Category Archives: personal stories

In This Place You Made

May is always an interesting time for me.  It is the end of the school year.  This means that the way life is right now will end soon, never to be quite the same again.  I think about my classes and the kids who come in on a daily basis to hang out.  Next year, I’ll have new kids with different kids popping in and out of my classroom.  Some of my colleagues will remain the same and others will change.  The end of the school year almost always means that I stop, look around and think about my life a bit.  I take stock.

One element that I have to acknowledge is my fandom and this place.  Most of the time, I don’t even really think of this blog.  It is just part of my daily routine.  There isn’t much questioning on my part.  No “should I still be writing this blog” or “should I take a break”.  Unlike my paid gig where I do take the time to look around, think about how things are and how they will be, I don’t here.  Maybe, I should, though.

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for six and a half years.  We have created over 3,000 posts and have had hundreds of thousands of page views.  That is pretty remarkable, isn’t it?  While we have taken some time away for various reasons, for the most part, we have posted something daily.  On top of that, I look at the Duran fandom and see plenty of what we do here replicated, including Duran history or surveys.  Clearly, we have readers who check out what we write on a  daily basis and still others who read a few posts a week every week.

Beyond the statistics of the blog, I think about what it has meant to me.  On one hand, it has become a diary of sorts.  I have discussed many personal issues on this blog from political campaigning to my job to my parents’ health.  This diary has also captured the band’s history in the last six years.  Just the other day, Rhonda mentioned about the 2011 shows that had to be cancelled due to the fact that Simon lost his voice.  We documented that here.  In fact, we have documented two album releases and many tours, at this point.  Have we captured every single thing?  Of course not but we have talked about quite a bit.

Fandom is an interesting element in someone’s life.  For me, I have had some fandoms my whole life.  Those fandoms including Star Trek and the White Sox, represent my family, my childhood.  They are like comfort foods or a security blanket.  I feel safe when I think about them.  Then, there are the fandoms that I participated in for awhile that might have brought me great times and good friends but couldn’t last.  Duran Duran fandom, though, is in a category all by itself.  While it has existed in my life for decades, it is not as old as my family connected ones.  Like the short term fandoms, it has brought me amazing times and experiences along with good friends.  Yet, it has been so much more than all of those others combined.  It has a grasp on my heart and soul that the others don’t come close to.

When I think about why this fandom matters so much to me, I consider the history I have with being a Duranie.  Memories of tours, conventions and friends pop in my head.  I immediately think of all of the tremendous shows I have been fortunate enough to attend.  Yet, this blog is a big part of the picture, too.  It has kept me grounded into this fandom in a  way that all of the other elements of the fandom could not.  It keeps me always thinking about Duran.  I’m forced to pay attention to what the band is doing even when I’m distracted by real life or other concerns.  Some of you might view what see this as an unfun responsibility, but I don’t.  I’m thankful for it.  The blog allowed me to really commit to a fandom that I love more than words can ever show.

I don’t know what my fandom would have been like without this blog.  Maybe I would have walked away at some point.  Perhaps, I wouldn’t remain as involved or I would have dived deep into something else.  On top of that, I’m proud of what Rhonda and I have created here.  I think that 6.5 years is pretty impressive.  To be honest, I’m not sure where or when it would ever end either.  No, this blog and this fandom of mine are truly lifelong commitments.

-A

Newcastle show canceled, 2011. Do you remember??

On this date in 2011, some of the longest “waiting” of my life began. Duran Duran was to play the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle that evening, and was the first show to be canceled during the All You Need is Now tour.  Here’s the original announcement from DDHQ:

(from duranduran.com) Singer Simon Le Bon has today been diagnosed with a throat infection that is forcing the band to postpone their Newcastle Arena show that was scheduled for tomorrow, May 18. All fans should hold on to their tickets. Details of the rescheduled date will be forthcoming within the next couple of days.

I can remember hearing about this show being canceled. I can still feel the shock waves that reverberated through my body when my friend called to tell me the bad news that day. Every one of my hairs stood on end and I really didn’t know what to do.

Amanda and I, along with two of our friends, were to fly to the UK to see shows in Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  We were leaving in less than 48 hours for what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. I had an afternoon flight from LAX on the 20th and would arrive in London the 21st. I’d meet Amanda and the rest of our friends that day and we booked a car to drive us to Birmingham. We would stay at the Birmingham Malmaison in a very fancy suite that we’d spent a bundle to book, and continue on from there. It was going to be the second time I’d been to the UK, and the first time I’d ever flown outside the country without Walt. For me, the trip was huge.

I stood there by my stairs, listening to my friend rant on and on about what my choices were and whether or not she thought I should still “chance it” and make the trip. All I could do was stand there, bite my nails, and hope it was a one-time thing and that Simon would be fine for the next show, which was in Glasgow the following day.

Of course, it wasn’t. The next day, it was announced that Glasgow would be canceled. I was to leave the very next day, and this was about the time I began to panic.  I think I kind of knew our shows would be canceled, but I held out hope until the following day, literally minutes before I left my house. My bags were packed and I was waiting for my husband to arrive home to take me to LAX so I wouldn’t have to leave my car.  I believe I got a phone call from one of our friends, who alerted me to the latest announcement from Duran Duran, canceling the next three shows….all three of which I was supposed to attend.

I remember thinking about what my options were that day, but my husband quickly quelled any plans I had to stay home. “You’ve already got your plane ticket. You’re going.” I knew he was right. It was a lot to give up, and at the time, there was still that London show. It was possible he’d be able to do that, right? I gathered my things, made my flight and hoped for the best.

As we all know, the entire UK tour was canceled, so no – London didn’t happen. It was months before Simon was in the clear and able to perform again. The trip itself was good, but strange. In some bizarre way, I think going over there and experiencing the cancellation with people who understood how I felt was oddly comforting. Amanda and I tried our best to make the trip fun, and parts of it were. For me personally, the trip was cathartic. I can say that I came back home as a completely different person. A totally different fan.

I’m still annoyingly critical, sarcastic and judgmental. I still make plenty of rookie errors when dealing with the public. But, the love I have for Duran Duran is far, far different now. I think that trip made me see them as humans. Finally. Not every fan wants that. Some want to keep the band on their pedestal as perfect, mystical beings. That’s fine. It just wasn’t the path I wanted. I can’t say it’s helped with my writing or even the blog (I have still upset fans in the past and will likely do so again at some point), but I think maybe the trip gave me a little more perspective.

Later that year, Amanda and I went back, this time seeing shows and experiencing all that a Duran Duran tour in the UK had to offer. The memories from that trip are wonderfully happy and I’m glad I went back. However, the trip that taught me the most was the one that didn’t go as planned. Maybe there’s something to that.

-R

These words are like sand, just get blown away.

April and May are tough months for my family. On one hand, I’m delighted to celebrate the birthdays of my youngest, my best friend, and my sister. On the other, I tend to get a little melancholy when I think about my dad. It is the curse of losing a parent, and while I don’t dwell on it quite as much as I once did, admittedly – I still think about it. My dad would not be pleased, and I can almost hear his stern admonishment to focus on LIVING. So I try.

This year, in fact just last week, my family got some fairly devastating news. My brother-in-law has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He is 51, and we are very close. He is the big brother I never had. His wife is my husband’s sister, and our children (aside from my youngest) are very close in age. We have gone on numerous vacations and trips together, and have even talked about moving somewhere together to retire. Aside from Amanda, his wife is my closest friend, just to give you some context of what they mean to me, personally.

Many within my BIL’s family share an unfortunate genetic defect that makes them susceptible to Leukemia. His mother passed away from the disease about 8 years ago, and it would appear that it is now my BIL’s turn to fight. We all knew that it would come to this eventually, but I never thought it would happen so soon.

Why am I writing all of this? Well, we all get strength from different places, I guess…and right now, I feel pretty helpless. He’s in the hospital and will be for at least a month. Overall, the news is not great. He has some complications that make it all trickier than necessary, and there really isn’t much that can be done except to wait, think positive thoughts, and hope. I’m terrible at most of that. So, I’m writing. I need strength.

Ridiculously, I thought that after my dad passed away that I probably wouldn’t have to endure that kind of pain again for a long, long time. I don’t know what I was thinking. My mom is still alive, and she’s healthy. I figured as long as she didn’t get sick, everything would be fine. I never gave it much thought that anyone else would become ill. Ignorance and denial equal bliss, I suppose, and I was absolutely, blissfully, unaware.

When I first met my husband, it took him a long time to take me to meet his parents. Let’s just say his family is, well, tight-knit. The standard for significant others is very, very high. (No, I did not meet the standard. Surprise!) While the welcome mat wasn’t there for me at first, my brother-in-law has always been my ally. He took me under his wing, taught me the ropes, and pointed out some very hard truths to me when I needed them. Let’s just say my learning curve with the family was probably no less rocky than my learning curve with this blog and social media. <wide grin here>  It’s been a wild ride, and thankfully, my BIL knew what to say, how to reach out, and how to be a big brother.

My BIL is a Duran Duran fan, although he will admit that he prefers their earlier music (although he did love the first four or five songs on Astronaut).  He and I haven’t had a music chat session in a while, but he is about the only person in my family that genuinely knows the back catalog. He has versions of songs that I don’t have, and I love talking to him about music in general. He has the best vinyl collection from the 80s of anybody I know, and he has such a zest for life – it’s contagious.

A lot of people go through their pain privately. I envy those people in some ways because they tend to seem like they’ve got it together. Not me. I’m pretty much a “blurt it all out and take a deep breath afterward” type of person. My husband and his family are exactly the opposite. Stalwart, quiet, proper, and restrained. I hate it. No one talks, ever. I desperately need to talk. I wasn’t raised to be quiet. I’m Sicilian! So I come here. I blurt it out, and while it doesn’t fix the problem, it makes me feel just the tiniest bit better.

Given my choices of whom to talk to and when, I choose this blog and the people who read it. I can’t even say I know the majority of people who read each day. I don’t. I just know that when I have bad news, good news, or I need help – I come here. That says something about our community. We’re a family. A crazy, sometimes really dysfunctional and large family.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-R

Leave Her Out Now She’s Having Fun

I know that I got the lyrics wrong in the title.  I did it intentionally since it is about me and I identify as a “she”.  The thing is that I’m looking forward to this weekend.  Heck, I look forward to every weekend.  I like the break from getting up early and not having to go to work or deal with teenagers.  Normally, weekends are my time to get caught up on whatever I didn’t get to over the week like…you know…sleep.  Good weekends mean that I have something to look forward and special weekend mean that the something is really good.  This weekend is one of those.

Before you ask, I’m not going on tour.  I wish but I will be thinking about that and will mention it again later.  It isn’t that special but it is pretty dang special.  I have a whole weekend of plans!  Shocking, I know!  Friday afternoon, I’ll go out and get a drink with my team at work.  I have to admit that I feel very lucky to have such fabulous people to work with.  They definitely make the day-to-day grind of teaching so much easier to deal with.  Then, I will come home and sleep.  I hope to sleep lots.

This will ensure me that I have energy for Saturday evening in which a number of people are coming to my place for some Duran games and viewing.  All of them have previously come by at some point or another to celebrate that Duran fandom.  I’m looking forward to all of the above for a good time with little thought to the “real world” and what tasks await me.  Let’s be real.  If I can’t be actually on tour, this is the next best thing.  I can’t think of anything I like more than sitting around, watching, talking Duran with other Duranies.  Those nights remind me of why I’m a fan and how amazing they are.

Why so much going on in one weekend, you might wonder.  Simple.  I guess you could say that I’m celebrating being on planet earth (pun…totally intended) for another year.  Of course, when I think about what I wish a few things pop up in my head.  I might wish to know Duran’s complete schedule when it comes to the rest of this year and next.  It would really help Rhonda and I plan.  Heck, I would be happy just to know about this summer.  When might the band be arriving in California?  Where might they be staying?  I know…I’m not asking anything big, right?  Here’s another idea.  I might request a slight change in the setlist.  Planet Earth, anyone?  A little Careless Memories?  Perhaps, an additional song or two might fit, something like Late Bar.  Now, that I’m asking, I wouldn’t regret a proper meet and greet.  Would anyone?  Ha…a woman can dream, can’t she?

While I certainly wouldn’t reject any of those (I’m not crazy!), I would happily sacrifice any of those if it meant that democracy could be secured or world peace could be guaranteed.  Selfishly, I would trade any of those in to ensure that my parents would be healthy and strong now and for decades to come.  I would love for my friends and family to be healthy and happy, even if that means that I don’t get any of those mega gifts.  Really, when I look at my life and this year on the planet, the one thing I keep coming back to is that I was lucky to have it and hopefully, I get to enjoy another one(s)!

-A

 

I’ve Been a Fan For How Long???!?

Last Sunday, Duran Duran celebrated a little anniversary.  The Reflex  was released 33 years ago that day.  33?!  Rhonda often talks about how she cannot believe that this song or this album was released decades ago and I’m right there with her.  In this case, this anniversary represents my personal anniversary.  I mark it as the date that I became a fan, a Duranie.  33 years ago.  I work with teachers who are younger than that.

Anyway, why does this particular song represent my embrace of Duranie-ness?  Simple.  While I remember liking many of their songs and videos before this one, the Reflex pushed me over the edge into obsession.  I couldn’t get enough.  I had to watch each time that the video played.  In fact, whenever I saw the video I had to call my best friend at the time and vice versa.  At our sleepovers, we were glued to Friday Night Videos and MTV in hopes that it would air.  We saw it so often that we learned all the moves.  In fact, I think I have a picture of my friend doing one of Simon’s classic dance moves.

When I think back to my childhood and doing things like memorizing moves or rewinding videotapes in order to pause when John Taylor turns to the camera, I can’t help but sit shaking my head a bit.  It is not that I think we did anything wrong or that we demonstrated our fandom in an obnoxious way.  It is more like I wish I could go back in time to see how I experienced my fandom then.  I have memories of it and some of them are very vivid, including the ones I shared here.  Part of me wishes that I could go back to that time when that love for Duran was so new and so amazing.

I always think of new fandom as being like that  “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship when you can’t get enough and no wrong is done.  It feels perfect.  As an adult, I now see the imperfections of both the band, the fans and even myself.  That flawless image cannot remain, just like it never does in a relationship either.  No one is perfect and fandom is not either.

The other part of myself wants to give some insight to the young, almost 9 year old me.  I want to warn, almost, the younger version of me about how media and others will criticize Duran Duran.  They will attempt to be the thumbtacks to my fandom balloon.  Perhaps, I would explain how as time goes on, changes happen.  Bands evolve and experience change.  Some of it will sting a bit but that the heart of Duran Duran will continue to beat on for decades.  I would want to ensure my younger self that I’m not wrong for becoming a Duranie.  Some points I might make include about their staying power and about the fabulous songs they wrote and performed after the current Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.

Beyond the band, I might point out where fandom took me personally.  Maybe, I would talk about the states and countries I have visited just to see the band live or about all of the friends I have made as a result.  Then, if my younger self handled all of that, I might share the fact that I have written a daily blog with my best friend about being a Duran fan for years.  Many years.

What do I think my younger self would say to all of this?  I imagine that I wouldn’t be shocked that the band has been around for decades.  I might laugh and say something like, “Of course they will be around!  Duh!”  As far the concert going goes, my 9 year old self would have struggled with that more.  After all, at that point, I hadn’t attended a single concert.  I could imagine that I would have questions and a couple of exclamations!  “Do you dance like the audience did in the Reflex?  Do you sing along?  What is it like to breath the same air as them?  I probably would pass out if I was anywhere near them.  Is John as cute as he looks?”  Then, my older self could blow my younger self’s mind when I tell her/me about how I have pictures of the band, that I have spoken to them and seen them up close.

As far as the blog goes, my younger self definitely would have been confused by that idea.  After all, I would not know anything about the internet for another decade.  Overall, though, I think I would have been in awe.  Jealous.  I would have been excited to grow up and have the experiences I shared.  After this conversation, the adult me, the real me might have remembered the feeling of pure joy and innocence that exists in brand new fandom.  Then, I will think about the love that can and does grow over time.  It isn’t despite the imperfections but because of them.  Fandom isn’t perfect and either is the band.  What it is, though, is mine.  I don’t mean that in a possessive, I’m the only one sort of way.  Just that Duran is a part of me, part of my history and always will be. Maybe, someday, I’ll be writing about my 43rd or 53rd anniversary of being a Duranie.  That might be just as cool as talking to my younger self.

-A

Lost Souls Diamonds and Gold

One of my favorite scenes in Duran’s Sing Blue Silver documentary is when John Taylor is woken up to do an interview.  During that interview, he comments about how the tour (he is referring to the 1984 one) was “never an assured tour”.  I always took this to mean that the band didn’t really know how the tour was going to go.  Would the fans show up?  How would they react?  No matter how many times I see that scene, I find myself shaking my head.  How could they not know?  Of course, the fans would show up and love it!  Duh!

Yet, this past weekend, that quote floated through my brain quite often.  After all, I, too, felt that way before this past little mini-tour of ours at Agua Caliente.  I didn’t know how it was going to go, which was weird and felt very odd.  In the days leading up to going, I found myself struggling to get excited in the same way that I normally do.  Yes, I looked forward to it but it wasn’t the usual jumping out of my skin in excitement.  Was I losing my Duranie touch?  Looking back, I think it had more to do with me.

Life hasn’t felt very friendly lately.  I lost a lot of motivation for many things and to be honest, my friendship with Rhonda felt strained.  I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific but we were distant from each other due to lack of time, lack of effort, and lack of understanding.  I knew this going into the tour.  In fact, I told some people that I fully expected this to be my last one  This wouldn’t be because I wouldn’t have fun or because my love for Duran would end.  I just thought that maybe it had run its course or it would seem like too much effort.

As the weekend began, I told myself to have no expectations other than having fun.  The weekend didn’t have to be perfect (whatever that even means) to be great, I figured.  If you read or watched our blogs last weekend and beyond, you are well aware that the weekend definitely exceeded my expectations.  The shows were so much fun.  While, yes, I grumbled and complained about the lack of Planet Earth, I didn’t let that tick me off (too much).  I figured that it gave me permission to give them a hard time back, right???  I sang.  I danced.  I screamed.  It was glorious.  Yes, I wished that we had at least 18 songs and, yes, I wish that Sunrise or Careless Memories or Planet Earth was on the setlist.  Instead of complaining or wishing for something else, I appreciated the heck out of Only in Dreams and Is There Something I Should Know?.

Then, there was everything surrounding the shows.  I loved having drinks with friends, seeing people I only see at Duran functions and being reminded that everyone connected to Duran makes a community, a family of sorts.  I got to know people better and I got to meet people for the first time.  And, yes, I was reminded of why Rhonda and I tour so well together as we were the last ones standing on both nights.  Perhaps, there is also a lot less vodka in the resort after we had been there (along with our fellow vodka drinking friends!).

Of course, Rhonda and I had a chance to talk as well, which was much appreciated and needed.  I feel confident that the conversation reminded us both to be supportive of each other even if we don’t always understand the other’s choices.  Since then, things have felt very normal, which is so nice.  So much has not felt normal for me for a long time.  I have been focusing on fighting to keep the normal as I feared that many changes, significant and negative ones, would be coming down the pike.  While I don’t regret that and embrace that part of myself that must fight back, I must also remember what is part of my normal, what I am working to keep.  My normal means that Duran Duran and fandom plays a significant part.  It includes touring when and where I can.  Having fun is necessary to keep going during the less than fun times.

The weekend, the mini-tour, reminded me that I can wear more than one hat at a time.  In fact, it is required.  I remembered how much fun touring is and why my friendship with Rhonda matters as much as it does.  It gave me motivation to keep working on a dream, in one way, shape or form.  I don’t know that I can say that the weekend was perfect or the best tour, but it really was damn good.  Even better, it didn’t even end before I started to plan for the next one.  That is the ideal way to be, isn’t it?  Lost souls diamonds and gold, indeed.

-A

That’s why they’ve done it again. Presales again!

I realized at about 7:45 tonight that I hadn’t blogged for tomorrow, which is funny because tomorrow around 10am, this whole “tour planning” thing starts all over. Presales again.

I have a little story for you, my friends. It’s about the time I went to a show and before leaving the hotel on Sunday morning, I was already plotting for another tour.

Picture the end of a Duran show, the final chord from Rio hanging in the air, confetti still swirling it’s way to the floor of the stage. There’s that moment when you know in your head it’s over, but you take one last longing look at the stage and smile, because damn it – the band is good.

That was me on Saturday night. I had ZERO complaints about the show, other than it being over.  I turned, told Amanda that the vodka and empty barstools weren’t waiting, and made a run for the door (true story).  Typically, I hate that bittersweet feeling I get when my final show is over, because of course it’s a let down, and the night seems to drag on after that. I wasn’t about to let that happen this time, because as far as I knew, it was my last show for this year. I wanted to savor time with friends and, well – not think about tomorrow.

I hightailed it to the Waters Cafe bar in the hotel, and found our other friend who kindly saved us seats. It wasn’t long before most other fans I knew trickled in, and before I had even finished my first drink, a friend of ours (Amanda’s and mine) wandered over with an interesting bit of news.  Someone she knew had commented on one of her posts about a show. She even named a venue. In July?? WHAT?

All of us sat staring at one another. Was it possible? The band was coming back to California? Again?? SERIOUSLY? It was the kind of thing you had to just tuck away in the back of your mind for later and hope for the best.  As the night wore on, we heard this rumor swirling around some more, and the next morning I woke up to what seemed like a very alert Amanda.

“HOLY SHIT!” (Amanda has a mouth like a truck driver when not in front of her class, apparently.)

I sat up straight. I’m not gonna lie, it had been a long night, we had drank (and closed up) every bar in the hotel. I wasn’t ready for the morning ahead.  I didn’t know whether to start packing, or duck and cover.

“What?!?” I could feel my heart pounding. In my head.

“Those motherfuckers just announced more dates, Rhonda. What we heard last night was true!”  Amanda started reciting the information straight from the email. I could barely follow along and desperately needed caffeine. And Advil (Ibuprofen for those of you not from America. It is my friend.)

As always, I immediately began cursing and planning, almost simultaneously. Then, as is typical, the negative thoughts began swirling around. I had no money for a presale, much less a presale that was going to start in….48 HOURS??  Presales again?

This band. Let me count the ways in which they make me want to run screaming at times, and let’s not confuse this with the fan girling we discussed yesterday. Very, VERY different, indeed.

First off, why back in the US? Money. Of course it is money. And demand. And promoters and bookers. It is the business, and it is what drives the band. Yes, I’m aware they’ve played here a lot this year. I’m also aware that the rest of the world has had very little. I don’t work for Duran Duran, and I don’t know what to tell the rest of you. Don’t confuse my excitement with a lack of empathy for everyone else, though. It does seem thoroughly unfair, but this business is not fair.

Second, why summer? Why San Francisco and Oakland and Canada??  Who knooooooooooowwwwssss.  Surely not I.  But the presales again?

SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. GET IT TOGETHER.

DDHQ – I’m looking at you.  If there was one thing you all could do to improve the relationship with all of us – the fans – it would be to figure the touring thing out. I just don’t believe that it is necessary to push fans to the brink every single time a tour announcement is made. I just don’t. The worst part of it is, no matter how I feel about it, we’ll still buy the tickets. And that’s why you keep doing it. 48 hours is not a lot of time to figure out how, when and where.  Joyful and thankful as I really am to have more shows to attend, I’m also keenly aware of the stress this kind of thing adds to everyday life.

Our ride home on Sunday was spent figuring it all out. I also spent a little time digesting Saturday night, both before and after the show. A lot goes down in a weekend when you’re at Duran shows, you know?  Crazy stuff. (there’s that word again!)  I also needed to reconnect with Amanda. The weekend had gone by very fast, and to be painfully honest, the past year has been rather tough on our friendship. We needed more time, and now it looks like we’ll get some in July. We need it.

So now I’m home, and like many, I become a silent observer to the rest of the shows.  Well, not quite that silent, but I think you get the point.  We’ll do the presales again tomorrow (today as you read this) and then wait for July to arrive. In the meantime, real life takes over.

-R

 

…And We’ll Remember

Twelve years ago today I drove to Chicago to join my new Duranie friends for a weekend of fun and Duran Duran.  While I had met many of these new friends months prior in New Orleans, the weekend in 2005 was the first time I would attending a Duran show with any of them.  When those Astronaut tour dates were posted, we made plans quickly, including deciding to gather in Chicago to not only see the show, but to buy those more expensive VIP tickets.  I purchased those tickets for myself, Rhonda and another friend of ours.  In reality, I had no real idea if I could trust them to pay me back, but they did.  I had no clue if I could really hang out with them for an entire weekend or whether or not Rhonda and I would share a hotel room without a problem.  I took a leap of faith.

By 5 am on March 20th, 2005, I knew that it Rhonda and I were able to not only go to shows together but could travel “on tour” well together.  During that weekend, I laughed more than I had for an entire year, I swear.  I had so much fun that I wondered if it shouldn’t be illegal.  I almost questioned my grip on reality because it exceeded every expectation I had.  The joy I felt was pure and fulfilled me in a way that I wasn’t even aware that I lacked.  To say that the weekend changed my life would be an understatement.  Everything changed after that.

When I look back at the 12 years that have transpired between then and now, I almost cannot believe it and I certainly wouldn’t have believed it then.  Rhonda and I have shared so much.  We have traveled to the UK twice together.  We have seen shows ranging from Glasgow, Scotland, to Toronto, Canada, to New York City, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, to San Diego, California and more.  Beyond those shows, we started this blog here.  The Daily Duranie became way more than just a simple, little blog about Duran Duran.  It became about fandom and about us and about our fan community.  The blog has become a part of us and who are are, both as individuals and as a pair.  I think ending the blog would feel like cutting off an arm or at least a finger.  I would miss it.

Beyond the shows and the blogging, we also organized many fan meet-ups and a weekend long convention.  We have written two full manuscripts and have come up with many more ideas.  The love that we had and have for a band blossomed, bloomed into real action on our parts.  We have criticized widely for our approach, our questioning, our criticism.  We have also been praised by our dedication (or insanity).  We have been accused of being too negative by some and thanked for keeping the fandom going.

Rhonda and I met in New Orleans in September of 2004.  While that weekend included some amazingly fun activities as well as an acknowledgement that we were kindred spirits when it comes to Duran Duran, it didn’t create the domino affect like that the weekend in Chicago in March of 2005 did.  A convention is a one weekend off event.  It is not something that can be easily replicated.  Shows, though?  They happen more often.  Tours provide us the opportunity to relive that first weekend over and over, at least to some extent.  That first touring weekend started a snowball of fandom that has grown even as it has changed.  It solidified the beginnings of a friendship that has meant the world to me.

Now, on the anniversary of that date, I wonder what will come next.  Will the snowball of fandom continue to get bigger?  Will it stay the same in size while totally changing shape?  What about Rhonda and myself?  In many ways, our friendship has been tested a lot.  We have faced rejection, been ignored, the receivers of some insulting and hateful comments over the years.  Beyond that, we recognize that our “real” lives are often pulling us in opposite directions while we continue to work together and to be friends.  I don’t know exactly how we will navigate the next twelve years, I just know that I hope we can continue to do it together.  After all, we aren’t done with Duran Duran yet.

-A

Looking at the Reasons for Me to Head Back

If Duran Duran had a philosophy of life, I would say that it was to live in the moment.  All you need is now, right?  In interviews, they often claim not to look back at earlier times.  They are happy where they are, doing what they are doing at that moment.  During the All You Need Is Now era, I loved the idea of embracing the moment that I found myself in.  I felt like this would help me appreciate the good in life and be happier.  In theory, I believed I should follow this idea all of the time.

Now, in 2017, I cannot help to reject that way of life as much as I don’t want to.  Unfortunately, I can’t embrace the now.  I am unable, as things are tough and I’m not enjoying myself very much.  Thus, I’m longing for the past, for the fun I experienced.

Two weeks from today, I’ll be in California.  I’ll be with Rhonda and we will be anxiously awaiting the show in Rancho Mirage.  The shows there will take place on an anniversary.  Twelve years ago on March 17th, I began my very first Duran “tour”.  I had seen the band before but that weekend marked the first time I traveled to see the band and the first time I saw more than one show in a weekend with other Duranies.  A big part of me wishes that I could go back to March 17, 2005.  To say that I had fun that weekend would be an understatement.  It was so much fun that I keep going on tour in hopes to have a similar experience all over again!

Yet, I cannot go back.  There is no time machine and I have no superpowers.  It is 2017.  I cannot change that.  Yet, in two weeks, I will experience another tour, another chance to have serious fun.  When I think back to that 2005 tour, I think about all of the little traditions that began then.  We consumed a few adult beverages, got very little sleep, and couldn’t find the time to eat meals.  Memories, experiences and quotes were captured on paper after I took a take home menu from a restaurant.  If those little traditions weren’t enough, more were added with many tours after that.

In thinking about this upcoming tour, I could forget about the past and just live right now in 2017.  I could also decide to re-embrace those traditions.  I’m aware that my touring days are not going to last much longer.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if these shows aren’t some of my last.  Heck, they could be my last because you just never know.  I could go into these shows thinking about how sad it is that touring can’t last forever or that there might be other factors ending my “touring” life.  I don’t want that.  This little tour needs to be appreciated and loved, especially if it is one of the last tours ever for me.

My plan, then, is simple.  As I move closer to these shows, I’ll remind myself of all our little traditions to make sure that I follow them.  If these shows are some of my last, then, I’ll go out with a bang, even if it means looking back.

-A

The Wedding Album was released on this date in 1993!

My first thought as I sat down to write this blog was that I graduated from college in 1993.  Today, that feels like a million years ago. I don’t know quite what it is about those mid-90s for me, but the years and memories all blend together. Not quite a black hole, but not quite distinct vivid memories, either.  Unfortunately for me, that includes The Wedding Album.

Sure, I remember hearing “Ordinary World” on the radio.  Who wouldn’t?  It was the first time in many years that Duran Duran seemed to be on heavy rotation. I also remember blasting “Too Much Information” in my car as I would drive home from school.  So, I know I must have bought the CD at some point.  I can remember wondering why on earth they (the band) went with the album being self-titled again, because it seemed so confusing. As it was, I always called their first album, well…their first album, as opposed to Duran Duran by Duran Duran. Why not just give it a name?  Turns out, we did it for them anyway. Everyone I know calls it The Wedding Album. I even capitalize and italicize it as though that’s the way it’s meant to be!

Where was I?  Oh yes, very few memories of this album when it came out. It is true. I suppose in some way, my experience is indicative of where I was in my life at the time. I was months away from graduating from college. I was trying to find a job, dating my boyfriend (who eventually became my husband), commuting a ridiculous distance back and forth to school each day, and I guess I really wasn’t paying as much attention to Duran Duran as I once did…or would again in the future.

I can tell you a few things about my own feelings about that album from day one, though.  To begin with, I really liked “Ordinary World”. My husband even learned the guitar part well after we were married and moved back to California because he knew how much I loved it. However, my favorite song on the album, both then and now, is “Too Much Information”.  I also liked “Come Undone”…and for me, those were really the only songs that hit me off the album.  I played it all the time in my car, but I found myself hitting repeat on those songs and skipping much of the rest.  All I can say is that we all have our favorites.  I’m glad the album propelled Duran Duran onward, because they’re still with us today as result.

From what I’ve read over the years, I wasn’t the only fan that was consumed by real life during this period. I wish I had more memories. One thing I do remember – very vaguely – is going to see Duran Duran play at Irvine Meadows later that year. I went in August, and I sat…wait for it…on the LAWN.  My friend had bought tickets for the two of us to go see Duran Duran together as a graduation gift.  I was excited to see the band – I think it was only the second time I ever saw them, actually.  I knew we’d be way back from the stage but it didn’t matter much to me, at first. However, even back then going to shows wasn’t without some sort of drama.  My boyfriend was more than a little annoyed that he wasn’t invited, and so he went and got his own tickets – much closer to the front – and went with one of his friends. This, my friends, was the one and only time that Walt has ever had a better seat at a Duran show than I’ve had, and HE WILL NEVER LET ME FORGET IT.  Good times!

That’s probably why I barely remember the show or much from this era – I blocked it from memory.  😀

-R