Category Archives: friendship


Today is a travel day in my world. It seems like I have been doing a lot of that lately and I have. This time it isn’t for Duran or to go to the White House (did that last week to attend a holiday reception–so cool!). It is to go to my sister’s house in North Carolina where my immediate family will gather. This is not a typical deal as it is frequently just my parents and I for Christmas as both my siblings live far away. My sister doesn’t want to travel and my brother has other responsibilities with his wife’s family. My parents and I haven’t been able to travel in the last few years as both my cat and my grandmother needed attention and assistance. Unfortunately, we lost both of them at this time last year. This means, though, that we are free to go to my sister’s.

Tonight, I will take two short flights: one to Chicago from my small city and then onto North Carolina. They will mark my 6th and 7th flights since the end of November. This is very unusual for me. Typically, I fly two to three times a year, which totals 4-6 actual flights. I have done that in a month! Let me also be clear about something here. I am not a fan of flying. I pretty much hate it. I don’t like airport food. I hate waiting but what is worse is the actual flight. I feel out of control and trapped. I have times when I do better with this than others. You might be wondering at this point why I’m sharing all of this and what the heck it has to do with Duran Duran.

Previously to 2004, I didn’t travel much AT ALL. My father worked briefly in Georgia and my sister was living in North Carolina. At that point, visiting them would be my only reasons to venture anywhere NEAR an airport. I went because I had to see my family. Then, something crazy happened. Duran Duran reunited and I was suddenly developed a strong but strange desire to see them as much as I possibly could. Thus, in the summer of 2004, I decided that I wanted to attend this crazy fan convention in New Orleans, which would require a flight. Okay. I went for it. It helped that I was traveling with someone else. There, I met lots of crazy people, including my partner-in-crime. That December, tour dates were announced. Remember that I wanted to see the band as much as I could, right? I did. I drove. I drove or rode to five shows. It seemed perfect, ideal, especially since many of my friends from the convention were going to be in attendance for some of these shows. I thought it was perfect. I could see a bunch of shows, hang with my friends and drive! After that tour, though, our group of friends planned a trip to Vegas. Duran happened to announced that they were playing some songs at a charity event there at the same time. This, again, forced me on a plane. I wanted to see my friends and Duran.

As time as progressed, I have found myself on more and more planes. Many of these flights have been for touring purposes (New Orleans in 2006, New York City in 2007, East Coast in 2008, Vegas in 2009, etc.). I have also taken flights to see my Duranie friends, including Rhonda. Then, this past year included two trips over to the UK. If someone would would have told me 10 years ago that I would have taken flights to all of these places and some of them more than once, I would have thought the person was crazy or on drugs or something. I didn’t envision myself as a traveler. I didn’t have the motivation to overcome my hatred of flying and, frankly, I didn’t know if I would like traveling all that much. As a kid, we did do vacations but most of them were small trips to places like Michigan or Missouri. They weren’t very exciting and we always drove. In fact, we drove to Williamsburg, Virginia, and Disneyworld, which were the two big vacations. I’m sure that most of that reason is because we couldn’t afford to fly as a family of 5. Nonetheless, I wasn’t used to flying and didn’t do it much at all.

Now, I still hate to fly but it has become a way more common occurrence in my life. I have discovered that I actually enjoy visiting other places (once I get there!). I also have many reasons to fly now, including my family, my friends and that band that we know and love. I’m lucky to have discovered this about myself and I’m lucky that I have had the opportunity to travel to so many great places. This fortune really has everything to do with the band. They pushed me out on a limb, out of my shell and I have become a better, happier person because of it.


My Duranie account is overdrawn?!?

I think I might finally be feeling better because I’m actually considering baking today.  Then again, that might just be a sign that the fever has affected my brain.  Its a good thing that my oldest daughter loves to bake…if I could only get her to wake up (yes, it’s after 11am my time.  Must be nice to be a teenager…).

So after the talk of their touring coming to an end for this year, I saw this morning that the band is playing a one-off date in Dubai next March.  Dubai?!?  I was just mentioning to my husband that I would like to go there one day…

No, the band does NOT have to worry about seeing me at their show in Dubai.  Apparently my Duranie fund has been depleted.  *gasp*  Imagine my shock and horror!  (My husband used words and phrases such as “overdrawn”, “you’ve reached the debt ceiling”, “get a REAL job”….)  *sigh*

Of course I’m joking (well, mostly).  Its not exactly fun to go from planning a big trip to planning nothing but Christmas dinner.  2012 is coming, and while my husband and our retirement fund is hoping (rather loudly I might add) for a tour-free year….I’m secretly (at least it’s a secret from my husband!) hoping that the band comes back to the US.  I’ve threatened to rent a motor home and go on tour with them.  The only solace my husband has is that it would take a lot to convince me to actually drive a big old bus or motor home.  I won’t even drive the truck when we’re towing our travel trailer to go camping.  That’s his job!  I have heard lots of bits of return tour rumors, but nothing solid now, and although I’m looking forward to hearing dates – I’m also nervous because I can’t imagine not being able to go – yet the phrase “overdrawn on the Duranie account” isn’t friendly either!

What I think about more often than not these days though is how I can’t imagine never seeing the friends I’ve made during this past year again.  So many of them live an entire continent….AND an ocean…apart from me.  Its not exactly a cheap plane flight…so my answer is to either become a pilot and buy a big plane (somehow I don’t think the Duranie fund will accommodate that purchase, much less the pilot lessons), or start saving.  I have said it again and again that the shows were great, and they were.  I couldn’t have asked more out of the band – they gave and gave and gave some more.  I felt like connections were made between the band and audience that I’d never witnessed before, much less felt a part of, and those made the shows.  On the same token though, what REALLY made the trip were the people I met and the friendships I’ve made.  It really bothers me to think that I wouldn’t see those people again, so I refuse to accept the idea.  Are we sure there’s no way to become professional Duranies???  😀

And with that, I’m off to my other priority – insisting that my oldest start baking with me!



Last night was a crazy, fun one for the Daily Duranie despite Rhonda being sick and thousands of miles away from me.  What was the cause of the crazy, fun?  In this case, it happened to be a tweet from one Mr. John Taylor.  He responded to something Rhonda had said about traveling to see the band and how it was our best fan experience yet.  So, what do two grown women do in response to such a thing?  Well, I did what many good Duranies would do and that is that I called up Rhonda!  She answered the phone immediately and we proceeded to giggle like teenage girls!!  Then, our twitter and facebook started going crazy as many people commented about how happy they were for us and whatnot!  We were then able to share in the silliness not only with each other but with friends all over the world. 

This fun was followed up by Rhonda’s response to my blog post last night.  She agreed that the UK tour definitely renewed her sense of being a fan.  Her main point, however, had to do with friendship, both the friendship we have and the friendships we have made.  She’s right, of course.  First of all, we were extremely lucky to have met each other in the fall of 2004 at the Duran Duran Fans Convention.  Obviously, we hit it off right away, but that isn’t so extraordinary as many people get along upon first meeting.  Since then, however, our friendship has gotten stronger through good times and bad in both Duranland and in our real lives.  We toured together in the spring of 2005 when many of our touring traditions began, including staying up extremely late, not eating much, giggling at nothing and everything at the same time and more, which continued through last tour of ours.  Our touring also survived through the not-so-fun, divisive RCM days of 2008 as well as through the setback with Simon in the spring.  In our personal lives, we have seen some great stuff and some tough stuff as well.  We have both suffered through grief at the loss of loved ones and have witnessed changes as well with the birth of her youngest and my involvement in political campaigns.  Yet, despite everything, of maybe because, of everything our friendship continues and has gotten stronger over the years. 

The reality is this:  Rhonda and I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the band.  We don’t live near each other and don’t have much in common (on paper, anyway).  The band is also responsible for many of our other friendships as well since we have met many people on tour, on message boards or on social networking sites.  These friendships both work to reinforce our fandom and to intensify it as we can share every moment in Duranland with other people.  Yes, we probably would be fans even without being friends with other fans, but it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t be as fun, frankly!  Thus, a big part of fandom for us is making connections with other people!  Heck, that is part of the reason that we blog in the first place!  Yes, we like to write about what is on our minds but we also want to connect with other people.  I suspect that most fans want this as well.  Yes, I realize that not all fans post on message boards, have a facebook or twitter account but, I suspect that they try for connections somewhere, even if it is just by reading this blog. 

Thus, my point is that last night really reminded me about what I think fandom is all about and that is connecting with other people.  Yes, the connections begin with the common interest, Duran in our case.  The connections increase one’s interest in the idol(s) and, in many cases, can and does go beyond the common interest to include real life stuff.  It certainly has for Rhonda and myself.  Have you experienced connecting with other fans?  Has it developed into strong friendships like it has for us?  Has it changed your fandom in any way?


A Good-Bye

Before anyone starts to freak out or celebrate – it’s not me or Amanda!!!  It’s a message board, and in fact it’s the message board that brought Amanda and I, as well as a horde of other Duranies together.  The message board is, along with its owner and developer, Master Grand Poombah RobinRobin (her screenname, of course!)….Robin isn’t going anywhere of course, but this post is as much about her as it is the message board.

Back in 2003 (I’m hoping I have the date correct!), RobinRobin did the Duranie world a huge favor and started a little website – the aforementioned (love that word), affectionately shortened to DDF.  Those of us who were barely treading water on along with many, many others in the Duranie Kingdom, found our way onto that message board.  I can remember the very day I wandered yet again onto only to see a thread from Robin requesting that a few come on over to DDF and check out the message board client she’d set up.  I figured it couldn’t be any worse than and went over, only to find a much calmer and easier to read set up.  I quickly made friends with a few Duranies, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about planning a convention. Suffice to say, I didn’t go back to much after that.

In 2004, that convention happened – it was held in New Orleans at Hotel Monaco (the hotel was closed after Katrina due to damage and never reopened).  It was there that Amanda and I first met in person, and truly – it’s where I met most of the Duranies I continue to keep in touch with to this day.  I continued to call DDF my second home for many years following the convention, and I will always be extremely thankful to Robin for the time, energy, support, friendship and emotion she poured into the site.

As time wore on and sites like Facebook grew in popularity, I found myself drifting farther and farther away from DDF, and during the last year I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve visited.  The friends I made there are STILL my friends now – in fact most all of them are my friends on my personal Facebook page and they are the people I am most tickled to read about in my news feed each day.  Embarrassingly enough, I found today that I can’t even remember my proper password for DDF – a sure sign that it’s been far too long since my last log in. For many years that board was the very first place I’d check in the morning.  Forget going to for the news – DDF would have the best news first!  I can remember spending many an hour trading posts and laughing so hard… my house would be devoid of other family members, and yet I never felt alone.  We had a chat room on the board that for a while became a gathering place on Monday evenings – we called it The Late Bar (aptly named!) and we even had a made up bartender there named Woody.  It’s where I first fell off my virtual barstool, and where I am positive I left my sanity behind.  We had many a game on DDF, one of which being that each Monday, we’d pass the torch from New Moon on Monday.  Actually, it was more like we’d “grab” it from one another and claim to take a band member along with us.  Guess which band member I chose???  😀  Well Roger…. let’s just say you’ve been around the block more than once.  😉  There are stories and threads that when I think back on them, I will still laugh about fondly.  All of those picture threads we had going…the time we found the nekkie pictures of Simon…(yes, we’re grown women.  We sometimes have a difficult time remembering that and yes, my husband would be appalled.  Not surprised, but appalled all the same.)  Reading all of Jessica’s updates from the 2005 tour (AIR HORN)…good times were indeed had by all.  When something happened to one of us, it happened to all of us, whether we wanted it to or not.  In October of 2007, I was shocked out of my gourd with the discovery that I was about to be a mommy to baby #3.  I was about to turn 37 and trust me – having a baby was not something I was anticipating.  My relationship with my husband wasn’t on the best terms at the time and the people I turned to first, even before I told my family, were my friends on that board.  If it hadn’t been for those women, I am not at all sure I would have made it through that time.  They made each day worth living and my sadness, frustrations and anxieties were shouldered by all of us, and I’ll never ever forget that.

DDF was truly a home for anyone who wanted somewhere safe to talk about the band.  We tried our best not to judge, we expected everyone to play nicely in the sandbox, but we respected opinions as best as we could – understanding that we wouldn’t always agree…and there were many times when all we could do was agree to disagree.  Our friendship mattered more than the band, and really, isn’t that the point?

Message boards have waned in popularity since Facebook and other social networks like it began, while groups on Facebook (and perhaps other sites) have sort of taken over where they have left off. It’s a subject Amanda and I cover at length in our book…in fact I’m in the midst of writing that chapter right now and to a degree there’s poignancy and sadness in seeing that DDF has also fallen victim to progress.  DDF and message boards like it have served their purpose well, however.  I’ve made very good friends with people from all over the country that I might not have ever met otherwise, and I have all the hope in the world that these friendships will continue throughout my life.

I raise my glass (or cup of tea because it’s not even noon my time yet!) to  Robin, you did an amazing job with that message board, and I will truly miss it.  There just aren’t enough words to explain just how much that website and that message board changed my life.


More on Friendships

While I didn’t get comments here, I did see quite a few comments regarding yesterday’s blog topic on Facebook.  The overwhelming response is that the friendships we make have all the difference in our experience, and I would agree.  (obviously?!?)

The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding.  Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.

When I first found, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board.  You were either included or you were not.  You were either well liked, or you were not.  The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited.  Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked.  We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish.  Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form.  Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way.  The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens.  I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?

The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience.  Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder.  Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan.  When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse.  Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about.  What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community.  I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone.  I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference.  If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge.  Enormous!

Of course, there are always going to be people that prefer the solo experience.  I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be.  (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!)  I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row.  I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had *I* been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too.  Who here would not have been?!?  Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case.  I’d have braved it out just fine!  I suppose we all have our limits or standards.  Mine is in the front row!

What about that false sense of friendship?  Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show?  What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen?  They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in?  For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived.  I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.

I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed.  If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.


Oh, is that tonight??

Since I arrived at home on Saturday evening, it’s been pretty much non-stop stress for me.  The details aren’t really important, suffice to say that I’ve given Duran Duran precious little thought.  I did recall that the Gimme a Wristband party was last night (I’m sure it was a great time), but I didn’t honestly think about the shows I was missing.  I was on Facebook yesterday and then again this morning, reading a litany of status updates from people saying that they wished they were in NYC, or talking about the party and the show at Madison Square Gardens tonight…and my first thought was “Oh, is that tonight?”

After I had that initial thought, I really started worrying.  What is going on with me?!  I don’t even care about the show?  How can that be?!?  Keep in mind, I still don’t care about the show – I’m just a little surprised by my own apathy!  Normally when I take a trip like the one I just made to Chicago, I’ll come away craving more.  I’ll think about how I could have been on my way to Windsor, Ontario; Montreal, or yes…even NYC.  This time, there was none of that.  I got home and went back to real life.  I mentioned as much on Facebook and had some good friends talk me down from the “Am I losing my Duranie?” ledge I was sitting on.  

Initially when I started really going to a lot of Duran shows during adulthood, it was just after the reunion.  I’d gone to many shows prior to that, but I’d not traveled for them or anything like that.  It was purely a case where if they came to L.A. (and as I’m reminded, they do come here often!), I would go to a single show.  It wasn’t until the reunion where I started going to as many shows as I could manage (which weren’t many to begin with), and then started actually traveling to see them as well.  At that time, I think it really was about seeing the band for me.  I craved their live shows.  I wanted to be in that moment with them as much as possible.  Along the way, I met friends.  Real, life long friends.  What was once about seeing the band suddenly became seeing the band with my friends.  Using the shows to be the backdrop for amazing weekends and that sort of thing.  When I think about it, a change happened in May that goes well beyond just traveling to the UK.  It was the first time I’d planned a major trip with friends assuming the band would play, only to have those plans changed and suddenly the trip became purely about being with friends.  Not only did I have the friends I’d traveled with, but I met new friends in London when Gimme a Wristband and Daily Duranie held their joint party at the Reflex.  We became friends over some bad circumstances with the shows being postponed, but I think the feelings all of us had that night helped to bond us to one another.  Friendship truly transcended the band that night, and it continues.

So I guess what I’ve discerned with the help of friends today is that my friendships are what I crave most these days when I travel for the band.  Touring is tough.  It seems like a lot of fun (and it is), but can also be brutal and punishing.  My body is 10 years older than it was when I started all of this, and while I’m still not quite an old lady – I’m not a kid with endless energy either.  I fear for our UK trip, to be honest.  4 shows.  6 days.  About a zillion miles of travel via airplanes and trains.  Tired is going to even begin to cut how we’re going to feel, but I know it’s going to provide a lifetime of memories due to the friendships I’ve made along the way.  For me personally, I don’t know of a lot of people going to the Madison Square Garden show, so my interest isn’t quite there, regardless of it being THE Madison Square Garden. (although I should wave an enthusiastic hello to our friend Kitty from Gimme a Wristband – have a great show!!)  Atlantic City is slightly more interesting to me, but I think my saving grace is that Amanda isn’t going, and I have about 34 days until I leave for the UK.  Amanda would be pleased that I actually know how many days we’ve got!!

A good example of this comes from my show on Friday in Chicago.  I sat alone at this show while Amanda and her cousin had seats in the pit up front.  I knew I’d be buying a single ticket, and that wasn’t a problem at all.  The show was great, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that something felt slightly off during the show.  I was excited to see the band, yes, and they didn’t disappoint, but even so – there was something missing.  I was even slightly offended when Simon tweeted after the show that it was their best show of the tour and possibly their career.  I remember calling that tweet “complete BS”. (actually I think my language might have been slightly more colorful….)  What was my problem?  Well, it’s easy – I was alone at the show.  There is something to be said for having someone next to you to squee along with (and no, my husband doesn’t count at all on that one!!) when John comes over to your side of the stage, or when you can comment about Simon’s choice of attire, or the fact that he still does those fancy karate moves at the end of Notorious, or when Roger twirls his stick (come on now!!).  But, when you’re alone, there’s nothing to say – and try as I might – the guys next to me were not interested in hearing my comments!  It really was a great show and I was excited to be there – but that feeling would have been amplified tenfold if I’d have been sitting with friends.  Naturally, I’d do it (sit alone) again if I needed; but I hope I never need!

The night of the show, I sat in the audience and tweeted something about how after 30 years, it’s great to be experiencing all of this with so many friends, and that we’re so lucky that a band of all things brought us together.  I think that statement really holds true for so many of us “hardcores” in the community.  I don’t know if I’d still be going to shows if I hadn’t made so many friends – and to be honest I think this very subject is one of the reasons why Amanda and I have taken this blog to heart so well.  We WANT fans to find connections with other fans, and if Daily Duranie needs to be vehicle to help make this happen – we happily accept that challenge.  We want EVERY fan to have the types of experiences that are life changing, and when it comes right down to it at the end of the day – it’s our friendships with one another that will make that happen.  That isn’t to say we’re all going to be friends with one another and be a happy family – that’s not the point and it’s not reality.  What I mean is simply that going to the shows and meeting the band is one facet (a face of a cut diamond) on a very large uncut diamond. (Yes, I’m a gemologist when I’m not a Duranie…)  What is going to make that diamond special and unique is to fill in or cut the other facets so that it shines like no other, and those “facets” are the experiences we have with the other people we meet along the way.  I love bringing people together and giving other fans an avenue or opportunity to have experiences similar to what I’ve been lucky enough to experience along my own journey.  We may never be able to get front row, but we will certainly have the joys of a lifetime along the way, and we want to share that with others however we can, whether it’s through as many meetups as we can manage or other experiences.

This week has been full of life lessons for me, both on a very personal and “Duranie” level, and it’s only Tuesday!


Deja Vu and the friendships that last

Life is so funny sometimes.  One thing that always makes me take pause is how there are some people in your life that you can go without seeing for years, maybe even decades at a time and then when you finally do see one another again, it’s as though no time has passed at all.  I’m not sure if it’s a sense of deja vu, or if it’s just familiarity – or maybe a lot of both.

Last night I met up with a few girls (well, we’re women now I suppose) that I knew from college.  I went to Cal State Fullerton (I graduated in 1993 if there’s any Titan Alumni out there!), and after my first year living on campus in the dormitories (Fullerton is a small commuter campus, there were only 3 sets of dorms back when I attended, so there isn’t much of a “college life” going on there), I decided to try and pledge a sorority.  It seemed like the thing to do since I was no longer living on campus, yet I really wanted to meet some people and make the most out of college.  I went through “Rush” (for my UK friends, this is a time where you go and meet all of the sororities on campus – social clubs, basically – and then through a ridiculous process of voting and choosing, you end up with an offer to join a sorority at the end of the rush period), and at the end of the process, I ended up with a Bid Card to join Zeta Tau Alpha – ZTA.  To make a long story a bit shorter, when I went to the Bid Party that afternoon, I met 4 other girls that were going to be in my Pledge Class (actually, there were about 20 of us altogether – but there were 4 other girls at my table that day), and we became fast friends.  Over the course of the 3 years that I was in the “house” (that’s what we call each of the sororities, “houses”), there was a lot of laughing, fun, debauchery and drama, but once I left – I didn’t keep in touch with anyone.  Over the years since I ran into one of the girls a couple of times, but I didn’t know what had happened to any of the others.  Then along came Facebook, and somehow – we all found one another.  There were promises to meet and catch up, but nothing ever really transpired until last night.  It was the first time in about 18 years that all of us had been together in the same room at the same time.

I was incredibly nervous.  I’d gotten to the place we were meeting for dinner and drinks a bit early, and as I sat texting my partner-in-crime (Amanda), I could feel my blood pressure rising. My tenure as a Zeta ended before I graduated due to some family issues (basically I had to quit because my parents were losing their house and I needed to pull my own weight), and the sorority house was less-than-supportive.  At the same time, the aforementioned drama between all of us had put quite a bit of distance between a few of us, and so there was a lot of unresolved emotion that I think we all carried with us.  As excited as I was to see the girls, I was nervous because I just wasn’t sure what would take place.

I got out of my car and immediately saw one of them – it was the strangest feeling because it was as though I had been transported right back to those college years.  The same feeling came over me as each of them walked into the restaurant, and throughout the night I felt like I couldn’t talk fast enough!  We had so much ground to cover in such a short period of time.  We’ve all walked very different paths since college – I was married first out of the 5 of us, and my children are both the oldest (my first two) AND the youngest (my little one).  Two are still not married, one has moved out of state, one moved out of state and back again (that’d be me) one has converted to a completely different religion, and all 5 of us have aged beautifully, of course.  🙂  For all of the things that had changed though, so many things were still the same.  The laughter, the inside jokes, the annoyances we had during college and sorority, and our love for one another, despite the differences. (or perhaps in spite of our differences)  I don’t think I realized how much I missed these girls until I saw them, and how much I really do need them in my life.  I don’t know why I completely walked away from them back at school, I suppose that at the time I needed to be on my own in order to appreciate their friendship when and if I ever had the chance again.  Even today, it’s difficult not to be emotional about how I felt with them last night – they are very special people and I’m glad to have them back in my life.  It won’t be 15 years, or even 1 year, before I see any or all of them again, that is certain.

The reason I tell this particular tale is the familiarity of the story.  How many of us felt (or feel) that same weird sense of deja vu when we’ve gone to see Duran Duran?  I know the first time I saw all 5 of them on stage in Costa Mesa in 2003 I just stood there unable to move for the first 10 minutes of the show because I felt like I had to be in some crazy dream or something.  I looked  like an adult, but boy did I ever feel like I was back in junior high again.  Our “relationship” with the band is much different than the one we might have with close friends.   I don’t believe it’s quite the same as the two-way street we have with friends we genuinely know and love – but the band was a very large part of our lives as we grew up.  I know I didn’t realize how much I’d missed seeing the band until I saw them again in 2001 at the House of Blues in Anaheim even though at the time it was only Simon and Nick that were original members at the time.  After that show, I grabbed on to fandom for dear life!   At a similar point in my life, I even put the band on the back burner in my life just as I’d done with my sorority friends.  At the time, I don’t even think I knowingly decided not to follow the band as closely as I once had – it just happened.   Of course, when the time came and I saw them play onstage again, it felt as though no time had ever passed – just as it felt last night when I looked at each of my friends sitting around the table talking and laughing.

When I see the band again in December, I have no doubt that as they take the stage, it will feel as though no time has passed – yet I believe that by that time it will have been about a year and a half since I’ve seen them.  Not exactly decades, but my point is that a certain part of me will feel that same sense of comfort, familiarity and recognition that I had last night with my friends, even though I won’t even be seeing the band in my own country.  There is definitely something extremely special and priceless about being a Duran Duran fan into my 40s.  I’ve learned to appreciate them in a way I couldn’t have done at 12 – even though they truly exasperate me at times.  Not much different from friendship, really.


Here is to Friendship

This weekend was a busy one for many a Duranie on the east coast.  If anyone was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Second Chance Prom in Hartford CT, Duran Duran did an acoustic set there on Friday night, and on Saturday they played at Foxwoods (also in Connecticut). I’ve seen photos both from the “prom” and from Foxwoods, and it looks like a good time was had by all.

Seeing the pictures and hearing the tales of the weekend reminded me of my trip to see Duran Duran at the Foxwoods resort a couple of years ago.  Naturally Amanda and I traveled together, and the show at Foxwoods was our first for that particular extended weekend!  We had the chance to meet some new friends that night before the show at the Hard Rock Cafe there at Foxwoods – “MichDuran” (her screenname) and SusanDeFeo (her real name…which was her screenname too!) sat across the table from us along with their husbands that night.  I remember thinking that their husbands were so nice to be willing to go along with them to the show, they were certainly good sports about it, and that my husband was sitting at home with our three kids at the time!  I’m not sure that we really made the best impression on our new friends at the time. (in fact I’m pretty sure I should continue to apologize for our behavior…) Amanda and I had just had our typical celebratory shot at the bar (that as far as I can remember was ridiculously strong and took effect rather quickly!), and since it was our first full night out together in several months, I am sure we were crazier than usual – making up for lost time, so to speak.  They all seemed to be very nice though, and after dinner I think we all ran our separate ways to get to the theater on time for the show.  I know I saw a few from that dinner after the show that night at whatever club we ended up at in the hotel, but it was nothing more than a fleeting “hi” and we were on our way.

Months later, a show was announced in Las Vegas.  Amanda and I made plans to go, and mentioned them on the message boards.  Sure enough, other friends were traveling out for the show, and we made plans for dinner on one of the nights.  Mich and Sue caught up with us on DDM and we made plans to meet them that night, along with another one of their friends – “Whooosh” (also her screenname!)   When the time came, we did catch up with two out of the three at the restaurant, but due to circumstances beyond all of our control we didn’t actually end up eating together.  We saw one another after the show and took a photo together, but there wasn’t a lot of catching up that we could do in the short amount of time we had.  We promised to do better next time, and went on our way, because really – that’s what you do during these short trips.  You squeeze in what you can, and promise to do better later.

Sadly, there isn’t always a next time, as we all learned some months later.  Sue DeFeo passed away in her sleep, and for Amanda and I – we won’t have that chance to catch up with her again.  I think the two of us learned a very powerful lesson from that experience, and that is – if you’re given the opportunity to connect with a friend, you take it.  You move mountains to spend that time if that’s what it takes, and you appreciate it, because you might not get the chance again.

As I said at the beginning of the blog, this weekend was busy for the folks on the east coast.  I know that Sue’s friends went to the prom and to Foxwoods this weekend, and I have no doubt whatsoever that Mich thought of Sue the entire time.  I hardly knew Sue and yet I found myself thinking about all of them – Mich, Whooosh, Sue…and a host of other faces I recognize but have yet to connect screennames with yet.   This was the first show that Mich went to without Sue, and I’m sure that it wasn’t easy.  I think to all of the traditions (sentimental, crazy….and “other”) that Amanda and I have, and I can’t imagine all of that just ceasing to exist.  Of course, we all know that Sue really WAS there with all of her friends (I have no doubt whatsoever.  There’s no way she was missing out on that acoustic set!), but I’m sure it was bittersweet to start new traditions and experience old ones without her physical presence.

I know this fan community has a lot of drama.  I also know there’s a lot of bitterness at times.  There’s also a lot of love and friendship.  When the time comes that I’ve stopped blogging, and stopped getting online and only have my memories of going to shows and being a fan to rely on – I highly doubt that I’ll remember the arguments or the one-upping that people seem to like to do.  My guess is that I’ll remember the tour binder, the customary shots we take to begin each of our touring weekends, our stops at IHOP, and the fact that I have three other people that I can call, day or night, to bail me out of jail if ever necessary.  😀

Here’s to starting new traditions, remembering old ones, and keeping our friends in our hearts and minds!  – R

Girl Panic! (the sequel)

Yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least.  As I’m sure you can recall (and if not – hey, that’s cool – read yesterday’s blog to catch up, and I’ll wait right here for ya!), I had written my own thoughts about the band “following” fans and what not on Twitter.  Unbeknownst to me at the time (and this should probably be a pretty fair indication of what my feelings are about this subject as a whole), apparently Simon does in fact follow some fans on Twitter.

*collective gasp of shock from the community at large*

I probably could have let this subject die a sorrowful death, but I wouldn’t be doing MY job (self-imposed or otherwise) if I didn’t at least comment.  The fact is that I didn’t know Simon was following people, and maybe that information would have impacted my overall opinion.  But probably not.  🙂

To begin with, I think this is a case where we’re going to see that each band member handles their own celebrity differently.  For instance, Nick and Roger don’t even have twitter accounts – and Nick doesn’t even have a Facebook. (I for one would be fascinated to read what goes through that man’s mind at times….:D)  I know many WANT him to have one, but I have to applaud the fact that Nick seems to know when to stay away.  Each of them have their own personal likes and dislikes, and I think that as a whole we fans are lucky to have any of them anywhere near interacting with us!

 I admit that I love the way John handles both his Facebook and his Twitter – kind of like an impromptu Q&A session, and when he’s done, he’s done.  Good for him.  He announces his “hello”, he says his “goodbyes”, and I’ve yet to see him impolite, which I think is amazing given some of the more colorful tweets I’ve seen.  Generally speaking, Duranies and the word “boundaries” don’t seem to mix at times.  Never mind the people that seem to try and demand an answer from him – I don’t know how he doesn’t respond back with some snark of his own.  I’ve seen more than one “I just want him to respond to me like he would a normal friend of his.”   Interesting.

My first thought with regard to tweets from anyone is that they aren’t always going to respond.  Not even Amanda and I respond to ALL of them.  We answer what we can.  We involve ourselves in conversation when it’s something that pertains to us that we can answer, or that we want to answer. Sometimes someone will ask me something and I won’t even see it until way later.  It’s kind of the way it goes.  I would think that by being “normal” – he’s going to answer what interests him, engage in conversation when he feels it’s appropriate, and all of that is OK.  To expect him to answer you, or me specifically is a probably assuming a bit much.  Regardless, it is what it is.  I guess I’m just the type to be happy to sit back, read, and if I’ve got a wisecrack or something funny to say – I post it.  I might not even post it for either John  or Simon to read – I just post it for our followers (many of whom also follow John and Simon) to see.   Simon seems to tweet his thoughts, or random jokes as the case may be – and those who want to respond do.  He doesn’t seem to do the whole Q & A thing, which assuming you’ve all read his blogs or his Ask Katy answers….he doesn’t even answer THOSE questions all of the time.  It’s just his way.

I’m not sure if having Simon follow some fans but not others is really “favoritism” – some fans on Twitter are certainly intimating that to be the case, but I think that there are going to be people who are OK with it and don’t even care (count me in that group), and others that are completely annoyed and even outraged by the idea.  Let’s just consider that for a second.  First of all, these guys are human.  They have friends, and I’m sure that they probably connect with some fans better than others – just in the same way that you and I connect with some people better than others.  It’s natural.  If we really want them to behave as though we’re just “normal people” (and personally, I think that ship sailed a long, long time ago…myself included.  Remember, I write this blog.), then we have to accept that yes, some fans…some people…are just going to connect with others on a completely different and more personal level.  It is what it is.  I suppose I could be offended that Mr. LeBon doesn’t find me interesting enough to follow….but that’s a big waste of time and definitely not why I’m on Twitter or Facebook anyway.  I still kind of think that the day they actually know my name and can put my name together with my face is the day that I really need to rethink this fan thing anyway.  😀

I can’t speak for everyone, but my own feelings narrow down to this:  I guess I’ve waited a long time to have the opportunity to see them beyond the posters I had in my bedroom as a kid, or beyond the ideas of them I had in my head as I watched them perform on stage. I’m getting the chance to actually read what they’re saying – whether I like what they’re saying or not.  I’ve had to get past the IDEA I had of who they might be in my head and accept who they really are, understanding that the pedestal I might have them on can be very wobbly at times and not at all perfect.  Sometimes, I’m pleasantly surprised, and sometimes yes – it can be a bit of a rude awakening.  I think the glory in all of it is that even now, I still have the ultimate choice.  I can stick around and enjoy the show, or I can go away.  All of us have that choice.


Patience is a Virtue and other lessons of the day….

Last night, I was watching V with my family, and since it started to completely gross me out and disgust me (stay with me….), I grabbed my laptop and figured I could get some work done.  Ha.  I should have known better, really.  I hopped onto twitter only to find Mr. John Taylor spouting some sort of nonsense about sticking around for the “Official” Coachella announcement (because that clearly wasn’t obvious enough for me to understand that while John had also told us all – liar liar pants on fire – it was very “unlikely” for them to play Coachella, they really WERE playing!)  I’ve got your number now, mister….  It really was *unlikely* for them to ever play Coachella, but it was also really *unlikely* that they’d ever reunite with Andy again…and they did.  *sigh*   I really need to learn how to translate Duranspeak better than I currently do.  🙂  It wasn’t long after I tweeted back that yeah, he also had to stick around so that I and 3000 other buddies of his could give him a rough time playing Coachella after telling us that it was unlikely that he said Night Tweeties.  (oh John, you’re a funny one, aren’t ya?)  I won’t go into the number of times I refreshed until it was FINALLY announced that yes, Duran Duran is playing Coachella on April 17th…nor will I go into the myriad of reasons why I am not going.  No really, I’m not going.  Festivals and I are not friends.  Regardless, I do think it’s a fantastic opportunity for them, and while I do have some serious reservations – I will keep those to myself until after the rest of the tour is announced.  John says those dates are coming next week….we will see.

While bantering to John, I my mind wandered to a written “conversation” I’d had earlier in the day with Amanda.  I’m currently working on a chapter for the book about Facebook and Twitter, and I’m brainstorming the topics that I would like to cover.  I have quite a list going, but one thing we wrote back and forth about was that because of the fact there are so many of us who have been fans since our early teens or even earlier, many of us feel as though we know them.  I would argue that yes, we do know them – we know exactly what they wish for us to know about them.  The trouble is, and I think this is a common side-effect for any long term fan, we tend to feel as though there’s a relationship between the band and ourselves, and of course – as we know once we stop long enough to think about it – it’s truly just one sided.  As I’ve mentioned before, the band doesn’t have the foggiest idea who I am.  (probably a good thing)  I will say that I’ve been to a few shows in my day, and I’ve had the opportunity to be near the front enough to gain their attention. (I’ve been taught how to clap properly to Red Carpet Massacre by John, I’ve also sang with him a time or two…I’ve had Roger attempt to throw a stick to me, and I’ve laughed right along with Dom).  That said, they don’t really know me.  I can’t imagine any of them would recognize me, and I know they don’t know my name.  I might think that I know them, but the truth is – if they saw me on the street they’d walk right past me – and rightfully so.  What really adds to the confusion of where the line between fan and friend really lies is the premise of social networking.  Sites such as Facebook and Twitter initially began as ways to maintain friendship.  You add “friends” to your facebook account, and you follow people on twitter.  At one point, celebrities didn’t really utilize either facebook OR twitter – it was about friends.  So now, we’ve got Duran Duran on facebook; John and Roger are on facebook, as is Dom….and we’ve got Dom, John & Simon on Twitter.  Even I have a hard time remembering that these guys don’t KNOW me.  I’m bantering AT them as though I’m giving a friend a hard time. (as opposed to WITH them, because, let me be honest here – they’ve never retweeted something I’ve said or even acknowledged me at all)  I would never openly tell the guys they should stop coming to facebook or twitter, absolutely not – but I do need to remind myself from time to time that I’m just a fan.  I’m one of…well…a LOT of people out there.  I suppose this topic does tie in a bit with the validation topic from yesterday, but it’s an interesting facet of what social networking sites have done to change or evolve the definitions of celebrity and fan.

Which brings me to patience, of which I have very, very little.  Not sure if any of you caught that yet. Twitter is great in that we get almost instant gratification since it takes place in “real time” – but that 140 character limit thing can be a problem.  Then there’s facebook, which is much more an “at your leisure” sort of thing.  Messages can sit in my inbox for as long as I wish, I can reply at length, and the pace is less frantic.  In the past week, Amanda and I have expanded our horizons to include a new facebook page for Daily Duranie, and quite honestly I’m amazed at the differences in the fans so far.  There are people we’ve befriended that are active both on facebook and twitter, and then there are people who seem to stay mainly on twitter and mainly on facebook. What’s really fascinating to the two of us, being the social science observers we are – is that the types of fans we find in either place truly differ quite a bit!  It is a bit early for to draw conclusions on what I’ve seen so far, but it’s fascinating that the mechanics behind each of the social networking sites attract different types of fans altogether. I suppose it makes sense, but very interesting, nonetheless.  Are you a patient fan, or more like me where you want it all yesterday?  🙂