Category Archives: reposted blogs

REPOST: The UK Brain Dump

Today is a big day in my world.  Actually, the next four days are beyond big.  For those not familiar with campaigns, the three days before Election Day and Election Day are the most important dates when it comes to field operations or the ground game.  It is the time that we try to reach each and every supporter to make sure that they vote.  For me, this means that I’m working 14 hour days.  Unfortunately, what this means for the blog is that I don’t necessarily have time to write as much as I would like.  I thought it would be better to have a blog repost instead of not blogging at all.  When I thought about what to repost, I wanted to think about a time in which I was worried that things were going to go badly and then everything went splendid.  When I think of my Duran Duran fandom, the UK trip in November 2011 fits that description.  The following lengthy blog by my writing partner shares all of it.  I am hoping that Tuesday night feels just like when Rhonda and I entered Heathrow Airport and realized that we would make the Brighton show after all or the moment that we heard the first few notes of Secret Oktober being played that night.

THE UK BRAIN DUMP

I distinctly remember the day I casually, even offhandedly uttered the words, “We really should just go to the UK and do a tour.”  I’m not even sure I really meant them at the time.  It was one of those things I tend to do – state a dream out loud as though I can somehow make it happen.  At the time, I have to admit that of course I’ve always wanted to go (who doesn’t?!?), but I could never imagine having that conversation with my husband.  Flying to the UK isn’t exactly cheap, and while yes – he travels a lot for work and we have tons of frequent flier tickets racked up as a result, it never occurred to me that I could actually use one to fly there without him.  It seemed like something I’d use to go on vacation with him, not away from him.  Oddly though, Amanda jumped right onto that train with me.  She wanted to go, but of course there were so many details to sort: work (her), home (me), money (both of us), etc. etc. etc.  Both of us felt that there may not be many more opportunities to go, and that if we really wanted to live in the moment, we’d better just go for it.  So we did.

Naturally, we all know how that first trip ended up.  Even the planning for it was not without trial, and in hindsight (its 20/20, right?) I think we should have sensed that all was not sound with our plan.  Both Amanda and I came home with very mixed feelings, and to this day she insists that we both had some post traumatic stress.  I hate admitting things like that, but it’s probably true at least in part.   Staying in the UK during the days that followed was extremely difficult, but I have to say – from the time I left my house here in California the day I caught my flight out to London, there were no tears from me.  I simply refused them.  I’m not a crier by nature, and I refused to give that stupid band any of those tears.  Yes, that’s really how I felt.  While we were in the UK, I kept as brave of a face on the blog as possible, tried very hard to be a good sport and never let on just how incredibly disappointed I was.  Besides, as bad as it was – and trust me it was bad – for Amanda and I, in the back of my mind I knew that I had absolutely no right to my disappointment.  I wasn’t Simon or the rest of the band.  They had it far, far worse than I ever did.  I could go back home and continue to be me – but what about Simon?  That thought is what kept me from completely losing it on that first trip.  Once I got home, I threw myself back into my normal life, and figured that time would take care of the rest.   Although, I did hold on to a tiny, minute shred of hope.

At first, hope was all that kept me writing. Some days I’d be fine, others – well, others I’d have writers block.  Then the news would come creeping out that Simon was improving, and I’d be thrilled on one hand, and on the other I’d wonder if it were true.  (horrible, I know)  It was around this time that the rescheduled UK dates showed up, and I have to tell you all, throughout the entire planning process for Amanda and I – I never once really and truly believed we’d ever see those shows.  We both were so casual about the planning this time!  We sold tickets, bought new ones…and then stopped planning altogether.  Then the announcement of the rehearsal shows came, and I wondered just how likely it really was that Simon really *could* sing.  It was difficult to say from here, so I relied on news from UK friends.  Then the shows happened, and I have to say – and some of you who are close to me know this – I questioned whether or not it was really Simon singing and not a backing track.  Blasphemous!!!  To be fair, I just worried about him in general.  Then of course the US dates were announced and even then, I had very little desire to go.  I’m not quite sure what it really was, but I didn’t have that deep seeded pit of excitement that I normally do.  It was almost like buying tickets for any other band, I guess.   Where was that sense of excitement???

The night of the Valley Center show arrived, and I still wasn’t very thrilled to be going.  I tried to play it off here on the blog as something different, but all I can tell you is that I was not that excited.  It could have been because I was going with my husband (its not the same as going with Amanda or my friends), it could have been because I had 50,000 other things going on including my daughter’s first high school homecoming dance, but I just felt like it was one more thing I had to go do.  Odd.  If I had to place a finger on how I felt that night, it was as though I was angry.  When they came on stage that night, I couldn’t even look at them.  I saw Simon come out and begin to sing Before the Rain, and I had to look down and practically turn away.  Hearing him sing actually hurt, and I can’t explain it.  It wasn’t until a good minute into the song that I gathered up enough courage to finally look up, and yes – the first person I saw was Dom.  He was right in front and winked at me. (yes, it really was AT me.  I was 3rd row that night right in front of him so there was really no mistaking it.)  I highly doubt he knew what was going on, but it did help.  I gave a small smile in return and tried to get into the rest of the show.  It was a good show overall.  My reaction was so weird that night, I mean – I’m a fan and all but seriously even *I* know when I’m being weird, and this was definitely just past weird.  The rest of the show was fine, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get home.  Poor Walt, he tried cheering me up but I just wasn’t having any.  I didn’t long to go to other shows, I just wanted to come home.

Then Chicago came about.  Originally I wasn’t even planning to go there – so when I finally said “OK, I’m coming” I think I even shocked myself.  In hindsight I’m really not sure why I didn’t plan to go sooner, but I didn’t.  I waited until pretty close to the last second to buy a ticket, went to the show, had a great time with friends – but still I felt almost nothing.  Once again the day I left, I couldn’t wait to get home.  I really thought that maybe I’d gone the distance in this fandom and that I’d run my course.  That worried me sense I was about to embark on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime to the UK…but what could I do except try and explain my lack of excitement away?

By then, Amanda and I had to really plan for this trip.  Every single part of planning had gone very smoothly.  She got the time off, Walt didn’t mind that I was going on another trip, buying and selling tickets went pretty easily, everything seemed pretty cut and dried.  That is, of course until we heard about the strike.  I have to tell you all, that really threw me.  All I could think of was that once again – we were going to miss a show, and that REALLY ticked me off.  That said, and I want to make this clear because I have friends who were involved in the strike in one way or another – never once did I fault anyone for going on strike. I was frustrated over the irony of the situation, not for the strike itself.  The UK is not my home country, and both Amanda and I felt that it would not only be unwise, but flat out rude for either of us to comment about the political or economic happenings over there.  Both Amanda and I felt that our options for travel were severely limited based on her work schedule and my child schedule here at home, so we agreed to stick with our original travel plans…and while I was ready to do some Duranie sacrificial offerings, I did stop just short of throwing my Red Carpet Massacre CD into the fire.  (just barely)  Hope for the best, expect the worst, right?

So that brings us to last Tuesday, November 29th.  I didn’t start packing until the day before I left.  Quite unlike me, if I may say. I also don’t mind mentioning that my bizarre ambivalence towards the band continued up until the day I left.  Over the weekend, I told Walt and the kids that this was my last trip.  I might go to see them when they come back to the US, but that I was done traveling for extended periods to see them.  I even told Walt several times that if it weren’t for Amanda, I would have cancelled the entire thing.  I just felt like it was way too much trouble.  I’d even said the words “I think I’ve lost my inner Duranie.” (oh the drama…and I dare wonder where my oldest gets it from.  Gee, I don’t know.) I cried the morning I left as I held my little girl – she’s 3 – on my lap, and I don’t even know why.  (insanity I’m sure)  So I get to the airport after walking away from our car with a lump in my throat, go inside and prepare myself for battle.  Security.  🙂  Once again the good TSA allow me to collect my baggage and head for my gate, and once I arrive I realize my flight is going to be late.  First by a few minutes, then by more than an hour.  This is nerve wracking, but even so I figured it was just more nails in the coffin that was to be the Brighton show.  We still had 3 more.  Amanda and I texted, then I boarded the flight, only to have it announced that the door to the plane wouldn’t shut and that they were having maintenance come check it out.  At this point, I literally got up from my seat, ready to get my bags and head home.  No, I’m not kidding.  The lady next to me even asked me if I was going to leave.  I remember thinking at the time that this was it, that I just was not meant to ever get to the UK, and while many other fans were allowed the opportunity, it wasn’t in the cards for me.  That really annoyed me, but at that point I was just done.  I texted Amanda as much, and as soon as I sent the text (I think it said “I am ALL DONE with this nonsense”), the pilot came on over the intercom and announced the door had been shut and that we were leaving.  I slowly sat back down and buckled up.

Alrighty then.  We’re making progress now.

It was at this point that I think the trip took a serious turn.  I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that I really and honestly felt like an angel was on my shoulder the rest of the way throughout the whole experience.  I think most of you know that my Dad died a few years ago (nearly 4 now).  We were very, very close.  I’m not overly religious or anything like that, but its easier for me to believe that my dad is somewhere rather than nowhere. I could just imagine his telling me that it was all going to work out just fine that day, and for some reason, that comforted me. So we get to Chicago without incident – I’m a little late, but nothing horrible.  Amanda and I eat dinner, comment that this trip isn’t going to happen and that it sucks to be missing Brighton, then go on our way.  When we boarded the plane it was very obvious that it wasn’t a full flight – in fact we were able to move to other aisles and have enough room to stretch out and sleep – which we did.  Amanda and I almost never sleep on a plane, so this was good.  Then the pilot told us that while the strike did take place, the reports from Heathrow were that it wasn’t badly affected as of yet.  We held out hope for what I really think was the first time since May.

When we arrived at Heathrow, Amanda and I were ready for the worst, but as we got off the plane I swear I could have dropped a pin and heard it as it hit the cold tile.  Amazing.  The workers were grinning, happy to share the news that there was no wait – and we were shocked.  Even a bit giddy!  We got through border control in under 5 minutes.  Unbelievable.  We were so excited.  Brighton was going to happen!!  The funny thing is that at that moment, this was the first time that I genuinely felt real excitement.  It started as a tiny bubble, and by the time we actually boarded our train for Brighton a little later – it felt like a fountain!

We met up with friends we’d met in May for dinner, Nicky and Rie. I have to say that the gift…or the silver lining, of what happened in May is that we made some wonderful new friends.  Nicky and Rie are two of those people and we were overjoyed to be able to see them again.  We ate at Jamie’s Italian that night, and I won’t lie – I could barely eat.  This is what Amanda and I know to be “concert anxiety”, and boy did I ever have it.  I will feel like I can’t eat, I’ll be anxious and can’t sit still – and it’ll feel like I’ve got a tuning fork inside me.  It had been a long, long time since I had that feeling – and it was welcome!!  When we walked into Brighton Centre for the show, my initial thought was “Wow.  The band is playing in a high school gym!”  That’s truly what the place looked like.  I half expected to hear that there was a basketball floor underneath the temporary cork boards they’d put down, or to see scoreboards up in back of the risers they used for seating.  I guess arenas are older there in the UK than here… but we went off and found our seats, which were great for this show.  4th row, right in front of Dom.  Nah, he’s not my favorite at all.  Oh. Boy.

Here is where I want to make a disclaimer…we did NOT pick our seats for these shows.  We took whatever we could find, and oddly….we ended up smack in front of Dom for every single show we attended.  Yes, it was weird, but I promise I wasn’t stalking him.  Never mind that if given a choice I would have sat in the same area…..I wasn’t stalking!  I’m sure he got very sick of seeing us out in that audience, so I’m sorry for that!

When they came out on stage it was all I could do not to burst into tears.  The joy of seeing them up there – I had to keep pinching myself to remind me that I was in the UK.  I was finally getting my chance to live out a dream.  It was completely unreal and even today I have to look at pictures to prove to myself it really happened.  Then the unthinkable happened and they played Secret Oktober.  I just wish someone would have taken video of Amanda and I because I am sure it was priceless.  At first, I remember my eyes getting super wide, and then I yelled “OH MY GOD”.  I looked at Amanda, she looked at me, and then we hugged.  Hilarious.  Then I stood there in shock for most of the song.  I will never, ever forget that moment.  I’d flown a long way and gone through one hell of a lot to get there.  Then they had to go and follow that up with Mediterranea – which is one of my favorite recent songs, and Dom played his 1966 Epiphone, which is incredibly gorgeous and sounds amazing.   After this show, I wanted more.  Finally.

The beauty of going back to the UK is that we’ve been writing the blog for over a year and have had the opportunity to “meet” many new people on Facebook, the blog and Twitter.  There is a real community of DD fans out there, and it was as important for Amanda and I to meet them as it was for us to see the band.  What we didn’t count on was that so many Duran Duran fans wanted to meet us as well.  Amanda and I write Daily Duranie for a lot of different reasons, but the main one is that we enjoy it.  We want to bring the fans together in a way that nothing else really does.  We want people to get to know one another, and we want there to be a “safe” place to discuss the band and being fans – and even the downsides.  I don’t think that we ever really take too much time to consider that people genuinely love the blog – I mean we’re thrilled that anyone reads it, but its not like we expect to be recognized for our efforts.  We just love what we do and hope that comes through here.  We love being fans.  We love the band, and we both love to write.  It’s the easiest job I have.  🙂   In any case, we met many, many new friends on this trip, and we’re very thankful to have them in our lives.

A few new friends invited us to go with them to Bournemouth the next day. We’ll be forever indebted to Michelle, Amy & Sarahjane for allowing Amanda and I to squeeze into their car and gab the entire way.  Hands down it was the best travel day of our entire trip and we owe it to the three of you.  Come to the US and we’ll tour this place together!  We really did have a lot of fun with these girls and I adore them!   After dinner with the girls, we met up with Julie and Alison for a drink before the show.  Once again, more laughing commenced.  I have to say that it never really mattered to me that I didn’t run into the band or that I had no idea where they were staying or what they were doing – I just enjoyed being with new friends, and that’s the way it really should be!   I had a very, very nice surprise while waiting to get into the venue that night – Faby came up from out of nowhere and hugged me, which was crazy!  She is yet another fantastic person I met when we were here in May, and at that time there was just something about her that made me want to be friends.  She’s vivacious and happy and I think her smile is infectious.  I was so thrilled to see her in Bournemouth, and I only wish we’d spent more time!

I’m trying to force myself to write one nice detail from each show as opposed to giving another review of each show because let’s face it – we’ve all got lives and this blog today is going to be epic in length as it is.  So for the Bournemouth show I have to say that it was my least favorite, but not because of the band – because of our seats.  We were farther to the left than necessary at this show, and it taught Amanda and I a real lesson: go for the good seats!!  It matters where you sit and what the crowd is like around you.  Its never good to see people sitting in the front row, and even if Dom did wink at me more than once – I craved more.  *clears throat*  MORE SHOWS, thankyouverymuch!  🙂  I think Amanda hated those seats even more than I did because she’s a John girl to the very core of her being, and he hardly came over to that side of the stage.  I felt bad that night because as it was all of our seats were on Dom’s side of the stage – but this made it even worse.  Even so, it was a good show.

Our trip from Bournemouth to Birmingham the next day was via train.  In hindsight I wish we’d gone with friends, but at the time Amanda and I didn’t know what we were doing, and we didn’t want to keep someone else from going off and say – finding the band or getting to their hotel or whatever people do.  Once in Birmingham though, we got settled into our room and had room service delivered.  Champagne and pizza.  What could be more American??  We also had a visit from Asha, a friend from Twitter, which was lovely.  Later on, we met up with Bryony, Rie, Anu, the girls we’d traveled to Bournemouth with along with other new friends including Eileen and Sam, some girls from Germany whose faces I remember but names are escaping me….  So many people!!!  I know I’m forgetting names and faces and I feel badly about that – I hope you forgive me if you were there that night or if we met at another time on the trip.  We were at a pub, and there were many, many drinks to be had, which we did.  I miss Strongbow already, although I just found out that I can get it here at my favorite wine store, which is fantastic!!

What to say about Birmingham…it was the show of a lifetime.  I still can’t quite believe I went to see Duran Duran in Birmingham and was actually allowed in the venue.  I told Amanda that for the first time, I felt like an outsider that night.  It was the only time during the tour that I felt that way – and I think it’s just because standing there that night, I knew that it was a hometown crowd.  The band seemed just the tiniest bit more nervous, and I just didn’t quite feel as though I belonged there.  That said, it was a great, great show.  I have memories that I won’t ever forget – some of which may or may not include certain people up on stage that were insistent that I sing Hungry Like the Wolf and like it.  If you read the blog then you know just how much I dislike that song. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love it.  I loved the video.  I hated watching Roger get kissed by the girl in that video.  I loved seeing John Taylor in that video.  I laughed at Simon’s changing haircolor.  Then about 10 years ago, I got sick of hearing that song.  So sick that I’ve completely deleted it off of my iPod, iPad, iPhone…computer….well, you get the idea.  It simply does not exist in my home, and when I hear it live, it means it’s time to take pictures.  Yes well, that plan was blown all to hell the night of Bournemouth.  Trust me, the song has new meaning for me now.  Thanks Dom, thanks a lot.  We’ll see if you remember the next time you come to the US, because I’ll be there, and if I have my way – I’ll be up front!  Oh and by the way – yesterday I played the CD’s that were in my changer in my car, and that blasted song came on.

I let it play the entire way through.  Dang it!!!

Let’s see, that brings me to our last show.  Glasgow.  To begin with, we took a train from Birmingham to Glasgow.  That was one HELL of a long train ride.  5 hours.  I’m not a huge fan of trains to begin with because here in the US, they seem to crash a lot.  Call me crazy, but I like living.  Regardless, we were on one for most of that day.  I have no idea where we were most of the time, but I’ve got to say – the English countryside is gorgeous!  We just don’t have areas like that here where I live.  There wasn’t much to do on the train except for listen to music, sleep (we did a little of that), talk, and blog (I did!).  We passed through many tiny little towns along the way, and then there was Newcastle.  I was shocked by how far it is from Birmingham – I guess I never pictured it that way, nor did I picture the city being so large.  Eventually we made our way to Edinburgh, which is where Amanda’s friend Tanya lives.  We stayed with Tanya and her husband for the final two nights of our trip, which was a lot of fun.  They took us for some outstanding curry and then we spent the evening at a Scottish Single Malt Whiskey club.  My husband continues to be envious….and I admit that makes me smile just the tiniest bit wider.  He’s never been to Scotland and I have!!!  😀

So, Glasgow.  I already reviewed the show, so you know how that went.  We met up with Kayren and her fiance Andy, and another friend – Nath from France, before the show.  We laughed a lot – most of which at MY expense, which is probably just as it should be.  😀  As we sat there in the bar that night though, I couldn’t help but feel a little bittersweet.  It was our final show, and although I’d gotten to do a lot of the things I’d wanted, there were some things that, as a fan – I still completely missed.  I made the decision not to dwell and to be thankful that I was there at all.

The show was a dream.  Truly.  Second row center.  Right in front of the band.  Who doesn’t want seats like that?  And….for the fangirl segment of this epic blog:

Every single time John and Dom would come over in front of us – which was often during this show – I’d get all giggly like I was still 11.  Honestly.  I roll my eyes in disgust at myself.   Another funny thing happened at that show that I have to share, and it was during White Lines.  You all probably know the part when Simon saunters on back over to the risers for Roger’s drum kit and he takes a drink of water…you figure he’s gonna swallow but no, instead he thinks it’s super cool to come over to the front of the stage and basically spray it on everyone. He’s been doing that for a long time now – at least since Thank You came out.  The US fans pretty much hate it (although I think some probably like it), and I think he’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t do it much over there.   I’ve threatened to do many things if he should so choose to spray me with that water – and I’ve meant them.  Well, that night I came prepared.  I had an umbrella in my purse (zebra striped) and I was all ready to put the damn thing up should he get close.  The funny thing is that when he went back for the water, I realized my purse was safely under my chair and I was up right by the railing, sans umbrella!!  Not only was I nowhere near the umbrella, I was close to the stage – and center stage at that.  So I did what had to be done.  I backed the hell up!!  What’s really odd is that instead of spraying at center stage, he went to John’s side.  Simon was allowed to live another day!

They were so close to us and the energy of the arena was outstanding – it was a dream come true.  I still smile when I think of that show and how Dom would look over, making an attempt to connect with anyone who was looking. (and yes – I was absolutely looking!!)  Then there was Hungry Like the Wolf again…all I will say is that Amanda – I win!!!  😀   Dom made the show fun for me, to the point where I have to remind myself that yes, I’m still *supposed* to be a Roger girl and that there were actually other people on the stage that night.  Go figure!

Is anyone gagging yet?  🙂  Well, you’d think I would have asked for a pick or sticks or SOMETHING at the end of the show, but no.  I’m a little too shy for that.  Ask Amanda.  I’m all talk until it comes time to actually see them, and I will find any reason to avoid it.  I guess the reality is that I just don’t want it to go badly, and I don’t want to give them the opportunity to crush 30 years of my fandom.  Does that make sense?  I think Dom would be different, mainly because I’ve met him before – I’ve had a real conversation with him in a very strange place (an airplane), and I am fairly sure he knows exactly who I am and that when he sees me at a show he recognizes me (which must mean I’ve been to far too many shows…), but even so, I couldn’t bring myself to ask.  *sigh*

When we waved goodbye that night – it was a little heartbreaking.  Amanda and I have been planning this trip for an entire year.  Now what?!  (I’ll tell you what – I’ve got to get my Christmas shopping done, that’s what!!!)  We did what I consider to be the ultimate fan thing – we went to the homeland.  We saw shows.  We met what I hope will be lifelong friends.  Now what?  I really don’t know.  I don’t think I’m overly depressed, just trying to figure out what we’ll do next.  We have some ideas, though.

………One of which involves a winnebago and me driving…….

-R

REPOST: Withdrawal Symptoms

I don’t know about the rest of you but it has been a WEEK.  A long, tough week.  (Yep, that’s a sentence fragment.  Nope, I don’t care.)  Believe it or not, it wasn’t really my job causing the stress and strain. Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any work to do this weekend.  I cannot be that lucky.  I have a set of papers and tests to grade on top of some family responsibilities and campaign events, but work is not upsetting me.  While I would love to create an amazing new blog, my energy level won’t let that happen.  Thus, I checked to see what I had written before on this date when I ran across the following post.  I remember writing it and how it amused the heck out of me.  Guess what?  It still makes me laugh.  Hope it might bring a smile to your face, too!

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

I woke up this morning sick to my stomach.  The symptoms clearly said it was some sort of flu with nausea, stomach craps, alternating between chills and sweating and exhaustion.  Of course, I posted my illness on my personal facebook while I called the campaign I’m working for to tell them that I needed someone to cover me at today’s canvass.  The consensus on facebook was that I had been pushing myself too much and that a day off would do me good.  While it could be a virus or a virus that was able to hit due to working so much, I suspect that there might be something else going on.  I was able to put it together after receiving an email from Rhonda and seeing her facebook status.  She, too, has been battling illness this week and experienced insomnia last night.  My sleep has been awful lately as well.  Now, we don’t live near each other.  I’m in Wisconsin and she’s in California.  There is no way that we have the same virus or do we?!?Today is September 22nd.  Where were we one month ago?  We were in Portsmouth, Virginia, going to our final show of the All You Need is Now tour.  This was the last show for probably years and we both were well aware of that on that day.  Strangely enough, I also had a weird dream last night in my very restless sleep.  The location of this weird dream:  Portsmouth, Virginia.  When I woke up this morning, I thought it was a strange location to dream about since we weren’t there very long and it wasn’t the most memorable location or show of the tour.  Yet, my subconscious was thinking about it.  Clearly.  In this dream, I had to get to a show.  I was in a rush to get there but I kept running into roadblocks, both literally and figuratively.  Traffic was a nightmare in my dream as was road construction.  I only had a few hours to get there, to the show.  Rhonda, too, was struggling to get there.  I assumed that she wasn’t going to make it.  I found myself slowly accepting the fact that we weren’t going to make it on time for the show.  In fact, I decided I wasn’t even going to see Rhonda.  I tried to accept it.  At the last minute, Rhonda showed up in what I assumed was a hotel room.  The last thing I remember saying to her was, “We might make it but it isn’t going to be easy.”  When I woke up, I thought I was talking about making that show and maybe I was.  Now, though, I think it is bigger than that.

This dream connected with my symptoms, Rhonda’s symptoms and today’s date only means one thing.  We are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, this means that we are addicted.  We are Duranaholics.  I am standing up as I type this and admitting it.  My name is Amanda and I’m a Duranaholic.  Clearly, now I know that this addiction isn’t just mental but physical as well.  Now that I have taken the first step and am not longer trying to deny this addiction, what do I do?  Do I try and break the addiction?  If so, this means I have to continue through this detox and, frankly, I have no choice as there is no time with the band in my future.  Although, I keep hoping, despite all evidence that it won’t happen, for at least, a tiny fix with a John Taylor signing in…say…Chicago.  Okay.  *deep breath*  So, I must continue through detox.  Then what?  Meetings?  Do they have to be in person meetings or can twitter and facebook be enough?  I know that there are many Duranies in the Madison area or within driving distance.  Should I organize DA (Duranaholics Anonymous) meetings?  What if I’m the only addict?  Yes, many people may be able to enjoy Duran in small quantities and might be able to really control their usage.  Do you think that they would be able to encourage my change in lifestyle or will they be enablers by showing Duran clips or playing Duran music?  Then, there is the issue of Rhonda.  Will she walk this path with me or will she continue to use?

Of course, I could just decide to keep using.  Maybe I can do enough Duran like to keep the mental and physical suffering away for the most part.  What should I do?  Which path should I choose?  How do I survive until the next fix?  How are the rest of you surviving without Duranlive?!

-A

P.S.  I do truly understand that real addiction is a disease that should be taken seriously.  I was only comparing fandom to real addictions for fun.  No offense was meant.  I promise.  🙂

REPOST: California Midstate Fair Show Review

California Midstate Fair Show Review

Leg 2 for Daily Duranie has begun!!

We are in Paso Robles, California…and we just got back to our hotel room from the California MidState Fair.  Duran Duran played to a packed crowd of 16,000 very friendly fans, and we had a TOTAL BLAST.

I kid you not, despite a set list that has not changed in I-don’t-even-know-when, we had a fantastic time. We laughed (I practically cried I laughed so hard), we sang along, we smiled until our cheeks hurt, and we can’t wait to do it all again.

But first, there might be a video.

Yes my friends, it is another video blog, lovingly recorded and prepared by Amanda and I.  At over 23 minutes, it is not short, but we had a lot to say, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t cover everything we were supposed to cover. (It is late, I am tired, and quite possibly a little drunk. Good times!!)

So, we’re off to bed in search of sweet dreams before we head out at the crack of dawn in order to get to Vegas as early as possible.  We have things to do, people!!!

Cheers!

-A & R

REPOST: You’ve Built Your Refuge Turns You Captive All The Same

From time to time, we all need a break. I’m finding that today, I need one too. This is something that Amanda and I have discussed off and on over the years, never really coming to a firm decision about taking vacations or holidays. We take time when we need, and we handle it however makes sense, which is what I’m doing today.

I decided to look back five years from today’s date and post whatever blog is there. (one good reason for the archives, I say!) It turns out that on this date in 2013, Amanda wrote the blog. The topic is just as timely now as it was then. Not everything about fandom comes up smiles and rainbows, am I right?  Enjoy!!


You’ve Built Your Refuge Turns You Captive All The Same

Originally posted July 19, 2013

I have been a Duran Duran fan for a loooooooooooooong time.  A lot of us have.  I have been involved in a few other fandoms over the course of my life but none have stuck with me like Duran has.  There is probably a ton of reasons why that is but that isn’t the point of this particular blog post.  While I might have been with Duran over these other fandoms, there are Duranies who have ONLY been in the Duran fandom.  Then, there seems to be people who bounce from fandom to fandom to fandom.  Why do they do that?  Why have I been interested in other fandoms, at times, too?  While the simple, surface answer is that people can like many things and I can like other things besides Duran.  That’s true but…I think there is something about fandom itself that leads people to enjoy joining fandoms or leads people to leave fandoms once they become familiar, common place.

Do you remember what it was like when you first joined the Duran fandom?  Or any other fandom?  My memories from every fandom feel the same.  It feels good, happy, thrilling, exciting.  Everything and everyone feels positive.  I, for one, typically can’t get enough and can’t stop talking about whatever the object of that particular fandom is.  Everyone in the fandom literally feels like a family and I can’t ever imagine that there is ever bad blood or that people don’t get along.  I have such fond memories of when I joined the Duran fandom in 2004 (remember I was a fan before that but not part of the community).  I posted frequently on message boards and spent time reading them even more.  I spent a lot of money trying to fill in any gaps in the Duran catalog and organizing the pieces of memorabilia that I had while acquiring even more.  I wanted to know and have everything and everyone in the fandom seemed to support this. It was wonderful.  Just wonderful.  When I decided to go to the convention, part of the reason was that I wanted more.  I wanted to be around others who understood the overwhelming love I had for this band.  At the convention, it seemed like every single fan was awesome and each and every one of them could become my best friend because we all shared this very important thing.  I didn’t need to hide.  In fact, my fandom was cherished, was celebrated.  Everything and everyone seemed perfect from my fellow fans to the band.

After that, the album came out and the tour happened.  I went on tour for the first time in my life.  It continued to be perfect.  Part of the reason was that it provided a perfectly positive escape.  Who doesn’t need an escape once in a while?  I know that I did.  I had just finished my master’s degree and was tired of taking classes, writing papers, etc.  Work was still pretty significant and was literally working many hours more beyond that forty hour a week contract.  While I wasn’t unhappy, I still needed those mental and emotional breaks that fandom was providing, that the Duran fandom was providing.  Once I went on tour, my interest became like a real obsession.  The escape from reality was intense there.  I wasn’t thinking about students, curriculum, behavior plans, etc.  I wasn’t worried about presenting myself professionally with parents or administrators.  Instead, it was all about fun–going from one show to the next, partying, staying up late, laughing like there was no tomorrow.  I found my refuge, for sure.  I loved it and couldn’t imagine ever stopping.  Heck, still today, I can’t imagine ever really stopping.  I can’t imagine not going on tour ever again.  Thus, in the early days of my Duran fandom, it was perfectly fun.  Beyond fun.  Beyond anything I could have ever wanted or imagined.  In my observation, while the details and experiences I had in Duranland might be different from other activities in other fandoms, the feelings I had were the same, at least to some degree, in other fandoms and what I have seen with other friends and family and their fandoms.  This feeling of everything and everyone being wonderful and the feelings of escape seem to happen with all fandoms when people join them.

Yet, as time has gone on, I have learned that not everything in Duranland is rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  It isn’t perfect.  The band isn’t perfect and neither are the fans.  I don’t always agree with everything the band and their management has done.  I have met many, many fans.  Some of them have become close friends of mine (ha!), some have become people I like and would like to get to know more, and some I’m not too crazy about and they aren’t too crazy about me, either.  The perfection did not last.  The hearts and flowers did not live forever.  I still have many, many great days as part of this fandom.  I can’t really imagine leaving.  Yet, I have to acknowledge that it doesn’t always have that same level of escape and fun that it was once did.  In fact, there are days that I wonder if I shouldn’t consider walking away.  Why?  Simple.  I have those thoughts on days when it feels like the Duran fandom is the exact opposite of an escape.  There are days that it can feel almost like a trap.  The negatives fly fast and furious.  Luckily, those days, those times don’t last forever.  I then can focus on the good times I have had, the good friends I have made.  This allows me to wipe away the negatives, the hostility from others.  My experience has taught me what it takes to remain in a fandom and why some people might go from fandom to fandom.  I suspect those people are trying to avoid the negatives.  They only want the fun and escape.  I can’t blame them.  Who can?  Part of me is jealous because I can’t ever go back to those innocent, carefree days of early fandom, at least not with Duran.  I know too much.  I have seen too much.  People have seen and heard too much of me.

Initial fandom might feel like a perfect escape and definitely can be for a while.  Yet, as time goes on and people settle in, imperfections that occur with every human being, with every human community becomes clear.  To remain in a fandom means accepting those imperfections, accepting that it can’t always be an escape.  At times, it can and will feel just like the rest of reality with positives and negatives, with people of all opinions and more.  In that sense, fandom and fan communities become just like any other community, filled with reality.

-A

 

Repost: Just a Number on the Metal Fence

I am drowning.  Not literally, obviously, but it sure feels like it.  I’m sitting on my couch surrounded by papers and notebooks to grade.  Why is this?  I could point out that it is the end of the school year so I have to calculate final grades.  While this is true, I also have students who are terrible procrastinators.  Seriously, they are awful.  So, I have a lot more grading than I should.  Yet, I’m being kind so I’m grading assignments that I should not.  Some might even say that I’m a sucker.  It is so bad that my parents are grading objective tests for me.  Anyway, the reason I am sharing this is simple.  As much as I would like to be blogging tonight (as I’m writing this Thursday night), I’m not going to be able to do a whole new blog.

So, I am doing the next best thing.  I looked at the blogs that have been published on June 1st and ran across one entitled:  “Just a Number on the Metal Fence.”  I knew exactly what it was.  To summarize, it is one I wrote about what the fan community was like during the Red Carpet Massacre era.  I focused on the division between the fans that liked the album and the ones that didn’t.  It is a blog that I felt like I did a decent job explaining myself.  Likewise, it is one that caused a whole bunch of people to react.  On the day the blog originally came out, I was at a political training.  My phone buzzed with notifications all day.  I couldn’t keep up.

I suggest that you read it and see if you, too, have a lot to say.  The blog is here:  Just a Number on the Metal Fence.

-A

Blog Pick from 2011-2012: More on Friendships

One thing I’ve found as I’ve looked back over our blogs for the past seven years is that there were some years that Amanda and I just WROTE. We did crazy amounts of writing each day. Nothing “dialed-in”, nothing that was just fluff. 2011-2012 was that way for us, and it was very difficult to choose something that summed up the year.  We traveled to the UK in December, we hosted a meet-up In Chicago, and we had big ideas (and wide eyes) for what we wanted to do with Daily Duranie.

The theme for this post was friendship. At the time, we had hosted a couple of meet-ups that went over very well, and I was feeling more and more confident about our “place” in the Duran fan community. At the time, I felt like we were accepted and loved. Our goal quickly became one of inclusion – we wanted EVERYONE to feel included and have a good fan experience.  This post is indicative of that.

The real reason Amanda and I began Daily Duranie is simple: We wanted to be liked and accepted. Writing was our way “in”. I don’t think it ever really worked in the way we’d hoped – our circle of friends is incredibly small – but that’s fine. We’ve learned to rely on one another, and we do. Anything else is a bonus. Back then, I think we felt like we could somehow share that vision of being liked and accepted with other people who never felt like they fit in, and that’s why we had hoped to be something in the fan community that would be known for bringing people together.  That initial glimmer of vision is what is written in the words below. I smile a little bit by how naive I was at the time.

I don’t know if our overall vision has changed that much since 2011, but I think the way in which we conduct ourselves certainly has.  We still agree that our “place” in the fan community is not necessarily to report on the news, but to focus on the fan experience. I would say that writing has become less about other people and more about myself – I can’t speak for Amanda on that, though. Time and experience has changed me. Where at one time I wrote hoping to make other people happy – wanting validation and acceptance, now I write with the goal of making myself happy. It isn’t that I don’t worry about what other people think, it is that I can’t. Even so, it’s nice to take a look back and “hear” my innocent, wide-eyed point of view.  

-R

Originally posted October 26, 2011:

While I didn’t get comments here, I did see quite a few comments regarding yesterday’s blog topic on Facebook.  The overwhelming response is that the friendships we make have all the difference in our experience, and I would agree.  (obviously?!?)

The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding.  Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.

When I first found dd.com, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board.  You were either included or you were not.  You were either well liked, or you were not.  The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited.  Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked.  We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish.  Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form.  Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way.  The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens.  I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?

The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience.  Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder.  Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan.  When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse.  Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about.  What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community.  I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone.  I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference.  If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge.  Enormous!

Of course, there are always going to be people who prefer the solo experience.  I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be.  (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!)  I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row.  I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had I been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too.  Who here would not have been?!?  Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case.  I’d have braved it out just fine!  I suppose we all have our limits or standards.  Mine is in the front row!

What about that false sense of friendship?  Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show?  What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen?  They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in?  For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived.  I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.

I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed.  If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.

-R

My Pick from 2010-2011: Semitones and Simon

So, what made me choose this one, originally posted June 1, 2011?  

As I started reading the blogs from our first year, a couple of things became clear: One, this idea of finding the “best” blogs from the year was much more difficult and time-consuming than I’d realized. Two, my memory is very poor.  What I mean by that is simply that when Amanda and I first started discussing this idea, I could think of topics that we’d written about, figuring they only happened a year or two ago.  Wrong. For example, we wrote about fan validation that year – and I would swear it was only a couple of years back!  It’s been seven!! So, my task was arduous. I couldn’t decide if I should go with what was easiest – picking either our first blog or something similar, or if I should just look up the blogs by traffic numbers and repeat what was most popular.  I ended up doing neither. 

I sat down and forced myself to re-read. Now, some blogs I simply glanced over, knowing they weren’t what I was looking for. On the other hand, there were many others I’d forgotten. So I whittled down the year’s worth to three.  From there, I just went with what felt right. 

In this blog, originally titled Semitones and Simon, I share what Simon had explained about his voice.  Interestingly enough though, in hindsight – the blog really isn’t about his voice or semitones. It’s about my own relationship with the band, Simon in particular.  I will just close here by saying that even forty years in, my impression of the band, and my feelings for them, continue to evolve. 

I still like to give any and all of them a rough time however I can, though. That’s not gonna change any time soon.  Enjoy!

 

According to the music sites I visited today, a semitone is an interval equivalent to a half-tone in a standard diatonic scale.  I am pretty embarrassed that I had to even look up the term – it’s something that even as an amateur musician, I should (and do) really know. Basically, for all of you retired high school band members out there like me – they are the sharps and flats.  The half-steps.  Why I couldn’t figure that out on my own this morning probably has something to do with early onset Alzheimer’s, at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.  Won’t matter anyway, because I’ll likely forget the whole thing by tomorrow.  (Yes, that’s my idea of humor!)

What is the whole point of this semitone discussion?  I was greeted this morning on Facebook by a news item from Duran Duran.  Simon had written a blog and it was up for our reading pleasure.  Of course I was interested, and it is very much worthy of reading.  Once again, Simon shocked me.  (this is fast becoming a habit!)  I’m very used to reading Simon’s blogs, scratching my head, reaching for the vodka bottle, reading it again, and still not quite understanding what happened in the translation.  I jokingly say that one has to be under the influence to understand him, and reading his blogs can be somewhat like reading his lyrics at times.  This new blog is not that way at all, and he is kind enough to share details of what is really going on with him at the moment.  He explains that he seems to be missing 6 semitones at the top of his range.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by semitone, but after looking it up – it makes perfect sense.  An octave is made up of 8 full tones and 12 semitones.  Why 12 and not 16? Look at a piano keyboard and count the notes.  That’s my easiest, non-theoretical answer. 🙂   Those black keys are known as the sharps and flats, and they fall in the middle (give or take) between each full tone.  Simon thinks he’s missing 6 of them, and thanks to my fabulous math skills I know that’s about half an octave – which is kind of a lot for a vocalist!  (although this morning in a fit of brilliance I said it was 2/3 of an octave.)  Regardless of the details, the Simon I am learning to admire these days is a far cry from the guy I’ve seen on stage over the years – and not in a bad way at all.  I really kind of like him when he’s not being mean-spirited on twitter. (Which is probably required once in a while.  I’ve seen some of the tweets he gets!)

Simon IS cheeky, he can be funny at times – and similar to the other males I share my life with, he can also be a downright pain in the ass.   Coincidence??  Nah… This Simon though, the one I met the last week in London, is someone new to me.  I don’t mean this to be a crack at Simon, it’s just that the lead singer I’m used to seems to be all about the ego.  Back when I was a teenager, I loved it.  That blondish hair, the way he’d smile slyly into the camera – who could ignore that?  Even into my 20’s, I thought Simon was amazing.  Once I hit 30, and then 35, and now 40, I will openly admit I grew tiresome of the huge ego.  It just seemed like it was time to get real.  I was loathsome of the way I’d hear he’d treat fans – whether they were stories, embellishments or otherwise – and as a result I had pretty much determined that I never wanted to meet him in person.  No reason to open myself up to being ridiculed just because he’s the lead singer in the one band I’ve always loved.  So, I avoided him at all costs.  In no way am I the type of fan who would just walk up to one of the band members outside of a gig and expect them to entertain me.  I may end up at the same bar, but I would never approach because for them, that time is “after work” and just as I wouldn’t appreciate having my boss follow me around after work (although I don’t mind saying that MY bosses live with me and I’m never off of work – just one of the joys of being a stay at home parent!), I recognize that perhaps they should be afforded the same luxury.  If they want to come up and share a beer, glass of wine or a conversation – I’m all about being friendly, but I won’t insist on it by imposing myself on them.  I feel pretty confident with who I am, what I look like, and what I’m worth as a human.  I just don’t need one of my idols to openly reject me because I’m not a supermodel, I don’t have long dark hair, or exotic looks.   I know I’m not the only fan out there that feels that way…right??

It’s funny because this situation has made me see the band in a much different light.  I guess to some extent, I’ve always taken them for granted.  They would always be there, in some shape or form.  It never occurred to me that there would be “an end”, much less would there be an end without any major fanfare.  I figured I’d always know it was coming and would be able to prepare myself, but of course – it never happens that way, does it?  I’ve been home now for a few days, and I’ll find myself in the middle of say, folding laundry or something.  I’ll stop and think “Holy hell what just happened there?”  It’s as though while I was in the UK, I was just a robot going through the motions of every day, and it’s only just now that I realize I flew 10 hours there, spent 9 days wandering around only to see not a single show, then fly 11 hours back.  (gotta love the jet stream)  What just happened?!?  It reminds me very much of how I felt in retrospect after my dad passed.  For an entire month I wandered around this house, going through the motions of caring for a tiny newborn and planning every aspect of my dad’s memorial – and only several weeks after all was said and done did I look back and think “Wait a damn second here.  Did all of that really just happen?”  I’m not emotional, mainly just incredulous that I went all the way to the UK to live out a dream…and walked away before it really happened.  Now of course we’re all wondering when Simon will sing again.  I hope it’s soon, and I hope I have the chance to witness it for myself.

In any case, my heart continues to go out to Simon and I wish I could help – tap dancing here on this blog doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

-R