Category Archives: personal stories

Biographies, Memoirs and Life Lessons

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. (I suppose those last two are really sort of the same…)  Normally, I’m a romance reader, but lately I’ve grown sick of them.  One can only live in fantasy for so long, I suppose.  So now I’m living vicariously through others!  So far, I’ve read things from George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Ron Paul, (you may think you see a theme, but it’s just that I haven’t finished reading all of my books yet…I have plenty from the left side of the aisle to get through!!!), Rick Springfield, Portia DeRossi, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey.  As I said, I still have quite a few more to either start or finish – and yes, I read more than one at a time.  I can only read so much about politics before my head starts hurting.  It’s been eye-opening on more than one occasion, and yes, it’s even changed the way I feel about some people.  That seems to be a sort of recurring theme in my life as of late.  It’s as though the assumptions I’d made regarding people have had to go a sort of re-tune now that I’m older. (I say that because most of the books I’ve read lately have been about people that I’d grown up admiring, or arguing with while they were on various TV talk shows and or news programs!)  Duran Duran should really be included in that list.

It’s no secret that their current situation has probably made any fan really think.  I must admit that writing a book about the fan base has given me plenty to consider, and in some respects I think it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d never given any thought.  For instance, once upon a time, I never really thought much about what went on behind the scenes.  All I cared about is what I saw onstage, or heard on a CD.  I never really considered the various walks of life their fans came from, I never really thought about how each of our cultures helps to “train” us to be different types of fans.  I thought that fans were fans.  We all want the same thing, we all react the same way (basically).  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The biggest example of how different we all react has to be the postponed UK and European shows.  I don’t have an interest in rehashing the reactions, I just want to acknowledge that they exist.  My writing partner wrote a blog over the weekend that created much buzz on Facebook.  Not all of it was positive.  Many reacted the way I would have expected, but some reacted with complete anger and frustration.  I don’t know that I would have anticipated that.  The motive behind the blog topic was simply to ask “What If”; while many had no trouble commenting on how they would feel – regardless of what those feelings were – still others were incensed that the question was even asked.  Initially, that upset me because, as I explained on Facebook – this is a BLOG.  It’s about opinions, it’s about presenting topics and allowing discussion.  Comment all you would like on whether you agree or disagree, but to comment on the topics chosen seemed to be counterproductive.  As the day wore on, however, I realized that the anger behind our topic has far more to do with not being willing to even discuss the possibility.  I need to respect that, and I do.  I may not necessarily agree, but the fact is – we’re all fans.  In as much as I know that Amanda meant no harm in expressing her feelings about the subject at hand; I also recognize that the comments weren’t meant to harm her, or her thoughts specifically.  Let’s be honest, none of us want to be talking about the demise of the band.  Real, imagined, or otherwise.  I think we all can agree on that.

For me personally, I’ve reached a point in my life where on one hand, I have to give people credit for putting themselves out there, doing the hard work, having an opinion, or just plain being good people – and for the most part – I do believe people are good.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten to a point where I refuse to put up with the, well, B.S. (for lack of a better way of describing!)  My friends take me as I am, and I take others as they are – and if I can’t, I won’t.  I think that I’ve stopped caring about trying to be what other people want.  I have the luxury of being a mostly private citizen – I don’t put myself up for public scrutiny in the same way that the band might.  I recognize that for Duran Duran and the plethora of other bands and celebrities out there, their livelyhoods depend very much on what we think, and what we want.  I don’t envy them for that.  There must be a very fine line on which they must balance, and while a good part of me says “Who the hell cares – they should put out the music they like!”, another part of me recognizes that business is business.  They employ a good many people who count on them, and they do have the right to make music that will sell, even if I don’t personally enjoy their work.

I don’t envy the band, celebrities or even my favorites from the 80’s Brat Pack years in much the same way I don’t envy any of our politicians, which is one thing I’ve learned from all of my reading.  I don’t have to like their choices, but I must give them credit – because I’m mighty comfortable being an armchair critic!

-R

 

How Will the End Be?

Before I begin this post, I must be honest about something.  I have been pretty emotional lately, but today I have reached the peak of heightened emotionality.  Today was the last day of school for me.  As a teacher, this day is always an emotional one but this year feels all the more so.  On this day, we not only say goodbye to our students, most of whom we have grown fond of, but also to colleagues who are moving on to other jobs or adventures.  It is a double whammy on any given year but today is at least a triple whammy as I said goodbye to many close colleagues and more as I am facing career changes myself.  I’m not sure exactly what those changes will be but I know that there will be some.  This lead an overly emotional me to ponder the end.  In this case, today is the end of the school year.  For some, it is the end to their teaching careers.  For others, it is the end of an era as significant changes are taking place at my school.  I have always found teaching to be a very strange career in the sense that we have very clear beginnings, middles and ends to every year.  At the end, there are always people leaving.  In the beginning of the year, new people come.  The school year has these decisive bookends.  In many ways, Duran has had the same type of thing.

Duran Duran’s career is marked by various “eras” that go along with albums.  They have often made these eras more defined themselves.  For example, for the Red Carpet Massacre era, they played an electro set and had Jackson Pollack/military uniforms to perform in.  The websites always take on new looks with each passing era.  Many of the fans have noticed this happening and have taken to dividing up Duran’s history in the same fashion.  How many times have fans discussed their favorite time in Duran’s history and heard something along the line of, “I really liked Astronaut and the reunion days” or “My favorite time was during Rio and those videos filmed in Sri Lanka.”  We, as fans, really understand this cycle of separate eras and have learned that Duran’s typical fashion has been to write an album, make some videos of songs on that album, play a certain tour with a certain look and setlist until that new album and everything that goes along with it are played out.  Then, there might be a little action in between the next album, but, generally, Duran and the fans experience downtime.  Then, it starts all over again with a new album.

This process of having defined eras is similar to what I experience as a teacher.  It seems to me that other jobs aren’t like that.  Changes move through at various times and in various degrees.  People come and go whenever.  There is not the sense that the process stops and takes a break.  I was watching a close colleague of mine say goodbye to people today as she begins her retirement and I thought to myself that she must have always known how the end of her career would be.  She always knew that she would end on the last day of class on a day when everyone is leaving, to some extent.  She was able to leave at the natural end of one year before the beginning of the next.  There were no loose ends and no one needed to come in and finish some element of her job.  I envy that.  I, too, hope that I am able to leave in such a fashion, during a natural break.  I guess I always figured that is how Duran would end as well. 

When I was a kid and thought about how Duran might end (probably says a lot about me as a kid if I was thinking about something so…upsetting), I assumed that they would end in between one of their clearly defined eras.  They would finish the whole cycle with an album from writing and releasing the album and touring for it.  Then, they would just cease to continue this process.  No new album would be made and it was be a subtle goodbye.  There would be no dramatic exit and that the fans might not even notice it.  This idea became more and more reinforced as the years went by and as Duran took longer and longer in between releases.  I figured that they was preparing the fans for the bound-to-happen-sometime end.  We would get so used to long times in between eras that we wouldn’t even notice when they weren’t working at all.  Plus, as the years went on, it was more and more clear that Duran had staying power, which meant to me that they weren’t going to end in some dramatic argument like other bands.  It would be more subtle than that.  I also figured that members who tend to be a bit more controlling (*ahemNickahem*) would prefer to end when one project was completely done.  I even figured that they might be so happy with how well something went down that they didn’t feel the need to do more or that they thought everything went so badly that it was time to end it.  Thus, I always get a major sense of relief when a new album is actually coming out.  To me, it translated to the band continuing. 

Now, I’m not so sure that this is how the band will end.  Simon’s voice struggles have made me realize that it might not be so clean, so subtle.  It might not be a gradual fade from our collective consciousness.  The end might be in the middle of a project.  It might be dramatic and horribly painful.  Instead of being a slow quiet death, it could be so quick that it leaves us all shaken to the core.  Obviously, the end of anything human can end in a quiet, calm way or in a screaming, frantic way.  I guess I wished that Duran would go quietly (and much, much, MUCH later) and while we were all sleeping rather than quickly with a lot of screaming and crying about how it wasn’t time yet.  Both cause pain but one kind of pain is subtle and the other is sharp and deep. 

As I face the next couple of months filled with uncertainty about both my future and also the band’s, I think it is best to try to prepare myself for whatever may come next.  I will obviously wish for something bright, positive and wonderful on all fronts and will do whatever I can to reach that, but will also try to come to grips with the unknown, including how the end will be.

-A

It’s gonna be a short one…

So today is one of those days where my real life is severely intruding into my online presence.  I have several places to be, things to do…and only one of me to be present and do them all with.  It’s the one thing I dislike about being a parent (ok, there may be several things, but this one is in the top 10 for sure!).  My husband travels quite a bit for work – this week it is Taiwan, and I feel for him because it’s hot, sticky and he’s working a trade show.  (I ruined your game again, Jessica!)  Anyway, tonight is Open House for my son (not sure if everyone knows what that means but basically I go and visit his classroom.  He’s in 6th grade, last year at his present school, so it’s a big deal.) At the same time that Open House starts, I must also be dropping off my oldest for her rehearsals – she’s in a musical called Anything Goes that opens here in a few weeks.  This morning, I have to drop that same child off at school which is a good 25 minute drive from the house, and be back here in time to take my son to school because he has to carry not only his backpack, but a major school project, along with 50 cookies for tonight’s festivities.  Did I mention that my oldest notoriously runs late,and I do mean LATE, for everything??

*sigh*

That’s just today.  Tomorrow I somehow have to get her to her voice lessons, a beach party and be back home in time to see my husband get home from his business trip.

I really need 4 more of me.  🙂

So, I’m writing this blog at 6:37 am California time, and hoping that I don’t run out of steam before I can get this house cleaned and back into shape so that it looks like I’ve actually done something while my husband has been gone. (because to be honest – the house has been the last thing I’ve thought about!)

I wish I had Duran news to share with you all, but I really do not.  It’s been very quiet on that front.  I don’t suppose there’s really much they can say until Simon is able to sing again, and unfortunately, none of us knows when that will be.  One thing that has struck me through all of this: each of us reads the situation entirely differently.  We all process it differently.  I think that has everything to do with why there are so many threads on so many message boards about it.  Each one of us posts something different, we read it differently, and are completely shocked when other people don’t see it the same way.  Then there are the people who are willing to sit back and wait it all out without saying a word.  Those people are probably more than annoyed at the rest of us who are trying to process it all by talking it over, guessing about what/when/where Simon will sing again.  The in-fighting that is going on right now on the boards is something akin to what it’s like just before an album is released.  I dare say it borders on frustration…and you all can decide for yourselves what type of frustration it is!   So, I’ve decided to steer clear of the boards, and really for the most part I’m trying to just move on with life in general.  It’s easier for me to focus my attention on something else rather than sit back and wait for the band to announce something.  I don’t want to think about it all, I guess.  That doesn’t really stop me from thinking, some might even say I overthink things, but I try.

Did you hear that Georgie Davies is likely to be really coming out???  😀

Hilarious, really.

-R

All Things Duran Are Worth It?

Today is travel day for us at the Daily Duranie.  It feels like we have been talking and planning about this trip for years when it has only been months!  Yet, we are now down to less than a day before we arrive in the UK after a long day and night of traveling.  The travel plan makes me question the motto Rhonda and I have, which is the title of this blog.  I am working today–teaching the young people of my city.  Then, I drive a few hours down to Chicago where I will then take a lengthy overnight flight to London.  Once meeting up at Rhonda’s terminal, we hop into a car to take us to Birmingham.  It already sounds exhausting and I haven’t even begun to think about the jet lag!  This day will be the beginning of our 9 day tour/trip.  This trip is an extremely ambitious one and definitely the biggest one I have ever done in the name of Duran Duran.  In fact, I know that I have done many, many, many things for them and because of them but this trip takes the cake.  In many ways, I still can’t believe that I’m doing this!  Yet, I have fought long and hard to make this trip happen and nothing is going to stand in my way.

When the rumors of these UK dates came out, thanks to some radio interview with Mr. LeBon, Rhonda and I discussed it as we often do with any sort of tour rumor.  It was clear that we both wanted to go to these shows but I wasn’t sure whether or not I could leave work.  I, initially, thought I could make it into a long weekend and a few shows, depending on when they were as I am in a job that isn’t super flexible, to say the least, when it comes to time away.  At that point, I began my investigation of how I could do this trip with work.  It sounded super easy from the people I spoke with and I felt confident that we could do this tour.  Then, the dates were announced and immediately people discussed their desire to go for the Birmingham show and the London show.  This meant that I would be away from work for a week, which is unheard of!!!!  As most Duranies know, we had about 17 hours from that announcement to the presale.  It was hardly enough time to get work sorted out completely, but I was confident.  Thus, I purchased tickets 17 hours later.  I filled out the necessary paperwork at work and talked with my supervisor.  I believed myself good to go.  Then, on February 11th, bombs of sorts was dropped.

I was denied my request on February 11th.  Not only was I denied but I was denied without a reason.  Crushed, yet determined, I grieved a little and regrouped with a plan to appeal, which would have been challenging enough but…the rest of the world invaded.  I live in a state whose governor decided to go after me and others like me.  Like hundreds of thousands of others, I felt like I had to fight.  Yet, I felt like I was fighting on two fronts.  For a long time, I felt like I was winning with the state government and losing at work.  Then, it would switch and switch again.  I was an emotional roller coaster, experiencing almost every emotion possible within a 18 hour day.  Yet, I continued to fight.  I felt like I had no choice.  After almost two months, both situations calmed down, but with different results.  I, finally, got word from work that my 118th appeal (joke but not by much) for a week’s leave was finally approved.  I thought that I would be overjoyed.  Instead, I just felt relief and exhaustion.  I think Rhonda felt the same way as her trip was on the line in many ways, too.  On the other front, I lost and many others lost, too.  Voted were taken (perhaps illegally) and new contracts were signed.  Rights were taken away and a significant pay cut is in my future.  In many ways, these events broke me.  Politically, I tried to give a little more energy but feeling completely burned out on that front.  Hopeless, really, which upsets me more than almost anything else.  My governor and his allies took away more than my rights and my salary but sucked the life out of my fighting spirit, which means so much more than I can express.  It has everything to do with who I am and with what I do.

This trip is a strange one for me.  On many occasions, reality has threatened this trip from work to politics to finances.  All of those elements of reality have said to me that I shouldn’t be doing this trip.  It isn’t logical.  Yet, I desperately need some fun and escape and there is nothing better for me than Duran and a tour.  Of course, it is also about fulfilling a dream–to see them in Birmingham and to increase the motivation and more to finish our book.  Now, of course, we need to deal with the LeBon factor.  This is when I start to think about our motto about how everything Duran is worth it.  I wonder.  Are they worth the stress that comes with traveling and traveling to such a distance?  Are they worth the cost, especially when facing an uncertain financial future?  I’m forced to say that they are.  Why?  For me, I’m hoping that this trip reminds me that there still is something good in the world.  I’m hoping that I experience nothing but fun.  I’m hoping that I meet wonderful people who are filled with life.  I know that my friendships will be renewed and feel strongly that my motivation to finish the book will be high.  I’m also really hoping that it can renew my energy and my spirit.

-A

Appreciation

Today is Mother’s Day in America. This is the day that we show our appreciation of our mothers by, typically, showering them with gifts, flowers and meals out at a restaurant. Later, I will be joining my mother for dessert, which is what she wanted to do. I have to admit that I think my mom is pretty fabulous. In fact, I would have to say that I’m pretty lucky when it comes to my family, my mother in particular.

I think I always knew that my mom was cooler than some mothers when I was a kid. I became a Duranie as a young kid. In fact, I always claim my anniversary as the day that the Reflex became number one because that was the song that had me hooked for life. I was 8, almost 9 at the time. Like many kids, I became addicted and wanted to show this addiction in many ways, including buying their albums and singles, wearing t-shirts and nightshirts, and wallpapering my bedroom with their posters. My mom accepted all of this without question. She never complained when literally all four walls of my bedroom were covered with Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Andy. There were no statements about turning down Seven and the Ragged Tiger. My house became the location of the Friday Night Videos sleepovers. My best friend at the time would call each other up whenever we saw a video being played on MTV and my mom never became annoyed with the frequent calls. My mom accepted all of this. As the years moved along, she began to do more than just accept it.

One thing I always appreciated about my mom was that she asked questions about what I was interested in. She wanted to know and appreciate what I was into. Thus, she not only listened to me go on and on about the guys, the songs, the videos but would ask questions. She acted like she was curious herself! This was so reinforcing to me and made my fandom seem acceptable, normal. As the years went on, my mom started to learn some of the songs and began to recognize who was who. In fact, my dad always asks about who is who when Duran is on their TV, for whatever reason, and my mom is typically the one to provide the information. Now, when I tell my mom about an appearance on TV, she tunes in and will actually tell me what she thinks! Likewise, I played AYNIN is for her. Last weekend, she asked me how the album was doing because she “really likes the new songs”. I got the biggest smile on my face! I answered her question calmly but inside I was beaming. Of course, my mom has gone above and beyond this as she had created various pieces of art to help me to express my fandom, including fabric art pieces to represent songs or the logo to our blog!

In less than 2 weeks, my parents will be driving me and my friend,Deb,to O’Hare for us to board a plane to London. As I tried to make my decision about whether or not to go to the UK, my mom encouraged me to go. She has joined me in my various shopping trips and listened to my excitement over all of the little details. I’m sure that she will be as thrilled to hear my stories and see my pictures when I get back.

I’m sure by now you all get the point. My mom is pretty fabulous, especially when it comes to my fandom. She has accepted and encouraged it. She has supported me all the way and I suspect that she will continue to do so as Rhonda and I continue to write this blog and finish our book. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!!

-A

It’s May 2nd!

I had a completely different blog planned for today, as it turns out.  I should really remember not to plan blogs in advance, because every single time I do – something happens and I end up not being able to use the idea.  In this case, I was planning to do a blog about social networking based on a short interview that John and Roger did just after their show at SXSW earlier this spring.  I’d read the interview yesterday, and was writing out a bit of an outline last night when we got the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Talk about changing the game.  Wow.  I guess I wasn’t really expecting that sort of news – and definitely not on a Sunday evening, the first of May in the year 2011.  That’s when things happen though, when you least expect them.  I guess it makes life interesting if nothing else.

It’s been a long nearly 10 years since 9/11 for me.  As regular readers know, I live on the west coast in California, not too entirely far from where John Taylor lives.  He’ll occasionally post pictures of the sunset in his backyard and I’ll chuckle because it’s the same sunset – just a different side of it (I live farther south near the coast).  The pictures are the same, yet just a little different.  It’s all in the point of view. So, I’m pretty far removed from the site of 9/11, yet there was a girl from my town who was killed on that day just because she was on one of the planes that flew into the twin towers.  Her name was Lisa Frost, and her father Tom and I spoke on more than one occasion after LIsa had died.  At that time, I was the president of my local MOMS Club chapter (it’s a club/support network for stay at home moms and their children), and he was a speaker for an event that we were supporting.   He was a very nice man whose life was, at the time, very much destroyed from losing his daughter on that fateful day.  We ran into each other a few times over those next few years, and with each time I saw him he seemed to be doing better and more resolved than the last meeting.  We have a small lake in our town that I occasionally will take walks around, and at the lake there is a tree and monument that was dedicated to Lisa.  Each year on 9/11 i’ll go to visit that tree, and since that first year after 9/11 the amount of cards, flowers and notes has gotten smaller and smaller on each anniversary.  I suppose that happens in time – people move on, lives change, and yes, I think to some degree people tend to forget.  I’ve since lost touch with Mr. Frost, as tends to happen, but I often think of him and his wife – and I have to wonder how he must have felt when he heard the news last night.

As soon as the reports came out about Bin Laden’s death – and believe it or not I first heard of it on Twitter, of course I was elated, and maybe felt even a little bit of validation and closure for Lisa – a girl I’d never known but whose life touched me all the same.  Almost immediately after that first sense of emotion though, I grew wary.  It was clear that once again, our lives were changing right before our eyes.  CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and a handful of stations that I don’t even normally watch began their broadcasts of President Obama’s speech, and I appreciated that he was very matter of fact rather than exuberant.  This news wasn’t about gloating, it wasn’t about bragging, and it definitely wasn’t about celebrating.  This man, Osama Bin Laden, is the image of evil for many.  It’s the source of nightmares.  I would imagine that if you asked someone in line for security at any airport in America (or perhaps even the world) why they had to wait to be screened by security, and what image comes into their head first, Bin Laden’s face would be among the most mentioned.  The announcement last night was about justice, pure and simple.

My own thoughts on the subject are completely irrelevant here since this is a blog about living as a Duranie, but even this worldly event has everything to do with Duran Duran.  They are in the middle of a tour.  Some might even say it’s just the beginning.  They are planning to go to many places on this spectacular planet of ours, and many more fans than I could possibly count are looking forward to their chance to sway in the mood, reach up for the sunrise, be those notorious fans, and live like wild boys/girls.  It’s alarming to think that while all of that could be happening, there are still plenty of other people on this planet that would love for nothing better than to play out their own evil as a type of revenge and retaliation.

In just over two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for Heathrow.  Don’t think I haven’t considered what could happen.  The reality is – ANYTHING  could happen.  I could be hit by a car tomorrow – and if my time is up, it’s up.  That doesn’t stop the anxiety beast in me from thinking overtime though.  (I’m human!)  I have three children that desperately need their mother.  No, it’s true – their father, as wise as he is – can’t seem to remember that children do need dinner from time to time, much less make sure they get to all of their normal activities and to bed by before say – 3am. *sigh*  Those kids need me!  I myself have a future filled with first days of school, graduations, proms, homecomings, first days of college, graduations from college, an empty nest (and a clean house someday!), and maybe even weddings and grandchildren one day.  I hope to live to see all of that in a way my father wasn’t given the chance to finish.  Terrorists be damned.

So yes, I worry.  I’m a worrier by nature if you haven’t noticed.  It’s right up there with planning for me.  Living in the moment is something I do only occasionally….at Duran Duran concerts.  🙂   I will be on that plane headed to London on May 20th, and if some stupid hijacker decides that day is his day – it won’t be good for him.  I will not live my life in fear, nor should any of us.  Too many people died on that day, September 11, 2001, and many days subsequent, for any of us to live in fear.

Sure, this is just a blog about a band – and it might be trivial to worry about a terrorist attack that would ruin my trip (or anyones for that matter), but isn’t that really what it all comes down to?  Don’t we all just want to be able to live?  We just want to be able to go to the grocery store without worrying that some crazy person has a bomb attached to them.  We just want to go to the movies without some guy leaving his car, filled with manure, propane and shrapnel waiting to go off.   Talk about living in the moment – well, that’s the moment.

-R

It’s Personal

First, I must apologize for the lateness of this blog entry.  Today’s my birthday and I had been out with friends and was at work before that.  Second, I had an entry all planned out in my head but have decided to scrap that one for today.  I might write about it tomorrow or Sunday, though.  I don’t know why days like this make me emotional, but they do.  Is it because people make a big deal out of birthdays?  Is it because it represents the stopping of one year and the starting of the next?  Is that I had a couple of drinks?  Is it because last weekend I was at Duran shows and in three weeks I’ll be on a plane to London?  Is it all of the above?  Probably.

I have to admit that I have been processing everything that was last weekend still.  I keep thinking about the shows, the drive, the interactions with others and more.  I have been accused once or twice in my life of over thinking and I’m sure I’m guilty of it now.  Yet, sometimes, thinking helps to make decisions, draw conclusions and move on.  Here is the conclusion I have drawn since last weekend.  I’m not inviting anyone else in.  You are probably thinking that you have no freaking idea of what the heck I’m talking about.  Let me explain and maybe, you, too, can relate.

When I first started touring and going to Duran functions, I wanted to meet as many people as I could!  For one thing, I wanted to share my excitement, my love for the band with other people who understood.  Heck, isn’t that why a lot of us sought out message boards in the modern era and penpals back in the day?  I was really lucky to have met Rhonda early on in my touring life.  Although, looking back on it, maybe I wasn’t as I think she spoiled me for life.  As I was saying, the other part of meeting fellow Duranies was to find people to go to shows with.  I figured that I could always go alone but it would not be the same or as fun.  Therefore, over the course of many years now, I have attended shows with a variety of people.  Some of these people are very much like me in my fandom and others, not at all.  Last weekend, I attended my two shows with 3 people I wasn’t sure of as I didn’t really know or understand their Duranie status. 

I believe that all 3 of those people had a good time.  Nothing super dramatic or problematic happened with any of them.  Yet, I have found myself with a burning desire to narrow the group of people I attend shows with.  (I still really want to meet other fans, though!!!!)  Why?  If there wasn’t a problem and people had a good time, why would I limit myself?  Why would I want that?  I want that because it’s personal.  The thing about Duran Duran for me is that they aren’t just another band.  I’m not just a fan of theirs.  There is something more, something deeper.  Obviously, I have made a commitment to this fandom in a much different way than someone who attends their hometown show when the band comes around.  I write this blog and I’m working on a book.  My vacations are tours or to visit other friends that I have met because of the band.  I’m not saying that I’m a bigger or better fan than the new people I went with or than the people who go to hometown shows, but I am different.  I can’t and shouldn’t expect people to be like me.  At the same token, I also need to feel safe in my fandom on tour. 

I feel like I have taken risks every time someone new enters my touring world.  I’ll be really honest here.  Some of the people that were, at one point, part of my Duranie world are no longer.  I have been hurt by many of these situations whether it is that the person used me or whether it was because the person wasn’t being truthful.  I am tired of trying to explain my fandom.  I’m tired of being worried about whether or not I will be treated well and whether or not I will be uncomfortable in any given situation on tour.  I don’t want to spend my time worrying about those issues when I could and should be enjoying a show or shows.  I don’t know how long this will last and I want to be able to really enjoy it while I can.  I want to go to shows with people who get it and get me or can at least appreciate where I’m coming from.  This is personal to me and I’m tired of feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Likewise, I can imagine that non-Duranies would have as much fun doing some of the things I do on tour. 

I know that this probably sounds incredibly vague and I apologize for this.  Let me try to put a twist on it with concrete terms that I think might make more sense.  I was willing to stand in line and in GA for hours last weekend to get a decent spot for the Chicago show.  Not everyone is.  I get that.  If I try to force someone to do that in order to go with me, it probably won’t go too well.  Maybe it will go okay once or twice but after awhile, true feelings with come out.  Maybe then the other person will go but start to feel bitter or resentful.  Maybe I will, too, because I don’t know why someone isn’t enjoying this as much as I am.  Maybe I will feel judged for loving it the way I do.  Maybe I’ll judge them.  It isn’t good for anyone. 

Therefore, I, now, think I will stick to those people I have attended shows with and have had a good time with.  I want to be with people who understand how much all of this means to me or can appreciate it.  I want to feel comfortable and not worried about when it will all fall apart.  I need some security and I need to be able to trust the people I attend shows with. 

-A

Happy Birthday Roger!

Roger Taylor was not my first crush, as it turns out.  That title is held by none other than Shaun Cassidy.  I think I was probably about seven, maybe even six years old when I decided that yes, Shaun was the man for me.  I had posters up on my wall, all of his record albums and read every magazine I could get my hands on that had articles of Shaun in them.  Sunday nights?  They were spent watching The Hardy Boys on TV, and yes – I even read the Hardy Boys books.  Then one day I heard he got married.  I was furious!  How DARE he forget about me!!  I calmly took his posters off of my wall – handed them to my younger sister for her viewing pleasure, simply stopped listening to his albums, and moved on to Rick Springfield.  My affair with Rick was intense, yet shortlived.  I collected his posters and pictures with care, I rocked out to Jessie’s Girl and I’ve Done Everything for You…and I loved his dog, too.  Somewhere along the line though – and perhaps even simultaneously, I heard Planet Earth.  Then I saw the video…and then I heard and saw Rio, and watched that video.  That, my friends, is what began my love for the drummer.   Below are some of my Roger memories from over the years.

There was something about him that just drew me in.  I’ll admit it, I go for brunettes.  The brown eyes, the olive skin?  Yep…it all works.  I liked the fact that he seemed quiet and shy because I could easily identify with that.  I loved the fact that he mumbled the words to ITSISK in the video and turned away from the camera – because I would have done it exactly the same way!  I think that I also loved that aside from the occasional eyeliner, Roger didn’t seem to wear much makeup.  I guess I like ’em masculine, although eyeliner works really well for me.  It was within the first 30 seconds of seeing Planet Earth that I proclaimed Roger to be my future husband, and I meant it with every fiber of my 11 year old self.  Age difference?  What’s 10 years among friends??   The fact that I wasn’t a supermodel?  EH.   I might not have the smokey sex appeal of a size 0 supermodel, but I was no slouch.  I’d learn, dammit!   Thus began the plastering of posters on my wall and the silent pleas with whatever god was listening that he bring Roger to me.  Yes, one year I really did ask Santa for Roger.  Santa laughed, damn him.  I never did decide if Santa was laughing because of my crazy request, or because I was probably about 13 at the time, making a trip back to Santa’s lap after a few years of absence just to see if it’d work!   It wasn’t very long after that request though that I heard some horrible news:  Roger was getting married.  MARRIED.  My friends consoled me as I pouted over the news.  I suppose a part of me wished for his happiness, and I recognized that simply due to the fact that he’d never met me – he had to move on.  *please read my BIG dramatic, teenage girl sigh right HERE*   Of course, that was only the beginning of the heartbreaks the man would provide me with for the next few years.  Naturally we all know that Roger left Duran Duran after Live Aid, which for me was the ultimate betrayal.  I was gutted and furious at the same time.  In a fit I know I tore at least one of his pictures off of my wall (yes, Andy came down as well!), but in time, I just grew to miss him.  I never cared whether he was the best drummer or the worst drummer the band had ever had – the fact was, he was *my* drummer.  I did learn to accept his absence, although I always wondered whatever happened.

As we all know, in 2003 – a miracle happened (at least for me!) and the band reunited.  Here is the funny thing – when duranduran.com first put up the splash page they used to announce the reunion, I honestly wasn’t positive which one was Roger.  I had to go through the photos one by one – obviously recognizing Simon, Nick and then John, which left two photos.  I couldn’t be sure which one was Roger.  “Awesome” (to be very Californian) fan, huh?  😀   Naturally I did figure it out eventually!   I went to the reunion shows, and finally was able to say that I saw the original 5 band members together.  A dream come true.

My next Roger “experience” was at the Virgin Megastores signing on Sunset in LA.  Up until then, I’d never been the type of fan to try and find them after shows, or go to hotels where I think they might be staying – that kind of thing always interested me, but I felt like at my age – what point would there really be?  By then I’d more than realized that while my husband has NO qualms about pronouncing my “hotness”, I definitely wasn’t rock star wife material.  I’m not   a size 0, my hair isn’t super long, I’m not gorgeous beyond all means…I’m not even sure you’d be able to pick me out of a crowd. (although my husband, bless him…says I’m the hottest Duran Duran fan around.  No, I’m not continually drugging him.  I’ll keep him!!)  In any case, I figured that this was the one and only chance I’d ever have at actually meeting the guys in any   kind of a situation that didn’t involve them being on a stage and my being many rows back.  As I approached Roger – he was seated last in line at the table – I swear my hands were shaking but I absolutely refused to allow myself to blow my moment and look like the desperate housewife I knew I probably was.  I smiled right at him, said thank you for doing the signing because I’d have never had the chance to “meet” him otherwise (and I seriously held up my hands and did the quote mark thing…good god…), and THEN…to finish up I told him that I’d been a fan since 1981 and that he had always been my favorite, and that he still was.  Then the floor opened up and swallowed me whole.  😀

Roger was kind enough to look at me, smile very nicely and say that was really sweet – and I think I believed he really meant it.  Then he saw my daughter Heather standing off to the side (at the time she was 7 and super cute – not that she isn’t still super cute, but she’s a teenager now – pigtails don’t really work the same way anymore!), he winked at her, told her to take good care of her mummy, and sent us on our way.

More recently, I did learn the fine art of hanging out at hotel bars with my friends – checking out the scene and if we were lucky, we’d see a band member show up.  One of those times was in Las Vegas, and Roger was the “lucky” band member of the evening.  I actually got a few smiles out of him that night, but I never once tried to approach him.  I’m not that bold, because while I know many, MANY people have been lucky enough to go up to him or any one of the band members for hugs – I wouldn’t dare.  I’d be the one they’d recoil back from, give a curt ‘no thank you’ to, and I’d be mortified, both at my boldness and at the result – and I am going to be honest, I think that would completely ruin me.  So, I watch others, think wistfully about what could be, and go away happy knowing that I didn’t create a scene, behave like “one of THOSE” fans, or…be rejected.   More power to those of you who have no issue.

You would think that by now, I’d have a drumstick or two.  He is my favorite band member to this day – although Dom Brown is an extremely close second.  (psst – he’s probably surpassed Roger most of the time, but Roger and I have “history” and that counts for something!  Don’t tell Roger!  Or my husband! *gasp*)  Sadly though, I do not have a drumstick OR a photo with him. (or any band member, actually)  There was one time though, that I was very close.  It was in New Orleans when they did the Voodoo Festival.  I can’t remember exactly how close we finally ended up to the stage, but given the crowd behind me – we were pretty close.  Maybe about 5th row?  Anyway, I had a sign specifically for Roger that I’d brought to a few shows since 2005.  I didn’t think there’d be a chance in hell he’d see it, but luck was in my favor that night and he did.  He motioned to me, asking if I wanted the drumstick, then he tossed it my way.  The girls in front of me even looked back to see me when I’d catch it, then this giant man next to me reached up, grabbed out of my reach and handed it to his wife.  I was shocked because I knew the stick was meant for me – but what do you do?  I know some fans who would have made an issue out of it, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me wanted to – but what good would it have really done, and of course – it’s just a drumstick.  I looked up at Roger and kind of wrinkled my nose and shrugged.  And he smiled at me, winked and mouthed “sorry”.  That totally trumped getting the drumstick and I’ll never forget it!!  

I know I’ve told that story, and probably all of these before, to friends or maybe even on the blog – but my personal experiences with these guys are pretty far and few in between, so these tend to stand out.  Sure, I’d love a stick one of these days – and maybe I’ll be lucky and get one, but if not – that memory serves it’s purpose.

Roger is still my favorite (or ONE of my favorites).  I know people who haven’t had the best run-ins with him, but I can say that about every single one of the band members at this point – including those who are no longer with the band.  That doesn’t excuse whatever happened, but my point is that they all share one blinding characteristic, and that is that they are all male, and all human.  They aren’t perfect, and based on what I’ve seen over my years of being a fan, they all have had their personal boundaries crossed by fans, sometimes several times over the course of any one evening.  I’ll bet they get tired of it, and you know – they have that right.  For example: I’m a mom, I know what goes into the job and yet I chose to have three children. I still get very annoyed when I have to get up over and over again during the night because my youngest refuses to sleep and wants to wander the house instead.  It’s not fun all the time, and yet I chose this life – just as they chose theirs.  I try to remember that although it’s not always easy.

Happy Birthday Roger.  I wish you the very, very best for many healthy and happy years ahead…and hey, if you want to try throwing me a drumstick again in say – Birmingham – I’ll try to catch it this time.  😀

-R

The Final Countdown

Tell me that you all aren’t hearing The Final Countdown by Europe playing in your heads….because I hear it in mine.  Wrong band, wrong blog….but I still really like the song! (I can’t help it.  The 80’s power ballads hold a dear spot in my heart and memory.  Sue me.)

It is Monday, April 25.  I have 25 days to go until I leave for England.  (I can also tell you the hours and minutes until my plane leaves…and yes, I really AM counting.)  Today, in the life of Rhonda, I dropped off my middle child – my son – for 6th grade Science Camp.  Science Camp, for those who don’t have kids or don’t partake in such events – is the very apex of being in elementary school here in Orange County.  You start hearing about it in kindergarten, and the big deal is that it’s an overnight thing.  Several “overnights” to be exact.  He left today and returns on Friday afternoon – likely exhausted and sleep deprived, no less.  (kind of like how we are after going to a DD show or two…)  His time finally arrived, and I’m happy to say – he made it on the bus and is on his way!  The even bigger deal about all of this, is that my son is on the Autistic spectrum.  He is extremely high functioning and well on his way to being a superior computer engineer (likely specializing in video gaming) someday.  However, not long ago – my son was a very depressed 7 year old.  We were in the process of getting his autism diagnosis and we were trying to get him help at school – which took forever.  Then he hit 4th grade, and everything seemed to get much, much worse.  He was ridiculed at school, both by his class and by his teacher.  He believed no one wanted him, loved him or cared about him except for me – those were his words, not mine.  His habitual side took over, and he was a child that chewed on everything he could get his hands on, and if he couldn’t chew it, he’d completely destroy it. (including each and every jet we have in our backyard hot tub – that took him 10 minutes to completely dismantle)  If he wasn’t chewing or destroying things, he was taking his anger out on his stuffed animals, completely beheading them, stabbing them and taking the stuffing out of them.  It was after I found those heaped in a pile in his room that I knew we needed help, fast.  After much counseling, a brand new school year with a new teacher and a lot of healing, I am thrilled and so extremely proud to say that he is my “easy” child, and he really, REALLY is.  I am going to miss him so much this week, but I can’t think of another kid that deserves this camp more, and I hope he has a fantastic week ahead.   Next up is my youngest’s third birthday.  Conversely, she is not my easy child right now.  I love her dearly, but she is embracing the age of three in all of it’s splendor.  I especially love when I tell her no and she screams directly in my face – only to have me start laughing in return.  (ah, to be the last of a long line of tantrum-throwers.  There’s not much left I haven’t had done to me, so nothing really phases mom much!)  The other night she had a completely epic tantrum after being told the last Easter Egg had already been dyed and we were finished.  I actually videotaped it for later use.  As blackmail.  🙂   The beauty of this birthday is that not only is it my little one’s special day, but it is also the very special day of my blogging partner Amanda!  Thank you for agreeing to share your birthday with my youngest, Amanda – do you still remember that fateful phone call 3 years ago??    She was actually supposed to be born on my sisters birthday – May 15, but due to an immense amount of stress that I was under (my dad had just been rushed to the hospital, and my blood pressure was through the roof), I had to have her early.  Amanda was the first person I called, both to wish her a happy birthday and to tell her that she was going to be sharing her birthday with my youngest!  Good times!!!

Yes, I realize the blog today has nothing to do with Duran Duran yet.  I’m just counting down my own busy life between now and the day I leave.

I suppose I will close the blog by mentioning that I’ve read in a few places about how fantastic the show was in Chicago this weekend.  Both the show itself…and the show after the show that took place at a local bar.  Amanda blogged about the concert, which sounded like a good one, but she’s conspicuously NOT blogged about the fun that took place afterward.  Our blog has desperately tried not to be gossip rag or a “tell-all”.  I almost wish I WOULD post some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen over the years, and I’m not talking about the behavior of the band, but rather, the behavior of some of the fans.  I think we’ve all done things at times that we’ve cringed about later – but I don’t mind saying that some seem to keep right on doing it, over and over again.  Clearly it’s not enough to crave the attention from the band, but they also crave the attention from the rest of the fans as well – because it is always quite a show.  We sit, we watch, we laugh.  Does this make us mean?  Well, partly no because we don’t post those stories… but partly yes because to be honest – half of the reason I hang around afterwards is to watch the scene unfold.  I could lie and try to take the high road by saying I do it all in the name of social science, but the fact is – it’s entertaining and I am probably not being very nice when I say that, so I openly apologize.  I still promise that I will do my best not to blog about the “guess who threw her breasts at Roger” type stories I hear because that is unkind, but I can’t promise not to grin or even snicker a little at some of the crazy things that happen at times.  I don’t ever intend to be mean, but sometimes I do have to wonder out loud as to why people behave the way they do, and not think that someone, somewhere, is ever going to call them out for that behavior.  If that’s not social science, I don’t know what is!

-R

Confession time!

I’m sorry the blog is later than usual today.  My oldest is out of school on Spring Break, and we did a rare thing:  we went shopping.  I know that seems hard to believe, but it’s true.  Normally we’ve got the little one with us, which means shop FAST….or we’ll have the men with us too, which means shop even FASTER.  Today we took our time, and now I’m hard pressed to get this blog finished before my husband arrives home to an empty dinner table with nothing cooking.  *gasp*

In my quest to complete the blog, I scanned facebook and the boards for any bit of news to report on – and I found a new video!  It’s posted on Duran Duran’s Youtube channel, and it’s to Before the Rain.  It’s all over facebook and the boards now, but in case you haven’t seen it – here’s the link.

Naturally, I watched the video.  I have to say, Gavin Elder has outdone himself.  Yes, the video is of a photo shoot, but the video really works with the music well.  (the background and perhaps the subjects didn’t hurt either.)   This band combined with black and white video is just stunning.  I love seeing them laugh, and I think it’s interesting to see them all look with such great attention to detail at their proofs from the shoot.  Vanity?  Maybe.  Rock stars?  Definitely.  There was actually a glimpse of what I feel is a very rare thing these days – and that was Nick with a full smile.  Teeth and all.  I miss seeing that these days.  He has such a lovely smile, and yet we really don’t see that very often – just the smallest of grins usually, so it’s a treasure to see a full smile.  I know most of the shots end up on the cutting room floor, but I’m very curious about those white hats – hopefully we’ll see one or two of those pictures at some point!

While watching the video, I was thinking about how entwined the bands career has been with fashion.  I don’t have to recite much of the bands history with their Anthony Price suits and the New Romantic era…or even how they’ve played shows during Fashion Week in Milan to prove my point.  Yet fascinatingly enough, this blogger knows almost nothing about fashion.  That’s right.  I know almost nothing.  I realize this must be a shock, so go ahead and take a breath or two.  I’ll wait.

Here’s the reality:  I know what I like.  I’m casual.  I love denim.  I love t-shirts.  I wear flip-flops or athletic shoes on a daily basis.  I’m pretty sure that if Nick Rhodes showed up at my house, he’d take one look at my wardrobe closet, grab my Duran Duran albums, posters and what-not, and be on his way.  I wear makeup, but on any given day my makeup consists of eyeliner and mascara.  That’s it.   Sometimes I feel as though I’m a big faker who snuck in under the radar of whomever is the big judge of Duran Duran fans.   I have to try really hard when I go to Duran Duran shows, and that begins with telling myself that no, I really cannot possibly wear tennis shoes to the show – even though we ALL know that they are the most comfortable!   (you can’t even begin to imagine my joy when I started noticing, and oh yes, I *did* notice, that Nick started wearing sparkly athletic shoes of some sort on stage.  Bless. Him.)   I try to start noticing what people are wearing, and I do go shopping.  I just have to go against my gut instinct to put on a rock t-shirt, jeans and some old converse tennies and be on my way.

That said, I don’t rock the Mom jeans.  Pleats and I haven’t been friends since I was in about the second grade and pleated skirts were all the rage.  I really am against wearing a clothing fashion that I have photographs of myself wearing back in the 80’s (leggings and I broke up YEARS ago), and mostly – I just take a good hard look at myself in my mirror before I leave each day.  That’s about where my sense of style begins and ends, to be honest.  I read something once about how Nick (and I’m sorry if it seems as though I’m picking on him – I’m really not!) admires people for taking chances with their fashion.  My idea of taking chances is god forbid buying something off the rack without trying it on first.  That IS risky when you’ve had 3 children!!!  *gasp*

When I go to a Duran Duran show, I’m amazed at everything I see.  I admire the women who can still pull off purple hair in their 40’s and still look their children in the eye – I have a feeling mine would just laugh.  I wish I were that way….I aspire to be that way.  The hairstyles are amazing – I couldn’t ever pull off anything edgier than the very slight A-line haircut I’ve got going on right now, otherwise my hair would truly be wearing ME.  I love the way women will wear stilettos to a GA show and then look as though they’re still having fun the entire night.  There’s no way my feet would respect me in the morning after being treated that way.  My feet insist on flats, and since it’s the only way we continue to get along – they win.   So I watch and admire from afar.

I really don’t know how I got past the guards when I became a Duran Duran fan.  I’ve never bought a Vogue magazine, much less spent any kind of time pouring over what the latest designer fashions may be.  Never mind the fact that at least for most of my life – finances dictated that I shop from the discount rack.  I’ve learned to love nice things as I’ve grown older, but fashion is still my downfall.  It’s my little confession.  What’s yours?