Category Archives: friendship

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.

-R

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 dd.com 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?  🙂

-R

Once upon a time, there was a suburban OC mom who happened to stumble upon a Duran Duran message board.  It was a very small message board at the time, which allowed for her to get to know several of the “regulars” on the board.  One of those regulars was interested in starting plans to have a convention, and the mom jumped on the bandwagon.  She got to know the committee, and within a year, found herself standing in the ballroom at Hotel Monaco in New Orleans, welcoming fellow Duranies for a weekend of fun and friendship.  Her roommates for that fateful weekend included the first friend she’d made on the message board, along with two other close “online” friends.   The weekend proved to be a great success, and out of that weekend, this mom met many others, including someone from the midwest (and the co-writer of this blog!), as well as a gal from New Jersey.

The interesting part of this story is that under any other circumstance, the mom isn’t at all sure that the three of these women would have connected.  At the time, the mom was the only married woman in the group, and is still the only one with children. (well, children that she doesn’t leave at the end of a work day….mine follow me!)  She lives in California, two within the group live in the midwest, and one is from the east coast.  The mom doesn’t work for a living, the other three work very hard – one is a special education teacher, one works in human resources, and the other is a nurse. The one connection that binds them is/was their love for Duran Duran.

As time has worn on, two out of the group have expanded their horizons.  While Duran Duran is probably still a favorite to some degree,  there are other bands that have piqued their interest, and they’ve been known to travel to see them.  The other two, on the other hand –    write a daily blog about the band, are in the process of writing a book, and have ideas for others.  Their friendship has really transcended their interest for the band, so to speak.    Of course, if a tour comes up, we try to travel together.  It doesn’t always work out, schedule-wise, but we try.  While the four of us together are friends, we’ve also sort of “paired” off.  Two go off and see INXS, the other two have actually gone on tour to see Clear Static.  The beauty of it all is that what started as a friendship due to a common interest has become a friendship based on far deeper trust.

As you might have guessed, the suburban mom in the story is me, and the other three women are my closest friends.  We started making plans to meet up whenever there was a tour, but as usually happens – Durantime takes far too long – and we’ve ended up meeting for long weekends instead!  Tomorrow, the girls descend on Orange County CA, and they’ll be staying at my house this time.  There really won’t be much Duran on the agenda (although I am sure we’ll do our fair share of video watching and laughing), but for a change – it’ll be about our friendship.

Lately there has been much talk on the boards about fairness, and about the duranie-eat-duranie world of the fan community.  I’ve written about it here in our blog as well.  I’ve had it brought up to me that not all of us are going to be friends, and still more of us won’t like one another.  That’s obviously true.  We can’t all get along – although I *do* think a lot more of us can and should try to remember that our connections to one another will far outlast the band.  My own friendships with the girls I’ve met through the community will prove that.  I’m going to remember the times I’ve had traveling with Amanda, or the way that Jessica and I “handled” check in at the fan convention…or the way I’ve full-out laughed until I’ve cried when I sit and listen to the stories Machelle has told me over the years, FAR longer than I’ll remember that I was snubbed by so-and-so at the last show or meet up.  Hopefully while reading the blog, some of you will remember the fun you’ve had rather than the way you thought you were wronged by another fan….because really, isn’t that the point?

-R

And So It Begins….(again!)

Have you heard the news?  Duran Duran recorded an interview yesterday (that would be Tuesday) for the Today Show here in the US.  The show date is November 13th, which is a Saturday.   I was ecstatic to see that they’re finally doing interviews – assumably for the new album, which is great news!!!

Where I live, the show airs beginning at 5am on Saturday.  It just so happens that I will have not only my closest friends here that weekend, but also my blogging-partner-in-crime, so we’ll be doing a joint blog that day on our reactions from the show I am sure.  I can’t wait to see the band again, and what makes this airing even more special is that my closest friends, all of whom I’ve met as a result of being involved in this godforsaken community.   I almost never have the opportunity to experience real “Duranie” moments with my friends, unless it’s at a show – because two of my friends live in the midwest, and the other lives in New Jersey.  They’ll all be here with me that weekend because as the resident old lady of the group – I turn 40  this Sunday.  They are coming out next week to help soften the blow.   I really can’t seem to decide if I’m more excited about seeing a Duran Duran interview, or if I’m genuinely more excited that I’ll get to make comments, point and laugh, and probably squeal in delight at the interview right along with my three friends here in my own living room.  

That’s the beauty of our community.  We all came together for the love of a band, yet our friendships surely transcend the “life” of the band at this point.  No, we’re not all going to be best friends, but I feel so incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon the whole lot of you, and even more so that I’ve found some of the most wonderful friends within this crazy community of ours.  Sure, there’s an amazing amount of competitive, cheap and petty behavior that goes on at times, and yes – I’ve met more than my fair share of people that I feel need a “crazy” certificate; but on the other hand, to meet all of them has made my life so much more colorful.   To think that just six short years ago I’d found DuranDuranFans.com, and since then I’ve organized a convention, started a daily blog, found a fabulous group of women to lean on during some of the roughest times of my life, not to mention finding a fantastic writing partner…. I’ve had a good run so far, and I’m looking forward to more!

Hold on tight, because this show is about to get on the road!

-R