Category Archives: friendship

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

If I Rewind Back to Yesterday

I love writing this blog for many reasons.  I love talking about Duran and about fandom.  I love questioning and organizing ideas.  I love it so much that I often find myself writing the blog in my head while I drive, in the shower, as I fall asleep at night, and more.  I often know what I’m going to blog about days in advance unless there is something new that comes up that demands my attention.  I know what I will write about tomorrow and on Sunday.  I already have ideas.  Yes, I’m crazy or sick or a combination of both.  I thought I knew what I was going to write today a few days ago.  It was a solid idea with a clear point.  Now, it is a little foggy but that is the beauty of writing.  It forces me to organize my thinking enough to put my ideas into words that others may understand.

The other day Rhonda wrote a blog that could be summarized by saying that when it comes down to it, this blog, fandom is all about friendship.  I couldn’t agree more.  My friendships are extremely important to me.  I don’t have many close friends and I’m not the easiest person to know or to understand.  Many times, my actions come across one way when, in reality, they are based in fear of rejection.  This misunderstanding is always possible with friends but is only increased when friendship is combined with work.  Work has generally been the area, the arena, the only place that I have experienced success.  I always did well in school from elementary through graduate school.  My first ten years of teaching were filled with recommendations from parents and administrators.  It the facet of my life that I have felt most confident about.  At times, in my life, I have allowed people close to me to enter a “working situation” with me.  In college, I started a political advocacy organization with my best friend at the time.  It was really my baby and I dragged him along for the ride.  I felt like it brought us closer and gave us a significant shared experience, one that we only could know and understand.  Then, recently, as an adult, I recruited my parents into campaigning with me.  Again, I was the “leader” of the team and they followed.  It made the experience of campaigning all the more special to me, especially on election nights in November 2008 and 2012, when my parents hugged me as they have never before, knowing that we accomplished something huge by helping elect a President, an historically significant one at that.  It brought us closer.

Now, of course, I have also developed strong friendships from working with people as well.  A number of my friends here are fellow co-workers.  Many of those friendships became closer when we fought to keep our rights to have a teachers union.  One of my closest friends here is someone who had the same position I did in the Obama campaign.  We really feel like we battled and then celebrated by going to the Inauguration together.  My parents became good friends with another couple who campaigned with us, too.  There is something that can happen when you work and work hard towards a very challenging task.  Celebrations are never better with victories and support is never stronger when there are losses.  Of course, when those bonds aren’t formed, those working relationships  can be tough and can make the struggle much more challenging.  I have had plenty of that experience, too.  I know that negative or even neutral working relationships can taint both the work and the outcome.

Unlike those negative or neutral working situations, Rhonda and I were friends before we decided to work together.  I don’t think I really thought much about how our friendship would be when I mentioned that we should write a book together.  I doubt that she thought much when she suggested this blog.  We weren’t concerned about our friendship with the convention.  We have been able to work together rather seamlessly.  While I’m sure that there are moments for both of us when we might question the other, we always listen and consider the other person’s ideas and suggestions.  It has been pointed out to us that this smooth process is obvious to anyone who watches us together.  We balance each other out and provide strengths where the other person lacks.  Honestly, in hindsight, sometimes, I’m in awe that we do work so well together because it is such a rare thing, in my opinion, and because we really had no clue how well we would work together when we started.

In thinking about this, I started to think about the friendship between John and Nick.  We all know that they were friends as kids but they weren’t that close.  John had other friends for sure.  Yet, when the band really got going, they seemed to share a vision about where the band was headed, what their goals were, how to pursue their dream, etc.  Now, they have been friends for decades as well as being colleagues and business partners.  We also know that their friendship hasn’t always been smooth.  John wanted to do Power Station and Nick went to Arcadia.  John left and their relationship suffered, according to John’s autobiography.  In fact, I believe, in that book, John mentions that he is closer to Simon now and it definitely seemed like he was closer to Andy at one point.  I started to wonder if this pattern of ups and downs, close and less close was simply unavoidable for any friendship that took that risk of combining work with friendship.  If so, is this the route I should continue on with Rhonda?  Is this what our friendship is going to be like if we continue to work together?

I have thought a lot about this in the last few weeks and months.  Even though I didn’t think too much about what might happen if we worked together when we started on this path, I still believe exactly what I said here.  We work well together.  I know it.  She knows it.  Other people have agreed with that.  I also know that accomplishing something amazing can bring people closer or can bond people in a way that only a victory through struggle can.  Yet, I also know that like Nick and John, we might not be in the same place, at the same time, work wise, emotionally wise.  Logically, I get that.  Of course, I do.  Emotionally, my fear of rejection clouds my judgement and demands proof that this isn’t about me and about not wanting to work with me if she chooses a different path, which is silly and something I struggle with, especially at this time, in my life, when I’m need to move forward to do something different, very different, career wise.  I’m feeling a little more fragile than normal, I guess.

I’m not sure where we are going to go from here.  Rhonda has mentioned that she isn’t sure what 2014 will bring.  I don’t know either.  I know that we can’t go back and, frankly, I wouldn’t want to.  I like what we have accomplished together.  I can’t change my past and how experiences have shaped me.  I know that we started down a path and have had an experience that no one else on the planet can really get.  Where will that path take us now?  I don’t know.  It is possible that we will go down separate paths like Nick and John did even within the big path of music, meaning that we will continue to be in the realm of fandom but through different means.  It is possible that I have to start some things on my own or venture into a different space entirely.  Of course, there is a chance that keep going together.  What I do know that my friendships are so important to me.  I also know that “work” is a big deal to me.  It seems to me that I have to find a way to be okay with whatever happens from here and hope that everything is alright in the end for me, for her and for us.

-A

Happy Birthday Rhonda!!! (Yesterday!)

In case anyone wasn’t around yesterday on Twitter or Facebook, I posted the usual Today in Duran History fact along with an announcement that it was my partner-in-crime’s birthday.  We did our every other Thursday review so I’m sure that Rhonda thought she was safe from any birthday posts.  Well, she would be wrong.  You see, she did a birthday post about me on my last birthday so…payback.  😀

I first “met” Rhonda online back in early 2004 on an old message board, DuranDuranFans.  She clearly was one of the “in” crowd there as there was an obvious group of friends that she was a part of.  As I first lurked on the site, I had only hoped to one day be part of a group like that.  Slowly, I came out of my shell to post and this group seemed open to new people.  Rhonda didn’t stick out to me, necessarily.  I knew what everyone on that board knew.  She lived in California, had small children and liked Roger.  Honestly, I figured that we would have nothing in common, if we were to ever meet in person.  No, initially, I looked towards a couple of people on the board who were located in the Midwest.  Then, the Friends of Mine convention happened in New Orleans.  I don’t remember much about her until the Saturday night when the group went bar hopping on Bourbon Street.  Suddenly, we found ourselves singing to Duran at a Howl at the Moon (wait…is this a theme in our world?!), drinking and laughing.  My thoughts about her were simple.  While we still not might have much in common (on paper), we could have fun together.

Fast forward to that December of 2004 with the announcement of tour dates.  This little group of posters on that message board seemed to now include me as we all were super excited to figure out which show(s) to do.  Somehow, it was decided that we would all do Chicago in March of 2005.  We would even all go VIP!  (This was a super big thing then for us!!!)  I volunteered to buy the tickets for Rhonda, myself and another friend.  I remember calling Rhonda up on the day of the presale to tell her that I successfully nabbed these three VIP tickets.  Clearly, this kind of phone call is one that has been repeated over and over again since then.  I remember thinking, at the time, how brave this was.  VIP tickets weren’t cheap.  I could have been completely screwed, financially.  I put a lot of faith in people who were relative strangers.  Of course, as you all know, it worked out just fine.  The concert was great and was part of a fabulous weekend.  This is the weekend I knew that Rhonda and I would be real friends.  To cut a long story short, we found ourselves at this pretty gross diner in the middle of downtown Chicago at like 4 in the morning along with two other friends.  These other friends were clearly fighting to stay awake.  What did Rhonda and I do?  We laughed our heads off.  I don’t even know what the heck was so funny but we started laughing and couldn’t stop!!!  Right there and then, we knew that this kind of thing must be repeated over and over again.  We did something very similar just a few weekends ago at Durandemonium.  One morning, we started to list everything that we have done in the last 10 years, that when put together makes us sound kind of crazy (MANY, MANY shows, blogging daily, planning a convention, writing a book, going to the UK twice in one year, etc…).  Again, we started laughing.  Heck, even last night, while we were on the phone for almost three hours, there were many laughs.

To me, laughter has been at the center of our friendship.  She makes me laugh like no other person and vice versa.  Now, of course, we have had a ton of shared experiences together that give us plenty of things to make us laugh.  Speaking of those shared experiences, how absolutely lucky were we to have met each other along this fandom journey?  Not only did we get along well, we have been able to travel together for long periods seamlessly.  It is almost like we had been doing this touring together for decades rather than years and it has ALWAYS been like that.  We have similar fandom philosophies and see things related to our fandom and our fan community in much the same way.  More than that, we have taken our fandom to a new level together.  We decided to write a book and a blog.  We decided to plan and hold a convention together.  When we started this, we didn’t really know if we would work together as well we toured together.  Yet, again, we were super lucky.  There hasn’t been a lot of fight to reach a good working situation with each other.  It was easy for us.  It came naturally.  Even at the convention, one of our friends commented about how well we work together.  On one hand, we have a lot of the same skills–the ability to research, to write, to think critically, and to express our ideas clearly (we hope!).  We can get things done and get them done well.  Beyond that, though, we compliment each other.  Where I have weakness, she has strength.  Much strength.  More strength than she knows.  During convention planning, I was constantly amazed that she could see the details to things that even I, as an organizer, didn’t see or know.  She also knew when, where and how to advocate for ourselves when it came to the businesses we were working with.  Her confidence in that never wavered while I was indecisive and nervous much of the time.  More than that, she pushed and pushes me, without even trying, to do the best work I can.  She questions me when it is needed, kicks my ass when that is needed and offers support throughout it all.  I have a very hard time thinking about doing anything, fandom wise, without her.  It wouldn’t be the same.  I wouldn’t be the same.

Yet, of course, Rhonda doesn’t just do this with our work.  She does it, personally, too.  She questions me when I need it, kicks my ass when I need it and offers support constantly.  On top of that, she also leads by example.  I still get amazed at how she is able to reach out to others with her friendliness, with her openness.  She isn’t afraid to share herself and her joys, fears and worries.  It is no surprise then, when she does, that people are moved and many express appreciation.  While she might not see it, she is the kind of person that others want to be around.  This is very clear, if you have or ever are lucky enough to see her with her children.  The truth is that her kids don’t just love her, which they do, but they LIKE her.  They enjoy themselves with her and she with them.  While she does what she must do as a parent, she is also able to enjoy her kids.  Almost every time I am on the phone with her or there at her house, I hear that laughter again being shared with the kids.  Those kiddos are lucky to have her!  Then, again, I think we are all lucky.  I know that I am.  I’m super fortunate that I found someone that I enjoy working with and who pushes me to be the best I can be.  I’m also beyond grateful that I found my best friend…all because of some stupid band!

Happy Birthday, Rhonda!!!!

-A 

All alone ain’t much fun

I had such high hopes and expectations for myself. Really, I did…and in fact I was doing just fine until this morning. When the MoMA screenings were announced, I barely blinked.  I thought it was a cool event for those close enough to be able to attend, and pretty much let my attention go elsewhere after that. Given that I’d just gotten home from Chicago and was already nursing a pretty good case of the flu – I really didn’t care that I was going to miss it. After all, I can’t go everywhere. Seeing Duran Duran is not a part of my job – well, not a paying job. I’m not independently wealthy either, and I’ve been put on a fairly permanent traveling “hiatus” (to put it politely). I also considered the fact(s) that I’ve seen Unstaged twice – once by being in the audience when it was filmed and once here at home.  While I think it’s very cool that the film is being screened at MoMA and that the band will be there, I need more bang for my traveling buck, to be fair. I even felt a little “lack of motivation” about the entire affair, to be honest. Remember – this blog is purely about ME, not how I expect everyone else in the community to feel or react.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I think for me personally – lately I’ve been trying to find the right place for the band to reside in my head and heart.  I don’t know if I’ve really grown out of the band, or if I’ve grown out of the squeeing fan I once was, or if I’m just really tired of all (what *I* consider) the nonsense that goes along with being a fan. I still very much adore their music. I still have a lot of respect for the history of this band, and a lot of love overall. I can’t really decide where I stand, only that I know I can’t continue to try and be at every single event (not that I ever did that anyway, but I wanted to!) – and I certainly can’t fly around the world just to see them. There are simply limits to what I can and will do, and today those limits are much more significant than they were even two years ago. I think that’s something called “being reasonable”…but I’m new to this sort of deal so I’m not really sure. (sarcasm, people. It’s sarcasm.)

So with all of that in mind, I’ve mostly ignored the entire thing. I’ve seen friends mention that they are flying from California to attend – I applaud them as I think to myself, there is absolutely no possibility I’d do such a thing right now. I’ve watched as new friends, fresh from the convention have made plans to meet in New York City. Even Amanda mentioned that she’d considered going, but that she couldn’t take more time off of work. I can honestly say I didn’t even consider it. I knew I couldn’t, and if I’m not super careful I won’t be going anywhere for at least the next year. For me personally, IF I go anywhere, and unfortunately for me that if is a pretty huge IF, I’d have to wait for them to tour. Who knows??

I’d managed to keep myself pretty busy and uninterested until this morning, when I dared check Twitter. As I said, I had SUCH high hopes for myself because I’d managed to ignore the entire thing without much fanfare. I even dared think to myself that perhaps I was finally a recovering DD “addict”!  However, my friends are checking in, heading to NYC by train or even airplane, and the funny thing is that I’m not really that envious about the screening or even the VIP cocktail party in my first thoughts. No. I’m just envious that they get to see one another again. Meaning my friends. It is in these moments where I feel like California is truly an island on the other side of the damn world. It’s the side-effect of having gone to so many shows and events in the midwest and even on the east coast. My friends do not live here, and many of them these days live on the east coast(ish). I don’t know if any of these people understand how much I miss them as they travel to see the band tonight. Sure, I’d love to see Duran Duran again. Of course. I think that goes without saying, really. But what I’d really like is to actually see my friends. The people that matter. The people that I really can trade 14 DM’s with on Twitter without them thinking I’m psycho, the people to whom I can say “Hey, I was thinking about you this morning…” without someone else who doesn’t even know you at all calling you a frumpy American (true story!)….and most importantly, the people who you can actually message or comment to online will actually respond. That whole “two-way communication” thing has become more important to me these days.

Naturally I hope that everyone who attends tonight has a fabulous time. I’m sure I’m going to read plenty of “I saw ___________ and got hugs from _______________ and it was amazing!” posts, and I think that is wonderful. I would imagine that given my incredible sense of luck, since I am not going to be present,  the VIP cocktail party is going to be outstanding, and everyone will meet every single member of the band, have lots of wonderful photos and memories that I can’t even begin to imagine. At least, I really hope that is to be the case for everyone attending, and sure – there is a part of me that wishes she could be there to join in the fun. I just can’t help but think that for me personally, it’s become a lot less about the band, and a lot more about missing the people I’ve met along the way. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a unique point of view or not, but it’s the one with which I’m struggling most today.

-R