Category Archives: reposted blogs

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