front cover of my gift
This is the front cover

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

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

From the Astronaut tour that started it all

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

John Taylor page

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Time is a River

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

I Took You Home

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

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

Julie Travel Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Al Tank Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

-A

Give Me a Sign

It is true, I have some of the best friends the world could offer.  I say that with complete bias, and in truth, I sit here wondering how I could have ever gotten so lucky.  As always, the answer (I believe) comes back to Duran Duran.

I curse (at) that band sometimes. Things don’t always (read: rarely) work out for me, and it’s hard to ignore that by sheer appearances – some people have ALL the luck and others have none. Of course that’s likely not reality – it’s merely perception, and one can’t really spend a lot of time thinking about all the ways in which they’ve been overlooked or wronged because it’s a waste of time.  But I still take out the occasional disappointment on them by complaining about ticket prices or proclaiming that it seems like the same basic group of people always win contests.  Then I get busy here at home, count my own blessings, and realize that I really am lucky.

This week is a prime example. If the world had worked out the way I felt it should, I would have been getting ready to drive up to Monterey yesterday. In doing so though, I would have missed my son’s school orientation. We have the same orientation every year, so it’s not as though it would have been horrible to miss it, but even so, the potential mom-guilt lingered in my head. Then there is today, where I would have missed a ton of things in favor of being in Monterey. My youngest is going into first grade and has absolutely nothing good to say about the upcoming school year aside from getting her own desk (last year they didn’t have actual desks), wearing a backpack to school and perhaps a longer recess. Today the class lists are posted, and I suspect a motherly pep-talk will be in order. If I were in Monterey, I couldn’t be here to do that, and Heather – my oldest – would have had to take my place. There’s a Robotics team meeting for my son, homeschooling to do, lunches to make for tomorrow, and a special “Night Before First Grade” book to read before bedtime. All things that can be done by others, but I’m Mom.  Most importantly, tomorrow marks the very first day of school. Had I gone to Monterey, I don’t think I would have made it back home in time for the morning “festivities”. My youngest will need to be walked to school, and my oldest – Heather – will begin her Senior year. There are photos to be taken, and probably a few tears of my own to be shed. It’s the very first year in six years that I will actually be alone in this house for a full day. I made it! AGAIN! Sure, someone else could have done all of that, but I’m Mom.

So while I am slightly melancholy about the idea that the band is in the same state as I am and yet I’m nowhere near by, as I mentioned yesterday – I’m about 600 miles (give or take) away – I’m also relieved that I’m here at home. Even so, as I posted yesterday about the possibilities of meeting the band at the airport, there was a part of me that wished I could throw caution to the wind and go have some fun. Then our power went out….over and over again…and the afternoon took on a life of it’s own. We were having power surges, which is bizarre because we don’t have them here…EVER…and my phone was out of battery as well. So it wasn’t until fairly late last night that I saw this:

Gimme a Sign

I’m not really much of a bragger, but this?!? I have to share. You see, while I was running around here at home trying to make dinner in between resetting my clocks and other appliances, my friend Krista had to drive “all the way to Millbrae to find a Starbucks” yesterday.  (Hardly, but I’ll never tell…) Amazingly, she found herself at the airport and ran into some guitar player she recognized. Not only did Krista have the wherewithal to ask for a photo – she had made a SIGN. For me!!  Do you see the Daily Duranie logo on there?!? So even though I wasn’t really there, I was kind of really THERE. (I can’t help but note that while I still don’t have a photo with Dom, my name does. I’m getting closer!!)  Thank you to Krista and to Dom, for being a really good sport.

My jaw dropped when I saw the photo, and…just as the power died yet again…I tried to tweet back. I didn’t know what to say. It’s really, really nice to have someone think of you during their own time of triumph. I don’t have photos with anyone from the band, and while I talk a really good game here online, the fact is, I probably wouldn’t have ever gone to the airport on my own to meet them. Too shy. I remember when Amanda and I went to London and she had to basically FORCE me to go to the studio and stand outside. I thought I was going to be ill many, MANY times that day while standing there.  Maybe that’s the subject of a future blog…

I really am lucky. No, I don’t have tickets to Monterey. No, I don’t have tickets to Austin either…and I may have to really cut back on the amount of shows I do for this next tour or find a benefactor (ha!) willing to help me out so that I can go to a few, but I have great friends who care about me. (and one who doesn’t mind posing for silly pictures after an 11 or 12 hour flight!!) I wouldn’t have met Krista or Amanda (or Dom) or really any of you had it not been for Duran Duran. It always comes back to that crazy band.  I’m lucky.

-R

(I have to laugh…if you recognize the line of lyric I used, you’ll know why.)

With You My Friend

So…I’m sitting in Amanda’s living room right now.  I arrived here yesterday afternoon after what felt like a long day of travel, probably because by the time I’d arrived here I had a migraine and was starving.  Gotta say, it’s nice to be Daily Duranie together in the same room for a change…and once again I put out a plea to my husband to please move us back to the Illinois/Wisconsin area.

Last night was spent reacquainting ourselves with our muse(s), in the form of bonding over a bottle of wine and laughing (I mean watching…just watching…) the band in some video footage we have from our last few “tours”.  Well, the band was touring. We were just following, I guess.  We also laughed at ourselves, because unbeknownst to all of you, Amanda and I take the time during each of our “field trips” to see the band in order to record our thoughts. We call these moments “Press Conferences”.  They aren’t open to the public (although we have definitely had them in public areas, and they are definitely not items we’ll be sharing on the blog any time soon. Or ever, really.  During these conferences, we talk about what we liked, didn’t like, or as was the case in May of 2011… they serve as therapy.  We laughed as we watched how far we’d really come since those days, and yet many things haven’t really changed. That saying, “The more things change, the more things stay the same”??  It applies.

I suppose that to a large extent, this blog is a natural, more public (and sometimes kinder) extension of those press conferences. This is where we share our thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Yes, we’re outspoken, but we also love this band beyond measure. That’s the one constant, and that’s the reason we keep going.

This week we plan to lock ourselves in here and work to finish book proposals that should have been done months ago.  We’re also likely to do quite a bit of laughing and cursing at this beloved band.  When it comes down to it, the friendship Amanda and I share is a direct result of being fans of this band. That friendship fuels the fire that keeps this blog going, even what the two of us openly refer to as “The Sahara Desert” of time between albums.  That friendship has taken a back seat many times to whatever work we’re doing at the time, and it’s nice to have a week together. While we’re absolutely working (I am not leaving until the proposals are done, and yet my husband is pretty insistent that I be on a plane back home to Orange County next Tuesday night), we’re also nurturing our friendship for a change. No shows, no driving at “stupid o’clock in the morning” to get to the next show, no staying out all night to catch a glimpse of a band member or two at a bar after the show.  It’s just us.

-R

PS – send vodka.  I believe there might be a shortage by Friday!!!

Today in Duran History – Happy Birthday Amanda!!

On this day in (a year I won’t mention today)…Amanda Pustz of Daily Duranie was born.  😀  Happy Birthday Amanda!!!

Let’s take a look at some special Amanda/Rhonda memories over the years, shall we?  In September of this year, I will mark 10 years as having known Amanda. Prior to our meeting in person at a DD fan convention, I did run into her posts from time to time on the DDF message board – but it was only after we met that I think she became more involved on the message boards and online communities for Duran Duran.  One might say that I was a bad influence.  However, I present the following as evidence in the contrary:

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Quick question: which one of us is holding the vodka bottle?

I thought so.

 

 

But…rather than embarrass Amanda (primarily because she will get me back in spades…and who really wants that?!?), I decided to pick out a few of my better memories with a few stories that go along with them:  (They aren’t in order. I’m not the organized one out of the two of us…)

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This is on Bourbon street in New Orleans. The date is right, so we were there for the Voodoo Festival Let’s see if anyone can guess what we’re yelling. (I’ll never tell…)

 

Below is from the same weekend. Club Ampersand – where a fan get together had been planned by DDM.  It was a fascinating beginning to the weekend, I must say.

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We made it to the star in LA and took photos. This isn’t just about it being Duran Duran, this is a memory that (for me) showcases how long we’ve worked together on our manuscript, this blog…and bigger dreams.

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Naturally, I can’t ever forget the trips we made to the UK. Who ever thought we’d go?? Twice?? In a single year?? Thankfully, I have a fantastic traveling partner.

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Success!!! This is a photo of us in Brighton Centre – I won’t ever forget that night, and I’m sure Amanda won’t either.

 

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And then there’s the night we finally found ourselves in front row!!

 

 

 

And lastly (for now), there’s Durandemonium. There is no way I would have ever attempted such a thing without her – and I can really say that had she not been there pulling me along – it likely wouldn’t have ever happened.  And now we’re planning another!

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We try to remind everyone that while the music is what brought us here, it really is the friendships that keep us coming back for more. Maybe I’m just a big sap, but as I was driving home in particularly nasty traffic last Friday afternoon, it occurred to me that if the band REALLY needs motivation to continue, or inspiration to write – they really need not look further than the real friendships that they, in an indirect sort of way, have helped to create.

Amanda, I hope you have a wonderful birthday – and next year, I hope we’re celebrating the release of some really fantastic music to add to the soundtrack of our friendship at the same time we’re celebrating your birthday!!!

-R

It’s a Chain Cuts Across My Soul

It feels like absolutely forever since I have written a real blog, a long blog.  There are many reasons for this, but I won’t bore you.  Let’s just say that there has been a lot going on in my life.  Yet, no matter what else has been going on, I still find myself thinking about Duran Duran, despite the fact that they are busy in the studio and away from public life.  When Rhonda and I were last writing a lot of lengthy blogs, we talked about or seemed to talk a lot about Durantime, how long the album was taking, the apparent shift from how things were going with the band during the All You Need Is Now era and other related topics.  When we did, we got a LOT of criticism.  A LOT (and I mean a LOT) of people disagreed with us.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, except a lot of the criticism was based on negative assumptions about us.  People assumed or seemed to assume that it didn’t matter to us what the album sounded like, that it was more important that the band get a new album out than it did about the quality of music or that we didn’t care about the band as people.  We weren’t acknowledging that they might have family needs or personal needs to take care of.  The assumption, again stated or otherwise, was that we just wanted them to be music making machines without concern about their needs and feelings and without care to their creativity.  For the record, let me be perfectly clear, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  We do want this album and future albums to be quality.  We do.  Of course, we do.  Likewise, we both care about them as people and understand that there might be other things for them to focus on, personally.

I, now, realize that I wasn’t doing a very good job explaining where I was coming from.  Yes, of course, I want the album done as quickly.   Of course, I do.  Do I want it without concern of quality?  Of course not.  Do I care more about the album than I do about them as people?  Absolutely not.  Yet, I’m a fan.  Fans like new products of their idols, don’t we?  We want to hear new music—that is what being a fan is, isn’t it?  I thought it was about liking their music.  I also want them to be able to experience more of the success that they had with AYNIN.  I worry that the long interval won’t give the results that they want or that we want and I don’t mean that in some commercial success way.  For me, personally, there is also the fact that I have decided to make Duran Duran such a big part of my existence.  There is not a day that goes by without me thinking about them.  I have to put up the daily question, for example.  Yet, even without that, I would think of them.  This blog exists because of them.  Our book exists because of them.  Durandemonium 2013 happened because of them.  My dreams shifted due to them.  Please, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  I’m not saying I’m a bigger and/or better fan.  No way.  I’m just saying that I have a personal commitment.  This commitment I made myself.  Willingly.  I could stop, but I don’t want to.  I never want to destroy what Rhonda and I built up here.  It is more than just this blog or our book or meet ups or conventions.  It is now something PERSONAL to me.  While I will always defend fandom, what we have here is more than fandom.  It is tied to personal pride, to my identity.  How can it not be?  I think anytime that someone puts forth a lot of effort, dedication and themselves into a project it becomes tied to pride and identity, to emotions.  Do these emotions stop me from being objective?  No, I don’t believe that.  Yet, I am acknowledging that my experience and perspective is going to be very different from most people.  I didn’t understand where they were coming from and they didn’t understand where I was coming from.  Instead of assuming the best of intentions, everyone started to assume the worst.

Beyond this daily focus on the band and everything connected to this blog, I can also acknowledge that I miss touring.  I miss it intensely.  I miss touring the most when life is full of problems and complications like my life is now.  What do I miss?  I miss traveling.  I miss planning how, where, when we would go.  I miss seeing new places or places that have represented good times in the past.  The longing I have to escape real life, as everyone does once in a while, was fulfilled by touring.  There is nothing better to forget one’s problems and live in the moment than touring.  It is an amazing experience and one that cannot be replicated by simple traveling.  There are elements that are missing.  Of course, there are the hours spent with the band in front of you on stage, but more than that, there is the adrenaline of the concerts, there is the excitement, the utter JOY that comes from being surrounded by Duranies, by people who GET you.  Yes, I’m sure that some of you will point out that I have been very spoiled by the touring I have done.  I have been very, very, very fortunate to have been able to tour as much as I have.  My fortune doesn’t make me miss touring less and I absolutely wish that everyone could the joy from touring as well.  This is where the album comes in.  I know that Duran typically doesn’t do large tours unless it is followed by an album.  Thus, a new album means touring or, at least, a break from the “we don’t need to tour” vibe coming from the band.

More than all of this and something that I think every single person can relate to is that I miss the people.  I miss sharing experiences with other fans, with my friends.  Most significantly, I miss Rhonda.  I miss my best friend, my partner-in-crime.  While we are often in touch, it is so not the same as touring.   All of those shows, those experiences have been what they were, not just because of the band, but also because of being able to be together.  Could Rhonda and I get together without a tour or a convention?  Of course and we have, but it isn’t the same.  We don’t have the same motivation.  We don’t have the same desire to sacrifice.  Without something Duran related, we are too practical, too logical.  During a tour, we become a lot more passionate and emotional.  We embrace fun, which we aren’t good at doing in real life, away from each other.  We are much more willing to sacrifice for a tour.  Yet, even now, despite letting the practical side dictate, I still don’t regret any of the tours or shows that I have done.  No, I find myself appreciating them all the more.

Thus, the reality is that I miss my best friend.  I miss screaming at Dom, singing with John, and giving LeBon a hard time on stage.  I miss late night conversations filled with analysis about the show and hours and hours spent giggling.  I miss having my only calorie intake be from caffeine and alcohol and wondering why I don’t have a voice.  I miss the planning and plotting that goes along with any and every tour.  I miss it all.  I miss the lack of sleep, trying to get around work and other responsibilities, spending money that shouldn’t be spent and more.  I miss it all.  Thus, don’t be angry at me for wanting to cheer on my favorite band, their music and their live performances.  Don’t be angry with me for missing my friends and what has become such a big part of my life.  Trust me when I say that my concern and frustration over the time with the album truly just masked a lot of anxiety that I wouldn’t have any more of those amazing experiences or that I wouldn’t be able to take those opportunities when they came or that what we have done here doesn’t matter.  It also came from sadness—from missing my best friend, from missing them.  While I don’t know them, personally, I still miss their presence in my life.  Looking at the past is fine and should be appreciated but it isn’t the same as having news, something current.  I just long for the next chapter and hope that I can enjoy it at least half as much as I did this last one.   What is wrong with that?
-A

We’re Living Our Life in a Networker Nation

Last week, I posted a blog that caused quite a stir, especially on Facebook.  I’m okay with people disagreeing with me, but what bothered me about it is that the point I hoped to get across got lost or wasn’t clear.  The point I was trying to make was how important connections and friendships are for fandom to survive, thrive and increase, which is especially important when your idol(s) isn’t/aren’t around much.  Those friendships keep you interested and keep you tied to fandom even when other interests might pull you away or when life might threaten to take up so much time and energy that one can’t think of fandom.  Let me give you some examples from my real life to show what I’m talking about.

I am a Star Trek fan.  I became a fan for a simple reason.  My family watched it and my brother got really into it as a kid.  Thus, the original episodes were always on at my house.  Then, once the movies came out, we went to those, too.  I didn’t have to think about my “fandom” at that point because it was a family activity.  When I grew up and moved away from my family, Star Trek was the last thing on my mind.  It wasn’t that I stopped liking it.  I didn’t have any conversations about it anymore and had college and then career to worry about.  When I moved to Wisconsin, my brother was the closest family member to me, geographically, so I would go visit him when I needed family and a break from life.  At his house, we would watch Star Trek.  I had forgotten that I liked it.  His interest and my connection to him rekindled my interest.  Soon, I found myself tuning in at home.  I didn’t need my brother to want to watch it.  This led to more conversations about Star Trek with my brother and my sister-in-law who is also a Trek fan.  The three of us even attended  Trek Fest in Riverside, Iowa (the once future birthplace of Captain Kirk).  I would have never done that if it wasn’t for my family getting me back into it.   These days, we still will talk Trek, watch it or even play Trek games whenever we are together.  We called each other right after we saw the last movie (on opening night, I might add!).  Our excitement was so strong that we all decided to go see it in the movie theater again!  My fandom with Star Trek would have never begun without my brother.  It would have died out without him, too.

Now, of course, my fandom with Duran has always been much, much stronger.  It could and did survive years away from it.  Like many people, I had years in my life that I didn’t think too much about Duran and certainly didn’t talk about Duran.  I didn’t know any Duranies during that time and was pretty busy with other things.  Yet, it was a conversation with a fellow fan that got me thinking about Duran again.  This, of course, led to a full blown explosion of fandom in my life.  My life, currently, is filled with so many Duranies that I could not really walk away from my fandom unless I stopped talking to a ton of friends.  Even if I wasn’t paying attention to Duran news, I would hear what the band is doing from my friends.  On top of that, their excitement gets me more excited.  Just look at the past week with news about Duran’s recording with two different choirs.  I saw my friends talking about it first before I saw the official announcement from Duran Duran.  Then, after work, Rhonda and I talked for over an hour about it!  Talking to her got me thinking more about Duran and got me more excited about DD14.

While I know that there are fans out there who can keep their interest going without having friends inside the fandom, I know, for me, and many others I have read about and come across in my research, that connections and friendships matter.  They matter to keep the fandom going, especially when there is so much that can pull any of us away from being fans.

-A

You can put me straight

Believe it or not, there are times when I really wonder why I started this blog. Coming off a nice “anniversary” of sorts last week, which you can read about here (ICYMI), I had all sorts of warm fuzzies over this fan community.  Thankfulness, hopefulness and love all around.

Then Saturday happened. Call me crazy, but its a pretty sad state of affairs when someone cannot write a simple blog without people coming unglued over the words. I still feel as though the spirit with which Amanda wrote was completely misread. What was an honest post about how the community aspects of being fans is what keeps all of us here and present during times when the band isn’t touring or even around was taken in a thousand different directions than the one intended.  I’m not sure how Amanda felt coming away from that day, but after I caught up on the posts and comments, I felt horrible.

I saw everything from “Give the band a chance” (What is that supposed to mean, exactly?) to “You’re degrading the opinions of other fans.” (Are you joking?)  Personally I think a more appropriate comment would have just been “How dare you say anything remotely negative about Duran Duran!” because that at least would have made sense and been truthful.  Thinly veiled comments regarding maturity and impatience (which, by the way – I’d already said myself at some point in the past couple of weeks. Thanks for noticing.) spiced up the day as well.  Then there were others who flat out just either didn’t agree or didn’t understand the blog.  Those comments were the most helpful of the bunch, because at the very least – it shows me where our writing needs to be tightened up, and quite honestly: not everyone is EVER going to agree with us anyway.  Newsflash: we already know this.

Where to go from here?  I’m not really sure.  I’ve been told twice in the last week that social media is on its way out, blogging has become a thing of the past, and that we have no real purpose these days.  “There are more important things to do.” Maybe so.

Maybe I should mention that the purpose of her blog was merely to prove that relationships (between fans) are what keep us glued to the community.  What if I wrote that we have some ideas on how to keep ourselves entertained between albums, and that we even had ideas for upcoming in-person meetups and events to celebrate the new album when it arrives. Would that have changed the responses?

Amanda told me on Saturday that many of the responses she received just proved her point – that the people who responded said they just had other things going on in their life and that since the band was busy, they were busy too and didn’t take time to check in.  That makes sense. Amanda and I are still involved because we write the blog every day – album or not.  I can’t really drift too far away, even if sometimes I might like the idea of not thinking about the ban for a change. I read from others that without a central message board, there’s just nowhere to gather. I agree. Yet, if you go to DDM – it’s a ghost town on their boards. Why is that?

As you should have noticed, this post isn’t about what THE BAND is doing.  Let’s remove them from the equation for a bit – because they’re doing whatever it is that they’re doing.  Their creative process isn’t really my concern right now.  For this blog post, I’m not interested in debating whether or not they need to be on Twitter or any other social media.  Let’s talk about being fans.  What keeps us going when the band isn’t touring or in the news?

I started this blog because I had a lot to say.  Simon once said in an interview that there were outspoken fans in the US that wanted the band to know what it was like being fans, about how the music made us feel. I really don’t know whom he was referring, but he was accurately describing Amanda and I.  A few years into this blog now, I find that I write to keep people connected. I write not only for the band, but also as a platform for fans to connect. I keep hoping to bring people together.  That’s why I started this blog, and that is why we keep going.

-R

 

 

 

 

I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all over…

Don’t tell my kids, but I really hate rules….which is why I’m breaking one of mine and posting not one, but TWO “for real”, as in “I am sitting down and writing right now” blogs today.

After I’d already published my first posting for the day, I went over to check out Facebook, and a very poignant and much needed post grabbed my attention. My friend Jessica posted that ten years ago this week, she stumbled across a post on dd.com that beckoned her to a brand new message board, aptly titled duranduranfans.com.  She surmised that making the decision to join that board brought her many new and exciting experiences, and of course – a lot of friends.

I, too, found that post on dd.com. I remember exactly where I was in my house at the time, (upstairs sitting at the desk in our hallway…working on an art history thesis project.) and just how quickly I followed the link.  The funny thing is that the main reason I liked DDF (as it soon came to be called) was because unlike dd.com – the owner of the site (Robin Burks, who is also the owner of fangirlconfessions.com) chose to design the site with a white background – and it was much easier on my eyes than dd.com.  But, the longer I stayed, the more I noticed how much friendlier the place became.

Unlike dd.com – on this site, I was one of the original members. There’s a handful of us that can probably claim being there from nearly the beginning – and what I feel is truly unique is that for the most part, we’re all still friends. I consider many of those people to be among my most true-blue friends in the universe.  That doesn’t mean we all still chat daily, but I really do believe that if I needed something – I could call out for these women and they’d be there, Duran Duran or not.  (In fact, I’d say that for most of them – Duran Duran isn’t even really in the picture these days. They’ve moved on, and I’ve somehow stayed put.) But because we were the original members of this small board, I think that the “lizard mixture” of our personalities is what gave the board it’s flavor.  Since the core group of us participated and made ourselves  continually visible (and integral) to the vitality of the board – others were encouraged to play in the sandbox the same way, and I’m proud to say that 99% of the time, that is exactly what happened.

As I said before, many of us have moved on now. People finished school…started careers…got married…got divorced…started over…quit the band……wrote books..had that third baby they didn’t think they would be having(ha ha, says the mom!)…and some were even crazy enough to start a blog.  I can’t honestly remember the last time more than a few of us were in the same room together.  Maybe it was Jessica’s wedding?  That’s sad.

The thing is, and this is really the point I want to make here above all else – for that brief time when we were ALL fans and when we were ALL trying to find our little space in this community to exist together, we found one another and it worked. I run into people all the time that tell me they can’t be friends, like “real” friends, with other Duranies because when the band comes around – it’s all out the window.  Every fan for his/her own self, right? Well, that just doesn’t have to be true. I know, because I lived it.  I keep living it. The band did (and still does) an excellent job of providing background music, but when it came down to the friendships I made, I give the band no credit. I found good people, whom I love and adore to this very day.  When it comes down to it, I wish that for everyone – which is why this blog exists and keeps working like the Little Engine That Could.

I had no way of knowing back in 2004 that one teensy little click from one message board to another -one little link – would change my life so profoundly. I don’t think I can ever really articulate in words what making the decision to log into duranduranfans.com would eventually do, and continues to do for me. I’ve met so many people and had the opportunity to do so many things that I am positive I never would have done otherwise. In 2004, I was this meek little housewife with a very much buried wild streak that never really got to see the light of day. In a lot of ways, I’d been beaten by the world.  The light I had within was pretty dim at that point, I have to say. Something changed as I continued to grow strong friendships with other fans. I became reacquainted with the person I used to be, well before I ever met my husband or became a parent…and I really kind of liked her.

Ten years. In many ways, it still feels like yesterday, which is why it was so astounding to me to see that Facebook post today from Jessica.  But in other ways, I honestly don’t remember my life without any of you in it.  I just know how incredibly lucky I am to have you with me, whether in person, online or in my heart.

(and I still miss that damn message board, the Late Bar, and even that infamous poster named Moocher!!)

-R