Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Guest Blog: Wishful Thinking

Duran Duran’s design team has been working overtime this summer! There have been a plethora of new products released in the last six months. I recently purchased a package that included apuzzle. What will I do with said puzzle? I will probably put it in storage; I bought it because it exists. This creative product surge reminds me of the 1984 era when you could find Duran Duran memorabilia almost anywhere. My late father once admitted that he bought me a Duran poster from an airport lounge while traveling home. So now I’m thinking about other products that I’d like to see officially released.

Magnetic Car Bumper decal

The paper, plastic car bumper decals were extremely popular in 1983. Some featured the band’s photo and others just the logo. However, these decals were semi-permanent. I’ve seen Dave Matthews band decals in my workplace parking lot so why shouldn’t I represent our band?

Travel mugs

There are several ceramic mugs featured in the website now. I drink copious amounts of hot tea and coffee so these mugs require more refills. They also have the potential to shatter. I’d welcome 2 varieties of a plastic travel mug. I’d appreciate the portability and they would be
conversation pieces as I’m on the go.

Plastic Water Bottle

I struggle with drinking the daily recommended water intake. Water tastes so bland. Water also creates more frequent restroom breaks. Yet, perhaps having one of the band’s classic logos on a tumbler would inspire me to hydrate more frequently. I’d even buy one of the squat water bottles with the lines denoting how much water I’ve ingested. Can you image if they put they printed current and past band member names on the water lines? There could be John, Nick, Roger, Simon, Andy, Warren, Sterling and Dom lines. Hilarious!

Keychains

The RCM era spawned a keychain. I declined because I didn’t want to explain a knife through a heart keychain to my mechanic. I did repurpose one of the chucky plastic keychains with a band photo for my first car. Unfortunately, the chunky plastic covers split over time. We are due for an elegant double D keychain. Maybe it could be free on webstore if you purchase a certain amount. The keychain could also be used to hang off of your rearview mirror like the fuzzy dice of the 1970s.

Temporary Tattoos

I work with small children and they LOVE temporary tattoos. I make sure to admire them whenever possible. Some brave fans have Duran inspired tattoos. As a tattooed fan, I’m considering the possibility. I can see fans sporting these at concerts.

Stickers

I have the puffy stickers somewhere in storage. I smile whenever I see them on resale websites. I’m writing in Bujo journals and planners more which requires stickers. It would be nice to have a set of individual band member stickers or various band logo stickers. Etsy might be the best
vehicle for this item because it wouldn’t be cost productive to import from the UK.

Shoelaces

As a Duran fan, I have a fondness for the classic, white Keds type shoe. They remind me of the white, bowler shoes that Roger and Nick (filthily) wore on the epic Rolling Stone magazine cover. A pair of shoelaces with the band’s logo would “jazz up” a pair of ordinary kicks.

Double DVD/Blu Ray box set of all the band’s videos and documentaries

I know we can view any video on the Internet now. I’m frustrated that I have some videos on VHS, DVD or some not at all. It would be nice to have them as a set. I have most of the documentaries but some are connected to specific concerts. Again, it would be nice to have them
in one set. If I’m being greedy, I’d ask for any unreleased footage as well. The band could fundraise by releasing a limited amount of autographed video box sets to fan club members for an exorbitant price. Yes, I’m dreaming now.

Thanks for reading my fantasy items. I acknowledge that the Duran Duran has released some items as part of VIP packages. I’ve seen others unofficially produced on the artisan websites. We are the fan base that bought the Arena board game, so why not dream of future products? What items would you like to see released?

Only in My Dreams,
Nat

Their Own Way – Why DD Succeed

By Finlay Dalziel

Recently, I have seen a lot of online negativity towards Duran Duran. Much of it is well-deserved – not many bands can get away with their notoriously few instances of fan interaction. Nevertheless, Duran Duran have long been my favourite band, and if you’re reading this, I imagine you agree.

However, I was not lucky enough to grow up during their ‘prime’ – being born in 1999, they were never in the charts or news in a same capacity as in 1983. The question is therefore how they have ensured continued relative commercial success, and a place in my Gen Z heart.

On the one hand, DD occasionally demonstrate a knack for predicting future experiences within their lyrics, allowing them to write consistently relatable songs. My favourite examples are ‘Too Much
Information’ and ‘Mars Meets Venus’. The former, allegedly about “commercialisation of the music industry” (thanks, Wikipedia), applies perfectly to the internet. “I hate to bite the hand that feeds
me / too much information” – the Internet seems to bombard us with facts and info constantly. When I hear “The pressure’s on the screen to sell you things that you don’t need”, Wish.com’s ubiquitous Facebook ads spring to mind.

The latter song, from the much-maligned Pop Trash (I love this album, fight me in the comments 😉 ), speaks to my generation of Tindr-users. Mars Meets Venus lists endless personal characteristics in an almost manic fashion, reminiscent of the dating apps and their endless torrent of people selling themselves with short descriptions and questionable photos.

I could go on – ‘Edge of America’, anyone? Without being political, “I’m just a number on the metal fence / which marks the great divide”, and other similar imagery, is reminiscent of Trump’s America. This lyrical projection onto modern life makes the music more personal and accessible, despite its age.

Stylistically, Duran never fail to keep it fresh. They have always been keen to avoid pigeonholing, their debut being a mishmash of inspirations and styles, quick to shed the New Romantic moniker. The difference in sound between Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious is vast, and likewise between Liberty and The Wedding Album. Indeed, when recommending Duran Duran to friends, I find it difficult to label them as an ‘80’s band’, for many of their best songs (in my humble opinion) came later. This is invaluable for a band that has been around some forty years, for there is always an album to match my mood or current taste, and it will keep them commercially relevant for years to come.

Although such variety is important, it is the content of the music which remains paramount. Duran Duran cover topics and feelings which don’t tend to age, whilst avoiding those that do. To use an example of the latter, take one of the many contemporary albums about the Cold War – Alphaville’s excellent ‘Forever Young’ (well worth a listen!). I find that the themes of nuclear war and the Berlin Wall place the album squarely in the year 1984.

DD, however, for better or for worse, tend to avoid politics. This has seen them come under fire. A recent interview with pioneering English synth group Heaven 17 generated claims that the cover for their famous album, ‘The Luxury Gap’ (which spawned the hit ‘Temptation’), was a direct jab at Duran Duran. Whilst the front displays a sunny tropical vista, the back features an industrial dystopia, in order to highlight the alleged disparity between Duran Duran’s rosy vision of the world seen in their music videos, and the reality of Thatcherite Britain. However, Heaven 17’s heavy criticisms of capitalism and credit cards seem outdated today – politics never ages well.

On the contrary, the optimism DD offer is more relevant than ever. Indeed, although their futuristic lyrics and ever-changing style are important, I would suggest that the key to Duran Duran’s longevity is their ability to craft danceable moments of escapism. In the social media age, politics infiltrates our lives more than ever, and DD’s ability to transport us to the Rio Grande, huge concert stadiums, or clubs, is vital. When I close my eyes and listen to ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)’, I am taken to a place and time I wasn’t even alive for. This timeless
appeal to the need to forget the drudgery of life has ensured Duran Duran are just as appealing, and necessary, now as before.

Guest Blog: Hope in the Middle of It

By Nat Mingo

A plethora of events inspired this blog. We’re in the middle of summer. My days are filled with reading, Momma supporting, house cleaning, and ice cream/coffee jaunts. This is not how I envisioned this summer. Duran Duran very recently celebrated the 40 th anniversary of their first concert. I didn’t think we’d have a new album because of Duran time. But I did anticipate some summer, outdoor concerts. I even dared to blow the
dust off of my passport and consider attending the celebratory, London summer show with Nile. I imagined myself surrounded by sweaty, screaming, fellow music fans as we sang and danced. Alas, here we are. No concerts or new DD music are present (yet!).

Like so many of you, I’m making the best of this unique time. I finally joined Spotify; I am enjoying rediscovering some old tunes. My 70s self is embracing Toto, Journey, and Donna Summers music. My inner Rock Chick was chagrined that I forgot Bon Jovi made ‘Bad Medicine’. While I enjoy the endless variety of music, I’m not in love with the sound quality. Vinyl records were my first music vehicles. They have a warmth that Spotify can’t replicate. It could be due to the downloaded source material and/or my technology. I’m convinced these tunes weren’t made to be listened to through a computer. Such music was made for listeners to drop the needle on the vinyl and auditorily savor.

This vinyl adoration led me to my first Duran Duran LP encounter. I was ten years old and had saved my allowance to buy “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”. My Mom purchased the album for me from our local shopping mall. I remember her triumphantly brandishing the album and exclaiming, “Lucky you! It was on sale.” Sure enough, there was a bright neon sticker in the corner announcing its sale price. I shooed her out of
my bedroom, peeled away the plastic covering and went to my younger sister’s record player. My cool, high school attending older sister had her own room AND her own stereo. I shared a room with a toddler who had
her own plastic, Fisher-Price record player. Such is the life of a middle child. I sat cross legged on the floor and dropped the needle on the original version of ‘The Reflex’ (shudder). “This doesn’t sound like the music video!” my brain wailed. Fortunately, the next track, ‘New Moon on Monday’ gave me comfort. I played that record until dinnertime as the sun set. I was hooked!

Recently, the Daily Duranie has resurrected a 30 day challenge. Each day, a question is posed for fans to answer. I’m relishing the various responses; we all have our preferences. You will find one person who adores a song in the same thread as another who trashes it. May I confess that I’m struggling to participate in the challenge every day? I judge myself because a sliver of my identity is rooted in Duran Duran music. I have all the albums (some in multiple formats), attend as many concerts as I can, and digitally buy band paraphernalia so why can’t I think of a least favorite lyric?

As a result, I’m challenging myself to revisit Duran Duran’s catalog. I let iTunes randomly select Duran songs as I drive or attend to chores. I’ve rediscovered the hidden songs. These songs weren’t selected as a single or had a music video. Yet, they are the gems in between the singles. They add to the album’s overall mood. I created a summer playlist of my “ordinary” favorites. For brevity’s sake, I could only select 2 songs per album.

They are:

Only in Dreams
The Universe Alone
The Man Who Stole A Leopard
Too Bad You’re So Beautiful
The Valley
Tempted
One of Those Days
Astronaut
Playing With Uranium
Last Day on Earth
Big Bang Generation
So Long Suicide
Read My Lips
Breath After Breath
Sin of the City
Lay Lady Lay
I Wanna Take You Higher Again
Land
Drug (It’s Just a State of Mind)
Hold Me
Proposition
Shadows on Your Side
The Seventh Stranger
Hold Back the Rain
Last Chance on the Stairway
Friends of Mine
Anyone Out There

So, I learned that I like dreamy songs, and songs with strong bass lines and/or synths. I’m extending grace towards myself because this is part of being a fan of a band with a large music catalog. I appreciate fan blogs,
Google and YouTube to help me remember all the singles, videos and band trivia. I participate in challenges as I can. I cherish memories of album liners, flipping an album over to the B side, and needle scratches/crackles. I also hope you remember to appreciate your first Duran song, album, video, concert, etc. as we navigate this summer.


In Pop Perfection,
Nat

P.S. Someone should create a mug or shirt that says, “Needs More Synth”. I’d buy it.

Guest Blog: An Ode to the Band Shirt

Several fans have begun to decrease their Duran memorabilia collections. I am the fan that lurks on resale websites hoping to snare a vintage item. As I search, it fascinates me to see what people collect. Some people collected buttons. Some fans saved complete sets of the trading cards and the puffy stickers. Many fans still covet vinyl. I collect band t-shirts. Today, as I began my morning routine of daily outfit selection, my eyes stumbled across my large Duran shirt collection. Words began to swirl in my mind about why I adore buying
Duran Duran shirts. “You should blog about this,” my Sprit whispered. So here we go!

Band Image


The vast majority of my shirts feature an image of the band. I always buy one of these shirts at concerts. I think prefer these shirts because they represent the first shirts I bought as a girl. It may have grown into a persistent habit over time. I was that fan who adorned my section of my shared bedroom with multiple Duran posters. These shirts stimulate the visual side of my brain. However, as an amply endowed Black woman, when I wear these shirts publicly now, I do attract a lot of attention. “Just doing personal band promotion”, I tell myself as observers stare. The best designs have a full sized band image. The shirts with a smaller Duran image near the neckline don’t flatter all body shapes. I tend to wear band photo shirts in my private moments. Roger via a shirt is no stranger to my nightcapped-self brushing my teeth. I sport John shirts when I feel beautiful. The band via a shirt has accompanied me begrudgingly tending in my simple garden. This is my favorite shirt to purchase.


Band Logo/Album Art


I also enjoy the shirts that feature band logos or homages to a specific album. I’ve seen some fantastic album art choices within the band’s official webstore. The brown matador shirt from My Own Way vinyl, the Reflex abstract symbol shirt, and the funny shaped Notorious figure shirt are on my bucket list (see the Vintage & Archived sections of the band’s webstore). I often buy album art shirts at concerts because they serve as a memento. When I wear them, I’m reminded of my favorite album songs or concerts I choose to attend. The band has issued some logo shirts as part of their VIP packages. I prefer to wear all of these logo/art shirts
publicly. These shirts have tremendous versatility. I can wear them in casual and business casual settings. They are great conversation pieces. I’ve also have some fun, spontaneous conversations with strangers who recognize the band’s logo. Once, strangers frowned at a young cashier and I who were chatting about my band shirt in a long grocery store line. Sorry, Not Sorry!


Color Palette


White, black and red seem to be the dominant color schemes of Duran shirts. I have no green or purple shirts. I have one pink shirt with the traditional British lion Double D logo; I regret that I didn’t buy the mint green version as well. There are a couple of blue shirts circa the reunion/Astronaut era. The red shirts are far fewer than their black and white apparel contemporaries. My least favorite band shirt is a red one. It is a red, Red Carpet Massacre shirt featuring the band. The red and black tones muddy the band’s image. Since then, my rule is “Be Resolute, Life is too short for shirts that aren’t Cute.” At first glance, the plethora of black or white shirts seem redundant but I’ve changed mind on this issue. The band made their most colorful, white shirts during the Wedding album era. These shirts mirror the bright colors of the Ellen von Unwerth/Nick Egan era. Black and white are blank canvases so the band can add any details at their discretion. Now, I’m at peace with the plain
background color options that comprise the bulk of my shirt collection.


Material, Cut & Size


I tend to purchase the men’s fit or traditional shirts. They just have more room. If a shirt is too boxy/square, then I add a belt or tuck them into my pants. I have purchased some girl’s cut shirts. These shirts are cut to flatter a curvy shape. For some reason, I find that the ladies fit shirts are made of a more sheer material. So I tend to accessorize more with a jacket, long necklace or whatever to accommodate the thinner material. I didn’t purchase some of the Paper Gods shirts with the individual icons (lips, rocket, phone) due to the thin material. I highly recommend holding up shirts to yourself when buying at concert kiosks. The wrong size can be devastating! I have a few shirts that I have outgrown due to my age or gasp my robust eating habits. I have a few shirts that are too large for me; these shirts make great travel pajamas. Someday, I hope to take the
small/big shirts and get a quilt made of them. That’s a thing, right?


Musings


Yes, I have a “wish” list of vintage Duran Duran shirts. I would love to have a complete set of the individual band members from the Scavullo photo sessions. I therefore scooped up all of the individual band member
shirts circa the All You Need Is Now cycle. I need to replace some white band shirts due poor laundry habits (too yellow now) or due to sigh barbeque sauce/red fruit juice and white band shirt encounters. Yes, I wash my band shirts separately with whitening detergent on the delicate cycle now. I’m continually searching for larger replicas of the shirts I had as a girl. Alas, I wore my shirts until they were threadbare. I don’t have any of them anymore. I didn’t anticipate my fan longevity and save them for posterity. Yes, I peruse the band’s official webstore. My latest acquisitions are the white 2020 band image shirt and the white 2020 hat. I’m sure you are unsurprised with my choices given this blog. With all the current world events, a girl can still online shop!


I will end this blog with my pet peeve. I DETEST badly designed, bootleg merchandise. If you want a laugh, check out the popular auction websites. There are many hideous options. After all, laughter is good for the soul.


Harmoniously,
Nat

Guest Blog: A Deep Dive Into the Bass Odyssey


By Nat Mingo

I found myself smiling at the latest Stone Love Bass Odyssey announcement.  This small moment of joy surprised me so I pondered what I appreciate about John’s latest endeavor. Here is what I found.

Anticipation

The band’s official account and some related social media accounts are doing a great job of advance promoting John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey episodes. The event becomes something to record in my planner. It reminds me of the days when I would patiently record band radio interviews on cassette or elbow my siblings aside to record the band on the family VHS. Friday Night Videos, anyone?

Title

Only in Durandom would Stone Love Bass Odyssey make perfect sense!  I don’t quite understand it but I understand that this title must resonate with JT in some fashion.  I would welcome more elaboration through a Katy Kafe or any fan question opportunity.  Maybe it isn’t meant to be understood or, like other art, each person interprets it differently. SLBO also reminds me of Simon’s lyrics.  I don’t have a “favorite” lyric; I appreciate the unique moments as they come in songs. 

Platforms

Stone Love Bass Odyssey (henceforth typed as SLBO for brevity) can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit & Instagram. Using multiple social media platforms allows more people to engage. Not everyone uses all these platforms so there’s something for everyone.  The multi-platform approach also helps me to become more tech savvy as I awkwardly navigate to each episode.  SLBO gives me a legitimate opportunity to connect to the tweens/teenagers in my life as I name drop platforms in our conversations. “That sounds cool. I’m on Instagram as well; my favorite musician posts there.” 

Setting

John records in his personal space.  John seems comfortable in his Studio- Man Cave- Office- Library.  My home office serves this purpose for me.  My space has Duran memorabilia, Funko Pops, books, my everyday music collection and professional items.  It’s pleasant to watch his PunkMaster garbed-self  speak passionately about Duran music in his own “safe” spot. Plus, I enjoy peeping at the random objects on his bookshelf. Is that a Grammy?

Moniker

JT frequently introduces himself as “The Bass Man”. I hadn’t heard this nickname before.  Of course, we know that Simon is also Charley.  I wonder if this name was bestowed upon him or if John selected it for himself.  While its origin is unknown, John certainly embraces it as he proudly uses it in each episode. Perhaps this is a natural outcome when you formed a band with two other Taylors. 

Instruction

I am an educator who can’t read music.  At the heart of teaching is the ability to make something understandable and relate able.  John demonstrates these traits superbly in each episode. He names specific chords and deconstructs his basslines.  Then he combines the elements while weaving them through the songs. I find myself learning something new in each episode.  I’m also isolating his bass notes in individual songs more. I wonder how his instruction is impacting the musician-fans. 

Post Interviews

John has a conversation with various guests after each episode. He has spoken to a diverse body of musicians. He started with a younger musician, Dave of Chromeo. He spoke with Suzanna Hoffs, a peer, who also made music with The Bangles during the 80’s. He spoke with Mark Ronson, who was a fan and produced Duran. John spoke with Nile this week. John has openly spoken of his admiration with Nile, a music veteran. The performance background of each guest colors the conversations nicely. John finds ways to connect with the audience and the guest simultaneously. 

Live Playing

John plays during his “lectures”.  The bass he plays has little impact on me. My limited musical ability means that I celebrate when I can see if he uses a pick or not. When John plays, it reminds me of how much I love live music. It also reminds me of the strong bass lines of the soul-funk-disco 70’s music of my youth. John often uses a drum machine that I have dubbed “Wall-E” to accompany him.  I wish Roger would ambush an episode to play together with John. In my opinion, John’s basslines are so much more robust live than on Duran’s albums. I’m always in the market for fan recorded shows and I’m open to discussing this topic over drinks with any interested fans at a future time. 

SLBO isn’t a substitution for a Duran Duran concert. But while we wait, I appreciate this deep dissection into their music. And…I have ammunition for any foolish mortal who tries to call Duran Duran a “boy band”. John’s musicianship is evident. 

Stay tuned!

Nat

DD Echoes in Halston

By Nat Mingo

This viral pandemic has caused me to spend more time at home. Regretfully, instead of reading more or starting a meditation habit, I’ve been streaming television shows and movies. I finished the Matrix film trilogy and one of these films makes a reference to Alice in Wonderland’s “going down the rabbit hole.” This is exactly how I feel after watching two back to back documentaries about fashion designer Halston. I first watched Ultrasuede made by the reality show star, Whitney Sudler-Smith (who strangely could dress as SLB for Halloween). Afterwards, I watched Halston made by Frederic Tcheng. My head was abuzz with Duran references post viewing.

Halston was popular in the 1970s. He was a frequent Studio 54 visitor alongside Liza Minelli and Andy Warhol. Of course, I thought of when the band met Warhol. Nile made a pleasant ‘Ultrasuede’ appearance as
he recounted the origin story of “Le Freak”. Chic has been invited to Studio 54 by Grace Jones but was refused entry, whereupon Nile & Bernard got drunk and sang angry lyrics which morphed into “Le Freak”. From Nile’s words, Grace sounds like an interesting character. This is certainly manifested in her appearance on “Election Day”. Watching clips of the Studio 54 revelers reminds me of Simon’s quote that “Duran is that band that makes you want to dance.” I’m also reminded of my joy at seeing John playing the keyboard on “Danceophobia” during the Paper Gods tour. In retrospect, “Danceophobia” does have that pseudo-electronic disco vibe. It’s certainly not a song to dwell on; it forces you into the present.

Halston frequently wore suits with clean lines. His models were multi-ethnic and wore bright colors. The Hungry Like The Wolf, Violence of Summer and Girl Panic babes are indicative of a Halston runway. The
band’s night photo featured on the Secret Oktober 12 inch record reflects Halston’s 80s aesthetic. The crispness of Halston’s personal appearance reminds me of the early Rio period. Part of the Rio video’s allure are the brightly colored suits the band wore. Duran created an iconic suit image on the cover of Notorious. The band also created a unique suit moment during the Red Carpet Massacre tour. Those suits were striped and paint smattered. In 2016, Duran sang at the reveal of a Mazda car; the promotional pictures featured the band in iconic suits. The ZZ Top “Sharp Dressed Man” lyrics reveal the timeless appeal of suited men. Duran has certainly capitalized on this trend.


Halston decorated his New York showrooms with heavy doses of black, white and red. The New York locale seems to be important to the band. John lived there during his “I Do What I Do” period. The band had their
only “Members Only” fan show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. Duran tends to use the red, black, and white palette as well. I thought John referenced this color trio during his college year. This trio is heavily
featured in the “My Own Way” and “The Reflex” videos. The band has revisited these three colors on their new items in the web shop. I desperately want the white 2020 baseball cap. It will be interesting to see if these colors appear on the upcoming album.

Unfortunately, Halston lost his rights to his company and name. At the time, he thought a commercial deal would enlarge his fashion impact. Duran doesn’t retain complete rights to their earliest music. I have mixed
emotions when I hear an early Duran song in a movie or a commercial. It’s great to hear a favorite song in an unexpected manner. It’s not so great to hear good music being used to hawk unrelated products. Fortunately, Duran has retained their rights to their contemporary music. I trust Mr. Rhodes will guard their music licenses accordingly.

I’m probably overthinking the Halston-Duran relationship. This is what happens when you’ve been inside for too long! Thank you for reading this mental “rabbit hole” blog. I hope you and yours are thriving indoors and out.

Nat

Fun on the High Seas Continues!

Ed note: My apologies for continuing to publish so late this week. There’s a lot going on, and unfortunately I’ve had to wait later and later to begin writing this week. Hopefully this will smooth out again in the coming days!! This particular post was written and submitted last week, but due to scheduling, I needed to wait and publish it today. Please enjoy the break from reality!! -R

Teenage Ambitions We Remember Well…

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts, or do most other “fun” teenager things. Which I think is one of the reasons I am so adamant about chasing these activities now. I’ve never forgotten those dreams from my early years. This cruise has been an amazing way to see several of those musical artist ambitions through in a short period of time.

Yesterday, Russ and I took a celebrity-led excursion with Mark Goodman (MTV VJ) and John Payne of Asia. Approximately 100 people were with us, lapping up the sun, and talking to the two celebrities like old friends. That’s the atmosphere on this trip. One of true extended family. If we do indeed come back next year, we have already revised our plans for getting things done: skip the island excursions to rest up more for the shows and hang out in the bars later in order to mix with the celebrities more. It was Russ’ idea, but let me assure you — the fan girl in me is all about it!

I’m Not Expecting To Grow Flowers in the Desert…

I think that Lori Majewski said it best when introducing Annabella from BowWowWow last night. She had tried to describe the experience to her husband in a phone call home, and remarked, “Where else can you do a concert in the afternoon, a concert in the evening, and a concert at night?” All without going out into the weather or traveling more than two floors from Point A to Point B! Unlike a festival, there’s no camping. No port-a-potties. No standing in lines for hours. There are cushioned seats. There’s climate control. There’s free alcohol, as much as you want/can tolerate. In other words, it’s more than you expect, and how very pleasant is that!

I Want Candy…

There’s plenty of “sweet stuff” on this cruise. There’s a prom night. A chance to renew your vows. The opportunity to spend time together in a way that you just don’t make time for when you’re at home. 

In terms of the musical dessert bar, well, I can barely get started. Yesterday alone, I caught an interview with Grandmaster Flash at 3:30. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with him and what he had to say about his feelings about the origins of hip hop. At 4:30, I got to see Big Country play to an absolutely packed Studio B. The energy between the band and crowd was unreal! We skipped dinner in the formal dining room to go up to the Windjammer, where they offer more of a buffet, so that we could get back to Studio B at 7, for Annabella, the most adorable little ball of energy in the universe (BowWowWow would not have been the same band with Boy George fronting them, so thank God, fate intervened)!  Then we went to get in line when that was over, to see Berlin in the Palace Theater at 9 p.m., because we are red card holders (meaning that we are signed up for the second “main show” each night). Then came the Punk Rock Prom, which we skipped. Being newbies, we didn’t do any of the dress-up nights, decorate our doors, etc.  But we were also very tired and in dire need of deep rest. 

Swimming in Apologies…

In fact, I needed rest so much that I completely forgot that today is Friday. So my blog post is coming late, for which I apologize profusely. Today finds us on a private island in Haiti, Labadee. To say that it is gorgeous is such an understatement! I haven’t made it out to the water yet. That’s next on my agenda. Only a couple of musical events on tap for tonight. Since tomorrow is our final day, I guess that I will start packing up tonight. Were going to need an extra suitcase for all the swag we have gotten with the 80’s Cruise logo on it. Including a bottle of red, red wine left in our rooms last night! 

I’m interested to see how the entertainment company offers to make up for the stars who canceled (they are supposed to do so within the month that we get home), but I will say that I feel like they have really given it their best shot during the remainder of the cruise to make some amends. I guess that all of us have times when we find ourselves swimming in apologies. Extending a lifeline is a pretty humane thing to do. 

I hope to do another blog post or two next week, one on an interview on Saturday, called “Ladies of the 80’s,” and one that is a sort of synopsis/wrap-up of the cruise overall. I hope that these have been of interest to at least some of you, and maybe we will see some of you out here with us next year.  Lord willing, it looks like a bang-up lineup for 2021!

Chrissie Anderson Peters is an author who lives in Bristol, TN, with her husband Russ, and their five feline children. She fell in love with Duran Duran during the video to “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” She was 13, and came late to the party, but she’s staying until they kick her out.

Guest Blog: It’s Darkest Before the Dawn

By Nat Mingo

It’s Darkest before the Dawn

Paper Gods will turn five years old this September.  We, fans, are on the verge of five years without new music.  So, I’m unsurprised that it seems a little bleak in the Duran fandom now.  We should be experts at waiting between albums. Years long interludes have always been part of the band’s creative process. I’ve read articles about musicians (young & old) facing the pressures from their labels demanding new chart busting music every year.  This phenomenon is universal. Duran has the self-awareness to honor their creative endeavors with the gift of time. This tendency has been documented as the band has switched labels and sought new ways to release their music. 

My perspective changed when I compared my career with Duran Duran’s career.  Duran began releasing music in 1980. My career began in 1995. Although they started fifteen years before me, we are both veterans of our respective industries.  We both continue to work in our fields. There are certain traits that must be used to reach this longevity. Let’s examine some of these traits.  

Know Thyself

Social media allows the band’s marketing team to release studio photos and monthly interviews. I enjoy the moments when the band reveals their creative process. As a listener/reader of such material, it’s obvious that the band creates music collaboratively.  There was a time when Simon was the sole lyricist; now Nick will contribute as well. Roger and John openly speak about how they “groove” with each other and work to intertwine their efforts with Simon’s lyrics and Nick’s contributions. I’m in my twenty-fifth year working within my organization. I’ve attended meetings where someone else has made suggestions on how I should do my job.  Anger has sparked within me (sometimes) before I can calmly articulate my process. I am the only one who knows the budget, the time frames, the other individuals, and must perform knowing these restraints. So, I can respect that Duran Duran knows their best working conditions, as I do, and they work accordingly. They can be unbothered with fan opinions. 

Self-Care

2020 marks the band’s fortieth anniversary. The band just released a new shirt/hoodie line bearing an old lyric; this release sparked joy for some fans. Many of us are hopeful for more commemorative events. Pop Smoke, Lexii Alijai & Juice Wrld were all upcoming, young artists that died within the last three months. I think it’s wonderful that the band is still making music and I don’t take it for granted.  Perhaps part of Duran’s longevity is because the band members know when to step back from creating music and touring. They are sons, husbands, fathers, father-in-laws and grandfathers. They have hobbies and friends. They vacation and spend time with loved ones. I have created boundaries with my job as well. I try not to check email over the weekends or when we have breaks. I communicate with my closest professional circle but I’m radio silent with others when it’s our downtime.  I’m a daughter, sister, and Auntie. I have hobbies and friends. I vacation and spend time with my family. As humans, these private interludes can create a peace that will sustain you in the workplace. It’s healthy to nurture personal self-outside of professional self. When I take a day off from my job, they find a replacement. When the band takes time away from making music, we fans, will find and listen to different musicians. Music doesn’t stop. 

Efficiency

Several fans have expressed how they enjoy interacting/viewing with the band post-concert.  It may be sharing a bar with Simon, seeing Nick stroll through a hotel lobby, watching John collect luggage in an airport or waving at Roger as he enters an awaiting vehicle. I appreciate when fans share these moments through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  These moments are precious because the band tours efficiently now. Many of us have Sing Blue Silver items that documented their tour life during that album cycle. Duran Duran now know when to fly in and out of a city, what types of interviews spark concert ticket sales, and what types of concerts generate the most income for themselves. I now know when I can stroll into work with a Starbucks coffee right before work commences. There are days when I’m at work long after hours. There are days when I leave soon after the closing bell.  So, we can trust that the band are doing the necessary work now and will when the touring cycle begins again. 

After examining the benefits of being a “veteran”, I’m more at relaxed with our (almost) five years wait.  The band members have expressed a desire to release more music this year. I can trust their instincts. In the meanwhile, I plan to keep enjoying the other parts of my life and hope for new Duran adventures this year.

Walking in Peace with my headphones on,

Nat

Guest Blog: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Editor’s note: I should have published this on Wednesday! So sorry it is late! -A

Thanksgiving Thoughts by Nat Mingo

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a holiday that commemorates the Pilgrims survival in America by holding a feast to thank their Native American allies. Nowadays, Thanksgiving means spending time with your family and/or friends while eating delicious,
carbohydrate-laden foods. Black Friday follows Thanksgiving; major stores offer discounts to entice shoppers to begin their holiday spending. I’m honored to host a modest Thanksgiving this
year; I’ve begun my preparations. However, I’m distracted by the plethora of Duran Duran news that was released this week. And I’m extremely thankful to hear this information. So, here are some Duran-related things that I’m thankful for:

I’m grateful to DDHQ for their advocacy and transparency. Duran’s media team regularly post on multi-media outlets. I follow the band on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their efforts engage fans while the band is on or off a tour cycle. It’s fascinating to read the diverse, global responses to open-ended questions. This week, DDHQ posted news about the Funko Pop figurines, the 2020 calendar release, the annual Webshop sale, and some upcoming items for
sale. The response has been hugely positive. I appreciate the “official” announcements. It allows me to plan appropriately and dare to hope. There is something magical about DDHQ’s
promotion in and around an album’s release or tour cycles. I suspect that 2020 will have some surprises in store for us.

I’m grateful for the DD webstore’s annual November sale. I’ve blogged earlier about my deep love for the yearly calendar. There will be a 2020 calendar available for purchase; Amanda kindly tweeted me with the news, as I was at work. This sale allows me to save a bit of money on items that I would like to purchase such as the calendar. In theory, I could spend the “savings” on my beloved niece’s gifts but in reality, I end up buying more band merchandise. It’s an enjoyable conundrum. DDHQ posted about a new poster with a timeline of the band’s logos and band members. I can’t wait to obtain one! I hope someone blogs about this special item; I won’t be able to write about its merits until it hangs in my office for a while.

I’m grateful for the band’s collaborators. I follow Anna Ross, Dom Brown, Nile Rodgers, Mr. Hudson and Erin Stevenson on various social media platforms. This week, I’m really grateful for Patty Palazzo’s band projects. Patty designed this year’s calendar. I liked the language inclusivity of days of the week, the number placements and some of the photo layouts in the 2019 edition. So, I’m eagerly anticipating some 2020 novelties. Patty also announced that her
company, Punk Masters, will be releasing some new items soon. I look forward to perusing her new wares. Punk Masters t-shirts are soft and chic. I plan to sport her Nefertiti shirt tomorrow at Thanksgiving. I selected the PM shirt for its comfortability, its perfect pairing with a newly acquired track jacket, and to see if my mom squints and says, “What’s on your chest now?”

I’m grateful to hear about Andy Taylor’s new endeavors. Andy recently joined several social media outlets to share his latest developments. I won’t call it a “comeback” because we know
that as a husband, father, guitarist, musician and producer, he stays busy. My thoughts about Andy are “complicated” but I’m thrilled to see/hear that he has an upcoming album and that he is doing more concerts. A fellow fan posted his enthusiasm about going to his London show tonight. Another fan has posted snippets from the show. It sounds like he is playing his solo work, Duran and Power Station songs. Andy is a gifted musician and I’m lucky to have heard
him at a few shows.

Lastly, I’m grateful to the Daily Duranie and the fan community at large. I’m a natural editor-not a creator. I can make existing things/situations better. Perhaps, this tendency is why I pursued a teaching career. It frustrates me, at times, that I don’t have the visionary spirit that most artists embody. Occasionally blogging for the Daily Duranie has allowed me to “create.” I’m deeply appreciative that Rhonda and Amanda allow me to muse on their platform. These ladies work diligently and I strive to write content that measures up to their standards. Some Daily Duranie readers have left kind comments on my posts. These positive reactions keep me writing so I thank you as well!

Thank YOU for reading this post. I have to get back to my hostess tasks- cleaning, food prepping, cooking, ironing, and obsessing over minute details. Enjoy your time with family and friends.

In Gratitude,
Nat

Guest Blog: Talk About…POP, POP, POP Figures

By Nat Mingo


November has been eventful already. The Midwest has plunged into its January temperatures and I am wearing my winter jacket a lot. I’ve got several work related projects to complete. I was really looking forward to the annual DD calendar launch, which frequently occurs at the end of November as well. Therefore, I was elated to hear an “official” announcement that the Funko POP Company is releasing a Duran Duran set. It’s two of my favorite things being combined into an awesome, new creation like Ben & Jerry’s
cookie dough ice cream or Starbucks holiday egg nog latte. Who doesn’t love a good mashup?


Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal with these Funko POP figurines?” Please let me explain. My brother-in-law (BIL) introduced me to these toys. He has been collecting the POP figures for years. He even gifted his groomsmen with them. Now when I visit my sister and BIL, I have the opportunity to spend time with his massive collection. Part of the appeal is that the Funko Company has now obtained the licensing rights for many POP culture entities. I highly recommend watching the first half of the documentary, “Making Fun-the Story of Funko” to view the company’s origins. There are sport Funko POPs, movie Funko POPs, music Funko POPs, television Funko POPs. I recently saw that they have a new historical American moments Funko POPs (oh, be still, my history- loving heart). Thanks to BIL, I regularly traverse the toy aisles to view the latest figures. I spent a year, amassing the full Marvel Avengers figurines and several Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” figures. I had the Avenger POPs in my classroom for a spell which delighted my students. But alas, the kids and I were distracted by these items and I brought them home. I have since vowedto limit my POP purchases to special purchases. The upcoming Duran Duran figures certainly qualify.

I’m excited about the Duran POPs because they are well designed. The Funko POP figurines have a distinctive style. Unfortunately, some figures look a little generic. The face doesn’t closely resemble the person so the clothing has to compensate. The facial shape is part of the product’s allure; you know a Funko POP when you
see one. When you examine the Duran figures, I LOVE that each band member is distinct. The hairstyles are the best I’ve seen on a Funko figure. You can almost imagine running your fingers through the hair of the John, Nick and Simon figures. The clothing choices are impeccable because they are so detailed. In real life, most of the band members are dark haired and dark eyed so a poorly designed POP would make the figures identical. This didn’t happen. Also, the poses are substantial. I have bought some female POP characters which had very narrow feet. The figures don’t stand up well. The Duran POPs look like they will be “standable”.


As mentioned earlier, part of the Funko POP’s appeal is nostalgia. The Duran set captured the early days of the band. This was a wise choice. The era of the band’s history does include Andy; I appreciate being able to purchase his POP toy. Andy played an important role in the band’s early career. When I saw the Duran figures, I immediately starting thinking about my Duran Duran artifacts from that period. Hopefully, if this set sells well, there is the potential for future Duran sets. My BIL bought my sister several versions of Michael Jackson
and Prince POPs. I would purchase a “Reflex” or “Save A Prayer” set of figures, a “Notorious” or “All You Need Is Now” set of figures or set based on the Scavullo posters from the Sing Blue Silver period. The possibilities are numerous.

I hope I’ve explained the Funko POP phenomenon appropriately. I suspect the Duran set will make it onto several people’s holiday wish lists. The Funko POPs are limited editions; they make so many figures now that once they are sold, they are gone. EBay is full of inflated, “retired” POPs. So let’s RUN and purchase the Duran Duran figures. They are scheduled to be released on December 15th . I’m already plotting where I will place these valuable items and perhaps I will blog on this topic again…

Gratefully,
Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life.