Category Archives: meetups

I’ll hold on to the memory

I am reminded that one year ago today was the Durham, North Carolina show. Easily the best show of the four I saw last summer, and anytime I think about that night, I break into a small grin.  It was a good night, and not entirely because I spent 3/4 of the concert in front of Dom.  Yeah, yeah – no one wants to read my gushing about that. There was also the little matter of a great meet-up at a fantastic wine bar in Durham, just around the corner (practically) from the venue. It was well-attended, and I think it put everyone in just the right kind of mood. Those are the kind of gatherings that I think back on, and am glad I was there to take part.

I was just telling Amanda this past week that it seems very weird not to be planning a trip to see the band, or more likely – getting ready to leave to meet up with Amanda for a road trip.  August is typically a holiday month for the band unless they’re touring, and as such the band isn’t really working right now. I don’t know if they’re all on holiday or if they’re just taking a break – I don’t keep up with their individual schedules, but I do know it’s very quiet, and it’s that part of the summer where I’m beginning to say to myself, “Let’s just get on with it.” My kids have been going through registration for school, the August heat has finally started to come to Southern California where I live. I’m pretty much done with the summer doldrums. It would be nice…it WILL be nice…to get some news from the band again. I really have no business saying I’m bored, with school registration, preparing myself for homeschooling, kindergarten and dealing with my oldest being at a regular high school again along with convention planning and occasionally even working on our book proposal, you’d think I’d have enough on my plate. I really do, but that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about planning another road trip or wondering what the new music will really sound like.

I’m looking forward to the days – should they come – where we get a teensy snippet of music from the studio, or watching a bit of news on YouTube from Nick on their progress…or maybe a blog from John. When you’re a fan, you live for those tiny moments in between albums because it breaks up the daily monotony. We’ve still got quite a wait ahead of us, so I look for the little moments to break up the silence. I can’t imagine that I’m alone. I see your tweets on Twitter!

When I indulge in a little daydreaming about a previous show – it is often the Durham show that comes to mind for me. So many great things about that trip and specifically that show for me to remember with fondness. It makes me hopeful for what comes ahead, whether it’s Durandemonium in October (I am so glad we have that coming – I’m starving for some Duranie-time!) or a possible tour next year. I’m looking forward to seeing friends, making new ones, and creating a whole set of new memories. That’s what is getting me through this last bit of summer before my life becomes crazy with reading, teaching, helping in classrooms and last minute convention planning. October will come very quickly once September 3rd hits and the first of my three children goes back to school – so while I complain about the silence and boredom, I’m treasuring the moments at the same time!

-R

I’ll Do Fine Without It

Before I get started on today’s blog, I want to thank everyone for two things.  First, we really appreciate all of the pictures you have sent with you and your Duranie fans.  The slideshow for the convention is coming together nicely but we are still taking photos.  If you have some, we would love for you to share with us, the convention and the Duranie world by sending them to our email at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Second, I had many, many people volunteer to participate in my quest to showcase some people in our fandom, including fan artists, fan fic writers, remixers, webpages/message boards/facebook group masters, and collectors.  I also had a number of people from other fandoms willing to share about their fandom with me as well.  I will be getting in touch with all of you with a series of questions soon enough.  Clearly, I have much to do.  On top of this blog idea, there are many details left to finish regarding the convention.  Speaking of…

Can you all believe that the convention is about 2 months away!?!  Of course, on one hand, I’m fretting about everything that needs to get done.  On the other hand, I’m ready to get all of that done!  When I look beyond my to-do list and start really thinking about the weekend, I get excited!  Frankly, there is a part of me, a BIG part that is more excited than I would be for a regular Duranies meetup or even a show.  Oh my gosh!!!  Blasphemy!?!  What is the heck is wrong with me?!  Why would I look forward to a convention more than a show?!  Let me be clear.  For interacting with fans, I definitely prefer this kind of setting over a meet up or a show.  I’m serious.  I know that sounds crazy but it is true.  Let me explain.

In many ways, the convention is like an extra large meet up.  I have been to and organized two kinds of meet ups.  One kind of meet up is when there is no show.  This kind of meet up can happen anywhere and at any time.  I, for example, have had a few meet ups in my house with local Duranies.  I always enjoy those.  Who doesn’t like watching Duran footage with other fans who appreciate Duran like you do, who gets excited about the same things, who laughs at the same moments, who cringes at the same time, etc?  There really isn’t anything much better except for when you are able to really party with them or when you get to…say…watch A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen!  This, of course, is what we are offering at the convention.  It is like a plain, ‘ole meet up plus exciting events and exciting settings.  The best part is that it doesn’t have to end as quickly as a regular meet up.  No one has to go home for a couple of days at this convention.  Instead of eating, breathing Duran for just a few hours, we get the entire weekend!!!  On top of that, people are traveling quite a distance in order to attend!  This will only increase the excitement as friends get to see each other when they don’t normally.  I know that there are many people I’m super excited to see who live far away from me!  The second kind of meet up surrounds a show.

On top of preferring the convention to a regular non show meetup, I also prefer it to a show and the meet up that takes place before a show.  Now, let me be clear.  Duran shows are at the best.  Those 2 hours with the band on stage are amazing.  When I refer to a Duran show here, I’m not actually speaking about the time the band is playing.  No, I’m talking about before the actual performance and after the actual performance.  As much as I want to see/meet/talk to the band, I actually am SO glad that they aren’t coming and won’t be anywhere near this.  I know that many/most/all of you are sitting in shock but stick with me as I do my best to explain.

Before a concert, there are frequent meet ups.  On one hand, those meetups work to increase everyone’s excitement about the show.  That’s the fun part.  They also usually mean that fans have a chance to meet other fans or see fans that they haven’t seen in awhile.  Again, that’s good.  Yet, the time is VERY limited in those meetups.  Everyone is worried about when they need to leave for the venue or when they should leave for the venue.  Their attention isn’t as focused on the people there as they could be.  I’m not blaming anyone or criticizing anyone.  I’m totally guilty of this myself.  I suffer from a lot of pre show, nervous energy and am always antsy about when to leave for the venue.  Thus, I look forward to the convention in that none of us will be worried about what time to leave for the show or be antsy for the main event.  The convention activities ARE the main events.

What about after shows?  Is that much better in terms of fans interacting with other fans?  No one is worried about the band then, right?  Wrong.  In my experience (which isn’t all that much but still…), there is a lot of focus after the show on where the band might be going.  Maybe, there is a group of people waiting to see them at the stage door.  Then, people seem to be moving to get the better vantage point or to find the best place to be, where autographs, pictures or interactions can be asked for.  Again, in that situation, people still are more focused on the band.  The band seems to be the focus for a lot of discussions either before the show or immediately after the show, too.  While, of course, the discussion might include the latest news regarding the band, past shows attended, etc., frequently, the topic is where is the band staying or what are the band’s plans after the show.  Sometimes, this topic is out in the open as people just say what they know and sometimes, it is not as some who know share what they know but only with some people.  The point in this blog isn’t to criticize any one in this scenario.  I’m simply acknowledging it as something that happens.  The point is that the focus is very much still on the band and seeing/meeting the band.  I get that desire.  Of course, I do.  I’m still hoping someday for that picture with a certain bass player.  Yet, I look forward to getting to know people better without that piece, without that focus.

What if after the show, fans do find where the band is at?  Does that mean that fans focus on each other more then?  Again, the fans still seem to be focused on the band.  Either fans are trying to get to speak to the band member(s) or they are still paying attention to what the band member(s) are doing.  Again, I’m not criticizing.  I think this is a pretty normal reaction.  In this situation, though, there is little time or energy, or at least less time, spent on hanging with other fans or getting to know each other better.  Let me give you an example that Rhonda mentioned not that long ago here.  In 2006, Saxy Simon and Dom showed up at a Duranie party in New Orleans at a club during the weekend of the Voodoo Festival.  Within minutes, they were surrounded by the fans there.  The guys couldn’t even really walk in and everyone’s attention shifted to them, if they approached them or didn’t approach them.  The mood of the party shifted completely.  This is exactly what would happen if the band was at the convention.  It would be about THEM and not about US.  While I totally understand the focus on the band and I do, I’m so glad that the convention will be different.  I’m so looking forward to just being able to be with other fans in a carefree, fun setting.

The purpose of the convention is to bring fans together to celebrate their fandom.  Our convention is focused on how “the music is between us”.  I love that I’m going to be wearing Duran shirts, talking about Duran, learning about other people’s experiences as a fan and more.  There will be no concern about the band and what they are doing.  I can’t wait!!!!

-A

I Think You’re Growing Old…

We are not as young as we were, truly.  After our slow start due to a very late night and consumption of a bit of Grey Goose, we finally decided to venture into the world just before dinner.  Yeah, okay, it was a very slow start.  What can I say?  The couch seemed more appealing.  Anyway, once we graced the outside world with our presence, our first stop was the Amalfi Hotel.  As I’m sure you all know, this hotel is the location of Durandemonium 2013, the Duran Duran Fan Convention, that we are organizing for October.  While we have heard nothing but fabulous things about the hotel, we still wanted to see it with our own eyes.  The first thing we notice, of course, is how it is nestled in a good area.  There are a ton of other hotels around along with a variety of restaurants and bars.  Of course, Harry Caray’s, where we will be enjoying the dinner/dance part of Saturday night, is right across the street.  The outside of the hotel is sleek and modern, which fits in well with downtown Chicago.  Nice.  As I entered the lobby, I was amazed at how the pictures of the hotel online are really accurate.  It really does look that cool!  I wondered as there have been many, many hotels that look a certain way online but fall short in reality.  Not this one.  Of course, we had to see more than just the lobby so we took the elevator up to see the Manager’s Reception going on and the meeting room in which registration will be taking place.  As we exited the elevator, I immediately noticed the volume.  People at the Manager’s Reception were clearly having a good time!  The Manager’s Reception is a nightly deal at the hotel in which there is an open bar and appetizers that is included in price for hotel guests.  We walked into a very happening bar area that was crowded with people.  The two bartenders seemed very busy mixing drinks.  We also noticed that people were taking their drinks with them, which will come in handy for Friday night of the convention as we have games planned for that time back in the registration area.  Both Rhonda and I were pleased at how contemporary, sleek and cool the hotel was.  It seemed clear to both of us that they really want to cater to people like us!!!

After our stop at the hotel, it was onto dinner, which was good as we were beyond starving. Now, the fact that we were stopping for a decent meal should alert the universe that this was not a normal tour weekend for Rhonda and I.  You see on tour, we often don’t eat.  We joke that there is not food on tour!  Why is that?  I guess it happens because we are too busy traveling to get to our next spot and we just run out of time.  After our very large meal, we were off to Panic night at the Beauty Bar.  This is one bar/club that I haven’t been to in Chicago.  It has a very unique theme in that it literally focuses on a beauty parlor image completely with getting manicures there and hair dryer seats lining the walls.  Fascinating.  Anyway, Panic’s music focused on a 80s theme, which we welcomed.  They even played Rio!  Did we look like dorks counting down the 1, 2, 3, 4 that Simon usually does?  Probably but we didn’t care.  We also had the opportunity to get pictures taken in an old-fashioned photo booth in which the pictures come out in that tiny filmstrip of 4 pictures.  Well, ours were…a little less than flattering.  We didn’t have a plan, which was the problem, we think.  After a few hours, though, we were really starting to drag.  While we didn’t do a lot during the day, we still didn’t have a ton of sleep.  That was our excuse.  Of course, it could be that we are getting old and can’t do multiple nights in a row anymore, but we thought about one other possibility.
We need adrenaline.  On tour, we have it in abundance.  First, we are always on the go either getting to our next location, getting ready or being at a meetup or show.  There is no time to acknowledge one’s tiredness.  None.  We can’t afford to be tired and call it a night.  If we did, we would miss something.  We can’t have that.  Nope.  That would be unacceptable.  Even though, touring provides the adrenaline needed for multiple late nights, I have to admit that getting sleep last night feels pretty good, too.  This leads me to conclude that the BEST plan moving forward would be for the band to tour but that they allow a day in between.  For example, this could be done by playing more than one show in the same city before moving on.  They might appreciate a schedule like that as well.  It would allow them the same kind of rest and less travel.  
While on the topic of travel, today, Rhonda and I drive back up to Wisconsin, to my place.  Tonight, Duranies will converge at my happy home to talk Duran, watch some Duran, maybe play a Duran game or two.  I’m looking forward to it!!
-A

Roger Taylor: DJ Set

So, we are a little late with this blog.  We have been moving a bit slow today.  Can’t imagine why…I was only up for 25 hours and reached up for the sunrise after dancing, consuming just a bit of Grey Goose vodka, and going out for dinner and breakfast with a great group of people.  I’m sure you all want to know how last night was.  Of course, some of you might have been paying attention to our Twitter feed last night.  If so, you might have some pics of some drummer/DJ guy and a few pics of the authors of this blog.  I’m sure you all have enough information with just those tweets, right?  So, moving on…what else is new in Duranland?  Wait.  What?  You want more details than that?  Really?  Hmm…

The evening started out on a positive note as a group of us met up at Hop Haus for a little pre-DJ gig meetup.  The food was decent and the drinks were good.  Before too long, though, we were ready to head to Spy Bar, which truly was right around the corner.  Perfect.  Spy Bar is a typical club in that it is dark, long with the bar on the side highlighted by some neon lights here and there.  The club isn’t very big and the DJ booth was at one end, up high to look over the crowd.  The dance floor had a decent amount of space.  At the height of the night, it was crowded but not overly so.  In fact, I would guess that it didn’t sell out.  The DJ booth was roped off and security guards controlled who went in and out of that area along with the side entrance, which is where Roger came and went from.  The security guards weren’t super friendly and stopped a number of fans who definitely inched their way to the front to get a good view of Roger when he arrived and/or to take the perfect picture when he went by.

By the time we arrived, there was a small crowd and the music was pumping.  Of course, Roger didn’t come on until like 12:30 or so and mixed the tunes until about 3:30.  The DJs before him did a good job, we thought, and got the crowd moving.  They definitely paid attention to the crowd and would try to get people involved.  Yet, by midnight, people were definitely anxious for Roger to appear!  When he finally did show up, he only stood briefly on the side before venturing up to the booth.  It was clear that there were some people he knew in the crowd but didn’t say much to them, either.

Roger’s DJ set was very different than when Rhonda and I saw him DJ in Atlantic City in 2008.  In 2008, he played a lot of mash-ups by combining two or more songs recognizable songs.  There was very little of that this time.  Instead, there were more straight up remixes or just house/club music.  He did mix in more Duran than he did last time.  In 2008, we heard Notorious mixed with Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back.  This time, we heard remixes of All You Need Is Now, Girls on Film, Hungry like the Wolf and Wild Boys.  For the record, Rhonda’s reaction to HLTW was as expected.  I’m not going to lie.  I heard some swearing, some “colorful” gestures thrown towards that DJ booth.  My reaction was so predictable, which was to laugh my head off at my partner-in-crime.  It is so easy to get her goat this way!!    Out of the Duran stuff, I definitely enjoyed Wild Boys the most and it was just like it is during their shows–at the end.  I’m sure it is to leave people wanting more and all that.  During Roger’s set, we danced and moved around some.  It seemed like other people did the same. I won’t lie in saying that I, generally, like his set better in 2008.  I am not a huge fan of some of those house/club songs he was spinning.  I also didn’t really like how the booth was SO inaccessible to the crowd.  I get that the DJ booth should be in a location to see the crowd but this one was so removed with both the height and the security presence.  I thought the security was a little over-the-top, in fact.  No one could get anywhere near Roger, but, maybe that is how Roger wanted it?

Roger definitely didn’t do a lot of interacting, in any way, shape or form.  He didn’t look out into the crowd much and seemed to have the set pretty well nailed down before he arrived.  Thus, I don’t know if he would have/did change what he was playing depending on how the crowd reacted and there were clear times when the crowd was more enthusiastic than others.  I was also a little surprised by the lack of birthday anything.  At one point, a cake shaped in high heels arrived with sparklers.  It was brought up to the booth.  Roger saw it and then it was removed.  Perhaps, it was going to be enjoyed afterwards.  Yet, there was no singing of Happy Birthday.  Later, confetti fell to the floor.  Again, there was no connection to the birthday celebration.  Heck, no one said anything, not even Roger.  If I had just shown up to Spy Bar that night, I wouldn’t have even known that anything special was going on.  I was a little disappointed that the crowd didn’t, couldn’t wish Roger a happy birthday.

Speaking of disappointment, at the end of the night, with much encouragement from my friends, I approached a big, tall security guard and asked him if he wouldn’t mind handing Roger a Daily Duranie wristband.  The security guard passed it on to the other DJ who then handed it to Roger.  He, in turn, glanced at it and put it to the side.  Did he pick it up later?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that John Taylor, when he was presented with a wristband, looked at and, in fact, put it on.  Now, we are well aware that it might not have been the best setting.  We are also aware that he might have reacted differently if he knew that it came from a fan.  Nonetheless, it is disappointing.

So, all in all, despite whatever minor disappointments we had, it was a fun night!  We danced and laughed a LOT.  It was great to see friends and enjoy a good time together!  Of course, our weekend has just begun with more clubbing tonight and a Duranie get together tomorrow night!

-A

Prelude to a Party!

At this point next week, I fully expect that I’ll be extremely tired and in a pretty dang good mood.  More importantly than that, I’ll be beyond antsy for the convention weekend, which is now a little less than 6 months away!  My patience will be shot and I’ll want to talk about the convention all the time.  People will want to shut me up, that’s for sure!  Why will next weekend make me think about the convention?  Simple.  It will be a weekend that contains some of the same elements and ingredients of the convention.  It will be like having a little appetizer, to wet my appetite for the big meal!!!

What are the elements of the convention that will also be present next week?  Some of them are obvious, including Chicago, Duranies, late nights, and clubbing.  Chicago is the place to be both next weekend and for the convention.  I might be a bit biased about Chicago but, to me, it is truly one of the best cities.  What do I like about it?  Separating my connection to the city, I’ll start by saying that there is plenty to do there.  The city has a ton of great museums, including two of my favorites in the Art Institute and Contemporary Art Museum.  Of course, there are science museums, history museums and every other that can be imagined.  Shopping is great there with the famous Michigan Avenue.  There are sporting events and architectural tours to enjoy.  Beyond that and, perhaps more importantly, is that Chicago has a lot of nightlife from clubs of all sorts to restaurants to comedy clubs to plays and more.  Even better, many of the clubs are open late, 4-5 am.  I love that.  I hate going someplace and finding out that the clubs are only open to 2 or midnight.  Unacceptable.  Chicago isn’t like that.  I know that I have spent many nights out until the clubs close followed up by going out to eat at some 24 hour diner.  This, of course, is exactly what both weekends will feature.  This upcoming one will be spent at Spy Bar, dancing to whatever Roger is spinning these days.  Of course, he won’t be playing 80s and I won’t be expecting a lot, or any, Duran.  That isn’t necessarily his focus.  During the weekend of convention, we will be clubbing both Friday and Saturday night.  I’m really looking forward to Saturday night, at Late Bar, as 80s night will be the focus.  They have promised to make it special for us as well.  Could that mean that a lot of Duran will be played?  I sure hope so!!!

Now, of course, Duranies will be at both this week’s DJ Set and at the convention!  I’m assuming that there will be a ton of crossover as I assume that most Duranies coming this week are nearby Duranies.  Obviously, Rhonda is the exception but it also happens that my birthday is at the same time and that she has family in the area.  Anyway, I get people wanting to go to Roger’s DJ Set.  After all, it isn’t everyday that one gets to see one of the band members in person.  That said, it isn’t everyday that one gets to spend an entire weekend with Duranies from around the world, celebrating fandom, either.  In fact, I would argue that in many ways the convention is better.  I know.  Shocking!  Yet, I truly believe that.  For one thing, it is three days long versus a few hours.  Second, you really have a chance to get to know other Duranies at the convention due to time and due to the varied activities.  The connections formed will last beyond the convention, too, which will really help the next tour be even more fun!!  It was in my experience!  Now, of course, another thing both weekends have in common is the clubbing and the late nights!

Roger’s DJ Set is taking place at Spy Bar, which is open until 4 am.  Will I expect that most people will be there until then?  Sure do.  Then, I know that my group of friends are talking about going out for breakfast.  It will be a long night.  The same will be true for the convention as Late Bar is open until 5.  I know that I plan on reaching up for the sunrise that night for sure!!!  I also expect that I might find myself on dance floors during the night, too.  After all, good music and good company, along with a drink or two, allows me to let my hair down, so to speak, and have a good time!  Before I forget, if you are going to Roger’s DJ Set and want to join us beforehand, there is a thread about the meetup on the official facebook event page, which can be found here.  Basically, we will be getting some food and drinks at a nearby restaurant at 8:30.  Please, let us know as I will be setting up a reservation on Monday.  Hope to see you there!

While on the topic of Mr. Roger Taylor, I’m sure that everyone is aware that his DJ Set is being advertised as his birthday bash!  After all, he was born on April 26th.  The convention committee thought that we should figure out a way to celebrate his birth as well!  We decided the best way to do that would be to offer a special birthday promo price!!!  This price is the cost of early registration!!  It won’t include the extra goodies that those who bought a ticket to the convention during actual early registration will get but it will save you some cash!  The promo starts on April 26th and will run until the end of the day on April 30th, central time.  Thus, if you were planning on buying a ticket to the convention, those 4 days would be a great time to do it!!!  Again, the website for the convention is:  Durandemonium2013.  To buy tickets, go to:  http://durandemonium2013.eventbrite.com/#.

I’m so looking forward to this upcoming weekend!  It was be great practice for the convention in October!!!  Hope to see you all there!

-A

Duran Anniversary Part 2

Yesterday, I blogged about how, when and why I became a fan, a Duranie.  While this trip down memory lane reminded me about why I became a fan, it also made me think of my current state of fandom, why people stay in fandom, and why I stay.  Likewise, it made me think of doing this blog, organizing fan events, including the convention and finishing the book.  Thus, one simple little date on the Duran calendar and so many issues are brought up. 

I think becoming a fan is like falling in love.  At first, all you see are the great qualities that the other person possesses.  There is no annoyance of little habits.  There are no major faults that one can see.  Everything is good and exciting, at first.  Yet, those honeymoon periods don’t last forever.  Soon enough, little personality quirks come out.  Maybe, there is a discovery of a huge difference of opinions or values.  Even without some major division, there is still a massive adjustment as the relationship moves from new/fresh to steady/solid.  There is acceptance of each other’s faults and imperfections, if the relationship is to last.  Fandom feels the same way to me.  In the beginning, everything is great and you can’t imagine ever walking away.  Every song you hear is the best song ever.  Every video is awesome!  More importantly, every fan you met is amazing!  You wonder where these fabulous people have been your entire life!!!!  Then, slowly, you start to see the full picture.  While there are great, wonderful elements, you also begin to recognize that it isn’t perfect.  In fact, there are parts that are pretty awful.  In order to stay, you learn how to deal with those less-than-ideal characteristics or you learn to accept them as part of the deal.  After all, roses still have their thorns. 

So, what are the thorns, the imperfections involving being a Duranie?  I think these imperfections, these thorns fall into two kinds.  The first kind of thorn involves the band itself.  The second kind absolutely has to do with fans.  I’m sure that, by now, some of you are staring in shock at your screen!  I bet you are shocked that I would dare criticize the band and/or fans!  I am, though.  Keep reading.  It will be fine.  I promise.  Back to the band, I think I could characterize their faults in two categories as well.  First, they haven’t been perfect with their career.  I’m sure that every…that most Duran fans could acknowledge that some moves weren’t the best.  The fans might not agree about what those mistakes were but I think we all could say that there have been mistakes.  For some fans, these career type mistakes are deal breakers.  For example, some walked away after the band split into Power Station and Arcadia.  Some left when they released an album like Liberty or Red Carpet Massacre.  For fans like me, I have had enough great music and albums to overcome any less than fabulous albums.  I didn’t walk away after RCM and I’m glad that I didn’t since AYNIN was amazing!  Would I have walked away if the album after RCM was just like it?  Maybe.  3 more albums just like RCM?  I probably would have walked away.  Thus, each fan has to decide how much/how many mistakes are allowed to remain a fan.  Second, they haven’t/aren’t always so great when it comes to their fans or so a lot of people feel.  Do they acknowledge their fans well enough?  Some fans might say that they do and others might not.  If you think that they don’t, then again, fans have to consider if they do ENOUGH for them to remain fans.  I won’t lie.  There are times that I wonder if the band does enough for the fans.  I will give you an example.  Their paid  fan community used to do a lot like setting up Duranie Dorms (hotels with group rates for fans for shows) or even preshow meetups.  Now, they don’t do that.  I have learned to deal with this frustration by doing my own events.  I try to fill the void myself.  If I can’t fill the void, then, I try to justify their behavior or decisions.  I wonder if there aren’t good reasons for their actions.  Maybe, there are good reasons and, maybe, I just excuse their behavior because I don’t want to lose my love for them.

This, of course, brings me to the fans.  In 2004/2005, every fan I “met” whether in person or online seemed wonderful.  I felt like they understood me in a way that others could not!  Yet, after years of being involved in fandom, I know that fans are like any other group out there in that most are great, some are a little less great and some might even bother you.  I suspect that if I asked Duranies involved in the fan community for three years or more about experiences with other fans in some anonymous survey, most would agree that they have had some fabulous experiences with some fans, some less then fabulous experiences with others and some that drive them crazy or have had an actual conflict with.  Where do these problems or conflicts between fans start?  We all share this love for Duran.  Shouldn’t that bring us together?  Well, I think the problem is that we want as much as we can from Duran Duran and they are limited in number.  Then, people differ on their approaches to the band and their access to the band.  These differences might cause some inequality and definitely cause judgement.  As far as access to the band goes, people who live in certain places have more chances to be around the band than others.  That is a fact.  If you live in New York City, you have a much better chance than if you lived in Wyoming.  Likewise, some people have more of an access because of their financial situation, their personal responsibilities and/or how they prioritize their lives.  Again, this is a fact.  Now, I’m sure that there are many of us out there who are saying, “We should just be happy for the fans who are lucky in these respects–not be jealous or judgmental about them.”  Many times, I do think that fans are happy for fans who are lucky in terms of access.  Sometimes, though, the approaches cause fans to pause in their happiness for others.  Some people might feel like they should be able to approach the band every time they see them to ask for autographs or pictures.  Some people might feel like hotels or bars are public so the band should be approached.  Some people feel like they should be able to tweet them as many times as they want.  For all of those fans, there are fans who feel the opposite and fans who are in between.  Yet, I’m willing to bet that almost every fan has an opinion about when, why and how to approach the band.  They also might have opinions about how fandom should or should not fit into people’s live.  Opinions probably also exist about how and when to disclose of interactions with the band.  I’m sure almost every fan has an opinion about autographs, signings, social media, events, etc.  Fans don’t discuss our opinions, publicly much, but I’m willing to bet that many do among close friends.  These strong opinions about how to express one’s love of the band, especially when the band members are involved, and the fact that the band is limited definitely can and has created bad blood or bad feelings.  Enough or significant bad blood has caused more than one fan to walk away, I’m sure.  Obviously, initially, you don’t see this.  You don’t feel the tension within the community, at first.  Yet, to stay a fan, you have to decide if you can deal and if so, how.  For me, personally, sometimes and some days, I do better with this than others.  Sometimes, I wish that I didn’t see or know of the dark side to fandom.  At times, I’m good at ignoring what I don’t like, personally, and other days, I let me acknowledge my feelings. 

This brings me to what Rhonda and I have been doing for the past 3 years.  We have tried to combat, in our opinion, the worst elements of Duranland.  We wanted to bring people together through events and through discussions.  Maybe, for me, this was my way of dealing with the less-than-perfect elements of being a Duranie.  Instead of complaining, I wanted to try to find a way to make it better.  If it made it better for me, maybe, it would make it better for others.  After all, much like a long term relationship, I have never stopped loving Duran Duran.  There are definite qualities connected to this fandom that I don’t like that have made me question, at times, my desire to stay.  Yet, after 29 years, it wouldn’t really be easy to walk away.  Instead, I tried to work at it, to make what was good, great, and to make what wasn’t good, better.  So, is this plan working?  At times, I think it is.  I have had a lot of great experiences with other fans in the last three years.  Yet, at times, I still don’t like what I see.  Sometimes, I don’t like what I see so much that I forget about the good experiences and the fabulous friends I have made.  I try to focus on that.  I try to focus on the connections between fans as that is what really in the end keeps me here.  I know that if I walked away, I would, obviously, lose this love that I have had for almost 30 years but, more importantly, I would lose incredibly valuable friendships.

-A

Hey TV Child…

For some crazy reason, I had written down that I would blog about Roger in this month’s Katy Kafe but, apparently, it isn’t out yet.  I’m sure it will be soon.  This, of course, led me to look into my blog notebook (no comments, Rhonda!) to see what else I could blog about and nothing hit me.  I have many topics/ideas but none of them were inspiring to me.  I think a big part of the reason is that I have a long list of things that must be done before I go to Chicago and before my Duranie get together/party.  This is when it hit me.  I could try to hit two birds with one stone.  I could blog AND do something to get ready.  Now, if you have been reading the blog, you will know that this get together won’t be my first and probably won’t be my last.  I enjoy hosting them and enjoying talking and watching Duran all night.  (Clearly, I like to do that.  If I didn’t, I probably shouldn’t…I don’t know…plan a fan convention.)  Anyway, I have a confession to make.  I have a lot of Duran footage.  A lot.  I buy every official thing that comes out.  I can’t think of something that has come out that I don’t have.  (Although, I would love to find out that I’m missing something so that I would have something new to buy!).  Thus, there is a lot to choose from.  In my experience, I have found that people aren’t so quick to say, “I want to watch ___________” or “I would watch anything but __________”.  Why is that?  Is that because if it is Duran, it is all good?  Is it because we are too nice? 

Before I dive further into why people don’t express preferences, let’s look at what official stuff is out on video/DVD.  There is a ton from almost every era and everything from live performances to interviews to documentaries and more.  Here’s what I have:

*1st album era-
DVD that came with remastered edition

*Rio era-
Classic Album (band members discuss each song and perform)
Hammersmith Odeon ’82 show

*Seven and the Ragged Tiger era-
Sing Blue Silver
Arena
DVD that came with remastered edition
 
*Power Station/Arcadia era-
Arcadia videos and making of the videos that came with remastered edition
Power Station DVD that came with remastered edition

*Notorious era-
Three to Get Ready (documentary)
Working for the Skin Trade that came with remastered edition

*Big Thing era-
Big Thing Live that came with remastered edition
Decade

*Medazzaland era-
Greatest

*Astronaut era-
Astronaut documentary with the album
Dual Disc documentary
Live from London
The Ultimate Review (documentary)
Something You Should Know (documentary on fans)

*Red Carpet Massacre era-
DVD that came with deluxe edition of album

*All You Need Is Now era-
A Diamond in the Mind
DVD that came with the deluxe edition

*Other-
John Taylor movies including Sugartown, A Diva’s Christmas Carol, The Flintstones:  Viva Rock Vegas, Vegas:  City of Dreams.
John’s solo career: John Taylor Terroristen:  Better Off Alive

As you can tell by this list, most eras have been covered by official releases of some sort, as least, according to my catalog.  So, the question comes in.  How do I get people to choose what to watch?  In most cases, I think people have many eras or many types of Duran related footage that they like to watch.  There are definitely times that I would prefer to watch more recent stuff and other times that I’m dying to watch Sing Blue Silver to remember what the insanity of the 1980s looked like.  Likewise, there are times that I’m in the mood to watch a great live performance and times that I would prefer more interviews.  Also, I know that who I am with makes a huge difference, too.  I remember watching the Big Thing concert that is included on the remastered edition at Rhonda’s birthday a few years ago.  It was so fun because of the friends we were with!  Plus, you don’t necessarily want to watch a lot of interviews if you would be talking or making comments during them.  Thus, the setting and the people do make a difference.  Still, I don’t want to spend a lot of time having people say, “It doesn’t matter to me” or “I don’t care”.  Thus, I’m hoping that I can, at least, get people to say an era and/or what type of footage they want to watch. 

So, what am I in the mood to watch in a couple of weeks with a bunch of Duranie friends?  I am usually partial to either the latest era (All You Need Is Now) or early Duran.  Thus, I wouldn’t mind putting in the DVD that came with All You Need Is Now or the DVD that came with the first album remastered edition.  I wouldn’t want to watch A Diamond in the Mind, though, since we will be watching it on the big screen for the convention!  That said, I also adore showing people footage that they have never seen before.  I like watching their reactions.  It gives me a little sense of what I felt like when I had first seen something.  Now, of course, another of my favorite things to do while watching Duran is to make a drinking game out of it!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with drinking games, this is how I typically do it.  Each person gets 4-5 things that they have to watch for or the whole group has 4-5 things that they watch for.  When one of those items gets shown, a drink is taken.  For Duran footage, I have a number of ideas all ready written down.  For example, one item could be a funny Simon dance move.  Another item might be Nick taking a photograph.  Sometimes, the what to watch for is specific to the exact footage.  Sing Blue Silver’s items might include screaming fans or limos, for instance.  To me, a game makes it a little more fun!

So, readers, what do you think I should suggest to people to watch, if they don’t voice an opinion?  Should I encourage a drinking game (which can be done with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, by the way)?  What are your favorites to watch?

-A 

Like a Birthday or a Pretty View

I had accepted the fact that I wouldn’t see Rhonda until the convention.  I did.  We had been trying to work out something, some way, some time to get together.  The last time we had been together was during the summer tour in August.  Since Rhonda and I met at the convention in 2004, we have been getting together, usually, about 2 or 3 times per year.  This year, we tried to do something during my spring break with no luck.  Then, we tried to get something together to go see Depeche Mode without success.  After multiple attempts, we stopped trying to figure something out.  We didn’t like it but what could we do.  Earlier this week, though, I got one of those emails.  You all might be familiar with those emails.  These emails usually have subject lines all in caps.  It may make a reference to a certain band we all know.  There may be an exclamation point or ten.  The inside of the email might involve some swearing and name calling, again in reference to that band or members of that band.  The word plotting might be featured a time or two.  This particular email involved a certain drummer doing a DJ set in a city near me.

By now, I’m sure that most of you have heard/read that Roger Taylor is coming to Chicago to do a DJ Set for his birthday at the Spy Bar.  For more information, you can go to the event page that Duran set up on their facebook here.  This was just the push that Rhonda and I needed to ensure that we see each other more than once during 2013.  It didn’t hurt that my birthday is the following Monday.  Even more cool is that I have a Duranie get together/party planned for that Saturday.  I didn’t necessarily mean for it to be near my birthday but that is when local or nearby Duranies were available.  It worked out well that way, I think!  Nonetheless, as soon as I received this email from Rhonda, the plotting began.  Could she get a ticket?  Do we need tickets to the event?  Where would she fly into and out of?  How long could she be gone?  What did I need to change in my schedule?  The verdict of the story is that we figured it out quickly so that we could go to Roger’s DJ set and so Rhonda could come back to my place for my Duranie party!  This will be the warm-up to the convention in October!!!

What amuses me the most is how good at this we have gotten.  There were no complaints about short notice.  We didn’t need a lot of time to figure out all of the details.  The plotting didn’t take long and wasn’t painful.  After all, we have learned the steps to this sort of thing well.  In fact, we have joked that our next book should be about what we have learned since getting involved in the Duran Duran fandom.  We might have quite a bit to say, actually!!  Anyway, to say that I’m excited about this upcoming weekend is an understatement!  I love having something to look forward to and this weekend won’t disappoint!  Of course, I’m looking forward to dancing to Roger’s DJ Set but I have to admit that I’m looking forward more to seeing my Duranie friends both at the Spy Bar and at my party.  For me, fandom really is about getting together with friends!

Now, of course, as you all know Rhonda and I love to bring fans together when we can.  To that end, we have found a place called Hop Haus at 646 N. Franklin to meet up before Roger’s set at 8:30.  If you are interested in attending, just comment here, tweet us, send us a message on facebook or send us an email so we know how many people to expect.  We would love to have you come!  Then, of course, we can repeat this fun in October with the convention!  While this weekend will be great with two Duran related events, the convention will be better since it is an ENTIRE weekend of being with Duranies and focusing on the music we enjoy so much by attending that screening of A Diamond of the Mind, by playing Duran related games, by partying at the dinner/dance and more!  I can’t wait and now because I have this birthday weekend to look forward to as well, I might just survive until then!!

-A

You Can Dance Together All Night…

Last Saturday, I described the dinner/dance part of the convention in 2004 and how I envision this year’s convention’s dinner banquet to be much of the same!  Of course, this convention, we also will be hitting the club, Late Bar (yes, named after the Duran song), for their usual Saturday night of Planet Earth (80s night–yes, obviously, after the Duran song).  My excitement for the Saturday night of the convention practically can’t be contained!!!  After all, the banquet will be filled with good food (trust me!), great music and equally as fabulous company!  Then, we will head over to the club to continue the party there.  As I stated last week, this reminded of the Pyramid Club party for the fan show in 2007.

Ah…the fan show.  This concert, for many of us, makes us shudder and not in the usual, oh my God, I just saw a Duran concert way.  This concert in June of 2007 in New York City was for “fans only”.  To be considered a fan, one had to be a member of DuranDuranMusic, the official online fan community/club.  As soon as the announcement happened, Duranies from all over starting making plans.  Rhonda and I were no different despite it not being an ideal weekend as Father’s Day was on the day of the concert and the school year was just finishing for me.  Most Duranies were planning to make a weekend of it, either arriving on the Friday night before the Sunday concert or the day before.  Thus, many people were free on that Saturday night!  Soon enough, an event at the Pyramid Club was announced for the Saturday night.  This club has been around for a long time in New York City and, at that point, hosted different themes each night.  Like Late Bar in Chicago, Saturday night was their 80s nights.  Perfect. 

I arrived at the Pyramid Club with Rhonda and a couple of other Duranie friends via cab.  As soon as we walked in, I took notice of both the enormous crowd and festive atmosphere.  Drinks were flowing, people were chatting in groups or they were dancing away in the back area.  The club wasn’t big, by any stretch of the imagination.  The bar took up a lot of space in the front part while the back area opened up to a dance floor, which wasn’t huge but held quite a number of dancers.  I remember thinking that I was surprised that so many people could fit and, yet, no one complained.  I think it only enhanced the party atmosphere!  As I looked around the bar, I noticed two things.  I couldn’t help but be excited that there were paintings of many of the most popular pop stars of the 80s lining the walls, including one of some band we all know.  I was also thrilled to be finally meeting so many of the people I had only been talking to online! 


In fact, I distinctly remember Rhonda and I separating as soon as we took in the atmosphere and got our drinks.  Why?  Simple.  We wanted to find those online friends and introduce ourselves in person.  Back in 2007, DDM was still the place to be in Duranland and many posters on there gravitated towards the area on the board for their favorite member.  Thus, I spent a lot of time talking to people in what was affectionately called John’s World, specifically in the Church of the Bass God thread.  Rhonda, on the other hand, chatted more with Roger fans.  The night was filled with drinks, dancing, laughing and plenty of picture taking.  It seemed like all of us wanted to capture this incredibly fun night on film! 

By the end of the evening, Rhonda and I found ourselves back together on the dance floor in the back.  We finished up the evening dancing and taking silly pictures of ourselves!  After what felt like the entire Duranie world shut down the club, we all went back to the New Yorker, which functioned as the Duranie dorm for the weekend, like the Amalfi Hotel is for our convention.  There, more mingling took place before we finally called it a night at 5 am. 

As we all know, the show the next day didn’t live up to anyone’s expectations as we experienced hearing some of the songs on cd off of then upcoming Red Carpet Massacre album before witnessing a less than stellar shortened live performance by the band.  This performance featured not only sound/technical difficulties but also forgotten lyrics and a very awkward first performance of Night Runner.  At the end of the weekend, as we were trying to come to grips with our disappointment in the show, the part of the weekend that made the trip worth it was that night at the Pyramid Club.  It was one of those nights that was so much fun that it will never be forgotten.  Frankly, it was worth the price of the concert ticket, the price of the airfare and the price of the hotel.  I truly do believe that Late Bar will feel the exact same way.  It will be an absolute blast for all of us!  I can’t wait!!! 

-A

We Lived in Hotels. We Lived on Cocktails.

The title of this blog post is from John Taylor’s song, Heyday.  It fits with the focus of this blog.  As many of you read yesterday, we have been busy trying to get the big detail regarding the location for the convention set.  Obviously, we have spent a lot of time trying to get a hotel that would work for our purposes.  This hasn’t been an easy process as Rhonda stated.  In fact, there have been times when one or more convention committee members threatened a less than nice response in regards to certain hotels.  Hotels were becoming a truly “bad word” in my/our world.  That isn’t right.  I shouldn’t have negative feelings towards hotels and I certainly shouldn’t have negative feelings towards hotels filled with Duranies!  In fact, some of my favorite times have been in Duranie dorms/hotels.

I have been hanging out in Duranie dorms or hotels filled with Duranies for years now.  I have been in hotels as part of tours, as part of conventions and as part of meetups.  All experiences have been so fun!  Interestingly enough, my first experience in a hotel with other Duranies was, indeed, at the convention in 2004.  I thought the hotel that was chosen was super cool with fun bathrobes, fascinating decor and the ability to have a fish in the room as your “pet”!  Yet, when I think back to that convention and my room, I think about the Duranies “next door” who frequently came over to chat.  I remember how we showed off our goodies after the vendor fair.  I swear I got more and more excited seeing their reactions to my purchases!  At that point and time, I knew that while the convention had “official” activities, the party was ongoing as we told stories, talked about the new album, listened to music together and more!  This, of course, really made me happy as one of the biggest reasons for me attending was to meet and get to know other fans.   The hotel setting certainly allowed that!

This experience gave me a real taste to what a big part of touring is for me and that is staying at the hotels with other fans.  I wanted more of Duranie dorm life and I wanted it right then.  Thus, when tour dates were announced in 2005, I was ready to book hotel rooms wherever others were going to be.  Awesomely enough, my first show of that tour was in Chicago in March of 2005.  The Duranie Dorm was nearby the venue and was quite the party!  I swear that half of the hotel lived in the bar, which was right off the lobby!  There were screams of excitement with every new Duranie who came in!  We were so loud, in fact, that we were reminded that “there were sleeping rooms down there”.  After the show, we partied hard.  In fact, they ended up closing the bar early in order to get rid of us.  Did the party end there?  No way.  We all went to someone’s room to continue the conversation and fun!  Thus, if the convention got be interested in hotels like this, the Chicago Duranie Dorm of 2005 got me hooked!

The following year featured a meetup in Chicago again.  Once again, the group all stayed in the same hotel.  What did this mean for me?  It meant ridiculously late nights and lots of talking and laughing!  I remember, for example, Ms. Rhonda carrying a bottle of gin into a hotel room filled with Duranies and saying, “Gin brings the world together.”  That night, I couldn’t agree more!  Were these hotel room visits part of the meetup?  Nope.  Did they add to the experience?  Of course!  Heck, we were so silly that we had placed a Duran picture outside our door in order to show other fans that Duranies were there.  Did that picture survive the weekend?  Sure did.  In fact, it featured some lip marks as a Duranie or two or ten kissed the picture while walking by!  We couldn’t help but to laugh at that once we realized how much love that picture got! 

2007 found us in New York City for the “Fan Show” or the show for DDM members.  Again, the Duranie Dorm/Hotel was a nearby hotel.  This hotel wasn’t the best that I have ever stayed at.  In fact, I remember laughing at like 5 in the morning over the fact that the sheets didn’t really fit.  I also remember the fact that it was attached to this diner or the diner was part of the hotel.  It seemed like any day or night you could go to that diner and find other Duranie!  While the show did not live up to expectations, I had a great time with other fans!!!

Perhaps, this is why we really wanted Duranie Dorms/Hotels for the summer tour.  Thankfully, we were able to have one in Durham.  These hotels with all the interactions between Duranies seem like small communities in which we might not know each other at first but allow such great moments while people do get to know each other.  While there are a ton of things I am looking forward to with the convention, the hotel is one I’m looking forward to the most!  There will definitely be an all night party in room 7609…

-A