Category Archives: personal stories

Rhonda’s Birthday Blog 2017!

Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other.  One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher.  Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists.  On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites.  Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality.  They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids.  Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.

In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans.  Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher.  That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts.  Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community.  Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event.  Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion. 

In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com.  Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other.  Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine:  The DuranDuranFans Convention.  On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries.  Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics.  They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink.  As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying.  At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.

Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour.  The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together.  Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved.  By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little.  No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount.  From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.

This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends.  Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more.  Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us.  After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others.  Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird.  Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal.  In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed.  While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.

This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason.  We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more.  Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom.  Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills.  Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations.  From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends.  Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three.  Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention.  All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning.  The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true.  I definitely would not have done any of this without her.

Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship.  I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities.  For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:

Cheers!

Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows!  They are truly our happy place.

Chula Vista

Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions!  I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December.  Watch this space.

Our meet up!

We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!

Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now!  We are committed.  Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…

Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!

In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done.  I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her.  I truly am the lucky one.  So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday!  Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday!  I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!

-A

I Must Have Flowers in my Brain

I have no business going to Las Vegas in December.  I should not be going to that Duran Duran concert on December 30th.  Nope.  It is completely not logical.  The concert ticket was ridiculously expensive and the hotel room isn’t much better.  On top of that, the flight is going to cost me an arm and a leg from what I can tell.  The timing isn’t great either.  It is in the middle of winter break, a break that is super short again this year.  My to-do at home is a mile long as I get nothing done during the school year.  If all that wasn’t enough, I have been to plenty of shows.  Heck, a lot of you are probably thinking that I have been to way more shows than I should.

I could start listing all of the reasons that it “makes sense” to go, including that I don’t have to worry about work, that I get to see Rhonda and our other friends, and that going to a Duran show is a blast.  Work is a significant reason.  I could say that I deserve a lot of fun after working 10-12 hour days, at least 6 days a week since September 5th.  Besides work, I don’t have a lot of other responsibilities as I don’t have a family beyond the parents and nieces.  All of that is definitely true and they are all good reasons, but I admit that it isn’t the whole story.

When I think about what going on tour means, visions of groups and friends fill my head.  Memories of hanging out in bars or dancing in clubs with a whole bunch of people flood my consciousness.  While Rhonda and I definitely admit that our fan community (like all other fan communities) is not perfect.  I do not and will not like each and every fan and the same is true about me.  Competition too often gets in the way of genuine interaction and friendship but there is still something special with being on tour, at least for me.  It means being accepted.

Throughout my life, I have stood out from the crowd and not really in a good way.  I have been viewed as someone who is different.  Heck, many of you reading this probably recognize that, even through my writing.  I can come across as cold, calculating, closed off when I am just observing and thinking through things.  Many cannot relate to the way I analyze everything and write in a more serious way no matter the topic.  My passions, including politics, history, women’s studies, are not always easy to put up with.  I get all that.  I recognize that my life is different than a lot of other people our age.  I don’t have a husband.  I don’t have children.  A heck of a lot of time is spent on working and on politics.  Not everyone is into that.  I’m okay with that, but I also know that it is hard for people to relate to me.  As a kid, this really bothered me.  I was relieved when Duran Duran entered the world because it meant that I shared something that a lot of other people did.  Instead of being a total outsider, a part of me fit in.  The same is true now as an adult.  Being on tour means that I have a few days to fit in, to be accepted, to be a part of a group that I don’t get much in “real life”.

Speaking of my wacky personality characteristics, I’m sure it comes to no one that I tend to overthink everything.  I also put a lot of stuff on my shoulders as my responsibility and I feel guilty as heck when I take a break from those responsibilities.  Even Wenesday, when I was home sick (those presales often cause bad headaches, upset stomachs, etc.), I had checked into work before 10 am.  I was so worried about my classroom that I didn’t get much sleep the night before.  Thus, when something comes up that requires me to take a break from a responsibility or two, I struggle to go through with it.  I cannot tell you the number of times that I have gone back-and-forth with calling in sick when I’m actually sick.  I swear that my brain goes through every detail, every affect.  I envy those people who can just be decisive about things that affect their work lives.  I suck at it.  Funny enough, Duran is the one thing that pushes me out of this.  I don’t let myself think too much.  I just go with what I want within reason, of course.  The excitement overrides that voice of responsibility.  Maybe some of you think that is not a good reason to go, but, for me, I appreciate the break.  Of course, the break from thinking non-stop also happens on tour.  I don’t think too much then.  I just feel and react and live.

So, while I should not be going to Vegas for all the reasons I listed above, I am.  The desire to fit in, to have fun, and to take that mental break overrides the logic of not going.  Now…I gotta figure out a flight there and back.

-A

The Last of My Most Joyful Moments of Fandom

Last week, I started my list of the top ten most joyful moments of my fandom.  This week, I’m finishing the list.  If you are interested in reading the first five examples of pure happiness you can go here.  If you want to read Rhonda’s, you can go here.  Likewise, I appreciated those people who shared their happiest moments in this Duran Duran fandom of ours and welcome more!

Nights That Last Forever:
One of the things I like the best about our fandom is that we have plenty of opportunity to go out and have fun!  On occasions, this fun has lasted all night or almost all night.  Rhonda mentioned one of those nights in her list, which was the Saturday night of Durandemonium, the convention we organized with friends in October 2013.  Another night that comes to my mind is the night we saw Duran play a whole four songs at the Andre Agassi charity concert in Las Vegas in October 2005.  After the show, we ended up at a club literally enjoying vodka tonics and dancing all night long.  The fun ended with breakfast at like 6 am.  Perfect.

Nightclubbing:
Over the course of the years, Rhonda and I have spent quite a bit of time in nightclubs, specifically ones that have 80s nights.  Durandemonium included one of those at Chicago’s Late Bar.  Birmingham hosts an Only After Dark, an event to recreate the Rum Runner, both in style and in musical quality.  Even our summer included a trip to San Francisco’s Cat Club that had a Duran focus after the show.  Each and every time I find myself at a club like those I just feel happy.  I let the music overtake me and I dance without any concern in the world.

Concert interactions:
Who doesn’t attend a Duran show hoping to have an interaction or ten with a band member or more.  Over the course of my fandom “career”, I have been lucky enough to have a few.  I think back to the Sears Center show in Chicago in October 2006 when I would swear that John Taylor told us to keep singing in our like 8th row seats.  It also makes me think of all the time we have had the (mis)fortune of being victims of the White Lines spit moment from one Mr. Simon Le Bon.  Heck, the show in Paso Robles in July 2016 featured that and more as Simon came to the front of the stage, looking as if he would spit any second before swallowing the water he had in his mouth.  Good times.

Unified Crowds:
Rhonda mentioned the Glasgow show in December 2005 when the entire venue clapped in unison to the Man Who Stole a Leopard.  At that moment, I felt like I was only a tiny part of a much bigger and more important entity.  I felt like I was part of something super special then.  Other examples include every time I see the audience light up their cell phones during Save a Prayer or shout out “switch it off” in Planet Earth.  Those magical moments keep me going to concerts.

More to Come:
I have to admit that one thing I really love about our fandom is planning for future events.  Of course, every time we get to plan for a show or tour is special.  I love every moment of the planning or plotting as we call it from announcing that there is an official Duran alert to making decisions about what we can and should do, to deciding hotels, ticket plans, etc.  The flurry of exchanged messages make me excited for what is to come.  Here’s the thing.  Any Duran related event or happening brings the possibility of having another one of my most joyful fan moments.  Heck, even less than awesome events, are still great.  Those times of planning means that something amazing is just around the corner.  They are the promise of future fun.

As I finish up my top ten most joyful moments, I realize the best part. I have a whole future of moments waiting to happen.  I’m hoping that by the time this “ends” I have a whole series of magical moments that brought me joy.  I feel very lucky that way.

-A

Feelings Are Good

Normally, lyric day takes place on Fridays.  This week, though, it is happening on Saturday.  Why?  I couldn’t write Simon’s birthday blog on any day but his birthday.  I had to write about Simon’s birthday yesterday.  I had to.  Therefore, I chose to do lyric day today.  As always, I hit shuffle and the first Duran related song that popped up was John’s song, Feelings Are Good.  Normally, I would take a look at the lyrics and focus in on one specific line.  This time, though, I’m going to address the chorus and title:  Feelings are good.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with emotions.  As a kid, I was pretty emotional.  This led to a lot of grief in my world.  Other kids saw that I was sensitive, emotional and used that against me.  Many kids thought there was nothing funnier than making me upset by pushing a button or two.  My older siblings probably needled me a bit, too.  Initially, this didn’t stop me from being emotional.  Often, these interactions would get me more upset, which only encouraged other kids to do more of the same.  At the same time, I heard from a lot of adults that I needed to learn to control my emotions.  The message was clear.  I was smart but if I wanted others to take me seriously, I had to keep my emotions in check.  In that case, these adults were offering me good advice, in many ways, even if I couldn’t quite grasp what they were suggesting.

As I got older, I began to do exactly what the adults thought I should do.  I got my emotions under control.  Then, I started teaching.  Truly, being a teacher means hiding a lot and putting on a mask in front of students.  I cannot necessarily show the kids how I feel about a huge list of issues.  The me I show them is professional and positive.  It appears as if I have it all together when that is usually as far from the truth as possible.  Basically, teaching is like being an actor, to some extent.  Some might think this means that I’m not genuine but it is really about putting my students’ needs above mine.  When I first started teaching, I wasn’t very good at this. I still didn’t really know how to hide my feelings and there were many days in which I found myself in various offices crying for a variety of reasons.  In the last five years, I can count the number of times I have cried at work on one hand.  Now, I have gotten very good at this skill.

Some people might say that I have become too good at it and that this hurts me.  People cannot get to know me in the same way because I appear closed off.  I seem less human then.  The funny part is that the emotional child still lives inside of me.  I still feel a lot.  My heart is squeezed frequently for all sorts of reasons and I do wish that people understood that about me.  Just because I don’t show a lot about what I’m feeling now doesn’t mean that I’m not feeling something within.

You might be wondering why I am telling you all this and how this relates to fandom.  Let me explain.  Fandom is the one thing that allows the mask to slide down.  It allows me to feel all that I can.  On top of that, fandom makes me feel so much that I don’t hide my emotions as much as I can in the rest of my life.  I just can’t.  It is also the area in which I don’t let myself think too much.  I’m more spontaneous.  I have heard from a number of people over the years that Rhonda and I are pretty enthusiastic at a Duran show.  I think that is true.  It is the one area that I don’t feel like I have to hide or carry myself in a ultra professional way.  No, concerts are about feeling and showing those feelings.  They create passions and excitement that cannot be hidden easily.  Goodness know that I have tried to hide some of enthusiasm but fail each and every time.

Now, as someone who feels like I have to present myself in a certain way at work, I appreciate fandom more.  I like that it makes me feel so much that I cannot hide it.  I don’t want to hide it.  I like that it makes me feel so much joy and happiness that it is like my heart will burst.  I appreciate that I cannot hide how much I like Duran Duran.  In many ways, fandom gives me an emotional freedom that I long for, that I need.

As I have tried to balance the profession teacher persona with the enthusiastic, over-the-top fan, I have learned that feelings can be good and that there are times when it is important to hide emotions but there are times that all those feelings must come out.

-A

So Do You Hear, Do You Hear My Wish?

Tis the season. The season for making wish lists, anyway.  Every year since childhood, my parents would ask that I write out a wish list.  “What do you want for Christmas this year?”, my dad would ask.  I’d rattle off a few things, and then my dad would ask the question, “Are those things you need, or things you want?”

To be fair, my list usually had some of each. In my family, we didn’t always have a lot of discretionary income. Shopping indiscriminately wasn’t an option. School clothes shopping was a once-a-year deal, and I knew not to ask for a lot outside of that. I never felt deprived, but I knew plenty of kids who had far more, and some with far less. My parents tended to stick to the “need” portion of my list, with a few things I wanted sprinkled in for good measure. This was something I learned to accept and work with over the years. Duran Duran items were regularly found up near the top of my wish lists from the time I was about ten or eleven, and they’re still on them today. Some things don’t change

Justifying the need for whatever Duran Duran album would occupy my wish list was something I did out of necessity . I’m not quite sure whether or not my parents actually bought the stories of why I needed the music or the book or whatever I might have been requesting. At the time, I would look at my parents in all-seriousness as I’d explain that, I didn’t just want Seven and the Ragged Tiger, or Notorious, I needed it! “It’s for my collection!”, I would say emphatically.  Since money was scarce, I wanted to be sure my parents understood. I’d forgo the sweet-smelling clear plastic Hello Kitty and/or Twin Stars bags, erasers, pens, or pencil cases. Those were things I wanted in order to fit in at school. I needed Duran Duran to feed my soul.

In a weird twist of fate, it turns out, I really did need Duran Duran. Had I not continually asked for those albums, posters or books, I might not have kept quenching the immediate thirst of my inner fangirl. Without that youthful foundation as a fan, I’m not sure that I would be so zealous about fan studies OR Duran Duran today. What in the heck would I do without blogging and research?

Over the weekend, I thought a lot about how I’ve arrived at this point in my life. My parents, while wonderful people, weren’t necessarily encouraging me to go off and become a blogger. Never mind that we didn’t even really have PC’s, and later the internet, until I was older, anyway. Who knew I’d still be a fan and studying about it as I nudged my way towards the age of 50? Certainly not me. I guess that’s why remind myself that I need to be very careful of how I support and encourage my own children. You never know what seemingly nonsensical hobby will turn into a career some day.

Daily Duranie isn’t a viable source of income at this point, but just having a group of people give Amanda and I the chance to present a theory at an academic conference has given me a shot of confidence I needed.  It has also presented a challenge that I am looking forward to meeting head-on.  It is one thing to propose a topic and write an abstract, it is another to create a 15-minute long, engaging presentation. I am excited to begin.

Considering the big picture, everything I’ve experienced and done so far in my life has led me to where I am right now. None of it is bad. I needed the experiences, both good and bad, to be able to go forward from here.

No, I’m not a rock star, talk show host, or music journalist. I’m not a photographer, archivist, music producer, or publicist. I am a passionate researcher, blogger, and fan. The small amount of personal satisfaction I’m feeling happens because I love what I do so much that I’m just not willing to fail. Finally, at the age of (nearly) 47, I may have figured out what people have been telling me to do for years. “Do you what you love and are passionate about doing. Do something that you are not afraid to sleep in your car in order to be able to keep doing.”

At one point a long time ago, I put “find a career” on one of my wish lists. If I remember right, it was just after or just before I graduated from college. I had no idea what I wanted out of life. Nothing excited me. Nothing interested me. I just felt like I had to get a job and figure it out. I did, and I wasn’t very good at the things I tried. They were boring, and the people I worked for weren’t very smart (to be brutally honest).  I quit some of them, and was—yes, fired—from a lot of others. Each year, on the copy of my wish list that I keep for myself, the words “a career” have been on it.  While silly, it serves as a reminder to me to keep looking. At some points in my life, it has been a “want”, particularly while I’ve had children at home.  At others, it has been a “need”, like now. Personally fulfillment from something outside of my duties at home is something I crave.

Researching and writing on fandom niggled at something deep within me. I couldn’t name it or explain what was driving me, but I read everything in sight. Boxes were constantly arriving here from Amazon. My husband started asking if I was assembling some sort of  library.  Fandom enthralled me. Reading and theorizing about why I was so besotted with this one silly band from the UK sparked an interest I didn’t even know I had.  At the beginning, I nibbled on theories explaining why my heart went “ZING!” every time I thought I heard chords from “Hungry Like the Wolf” in public. Now, I devour theories deciphering why we—yes you, dear reader—and I, interact the way we do.  The more I learn, the more I realize there’s so much I don’t yet know.  I love it.

Today as I comprised my wish list for the upcoming holidays, I smiled as I erased one wish off of my list. To most people, an unprofitable blog and one speaking engagement does not equate to a career. That’s fair. I’m getting there, though, and failure is not an option.

-R

Amanda’s Five Joyful Moments of Fandom

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about an idea I had. This idea was a simple one–that I was going to take time to think about moments when I experienced real joy, related to my fandom. These moments might happen when the band is around and they might occur when they are not around. The idea was to acknowledge those times when I stopped for a second or two, looked around and realized that, in that moment, I was truly happy. Those moments might not be big or small and they might not have been perfect but something was happening that made my heart feel full. I have taken some time in the last two weeks to think of these moments. Some of them I knew right away and others took longer to pop into my head. Here are five of those moments, in no particular order. I’m certain that there were more but I’m going with these. Then, next week, I’ll share five more.

1. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in September 2004.
This moment happened on the second night of the Friends of Mine Convention.  At the time of the convention, I had just returned to the Duran fandom and felt like I had taken a huge risk in going to this convention. After all, I had never traveled for fandom before and didn’t really know anyone except for the person who went with me. I knew that this would be a moment that would either cause my fandom to grow or to fade. Luckily for me, I had an absolute blast and met so many amazing people, including Rhonda. It was a turning point, indeed. While I didn’t know that at the time, I knew that I was having an absolutely amazing time when we were at the piano bar, Howl at the Moon. We had finally convinced them to play some Duran and there we were, late at night, singing loudly and proudly to Hungry Like the Wolf. I felt like I had found my people.

2. Secret Oktober in Brighton in November 2011.
As many of you know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK in the spring of 2011 to see Duran play in their home country, only to have the shows canceled on us due to Simon’s lost vocal range. At the time of that trip, both of us felt fairly certain that the band was done and Simon would never sing again. Of course, we didn’t dare utter that thought from fear that it would be true. Thus, when the band was able to perform again, we didn’t hesitate to go back, to try it again. Brighton was our first show of that tour, which will always make it magical but when we heard the first notes to Secret Oktober, it transcended even that. Rhonda and I looked at each other in shock and awe before hugging like goofs and turning our attention back to the stage. Magical, indeed.

3. Agua Caliente show in March 2017.
This has been a tough year for me and it was especially tough in those first couple of months. One reason was that Rhonda and I weren’t communicating as we normally do. We felt distant from each other and I desperately fretted that our friendship was slowly dying. When the shows at Agua Caliente were announced, I knew that I had to go. I figured it might either be my last tour or it would turn things around. Both shows were amazing but the second night, up front, felt like everything was right again. At the end of the show, I posted the following on my personal Facebook, “The truth is that I love this band more than I can say. I can’t imagine never seeing them again. They bring me joy…” Indeed.

4. Laughing hysterically at Tempo Cafe in Chicago in March 2005.
While the convention in 2004 brought me my people, the spring Astronaut tour made Rhonda and I touring partners for life. We saw two shows that weekend in Chicago and Milwaukee. After the second show, we ended up needing food and caffeine at like five in the morning. Tempo Cafe was the only place in downtown Chicago that we knew was open twenty-four hours a day. After waiting for forever to get a seat, once we got our food, Rhonda and I could not stop laughing. I have no idea what the heck was so funny but we laughed and laughed and laughed until tears were flowing. I knew then that when we get together, laughter will always follow.

5. Hail storm in Brompton Cemetery in London in May 2011.
When Rhonda and I went to the UK for shows that did not happen, we promised ourselves that we would not just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We were going to make lemonade out of lemons. Thankfully, friends took sympathy on us and gave us some info on where some Duran landmarks are located, including Brompton Cemetery, the one featured in the All You Need Is Now video. We spent one day following this mini-tour, including stopping by the very cool cemetery. The funny part is that every time we got near a Duran specific place, it would thunder and rain like you would not believe. We wondered if the gods were trying to tell us something. By the time we hit the cemetery, we were ready for whatever. Whatever is what we got. No sooner had we entered through the gate when it started to storm. This storm included some significant hail. We ran until we found shelter, laughing all the way, as we were certain that we looked like drowned rats.

Now that I have five of my fandom moments that have brought me joy, I ask that all of you do the same.  I want to read everyone’s very cool moments related to their fandom.  I guarantee that my week will be better off because of them.  Then, next week, I will share five more to round out my ten joyful fandom moments.

-A

 

Big News!

I normally post a blog on Friday morning and move along.  After all, by Friday afternoon, I’m usually spent.  Exhausted.  Tired.  Fatigued.  Use whatever synonym you like best.  This week is not really an exception but we have news.  Big news.  In fact, this news is such that we don’t want to sit on it for another minute, hour or day.  What is it, you might ask?  Well, in order to find out, you gotta the watch the video.

Assuming that you all suffered through that 13 minutes plus of that glorious video, what do you think?  As you can tell, we are pretty dang excited.  Of course, we also want to acknowledge some people who have helped with this process so far.  First, as much as it pains me, I have to get a little shout-out to that old brother of mine who gave us the idea to go for this and some writing assistance as well.  Second, we would like to thank a couple of friends of ours, Lori and Patty, who were our sounding board and provided some necessary guidance when we really needed it.  Of course, I suppose we should thank that band who inspired us (or as Rhonda says–tricked us) into starting this journey to begin with.  In all seriousness, without them, we wouldn’t have done any of this.

On that note, we are off to do a little work and listen to a Katy Kafe with…that’s right…Simon, our favorite singer in the entire world.  (Ha!)  Perhaps, there will be a video blog about that…

-A

I Light My Torch and Wave It

It is lyric Friday!  As usual, I shuffled my iPod until I came across my first Duran related song.  Today, the first song was New Moon on Monday, which made me smile.  I knew immediately which lyric I would use for the blog post.  My favorite lyric in this song is definitely, “I light my torch and wave it…”  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  It absolutely reminds me of fandom.  Once you become a fan, a significant fan of someone or something, you light that torch, so to speak.

Call me sappy, but that is how I view fandom.  When you fall in love or become a fan, it does feel like something has been awoken or lit inside.  It makes you feel warm inside.  It makes you feel good to watch or hear or read something you are a fan of.  In those situations, you cannot help but to smile.  Of course, that leads people  to read, watch, listen, etc. again and again.  It is like the light from good feeling continues.  It burns on.  At least, that is how I feel about my fandom.  Yes, there have been times that I have been disappointed or frustrated with something related or connected to my fandom, but overall, it still begins me joy and happiness that I rarely get otherwise.  Therefore, I cannot imagine my torch ever being extinguished.  The flame will always burn.

As for the second half of the lyrics, to “wave” that torch seems to me to be about being out and proud of one’s fan status.  There are many in fan studies who talk about fan coming out stories and how it is common for fans to share one’s fan story when first meeting other fans.  I feel lucky in that I often get to share my fan story here on this blog, in person at various meet ups and other events and more.  I love to hear other people’s fan stories, including when, why, how they became fans.  I also like to hear about how fans “wave” their fandom.  How do they show it?  How do they share it with other fans and non-fans?

I think about how I “wave” my fandom.  Clearly, one of the biggest, most obvious way is through this blog.  The fact that I am one half of the Daily Duranie, a blog that posts daily about being Duran fans I think shows how much and how often I’m cool with waving my Duran fandom.  Other fans certainly see my fandom beyond this blog.  For example, any fellow fan that comes to my house would see my office, which is nothing but Duran.  That fan might also see or hear my collection of CDs or of DVDs.  Heck, they might even get a chance to play Into the Arena or the trivia game I wrote.  But, is that really waving my torch, so to speak?  Maybe with other fans but I don’t think that qualifies with non-fans.  How I am doing with them?

I don’t think I hide my Duranieness but I acknowledge that it isn’t something I discuss when first meeting people.  I recognize that fandom is very much misunderstood and that there is a lot of stigma connected to being a fan, especially as a forty-something year-old woman.  Thus, I tend to wait a little while before sharing.  Once I do, though, I tend to be pretty open.  It isn’t uncommon for me to be seen with Duran a related mug or one of  my 850 (kidding!) Paper Gods canvass bags or a t-shirt.  I think once I get out the fact that I’m a big Duranie, then I am constantly waving that torch.  What about the rest of you?  Do you wave your fandom torch?  If so, how?  When?

-A

Cause Maybe We Have More Play Time Than Money

Last week, I introduced the idea of lyric day created by using shuffle to find a Duran related song then lyric to use as a blog starter.  Basically, the idea is that I would press shuffle on what music device is closest to pick out a Duran related song.  From there, I would search the lyrics to find a line that grabs me.  Then, I would write a blog based on what thoughts popped into my mind from that lyric.

This week, when I pressed shuffle the first Duran related song that came up was an Arcadia song, Election Day, to be specific.  My first thought was to blog about the line, “She’s moody and grey.  She’s mean and she’s restless.”  After all, I might resemble that remark but it also seemed too predictable.  Boring.  I don’t want that.  Thus, I chose the lyric, “Cause maybe we have more play time than money.”  This line is one that always catches my attention when I listen to it.  It reminds me of the differences between fandom as a kid and fandom as an adult.

When I first became a Duranie, I was very young (8!).  My fandom was simple then, in many ways.  It involves listening to the records over and over again.  Similarly, it included watching MTV as much as possible for any possible video viewing.  Many Friday nights were spent in my family’s “toy room” on the fold out couch watching Friday Night Videos with my best friend.  Fandom then meant simple consumption.  It was about listening, watching and buying.  What I was buying included the usual 1980s memorabilia.  I bought a lot of magazines.  I saved up money for thicker books like “The Book of Words” and “Sing Blue Silver”.  Christmas and birthday lists featured random Duran related items like the Into the Arena board game or Duran Duran pajamas.  My fan community was very super small.  Basically, it was me and my best friend.  We encouraged each other’s fandom by listening and watching together.  Likewise, we shared purchases with each other and tried to find the cooler items.  As kids, we had a lot more playtime than money and money is what we really wanted for our fandom.

Now, as an adult, my fandom is expressed way differently than my kid fandom.  I still like Duran merchandise, of course.  It is a good time and a good night if I’m able to spend it listening or watching Duran but that is rare.  No, my fandom now has to do with writing, like this blog, for example.  Traveling and going to shows is another significant part of how I express my fandom.  Like my childhood fandom, money is still involved.  Now, I have more money to buy those little Duran related items but there is not much of that around.  I often have some money saved up for shows but…there is a lot of time in which there are no shows to go to.  In many cases, that is just as well since I always have a long to do list.  So, now, that lyric feels like the opposite.  I have more money than playtime especially during the school year.

When shows happen, I try my best to squeeze in a show or two depending on when and where they are.  They are simply squeezed in to a super busy existence.  As a kid I focused on money and the cost of what I wanted in terms of my Duranieness.  Now, of course, money is important to get what I want but I also need the playtime and that does not always exist for me.

What about the rest of you?  Which is a bigger deal in terms of your fandom:  money or playtime?

-A

This blog is made from blood, sweat, and tears

Amanda and I don’t use the blog to tout successes very often. We want to write about being fans, and the blogs come from our own experiences. This post is personal, in that aspect.

Not too long ago, I wrote a bit of a review for a musician from Denmark named Michael Kratz. He had released a song back in July that he worked on with Dom. I wrote about it because I am a fan of Dom’s, and kind of forgot about it. Michael contacted me a couple of weeks later to thank me, and then ask if I’d be willing to get another one of his songs early and then blog about it since this new song also featured Dom.

I was overjoyed. I appreciated that Michael really asked for my help and trusted me with his music. I am not an author or a journalist. I am a fan. A blogger. Not many people take that seriously.  I jumped at the opportunity, and listened to the song hundreds of times before writing. (I’ve learned my lesson well, thanks to Duran Duran and our friend Lori Majewski.) I published the blog and hoped it would be taken well.

It’s kind of weird to admit that as a woman in my 40’s, I own a fan blog. Part hobby, part “full-time job that I wish were a paying one”, Amanda and I have operated the blog for seven years now. My own big dream was to have this blog lead to something that I could make into a career. I had no idea how, or what – which has always been my problem – so it is no surprise that Daily Duranie is still very much my “volunteer work”. We pay to host this site, which isn’t super cheap. We travel on our own dime, pay to go to shows, and all that stuff.  I spend a lot of time working on this site. In fact, even right now I should be working on “homeschool” with my youngest, but instead I’m writing and we’ll do school a bit later today than normal. As for money, I don’t want to think about how much we spend right now, because I will truly have a panic attack, so I won’t. Yes, we pay to write about Duran Duran. Does that make us a joke? To some, probably.

I’m pretty unsure of myself on even the best of days. My self-confidence isn’t the greatest. Lately I’ve been battling a case of the insecurities. I read things, and then have a really hard time letting go.  I’ve gotten better about it, but I still have a long way to go.  Additionally, I have a very hard time seeing and admitting to myself the good things the blog has done. It’s easier to see and believe the bad things I read and hear about the blog, and even myself as a person, I guess.

Today though, I received a message that really made a difference.  It turns out that Michael was offered record deals in two countries, and in both cases the label mentioned MY article specifically. The best part is that he wanted me to know, so he messaged me today. I’m still beaming, because it feels good to see wonderful things happen to genuinely hard-working people. I’m sure the blog played no more than the tiniest part in his record deals, but the fact that he wanted me to know warms my heart in a way I really needed.

I know that most people don’t really care about a fan site. Hell, we have a hard time getting anyone—even most of the band’s backing players, to take us seriously enough to even fill out a Q&A so that we can in turn promote them and their own careers—so I get it. By the same token, it is not just fans that read and follow Daily Duranie. We have music producers, other bands, news magazines, radio and TV show hosts, authors, and even record labels following and reading, and I’m proud of that.

Today though, I am so pleased to know that a genuinely kind and incredibly talented person I met as a result of this very blog is in the middle of making his own dreams come true. Michael thanked me for writing, but the truth is, I need to thank him for taking me seriously and trusting me with the product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. That, my friends, is anything but a joke.

-R