Category Archives: money

We Have More Playtime than Money

One issue that seems to come up a lot in fandom, in one way, shape or form is money.  Let’s face, fandom tends to cost money, no matter what you are a fan of.  If you are a fan of a TV show, you have to make sure you have a TV.  Maybe, you need cable to watch the particular show you are a fan of or you opt to go the way of hulu to watch your favorite program.  If you are a fan of a book series, you need to be able to buy the books unless you borrow from friends or the library, but that might mean that you won’t get the books for awhile.  If you are a fan of a rock band or other musical artist, you have to buy the music and/or something to listen to it on.  If you are a fan of a sport teams, you have to find a means of watching the sport, either on TV or at the game itself.  Movie fans need the money to go see the film.  All of these examples are the very basic viewing, too.  Fans typically want to own the books, the movies, the TV shows, the albums of whatever they are a fan of.  Now, the cost has increased.  What about attending events like those sports games or concerts or conventions?  More money.  Of course, some of those events might not be close to where you live.  Then, you need transportation and all that comes with that.  Many fans like to buy other merchandise related to their fandom as well.  More cash needed.  What happens when you can pay to meet the idol(s)?  What happens when you can pay for that precious autograph or that picture?  Clearly, fandom costs money.  This makes sense, on one hand, since that is sort of the deal.  The idol(s) make or do whatever you are a fan of then you buy the product.  It is a financial exchange.  On the other hand, some fans can afford more than other fans.  This puts a whole other spin to it and a ton of questions.

The first question that can pop up is whether or not this is fair.  Is it fair that the fans with more money get more things?  More experiences connected to their fandom?  This, of course, is a dicey topic.  I think it is safe to say that many of us, most of us have to choose what we can and cannot do, what we can and cannot buy.  For some fans, buying things connected to one’s fandom is of a higher priority than others.  I admit that is a true statement for myself.  I have chosen to put my fandom as a higher priority in my own personal budget.  I would love a new dining room table, which is really my family’s old kitchen table from when I was a kid.  Yet, I would rather spend the money on a VIP concert ticket than buy the table.  It is a choice I make.  Therefore, the argument could be made that it is fair in this way.  Everyone can choose where they put their fandom in terms of financial priority.  Yet, we all know that for many fans, they can only put fandom so high due to other more significant costs like paying for shelter or food on the table or items that are needed by their family.  This means that for those fans, they simply miss out on the opportunities or products, which isn’t really fair.  What I do think is important for all of us to recognize and be clear, ourselves, that, for some, it is about making a choice between fandom and other things and, for others, it isn’t a choice at all.  So, if it isn’t fair to those fans who really can’t choose to put fandom higher, what should be done about it, if anything?  I already see the sides lining up.  Those who have the money to choose fandom might argue, “It’s my money.  If I have the money, I should be able to buy what I want.  While I’m sorry not everyone does have that choice, those options shouldn’t be taken away from me.  I like that I am able to buy more stuff and more experiences.”  Those who don’t have the choices might say, “I wish that I had the money to afford the items and experiences but I don’t.  I am just as good of a fan as the next person.  Fandom means just as much to me as those who have more money.  I should be able to experience and get some of it.”  One solution, of course, could be more contests but then again…fans who have more money could and should be allowed to participate, right?  Truly, I have no solution.

The second set of questions that come up with this issue is what the celebrity(s) should or should not do regarding money.  While I think we all recognize that there is a financial transaction that takes place with fandom, it isn’t all there is to it.  Fandom is also emotional.  The celebrity(s) should know that and understand, right?  Perhaps, then, there is the question of whether or not the idol(s) should then, in understanding, make sure that their products and experiences are fairly priced so that a large number of fans could possibly afford it.  Should, for example, Duran Duran lower the prices to VIP seats so that more people could afford them?  Of course, from a business standpoint, if people buy them at the prices they are on, there is no reason for them to lower them.  After all, they want to make the most profit they can and we can’t blame them for that.  Recently, someone pointed out to me, during the big Comic Con convention, that the stars of the X-Files charged $200 to have fans get their pictures taken with them.  Is this price outrageous?  Is it a matter of taken advantage of their fans?  Obviously, we could all decide this ourselves and their fans could decide whether or not that price was reasonable.  If they thought it wasn’t, they could choose not to buy, right?

Like I said, I don’t have good answers for this issue.  I do think it is important to acknowledge that it is an issue within fandom.  I don’t know what the celebrity(s) should do or not do.  I know this.  I feel lucky that I can make some choices with my fandom and I recognize that others can’t as much or at all.  I definitely don’t think that makes me a bigger or better fan than them.  It just makes me fortunate.  Some could argue that if I felt strongly about the costs and how it might exclude some people, then I could choose not to pay myself and that if everyone stopped paying, the costs would lower.  That is very true.  Yet, I hesitate to do that because I do see the idol(s) purpose of making money.  I also recognize that I really don’t know what, in turn, they have to buy themselves in order to do their jobs.  For example, a lot of people work in the Duran machine.  They all need to be paid.  Studio time needs to be paid.  Producers need to be paid.  I don’t know how much money they really take in.  Yes, I’m sure they take in WAY more money than I do.  The other reason I hesitate to stop buying is because I should have that choice to do things that I enjoy.  I like going to concerts.  I like buying music.  I like going on tour.  Clearly, this is one of those issues in fandom that don’t have any good answers, but one that I suspect everyone has an opinion about.

-A

Planning Ahead

For the last couple of days, I have noticed that Duran Duran’s Facebook and Twitter have been posting a countdown to Friday, the next show.  (For those not in the know, Duran Duran is playing at the Altitude Festival in Klosters, Switzerland.)  This begins a little run through that area of Europe, including Austria, Germany, Belgium and even Slovakia.  I’m obviously thrilled for those fans who will get to see these shows!!  That said, I’m also hearing some comments about other Europeans shows, many of which haven’t been rescheduled since last summer.  People are starting to assume that they won’t get shows in their neck of the woods.  Obviously, I don’t know their schedule but I sure would like to!

If I knew their schedule for the upcoming year, I could provide information or, at least, reassurances to those fans who are waiting for news of a show in their country or city.  I, obviously, understand why don’t give us this information in advance.  Plans can change and I’m sure that people would be upset if they found out, for example, that they were trying to get a gig in country X only to have it fall through.  I’m sure they also like building up fans anticipation.  Maybe the idea here is that it increases excitement, which positively impacts ticket sales?  I don’t know.  That said, not knowing a general plan makes it tough for us fans.  Heck, even knowing a general plan is tough!

I’m, personally, struggling in trying to figure out my game plan for 2012.  I would like to have a general idea of when and where I will be going, if anyplace.  I also like to know what I’m saving for and how much money I’m going to need.  I’m sure that I’m not the only fan out there that can’t just do whatever I want, tour wise, at the drop of a hat.  For me, it takes saving money.  Now, I’m a pretty decent saver and refuse to go into debt for anything beyond those big ticket items (moving, car, education).  I use my credit cards and I pay them off immediately.  I do well with my monthly budget as well.  An example of this skills is buying Christmas presents.  I have money for presents because I save up all year long.  I do the same for touring.  There is never a month that goes by when I don’t put money aside for going on tour.  Tours are my vacation and I save for them like other people do their vacations to wherever.  In fact, I justify going on tour because it IS my vacation and because I save for it.  I never have and never will go into debt for Duran, which brings me to the present.  So far, in 2012, I know of rumors of Duran touring the States again.  I also know that I’m planning on going to the UK Convention in November.  Beyond that, I am seriously considering moving because I cannot stand the manager of my apartment complex.  While I might be thinking of only moving from one apartment to another, it will still cost money.  I will have to pay for the security deposit and for movers.  I’m sure that there are other large expenses waiting to happen, too.

Thus, I would really LOVE to know what the plan is for Duran for this year like many of you do!  I would like to know if they really are coming back here.  I know that they won’t be back until April, at the earliest, based on the dates already scheduled.  If they come in May, for example, I should probably save more money now than I usually do in order to tour.  If they aren’t coming back until August, for example, I have a longer time to save tour money, which makes for less money per month in that area of savings.  Then, of course, I have to factor in some cash for the UK trip.  At least, I know when it is and about how much money I will need.  I can plan, accordingly.  Now, if Duran isn’t touring here, then, perhaps, I should channel that money that I would be saving towards a trip.  It is hard to imagine, for instance, not seeing Rhonda until November! 

Thus, while I understand Duran’s need for limited public information regarding their plans, I know that it would make my life easier and I’m sure it would make lots of other people’s lives easier, too.  Some people might be like me and want to know what the general agenda is for financial purposes.  For others, they need the information to ease their emotions or their concerns about them coming or not coming.  While it might be unrealistic to give specifics, a general outline can’t hurt, can it?  This general outline can go from April on, too.  Thus, it might say, “Tour Place X from mid-April to blah, Tour Place Z from whenever to whenever, etc. just to give us an idea.  It would help us out a lot and give us peace of mind.

-A

My Duranie account is overdrawn?!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

Is it enough?

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely week.  I’ve been on vacation with my family for the past week, during which I missed all sorts of exciting things like presales, complaints of ticket cost, venues, lack of venues….you know, all the same things that happen whenever a tour is announced!   Conversely, my week was spent camping in a trailer on a lake up in the Sierra’s near Mt. Shasta – and believe it or not, I loved it!  I had almost no internet connection, my cell reception was touchy, but I did send and receive texts fairly well.  (my husband is going to LOVE our cell bill this month!)  I spent my days floating in an inner tube on a lake, exploring the Mt. Shasta caverns and enjoying the peace and quiet that cannot possibly be found here in Southern California where I live.  I was able to contemplate to my hearts content over the impossibilities of the world, enjoy some much needed family time, and think realistically about the months ahead.  While we were gone, much happened in the world.  The stock market thought it had become a roller coaster, chaos broke out in London, a ridiculous beginning presidential “poll” took place….and the list goes on, all of which providing the opportunity for discussion between my husband and I regarding finances.  (Depending upon your point of view here you should either be hearing the tune from Twilight Zone or something akin to chords that would indicate Doomsday in your head)

It was brought to my attention that during this past year, I’ve spent “quite a large sum of money” on a certain band that probably doesn’t need to be named.  (hint: the name of the blog is the Daily Duranie)  I’m not exactly sure how it was assumed that this fact passed me by – but I digress.  The reality is, this has been an expensive year, and now that they’ve once again resumed announcing concert dates, I may have quite possibly bought more tickets to shows that are local to my general area.  (that means that I do not currently have tickets in hand to attend any shows that I would need to board a plane to attend)   The question “is this really necessary” was indeed posed, and the fact is – I’m not sure I can even answer.  Truth be told, had the UK shows gone off in May as intended, my agreement with my husband was that I would be satisfied with those shows, and I really felt that while yes – I’d still love to to go to more – the responsible side of me (which is indeed MUCH smaller than the wild, irresponsible side that loves Duran Duran concerts) knew that I would need to curtail such activity.  The trouble of course is that those shows in May did not take place.  I instead found myself in London, staring into a very VERY large ice cream sundae at Marks and Spencer.  I came back home realizing that my dream, my ultimate fantasy, was not yet realized, and I wasn’t going to give up.  I think some of my first words off of the plane as I walked towards my husband and children were “There is NO way I’m missing out on the rescheduled shows when they announce them”, an odd sort of greeting, I know.   When the shows were rescheduled and announced, Amanda and I sorted the shows, understanding that our time was extremely limited and that we’d have to get the most “bang for our buck”, so to speak.  So, tickets were bought, and tickets were sold.  We’ve now got a plan that puts us, no joke at all, in the same basic seats for each of the three shows were now planning to attend in December.  That means that Simon and/or Dom, (any of them if they care to look in our direction) will see us in the 3rd or 4th row right in front of them in Brighton, Bournemouth and Birmingham.  It’s a little bizarre to be sitting in the same basic place for all of the shows, and no, we didn’t plan it that way, but our lives are indeed odd that way!   Then of course, the US dates were announced just before I left on vacation.  Presales happened last week, and once again – I bought more tickets.  This time, I have tickets to two shows: Nokia Theater, and Valley Center.   I think at this point, my husband truly believes there’s a problem.  He doesn’t quite understand this necessity I have to see more.  He asked me if this was really necessary, and then he asked me if it would ever be enough.

Honestly in my opinion he’d have a better chance of getting a real and completely truthful answer out of me if he’d asked me what my theories were regarding world peace.  Those two questions are nearly impossible for me to answer.  I suppose the truth is that no, the shows are never necessary.  I’m certainly not going to die if I miss a show.  I went many, many years without going to shows because I couldn’t afford them, and circumstances didn’t allow me to attend.  I don’t really have a real, paying job that requires my attendance at the shows, and I definitely don’t get paid for being there.  Or not being there, for that matter!  That said, the shows make me happy.  I do feel as though going to shows is a sort of escape and it’s the one thing that I do that is for me.  On the other hand though, I think it’s very important to note that seeing the band is not the only thing in the world that makes me happy.  It’s one of many.  So, are the shows necessary?  Probably not.   I’m a mom.  I know that when I chose to become a mom, I agreed to put the wants and needs of three others before my own, and I do that on a very regular basis.  Most of the time I can do this without even thinking, but there are times – specifically when things come up that conflict or interfere with what’s going on here at home, that I will have a fleeting feeling of unfairness wash over me.  Then I move on, because that’s what has to be done.  Are the shows necessary?  No.

The second question is more difficult to answer, mainly because I really don’t know the answer.  Will it ever be enough?  Will there ever be a moment where I know I’m done.   Will I get to a point where I’ve seen and experienced all that I want to see?  I don’t know.  All I do know here is that I have had friends who died before they ever experienced even HALF of what they wanted to experience I’m sure, and yet I’ll bet in their dying moment they didn’t sit back and ponder “Gosh, maybe I shouldn’t have gone to that last concert!”  My own father was  infamous for saying “Someday I’d like to __________, once I’ve got that __________ bill paid”  Funny.  That moment never came for him.  I highly doubt that as he lay in that hospital bed, sedated beyond measure, that the thought came to him that he shouldn’t have taken that Mexican cruise with all of us just 3 years prior.  I know he and my mom were still paying for that up until the day he passed away.  No, I really doubt he was thinking that.  More likely he was thinking about how he should have done more when he had the chance.  I suppose one could take the other point of view – I have friends who have decided they’re done with Duran Duran.  They’ve gotten sick of them, they openly compare the band to whatever other band is touring at the time, they talk about how much better X band treats fans, etc. etc.  I guess in those cases, they’ve had enough.  The trouble is, I don’t know that someone ever knows they’ve had enough until they’ve already gotten past that point.  I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at my husband and say with all certainty and seriousness that “this is my last show”, at least not until I’ve gone to that show and felt as though I was done.   Is it ever going to be enough?   I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know:  next week, my son will have braces put on.  That’s going to cost some money.  My little one will be in preschool three mornings a week for the next school year which begins in September.  My oldest has school tuition coming due that has gone up quite a bit from last year, and she has another production starting soon that will have to be paid for if I can squeeze the extra cost out of my budget.  In less than four years, my oldest will be applying to college, and along with that expense comes the visits to colleges she’s interested in, and all of the glory that goes along with being a senior in high school.  Oh and yes, there’s the little joy of enrolling in drivers ed, getting a drivers license and earning a car.  As you all know, the requests for money just do not stop.   I know that if I don’t do any of this now, I probably won’t have the chance again.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my friends and my dad who have now passed on, it’s that you shouldn’t wait.

Balance and how to make it work.  There should be a class!  -R

The Cost of Fandom

Some days, I know exactly what I am going to write about and other days I really struggle.  The days that I have difficulty with picking out a topic are the days, usually, when other things weigh heavily on my mind.  I wonder if my writing partner feels the same way.  Today is one of those days for me.  As I have mentioned here, I live in a state that has been ground zero for the discussion on workers rights and unions.  Despite weeks of hard work, sacrifice and protest, the workers lost their battle.  I am one of those workers.  Today, my union met and signed a contract extension, which will cover us for the next couple of years.  I should be happy about this and I am, but it only really will help with non-financial aspects of the job.  Based on this, I now know exactly how much money I will be losing each month beginning in July.  It is substantial.  Now, again, I’m not here to debate the politics regarding my job, my compensation, this bill or anything else connected but as part of dealing with the impending loss of income I began to think about Duran.  Fandom costs money.  It does.  It costs money to buy cds, to buy t-shirts, to go to shows and especially to travel to shows.  While I have in no way shape or form been someone financially able to do whatever I want in the name of Duran, I have been able to save money in order to go on tours.  Assuming that I stay in this position and stay where I am now (which is assuming a lot), this spring will mark the end for me.

My impending loss of compensation is so great that my days of touring will be over.  In fact, I will have to move from my apartment, if I stay where I am.  I cannot begin to justify going to shows or traveling for tours, if I cannot afford to keep my home (and when I mean home–I mean my one bedroom apartment).  Looking back at the last five or six years, I realize how lucky I have been.  I have been able to go to 20 shows since 2005 and most of those shows have required significant drives or flying.  I hope to have 5 more under my belt before summer hits.  Therefore, these upcoming shows better be the best ones ever because they may have to last me for quite a while. 

Now, do not get me wrong here, I am not giving up.  I refuse to have to move backwards like this and have been and will continue to fight it every step of the way.  Obviously, part of this fight might be to consider my options.  Different profession?  Different location?  Both?  I’m hoping that I do find something that allows me to keep this element of my life.  For me, Duran is both my escape and my fun, especially touring.  I do not want to give that up.  The band and everything that goes with enhances my quality of life.  Could I live without them?  Yes.  Do I want to?  Nope.  For one thing, it means that I won’t see my Duranie friends much as most of them live far away from me, including my co-author.  That is extremely upsetting to me.  It also means that I no longer have things to look forward to as I once did.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the queen of countdowns.  I normally count down every day until a big event like a tour because that countdown helps me gets through each day.  It gives me a positive thing to focus on.  Soon, that will be gone.  I can’t rely on Duran to be the lighthouse of relief in the sea of stress.  I cannot even begin to tell you how sad it makes me that I won’t be able to see my friends as much.  Yes, we are all on the internet but it is not the same.  I won’t have the money to travel and we won’t have the excuse of Duran to bring us together as much as we did because I won’t be able to afford it.

I now understand how Duranies who have always been in this boat must feel.  I apologize if I ever seemed uncaring or not very understanding.  I get it now.  I get it in such a way that these last shows will be appreciated by me in a way that I probably haven’t done since 2005.  I look forward to them as I desperately need the escape but I also dread them in a way because I know that they will be the last for a long time.  I feel like I do at every show when I hear the opening notes to Rio, which is typically played at the very end, because I know that the song will be great but I also know that the show is almost over.  It is always such a bittersweet moment.  Now, the whole show will be like that for me.

-A