Category Archives: nostalgia

Return to Now

After the GMA appearance yesterday, I saw a flurry of posts from friends, both commending the performance of the band, and lamenting (if not panning) the interviewer for focusing on the band as though they’ve come straight from 1985 as though the band has done nary a thing since the chords of Rio or Girls on Film were recorded.

I have to be honest here, I didn’t think too much about the interview.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten so used to the band being billed as a nostalgia act that I just don’t pay attention, or if it was because it was such a joy to see MOST of my favorites on TV for an interview that I just didn’t hear what the interviewer was saying. (I’ll just say it: it’s time to include Dom in the band. He’s been around a long time and he looks like he belongs there anyway at this point. I don’t care. Send me all the hate mail you’d like…call for my public flogging. I’m going on vacation in a few days anyway, so I’m throwing caution to the wind!)  Where was I?  Oh yes, the interview.  It was only later in the day when I watched it again that I really took notice of just how intent she (Lara Spencer) was to stick to the past.  I winced a bit when she asked them how it was to get back together after thirty years, and then I had to remind myself that this was not 2003.  It wasn’t even 2005, or even 2007.  It’s 2012.  Their latest album has been out for over a year now.  She even mentioned it herself when she commented that it hit #1 on iTunes. (I’m going to be even more honest here, I don’t care if it hit that on iTunes for 30 damn seconds, I’m glad the band holds on to that.  All You Need is Now is SO worthy of that number one spot and I’ll never stop being proud of them for writing such a fantastic album.)  I just don’t understand why the press is so apt to ignore the present when it comes to Duran Duran.

Do we still live in times of backlash when it comes to this band?  Sure, they have worn and occasionally still wear make up.  Name bands who don’t at this point in time.  There’s not many.  Yeah, they’re still good looking. (thank goodness!!)  Yep, their fans are still primarily female, although there are more than a few really good men out there that love their music as much as I do.  I’m lucky to count several of them as my friends, actually!  Does that really all add up to discounting them to nostalgia?  Here’s the real question: what about their music???  When does that actually count for something?

Sometimes, I stop and wonder if any of this bothers the band.  I mean, it was one thing to be a pop idol back in the 80’s. I’ve read enough to know that the band never minded being idols to their fans, they wanted to be famous and they were willing to do whatever it took for that to happen.  (Goal successfully reached!)  I have to believe that at some point, they were hoping to be known for more than just making young girls scream.  Sure, we fans have grown up and while we might all still scream for more when we see them live on stage, their music resonates.  While we fans take them seriously (and still have fun all the while), it would seem   at least to me that the press never has.  Do you think that bothers them?

I suppose the band can either fight it or embrace it and continue to work towards whatever personal goals they have on their own. While I sit here writing and contemplating, I recognize that the press can be very much like a tidal wave, and sometimes it’s just better to let the wave do it’s thing and help you get places in the long run than fight mother nature.

While that method seems to work for the band, I know I’m not alone when I say that as a fan – it’s really tough to sit back and see the hard work of thirty years diminished to a few shining moments that happened decades ago.  It’s difficult not to feel personally affronted, and yet if it doesn’t bother the band, perhaps we need to take our cue from them.  They certainly didn’t write All You Need is Now (single) with absolutely nothing in mind.  It really is all up to us to find ourselves in the moment.  It’s never really been about what the press or critics have said about them, it’s been about you and I…and the band.

-R

Pictures, rules and nostalgia

Lately I’ve been reading books about MTV.  I already finished one, and I’m starting a couple more this week, all of which will likely be used as some sort of research for the blog and book writing.  I must admit, the reading has been wonderfully nostalgic thus far.  I love reading the tidbits about various videos I haven’t seen in years (and then looking them up on YouTube to refresh my memory!), and I suppose that reading has gotten me in a bit of a mood to think back a bit.

As I was getting ready for the day this morning, for some reason I thought about pictures, or rather, my lack of pictures with the members of Duran Duran.  I have a dear friend here in California who “obsession” (so to speak) is to go to the various award shows – Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.  Yesterday were the SAG awards, and I’m sure I’m due an email with her photo file from the night.  She’s attended several awards now, gone to the after parties and things, and has pictures with everyone from Brad Pitt to John Stamos.  I’m always astonished when she sends me her latest photos from the award shows, and I’m pretty sure every single time I see them (and giggle over them with her) I yelp “I can’t even believe you have a photo with _____________, I’ve been a fan of Duran Duran for 30 years now and don’t have a single one with ANY of them!!!”  To which she always says, “I know.  What IS your problem, Rhonda?”  (good question.  I’ve no single answer to that.)   She was highly disappointed with me after my return from the UK, as she had put me on notice that I wasn’t to return to the US without at least one photo.  I failed miserably.

As I thought about that lack of pictures, I remembered that for me – it was only just after the reunion that I’d ever gotten a picture (that I had taken on my own camera) of ANY of them.  Back in the 80’s & 90’s, I couldn’t really attend many concerts – just one in 1989 and then another in 1993, and in those days – cameras weren’t really allowed into the venues.  Sure, people probably snuck them in, but I never did.  I took “no cameras” to be gospel, and followed the rules.  I’m a good kid, but being well-behaved never got anyone anywhere, did it?  I still have a hard time “breaking” rules to this day, which explains why I still do not have pictures with the band.  I don’t go hanging out waiting for them outside of theater doors, I refuse to intrude on their privacy after the shows….and as a result tons of my friends have photos with them that I do not.  You’d think I’d learn.

It wasn’t until after the reunion at a show in San Diego at 4th and B theater that I ever took pictures at a concert.  I remember that night, being SO thrilled that my husband snuck a disposable camera into the theater (actually, I’m not even sure if he had to sneak it…but he kept it tucked into his jacket all the same), and just before the show, presented it to me.  I think I genuinely squealed when I saw it.  When the band came on stage, I couldn’t get very good shots, so my husband started taking the pictures for me – and that practice of his being the photographer while I’m enjoy the show continues to this very day.  I was so excited to see those pictures – I remember taking the camera to have the pictures developed, and when we got the photos back, I was shocked at how lousy they were.  A disposable camera just didn’t do the band justice.  That said, I proudly scrapbooked the pictures, and still have the doubles somewhere.  After that, it became standard to take a camera to the show, and I worked harder and harder at getting good pictures.  For a while I took my good Canon Rebel (both the film and the digital SLR’s…at different times of course) to the shows, but then security started to tighten up on cameras, and I was told a couple of times that it was a professional camera.  I laugh about that, because if they saw my pictures – they’d no I’m no professional.  In any way. At. All.  That said, I stopped bringing the big Canon after the Voodoo show because I got tired of carrying it around.  I use a small Canon point and shoot now, and I’ve learned to take pictures during my “less than favorite” songs.  I’ll let you all guess which ones those might include…

Speaking of nostalgia, one of the things I’ve always wondered about nearly constantly since I was ten or eleven and first discovered the band was what it must be like (or been like) to actually live in England and have more access to the band.  Here in the states, we had relatively little unless they were touring or were here doing press.  We didn’t live near them on a daily basis, and so naturally we didn’t have quite the same familiarity with them as other fans might in England.  No matter how often I talk to fans from the UK, I just think it’s nearly impossible to really get a good sense of what it must have been like to be able to hop on the tube and get to their studios or homes. (even though we all know that the information might have been difficult to come by unless you knew whom to talk with…)  Well, my friend Michelle kept a diary of her Duran Duran adventures back in the 80’s.  She’s used this diary to begin her own blog, and I encourage everyone to go visit and read!  I found myself giggling away while reading this morning…and as soon as I’m finished blogging, I’m going back for more.

You can find The Duran Diaries here.  Read away!!

I know that often times, there’s a sort of rivalry…implied or otherwise…between the US and UK fans.  The fact is, we have had very different experiences from one another.  There is plenty of joy, exasperation, excitement and even moments of disappointment, to be shared amongst all of us.  It’s my hope that those who read Daily Duranie and the Duran Diaries can embrace all of what is offered without judgement.

Happy Monday everyone!  
-R

Happy 25th Birthday Notorious!

I must apologize for the SUPER lateness of today’s blog.  Life has been BEYOND crazy for me lately.  On top of teaching full time, I have been volunteering in a political campaign.  This is really more than a volunteer job as it has become so time consuming that I have worked enough this week to make it a full time job!  Of course, I’m also trying to get ready for my trip to the UK, which is coming up quickly!  Cannot wait!!!  Despite my hectic schedule, I have seen a few people mentioned today’s anniversary/birthday.  25 years ago today the album, Notorious, was released. 

I can think back to going to the local “mall”‘s record store after the album was released.  How excited I was!!!!  A new Duran Duran album!  My 11 year old self could *squee* with the best of them at this point!  I so looked forward to this album as it was going to be my oasis in a desert of lameness that I was currently calling home as my family had moved from the Chicago suburbs to this small town in Illinois.  I was “desperate for something new.”  You see this town felt so incredibly backwards to me.  It did not have top 40 radio (where Duran and others were constantly played) and it did not have MTV.  I felt so completely lost there for such a long time.  I clung to Duran then.  Their music reminded me of “home” and the best friend that I had left behind who was also a Duranie.  I didn’t care that no one in this dumb town knew or cared who they were.  They were my favorite band and that’s all that mattered to this opinionated pre-teen! 

Despite my focus on Duran, I couldn’t help but notice that there were changes surrounding the band and their fans.  I knew that Andy and Roger had left.  I was able to shake that off without too much of a problem as Andy never seemed interesting to me then and I had no opinion about Roger.  I was all about John then (I’m sure you couldn’t have figured that out!).  Thus, if John was still in the band, it was fine.  I suppose it was good to have Simon, too, since he had the voice.  Nick didn’t matter to me one way or another.  I was an optimist and was able to ignore all of those articles and interviews surrounding the return of Duran that openly wondered if Duran would still be able to cut it without Roger and Andy.  Didn’t they see that Duran was stronger than that?  Didn’t they know how much the band mattered to me and others?  Of course, they would survive!  They would not only survive but be better off!  I know that is what the guys said many times in interviews during that time period.  Yet, looking back, you can tell that they were trying to convince themselves as much as the rest of the world.  I was, too.  I ignored the little voice in the back of my mind that said that things were not as rosy as I wanted them to be.

I knew that there were changes and I was prepared to accept them.  What I wasn’t prepared for was watching people and friends walk away.  I saw them not believing what the band was saying about being better than before.  I saw how confused they all were by Power Station and Arcadia.  Heck, I remember distinctly having a conversation with my best friend at the time about how she was taking all her Duran posters down because they were no longer cool.  I remember being shocked by this.  I didn’t understand how she could so easily abandon them.  I also remember feeling sad that I would no longer be able to share Duran with her.  We wouldn’t have this interest between us.  It also meant that I now seemed to stand on the side of the road that was marked, “uncool”.  As much as this bothered me, I wouldn’t let go of my fandom.  I couldn’t.  They were helping me survive.

Obviously, a lot of time has gone by.  Duran has seen a lot more changes, including the return of Roger and Andy.  Andy has also left again.  Was Duran better in 1986 than in 1984 or in 1982?  I don’t think so, but they couldn’t be.  They had suffered serious losses of not only band members but also of their managers.  I remember hearing in an interview that they had lost their innocence then.  I think that is true.  They did.  I could relate, though.  I, too, had experienced losses.  I had to leave my best friend and my hometown.  I had left a culture I was familiar with and liked, one that was urban and diverse, to one that was rural and lacked diversity in all forms.  I was also growing up at the time and there is always much hardships then.  Did I really think that my life was better in 1986 than in 1984?  No way.  I did believe like Duran in that I was going to be better.  I thought that, too.  I just needed to survive the new town and I would be better, cooler. 

Duran survived, too.  They survived their losses and have been able to manage at least 25 more years in the music business.  While I don’t know that Notorious is the best Duran album, it is still important.  It marked the beginning of a new era for Duran, one in which they survived and showed that they were committed to keep going.  Thus, Notorious should be celebrated for what it was.  It told the world that they didn’t end and that they were going to keep going for a long time.  It showed that they had weathered this really horrible storm.  They might not be as perfect but they were still there and that is what mattered most.  I discovered the same thing by the time I left that new town of mine.  I wasn’t the same person but I did survive and that is always worth celebrating.   

-A

Calendars, Tour Books and Collections…Oh My!

I was thrilled to hear/see that Duran will have a calendar for 2012!  I so missed having one for 2011 as I have all of their recent calendars (2006-2010).  This year I decided to pick my favorite picture for any given month to display since there wasn’t a current calendar.  That worked out fine but it wasn’t very functional and often had to remind myself that it wasn’t the current year.  In case you have not heard, their calendar for 2012 will be available to purchase from the dd.com store on Monday, November 7th.  (Happy Birthday to Rhonda!)  Now, I suppose that I should wait to purchase it until I come back for the UK or simply put it on my Christmas wish list since all of my extra money will be going towards the trip, but I probably won’t.  I get too worried that it will sell out, which causes me to buy right away, which is strange because I’m not really like that with anything but Duran.

I admit it.  I like Duran stuff.  They make a lot of money off of me as I’m someone who buys merchandise.  I have a ton of t-shirts, which include ones that I bought at a show and ones that I bought from the website.  I already mentioned the calendar.  I have posters.  I have keychains and I have buttons.  There are tons of bags that have some Duran logo in my closet from various tours and VIP packages.  Heck, I renewed DDM and did the Gold package in order to get the message bag, t-shirt, bookmark, etc.  I am such a sucker for Duran related items.  I am weak.  I admit it.  They must love having fans like me (other than the part that I voice my opinion about what they are doing and sometimes it isn’t all that…flattering or positive). 

I was like this as a kid, too.  Like everyone else of my Duran generation, I had the tons and tons of posters on my wall and saved up money to buy this week’s copy of Bop or Tiger Beat.  I bought every album and singles, when I could.  I even had Duran Duran pajamas!  How cool was I when I pulled that nightshirt out at a slumber party?!  Of course, I purchased copies of Sing Blue Silver, Dancing on the Valentine and their other major videos.  I also saved my money to buy larger books of Sing Blue Silver, the photograph book, and the Book of Words.  How could I not?  I wanted to buy as much Duran as I could, including one of my favorite Duran items of all time…the Into the Arena board game!  I still have my original board game despite it being away from me for awhile.  I bought the game when it came out and even attempted to play it a few times.  The directions still dumb to me but the pictures were pretty!  Anyway, at some point in my childhood, I decided that I should try to move on from Duran for various reasons.  Yet, I couldn’t just get rid of everything so I did the next best thing!  I gave my stuff to one of my good friends!  Years later, then, she asks me if I wanted the stuff back!  Of course, I did!  Thus, items like the board game were returned home to their rightful place.  I went to my first Duran show with this friend and we went to a few more after that together.  Now, I will see her during our UK tour as she will be hosting Rhonda and I and going to the Glasgow show with us! 

My childhood revolved around getting Duran items so it isn’t super surprising that my adulthood is filled with that as well.  One of my more recent items is this tour’s tourbook.  I have the ones for Astronaut and RCM.  (By the way, who didn’t think the Astronaut one was cool as hell?!?!)  I have fond memories of both of them.  My friends and I purchased our copies of the Astronaut tour book in Chicago in March of 2005.  It provided fun reading material as we drove from Chicago to Milwaukee to the show there the next night.  Likewise, I purchased the RCM one in Chicago in May of 2008 but didn’t have fun with it until I purchased one for Rhonda.  Then, I could go through it and highlight the fun parts for her.  We did the same after purchasing copies of the Ask Katy book, “Would Someone Please Explain?” and read it together on a flight to Philadelphia in December 2008.  Therefore, we decided to purchase this year’s tourbook.  Originally we planned to buy it in the UK.  Thankfully, we didn’t as the size is…uh…an issue.  It is 12 inches by 16 inches and is way too long to be user friendly. 

As far as this year’s tourbook content goes, there is some positive aspects and some…I think are lame.  The cover is a shiny silver with a big pink D on it.  It fits with the theme of the album art.  It has many photographs of the band members taken live but they aren’t my favorite as the photos are more artistic and less clear.  They are also in black and white.  That said, there are colored photographs that are quite lovely.  Unfortunately, the crease of the book gets in the way at times, including blocking Nick in one picture and Dom in another.  Lame.  Some of the photographs were those that were used to create the album cover.  Again, I didn’t think they were necessary.  Call me crazy but I would rather have photos of the guys!  Most of the photographs besides the live ones were of the band, either as a group or as individuals.  Yes, most of those photos were quite attractive!  They did include a page with photos of Dom, Anna and Saxy Simon. 

Beyond the photos, they did include some written content, which I was generally disappointed with.  One page included the news story from the Man Who Stole a Leopard.  Really?  That was necessary? Then, there were pages where the band and Ronson discussed making the album.  Typically, this type of content would thrill me.  It didn’t, in this case, because I had all ready heard it on the DVD for the album.  Nothing drives me more crazy than when they recycle material.  The one part of the writing I really did enjoy, though, was when each band member was given the same series of questions.  I loved reading their answers and getting an insight into how they think.  A few answers really stuck out to me.  Clearly, Nick is obsessed with time and getting things done as he listed his greatest fear as running out of time and listed wasting time as his greatest extravagance.  Roger dislikes his nose and thinks that he is lazy.  Simon actually gave much longer answers and told a beautiful story about when his eldest daughter, Amber, was born.  John wishes that he didn’t care what others thought of him.  Very interesting, overall. 

Thus, while the tour book had some great photographs and some lovely insights into the boys, I wished for much more content.  I also wish it was smaller to be easier to store and travel with.  Despite its limitations, I’m still glad that I have it.  I’m glad that I have all of my Duran stuff, including the tourbooks, t-shirts, videos, calendars, bags, posters and board game.  Do you collect Duran?  If so, what is your favorite item?

-A 

RIP Mr. Laufner

This morning, as most of my mornings begin, I checked out Facebook and saw that Charles Laufner has passed away.  Who is Charles Laufner, you ask?  Well – for a good many of you, if not most of you, he is whom we have to thank for our “wallpaper” back in the 80’s.  Mr. Charles Laufner was the founder of Tiger Beat, and he died in Los Angeles at the age of 87.

Tiger Beat was one very good reason I insisted on accompanying my mom to the grocery store each week.  As she would shop I would make a beeline for the magazine aisle, knowing that I had a good 20 or 30 minutes to look over each magazine, read the articles in the magazines I couldn’t purchase that particular week, and daydream about the day that Roger Taylor would come to rescue me from my life in suburbia.  Ah, to be 12 or 13 again….  There was hardly a time where Duran Duran wasn’t somehow featured on the front page – and most assuredly there were pictures contained within, if not full pin-ups.  I would spend hours scouring each issue, making sure to read every single word when it came to a Duran Duran article.  To this very day I remember an interview the magazine had done with Nick Rhodes.  Most of the interviews were very basic, and the answers were always very PG – at the time I never noticed how squeaky clean all of it was, interestingly enough. (call me naive if you must….and I was!)  In this one interview, the magazine asked Nick if he’d ever consider dating a fan. Nick’s answer?  He once dated a 1969 German air conditioner – if we had to know!   I don’t know why that stupid question and answer still stick with me, but to this day, when I see Nick – I think of that silly article!!

There’s no question that celebrities and bands alike have to thank magazines like Tiger Beat, and publishers like Charles Laufner, for their success.  Duran Duran utilized that market to the best of their means, regardless of whether we look back at that strategy with a sense of nostalgia or disdain.  Yes, critics always seemed to laud Duran Duran for appealing to teens like myself rather than going after the “serious” music crowd – but isn’t it funny that it’s teens like myself (and probably many of our readers) who continue to stick by the band, now in our mid 30’s and 40’s, as the core fan base?  Serious music consumers indeed.

Of course, Tiger Beat wasn’t the only teen magazine on the market – but it was among the first.  His first magazine was Teen, and his son Sean has continued the empire by buying Tiger Beat’s parent company in 2003 and continues to publish Bop.  Back in the day when I was a consumer of Tiger Beat – the magazine was one way, if not the only real way, that I could really indulge in my crush (the entire band…of course).  I could read the articles, learn about them, fawn over the pinups, put them up on my wall, and of course kiss them goodnight if I so chose, which I did.  (don’t tell anyone!)  It’s been many years since I last bought Bop or Tiger Beat – no really, I swear, but I have to wonder if the purpose of the magazine is still what it once was.  The internet has really shortened the distance between fan and “interest”, Twitter and Facebook have made it possible to even interact with celebrity in a way that I couldn’t have ever even dreamed back when Tiger Beat pinups covered my walls.

Mr. Laufner is responsible for opening my eyes and expanding my world back in the 80’s.  Without his magazine I would have never have become the fan I am today (and perhaps some would have appreciated that!), and I think it’s fair to say my life wouldn’t have turned out the same without Tiger Beat.  Thank you!

-R