Category Archives: personal stories

What is your most prized DD possession?

Sometimes, I have to borrow writing topics from “the experts”. Today is one of those days, as I try to untangle myself from the weekend and get moving. (Is anyone else struggling with the idea that Thanksgiving for the USA is next Thursday?!? How’d that happen???)

Over the weekend, and it might have even been yesterday – DDHQ asked fans for their most prized DD possession. I didn’t see many replies, but the few I caught were memorabilia like tour programs or signed CD’s.

When DDHQ sends out these questions, it takes me a few minutes of thinking before I settle on an answer worth tweeting. This time though, gut instinct took over and I tweeted right away. My answer wasn’t very exciting compared to those who tweeted signed photos or books or CD’s. My prized possession isn’t even my vinyl copy of Astronaut, signed by all five original members, although it’s a close second.

My most prized possession is the Encore CD set of the first time I saw all five original members onstage together in Costa Mesa, California in 2003.  I keep it hidden down deep in my sweater drawer and it is the one CD that isn’t already packed! I don’t really know why I’ve attached so much sentiment to one single thing. It isn’t signed, I rarely play it, and I didn’t even meet the band that night.  I suppose though, it has everything to do with why I’m a fan.

When I listen to the thunderous applause at the beginning of the concert, I know that I was one of those voices. We sat way back in the 16th row that night (“sat” is probably not the right word here. I jumped up and down. Shook like a tuning fork, even, but I didn’t really sit.), and I’ve never felt so much joy emanate through my body as I did that night. I couldn’t replicate the feeling if I tried, and I have. The memory of the concert that night still makes me smile and feel all tingly. I think it is that concert “high” that I still chase to this day.

Sure, the fact that all five were on that stage, playing together, is a wonderful memory. I am so grateful that I was able to be there and witness it. Andy was there, and I nearly came out of my skin when Roger stepped away from his set at the end of the show. I can remember seeing him walk to the front of the stage with his tongue hanging out of his mouth from exhaustion. I stared at John and Simon for most of the show, periodically pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming the whole thing. It was amazing and I could hardly believe I was there. Finally, after so many years! My heart still swells, just thinking about it.

There was something else that night though. I watched the audience before the band took the stage. People knew one another in the front. There was a lot of hugging, laughing, talking, and even some happy tears. I was so curious about all of that, because I knew no one aside from my husband, who was sitting next to me. It was an odd feeling. While I was overjoyed to be there like any Duranie might, I also felt just the slightest bit left out. I knew that whatever was going on with the people in the seats closest to the stage – I wanted to be a part of it.

There’s no question in my mind that my Encore CD from that show is  still my most prized DD possession. It is a memory from the show that changed everything for me. The friends I’ve made, the times I’ve had, and even the few encounters I’ve had with the band themselves – are in direct result from that show. I’m so grateful I was there.

There are plenty of moments from my Duranie life that I hold dear. I have fond memories of seeing Duran Duran (Nick, Simon and Warren) at the Anaheim House of Blues a couple of years prior. I felt that I’d left Duran Duran back in my childhood, only to have that “fan feeling” roar right back to life once again. That show in 2001 made me realize that I was still a Duran Duran fan, but it was the Costa Mesa show in 2003 that convinced me to participate in fandom. I wanted to meet people, make friends, and get involved.

Obviously, I took it a little farther than I’d planned. I’m funny that way.

-R

 

Fear Today, Forgot Tomorrow

One aspect of Duran Duran’s songs that I appreciate is how the meaning of their songs can mean different things to each individual person and can be interpreted in multiple ways even to the same person over time.  Even songs that seem obvious in terms of what they mean can be seen from different perspectives.  One song like that is Ordinary World.  We all know that the lyrics are about the loss of Simon’s friend, which means that the song can be easily applied to any situation of grief.  For me, personally, I have never listened to the song to deal with my own grief, but I have used the song to deal with what life has thrown at me.  For instance, I remember listening to the song when I had first moved to Madison.  I didn’t know anyone and was trying to figure out how this whole adulthood worked.  Needless to say, I needed to find my ordinary world.

Now, I find myself listening to the song in a new way.  If you are in the United States, I’m sure you know that Tuesday is Election Day.  While I have been working hard to ensure that candidates I support win, the reason for this is as much about the people themselves and my desire to find an ordinary world.  Since 2016 and even 2010, I feel like my ordinary world left me.  Here’s the deal.  The results of elections affect people.  They have consequences.  They did for me and they have for people I care about, including my students.  I feel like Simon in that the life that I recognized went away.  I am seeking a new less terrifying world, one in which people are not attacked for who they are, what they do for a living or how they want to find happiness and opportunity.

The thing about the song, Ordinary World, is that it seems to speak about a moment in which a life marker is placed, something to show something significant happened.  There is life before and life after.  That is how I feel about both 2010 and 2016.  The end of 2010 and 2011 was tough with family deaths and challenges at work and with work.  You know what got me through?  Duran Duran.  They helped me find as normal, as ordinary of a world as possible.  I had something to focus on that eased the pain, the grief.  Unfortunately, I did not have as much Duran related activities to distract, to help me get through since 2016.  Sometimes, I am thankful that I can just focus on my activism and what needs to be done.  After all, what happens in my community, state, country and world matters a lot to me and I refuse to be a spectator.  That said, having some fun helps give me the necessary breaks to keep going, to keep fighting.

Thankfully, I do have a few Duran related events that I can now look forward to.  I have a couple of shows in February and I suspect that Rhonda will be announcing that it looks like we will be able to plan for a mini-Durandemonium for February in Vegas.   Stay tuned for details.  All that said, I’ll be really excited if it feels like my ordinary world can return.  Tuesday will tell.  (If you live in the United States, please VOTE people.  I strongly believe that this is the most important election in my lifetime and your voice matters.)

-A

No Time for Worry

So maybe you have heard that Rhonda and I have shows coming up in 2019.  Yes, I admit that we are very fortunate.  I acknowledge the fact that there are many, many, many fans that are nowhere near as lucky.  I wish that every Duran fan had shows to look forward to.  In thinking about this, I’m going to take a minute or two here to simply be grateful that, at least right now, when it comes to Duran, I’m lucky.  Lately, I have been feeling like anything but in the rest of my life.  Life has been hard.  I have spent much of my energy just working my way back from holes of unhappiness just to “okay” status.  Happiness is not a word I use or have used for a long time.  Needless to say, I need some joy.

When the three shows (one in New Orleans and two in Vegas) were announced, I did not hesitate to pass that information on to Rhonda in an “official Duranie alert” capacity.  When the information popped up, I didn’t stop and think about any potential negatives.  For example, I wouldn’t say that we had a great time at the last show at the Chelsea in December of 2017 due to a giant standing in front of us blocking our view and a number of potential fights almost breaking out.  I chose not to even think about a repeat of that show.  Likewise, I didn’t stop and complain that these shows were once again in Vegas.  While I’m able to get there, I admit that it would be nice for me to not have to fly.  The Midwest, I hear, is lovely!  (Hint!)  Just sayin’.  I heard that some fans questioned whether or not the setlist and performance would be much different from the Paper Gods Tour.  Nope, that thought did not really enter my mind.  Why is that?  I suspect a lot of it is my need for joy but also just being grateful that I will get another show, another weekend with friends.

I have been thinking about how life was ten or even a few years ago.  I have to admit that I remember myself complaining about various things, including work, politics, parents, etc.  Looking back, I clearly didn’t realize how lucky I had it.  Sure, there are always things that can be improved, made better, fixed but I wish I understood then that things could also be a lot worse.  In hindsight, I don’t think I appreciated how good life was then.  Things felt easier.  No, they were not perfect but better than they are now as so many aspects of my life have just gotten tougher, harder, more challenging.

Funny enough, when thinking about Duran, I am willing to bet that I did the exact same thing.  When I look back to different eras like Astronaut and All You Need Is Now, I have a lot of fondness.  Some of the best memories and moments took place during those album cycles.  Yet, if you read this blog in 2011 and 2012 or even 2013, you probably didn’t see me being super grateful.  In all honesty, I suspect that there might have been some criticism.  While I still think that there can be room for improvement when it comes to Duranland, I no longer am or want to be the person that picks out all of the band’s flaws.  No, they are not perfect.  Yes, they could grow in multiple ways.  But I have a choice.  Do I want to just complain or enjoy what I have?

Sure, I could vent some frustration over Ticketmaster because it truly does suck or spew continued annoyance by the lack of setlist changes.  Those would be valid criticisms.  Yet, I have so many other things to worry about than every little crappy aspect of being a fan of this band.  Instead, I would rather embrace the joy, the fun, the friendship, the escape that Duran shows and tours brings.  So, you won’t hear me complain about the setlist or the venue in February.  No, I’m just going to be dang happy to be there.

-A

As the Planet Turns Into the Light

I had a good day yesterday.

Before I dive into that statement, I want to acknowledge that I am lucky to live in the US. While I know why the band plays here, I can’t help but feel badly for the rest of the fans throughout the world. One can reasonably understand why things are the way they are, and still not like it. I am very lucky to live here, and I’m very sorry that business for the band is such that economically – they play here because they need to.  I wish it were different.

The crazy thing is, the real joy I felt yesterday wasn’t from scoring tickets to a show. Quite honestly, I didn’t get anything myself from the pre-sale but an empty basket. Over and over and over again! However, it is true that my friend Lori is a guru when it comes to getting tickets on Ticketmaster (and before her, it was Suzie that came to the rescue for last year’s show), and without them I’d be scrolling Stub Hub or even the reseller’s marketplace on Ticketmaster.  It definitely wasn’t the ticket buying that made me smile yesterday.

I actually spoke to Amanda for the first time since July! What was so strange, yet comforting, was that we dove back in without really even skipping a beat. It was as if no time had passed. We talked about the band. We talked about a possible meet-up/welcome party/mini-convention for the weekend. We talked about politics (we are more alike than different), we even talked about sexual assault and feminism. I think what made me smile most yesterday was how normal everything felt, particularly after nearly a year of life feeling everything but. I am lucky to have a friend like her.

We planned. We talked about what we’d like to do that weekend. Yesterday, we focused on something other than campaigning and moving. For me, that was glorious. It’s weird, because for the past eleven months, I haven’t thought too much about Duran Duran. Yes, I write the blog on the days I need to write it, but once I’m done composing a post, I really have to move on with my day. I’ve had to focus on my family’s needs and put my hobbies aside. Secretly, I’ve wondered if I was just over Duran Duran.

That’s the silver lining of hiatus, or quiet times when it comes to this band. For two straight years (if not more), I think both Amanda and I felt like we were “all in”. We lived, ate, and slept Duran Duran! Once the tour ended (and I mean the real tour – not these one-off, two off dates), we went back to our regular lives. We picked up on other things. Maybe that’s our idea of balance. I don’t know. We don’t even work for Duran Duran, yet sometimes I really wonder if it’s not some strange sort of indentured servitude going on here!

I think I’d forgotten the joy I get from just being a fan and doing my thing. Sure, we can talk about how the set list never seems to change these days, or take up bets on whether the set and costuming will remain. There are real discussions to be had about Ticketmaster, and ticketing in general, and how it ruins the experience for fans. I’m not sorry I’m going to see Duran Duran in Las Vegas though.

I’m excited to see my friends. It will be great to be with my people again, strolling around with our to-go cups and lids. Again, I feel so lucky to count these women within my small circle friends. I am eager to be in the audience for the gigs. My adrenaline will kick in, and I’m hoping the memory of my past year will be put to rest. I can’t wait to see Simon, John, Roger, Nick, Anna, and of course Dom. I’ve missed them. We’re definitely doing parties of some kind at the Hard Rock. Watch this space for details. If you’re not already coming for the shows, maybe a mini-Duranie convention will entice you to make the trip.

Yesterday was the most joyful I’ve been since last December. It hasn’t been an easy year, but I have real hope that things are beginning to look up.

-R

 

Fandom to Friendship

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time.  Instead of my usual grading and campaigning in between household chores weekend, I’ll be heading to Chicago after work to spend time with a group of women.  These women have been friends of mine for almost 20 years.  During this weekend, like most of our time together, I suspect that we will spend a lot of time just lounging in front a TV, watching something completely ridiculous while snacking and chatting.  Maybe we will go out to eat but we might not want to move from the living room.  Sure, I might bring some grading with me but it still will be relaxing as heck.  I’m hoping that it renews me a bit as I finish the first month of work and start moving into the last month of election season.

Where did I meet these people?  Funny enough, we met on a message board (fan forum) over a little TV show, Roswell.  When we first started getting together, we watched a lot of episodes or other Roswell related material.  We talked about all things Roswell fan community related.  Needless to say, we had such amazingly fun times that the show Roswell will always have a special place in my heart.  Yet, time has passed and we have moved on from the show since it was canceled in 2002.  (Although, the show is being rebooted in the spring of 2019!).

I remembered being worried in 2002 about how this little friendship group would be after the show ended.  How long could we continue to be focused on Roswell?  How many times could we rewatch the episodes?  I feared that once the show and everything connected with it got old and tiresome, we would stop getting together.  Maybe,  our friendship would slowly fade.  I worried about this because I have seen it and felt it from other friends both before and since.  When I was a kid, my best friend was just as into Duran as I was.  Then, she moved away and soon said goodbye to being a Duranie, too.  This marked the beginning of the end of our friendship.  We never had a falling out and never got angry with each other, but we lost this very important connection.  As an adult, I have experienced something similar with people who were once part of the Duran fan community and who are not now.  Our friendships hang by a thread.

For those friendships, I guess there was not much of a foundation outside of fandom.  On the other hand, the friendship between this group of women goes beyond fandom.  It may have brought us together, initially, but our love for each other has kept us friends long after our fan connection has died.  When I think about fandom, that is really what I hope is true for all the friendships I have made.  I wouldn’t want Duran to be the only thing that keeps me friends with people.  I hope our connections run deeper.

-A

Lessons Learned: 8 Years of (In)Sanity

Yesterday, this blog turned eight!  While some might not think that is a big deal but it is huge to Rhonda and myself.  When I think back to when we started this, I figured that we might write for a year, maybe two, if we were really committed.  Honestly, I believed that it would help us in our writing projects.  It might shed light on Duranies or even Duran Duran, I assumed.  While it has done that at times, to me, the lessons I have learned have been so much more and different than that.  So on this anniversary or birthday or whatever you want to call it, I want to share a few of those lessons.  They are in no particular order.

The Power of Commitment:

Sometimes, when Rhonda and I go on tour, we have uttered the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  When we say that, it to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t necessarily party so hard in a few hour causing us to crash before the night has really even gotten started.  We don’t need to do everything in one night, if we have multiple shows.  I feel like I have learned that lesson in the rest of my life, too.

I have always known that there is power in commitment.  Experience matters.  When I first became a teacher, I watched veteran teachers to see how they dealt with every issue that teachers confront.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much I learned from that.  Now, I’m that veteran teacher.  My practice has improved over time, not just from watching those experienced staff members but also from doing it myself.  You know what else matters?  It is important to know that I’m in it for the long haul.  Teaching isn’t just a temporary gig.  I knew that I had to get better because it was going to be who and what I was for decades.

I could repeat a similar story for political organizing.  Initially, it was one campaign.  Soon enough, it became two then three.  Now, I get it.  It is part of my life and who I am.  I got better at it, too.  I had no choice.  I feel like the same is true for this blog.  In the beginning I didn’t think too much about how my blogs were.  Even once I realized that some people read them, I didn’t consciously think about how to improve my blogs.  Yet, I think it has happened through both doing it but also through commitment.  Because I know that this is part of my life, I want to be able to be proud of it.  Guess what?  I am proud.  Not only am I proud of the blogs themselves, I’m extremely proud of our commitment.  Both of us could have thrown in the towel a ton of times but we didn’t.  We stuck to it.  We stayed for the long haul.

Keeps Me Connected:

As I have said before, this hasn’t been the easiest year for me.  I won’t lie that there have been times that I thought maybe it was time for me to walk away from this.  It was never because I didn’t like it or my love for Duran has faded.  I just wondered if my attention shouldn’t be elsewhere.  Yet, I know how it would go.  At first, it might be fine.  I would focus on other things.  Over time, though, I would miss it.  Whenever I have suppressed one big aspect of my life, it always comes back to bite me.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to have to choose between the different hats I wear.  I can be a fan and an activist.  I can be a blogger and educator.

What would I miss?  Not only would I miss the writing.  I would miss the connection.  This blog has connected us with other fans.  I have met so many people as a result of writing this blog, hosting meet-ups and organizing the convention in 2013.  I’m grateful for everyone I have met.  Not only have I learned from each and every person but many of you have brought fun and joy into my life.  You all have reminded me that fandom is about connection.  It starts out with a love of whatever.  In our case, it is the love of Duran Duran.  The fandom part comes when we reach out to each other.  This blog has made that a lot easier for me.  I cannot say that I’m great in meeting people.  Often, I think I give off the wrong vibes or something.  Yet, this blog and everything that has come as a result pushes me to be better, to be more approachable with other people.

Now, this blog keeps me connected not just to the fans I might meet, the ones that I have met, but also with Rhonda and Duran Duran.  This blog is not mine, not Rhonda’s but ours.  It is still that way.  It doesn’t matter how often we talk, this blog is our shared space.  It is a “place” that we both call home.  It is where we are open about our love for Duran and touring.  Beyond that, it is also where we have shared stories about fandom but also about our real lives.  I often joke that it has become our journals.  This blog lets us process through our ideas about fandom as well as general life stuff.  Not only does it let you all know what is going on with us, but often it lets me know what is going with her and vice versa.  It forces us to stay connected and I am grateful for that.  (I wonder if any band member has thought something similar about Duran Duran, that the band has kept the individual members connected.)

This little blog also keeps me thinking about Duran Duran.  When we first started, Duran Duran was at the top of my thoughts when writing this blog.  I couldn’t really imagine writing about my personal life or even subtle aspects of fandom.  No, I wanted to write about just Duran Duran, the band, the history, the music.  Now, it isn’t that they aren’t important as they are truly essential.  They are the reason we started and the reason we keep going.  However, they are much like the other commitments in my life.  Being a Duranie is who I am.  I have been that for so long and in this public way for 8 years now.  That part of my identity and the love that it stems from is so interwoven in my life that I don’t need to shout about it in the same way to prove that.  I know how much Duran matters to me.  It is like breathing.  I don’t need to think about it to love them.  I just do it.

Overall, this blog has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on September 13th, 2010, when we entered into this adventure.  I am thankful that we started this and thrilled that we keep going.  More importantly, I appreciate that Rhonda is still here on this journey with me and am forever grateful to people who have read the blog once as well as to those who read each and every day.  You all keep me going.  Thank you.

-A

Signals in Smoke: Comparing DD History and Fan Support

Do you ever wonder if you are the only one to do something?  Sometimes, I think I’m way weird.  Am I the only one who thinks about the band’s history when pondering one’s life?  For example, when I have been a part of a winning campaign and feel like I’m on top of the world, my thoughts immediately turn to Duran’s history.  Is this what it felt like to play Madison Square Garden in 1984, I ask.  Am I the only one???  Maybe this is a sign that I have read too many histories of the band or watched too many documentaries that the band’s story is permanently etched into my brain.  Perhaps, it is the historian in me combined with my Duranieness.  Who knows?

So which part of Duran’s history have I been thinking about?  1986 is the year that I have been thinking about.  It was the time in which Roger and Andy left.  The band was in a transition period coming back from side projects and attempting to regain popularity and media attention.  They tried hard to get back to where they were in 1984 despite the changes.  Eventually, it seems to me that the band members had to find a new normal.  They had to accept that their careers might be very different from here on out.  (Some might argue that they haven’t really accepted that as they continue to push for commercial success that they once had.)  In thinking about this, I try to imagine what they must have felt like.  Was this change so huge that it was heartbreaking to them?  Was it frustrating?  Was there an underlying anxiety?  How did they know which aspects of the new Duran Duran to accept and which ones should they fight to maintain?  How did that acceptance come about?

I ask all these questions in the hopes of shedding light to my current situation.  I, too, feel like I’m in a transition despite having the same career (just like the band did).  There are parts of my life that are pretty significantly different than what they were two years ago.  In thinking about some of those changes, I’m left feeling lonely and a little heartbroken.  My natural tendency is to embrace whatever dark emotion I have and even wallow in it.  I’m trying hard not to do that.  Maybe the band members felt that way in 1986, too.  It is possible that they wanted to live in anger towards their former colleagues or the media or the fickle fans.  Yet, it seems to me that they did what I’m trying to do, which is to hold on to the elements that are at the core while accepting the new aspects to the best of their ability.

When I think of Duran in 1986, I don’t see people who were depressed or frustrated with many people and institutions.  Maybe they did and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t show it.  I can relate to that.  I suspect that I hide my feelings well or shield people from seeing the extent to my emotions.  The other theory is that even if people see that I’m not doing super well, I also seem unapproachable.  Yet, every once in awhile, someone pushes through, sees that things haven’t been great for me and reaches out.

I experienced this very thing this week when I arrived home to find a unexpected package in my mailbox.  What was in the package?  It was from Durandy who said that he heard that things have been rough for me so he wanted to send a little joy to me.  What did he send?  He sent a copy of his book, The Music Between Us:  Concert Ads of Duran Duran.  I cannot begin to express how much this touched me.  On top of being thrilled to have a copy of this book, it means the world to me to know that someone cares.  Of course, the gift in one that I look forward to really looking at.  I have already gone page by page once and cannot wait to really analyze each and every ad and story.  It is a gift that will keep on giving.

So, I guess, just this once, my signals in smoke were seen and received.  It definitely makes me feel a little stronger, a little more supported as I move through whatever weird transition period this is.  It also reminds me of the best of fandom, which is how fans can and do support one another.  That is another gift I will treasure.

-A

Whatever I’ve Done to Receive

Over the course of the almost eight years or so that Rhonda and I have been writing this blog, we have written many times about the positives of fandom.  I think back to all of the blog posts I have written that focused on the pure joy I have received at various Duran shows or at other fandom events.  It is common for me to point out that my favorite memories and best days of my life include those days when my entire being is surrounded by fandom.  I might describe an amazing moment like hearing the first few notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, England, and realizing that this is really happening.  Perhaps, I would describe the ridiculously fun times when I have found myself on a stage at a Howl at the Moon singing Rio with my fellow fans.  It is even the little moments like exchanging messages with your blogging partner while watching a brand Duran Duran special online.  Yet, this week, I am reminded of why this all matters when you boil it down.

My parents have been visiting my sister in North Carolina for the last couple of weeks.  My dad did not seem himself on the morning of their flight there but he has some significant health issues.  No one thought that much about how he was acting.  Unfortunately, throughout their visit, he had not shown any improvement.  Finally, after consulting his doctor, they took him to the hospital where he is has been receiving treatment for pneumonia.  Thankfully, he has been improving with the goal of him being discharged later today and returning home early next week.  I cannot say that this week was the easiest for me as I worried about him greatly while needing to get myself ready for the upcoming school year.

After all, my parents are my rock.  They are my go to people.  When something goes wrong or I’m experiencing frustration, I look to them.  When I was a kid, I might have sought them out for their advice or words of wisdom.  Now, it is more of a situation of having them be my sounding board.  There is no judgement with them and they understand where I am coming from.  Truly, I have always felt incredibly fortunate to have this type of relationship with them.  So many friends of mine have very complex relationships with their parents that includes both love but also utter frustration.  I have none of that.  Now, though, as they age and struggle more with their health, I am facing a new problem.  What do you do when your go to people are the people you now need to process about?  Who do you seek out especially when you are terribly in asking but often needing the support?  I don’t have a good answer to that other than I’m working on it.

In order to seek some emotional support, I decided to post about it on my social media.  I figured a lot of people especially on my Facebook would respond.  After all, like everyone else, I have cousins and other family who are my “friends” on that platform.  A lot of my high school friends got to know my parents quite well so I knew that they would reach out.  Current colleagues might also feel some sort of obligation to offer their kind thoughts and any assistance with work that I might need.  The one group that I didn’t really consider was the group that I would define as “Duranies”.  A number of people whom I have met and gotten to know because of being a fan of Duran Duran reached out.  Many of them just offered positive thoughts but a few went farther than that.  Six years ago, around this time, I, too, was in North Carolina.  Rhonda and I toured the southeast part of the country, which included a show in Durham.  This tour gave us the chance to meet fellow fans from that area.  Well, a number of those North Carolina or nearby fans offered to provide more than just emotional support.  They volunteered to go to my family there, if they needed something.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

Fandom has definitely brought me fun.  It has given me hours, days and even weeks of escape.  I love that about fandom.  Yet, I’m most grateful for are the people who have come into my life through my fandom.  Some fans remain casual acquaintances but some speak directly to my heart by being willing to help those people that mean the most to me.  At the end of the day, so to speak, this is what I will be most grateful for.  I cannot begin to appreciate the friends I have made enough through the Duran Duran fandom.

-A

Running Against the Tide

On this date in 2012, Rhonda and I saw Duran Duran play in Biloxi, Mississippi.  This was the first of our little mini-tour around the southeast to finish up the All You Need Is Now album cycle, at least for us.  That little tour meant that the next time we would see the band play at all would be almost three years later in April 2015.  It began a weird sort of desperation.  The cause was obvious.  The AYNIN album and tour marked the best time we had (I think) as fans up until that point.  We attended a bunch of shows, managed to see the band play in the UK and began holding meet ups before shows.  Truly, we didn’t want the party to end.

Despite all that, if you look back at my posts from that time, they were not all happiness and light.  I questioned if I needed some sort of break from fandom.  As much as I loved it all, I wondered if it was creating some weird sort of pressure.  I’m sure that part of it was also because not everyone loved what we were doing and saying.  Yet, instead of walking away, we dove in more by planning a convention.  Interestingly enough, six years later, I’m finding myself in a similar emotional space.  Looking back, I knew that I felt a lot of angst but I didn’t really know why.  I assumed it was fandom, but I don’t think it was.  The summer of 2012 included an upsetting political loss while preparing for another campaign.  It also meant changing teaching positions.  I think I felt like the ground below me was unsettled.  I reacted to that by first trying to finding something to blame, which I stupidly thought might have been fandom.  Then, instead of running away, I increased my commitment.

Now, I also feel like my foundation has been shaken.  Last school year was tough and there are changes there that make me less than excited for the upcoming year.  Politically, I have faced some big losses while trying to gear up to the next one.  On top of that, there is more stress surrounding my aging parents and feel like I have less support to assist with it all.  Again, my desire is to seek security like I did in 2012.  The only aspect of my life that I questioned then was fandom.  Even when I wondered if fandom was making me happy, I remember just wanting people to reassure me that fandom could and would continue to bring joy.  I wanted people to want me to continue writing this blog, planning events, etc.

Did I handle my feelings in the right way then?  No clue.  Should I have questioned other areas of my life?  Maybe.  Probably.  I often wonder if I stay too long, that I stay when I should not.  I think about the fact that six years ago I changed positions at work.  I should have done it years before that.  I’m not good at timing.  This leads me to wonder if changes need to be made now.  Should I continue to double down on my path in life with teaching, campaigning and doing fandom?  I don’t know that I have any answers, just more questions.

All that said, now that I have poured all of this out on this blog post (most of you are probably thinking that I have over shared or wished that I hadn’t opened my big, fat mouth at all), I do realize one thing.  Duran tours and other happenings have been mile markers in my journey of life.  That tour in 2012 was more than just 4 shows.  It made me recognize that things in my life weren’t as awesome as I wanted.  It made me question things.  I appreciate that even if my recognition did not lead to some amazing changes in my life.  It reminds me that Duran’s history has helped to form my history, even if I couldn’t see it when it was happening.  It makes me wonder what will Duran do next that will form the backdrop to my own life.

-A

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A