Category Archives: personal stories

During This Deafening Silence

Sorry for my absence last week!  My husband was laid off late last year, and spent five incredibly long months looking for a new job. Some people find jobs quickly, but in the tech industry, his work is far more specialized and it just takes longer.  Unfortunately in his business, reorganizations and layoffs are normal. For the past twenty years, we have been lucky. His job changes—we think there have been at least seven—never required a move, and we’ve lived in the same house in So Cal. Two of our three children were born nearby, and for all of them, this house is “home”.

My husband started a brand new job this morning in Santa Barbara, which is about 150 miles from our current home. Over the summer (I sincerely hope it’s over the summer!), we will be moving because the commute from the OC to Santa Barbara is insanity, obviously.  He drove up this morning, leaving our house just after five (that is AM, thank you). He just texted me at about 8:45 my time to let me know he’d gotten there. That’s an hour longer than it should have taken him, thanks to typical Los Angeles traffic. There’s no way he’s going to be able to keep up that pace for long, not that we ever thought otherwise.

So, last week, I began the slow and steady process of packing, getting the house ready to sell, and moving. The funny part is that I still am not sure where we’re moving quite yet. It could be north of Santa Barbara, but it could also be the Boston area since a good portion of his team are located there. I just love surprises and not having any idea of where we’re going. (This is such a lie I can’t even type it without laughing)

I do find the timing and the uncertainty amusing. After all, we’re in-between albums, aren’t we? None of us have any idea when a new album will drop…or IF a new album will drop. (To clarify, I have no reason to suspect they wouldn’t go back to the studio!) We don’t know if that band will ever tour again, although right now I feel pretty positive they will. (No hate mail, please) I’m just glad that if my life is about to be turned upside down, we’re doing it now…and I’m willing to bet that on the next Duran Duran album, there will be at least one song that I’ll identify with that describes this period of my life, because THAT is how good this band is. They get it right even when they have no idea who I am, or what I’m about, or going through.

Each of us have our own lives going on during the time when Duran Duran are killing us with silence. I tend to think in terms of “pre <insert album title here>”, “post <insert album title here>”, or even “in-between titles”. I’ll probably always remember this time in between as the period where my life closed one chapter and began another (and yeah, that’s pretty poetic). The joys of moving.

I listened to Paper Gods today as I was driving home from dropping Gavin back off at his UC Riverside dorm. It’s an hour from our current house, which isn’t awful as long as there isn’t traffic. I hadn’t listened to PG in a while just because I was trying to give it a bit of a rest after having it playing on repeat for over a year. I can still remember how it felt to stand in the audience at the Hollywood Bowl and seeing them play the set live for the first time. I don’t know if the album really is a favorite of mine – I found that it took me quite some time to really bond with it in any sort of way – but I will say that the tour was a lot of fun. Those memories will stick with me in the same way that the memories I have of this house will linger with me forever.

-R

 

 

Ten Years Ago Tomorrow

Ten years ago tomorrow, I saw Duran Duran play in Chicago.  This show was part of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour and the only one of that leg that I saw.  They played at the Rosemont Theater, which I really enjoyed.  The size of the venue was great with an amazing view from any seat or so it seemed.  While that show was weird in some ways, it also sticks out as one I always want to remember.

I didn’t go to the show with Rhonda, which always feels weird.  I went to the show with another friend and tried my best to make the show feel as normal as possible.  A group of us went out to eat before hand, which always works to get people excited.  Then, the show featured a few highlights that I would like to acknowledge here.

First, this show featured the Electro Set.  Does anyone else remember the Electro Set from 2007-2008?  When I first heard about it, I believed that it was going to suck.  I mean…really…the band was going to stand together in the front of the stage all playing electronic instruments?!  It seemed…boring, at least on paper.  Then, I went to one of the Red Carpet Massacre shows on Broadway and I saw the Electro Set in person.  To say that I was wrong would be an understatement.  I was in awe.  It blew my mind.  Seriously.  Needless to say, then, I was super excited to be able to see it again in Chicago.

While I couldn’t find a video of the electro set from this particular show, I did find one from another show.  If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it.  If you have seen it, you should watch again and remember how cool the Electro Set was.  I am probably not alone in saying that I would love for the band to bring this back.  Everyone I know who saw it loved it and everyone who didn’t see it in person wants to.

The other highlight is not the fact that Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins appeared to perform The Chauffeur.  While I’m sure that many people loved that, it didn’t excite me all that much.  I had really liked Smashing Pumpkins then I saw them live.  I was unimpressed.  In fact, I was so unimpressed that I left before they finished, which I never, ever do.  So, his appearance didn’t cut for me.  No, the other personal highlight was the fact that John Taylor came out for the encore in an Obama t-shirt.

To refresh people’s memories, the spring of 2008 meant that the United States was deep into presidential primary season.  The political parties were busy trying to figure out who the nominee was going to be.  Not only had I decided whom I would be voting for, but I started volunteering for the Obama campaign a few months prior in February.  By May, I was starting to work pretty seriously for the campaign.  My friends at the show knew this so when John Taylor came on stage in the t-shirt all of them turned towards me, all excited for me.  Clearly, I wasn’t expecting this at all.  I would have been fine if John did not support my favorite or didn’t agree with me, politically.  Yet, it made me feel…proud in my decision to work for the Obama campaign.  I loved having these two very different worlds of politics and fandom come together.

Most of the time I try to keep my worlds separate.  Usually, I say the reason for this is that I don’t want to alienate others, which is true. More than that, though, I worry that I would be rejected.  When I’m with my political people, I avoid the discussion of fandom.  I worry that they wouldn’t get it or that they would think I was weird for loving a band so much.  I definitely try to tone down the politics when I’m focused on fandom because I truly believe that some people that I call my friends in the fan community would hate me because of my activism.  At that moment when John Taylor showed his support of Obama for the first time, I felt safe.  I could be completely me and still be liked and accepted.

I liked that feeling.  I hope that by remembering that show and those memories that I feel that way again, at least for a day or two.

-A

You’re Going to Find Out

On Monday, Rhonda wrote a blog highlighting her biggest personal moment with Duran Duran.  (If you didn’t read it, go here.)  Since then, I, too, took time to think about mine.  Is mine like Rhonda’s in that my moment is a return to the fandom?  Is it the time that I met Rhonda and other fans?  Maybe it was something like one of the trips to the UK.  Like Rhonda, I think that I could choose any of those and would be right on in doing so.  Yet, I tend to think of my fandom journey to be in parts and each part has a big moment.  Thus, I have to decide which part matters most to me.

Part one of my fandom definitely has to be fandom as a kid.  This is when I fell in love with the band in the first place.  In thinking about that time, the big moment has to be when I fell in love with the Reflex.  It pushed me from casual fan to Duranie.  If that hadn’t happened, I doubt I would have still been a fan today.  Therefore, that is definitely a worthy moment.  Biggest personal one, though?  I’m not sure.

The next part of my fandom surrounds the reunion and returning to being a loud and proud Duranie.  I know that I have talked about this a lot on here but it is worth sharing a little again.  Around the time of the reunion, I found myself overwhelmed with the beginning of my teaching career with grad school on top of that.  To say that I didn’t have a lot of extra time would be an understatement of epic proportions.  I heard rumblings of a reunion but put blinders on as I kept telling myself that I didn’t care.  Interestingly enough, as I finished grad school, I found myself watching the silly TV show, Roswell, religiously.  I appreciated the escape with it and the outsider as hero theme.  My lonely self sought out others who were as into the show as I was.  This lead me to message boards and eventually to meeting other Midwestern fans.

One of these fellow fans mentioned Duran Duran in passing one day.  That is all it took.  I had free time by then as I had finally gotten that Master’s Degree and needed something to obsess over.  My Roswell internet searches turned to Duran Duran ones and to Duranies, which eventually led me here.  That moment, that one mention certainly was a big moment in terms of my Duran fandom.  The biggest?  I am sure that I could make the case for that, for sure.  While that one comment got me back to Duran, I’m not sure I would vote for it as the biggest.  Stick with me here because my biggest moment, I think, will explain why this one didn’t matter as much.

After that reminder, I found Duran message boards and made the decision to attend that Duran fans convention in 2004 in New Orleans.  This, of course, is the event in which I met Rhonda and so many other fans whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends.  From there, this led to going on tour, seeing a bunch of concerts and so much more as part three of my fandom.  I might even say that this led to so much fun that I’m still getting over it.  Yet, despite all that, I’m still not sure that I would pick the convention as the biggest.

In 2008, my fandom took a turn for the fourth segment of my fandom journey.  It ceased being nothing but fun.  I noticed fans behaving in ways that made me curious.  Heck, I found myself doing things and thinking things that normally I wouldn’t.  At first, I tried to ignore observation of myself and others and just have fun, which wasn’t always easy for a variety of reasons (Red Carpet Massacre division, anyone?).  At the end of 2008, Rhonda and I decided to go to a few shows in the Northeast.  During that tour, I lost a friendship as this person made some decisions that felt like she  placed fandom over friendship.  I was hurt.  Friendships mean the world to me.  As someone who struggled (and struggles) to make friends, I appreciate each friend.  When I have strong, loyal friendships, I feel stronger and more confident in everything I do.  When it feels like I don’t matter or don’t matter much to a friend, it feels like being stabbed in the gut.

I had a choice then.  One option could have been to walk away from fandom.  After all, a lot of the fun had left with the Astronaut era.  If I had chosen that, then, I think the biggest moment with Duran would have been attending that convention.  Yet, I chose something different.  I sought out understanding.  I wanted to “get” or comprehend this former friend of mine.  I needed to understand myself, too.  The idea was simple.  If I could understand fans better, then I could figure out how to make it fun again.  This decision, of course, has led Rhonda and myself to research fandom for years.  We have written about our experiences and our research with the goal of one day getting something out there.  The moment that Rhonda and I came up with the idea of researching and writing about fandom took my fandom to a new level.  It led to this blog, much research and more.  Frankly, it increased whatever commitment I had to Duran.  I cannot see just walking away now or ever.

-A

My biggest personal moment (2018 edition)

DDHQ asked a very interesting question this morning. “What is your biggest personal moment with Duran Duran?”

Rather than try to think about the most mindblowingly huge moment I’ve ever had with Duran Duran, I decided to read through the responses. I wasn’t quite sure what I would read, but I was curious.

So many people attribute things like marriages, births and yes, even divorces to the band. Others wrote about meeting their best friend, or seeing the band live for the very first time. Quite a few wrote about meeting the band, and some have even had opportunities to interview one or more of them. Still others recalled career changes, or major directional changes in life. I sat back, kind of overwhelmed, really.

What would be my own answer?

I’m not exactly sure I have one. I mean, there was that time I regained consciousness hearing Hungry Like the Wolf in the background. That memory always comes to mind first with questions like this because I was giving birth to my youngest, and I’d flatlined on the table – which is absolutely RIDICULOUS (but it’s a true story), and that damn song, combined with a baby – MY baby – crying, is what I first heard when the medicine they’d given me to counteract whatever the hell was going on with my heart at the time finally took hold. No, I can’t even have a baby without a little drama.  But really, was that a huge moment?

Yeah, I guess it was. For me, anyway. (I have a very dry, slightly inappropriate, and always sarcastic sense of humor that doesn’t always come across well in print unless you know me personally. Read that here.)  But the band wasn’t even there!! (Thank goodness, actually.)

What else do I have? I did meet Amanda because of Duran Duran. There’s that. She’s very important to me, obviously. I can honestly and truly say that if it weren’t for her, and my loyalty to her, this blog wouldn’t still exist, not to mention that our friendship keeps me going. She and I met at the Duran Duran fans convention in New Orleans back in 2004. I’ve known her for nearly fourteen years now!

I saw the original lineup for the first time back in 2003. You’d think that seeing all five of them together would have completely changed me – I mean, they were a huge part of my childhood, and apparently much of my adulthood, as it turns out. But in those moments as I stood back in like, the 16th row or something, all I could think about was how “out of it” I really was. I saw all of these people hugging one another and talking before the show. It was the first time I’d ever really paid attention or seen anything like that. I wanted to know how they knew one another. “Do fan clubs still exist?” I thought to myself as I waited for the band to take the stage.  I wanted to be a part of something like that. Even so, was this one of my biggest moments? Probably not.

No, if I really had to pinpoint a moment – it would have to be the show I saw at the House of Blues a couple of years prior. I know that Amanda and I have written about our biggest moments before, and perhaps my answers have been different each time (would not surprise me), but as I answer this now with a bit more wisdom and history behind me – it was that show which changed everything.

I’d gone about ten years in between Duran Duran shows, I believe. I’d graduated college, gotten married, moved to and from Illinois, and had two children during that time. (I’m tired just from writing all of that!) My ears would perk up any time I’d hear their name, or a song came on the radio – but in a lot of ways I felt like I’d moved on. Also – becoming a wife and mom changed me. I’d kind of forgotten who I was in all of that, and instead, I was just a shell of a person.

I really can’t remember what I was like back when my two oldest were very small, but I think about myself as though I must have been on autopilot. I fed them, clothed them, cleaned the house, and made dinner. I drove them to and from school, did my chores, and in some sort of a last-ditch effort to find some sort of fun out of all of the drudgery (and yes, with parenting there can be a lot of drudgery, particularly if you’re isolated as a stay-at-home parent. Not everyone is cut out for that, even if you WANT to be), I joined the MOMS Club.

I feel like maybe a lot of people are not familiar with MOMS Club, so let me explain. It is an international support group for moms, specifically stay-at-home moms, particularly due to the isolation thing I mentioned above. The idea is that a lot of clubs or groups don’t allow moms to bring their kids along – which makes being involved very difficult. So the MOMS Club solves that by insisting that every single event on the calendar (planned by local chapters) be kid friendly.

That’s all fine and good, but sometimes, moms just want to get out. Where’s THAT group??

After a while, not even MOMS Club sufficed. I think it boiled down to the fact that I wasn’t necessarily very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my kids. I loved being a mom…it just wasn’t enough. But, if you talk to me (even now) for any length of time, it will become very apparent that I wish that I’d given myself the chance to have a real career. I still do – and that’s one of my deepest, darkest secrets.

Now, if you’re wondering how that has anything to do with Duran Duran, stay with me.

It was during this period of time that I went to that Duran Duran show at the House of Blues in 2001. I didn’t even want to go at first, but my husband convinced me. (I didn’t want to spend the $65 a ticket. I laugh about that now. If only I knew what I would spend on tickets several years later….)  I didn’t even want to stand in line for a good spot that night, opting to go eat before the show. I stood near the steps in the back, figuring that I’d head to the bar during the show. I mean, it was just Simon and Nick at the time, with Warren I guess, but I didn’t care. I figured I’d see them, lament over how they weren’t the same, and then go home.

Instead, something very bizarre happened to me that night. Simon came out on stage, grabbed the microphone, and I had an out-of-body experience. It was like something woke up in me and I was getting a glimpse of myself back at 13. I liked it. I can barely remember much of the show, but I can tell you that I have never felt anything like it. I came home, found duranduran.com, read the message boards, and never looked back.

I met Amanda in 2004. We immediately joked about writing a book. We’ve written a few manuscripts and we haven’t stopped – someday, something will get published, or we’ll die trying. I do have a job now – one that I love, but it’s not really a true “career” since it’s just part-time. I also have this blog, which has kept me alive (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word).  I’m still working on the career thing, but I feel like I actually have a life now, which is a start.

Yes, I’ve met the band. I’ve gone places, seen great shows, done amazing things, and have great friends and memories. But none of that would have happened without that show in 2001 at the House of Blues in Anaheim. I am forever grateful.

-R

Happy Birthday, Amanda!! (2018)

So, yesterday was crazy. Not only was it my daughter’s tenth birthday – celebrated with a big family get together, including lots of cooking, cleaning and general merriment – but it was also Amanda’s birthday.

The day did not go by completely unnoticed. I certainly posted my good wishes on all sorts of social media, but it wasn’t quite the same. I didn’t have a chance to post a birthday blog for her, and goodness knows a birthday cannot go by without that happening. So, today is that day.

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

Friendships ebb and flow, particularly when they are conducted from a long distance, such as ours. There are some periods of time where we have spoken every single day, but admittedly for the past year or so, those conversations haven’t happened as regularly as I would have liked. Most of that is my fault, and I acknowledge that. It isn’t that I have forgotten about our friendship, found someone else, or have felt like our connection has faded – in this case, it is truly because life has gotten incredibly complicated and busy. Amanda knows that right now, I’m not quite sure if I’m coming or going.  Yet, her friendship remains steadfast, and it is one constant I can count on. So this post is for Amanda, and I’m writing to her.

Rather than rattle on about how tough things have been lately – I like thinking about the things we’ve done along the way. Weirdly enough, remembering all of those times we laughed ourselves silly has kind of helped me during these past few months when the darkness has gotten SO dark that I couldn’t even really see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

There are the times that come to memory first – like when we first met and somehow ended up on a small stage at Howl at the Moon singing Duran Duran songs. What about the day we were sitting at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and calculated that we’d gone 27 (pretty sure I’m exaggerating) hours without eating at one point that weekend? Or when we were at Voodoo Festival and you had to go on a search for sunscreen with Sara. Yeah, that was also the night when Simon just HAD to go and ask if we had time for one more.  I also chuckle when I think about Toronto. I have one word for you: “Really?”  “REALLY?”  That memory always makes me laugh.

What I really like thinking about most though are the moments we haven’t necessarily talked about a lot. Like when we drove to Milwaukee that very first time and I was making signs as quickly as we could think of things to say. I think about how you and I love going to the Art Institute in Chicago, and how oddly – we both love modern and contemporary art. The weirder, the better!  I remember how in England (I have so many great memories of England, many of which really don’t even include the band at all, which is probably a shock to some) we sat on that train listening to John Taylor, watching the English countryside go by. That’s one of my favorite memories from that trip…right along with the first night in Brighton when Duran Duran played Secret Oktober.

Remember when we saw the band in LA at that David Lynch thing and we got there a day or so early? We stayed at the Luxe, which has this fantastic patio bar area, so you and I decided to have a pitcher of sangrias in the sun? It was glorious sitting there, relaxing and talking away. That day didn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran at all. It was a simple afternoon, and I wouldn’t trade it, even for “Late Bar” live in a set!

I remember driving during that Southeastern US road trip. We spent SO many hours in the car that time. It was a weird tour for us (they all are, though. I don’t think any of them ever go how we think they will, and at this point I don’t know why when drama happens while touring, we’re still surprised. I believe that someone might call all of that careful planning, “expectations”, which I have on good authority are just future resentments. <insert grin here>. But you know, I look back on that tour and think about how differently I saw things then. I remember the heat and humidity, and going for pancakes at IHOP that last night because we were so sick of drinking we didn’t even want to bother!

Remember when we went to lunch with Kitty in England?  It was after we saw the band going into their rehearsal studio on the “tour that wasn’t”, and I asked the waiter about how big their pizzas were, and he made some comment about how as an American, I’d probably think they were small. Funny that he assumed I wanted a big pizza when in fact I was worried it would be too much – then he brought it out and it was bigger than my head (AND the plate it was on!).  I still remember having to take the bus and learning how to use the tube (for those reading – we don’t have them where I live in Orange County!) I don’t know why that still makes me chuckle, but it’s those moments that I think about when I’m feeling myself get down.

We have made good friends along the way. Some have stayed, others have drifted away, and still others have been a gift of late. I treasure those people. I will never ever forget ordering that big fishbowl cocktail in San Francisco (never ever again. Stay away from the group cocktails in the future) and laughing about it the entire weekend, or the Cat Club – which was a blast. We did not really see or speak to a band member the entire weekend, but I think we had more fun than we’ve had in a long time, just dancing to Duran Duran songs and videos. I’d do it again in a hot minute. I remember laughing at you one of those nights at the Cat Club for reasons I don’t need to disclose here, but it was joyous all the same.  Our friends have stood by us, bought us tickets when the two of us couldn’t get the Ticketmaster gods to work in our favor, and listened to us go on and on about blogging and fandom and who knows what else. (well, I do know, but there’s only so much I’ll say here!)

I have tried to sum this up in a few different ways, but the fact is – I want to celebrate you and our friendship. I don’t want to think about the bad stuff because as soon as I’m done writing, it’ll still be there. In this moment, I want to focus on the joy. I am so glad you were born and that I can still count you as my best friend! Despite our differences, we are incredibly similar, and I love how we’re two sides of the same coin.  As I think back on all the things we’ve done, it is impossible not think about all that we have left to still do. I think there must be corners of the US we haven’t visited yet – so the band had better get on with it!  We still have things to do!!

A very happy birthday to you, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful day. I thought of you lots yesterday, believe it or not. The good news is that for all intents and purposes, Walt IS back to work – and that means I need to plan a trip to see you. Soon.  I picture a week during the summer where we do nothing but watch videos, hang out, have some vodka tonics, and maybe do some writing if we are so inclined.

I am so lucky (no really, right now I am definitely the luckiest) to call Amanda my best friend. I am well aware that we are not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine, because we’ve got each other.

-R

Who Do You Need?

Sometimes, it feels like weeks take on a feeling, a theme.  Last week, it was all about political action.  This week, there has been a 360 degree turn, which has led me to think about friendship, support and    the importance of common experiences.  (I hope that you all let me express my thinking for a bit.  I need it.  I promise, though, that I will get to a Duran connection eventually.)

Some weeks at work focus on curriculum development or assessment.  Unfortunately, my week didn’t have anything to do with that.  No, it was about kids who are hurting, emotionally, and for good reasons.  I have had students come to me with suicidal thoughts, mental illness, concerns about sexual assault, and discrimination.  Yeah, clearly, their problems are not surface ones.  These kids came to me for comfort, for hugs, for advice or for a place to vent, to talk, to express their conflicted emotions.  With each one, I offered hugs, my ear and any advice that I could.  As each one walked away, I felt frustration that I couldn’t do more and sadness that they have to deal with these incredibly tough issues.

As I now sit in my living room, I am left thinking about support.  Did I support my students enough?  Did it matter that many of their problems are not ones that I have experienced first hand myself?  I wondered if their families could or did offer better support.  Did their friends?  Should I do more?  If so, what?  Even as I type this, I ache for them.  They are so young and have so much on their plates.  I admire their strength and their ability to pick themselves up to move forward.

As I ponder these students I am so fond of, I think my own friendships.  Do I offer my friends enough support especially when they are struggling?  If not, how can I?  Then, I think about myself.  Things haven’t been awesome for me, either.  Am I as strong as my students?  Do I seek the support that I need like they do and did?  I have to say that I probably don’t as I think I have gotten pretty good at hiding my own pain and putting on a good front.  I let pride rule and I don’t often ask for what I need.  Again, though, I think about my kids.  They didn’t let their pride get in their way.

Is it more than just pride for me?  Is it because I assume that no one would understand because they haven’t experienced what I have?  Maybe.  Does having first hand understanding of something matter? I think of Rhonda.  We have had many conversations over the years about how we are the only two people in the world that understands what it is like to be half of the Daily Duranie.  I think about those blogs in which people have unleashed it on us, telling us not only that we are wrong but that we are “desperate” or “pathetic” or something similar.  If there is a negative comment that gets to me, there is no one better to turn to than Rhonda because she has been there, too.  Our unique experience as the Daily Duranie does bring us closer and causes us to lean on each other at times.  I wonder if that is the same thing with members of Duran.  Have they turned to each other at times solely because they are the only ones who understand what it is like to be a member of the band?  Maybe.

Are their some experiences that are so unique that others couldn’t get it and couldn’t give the amount and kind of support that is needed?  I don’t know.  This is where I fail for myself.  I often don’t share problems I have with people who I suspect wouldn’t get it.  Now, I have to wonder if I am not giving enough credit to other people.  So, this week has reminded me that people can and should ask for help or support when they need it.

-A

Memories of Spy Bar, 2013

A few years ago, I took a short trip to one of my favorite cities: Chicago. Duran Duran wasn’t even playing, but I did spend time with my best friend Amanda, who happens to live a couple of hours to the north. Amanda’s birthday is the 29th of April, same as my daughter’s (which is the strangest twist of fate!), so we celebrated her special day a bit early, AND…..we did happen to go see Roger Taylor do his DJ thing at SpyBar. Oh yeah, there was that, too.

Hard to believe that happened five years ago today!  Not only did we dance to Roger Taylor (I can truly say my inner thirteen year old was grinning from ear-to-ear that night!) but we also celebrated his birthday, once the clock announced it was past midnight, making it the 26th of April.

The night was crazy and fun. We had gone in with several others and gotten a VIP table with bottle service.

I think Amanda and I danced most of the night, and I’m not even going to lie when I say I don’t think either of us really knew what we were dancing to most of the time. It didn’t matter. We had a blast anyway.  Then we went out for much-needed pancakes afterward, because who doesn’t need carbs at 2 or 3am??

I miss times like that, particularly when life seems to continue to throw a series of blows – one right after the next. But, memories like SpyBar make me smile, and no – it isn’t because we “met” Roger. In fact, we didn’t!  There was a velvet rope surrounding the DJ platform that we didn’t dare cross, and even when Amanda attempted to toss him one of our Daily Duranie wristbands – he basically threw it aside.  Chances are, he didn’t even know what it was or who threw it. We stayed on our side of the rope and had fun anyway.

I’m not complaining that the band thinks they’re going to go into the studio this year but they don’t know when. Who really knows how long it might be before they tour again? I’m not mad that they’re taking time and doing their own thing this year, or doing corporate shows when they need. My life is so screwed up at the moment that I couldn’t necessarily get myself to a show even if it were in my own backyard. (Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point!)  That doesn’t mean I don’t miss all of the fun that comes along with the gigs and road trips and live music.  Sure, I could (and will) go see other bands this summer, but there’s something special about seeing Duran Duran with my friends.

Life is simpler on tour. Or at a DJ gig, as the case may be!

-R

 

 

From Wembley to Website – my family

Get out your Live from London DVD’s, everyone.

On this date in 2004, Duran Duran played at Wembley Arena in London. During their Reunion tour, they played Wembley five times in the month of April and first of May.

April 13, 14, 24, 30, May 1.

The shows were sold out (of course!) and, lucky for all of us whether we were there or weren’t smart enough to board a plane and get ourselves, there – we have the Live from London DVD to enjoy.

I wasn’t even there, and I still believe the shows were electric. The band was on fire, and these were moments to never forget. It is difficult to believe it has already been fourteen years since those Wembley Arena shows. Sometimes I feel like I just blinked and ended up in 2018. Other times, I think about all that has happened.

In 2004, I was a fan but I barely knew a soul. I hadn’t even really been  to more shows than I could count on one hand. I didn’t have fellow Duran fans as friends, and trust me – blogging wasn’t even on the radar. I knew nothing about fandom other than I felt really silly about admitting that at one point, I’d spend entire afternoons scouring magazines for pictures and information about Duran Duran, or that I mapped out my entire bedroom so that I could plan how I was going to rearrange my posters. In 2004, I regained my sanity by joining a message board, and making friends with people that had NO problem admitting that they too, loved Duran Duran.

I write about it all the time – and every single time I do, someone responds, thanking me for writing the words they couldn’t. Before I joined Duranduranfans.com – I was isolated. My world consisted of taking my two kids (who are now nearly 19 and 21…and have a younger sibling who is about to turn 10!) to and from school. My socializing consisted of the ten minutes before and after school where I would stand and chat with other parents outside of the classroom.  I didn’t have friends, I didn’t “do lunch” (I still really don’t do any of that OC “ladies who lunch” crap. My real friends don’t live here and I’m pretty proud of that, actually.) Even so, I can honestly say my life was pretty damn dismal at the time. I should have been very happy – I had two beautiful kids, I was going to school, which I enjoy – but I wasn’t. I didn’t feel satisfied.

(I still have work to do)

I was looking for something. Anything. I needed a hobby, an interest…(and probably a job but we’re not going to talk about that) I felt SO unsatisfied with my life. For crying out loud, I was the president of my local MOMS Club, and then became an Area Coordinator for them purely out of boredom. I needed something. It was by luck that I found DDF, and that I was even brave enough to begin posting there.

The first women who were there (and yes, it was all women for quite some time) – Robin, RovOstrov & JTDuran, they’re the first people I really “met” online. They made it OK for me to be a Duranie again. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough because what they really did was teach me that it was perfectly OK for me to be ME. In a lot of ways, they saved me, or at least they helped me to save myself.

The only way I can even sort of describe how I felt that year was to ask you to imagine being thirsty and finding a natural spring somewhere. At first, you ask yourself whether or not you should even drink the water. I mean, you might get sick, right? But then, you convince yourself that since it’s a spring – chances are minimal and it’s probably healthier than the tap water you’re drinking at home. So you take a tentative sip. You sit back and let the coolness wash over you. I mean, you can feel that water hit your belly as you swallow and it feels great. So you drink more. Before you know it, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and filling up your water jug. You’re contemplating how you might be able to take more of it home with you because that water is so good you’re never going to be able to go back to just having tap water ever again.

Finding this community was just like that. No, it’s not perfect and yes, the people have changed a lot. Even so, it’s home for me. It isn’t purely about the band, or about the message boards, and it isn’t even about this blog so much as it is that this is my family.

Not that long ago, I tweeted to Dom that he had been around so long that he was a part of this crazy family whether he liked it or not.  It is true. We don’t all get along, and we haven’t all been fans for 40 years – but we’re a family. It takes all of us, from the band, the touring band, roadies, and management to fans, bloggers, website owners and everyone else in between – to make this fan community a family. Through good times, and really bad ones, it’s home.

-R

Happy Duranie Anniversary to Me!

Around this time every year, I celebrate my Duranie anniversary.  In 1984, around April, I fell in love with the song and the video for the Reflex.  Since then, I use the song’s release as the official date for the beginning of my fandom.  That’s right.  It means that I can now say that I’ve been a fan, a Duranie since 1984, for 34 years.  Ouch.  That makes me feel old.  Today, then, as part of my celebration, I am going to post songs, videos, pictures or whatever that I love connected to this crazy fandom of mine.

Let’s start with my favorite song from a tour I adored:

The Paper Gods Tour, on the other hand, was simply amazing for so many reasons.  Here are a few highlights:

Speaking of New Moon on Monday, let’s include a couple of my favorite videos!

I always enjoy screaming for these two!

And these two!

 

Of course, my fandom has brought amazing times.  Sometimes, when I am really lucky, the moments are both amazing and amusing.

The best part of fandom, though, is friendship.

I suppose, as I end this little mini-celebration, it would be logical to acknowledge the video that solidified my fan status.

34 years and counting!

-A

Can’t Tell the Real from Reflection

I wonder how many Duran Duran lyrics we have used in blog posts.  We have written a LOT of blog posts so it would be many.  More than many.  Why this lyric?  Why this title?  Simple.  I have started a period of reflection.  I don’t think I would be overstepping to say that Rhonda, too, is reflecting.  This is pretty normal after a big project finishes.

Just to catch people up.  Last weekend, I was at the National Popular Culture Conference, presenting our research on female fandom.  Since then, we have received quite a lot of feedback through Facebook, Twitter, this blog and even our email.  In fact, we have received so much feedback that I haven’t even responded to everyone.  I had hoped to spend time this week doing just that, but it has been an extremely busy one both with work but also plans and appointments.  Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty tired.  Despite being so busy, I have begun to think about next steps and where to go from here.  Rhonda and I have begun some initial conversations as well.  I know that I cannot possible take all weekend to reflect  due to other responsibilities, but I do plan to take at least a couple of concentrated hours for this purpose.

So what exactly will I be thinking about?  First, I want to think about where Rhonda and I should go as far as our book/research projects.  Funny enough, we suffer, in some ways, from having too many possible angles to pursue.  Of course, I will take into consideration all of the responses we got back on the presentation.  Overall, we received lots of positive feedback, including from experts at the conference.  Beyond that, I will think about what we are most interested in and passionate about as well as what might be most important to share in today’s climate and society.

Second, we need to think about how this blog will fit into the picture.  In some ways, the blog has served its initial purpose.  Thus, what is its purpose now?  What should it be?  How do we best fit this with our other projects?  Which one is being prioritized?  I know that there are dedicated readers (which we are extremely grateful for) and I know that new readers find us all the time. For that reason, among others, we plan to continue the blog in some way, shape or form.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how does all of this fit into our fandom?  This is an area that we have struggled to figure out for years.  Yes, we are fans.  We love Duran.  There is no denying of that. Yet, we are more than that.  We chose to also study fandom as academics, as researchers because we wanted to understand ourselves and other fans.  Some people love us when we are fans and hate us when we are academics and vice versa.  Yet, we recognize that we are both and want to continue being both.  The question then is how to both well at the same time.

One thing I know, for sure, my recent presentation has had one very significant affect.  It kick started my brain.  Time is now needed to process it all.

-A