Category Archives: personal stories

A few of my true confessions

In an effort to truly make myself transparent, vulnerable and look completely silly (because I don’t do that nearly enough on a daily basis), I decided to jot down a few of my own personal Duranie truths.  Please feel free to add your own, because let me be honest here: my misery loves and deserves company.

I didn’t own Thank You in any form up until about 2 years ago.  I did have a couple of songs off of it, but the actual CD didn’t grace my collection until very recently.  I’ll go one farther and say that I didn’t even know they’d done that CD until about the year 2004.

When I was younger, I thought they were horrible live.  No, I’m not kidding.  I had really bad taste back then, apparently.  Funny because now I think they’re far better live than on any of their albums!

I’ve said this before, but it bares repeating that when I bought Medazzaland, I literally went through the album, played the opening bit of each song once, and put the CD away.  I never got it out again until 2005.

Not only did I not know for sure when John Taylor went solo, I didn’t know he’d done any solo work outside of Duran Duran aside from “I Do What I Do” up until I started hanging out with Amanda.  (Sorry John. My loss!)

To this day, I have a difficult time remembering what drummers (aside from Steve Ferrone) took over for Roger in his absence, and I don’t even bother with the bass players after John.  I think it’s my brain blocking out what it doesn’t want to acknowledge.


As I’ve mentioned before, I do have a few autographed things.  I went to a signing in 2004 at the Virgin Megastore up in LA with my oldest.  She was about 8 at the time.  I had my Astronaut album signed by all 5, and my daughter had a CD cover signed.  After it was signed she put it in her bag and we went to sit down outside.  At some point, she sat the bag next to her, and the very next thing we knew – the CD cover was missing.  Clearly someone took it from her bag, and she was extremely upset (as was I!).  I promised that I would get her another CD cover.  I searched and searched and finally found someone selling one on eBay that was absolutely real.  We paid over $300 for that CD cover because someone bid me up and then basically dropped it on me at the last second.  Yes, it was by far one of the dumbest things I’ve spent money on, but I made a promise and now it sits in a drawer somewhere deep in my daughters bedroom.  Wow.  Money well spent.  My husband hasn’t forgotten that insanity.

We still have the backdrop that was behind the band’s signing table from that signing.  No, it’s not signed.  It’s up in my daughter’s closet.  I plan to steal it when she goes away to college.  I have no idea what I’ll do with it.

I have gone through crushes on nearly every band member except one.  John.  That’s right – I am admitting here on Daily Duranie that there was a very brief time when I even liked Warren a little.  *gasps heard ’round the world*   It’s true.  I can’t say that I had a real crush on him, but I suppose I did find him attractive until I heard some of the more creepier rumors that have gone around about him. Then the reunion was announced and I felt my soul be saved!  (We ALL have our dark secrets, people!)

John is the only original member I’ve never had a real crush on, and that is primarily because every other female on the planet has liked him – and I tend to like to be different.

I loved Nick with orange hair, and there’s this one picture with him in a greyish suit and he’s wearing purple eyeliner that I still adore to this day.

I never loved Roger with eyeliner, oddly enough.  I think he looks better without most of the time.

Simon is the only band member that I am a little nervous about ever meeting in person (should that ever happen).  He is the one I would never approach on my own, and especially not out in public! I’ve stood right in front of him before outside of the rehearsal studio and he was nothing but kind, but he makes me a little nervous. It might have something to do with the immense amount of teasing that I’ve done on his behalf and I figure I’m in for it with him eventually.

Back during the Astronaut tour, I had light up devil horns that I would wear to shows with a few of my friends.  Oh yes.  Yes I did.  I still cringe when I think of them, although at the time they were fun.  Those have since been retired.

Oh, here’s a good one – in 2005, we drove from Milwaukee back to Chicago in order to see if we could be “smart” enough to find them in the hotel they were staying at.  Well, we did find them.  We sat down in the lobby area well away from where they were chatting with other people, and then I thought Nick Rhodes was actually the bass player from Clear Static.  I didn’t approach them or anything and it was from across the room, but the fact is – I was sincerely that stupid. 😀  Amanda has sadly never forgotten my comment that “Hey, isn’t that the kid from Clear Static?!?” and I know that it will probably be engraved on my tombstone at some point.  I swore I’d never admit that publicly – but now I have.  Let the gods shoot me with lightning.  It was the hair, Nick!!

Another thing I’ll say about seeing them out and about in public or after a show – whenever I’ve gone to where ever I thought they were, I’ve always felt just a little bit (actually a lot) icky about it later. I am obviously not good at stalking and I’m OK with admitting that. I feel like I need a shower afterwards and I don’t enjoy the notion of just sitting around waiting for them.  It’s gross and weird.  I’m not going to judge others for doing it – just leave me in the hotel bar while you’re doing it and then come back and brag to me about the photos and hugs you’ve gotten.  I’ll smile, curse myself, and settle back into my vodka tonic.  

Along those same lines of gross and weird, there was a time that I went to see where one of them lived.  Let’s just say I traversed the hilly streets around where I believed one of them lived while in an F350 diesel truck with my family. When we got to what I believe was the correct address, my husband shuts off the engine and asks if I’m going to get out of the truck and go take a photo.  Every light was on in the house with every window wide open. I immediately yelled some obscenities and told him to start the truck and get out of there!  He was dumbfounded.  So he starts the truck and proceeds to make what feels like a 50-point turn to get out of the narrow street and we sped away.  I felt so sick, so gross…that was the last time I’ll ever do such a thing.  There is absolutely no future in stalking for me.  I can’t do it and feel good about myself.  As I type this, I still cringe and feel horrible.  I should probably take another shower.

One more thing I should mention about seeing them out and about – I am rarely ever correct in my “inside information”. To be honest, I never HAVE any “inside information”.  I’m just not cool enough to be on the short list that people would call to invite places. I have to laugh as I type that because it’s so true. I’m always amazed at how many people run into them in bars and things, because in my case I’m typically a day late and a dollar short.  There have been times when I’ve known exactly where they’re supposed to be, then I get to the place and can’t get in because every other Duranie in the world has already gotten there. Like I said – day late, dollar short!  That’s pretty indicative of my luck in general. Amanda is SO much better on her own than when she’s with me, I’ll say that much.  It must be my bad karma or something.  I typically start out the tour apologizing to her for the bad “band finding” luck she’s about to have, and for the JoSi moments I’m about to block her from viewing at shows.  *sigh*

I have to wonder why it is so important to all of us to be where the band is, and I count myself in that crowd. I think that in my case, I just don’t want to be the one left out. Trouble is, I typically am anyway.  As I said before, I’ve gotten places where I knew for sure they’d be and ended up waiting outside because I couldn’t get in due to a huge crowd.  As we were leaving to go to another bar, I received texts from “friends” inside saying that they saw us and were laughing because we we were stuck outside.  It was a reminder of how lovely fellow fans really can be at times, and that I should really just make my own plans and not try to do the “fan thing” after the shows.

Each and every day, I’m still utterly shocked and surprised as to how many people read our blog. I know I’m just a fan like anyone else. I’ve never gotten close to the band, gotten into an afterparty, or been recognized by any one of them – in fact the few times I’ve seen one of them after a show they tend to glance my way with a look that varies between fear and disgust, which is only mildly insulting because I’ve never once rushed any one of them.  I guess you can’t hide the Duranie-ness.  *sigh*  I know I’m a complete geek compared to many fans out there, and my credibility is probably next to zero. I’m not one of the cool kids and never have been. When I see how many people read the blog or even recognize us when we’re in a different country, it’s shocking.  Hopefully what I write hits home with someone else out there.  I know my writing isn’t academically sound and that my college professors are likely to be in the process of trying to find me so that they can rescind my diploma.  I write very much as though I might be having a conversation right in front of you the reader. I do that on purpose – with all of the beautiful slang, pauses and other things I should be shot for utilizing.  I want you all to know I’m just like many of you, except I’m crazy enough to admit most of it in writing. I have fun doing it though, and while I could be paying for intense therapy – this is way cheaper.

Be brave enough to admit the crazy that lives within.  You’re in very good company.  (Hey, at least *I* think I’m good company!!)

-R

 

The Daily Duranie Q&A

We decided to throw the blog out to our readers for a change, and what resulted is the following Q&A!  None of the questions has been edited for content, and we hope that once everyone sees the questions, they can come up with a few more of their own!  Send them to our gmail address (dailyduranie@gmail.com), and once a month or as warranted we’ll happily answer them!  

How do you guys manage to get the fundage and the time off of work to do all the traveling you’ve been doing this past year? I need to know your secret! LOL! 

Rhonda – Well, my “work” is basically raising my 3 kids, finishing the book and writing blogs each day.  I do a lot of things and don’t really earn a monetary payment from any of it, so going to the shows and traveling is what I consider to be my payment!  It’s kind of a much-needed break for me, as my husband travels quite a bit and so much of my work is 24/7!  


Amanda-The “fundage” is much less stressful for me than work.  Basically, I am constantly saving for Duran trips/tours.  I am also willing and able to sacrifice other things in order to pay for trips.  It helps that I don’t have a family outside of my kitty to worry about.  That said, I live in a one bedroom apartment, have a crappy TV and don’t spend money doing things like going to the movies.  As far as work goes, as a teacher, it is challenging.  Luckily, I do have set breaks and am able to take a few personal days but it is NEVER easy and often takes weeks or months to arrange it.

If you ever meet DD,how do want it to happen?
Rhonda – I’ve already “met” the band at a signing in Los Angeles back in 2004.  I’m sure it was as memorable for them as it was for me. (Hardly!) The truth is though, of course I’d like to meet them again, and perhaps under circumstances where we can actually speak would be nice, too.  That said, I’m lucky to have ever had the chance to even get that close.  Many people out there haven’t even had the chance to go to a signing, and I’m well-aware of my good fortune.  


Amanda-Like Rhonda, I, too, have “met” them at a signing.  Of course, I never even know if that really counts as a meeting since I barely exchanged words with any of them except John.  Thus, if I were to meet them again, I would like it to a situation where they are relaxed, which probably means that there won’t be a TON of other fans around.  


Would you rather have them autograph a prized possession or have a photo taken with a fave member or the whole band?
Rhonda – One of my most prized possessions is a signed Astronaut album that is signed by all 5 original members.  I’ve given instruction to have that, along with my other prized Duran possessions to be buried with me in the event of my death.  Of course, that’s assuming that they’re still burying people by that time.  If not, my instructions are “DON’T BURN THE DURAN!!!”  Sorry…got sidetracked.  I would love a photo with the band, but I don’t dare hope for such things.  I’ve already been very fortunate with the places I’ve been and things I’ve done. (but yeah, it’d be nice for Daily Duranie actually have a photo with the band!)  


Amanda-Again, I follow Rhonda on this.  I have signed CDs.  Thus, I would LOVE a picture with any member and/or the band.  That said, once I get them, I would gladly step aside to allow others to get photos.  One photo is good enough for me!  

What song do think should have been released as a single that wasn’t?
Rhonda – This is a really difficult question for me.  After giving it some thought, I have to say that I think they should have gone with Nice off of Astronaut rather than Sunrise.  It’s not because I think Sunrise was a poor single, and it’s not that I think Nice was much better – it’s that Sunrise was already a single (granted a different version of it) when the Queer Eye soundtrack was released, so going with a different single off of Astronaut would have given the band yet one more way to showcase the album.  All of that said, I personally think the band has done a good job of picking singles.  No, not all of them have done well, but that has more to do with other factors than it does the quality of the song at hand.  


Amanda-My immediate thought here is Hold Back the Rain.  Of course, they didn’t need another single at that time.  For me, though, it is my second favorite song and I would have loved to have seen a video for it!


What random Duran earworms do you two get in the oddest circumstances? I’ve got a few at work: one of our books is called Planet Cake (that one’s obvious!) and I used to have a colleague called Mette Fentz, which frequently set off my Edge of America earworm (I’m just a number on a metal fence…anyone?)
Rhonda – My answer isn’t as much of an earworm as it is a case of seriously thinking that I was hearing things.  Amanda and I were in a mall just outside of Chicago killing time before my plane took off in 2005 and we both swore we could hear Sunrise playing in the background, but we could never find the source of the music OR if we were both really hearing it! 


Amanda-I get lyrics in my head at weird times!  For example, when walking around London with Rhonda, I had no choice but to start thinking the lyrics to Careless Memories.  I have also been known to quote the lyrics to other favorites like Red Carpet Massacre or Leopard.  Sometimes, we have even tried to have Lyric Day in order to speak in as many lyrics as we could!!!


What is the most outrageous story you’ve told in order to go to a DD concert?
Rhonda – Hmm.  Aside from telling a very small lie of omission in order to go to the Milwaukee show in 2005 and perhaps “forgetting” to mention that I was buying a VIP ticket (as opposed to a regular ticket) to attend the NYC fan show in 2007, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell a story!  It’s gotten to the point where my husband doesn’t even bat an eye under most circumstances unless I’m missing Fathers Day or his birthday. (of which I’ve done both!)


Amanda-I haven’t really told a story to get to go to a DD show.  I have been pretty lucky in that I have been able to be pretty honest except for when I have had a bit of Duran sickness.  ;D


Have you indoctrinated your kids yet?  If so, do they like DD?  What songs?
Rhonda – Ah yes, my kids.  Well, my oldest has seen them live with Amanda and I once, and she also went with me to the signing in Los Angeles.  She and her brother were both big fans of Sunrise when they were younger.  My son isn’t a big fan, but he’s not really into music generally speaking.  I keep waiting for the “bug” to hit…  My youngest however LOVES the band.  Her favorite songs are Planet Earth, Careless Memories, Sunrise and All You Need is Now.  She requests them Every. Single. Day.  in the car and sings along loud and proud!  


Amanda-While I don’t have children of my own, I do have 13 students currently at work.  My students have been exposed to Duran to some extent.  My kids typically refer to Duran as “my band” and they are aware that I’m writing a book.  While they support ME, they aren’t really keen on the music.  They are urban kids of today, after all! 


What is your favorite movie where DD music has been used?
Rhonda – I haven’t the faintest idea.  I did go see A View To a Kill even though I was never into Bond movies though.  


Amanda-I would probably choose Donnie Darko.  First of all, I found the movie fascinating with the questioning of reality, mental health/mental illness, society’s standards of behavior and more.  Then, the use of Notorious was genius due to the particular nature of the scene.


I heard one of DD’s song in a commercial on TV very recently, and I can’t remember what it is. Do you know what product and the song used?
All You Need Is Now is being used in a Dior ad.  


Should DD explore more opportunities in using their music in commercials, as other artists have done? What about in being sampled by other artists? Have they been sampled by any artists that you know of? [i.e. an artist paying for use of some element of their music in their own music]
Rhonda – I think I’m glad I’m not their manager, because I can say that THIS IS NOT MY JOB. 🙂  I do know though that where at one point it was almost cheesy to have ones music connected to a particular brand – now it’s considered to be a lucrative, smart move, so I’m not surprised the band is exploring this avenue.  I think Duran Duran music, generally speaking, lends itself to being sampled.  I’m not a big fan of much that’s out there, though.  


Amanda-Notorious BIG and Puff Daddy sampled Notorious.  I have heard that Duran is pleased with the result.  As far as being used in commercials, I would understand if they chose this route.  Yet, I would hope that they choose the brand well.  For example, being connected to Dior makes sense to me since Duran has always been connected to the fashion world.


Can you say more about your book plans? I know you refer to it, but don’t know where to find other information about it. Love to hear about it!
Rhonda – Our book is basically a case study of fandom.  The Duran Duran fandom is the specific fandom we’re studying.  It’s meant to be both a celebration of our fandom, as well as an academic type glimpse inside what makes a fan community last and thrive.  We are nearing completion of the first full draft (although we’ve edited some along the way), and then we’ll go back and do the first hard edit as well as find a publisher.  We’d really like to find a publisher because we have other books in mind for the future.  


Amanda-I’ll just add that we hope that all fans, no matter their fandom, will be able to read it and relate.  We also hope that people who are not involved in fandom will read it and understand why people choose to be part of one!


 What bands have admitted that DD has been a major influence on their music?
According to wikipedia, some of the artists who claim Duran as an influence include Moby, Barenaked Ladies, Gwen Stefani, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp and Dido, to name a few.


Have any of the very, very early songs a la Wickett & Duffy + JT and NR –been released or exist anywhere? I think these are some of the titles: [Big Store, So Cold in Eldorado, Hold Me Pose Me, Signals in Smoke, Dreaming of Your Cars, Reincarnation, Working the Steel, early “embryonic” version of Girls on Film, See Me Repeat Me -early version of Rio, Enigmatic Swimmer, Ami a Go Go] Have you heard any of them? If so, how do they sound and where might one find them?
Some of those songs that you mentioned are available on the Devils album.  Those songs were done with Duffy.  You can find information about that particular side project hereSome of the other songs you mentioned (See Me Repeat Me, Reincarnation, Girls on Film, and Working the Steel) were demos with Andy Wickett.  Those demos were floating around the fan community for awhile as a bootleg.  Then, there are some that we have never heard and would love to know more about them. 


Are any of the band members dual citizens (US + Great Britain)? JT must be as he married a US citizen, right?
Rhonda – To the best of my limited knowledge I don’t believe that any of the band members carry dual citizenship, and none of them are US Citizens.  As for whether John is a citizen purely because he married Gela – I happily pass on this website for citizenship requirements.


Amanda-I do remember reading/hearing that John does have a green card but, at least, as of 2008, he could not vote, which would indicate that he is not a citizen.

Was the band able to finally secure complete rights to their work from Gloucester (post-Berrows bros.)?

Amanda-I believe that in most, if not all, situations that the record labels maintain rights, especially those songs recorded with EMI.  Does anyone know more?


What’s the relationship like with Andy? I get the sense that he was gonna be on board for AYNIN but then backed out. What’s the story?
Rhonda – As far as I know there was a rumor that circulated about Andy during the writing/recording of AYNIN because Andy’s personal Facebook or website disappeared, and his location apparently “changed”…but again, that was pure rumor and hopeful speculation.  I am not aware of his relationship with the band, but I will say that it seems that all involved are very happy with their current situation, so more power to them!  


I read in Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran (AT) that during the Sing Blue Silver tour in US (c. 1984), that Charlie (Simon) knelt down to sing in tight leather pants, they split, revealing his “crown jewels” to all the audience as he wasn’t wearing underwear. To your knowledge, is this true?
Rhonda – Before I kick this one over to Amanda for proper answering, I would just like to say that if in fact I were ever present to see Simon’s “Crown Jewels”…after I tried bleaching my brain to erase the image ever from my mind, I would NEVER publicly admit to having seen such a thing or have knowledge of such a thing ever taking place.  No offense to Simon, but I just never ever need to see that.  It’s similar to my feelings about Santa.  I know he’s there and yet I don’t need to see him to make it so. Thank you.  


Amanda-I have heard people talking about Simon’s lack of underwear.  I do not know if this is true, nor do I have desire to find out.  I’m not sure about that specific story you reference but I do remember hearing of another time (more recent) in which Simon’s pants ripped.  He ran off stage and thought that a brilliant solution would be to staple the pants together.  Unfortunately, as Simon moved around, the staples popped open, resulting in open pants and Simon getting poked in the ass.  When I heard this story told in an interview, I remember John following up with the question about whether or not they were playing “Cracks in the Pavement”!  Hilarious!


I have yet to hear any lyrics with curse words, although some videos have been risque. Have you noticed curse words in their songs or absence of them? It is quite a feat to not use explicit lyrics these days.
Rhonda – I’ve been called Mother F*cker a few times by John at concerts (along with everyone else in the audience)…does that count??  


Amanda-That’s strange!  I, too, have been called a motherf*cker at shows!  I know that they use the word “damn” in Careless Memories and Hold Back the Rain.  I also know that Simon changed the damn in HBTR to f*ck often when performing the song live.  While I don’t think they record curse words much, John and Simon, at least, have both used curse words frequently.


I want to get a tattoo like JT got on his upper right arm after reuniting with the band. I don’t like the idea of pain, and it would not be nearly as large as his. Do either of you have any DD related tattoos or considered doing so? [I am 44 with college aged kids]
Rhonda – No.  No thank you. 


Amanda-Nope.  In my luck, I would probably be allergic to the ink and have a major problem!

How does JT maintain his sobriety? Does he have someone as a part of their entourage that helps him with this? I admire him for doing so.
Rhonda – I really have no idea, but I’m thankful that he’s doing so well.


Amanda-I echo Rhonda’s sentiments.  I have heard people complain that John doesn’t come out after shows much.  In my opinion, I would gladly sacrifice this if it means that John stays happy and healthy.


That being said, professional sports teams have docs, trainers, etc. on the field and road with them. Who is a part of DD’s team? [I’m willing to volunteer as their band psychologist 😉
Rhonda – Again, I have no idea.  This is definitely an Ask Katy type of question!


How does the band practice self-care on the road? This tour seems awfully demanding and I worry about them!
Rhonda – Another Ask Katy as I have not the slightest idea!


Amanda-I have heard that Simon and John like to get massages on the road.  🙂


Are they traveling the world in their regular plane? It seems so small in pictures I’ve seen. They can’t possibly travel on one plane for so long and maintain sanity and healthy relationships with each other! I hear Nick can be an a-hole and Roger has trouble with anxiety. After a day with my kids, I’m exhausted and can’t wait for them to leave. I love them, but just because they are adults, doesn’t mean they still don’t act like kids when they around each other.
Rhonda –  I’m still laughing about Nick being an….well, never mind.  I know that they have traveled by rented plane here in the US at times when it has made sense to do so.  I also have seen that the band – the 4 of them – will fly in the plane while other members of the onstage band and behind the scenes people will take other transportation, whether that is van, bus, other commercial flights or even trains at times.  It just depends. 


Do any of the members travel separately?
Rhonda – I think they travel separately when logistically it makes sense to do so.  John lives in the states, so obviously if he’s meeting them anywhere he’ll need to fly from here to get there, for instance.  
Other than sleep on the plane, when together, do they practice? write? play sudoku?  
Rhonda – Not a single clue.  I think they do what any other person does on a flight, you know?


Amanda-Maybe someone will ask John or Simon the next time they are on twitter!!


Any mention of writing for a new album?
Rhonda – While I appreciate the vote of confidence here, I have to say that the band never really takes the time to inform Daily Duranie of what’s going on.  This might have something to do with the fact that if we found out, we’d mention it on the blog, and what fun is there in that?!?  


Amanda-Rhonda is right.  I have also heard that they don’t write on the road.  Thus, they probably haven’t even thought about it yet!


I hadn’t noticed, but a review of one of the concerts said that Dom wrote half of the lyrics for AYNIN. I haven’t looked at the writing credits, and I love it that Dom is a great addition. But as I understand it,history suggests that DD songs come together when working together, including lyrics coming out of the notes and all throwing ideas in. Thoughts?
Rhonda – As I look over my liner notes, I see that Dom had writing credit on several of the songs, but I took that to mean writing credit for music, not lyrics. I believe that back when they were writing and recording, Dom was an active participant in the studio as well.  


How did you first become a Duranie?
Rhonda – That’s a long story.  Are you sure you’ve had enough to eat and drink today, because this could take some time!  Ok, the really short version is that back in 1981 I was in 6th grade, and there was a DJ on one of our local radio stations (KROQ) named Rodney on the Roq.  Rodney was known for playing unknown bands and artists, and one night he played Planet Earth by Duran Duran.  I remember him saying that they weren’t getting airplay but to keep watching for them because he knew they were going to make it big.  Next thing I knew, Richard Blade (another DJ for the same station) started playing them and along came the videos.  One look and I was a Roger fan for life.  The other guys weren’t bad either.  


Amanda-I’ll keep my story short since we did blogs about how we became fans, which I will reference after my story.  I got into Duran from listening to Top 40 radio and watching MTV.  I got the songs stuck in my head and thought that bass player guy was kinda cute!  It also helped that my best friend fell for them at the same time!  Here are the blogs:  Part 1 and Part 2!


Many hardcore duranies share likes/dislikes (for example everyone I know wants to hear SO or LB live and most would rather skip HLTW) what is one like/dislike you have that isn’t one that’s commonly shared?
Rhonda – I have a few that I don’t talk about much, believe it or not.  For instance, I could probably live a very long and meaningful life even if I never heard Save a Prayer, Ordinary World OR Come Undone ever again.  A less common one though?  How about I Don’t Want Your Love…definitely not one of my favorites. 


Amanda-I have 3 songs that I could definitely live without that are popular:  A View to a Kill, Come Undone and Ordinary World.  I think that I might be excited about Ordinary World again at some point if I don’t hear it for like 10 years.


Power Station or Arcadia?
Rhonda – this is a toughie for me as I really like both bands pretty equally overall.  That said though, if I were forced to pick I’d have to choose Arcadia Simon.  Um…I mean Arcadia.  Oops.  


Amanda-As a kid, I was much more into Power Station.  I was a John girl, after all!  I was also a miserable kid in 1985 as I had just moved to a small town from a Chicago suburb.  Thus, Power Station was my choice!  Plus, I couldn’t get into the arty quality of Arcadia.  As an adult, I think I prefer Arcadia’s music.  


What was the most stressful travel experience you’ve had as duranies?
Rhonda – Are you kidding me?  Go back and read our blogs from last May, and then again from last November, and then dare to come back here and ask that again.  😀  


Amanda-Rhonda’s right.  Both trips to the UK were filled with STRESS!  For the first trip, the travel was fine.  The rest of the trip wasn’t.  For the last trip, we had no idea if we were going to get there due to a public workers strike.  Luckily, that did not stop us and turned out to be the trip of a lifetime!


Any duran experiences that were completely unplanned and just happened in the best way possible (i.e. serendipity)?
Rhonda – Oh boy.  Well, I haven’t had that many chance meetings…but there was ONE time that was completely unplanned, but definitely not one of my best moments.  It was on a plane going from Chicago to New Orleans in 2006 for the Voodoo Festival.  I found out that very day just how allergic I am to milk products of ANY kind, and I was just praying to stay alive through the plane ride, I was that ill.  As I was feeling more and more green, who should come walking down the aisle towards the direction of my seat but none other than Dom Brown, followed by Simon Willescroft.  I think I might have groaned audibly, and if I could have somehow melted into the floor, I would have.  Then to my complete and utter horror, they sat directly across from me, and if that weren’t enough – my stupid VIP bag was on the floor AND visible, so there was no pretending that I didn’t know who they were.  I felt horrific, but Dom was very nice and only asked me for my Sudoku puzzle if I wasn’t going to play it!  


Amanda-I can’t say that I have a cool story like Rhonda’s.  During that same trip, I was on a different plane that included the roadies, merch people, etc.  I thought I was super cool until I called Rhonda and found out that she had the back-up players!  Clearly, I wasn’t that cool!  LOL


Proudest duranie moment?
Rhonda – After really thinking this over for the past couple of days, I would have to say that I am hoping our moment hasn’t really arrived yet.  This isn’t just in hope of continued longevity for the band, but also because I really believe my proudest moment will be when our book is finished, printed, and in my hand.  I have to wonder though if my pride will come from really being a Duranie, or from the blood, sweat and even tears of the last few years.  Regardless, I am really looking forward to that moment!


Amanda-I definitely agree with Rhonda on this one.  Our published book will be the proudest moment!!!  It will be the result of a heck of a lot of work, dedication, and persistence.  There were many, many times when we could have just quit but we haven’t so far and don’t plan to until the job is done!  As far as moments that have already happened, I’m proud that we went back to the UK to see the band play there.  We could have let the disappointment of May destroy, at the very least, our fandom, but we didn’t.  We stayed the course, fought through our tears, had patience and became stronger, better fans and friends because of it.

To be a fly on the wall…

I have to admit that there are times when I really do wish I were a fly on the wall.

My Daily Duranie partner-in-crime posed a question today on Facebook and Twitter about what moment in the band’s career did fans think was the most challenging. There were many different answers given, from when Roger & Andy left the first time up until Simon losing his voice last year. Some felt that the worst time was when they wrote Red Carpet Massacre, others felt it was during and after the Pop Trash album and just prior to the reunion. Still others felt it was when Andy left the second time before the Sears Center Show in Chicago, 2006.

The beauty of this question is that none of us really know the answer, and I think that at least in part, if we asked the band this question, the answer would most certainly change depending on whom and when we ask.

The ambiguity is at least partially derived from the point of view of the person answering. For example, what I feel might have been the band’s most challenging moments may not be the same answer for what the band itself might feel was the most challenging moment. Our perception as fans is likely to be far, far different from what really took place. A fantastic example of this is when Andy Taylor left the band after the reunion in 2006. So many fans took the news as almost certain death to the band, and yet whenever I read interviews from the band about that period of time, I never get the feeling that it was quite as pivotal of a moment. They just continued on. Naturally, I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, and I know as well as anyone else that the band is going to always put their best foot forward during an interview, so we might never know the truth of the situation, we only know what our perception allows.

That’s why sometimes, I really wish I were a fly on the wall. I don’t have the faintest idea what the band would consider to be their most challenging moment, but I’d love to find out!

People have commented that we don’t typically answer our own questions. This is true, although I do give my own answer through my personal Facebook account from time to time. After giving the topic some thought, I feel as though the most challenging period for the band might have been during the Pop Trash album, up until just prior to the reunion. I say that because as I recall, Simon had a lot of trouble with the writing on Pop Trash. Based on some articles I’ve read and interviews I’ve seen, the band seemed pretty fragmented, and I dare say that they were hanging on by threads. I really feel as though if the reunion had not happened, that might have been the end for Duran Duran. Good thing that didn’t happen!

So I leave you with another question – what was your OWN most challenging moment as a fan? This one is a toughie for me personally. I could pick moments like when I simply stopped paying attention, like during and after college. I could easily say it was when Red Carpet Massacre was released. I felt personally affronted by the complete lack of heart and soul the album had.  I felt as though the band was giving their fans the big “F” you – they didn’t want their long time fans at all, they were after younger ones and we just didn’t matter anymore. I swear I could have gone to therapy after that album came out…but no, even that wasn’t as difficult as last May for me.

I wish I could be more noble and say it was also during Pop Trash. It sounds so much smarter, academic and way less fangirl-like to say that I could hear the fragmentation in the music and it pained me to see the band unraveling like that. Troubling as it may seem, I didn’t even notice. I just knew it wasn’t quite their best work and it felt very forced overall.  The truth is, out of all of my years as a Duran fan – it was last May through until I saw the band in Valley Center that proved to be my most challenging time as a fan. Going to the UK last year and being completely denied shows was the biggest slap in the fact I’ve ever had as a fan. I still think back on that time and I’m shocked it all happened. I mean, how do you plan something like that for months on end and come out the other side with nothing? The best part of course was that even though Amanda and I were completely devastated on the inside, we didn’t dare lash out on the blog, as much as we might have liked to do so at least at first. We had to keep the brave face and dig deep to find empathy. Then we were outside the rehearsal studio the day that Simon had to come to terms with the rest of the band as to just how severe this voice-loss really was, I have never seen the band look so ashen-faced in my life. That was truly gut-wrenching. I felt like I was watching the funeral of the band at that point, which was why you never once saw a cross word from us on the blog. I still have friends that feel like they have post-tramautic stress from that trip. My own therapy came when I saw them play live in Valley Center, and I’ll never ever forget the first 90 seconds of the show when I couldn’t even look at Simon. I really couldn’t. I don’t do the whole crying thing, and I’m so stubborn that there was NO way I was going to lose it in front of the band.  No way. When I finally did get the nerve to look up, it was Dom that winked at me – and I’m  sure he had no idea what was going on with me, but in that second, I finally felt like we might all survive fairly unscathed. How’s that for some fangirl moments?!?

An early Good Friday and Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and to everyone else, I hope you have a fantastic spring weekend. On a very personal note, my 17th wedding anniversary is on Sunday – yes, the timing is kind of funny this year. I don’t really know what to say about that except that with each year, I’m more and more shocked. I can’t decide if it’s because I’m surprised we’ve lasted so long, or that we’re really old enough to have been married that long. Then I look at the three kids we have and realize that we really are that old. Smacked in the face by reality once again! *gasp* Speaking of children, I’m very excited to welcome home my oldest tomorrow morning. She went to go visit my sister in Chicago for the week. She visited a couple universities that she’s interested in applying (I’m really hoping she ends up going to college out there so that it’s another tally in the column of “reasons we should move back to the midwest”), and spent the week checking out where she spent the first 8 months of her life. It was her first flight without us and a big trip alone. I can’t wait to have her home. It’s amazing how quiet our house has become…

-R

Should we or shouldn’t we?

A very wise man once said that we should never meet our idols because they will never live up to our expectations.

Now, I don’t doubt what this man said, for he too was (and is!) an idol for many. We’ve all heard comments about the band being put on a pedestal by fans, a mighty narrow one at that. It’s pretty incredible to consider just how high of standards some fans have them living up to, and one has to wonder if it’s at possible for a human being to really be that perfect.

Of course not.

It’s only natural for fans, especially those who became fans at a very young age, to put a band or celebrity up on a pedestal. I suspect that it has much to do with that Prince Charming syndrome – where we want our prince to come and save us. It’s a beautiful idea at the age of ten, eleven or twelve. The trouble is, most of us are a few decades beyond now. Reality should have set in at some point. We know the band isn’t perfect, don’t we? We know that each of them cannot possibly be happy to see us each and every time we catch sight of them in public. Sometimes, people really do just want to be left alone.

Like everything else in life, nothing is quite that simple. I know many fans that say “The band are celebrities and everything that goes along with that, the being kind at all times, the ‘perfection’ (or at least carrying on the idea that it is so), all of that goes along with the fame and fortune they found.” I’m pretty happy and well-adjusted enough to know that’s crazy talk.  People are people. Sure, when they’re on the town, working the “Duran Duran” machine, that’s WORK. I would say that yes, they probably do need to try and remember to at least give a smile and be friendly, just like I’m supposed to do so when I’m at “work”. At least…that’s what I hear. That does NOT mean though that every day when they’re on tour, whether there is a show, a press function, etc. that day or not, that they are required to put up with eager fans. You take your chance on those occasions, and I have to say that I’m amazed at how decidedly unaware fans are as to when it’s a “good time” or a “bad time”.  For those folks, I wish them luck. They’re the ones who are unfortunately going to find members of the band at the worst possible moment, have one bad experience, and then blab away about it on a public board, expecting all to agree and lament their bad experience. It’s unfair to assume that since they are indeed celebrities, they are somehow public property at all times, is it not?

For me personally, I think I left my idolization for the band, and truly for all celebrities alike – back in childhood. What replaced that idolization is respect, for the most part. I respect the band. Sure I still love them to pieces, but I don’t think you can call what I feel for them idolization. It’s different. I see them as the faulty humans they truly are. That doesn’t mean they’re somehow horrible because of that; it’s just that while yes they might have larger homes, drive nicer cars and take more luxurious vacations than I do, they’re still just human.  I respect the fact that they have put out over a dozen albums, toured the world many times over, are a good ten years older than I am and yet they still get out there on that stage and rock it better than I think they ever have before. I respect that they’re not quite finished yet, and that they continue to try new things, even when sometimes those new things have completely thrown me. I respect the fact that they’re people, and that sometimes people have really crappy days and the very last thing they want is somebody like me in their face.

Here is the double edged sword though – I want that same respect in return.  No, the band doesn’t know me. I don’t expect for them to look at me in a crowd and recognize me, know my name, or lastly – even have read the blog and be able to put two and two together. Hardly.  By respect I mean treat me as a human rather than a dollar sign with legs. Don’t wince as I’m walking down the hall because let me be clear – chances are – I will walk right past without even daring to do much more than smile unless they stop me first.  (Again, hardly think that’ll happen in my lifetime.) Naturally, I recognize that for the most part, fans would never just walk right by, and I know the negative connotations that go along with being a fan.  It sucks to be on this side at times. That said, we kind of ask for it, don’t we? Generally speaking, it’s a two way street, isn’t it? Treat others as you wish to be treated?? Anyone recognize that saying??

Let me be clear, I’ve never met the band outside of a signing, a chance “meeting” with one member of the band at a club in Vegas – and no, I did not speak to him (I smiled and left him alone to enjoy his night as I was enjoying my own), and another chance encounter with a fellow plane passenger/guitarist on a flight to New Orleans. I am not the type of person that will go running up to any of the band members expecting hugs, photos or who-knows-what-else. That sort of thing completely freaks me out, as I’m pretty sure it must them at times.  I try to remember that as often as I can when I’m “on tour” or at a function where they are in attendance. I’d much prefer to have a casual discussion over coffee or drinks and leave the whole “Oh my god I’ve been a fan for my entire life, can I hug you, can I get a picture, can I can I can I?!?” at the door. Again, that whole scene freaks me out just a little when I think about it.  

Granted, this is probably why I’ll never have photos with the band, and I get that. On the same token, and I mean this seriously – I write a blog about being a fan. Many people read this blog every day, as well as some others that I write on occasion for other places. My fandom, as it is, has taken on a completely different role in my life at this point. I have deep respect for the people within my fandom, whether those are friends, fellow fans, readers, or the band themselves.

Recently I commented to the wise man I mentioned earlier that when idolization gives way to true respect that goes beyond the music and the person on the cover of a magazine, you realize we’re all just human, and respect comes freely – flaws and all. I really believe this.  What about you?

-R

The Story Behind the Story

So by now it should be pretty clear that our little post on Sunday was an April Fools Joke.  Anyone who has been reading the blog with any sort of regularity over the past 18 months or so probably knows that I personally have extreme difficulty in even saying the name Justin Bieber without choking. Just imagine what it was like to be in my house on that fateful Sunday….

Originally, Amanda and I had a very different idea. I’m not going to get into that first idea because, well, I’m not interested in being publicly flogged, and I’m a little afraid of karma.  Maybe we’ll tell the the story in our “tell-all” book that will come out when we’re all about ninety years old or so. Regardless, the first idea was completely shelved rather quickly and we had decided to do a silly pictorial. Everyone needs a laugh, right?? If not at the expense of the band, why bother?!  As we were starting to get worried about finding enough photos of a couple band members (It’s simply fascinating as to just how many silly Simon photos there are out there. Does he pay to have a camera following him every single second?!? I just can’t imagine that paparazzi are THAT interested in a member of Duran Duran!), Amanda and I  conferenced via speaker phone. While we were chatting, my husband, who is never short on ideas or opinions (regardless of whether those ideas and opinions are good, requested…or otherwise…), suggested that for one day, instead of being Daily Duranie, we decide to throw our fandom for DD overboard in favor of another. This idea amused me almost immediately. Can you imagine coming to the blog and finding that we’d decided to become Timbaland fans or something??

I can see the men with the white coats showing up to my house right now…coming to take me away….hee hee… (yes, the pun to the infamous 1966 song by Jerry Samuels IS intended)

Of course, none of our friends would quite believe Timbaland, so the question became “Who?” My husband had plenty of really bad ideas, and finally I mentioned Justin Bieber.  From there, the idea morphed into what you should have read on Sunday (If you haven’t read that blog yet, give yourself a smack on the behind and go read it here.) Rather than go to the trouble of changing the entire blog, we felt it would be far more believable for us to set about trying to convince all of Duranland that we should get behind a petition to have the get Justin as an opening act for the US dates in August.

The way the writing worked was that while on speaker, we worked out the wording together, and I typed. Then I went back, read through the blog again for editing. Then I desperately tried to read the entire thing back aloud. The read-back didn’t work very well because I could barely get through a single sentence without laughing. My hand shook as I clicked on “publish”, and then Amanda and I both posted the title of the new blog on Facebook and Twitter. We said our goodbyes, and then sat back to wait.

Facebook is typically much slower to react than Twitter, partially due to the real-time nature of Twitter. This particular Sunday was no different, and for a brief time I worried that perhaps the blog would go completely unnoticed. That has happened before. (Yes, that means that a lot of you are missing some of our very best work. There are actually blogs in our history that have gotten VERY few views – and while I try not to be offended by that, I must say, you’re missing out!) In any case, after waiting for someone, anyone to notice enough to say something on Facebook, I decided to check out the action on Twitter. I was not disappointed.

As soon as I opened Twitter I could see that not only was Amanda online, but she had already begun getting tweets asking if we’d lost our sanity. While she and I really hadn’t discussed what we we would do to handle that particular situation, I think both of us realized that in order for the joke to truly work – we’d have to follow through and defend our work.  After requesting a very large, very dirty martini from my bartender (Thanks to my husband), I set about helping Amanda defend our opinions. It is amazing what a good Grey Goose martini will do to ease the inhibitions while you’re typing the words “Embrace The Beebs”. I really can’t tell you how many times I laid my head down on the table that day, laughing hysterically.

There were a few times that day when I had to admit that yes, it was a joke. There were more than one reader that announced they were going to have to unfollow us, and I couldn’t have that happen.  I can certainly understand why they felt that way. Other than those few instances, we stuck to our story, and I even tweeted the band – who are probably on a hiatus and will never read the blog anyway – just to see what would happen. By the evening, I was exhausted and the best part? We had exceeded our daily tweet limit and could no longer tweet back! I didn’t even realize there was a limit! I apologized to a few of our twitter followers through DM and excused myself for the night, knowing that we’d have plenty to deal with in the morning.

While writing the blog was very fun and reading the reactions and opinions was downright hilarious at times, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that at least in part, our blog was very true, and very realistic. That’s why so many fellow fans believed that we were serious, and that’s why our joke worked. (That and our fabulous acting skills I am sure.) It’s no joke that the band has not experienced a huge amount of commercial success from the album.  It’s also not a joke that the band does have an uphill battle in reaching younger fans. The question of course is whether or not those things are truly necessary in order to continue. I don’t have those answers, and once again I find myself thankful that those things are not a part of my job. I’m simply one of the many Monday Morning Quarterbacks out there, as is Amanda even if she’s the smarter one of the two of us. Speculation is part of my hobby, but I don’t hold any of the real answers. The beauty in defending our blog that day was reading and learning from some of the very poignant and descriptive reasons why the band shouldn’t care about that younger generation, why they should just concern themselves with their own craft, and even why some people feel strongly that certain songs on the album are simply just updated, re-mixed versions of songs like “Girls on Film” or “The Chauffeur”.

So the real story behind the story was that even though we set out to tell a joke, we learned something in the process. Not a bad way to spend April Fools Day, really.

-R

Is this a mid-life crisis?

There is a phrase in the English language that I despise.

 “Mid-life Crisis”

I don’t really even know what that means.  When I think of that phrase, the image that fills my head is one of a balding man speeding down the road in a convertible Corvette. I remember going to dance clubs when I was in my early 20’s. My friends and I would be out dancing on the floor, and occasionally one of us would be approached by what we would consider to be an older man, hoping that we’d agree to dance.  I often wonder if those men were really that old, or if it was just that I was that young. My friends and I would scoff at the idea of some old guy hanging out at a club, hoping to get the attention of a young girl. Naturally we’d laugh and swear we’d never be continuing to hang out at clubs when we’re that age! (whatever age that was…and the lesson there is “FAMOUS LAST WORDS”!!)

When I was really young, I am sure I must have been around ten or so, my grandmother used to come and stay with us for the summer.  My parents both worked and felt my younger sister and I were far too young to be at home alone for an entire day.  This meant sharing my room with my grandmother for the entire summer.  Oddly, she was not a big Duran Duran fan, and I can remember her constantly telling me that she wished I’d take down my posters because she always felt like they were watching her! (Oh, my poor grandmother!)  I’d watch her in the mornings when she’d get up, and it always seemed to take her three times as long to put on her clothes as it did me.  When she would finish,  she’d always turn to me and say a single sentence that has been burned into my head for all eternity.

“Don’t ever get old, Rhonda Lynn.  It’s hell.”

 Who could ever blame me for wishing to avoid the whole aging thing??  I had it on decent authority that it wasn’t something I’d enjoy!!  When I think back on those days now, it seems so funny that my grandmother always seemed old to me, yet she only died about ten years ago at the age of 86.  I really hope that I’m more active than my mom or my grandmother in my later years – I want to be able to say I really LIVED every ounce out of my life that’s possible.  I’m sure both of them feel as though they got plenty out of life – and my mom is still alive and kicking.  She’s had a brand new beginning to her life, brought on by my father’s death nearly four years ago.  I’m proud to see her going and experiencing new things, even if it’s with a new “friend”.

I think things must be different for my generation than they were for my mothers generation.  She never went out with friends while I was growing up.  There were no concerts or girls nights out for her.  I never heard her talk much about music, and I know she never really went anywhere without my dad.   She really thinks it’s strange that I have this incessant need to have my own interests, friends and experiences because she never felt that way when my dad was alive.  In comparison, I live for those moments! I cringe when I hear the word “cougar”, or when TV shows make fun of people my age going out, as though once you turn the age of 30, you’re supposed to settle down, never to have fun again.  It’s even worse when the words “mid-life crisis” are thrown around, as if to explain our behavior.  Trust me, this is no “mid-life crisis”.

Yes it really is true, I still enjoy going to concerts. I love getting together with friends for the weekend over music, friendship and the occasional martini.  (make mine extra dirty!)  When I was younger, Friday nights were spent not sleeping, but staying up to watch late night videos, listening to records and fantasizing about what eyeliner Nick Rhodes used.  My friends and I would get excited over whatever band was coming on tour, and while most of the time I had to stand back and watch as my friends would get tickets to the shows – that never did stop my excitement at the prospect!  We’d call one another over the newest songs we’d hear on the radio, we’d try to one-up ourselves over who had the best Duran Duran pictures, the latest news, the “closest encounters”  (I’d typically lose that one…funny how that still holds true!), and the best information.  These things really haven’t changed, although admittedly most of my normal Friday night activities don’t typically include having a girl-talk session with my husband about makeup.  In my opinion, a mid-life crisis is all about capturing whatever youth you’ve got left.  I’ve never let my youth go to begin with, so there’s nothing to capture – it’s still here!

Is this – my Duran Duran fandom and everything that has gone along with it – really a mid-life crisis?  I doubt it, otherwise I started suffering from it when I was ten years old.  My life, and the enjoyment I get out of living, is what keeps me young.  My feeling is that when life stops being fun, I’ll be ready to exit this great planet of ours for whatever Duranie retirement home “in the sky” is next.

Pity those who dare call it a mid-life crisis, for they’ve already stopped living. -R

Duran Duran saved my marriage!

So yesterday marked seven fateful years since Amanda and I, along with many of our friends, saw Duran Duran at the Allstate Arena in Chicago.  Today marks seven years since I actually had the nerve to lie to my husband and travel up to Milwaukee to see the band play at the Riverside Theatre.

What?!?  I lied to my husband?!?  Yes.  Yes I did.  Proudly!

Poor Walt.  I don’t think he really quite knew what he was doing back in 2001 when he bought tickets to see Duran Duran (Simon, Nick & Warren) play at the House of Blues in Anaheim. He opened a door to something I’d long since closed.  It wasn’t as though I was no longer a fan, it was that I’d moved on in life. I had a husband. I had kids.  MTV didn’t really play videos any longer…I didn’t have Roger Taylor occupying my walls….

Of course, after that initial show, I was desperate.  Then the reunion was announced, and I saw the Fab 5 live for the very first time. I made friends, went to a convention, and was virtually hooked.  Wishful thinking “plans” were being thrown around by my friends, and when the Astronaut tour was announced, I think we all had about 48 hours to decide on a game plan.  I knew I could not be at the LA show due to a family vacation, so I tried to figure out what show(s) I could possibly attend.

 At the time, I’d never traveled for a single show, and my husband is the epitome of “moderation”.  Walt is an engineer.  He’s very measured.  Very easy-going, yet very serious when he needs.  Walt doesn’t do “frenzied” or “fanatical” about anything.  He doesn’t have an obsessive personality about anything, and at the time – he certainly didn’t understand the need to travel to see a rock band.  He had a very difficult time understanding that I’d made friends online.  “Online? Rhonda…you don’t even know these people.  You need to wonder why they’d even want to be friends with you.  You have nothing in common with any of them.  You’re married.  You have children.  Yes, I know you went to a convention with them, but you told me then that it wouldn’t be an ongoing thing, that you were just trying to see the planning through.  Now you want to go to how many shows?  This isn’t even necessary!”  He had an even harder time understanding why I would want to go to more than one show on a tour.  “Aren’t they all the same? It’s the same songs night after night!”  So, there were plenty of “discussions” between the two of us.  It was understood that I would fly to Chicago, see the show the following day, and then fly back home on what I think must have been Sunday afternoon.  Never mind that the rest of my friends were going on to see the Milwaukee show the following night – Walt felt that there was no reason to see any more than one show. I had to book my flights so that I was able to take the kids to school before I flew out (he was not very helpful, and I think even he would agree that he did everything he could to make the trip as difficult as possible for me so that I wouldn’t try it again.), and I had to be back in time so that he wouldn’t miss any time from work.

All that was fine and good, except for the small detail of the Milwaukee show.  I really wanted to go!  I was already going to be in the area (it’s about an hour and a half from Chicago), and it seemed like such a small thing.  So, I told my friends to count me in on the ticket, and I’d deal with the consequences later.  Much later.

The truth is, the show was outstanding and I was not wrong in my decision to get the ticket.  Our seats were great, the band saw the signs we’d made for the show, and at one point we’d even gotten a wave from Roger Taylor as he stood off stage during The Chauffeur. (We were wearing light up horns and he saw them.  Yes, we really wore them, and at the time it was fun. Thank goodness that tradition has been left in the past!)  That night also marked the first time I’d ever waited outside of a theater for the band to leave…and the first time we ever attempted to follow them back to their hotel in Chicago!  It was the first time we’d ever gotten a hotel room for the pure purpose of storing luggage (a tradition that I am hoping we’ve kind of left in the past – I require a bit more sleep now than I did seven years ago!), and it was the first…and last time, I ever lied to my husband about a concert….except for that time in New York City for the fan show…. (another blog for another day!)

I don’t quite remember how long it was after that show that I finally came clean about the tickets, but I doubt it was long.  The thing about my husband is that he’s very smart.  He sees the anomaly very quickly when things are odd, and so I have little doubt he already suspected that I’d gotten a ticket before I’d even left.  Thankfully since that time my husband has figured out that this obsession isn’t really going to go away, and he also understands why I go to more than one show.  He also understands why I’ve traveled overseas to see them.  Twice.

Since that show, I’ve seen the band “a few times”.  I’ve traveled to see them more than I’ve seen them here in my state, actually.  While I’m the first to admit that my traveling has been expensive, I don’t think my husband really minds much beyond the cost.  When this whole obsession started for me in recent times, I think the one thing Walt was concerned about was that we’d somehow grow apart.  I’d have my fun times and experience things without him, and from there we’d have separate lives.  Oddly, exactly the opposite happened.  I had my own stories to share with him, and I always do.  I love that my conversations include far more than just what goes on here in the house on a daily basis.  It used to be that when I’d have the chance to get out of the house, travel to a show and see my friends, I felt like it was an escape from captivity.  It’s funny, now that I feel like I have the freedom to travel (within reason), I’m much more content here at home, too – and so is my husband.

While I wouldn’t recommend lying to your husband about getting tickets to see Duran Duran, I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to go and see them.  I run into so many fellow moms who ask how my husband is with my traveling to see the band.  To begin with, I don’t go that often.  Twice a year at most – and typically my trips are for long weekends (4 or 5 days…5 is pushing it, my husband says!).   I don’t usually expect the impossible.  I can’t be gone for 6 weeks on a tour, and really – I would miss my family if I did.  (no really, I would!!)  Also, as turnabout IS fair play, I should share that my husband is gone at least once or twice a WEEK these days.  They are typically “day trips” that means he takes our oldest to school, gets on a plane, and is gone until about 11 o’clock at night.  He likes coming home to sleep, even if it’s just for a few hours.  Then there are the extended trips, which means he’s gone for about a week or so.  Those happen 5 or 6 times during the year, and we all hate those due to the time differences.  (His travel is typically to the Far East or the UK/Europe)  So, we’re used to the travel here in our house.  Of course, his is for work..and mine is for research, *coughs* and fun! I always tell fellow moms and fellow wives that it’s important to have your own interests.  Being married does not mean losing your own identity.  That’s a common thing that women seem to forget, especially when they marry young as I did.  I really can’t explain how liberating it feels to be able to share my own experiences and stories with my family.  I think it’s important for my kids, but especially my 15 year old daughter to see that even when you’re married and have a family that a woman really can and should have her own interests that don’t necessarily include the rest of the family.

Did Duran Duran save my marriage?  Interestingly enough, in some respects – they really kind of did!

-R

Do you know what today is?!?

Happy Monday everyone.  I’m sure all of my US friends are recovering from eating/drinking their way through Super Bowl Sunday.  I’m also recovering from a car accident that happened on Friday afternoon.  I was in a three car “fender bender” of sorts.   I was car #3…the innocent bystander that was hit from behind by a car that was also hit from behind.  Luckily my 3 year old and I were not really hurt – I just have some soreness in my neck and shoulders. (that’s what happens when you see what is about to happen to you and you tense up!)  My car is mostly fine – it’s earned itself the right to a new back bumper.  The guy who hit me was a little worse off, I’m pretty sure the frame of his car was bent, and the woman who caused the entire thing fled the scene.  Unbelievable.  It was quite a way to start the weekend and now I get to deal with the annoyance of getting my car fixed in between rushing kids everywhere.  That said, I’m very thankful it all wasn’t worse, and I hope the woman who hit all of us is happy with her decision to leave the scene of the accident and not take any responsibility.  Brilliant.

Today is February 6th, and on this date in 1984, Duran Duran played the Los Angeles Forum.  You would think I’d remember this as being my first Duran Duran show, but alas – it was not.  I remember this date very well, because on this day, my friends and I cried that we would NOT be at the show.  It’s the one real regret I have, and yet I can’t really regret not being there – at the time I was only 13, and my parents absolutely refused to allow me to go to the concert, even after a friends dad agreed to buy us tickets.  My parents were always very protective.  I joke with my mom that I wasn’t allowed to cross our tiny little neighborhood street alone until I was 10.  She rolls her eyes in disgust when I say that – but what’s worse is that it’s true!!

I am trying to remember back when I was that age.  I had a group of pretty close friends, but we were definitely more along the lines of being outcasts than we were trendsetters.  None of us were really into fashion – my parents were especially careful about what I could or could not wear anyway – but we talked about music all of the time.  It genuinely mattered to us whether or not a song or album was on the top of the Billboard charts, and I can remember making sure to spend Friday nights over at my friend Marsha’s house so that we could talk her mom into driving us to the record store on Saturday mornings.  We’d spend hours checking out the newest albums, but even then, our taste was rather narrow: we’d stick to the “alternative” genre.  We cared about what synthesizers different bands used.  We wanted to know how certain sounds were mixed, or why bands went with one producer over another.  We also wanted to know how we could meet Duran Duran.  Who didn’t?  Of course none of us really thought we COULD go meet them.  I don’t really think our world was big enough at the time to imagine convincing one of our parents to drive us into Los Angeles when they were in town to find them. Then again, back in that day – I’m pretty sure none of us knew that they’d been in Los Angeles until they’d already left!  We just weren’t that enterprising or investigative in our measures.  We got our news from the radio.  From magazines, from the TV…and from other kids who had actually gone into LA or the shows to see them!  In many ways I think we felt like we were on the outside looking in much of the time, and yet not one of us took the initiative to do something to change things.  Perhaps we didn’t feel like we really could do much but enjoy the tiny freedoms we had. 
Now that I’m a “grown-up”, I’ve had the opportunity to meet friends who lived in England during this time.  They might not have hung out at the Rum Runner, but they were there when the band was recording at EMI and were there to see the best (and worst) of the 80’s.  Admittedly, when I hear some of the stories, I can’t even begin to imagine the scene.  To begin with, I wasn’t even allowed to walk down my street without telling my mom, and most of the time – I’d be admonished with the “You may NOT leave the front yard, young lady!” line, and even more shocking, I would listen!  Things here in the US (for me, anyway) were just different.  To begin with, we don’t have “the tube” to get us anywhere, at least not where I lived in Glendora, California.  My suburb was middle class (we lived on the poor side of town), none of us had money, some of us had bicycles, but we weren’t allowed out of the neighborhood with them.  Going out on to “The Busy Street” meant certain death – either by a car hitting us – or by my father’s hand when he found out.  It never occurred to us that we should take the bus.  Actually, I take that back – my friend Marsha wanted to take the bus to go to the mall once, and my dad gave me “The Look”.  I never brought that up again.  For us “The City” was 25 miles away – and to me at 13 that may as well have been in another state.  

So, that fateful day in February was one of great sadness for me.  I knew the band was in my state, relatively close to where I lived, but I had no way of seeing them.  I can remember begging and pleading with my parents to allow me to buy the ticket (and back then tickets weren’t about $10.00 for nosebleed seats!), but there was simply no chance. I don’t know if it had more to do with money – my parents truly did not have extra cash to go around at this point – or if it really was that my dad felt that at 13, I had no business going to a “rock concert”.  More likely than not, both issues took precedence over my teenage angst.  If that day weren’t horrible enough, the next day was even worse: I had to go to school and hear story after story from those girls who *did* attend the show.  Naturally, these girls were not really in MY circle of friends (although my friend Karen did go – she was one of those with a $10.00 ticket and I remember her telling me they were practically in the back row, but she still wouldn’t have traded a second of the show!), and I also remember one telling me that her parents sprung for $100.00 tickets through a ticket broker, and they had front row.  Front row. (Do you hear harps and angels singing or is that just me?)  I suppose I should then mention my complete disgust with this girl and how her parents threw away so much money just so that she could be mere feet away from Nick Rhodes (she was a Nick girl!).  Disgusting.  Of course then I went crawling back to my group of friends whining and crying about how unfair life was, and that I didn’t think I could possibly live a good life since I wasn’t allowed to go to the concert.  Oh the dramatic scene that must have been!  (And I wonder where my oldest gets her dramatic flair…gee!)

Each February since that date, I take a minute and remember where I was on that day, and how far I’ve come since.  Still haven’t quite gotten those front row seats yet, but I’m still a fan. That’s pretty remarkable on it’s own!  I’ve seen the band in a couple more states than I ever really thought I would – not to mention a country or two.  Perhaps NOT seeing the band on that date in February did more for me than I would have thought at 13.

Oh, and I’m having a pretty amazing life thus far.  Plenty more to come, I’m sure!

-R







You mean that band is still around? Really?

This morning I was in Target, picking up the usual: milk and that sort of thing.  I was in line – a very long line I might add, and my cell phone rang.  My ringers are personalized depending upon who is calling, and this person has a DD ringtone assigned to them.  (Those calls get answered first, especially when it’s Amanda’s ringtone I hear!  Other calls, such as the ones with just a regular ring, typically get ignored, and I’m not even kidding.  All of my kids school numbers – as in the office number for their schools – are assigned to Reach Up for the Sunrise because the chorus is so loud it nearly makes me jump out of my skin…so I know to pick up immediately!)  Anyway, after the call, a woman behind me asked if my ring tone was Duran Duran, to which I smiled and said “Yes”.  That’s when she said “I loved them back in the 80’s, but they aren’t even together anymore.”  Well, my eyes about bugged out of my head at this point, and I took the time in line to correct her.  She was shocked, and even more so when I explained that they have several albums out that she should really look into getting!  (Her fascination ended at The Wedding Album. *sigh*)

I don’t know about anyone else, but this happens to me quite a bit, and mainly because of my ringtones!  I’m pleased to help out the band with their grass roots marketing, but also completely annoyed that people have been living under a rock for the past 20 years.  I have many friends from high school who have found me on Facebook, and one of the first questions they ask me, obviously after scrutinizing some of my pictures and things, is whether or not I’m still a Duran Duran fan.  Some are nice about it, but a lot of them try to tease me by saying “What? You’re still into them?  Aren’t they dead yet?”  (Yes, people REALLY say that…)  After which I take a deep cleansing breath and attempt to answer their questions as nicely as possible.  Sometimes, I even succeed.

After my excursion to Target, I came home, knowing that I needed to blog and that I didn’t really have much of a topic in mind.  That’s happening a lot lately.  I’ve got tons of book ideas, but the blog is tougher right now.  There’s not a ton of Duran news, and what news I do have doesn’t really affect me to the point where I have an urge to write.  It’s either feast or famine sometimes.  Anyway, I hopped onto Twitter to see if something would get my creative juices flowing, and I saw the #questionsIhateanswering topic trending for Los Angeles.  My answer?  The topic of this blog.

It’s not even that I hate answering the question,  it’s that it is even a question at all.  I can’t help but be frustrated that such a fantastic album like All You Need is Now has gotten so little notice from the general public, and what’s more – I’m completely annoyed with my fellow 30 and 40 somethings out there that they haven’t stayed more in touch with music in general.  It’s sad that once we hit the age of 30, 35 or 40 we stop paying attention to what’s out there.  Granted, I’m preaching to the choir here, but it’s no wonder that our demographic no longer seems to matter to anyone but ourselves, and that’s incredibly sad.

One person commented back to my rantings on Twitter that she’s over it.  She just loves the band for what they give us (I’m totally paraphrasing here, my apologies), and the rest of it just doesn’t matter.  Most days, I would agree.  Today…I’m missing that mark.

-R

Game Day Thursday!!

That’s right, today is another fantastic edition of Game Day!  I’ve got another word search for you puzzle people out there!  This time, you need to complete the puzzle and then give me the theme I used!

In addition, I must send out a hearty “WELCOME BACK TO TWITTER” for a Mr. John Taylor out there.  I daresay that you were very, very missed.  I was actually beginning to get a little concerned for the safety of myself and my fellow Duran fans out there….(remember, we eat our own for breakfast!)

Finally (yes, it’s a short blog today), I wanted to give a follow up to a blog I’d done nearly a year ago now.  In another life, I was in fact a Girl Scout Leader with a couple of other moms in my neighborhood for my eldest’s Girl Scout Troop – she was about 7 at the time. (she’ll be 15 in 11 days…not that I’m counting)  The other moms and I became good friends while we were leading the troop, and we had a standing “tradition” of meeting for coffee while the kids were in school in order to do our planning, and it was something that we all grew to look forward to doing together.  Naturally, once our girls got to about the 4th grade (I’d say the girls were between 9 and 10), their interests changed and no longer wanted to be Girl Scouts, so our time as troop leaders ended. (thankfully)  While we were all glad to be through with the work involved, we missed our coffee mornings.  I still see the moms from time to time, although not nearly as often as I wish – and in March of last year I received the news that the younger daughter of one of our children had an inoperable brain tumor.  She is the same age as my son and had been in his class over the years. One never expects to hear this sort of thing, so yes, it was very shocking.  Our daughters used to play together, and while they’ve grown apart and no longer even go to school together – I just never ever gave something like this happening any kind of thought.

Nile Rodgers also has been battling cancer, and last year he had blogged about losing Bernard Edwards – he’d mentioned something about finding the silver lining in Bernard’s death, and I blogged in turn about it.  You can read that blog here.  Jessie’s battle with her brain tumor made me think about that blog again because for the past 10 months, right after she was diagnosed, Jessie was painting her own silver lining.  She took a devastating diagnosis and turned into something that would quite literally change the world.  She formed a foundation labeled NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) that concerns itself with spreading joy (which happens to be Jessie’s middle name) to children who are diagnosed with cancer.  In addition to that, Jessie wanted to do something special for each of the 50,000 children who are diagnosed each year with cancer.  Basically she came up with the idea to put joy in a jar.  Each week she and her dad would work in the “Joy Factory” (their garage) and stuff special small presents and goodies in jars that she would then take to hospitals and pass out to the kids in the oncology ward.  This was all done while Jessie herself was in radiation and chemotherapy treatment.  Never once did I ever see or hear her complain – even when she lost her hair, her eyesight, her hearing or control over half of her body, and in the last few months when she really lost the ability to smile – you could still see her try to smile as best as she could.  Jessie simply refused to let the cancer beat her spirit.  I have said many times that her parents should be very, very proud.  Jessie taught me more about grace, and wisdom in this past year than I learned in the 40 years prior.

Sadly, last Thursday morning Jessica’s body lost its fight over this horrible disease, and last night her family hosted a celebration service at the church where her dad Erik is a Pastor.  It was the most beautiful celebration of life that I’d ever seen – and what’s more – it’s brought our tiny little neighborhood community together.  Since the day Jessie passed away, people have been tying blue and white ribbons to the trees lining our streets.  Signs have popped up all over with messages ranging from “NEGU” to “We Miss You”, and just last night balloons were   also tied up so that when the family drove from our neighborhood to the church, there were balloons forcing smiles the entire way.  It was a glorious way to remember such an amazing little girl.  It’s amazing what a 12 year old is capable of teaching grown adults.

The reason I bring this up here is because yes, the experience of knowing Jessie has absolutely changed me.  I wasn’t even that close to her family or her mom during the last few years, but I kept in touch with Jessie’s progress, and my heart ached when I learned that she’d passed away because I know just how much Erik and Stacey will miss her.  No parent should ever have to bury a child.  Two songs continue to come to mind as I think about NEGU, JoyJars and Miss Jessica Rees:  [Reach up for the] Sunrise….and All You Need is Now.  If there were ever a lesson in those songs….I get it loud and clear.

For those interested in learning more about Jessie and her causes:

Jessica Joy Rees

NEGU

Jessie’s page on Facebook

Have a great weekend everyone, see you back on Monday!

-R