Category Archives: personal stories

A Corporate Retreat? Sign me up!

Do you ever get the feeling that you are working for the wrong company?  I sure do, particularly when I see that the band is in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, to be more precise), which is about an hour and a half from me, and they are doing a corporate show for the WME/IMG company retreat!

First of all, my “company” doesn’t even do retreats. I work for a charter school, and we teach…and wrangle children. (that’s my job!)The best thing we do to team build is have meetings, which quite frankly—I enjoy—because it’s the only time we have to actually talk to one another without risk of a small child coming in to ask for a band-aid or to call mom.  It is never a dull moment, but I love it. I’m also completely exhausted at the end of the day. But, back to those retreats that I’m missing out on and that band we all love…

I noticed on Monday…or Tuesday (the days run together for me anymore), that Anna Ross had posted a photo from a morning hike in Palm Springs. I really didn’t give it much thought, figuring it was from another visit. I mean, how could they possibly be in Palm Springs? Or maybe she was here on her own. I had no idea. Until Dom posted something similar.

I remember seeing the tweet, and thinking –  they are here. (Who am I kidding? I really thought, HE IS HERE. Don’t tell anybody.) In my state. 90 minutes from me. What. The.  (well, I’ll let you think the rest from there.) 

Granted, I could have gotten into my car and driven out there. I know this. YOU know this. But I’ll bet you also know I didn’t. I couldn’t. No way. First of all, my days are pretty wrapped up anymore. Either I’m teaching at home, or I’m at school. If I’m at school, I have no time to think about anything else for the entire eight hours I’m there. I rush from the second I arrive – usually being bombarded by children from the moment I shut the car door before I even hit the door to the building, until the moment I close the car door to leave. Sometimes even then I get a phone call on the way home.  When I get home, I crash. Hard.  It’s a problem.

Even so, I could have gone out there. What stopped me was the though of how ridiculous I would have looked. (Oh, and yes – my children. And husband! But never mind them…) Yes, I had a reasonable idea of where they were, but stalking isn’t a hobby of mine. I’m terrible at being a fan in that respect, because the last thing I want to do is annoy any of them. I don’t approach (been there, wrote that email, crashed and burned spectacularly…thank you very much), and as a result, I’m the last person who is ever going to “meet” them after a show, or anywhere else for that matter, unless we’re introduced….or unless Simon comes on over for another toast at a bar. When I sit back and think about how long Amanda and I have been blogging and yet we’re STILL saying we don’t really know them, well – it’s laughable (and believe me, we do laugh).  Even so, I was tempted, I’ll admit. Of course I wanted to see them, but on the same token, I didn’t want to look like a fool, which I would have. For sure.

So instead, I tried to enjoy the torture of knowing that they were so nearby, and that they were also very close to where I’ll be seeing them in a couple of months.  Anticipation can be fun. Sort of.

Honestly, seeing the tweets from Dom and Anna – and there were only a few – was nice. It was a treat to have them share where they were, knowing that fans (at least not many) weren’t really a part of what they were doing out there this time. And today they’re headed back home, presumably until they begin the sweep of shows they have planned for spring.

Me? Oh, I’m very much looking forward to a weekend in Rancho Mirage come March, and not just because of the band! You see, for Amanda and I—it’s going to be our own Daily Duranie weekend retreat! I am looking forward to some hopefully sunny weather, a little peace and quiet by the pool, and some quality time with some friends I rarely see. It will all be happening. Soonish.

-R

The Present Will Never Last

This morning, I am traveling to the Washington D.C. area with my friend to celebrate New Year’s.  Of course, this won’t be a common celebration but one filled with some live music by a certain band that we know and love.  Yes, this New Year’s celebration will include a couple Duran shows.

When these shows were announced, I didn’t hesitate to make plans to go.  I never have New Year’s plans and this holiday includes time away from work.  If that wasn’t enough, I also had airline miles.  It seemed like a no brainer.  Yet, as the days passed by and become weeks then months, I began to wonder if I made the right decision.  I could use the money for other things.  The mountain of grading would not get done on its own.  My feelings of despair hadn’t let up much since November.  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling it much and put off real planning.  Yes, I had a plane ticket, a hotel room, but I hadn’t prepared the binder or figure out any real details.  I kept putting it off.

Then, on Christmas day, I heard about George Michael’s death.  Like so many others of my generation, I grew up listening to George Michael and Wham.  I sang his songs and watched his videos.  Hearing about his loss was like losing a part of my childhood.  Then, when you place his loss alongside the others who died during this year, the grief is almost overwhelming.  When I just think about the musicians lost this year, I am deeply saddened by those whom I will never have the opportunity to see live in concert or hear new music from again.  I was lucky in that I saw David Bowie live once.  I wish I could have said the same for Prince and George Michael.

Suddenly, I realized that I need to get it together.  I have the opportunity to go and see Duran Duran on New Year’s Eve.  I shouldn’t ignore any and all chances to see bands/artists I like.  I certainly should APPRECIATE every single chance I have to see Duran Duran.  If anything that 2016 has taught us, it is not to waste chances and moments to do what you love or to be where you are happiest.  After all, you never know when we won’t have the chance to do it again, for whatever the reason.

Now that I have rearranged my perspective, how can I not be excited and appreciative for this chance?  How can I not look forward to spending New Year’s not only with Duran Duran but also countless Duranies!  While I will miss my best friend being with me and I acknowledge that life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, I need to focus on what I do have.  I will have two Duran shows and I know that there is no place I would rather be.  Duranie friends will be all around me.  Life isn’t perfect but this trip will be pretty close.

So, as you are all reading this, I should be on my way.  Hopefully, my flight will be uneventful and then I will be able to enjoy a city that I have had the good fortune of spending some time over the last 6 years or so.  Then, I will be ready to party and put an end of a year that was filled with sorrow and disappointment.  With everlasting hope, I, along with thousands of Duran fans, will welcome 2017 doing what we love–singing, dancing, screaming and clapping for a band and music we love so much.

-A

To Lighten Up Your Mood

Do you listen to music to match your mood or to change it?  For example, do you find yourself picking upbeat, dance music to get you moving in the morning or to join you on a workout?  Or is it a situation in which you are angry so you pick a song to scream out your frustrations?  If I was asked this question, I would definitely state that I’m more of a find a song to match my mood kind of person.  Perhaps, this is one of many reasons that I like Duran so much.  I appreciate that they have songs to match every mood.  There are a lot of artists out there with catalogs that all sound the same, in terms of tempo, feeling, etc.  Duran isn’t like that.

It may come as no surprise to anyone reading this who knows me that I have not been feeling particularly upbeat, happy, joyful lately.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that my mood swings from anger and frustration to deep sadness.  Underlying all of that is a strong, unbreakable feeling of anxiety, worry, fear.  I have not even been playing a lot of music in the last month as everything I might choose seemed off the mark.  Again, the goal I have is to match the music with my mood and no songs in my library includes all of those emotions.  I find songs that express the anger but not the sadness or vice versa.  Forget about finding music that really expresses the fear I have.  Because I do love music, I have not given up as I attempt to find the right songs or the right combination of songs to match my moods.

The other morning, I attempted once again to find just the right song while I got ready for work.  I decided to go for shuffle and hope for the best.  Duran’s Paper Gods came on.  Instead of skipping it, thinking it wouldn’t match my feeling, I opted to turn it up.  Soon enough, I found myself singing along.  I noticed that my brain stopped thinking as I let the music wash over me.  I remembered the joy of seeing the band on stage during this past summer.  Then, the next song that came on was a remix of Wild Boys.  I continued to listen and sing along.  I wanted to keep listening but I had to leave for work.  As I locked my house and moved down to the garage to drive to work, I realized that my negative outlook returned but that for a few minutes, while listening to Duran, the cloud lifted.  The songs did not change my mood but offered some relief.

As I drove to work, I allowed my thoughts to turn to the upcoming shows in Washington, DC at the end of the month.  I understood in a new, more concrete  way that I needed these shows.  Now, when I say “need”, I recognize that I won’t die without them.  Duran shows do not equal food, water, shelter or other essentials.  Of course not.  Yet, having the chance to experience some real joy will not only give me a reprieve from the harsh reality of life right now, which is more than welcome, but will also help me get a boost that I need to keep fighting the good fight.

Music is powerful.  It can say what we can’t say ourselves otherwise. It can also sway your mood or provide you with the necessary escape.  More than that, music brings joy which all humans benefit from, but especially when life is throwing a lot of challenges your way.  This week, I was reminded of the power of music.  Add on the fact that Duran’s music also has music for every emotion and the power intensifies.  Right now, at this moment, I am thankful for Duran and their music and really looking forward to those shows.

-A

Its a New Religion: Rio and the Self-Titled Debut

I’ve noticed that Amanda has been telling her own stories regarding each album lately, and so I’ve decided to join in.  Perhaps you’ll decide to share your own – and we certainly encourage that!

I’m going to start with the first album…and actually Rio… since that seems to be the best place to begin! This is going to require some memory on my part.  I cannot guarantee I’m going to get the chain of events completely accurate, but it is how I remember it!

As I’ve mentioned previously, the very first time I heard Duran Duran was on KROQ. What you don’t know, is that I stumbled onto the station by accident, really. I’d overheard girls—popular girls— talking about KROQ at school. I had no idea what it was, or why the station was cool, but I was desperate to fit in. If I remember right, I’d heard the call letters way before I knew what the number was. I never actually asked anyone at school because I was too shy to bother. It was just one of those things I kept in the back of my mind, and once I finally saw where the station was located, I ran home to find it.

I remember trying to find 106.7 on the radio dial. Back then, as I’m sure many will remember – the dials were touchy. I didn’t have a digital display telling me what station it was on, I had to go by this orange little hand that would move as I turned the dial on my radio, and it wasn’t completely accurate. So I’d fidget with it, get it to tune in, and then wait to see if I had the right station.  Finally I must have gotten it, because Rodney on the ROQ was on, and he was introducing this band that he swore we’d hear more from.  The band was Duran Duran and the song was Planet Earth.

I liked the song immediately, but at the time I was far more astounded that I was actually listening to the right station, the one everyone else – or at least everyone who I thought mattered – was talking about. I went back to school and reported it to my group of misfit friends. One of the girls in this group knew all about KROQ and Duran Duran. This is where my memory gets wonky, because I can’t remember how long it was between that time and when they really became popular. In my head it wasn’t that long, but I’m not sure.

What I can tell you though is that I didn’t buy a Duran Duran record right away. Instead, I heard them a lot on the radio – but it wasn’t the first album I was hearing. It was Rio, and it hit BIG here. By then, it wasn’t just KROQ playing them – it was every station. I want to say that Marsha – the girl in the group that had already known who Duran Duran was – invited me to go with her to buy their album at the record store.  This was a major thing for me because I didn’t really own much in the way of music beyond KTEL records: a few Shaun Cassidy albums and a copy of Rick Springfield’s Working Class Dog.

We got to the store (Wherehouse records!), and I remember looking at the Duran Duran albums…but here is where my memory fades again. You see, my very first DD album wasn’t their self-titled one. It was Rio. I bought Rio first, only to find out later that there was an earlier album. (which I then bought, of course!) I can’t remember if the first album was there on the shelf with Rio and I just didn’t know what it was (obviously when I’d heard Planet Earth I didn’t know what album that was from or much else about the band). One might wonder why I wouldn’t have bought both if I saw them, and I can only guess:

  1. I must have only seen Rio?
  2. I only had money for one album and had to choose?
  3. (and this is the one I’m leaning towards because of my memory) The stores only HAD Rio at the time because that was the album that was huge on the radio, and it was later that we got the self-titled one with Is There Something I Should Know on it rather than To The Shore)

I know that it wasn’t long after I’d bought Rio that I then either bought the first one or it was given to me for a holiday or birthday or something. I also remember seeing Carnival in the stores around this same time, but…in my frugal thinking back then…I couldn’t understand buying an album that I already had all the songs from. Yes, I’ve spent time kicking myself (at least up until I actually bought Carnival myself).

At first, I can tell you that I liked Rio far more than I did the first album. To me, the first album was “weird”.  I liked some of the songs on it – like Planet Earth and ITSISK, but I wasn’t a big fan of GOF. What’s more, later on I discovered that one of my KTEL records had GOF on it. It was actually a song on the B side that I tended to skip!!  (Ha, that’s a true confession!)  Clearly, in the years since that initial purchase I’ve changed my mind! But yes, it was probably Rio (and HLTW if I’m being honest) that made me fall for Duran Duran.

My favorite song on Rio was New Religion, although Rio ran a close second along with yes, HLTW.  When I went back and got the self-titled album, I can remember being incredulous that it came out before Rio because it wasn’t until after Rio came out that we heard ITSISK. I just wasn’t aware of the chain of events, I guess.

So, my favorite song on the first album was – yes – ITSISK. I wasn’t aware until years later that the real first album didn’t even have that on it, it was just pressed that way for the US. Live and learn, I suppose.

Someday I’ll have to tell you about the first time I saw their videos with my friend Marsha.

-R

 

My Seven and the Ragged Tiger Story

Last weekend, I blogged about Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which you can read here.   In that blog, I listed the facts of the album, including who was on it, the singles, the videos and more.  While that certainly provides the Duran Duran history, it does not describe how fans felt about that album.  Thus, I wanted to take time to share my story, my feelings about the album.  Then, I invite all of you to share your stories, too!

In 1983, I turned 8.  I lived in the suburbs of Chicago where I had everything that I could hope for, including a best friend and activities to keep us busy.  When my best friend and I hung out together, we always had the radio on, most specifically B96, the Top 40 radio station.  If we were in the “TV room”, then MTV played in the background.  For some reason, both of us preferred to have something on in the background while we played “store” or whatever else we did for fun.

As all of you know, both radio and MTV frequently played Duran Duran in 1983.  By that point, they embraced songs and videos from the Rio album.  Both my friend and I liked those songs and videos we heard from that album, but they still were more in the background rather than in the foreground for us.  Age mattered.  Duran Duran released Seven at just the right time.  Union of the Snake premiered first.  I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me.  New Moon on Monday, though, began to really burrow its way into my brain like any good ear worm.  More than the fabulous chorus, I recall watching the video for New Moon on Monday and loving it.  (I still love it.  It is my favorite video, by far.)  I loved the storyline and thought the guys looked great!

Oh, yes, by early 1984, my interest grew to officially liking the band. Discussions between my friend and I surrounded the band for the first time.  We started to spend some of our money on books, magazines and any other merchandise we could find as we debated which guy we liked best.  Initially, I liked all of them with a slight pull to Simon.  I liked his main character role in the New Moon on Monday video.  Yet, I also liked the friendship aspect of John and Nick during that same video.  I was slightly conflicted!

Then, the Reflex premiered and changed everything!  The conflict ended as I fell hard for a certain bass player after watching the video over and over and over!  There was just something about John Taylor during that video that got to me.  Not only that, I loved the song.  Loved it!  My best friend adored it as well.  We were so ridiculous that we called each other on the phone each time that the song came on the radio or appeared on MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and our parents allowed it for some crazy reason.  Clearly, we were officially Duranies from then on!

From that point, our fandom took on big roles for each of us, individually, but also for our friendship.  Instead of playing store or swinging in my backyard, we now watched MTV all the time while we poured over teen magazines, memorizing each and every fact.  Our bedroom walls featured nothing but Duran Duran posters.  We lived and breathed Duran Duran.

So, while many Duranies claim the first album or Rio made them serious fans, for me, it was Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

-A

Give Me Strength: Giving Appreciation

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with my parents where we ate a full vegetarian meal, watched Star Trek Beyond and played some games.  It provided me necessary down time and the comfort of being with those who provide unconditional love and support.  Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday but I do appreciate having the time to stop and appreciate what one has in life.  This year, this feels more important than usual.

So, what am I grateful for?  I’ll start with the obvious.  I’m thankful for my family.  I have always felt very fortunate to have parents, in particular, who support me in so many ways.  Last year, at this time, my mom was finishing treatment for cancer and this year, she has been cancer free.  My father, who has a chronic illness, has been able to manage it better.  I’m thankful, then, that they are as healthy as can be and still able to be there for me.

This year, I also learned to really appreciate my job.  I often complain about the daily grind of education and teaching.  Don’t get me wrong.  Teaching is exhausting and requires far more work than a full time job.  I wish I could change that time commitment on top of all of the district, state and national demands and criticisms.  That said, my colleagues and my students have renewed my spirit in ways that they may never understand.  Now, I feel like we really are a big, weird dysfunctional family trying to make it through each day, each week, this school year and beyond together.

Of course, I am very grateful for my friendship with Rhonda.  While we may not live close to each other or are able to speak everyday, I know that she is supportive of me.  She may not always understand all of my choices or me of hers, yet, we still support each other.  At the end of the day, that foundation matters a lot.  It can overcome whatever challenges pop up–whether those are busy schedules, differing viewpoints or something else entirely.  Without this friendship, so much of what I have done in the name of fandom would have never taken place and I would have had a LOT less fun over the years.

This leads me ot appreciate Duran Duran and my fandom.  During this summer, Rhonda and I were able to attend a number of shows.  While I felt like I appreciated them then, now I really do.  I distinctly remember a moment at one of the shows this summer when I realized very clearly that there is nothing that brings me joy like being at a Duran Duran concert.  It is where I am the happiest.  Duran represents fun and good times.

The majority of my life is such that I’m serious a lot.  I work more than I should.  I focus my energy on being politically active.  No, those tasks don’t bring me joy in the traditional sense but what they do bring is immense satisfaction.  They bring a real purpose to my life.  I feel fulfilled when students really learn something and when they become politically active themselves.  The high that results from fighting in some sort campaign cannot be easily explained.  I cannot walk away from that aspect of myself.  Yet, Duran, fandom and fun provides the necessary infusion of energy and joy that keeps me going.  I need both in my life.

I then look forward to the two trips I have coming up to Washington D.C.  At the end of the year, I’ll venture there to see Duran Duran play a couple of shows and I will get the burst of energy and good times that I need.  Then, I’ll return to the city a couple weeks later to march in the Women’s March on Washington.  I am grateful to all that will make both happen from my colleagues, to my friends, to my parents, to Duran Duran and to other activists.  I appreciate them all.

-A

When the curtains are pulled back: a little thankfulness

Yesterday I wrote about appreciation. I have great appreciation for the fact that I’m starting to have fun with this fandom thing again. I can’t really say how long it’s been that I’ve actually wanted to carve time out to sit down and watch, say…Live from London, or Sing Blue Silver, or even Diamond in the Mind. I’m starting to feel that again, and yes—I definitely appreciate that feeling.

Today, I’m going to write about being thankful, because I am.  Just yesterday, I saw something on Twitter about airline pilots at O’Hare airport in Chicago. They are going on strike over the weekend. Political statements aside here—I feel for the travelers because their plans to get home, or get away, might be entangled in a giant mess.  When I read the tweet though, my mind immediately went back to 2012. I was supposed to fly to O’Hare to meet Amanda and then we were going to fly on to Heathrow so that we could go to four DD shows in the UK.  On Black Friday, I spent a lot of the day on the phone with Amanda. We were freaking out because there was to be a huge public workers strike in the UK, and naturally that was planned for the day we’d arrive. Anyway, I smiled at the memory and tweeted it to Amanda – saying that at least we wouldn’t have to worry about that kind of thing this year.

Amanda is going to DC over New Years, and she’s going to see Duran Duran. She’s going with someone else, and yeah, it’s weird. I’m somewhat wistful about the entire thing.  She’s gone to shows without me before, as I have without her. The difference is, she’s traveling by plane for this one.  Normally, in fact, I can say that since we met – if I’m traveling to see the band, it is with her.  We go together like peanut butter and jelly. That’s not happening this time. On one hand, I want to go. On the other hand, it has been one HELL of a year for my family. It’s been one hell of a year for me. I need to be here and I need to be thankful for what I have, and what I’ve done. But yeah, I wish I were going…but I’m very thankful I didn’t spend the money on tickets at the same time.

For a long time now, Duran Duran was sort of a job for me without it actually being a job. I’m not saying this to complain, I’m saying this to point out my stupidity to others. Lately, I’ve been enjoying doing things, like actually gawking at the band.  I’ve watched some videos. For fun! And…I’ve been listening to their albums. FOR FUN.  I realize that to many of you this is like, well…breathing. It used to be for me, too. I’m getting back to that, and dammit I am thankful.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pay some respects to my touring drink of choice, vodka. (although wine still comes in at a very close second, followed by coffee and then iced tea. Caffeine surges through my veins. ) Time for truth for anyone who might be concerned: I don’t drink often. Even so, when we tour, we TOUR.

I am thankful that I get to have my three kids and husband together with me for a few days this week. That’s unusual for us anymore, and we’re going to one of my favorite places – Paso Robles.  Yes, there will be some wine tasting, but also a lot of laughter and love.

Amanda and I have been friends since 2004. That is twelve years. I wouldn’t say our friendship is necessarily complicated, but our lives certainly are. There have been moments when I haven’t felt as close as others, but I value our friendship. We are proof that you don’t necessarily have to be the same in order to be friends – our mutual respect, love, and loyalty is what carries us. I’m lucky I found her.

I feel particularly thankful that I have met so many wonderful Duranies over the years. Some, if not most, have flowed in and out of my life, their time with me not always a constant. What has been really eye-opening for me though, is that in every case, they’ve had some sort of life-long effect on me. Whether teaching me to be more open-minded, or to embrace the adventures that life has to offer, or even to be more forgiving and careful with the feelings of others, I’ve learned something. Thank you.

I am learning not to take what I’m about to say for granted – but I’m really thankful for those five guys (ok, six or seven guys) who have been, or are in Duran Duran. I may not know all of them personally, but they have also been invaluable to my life in some way.  Even in the few instances that I have been around a couple of them – they managed to give me something to think about for the long-term.  They gave me something to look up to when I was young, something to aspire to when I most needed it, and reminded me that yes – even though they are rock stars, they really are human. I am particularly lucky that they happen to create some decent music, too.

I know it’s a day early, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US and celebrate. If you’re elsewhere in the world, thank you for allowing me to indulge!

-R

 

My Astronaut Story

Last month, I began a little blog series in which I took a look at the albums Duran Duran released during the month of October.  After giving facts and statistics about those albums, I then shared about my relationship with those albums.  I discussed Big Thing and Medazzaland.  Today, I turn to the last of the October albums, Astronaut.  I revealed the stats surrounding the album here and now I offer a little bit about myself and this album.

Astronaut represented the Fab Five’s reunion, the return of the five original members.  It represented my return as well.  In the early 2000s, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to Duran Duran at all.  I spent my time working, as a young teacher often does.  I remember sitting at my then dining room table on many Saturdays and Sundays creating curriculum.  If that wasn’t enough, I attended graduate school then as well.  I needed to add some teaching certificates in order to continue teaching students with special education needs.  On top of that, I figured that a master’s degree wouldn’t hurt.  Those two activities kept me plenty busy.

Despite (or maybe because) of my schedule, my social life lacked activity.  The city I lived in was new to me and making friends isn’t something I do easily.  Luckily, I had one lifeline, the internet.  Around the time of the reunion, I joined a fandom, but it wasn’t Duran.  It surrounded a little sci-fi teen drama called Roswell.  Looking back, I smile at the focus of my fandom.  It wasn’t super serious but there was something at the heart of the show that I related to.  Perhaps, it was the focus on people who felt alienated despite appearing like everyone else.  I have felt that way my entire life.  The combination between having internet access and admiring a TV show led me to message boards.  These message boards then provided the means with which to meet some people.  These people are, for the most part, still friends of mine (no pun intended).

As the Roswell fandom died down, I discovered that one of my Roswell associates was a Duran fan as a kid just like me.  That’s all it took.  It felt like someone lit a match over gasoline.  The fire caught instantly and grew quickly as we began sharing pictures, memories, and memorabilia with each other.  This led to searching the internet for the current status of Duran Duran.  Luckily, for me, grad school just ended and I found myself with more time and more money.  I spent my time reading every piece of Duran news I could find and my money buying albums I didn’t have.

Of course, part of what fed this fire was the idea that the original five reunited.  To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  I distinctly remember the first time I heard the song, Sunrise.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as goosebumps appeared on my arms.  It was beautiful and it was Duran.  For me, as someone who had been working her butt off for years, I felt like this reunion was my reward.  It felt like the world was adjusting itself back into proper alignment after being off kilter for decades.  For me, the end of the Fab Five coincided with a hard move.  After hearing Sunrise, I felt like the wrong of my move as a kid was made right.

Needless to say, I dove back into the fandom.  Unlike my childhood fandom which centered around watching MTV and buying magazines, now it was all about being online and chatting with fellow Duranies.  In early 2004, before the album came out, I joined and lurked at many Duran message boards, looking for a similar home to the one I had found with the Roswell fandom.  Duran’s official website had one, but it didn’t work for me.  I hated the chaos of how it looked and found it hard to follow.  More than that, it felt unfriendly to people like me, people who had stepped away from the fandom.  The official fan community appeared friendlier in terms of board format but also seemed to be tough to break into.  Finally, I found myself at DuranDuranFans.com.

This tiny message board looked great!  The group there was small but clearly liked each other.  While I wasn’t certain that I could break in there, either, I thought I had a better shot with a smaller group.  On top of that, the board had information regarding a little convention in New Orleans that was to take place in the fall.  I needed something to break me out of my boring, yet somewhat unfulfilling all work and no play existence.  Attending something like this, out of state, pushed me out of my comfort zone but also to a place of growth.

The convention took place a few weeks before the album dropped.  Yet, many in attendance possessed a copy already.  I took advantage by listening to the album there for the first time.  I loved what I heard.  Looking back and recognizing that this renewed fandom was so adolescent, so teenage crush like that I would have loved the album, no matter what.  I loved that the band was back together, which meant that the music had to be great.  Now, I still enjoy the album quite a bit but recognize some elements that could have been better.  That said, it represents the beginning of the second and more significant chapter in my fandom story.  It always will bring back positive memories.

In looking back on the three albums that Duran Duran has released in the month of October, I’m surprised at how well my fandom story lines up with Duran Duran’s history.  Big Thing represented a period of transition for the band and the same was true in my own life.  Likewise, Medazzaland represented a time in which the remaining members of the band were trying to hold on to their career.  The same might be said for my fandom at the time.  Lastly, Astronaut represented the return of the band from the 80s and my fandom followed right along side.  It will be interesting to see if the same thing will be true when I examine the albums released in November in future blogs.

-A

Don’t worry if you’re confused

My goals with this post today are as follows : first, I want to clarify a couple of things going on here internally, and secondly, I want to explain where we’re headed from here.

I was asked something privately this weekend, and I want to make it clear that Amanda and I are fine. We’re still friends, and we still run this blog together. She and I met in 2004. That means we’ve been friends just over twelve years now. Friendship changes a lot in twelve years. In that time I’ve had a baby and sent one – soon to be two children – off to college. She’s moved, had a parent fight cancer, and changed jobs. I’ve gone back to work, she has volunteered on multiple electoral campaigns…and we’ve gone to over thirty shows together. Lately though, yes, we haven’t spoken much. It’s not because we haven’t wanted to…but because we’ve each been busy and we live in two different time zones on two totally different schedules. As Amanda mentioned yesterday, priorities change. When I started the blog, I could give it nearly all the time I wanted. Now? I can barely eke out the hour or two I need to write on Mondays and Wednesdays, much less Tuesday and Thursday. It is a problem. I’m not giving up the blog because it’s one thing that is for me – it is a source of my joy. But yes, there’s been some growing pains in figuring out how to make it work better. No argument there, but both Amanda and I will find the answers. Thank you for your patience and encouragement.

The blog has run the full gamut: it started as an experiment, got serious, and now we’ve pushed it back into hobby territory. It is back to being a fun thing that we do because we enjoy, not something we do because must. That’s a good thing, overall.  Duran Duran is something we enjoy, and hopefully our writing will reflect that. After all, if it can’t be fun, why do it?  We put a lot of ourselves into writing this each day. This blog isn’t JUST about Duran Duran. It’s about us and how we fit that fandom into our lives each day.  Fandom changes a lot over ten years or more. This Autumn, fitting it in has been a challenge, no doubt there.

Going forward, I plan to write as I always have done. Granted, it is difficult to write blogs about the band and fandom when the band is on a vacation or isn’t doing anything public to speak of. In those cases, you’re likely to find blogs about the date in Duran history, which is absolutely fine. There is a lot of history to cover! Additionally, we are always looking for bloggers. If you are someone who would like to dedicate themselves to writing one or two blogs each week about being a Duran Duran fan, please let us know via gmail. Guest blogs are also welcome.

Lastly, I just want to come out and publicly support Amanda. She and I do not always agree, but I wholeheartedly encourage her to do whatever she feels she needs to do.  This isn’t about whether we’re conservative or liberal; democrat, republican or libertarian. It’s about being human. I know this fight may very well take her away from the blog from time to time in the same way that my family and responsibilities take me away. No matter, this is her home, and I completely encourage and support her right to speak out, even if I do not always share the same level of passion. I’ve been lousy at saying I support her lately – it seems like I blink and another week has already gone by,  so I felt like saying it here would be best.

-R

 

 

 

Fandom is a Luxury

Fandom is a luxury.  It is “great comfort and extravagant living,” to quote the google dictionary.  For some, it is a luxury because it is and always will be connected to money, finances.  People must pay money to own music, to attend concerts, to even own a device in which to hear it on.  While, yes, I suppose there are opportunities to hear music without money, it still seems to me as something that really requires some money.  The luxury of fandom involves more than money, though.  It requires emotional availability and time.

Fandom is about passion and about having intense feelings for someone or something.  In the case of this blog, we have strong emotions about Duran Duran.  We can feel great joy with new music from theirs and significant worry when one of the band members is ill or has to cancel shows.  Our lives are such that a part of our emotions can and is used up by fandom.  While certainly both Rhonda and myself have had significant events happen in our lives that were/are extremely taxing, emotionally, we have been able to save some of our emotions for Duran Duran and the Duran fandom.

Likewise, we have always been able to maintain some time for fandom.  The question/comment that we most frequently receive goes along the line of “I don’t know how you have time to blog everyday.”  We have made the time.  We have squeezed it in despite our busy schedules.  While our days are filled with lots of obligations, we have made this one of those “must dos”.  We don’t have to and never had to.  The lack of time never locked us out of our participation in fandom.  Sometimes, it made being a part of the Duran fan community challenging but never excluded us.

Now, though, I fear that is changing, at least on my end.  If you have been reading this blog  for awhile, you know that I’m the political one, the one who not only votes for the candidates of my choosing, but also campaigns for them.  If you know that much about me, then you also are aware that I’m a teacher.  I teach United States History and Women’s Studies.  The school I work at is extremely diverse, the most diverse in my city with about equal numbers of whites, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and even some Native Americans.  Likewise, all genders and gender identities are represented as are all sexual orientations.  We are also a religiously diverse community with all major world religions represented.  I feel extremely lucky to teach in this beautifully diverse community as I know that I learn from my students and colleagues each and every day.

Based on what I just shared, then, it will come to no surprise that I’m struggling with the election results as are my students.  Most of them are terrified about what is going to happen and if they will continue to be safe.  All day on Wednesday my room was filled with extra students looking for additional support and giving it in return.  (If there is any silver lining, it is that unconditional love and support given to and from my students, my colleagues and my school.)  That morning, my attitude was simple.  I wanted to give up.  I am tired of fighting.  Yet, at lunch, one of my students turned to me and said, “Now, what do we do?”  She looked to me to lead her and others as I have done in the past.  I knew then that I must fight on.  They need me.  My community needs me.

What will this fight entail?  I’m uncertain but this much I know.  I will do more than post on social media.  I will actively engage with elected officials and I will work to get strong messages of unity out there.  I will do my part and push others to do theirs.

I’m sure you can see where this post is going.  Fandom is a luxury that I might not be able to afford much moving forward.  My days were already extremely busy.  I used to prioritize my participation here and on various social media sites.  Now, there will be times in which I will put political action higher on the list.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be a member of the Duran fan community or that I don’t want to participate in fandom.  I do want to and plan to, as much as I can.  When I am able to, it will be good for me.  Fandom will provide me the breaks and joy I will need moving on.  It will give me strength.  Hopefully, then, someday, I will be able to have the luxury of fandom full time, once again.

-A