Category Archives: friendship

This is How We Stay Connected

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

That’s depressing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

Paper Gods CA Tour: The Aftermath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

One day at a little street cafe…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: (pauses) “Wait, how?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: “Oh wow. Yeah…I know…”

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

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

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

Friend: FOLLOW HIM!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: I am drinking iced tea thankyouverymuch.

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

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

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

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

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

Me: literally he was not five feet from me.

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

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

No kidding? Ya think??

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

 

 

Amanda Wins!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Front cover of my gift
This is the front cover

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

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

From the Astronaut tour that started it all

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

John Taylor page

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Time is a River

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

I Took You Home

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

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

Julie Travel Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Al Tank Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

-A

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