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Back to the Sugar Shack: Liberty Turns 29

Another Duraniversary popped up this week on the socials. Has it really been twenty-nine years since Liberty arrived, somewhat uncomfortably, in our lives? Often dismissed as the band’s worst album, it was a difficult album for me to grasp upon its release. The 80s were over, that much was clear and where the new decade was headed remained unclear. Caught between decades, Duran Duran’s Liberty remains an important piece of the band’s history, and might even be a more consistent listen than the commercial juggernaut that followed it.

As far as album openers go, Duran Duran has done far worse than “Violence of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)”, and it made for an effervescent first single. The 12” single was a wonderful introduction to the band’s new direction. The artwork and the video clicked for me, and I was excited about the album. Ultimately, it never wormed its way into my bloodstream like previous albums had. Some of this was the new decade and exciting new bands arriving on the scene. However, Duran Duran also bears some responsibility for putting forth an album where insecurity and over-confidence lock horns.

Overconfidence or insecurity?

The over-confidence comes through in the guitars of Warren Cuccurullo and the lyrics of Simon LeBon. Playing against the melody, as if to prove a point, Cuccurullo’s work disrupts the otherwise perfectly pleasant “Liberty” while LeBon’s socially charged lyrics on “Hothead” are all a bit silly coming from a band that capitalized on the decade of excess better than most. While the band revisits that sentiment a bit on “Too Much Information”, the song rocks so hard that I give them the benefit of the doubt. A cola company is sponsoring the war? Well, they also sponsored your biggest tour. We are winking at each other, right? 

The insecurity comes through whenever LeBon tries to sing about sex. Unless your Prince, rhyming jism and catechism sounds creepy and desperate. “Take Me To Your Water” doesn’t exactly conjure pastoral images of an English countryside and “Read My Lips” unfolds like a drunken come-on by a once cool geezer in a once trendy club. Listening almost three decades later, I hear a writer trying to recapture his mojo by becoming edgier. While it worked in 1990 for Madonna with “Justify My Love”, LeBon’s poetry was never meant to be so direct and explicit.

Liberty and The Wedding Album, side-by-side

It isn’t hard to pick “Serious” and “My Antartica” out of this album as the crown jewels of Liberty. I’d trade “Ordinary World” for “My Antartica” in a set list each and every show. It is more “Duran” than “Ordinary World” even if it didn’t re-ignite their commercial fortunes. The sophisticated “Serious” ranks up there with some of the best music on Notorious and still sounds like a hit single to me. Having hung my heart on the importance of Andy Taylor’s guitar, the rock-n-roll stomp of “First Impression” remains an absolute high point even if the song is, ahem, a bit like this Lords Of the New Church song (https://open.spotify.com/track/3Em6rJJUdozR2qj6jnAZ5u). If nothing else, it finally gave Sterling Campbell’s youthful energy room to move.

But, really, is Liberty a more consistent listen than the wedding album as I hypothesized earlier? Side by side, I find about six songs on each that I am excited to hear more than a few times a year. The production of Liberty is, even by the band’s own admission, dreadful. The rumor of demos being out there on a bootleg sounds tantalizing (someone hook me up!). Much like the fabled Reportage, a different production might have yielded a far different result for the album and the Duran Duran story could be totally different. However, the wedding album has some filler on it and the cover of “Femme Fatale” should have been enough to sink the whole idea of a covers album. 

For your reconsideration

Without Liberty, the band would not have been forced to reconsider everything. Commercial flops have a way of doing that. Returning with a hit single in “Ordinary World”, the confidence of a band rejuvenated was enough to sell us on an album that wasn’t a huge artistic leap from Liberty. If anything, revisiting Liberty on its 29th anniversary makes me appreciate how important it was in shaking up the band. We learned that Campbell was not a good fit, that LeBon’s lyrics were best when shrouded in metaphors, and that the band could write sophisticated pop songs when they didn’t push too hard to fit into the foreign landscape of a new decade. For their so-called worst album, that is a pretty fabulous outcome! 

Still Fangirling

I came by invitation

When I was in middle school, my experience as a fan pretty much consisted of buying teen mags, searching for pinups I didn’t already have, gabbing with friends about Nick’s seemingly new (to us) hair color, John’s fedoras, or maybe even Simon’s tiger baby pendant. I would listen endlessly to the Duran Duran albums I had, and whenever my friend Marsha’s mom agreed to take us to Tower Records, I’d search the record bins and inevitably I’d find new Duran Duran singles in there that I’d never heard of prior. As MTV arrived in my town and Friday Night Videos or Video One became a thing, I spent a fair amount of time waiting for the next video to arrive, or calling in to local radio stations, begging the DJ’s to play a request. Concerts weren’t really a thing for me, although I would sit and listen intently to friends who had either already seen the band at the Greek theatre (not many of us were that lucky), or were planning to go to the Forum in 1984.

I didn’t really have stories of my own to tell. No descriptions of late nights, running into a band member as he walked out of a club. There were no tales of sitting in lobbies, or trying to tail them from Milwaukee back to their hotels in Chicago. There were just the pinups, the music, the videos, my friends, and me.


Going on to somewhere

In many ways, those times were easy. The only way we could truly “compete” for Duran Duran real estate, so to speak, was through knowing everything there was to know about the band, and whatever we owned – pinups, music, t-shirts, and other merchandise. We’d each lay claim to our favorite band member, and hope no other friend decided to make a contest out of it…although I suspect that even then, we knew there was almost zero chance of any of us ever meeting the band, much less marrying one of them!

Decades later – and in a lot of ways it pains me to type those words (how can I really be nearing 50 anyway??) – fandom, or at least the practice thereof, has changed a bit for many of us. Hannah Ewens wrote in Fangirls, “Fandoms are a sphere where contribution increases with age, the more stories the better, the more access, the more information, the more gossip, the longer loving.” I’ve been thinking about quote that a lot this morning.

Back in 2003 as I attended my first Duran Duran fan convention, I can distinctly remember being fascinated by the stories. So many people I met had their own Duran Duran tales to tell. Stories of traveling, of meeting them in the 90’s, running into them in bars, hotels, restaurants. I wasn’t jealous, I was shocked. The world I never thought would collide with my own was right there, almost within reach.

A crush panic

I can’t really argue that as I’ve aged, I’ve done things that would have seemed completely out of this world in 1984. The very idea of ever being in front row, for example. In late 1983, as tickets for the Sing Blue Silver tour went on sale – my parents were dead set against the idea of even trying to get a ticket. My dad felt that I was far too young, and without having any older siblings (he absolutely wasn’t going to be taking me), I was pretty much sunk. My friend Marsha’s father stood in line the day they went on sale and came up completely empty. The tickets sold out very quickly, and she was sad when she came to school the following day. We stood around at break, listening to some of our other friends squeal in delight that they had not only gotten tickets, but their mothers – clearly wiser and far more hip than our own – had called a local ticket agency and gotten even better seats. Some of our friends were as close as third row, and their moms had no issue with forking over $100 or more to be up there.

This was 1984, I’ll remind you. One of my friends went to the Forum show, and I believe her seat was $11.00. Comparatively, $100 seemed like a fortune. It absolutely did to my dad when I told him later that night! After watching my dad’s face go from his regular ruddy complexion, to tomato red as he gasped in horror at the ticket price, declaring that he would never be “the kind of fool to pay those kinds of prices just so his kid could sit near the front of a damn rock concert!”, I figured front row wasn’t going to be an option. Hell, even just going to a concert was a long way off as it was. Little did I ever realize that someday, I would do exactly that…more than once!

My stories aren’t that amazing in the sense that no, I don’t have tawdry backstage tales, or memories of hanging with the band. I do, however, have some wonderful friends I’ve made. We’ve traveled to far off places that, back in 1984, wouldn’t have ever been in my biggest daydreams. My fandom is so much bigger at 48 than it was at 12 or even 13 – I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.

Midnight traffic in her eyes

My tears during Seventh Stranger in Las Vegas were as much about my youth and experiences along the way as they were the band’s. Seeing the images I remember of Duran Duran from the 80s, bigger-than-life onscreen, combined with the Duran Duran I know from today felt like a lightning strike on my heart. We’ve walked a lot of miles together. Duran Duran created a safe place for me during my most awkward years. They gave me a place to grow, to feel connected to others, and to be understood. They still do.

When I’m in the audience at a Duran show – I can see thousands of different versions of myself in the audience. The shy introvert, the confident mom, the girl who saved up extra change from lunch to buy her first Duran Duran t-shirt, the new mother who survived post partum depression, the middle-aged woman that isn’t completely satisfied with her life or marriage. The seventh grader who just wants to be accepted. We’re all out there, living the music, enjoying the moment, together.

“Being a fan means you don’t have to be the person you are in this moment, restricted by time, space and circumstance, rather you can be strengthened by and exist through all the others you’ve been.” (Ewens)

-R

Expectations and Back-Up Plans

Learning to expect the unexpected. This is a lesson that, despite my decades of experience, remains a struggle.

I’m not great with surprises. Knowing what is going to happen, and having a backup plan in case all else fails, are ways that I try to mitigate disaster, even within my own family. Today is the first day of school for my youngest. She was super excited this morning, bounding from her room without a single ounce of prodding from me. (highly unusual!) As she prepared herself a water bottle for the day, I asked her if she wanted to pack a snack, “just in case”. She looked at me strangely, and asked what “just in case” meant.

I suggested the scenario that maybe she’d get up to the front of the line in the cafeteria and the ID number she painstakingly memorized yesterday didn’t work. What would she do? Would she be hungry if she didn’t pack a little something? She looked at me with all the deadpan seriousness she could muster and said, “I’d tell my mom to stop worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong.”

This worry has gone on all summer. On separate occasions, I’ve told her about my own junior high experiences (spoiler alert: they weren’t great). I mused out loud regarding the first bad grades I ever received. They were in math, from a male teacher. (This was mentioned well before I learned that she too, has a male math and science teacher this year.) We talked about being girls, about make-up, hair, fashion…. Well, actually she pretended to listen. She thinks I don’t notice when she starts to tune me out. I did. I droned on and on anyway…about subjects that, at her age, I didn’t care about either. Go figure.

She’s eleven. I’m not sure she’ll make it to twelve. Her carefree attitude about life, school and even friends both happily surprise, and frustrate me. Worrying is not her forte. Preparing for the unexpected isn’t really something she does naturally, even with my suggestions. The youngest prefers to handle things as they come, no extra anxiety or energies needed. She doesn’t seem to care if she fits in, or if she does well in school. It may be a long year.

Me, on the other hand—I like to be fully prepared. Perhaps even overly so. I like knowing exactly what is about to happen, and how it will all go down. My biggest issue with this band – yes, Duran Duran – is that I never know what the new music will sound like from one album to the next. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not losing sleep over it. If that were happening, I’d qualify for therapy. It’s nothing like that. I was just sitting here, scrolling though Twitter and Facebook, thinking about where I was four years ago. Paper Gods hadn’t yet come out, although I believe by now I had heard some of the new music. I can remember being very concerned. Overly so, even.

At the time, my biggest worry was the guitar. I suppose I was concerned that the album would be more along the lines of Red Carpet Massacre, with more of a muted guitar than the upfront sound I tend to prefer. The project seemed to take forever as a whole, and the closer it came to the release date, the more I questioned what was about to happen. Would the band be the same? Could this album really be as good as the one before?

Granted, I did some of this worrying online, and in public. After all – we were blogging back then – and anything we write, people see and read. It isn’t the same as just vocalizing an off-the-cuff comment to a friend when you blog and publish. Whatever bad mood, negativity, or even well-meaning concern written on any given day, is immediately out there, for all to see, for eternity. Even so, I think back on that time, and occasionally I wonder what in the heck I was so worried about. It all turned out fine.

Even if it hadn’t turned out “fine”, I would have survived. Sure, it’s just music…but it’s also just the way it goes with a band like Duran Duran, sometimes. In the past there have been albums that I haven’t exactly jived with. Shock from the use of a beatbox, lyrics that just didn’t feel like they stood up as in the past, a change in personnel, or even an abundance of production, didn’t drive me away. Going from a mainstream, “pop” record to something decidedly more funky didn’t kill me, or my fandom. Years in between albums didn’t make me forget them. I’ve wondered if they could do anything that would cross the line in the sand for me….and then I’ve daydreamed over where that line in the sand might actually sit, or if it even existed at all.

I suppose that for me, those boundaries are always being tested and moved. Maybe that’s the point. New music requires a little growth out of the listener. Sometimes, I just can’t prepare in advance. Letting myself experience ripping off the shrink wrap, reading the gatefold, and setting the needle in the grooves of the vinyl, all the while wondering what I might hear next, is an important part of the process. There’s no back-up plan for managing the emotion that is about to fill my senses—good, bad, or indifferent.

That truth is sometimes tough for someone like me. I love hearing the news of where they are in the album process. Knowing they’ve already got a single in mind is exciting! Reminding myself that they’re not creating another All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…or even Liberty, is an exercise in managing expectations. I have no idea what the next album may sound like, only that if I allow myself to have no expectations and listen with an open heart and mind, I will ultimately grow as a music aficionados.

-R

What Does Appreciation Mean, anyway?

Good morning! I trust that most everyone had a nice weekend and is ready to tackle this week head on! This is our “back to school” week, and while part of me wants to crawl back into bed and cover up my head, the other part is excited to see what the year brings. But yeah, I’m also not looking forward to the 6am alarm each morning.

What does it really mean?

As most probably know, Duran Duran Appreciation Day was on Saturday. I loved seeing pictures and posts from all of the various events going on – from Durandy’s rally in Washington to a DD party in Tennessee hosted by our friend Kim, it was wonderful to see people getting together in the name of Duran Duran. Amanda and I did our part by hosting an online video party. It was wildly entertaining for me, and I still feel as though I may have missed my calling as a VJ…except for the whole “you need to be on camera and not behind a computer screen” sort of thing.

As I chatted with people all day, I thought about the meaning of Duran Duran Appreciation Day. A fair amount of fans posted comments saying they really don’t get it, because they appreciate the band every day. Fair enough. I too, tend to appreciate this band each day. Hard not to with a blog name like “Daily Duranie”, am I right? But seriously, what does a day like Duran Duran Appreciation Day really mean, then?

Is it about taking time?

I am looking for responses here, but in the meantime, I’ll share my own experience. I write this blog Monday through Thursday most weeks. In the bit of time it takes me to write, I suppose I do think about what the band means to me, although some days more than others. Aside from that, the vast majority of my daytime hours are consumed with being a mom and doing all the things I need to do to keep my house going.

Cooking, cleaning, laundry…all things that I don’t really love doing, but have to do as my contribution to the household. I don’t really listen to music at home (this is probably going to shock people) because my husband works from home 3-4 days a week. He’s on video conferencing most of the day, which means I have to be quiet. Finding time to vacuum before 6pm is a challenge! I don’t sit and watch videos, and reading books – something I dearly love – is something I do after my chores are finished. Which sometimes means never. <insert grin here>

So, to me, Duran Duran Appreciation Day is about taking actual time to enjoy the band. I took real time on Saturday, setting aside all of my normal chores to sit, gab with friends, watch videos, and marvel about how much I still enjoy doing all of the above. Sometimes, I actually forget! In my head, it isn’t necessarily all about giving thanks to Duran Duran for being there – I mean, I do that already quite often!! I think it’s actually about taking time to enjoy them without having to set aside an entire weekend or more to travel away from my house to do it!

I love being reminded why this band is my favorite!

Maybe I’m alone, but one of the main reasons why I love traveling to concerts so much is so that I can seriously “talk Duran” all day, every day if I want, without feeling guilty about not getting the washing done, or being too loud. Those weekends are the few times where my own wants and needs come first. I get to see my friends, we sit and really TALK. It comes down to time, for me. Taking the time to enjoy them. That’s what makes those weekends special.

I don’t know that there’s really a wrong answer to what Duran Duran Appreciation Day might mean to a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing people post about the band all day. Smiling faces, holding up posters, pictures of band members with various fans, t-shirts of all colors and designs, all of those things are what make the day special each year. Chatting with friends, laughing over clothing choices, squeeing over guitar solos (Ok, so that might have been mostly me), swooning over nostalgic documentaries…Saturday was so much fun. I liked taking the time to be reminded of why I love this band. That’s what I believe Duran Duran Appreciation Day is really about.

I can hardly wait until the next one!

-R

July 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon!

(Yes, I know it’s August 6th. Bear with me.)

You know it’s bad when you distinctly remember seeing mention of a Kafe, even going so far as to comment on how you’re looking forward to hearing it….and then promptly forget about the entire thing. Welcome to my life.

Better late than never, I listened to the Kafe this morning, took detailed notes, and am ready to deliver the State of the Duraniverse for this month. Or last month. Whatever. Just remember that I make no assertion that my notes are complete – and the only way you’ll hear the entire thing for yourself is with a DDM membership!

Kennedy Space Center Show

Katy caught up with Simon on July 30th. He was presumably back at home in England after the excitement from the Kennedy Space Center show a couple of weeks earlier. They spoke a little about the show, beginning with Studio Drift and their drone installation for the concert. Simon explained that the drones were meant to look like starling murmurations (the way they gather and seem to suspend in midair). I’ve posted some videos of their performance during The Universe Alone – if you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should. Trust me, the video will send goosebumps up and down your arms, it is that good. Here’s some of just the beginning to give you an idea:

I wish this were the entire song…but even a minute of it gave me chills!

Simon also talked a little about the setlist, saying that they did a full “space” section including “The Universe Alone”, “Planet Earth”, “New Moon on Monday”, “Reach Up for the Sunrise”, “Astronaut” and a cover of The Police’s “Walking on the Moon”. He said that for himself, “Astronaut” was a high point because it hasn’t been played very often during the last few years, suggesting that it was due to it’s difficulty. (I’m just going to say that for a song that is tough to play, I think they do an outstanding job). He mentioned that while he didn’t think they’d play “Walking on the Moon” again, maybe…just maybe…”Astronaut” might find its way back into a set list. I hope so!

Another interesting, but not at all surprising, comment on the KSC performance was that Nick took the time to come up with the master plan for that evening. His nickname is The Controller, you know….

September shows, and mini tours

While Simon didn’t say much about the upcoming shows in September, he did say that these mini tours are very important to Duran Duran because it has been decided that they should never go more than three months without a live show – simply because (and I’m having to surmise this a little based on the conversation) John, Simon & Roger get out of practice with the physicality. If they don’t play live, I think it is probably difficult to maintain the stamina necessary to play a full set. Not that Nick doesn’t “glisten” back there on keyboards, but I think compared to John, Simon and Roger, he doesn’t have to move as much. Regardless, I’m going to applaud their commitment to live shows!

The New Album

With that in mind, according to Katy, after September they don’t have anything booked. Will they go back into the studio? Katy does her best to lead Simon into this line of questioning, and I have to say that the studio work MUST be going well because Simon doesn’t struggle before answering that it’s going really well. He says the new album is going great and that he needs to start “knuckling down” and coming up with some lyrics. He plans to get together with Erol Alkan to work.

Simon describes the new album as “quite a departure”, using the word “Experimental”. What I dearly appreciate most from Simon here though, is that he explains this by saying that for him – Rio was a mainstream album. The first album; however, was more experimental. Katy follows up by asking him to compare Astronaut and Paper Gods in the same terms, and Simon says that Paper Gods is far more experimental – but is quick to also say that this new album is a “completely different vibe”.

I don’t know about the rest of you reading – but I’m excited!! I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve been working on. From everything that Nick has said, along with what Simon has now mentioned, it sounds fantastic! As I said last month, I’m still finding it hard to believe they’re already at a point where they can talk about this album as though it is a tangible thing as opposed to more of a vague, undefined few things they’ve kicked around. It’s been four years as of September since Paper Gods has been released, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t felt like it’s been that long.

Perhaps a drink suggestion for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Katy ended the Kafe by asking Simon if he had a cocktail suggestion to share. Last year, Simon went into extraordinary detail, describing a cocktail that we should all try in order to properly capture the last few days of summer. I find myself in similar territory (as always) this year…so I was happy to get another suggestion that I plan to put into full use on Saturday!

Pimms No. 1 Cup

**as an aside: Simon couldn’t remember in the Kafe if it was called a No. 1 or a No. 2 cup. I looked it up, and it is a No. 1. Pimms made seven different products, all “fruit cups” differing in their base alcohol. The No. 1 cup is the most popular and is based on Gin. No. 2 was whisky, the original No. 3 was brandy (although now there’s a winter cup infused with orange peel and spices that is available seasonally), No. 4 was Rum, No. 5 was rye whisky, and No. 6 is vodka. Only 1, 3 (as the Winter Cup), and 6 are currently made.

Pour a “decent measure” of this over ice, top with ginger ale, along with a slice of lemon, mint, perhaps some orange, and a maraschino cherry.

Expect this as one of the drink suggestions for Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I mean….it’d be rude not to, right??

-R

You Can Make Your Rhymes and Paint Your Rules

It’s hard to feel like blogging today. I tried staying off of social media over the weekend. This morning it is definitely no better. Reading the same thing 50,000 times does little to heal, nor does it seem productive if you’re really wanting to change things. I would rather spend the time with people I care about, can see, speak with, and respond to in person. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it is what I intend to continue – a lot less social media, and a lot more “in person”.

At one time, I was a huge proponent of social media. Direct-to-fan marketing? YES! Fan-empowerment? 100% on board. I believed that social media was the way to bond with fans, and a great tool for marketing and promotion. I loved it all. What changed?

Thought that I was in control

I was just sitting here mulling over my social media trajectory as I considered what I’d write this morning. The idea that we could connect with others from all across the globe, using this wonderful conduit, sparked something in me. Virtually “meeting” people that I would have likely never had the opportunity to talk with otherwise, made the Duranie world feel so much more tactile and real. Message boards and social media made fandom fun. I wanted more.

I don’t think things can stay like that forever. For example, writing this blog now isn’t nearly the “wide-eyed and bushy-tailed” experience it was when we started, and that’s okay with me. I can only control what I write – not how readers respond to my words. Social media is the same. What was once pure fun for me, has turned into something quite different. I am still able to see the joy when I see posts from friends and they’re speaking about things in their personal lives or sharing pictures and things. Every once in a while a blog resonates with someone, or a complete stranger finds the website and feels compelled to connect with Amanda and I to say thank you or to excitedly share their feelings. Those moments are still golden and I appreciate them greatly.

On the other hand though, social media is a minefield. Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s just me or if others feel the same. I see posts from people, and immediately internalize them. It is unhealthy, and I am well-aware of when I’m allowing it to happen. Ultimately, I’ve gotten to the point where social media isn’t a friend, but rather – a foe.

Another trick of fate

Self-confidence is attractive. Conversely, it is never good when someone seems desperate, has little poise, or self-assurance. If I am not careful, I can easily slide down that hill into the woe-is-me cesspool, and I have zero interest in wallowing there. I can see that social media is the kind of kryptonite that can throw me there. While it can, and has built me up over the years, social media has also helped to tear me down.

Not being mentioned in a list of people that inspired a friend didn’t shove me into a cavern of despair. Seeing posts from people who have long since stopped being close confidants doesn’t make me wistful and sad for what once was. Reading tweet after tweet suggesting that wishing “thoughts and prayers” are now horrible things to say didn’t hurt me directly. Knowing that we didn’t even go a full 24-hours without a mass shooting didn’t altogether drive me over an edge. No. It is all of it, actually. All of it – collectively – made me see that social media is no longer my friend.

Nearly everyone has asked at one point or another why the band isn’t on social media anymore – at least beyond more than a post here or there. This morning, the nicest thing I saw on Twitter was from someone (*cough* Dom *cough*) who almost never posts. They retweeted a picture from freaking 2012. That was SEVEN years ago…and it was the best thing I saw in my timeline, amongst of all the other tweets (not specifically aimed at anyone) filled with vitriol, anger and insults. Seriously? That’s the best?

Gotta break it all

People like to blame a specific troll, or say it’s the “crazies” that drove band members like John from Twitter. Did you ever ask him personally? (I haven’t) What if it wasn’t any one thing? Maybe it was ALL of it. What if they realized that it just isn’t that helpful, and it really isn’t much fun? That’s where I’m at.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, or how to handle it. I’m still online, of course. Regardless of what I do in my personal life, Daily Duranie won’t be affected. I’ve talked about taking a break before, and for the most part I think I did. Maybe I need another, but perhaps I also just need to unplug a bit more extensively.

I don’t like being dramatic and announcing an exit. Fishing or sympathy or reassurance isn’t something I like doing. I truly hate seeing people beg not to be “cut” from the friend list, or what-have-you. If I’m going to cull my friends and followers, or if I’m going to completely quit social media in my personal life; readers are probably going to be the last to know. I’m not going to tell you all so that you can “kiss the ring” and stay. That’s kind of the opposite of the point.

That isn’t even the purpose of my writing about it here. I’m just wondering if anyone else feels the same. Social media is an integral part of being a fan. We all rely on it to stay connected. I’m just wondering how it would feel to disconnect myself, I guess. It feels so extreme. I wonder how other people manage it all. Any thoughts or ideas?

-R

What Makes You Think of Summer?

Today is Thursday! As you read this, I’m off trying to enjoy the last few days of summer and forget that in a few days, I’m going to be standing in a long line of middle schoolers and their parents at registration. I’m not ready!! (Don’t tell my youngest!)

Since it is in fact, the final few glorious days of summer…I’ve decided to go ahead and call it a video-day. Sure, you might say it is because I haven’t prepared, or because I can’t think of anything blog-worthy to write. You might also say that I’m taking a day off. However, *I* would say that we should all take a moment and enjoy a few videos!!

So, here are my top “summer” video picks!

If there is one video that reminds me of sunshine, sand and fair weather – it is Rio. All I have to do is hear the first bit of piano rumbling and I am transported to the beach, smell of salt and sunscreen in the air.

Another obvious choice, at least for me, is Violence of Summer. This song – which I love to belt at the top of my lungs as I’m driving home (obviously alone) from a very late night out – reminds me of the carefree nights of no curfew, no children to put to bed, and no one waking up before 9am.

Summer makes me smile. While I’m not one to love heat, I do love the long, lazy days, and the beautifully warm evenings where I live. I feel a certain amount of joy during the summer because my time is typically my own. (and I’m great at wasting it!) The ONE song that always makes me feel joyous (no matter what) is Sunrise.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been a homeschooling parent. As my kids would get ready to go back to school come August, so did I. Curriculum had to be ordered, and lessons needed to be planned. Additionally, Amanda and I still blogged. During some school years, we worked on writing projects too. The pressure of it all sometimes felt pretty hefty by about mid-winter. Watching the fun antics of the “Pressure-Off” video, I think of going to summer shows in the past, visiting Amanda. recording vlogs, vodka tonics, margaritas, confetti, and giving Simon as rough of a time (at said shows) as possible. Sometimes that’s hard from 8th row, but we try our best because…well…it makes us laugh!! (probably more us than him, but that’s ok!) Summer=Pressure Off for me.

Lastly, I can’t help but think about Save a Prayer. Yes, I suppose it might be cliché with the sweeping vistas, the guys in bare feet or the beach scenes. I don’t care. We’ve earned the right to love every last bit of that video, and I do.

What about you? What videos make you think of summer?

-R

Repost: “Rolling Stone 2022” Interview Part 3

Our final installment of this crazy mini-saga! Thanks for indulging us this week!

Another day, another soundtrack suggestion for this epic masterpiece…this time, turn on “Undergoing Treatment”.  Cheers!!

We are undergoing treatment
Watching others on the net
Studying our worst actions
They say we’ll get over it
Disappear like disco
To the sight of our few pageviews
Resign to the outer circleIf you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever give us an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
‘Til our fandom bites the dust
Laid out on Blogger
They crave our loyalty
Ignored by the idols
Exasperated Estrogen
But why do we still face the music?

If you see us texting about Pippin’s
Don’t ever ask us…

Now and then we get the strangest notion
That there’s someone reading
But it keeps we guessing
Wild ambition can you really blame us?
Can you entertain us?
Can you give a little more?

If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever giving us for an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
But will the doctors ever cure
These delusions of grandeur?


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”**

July 2022

Rolling Stone:  This is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the present and past members of Daily Duranie, one of the world’s longest and most successful fan blogs that is over a decade old and has seen millions of hits from every corner of the globe.  In May, we spoke with C.K. Shortell, a former member of the blog, and last month, we spoke with founding member, Rhonda.  This month, for our final installment, we ask Amanda to fill in the gaps to get a complete picture of this very successful online monster of a blog.  Amanda, of course, is known to be the organizer, the keeper of the dates/time/daily questions of the blog.

RS:  Thank you for speaking with us.  I know this isn’t your most comfortable of venues.  

AP:  True.  Interestingly enough, I have never had a problem speaking in front of teenagers or in front of political volunteers.  Yet, this setting makes me want to hide in a dark corner somewhere.  

RS:  Yet, you felt like you had to do this interview.

AP:  Of course, when Rhonda and I decide on a course of action, we follow through.  Oh, do we follow through.  (rolls eyes)  The blog is evidence of that, isn’t it?  Ten plus years and it is still going strong.

RS:  That’s true.  You and Rhonda have always been described as committed.

AP:  (snorts)  Committed.  Yeah…as in mental hospital, certifiable, committed.  We could have starred in that Falling Down video that people still don’t seem to get.

 
RS:  Is this why you walked away from it for awhile because you thought you were too committed or that people might think you were crazy?

AP:  (laughs hysterically)  People have known I was crazy for years!  They certainly knew that Rhonda and I were flew to the UK twice in a year.  Heck, they knew it when we praised TV Mania back in 2013.  No, the reasons I left were much more serious than that!

RS:  Rhonda claimed that the reasons you left were for “differences” and how politics always got you.

AP:  Sure, I’m sure that she is partly correct.  Yet, she forgets what life was like then.  This was when the only people who really recognized our hard work were some dedicated readers, mostly friends.  We weren’t making any money from it and the band certainly didn’t acknowledge us then.  Remember we couldn’t even get a picture with the band!!  One single picture!?!  Even when we got front row, it was because we waited for hours in line!  We wrote a blog EVERY SINGLE DAY and got nothing.  I could get pictures, as in plural, with the freaking President of the United States but nothing with that band.  Add on the fact that we were making no money doing the blog, at that point, and I was so tired of that.  Years of teaching and years of volunteering for political campaigns combined with this daily grind got to me.  I wanted a real income and I wanted recognition.  That isn’t too hard to understand, is it?

RS:  It isn’t.  The Clinton Global Initiative gave you the income and the recognition?  AP:  It definitely did!  When Hillary Clinton called to offer me the position, how could I turn that down?  When the former Secretary of State recognizes your work and requests your services, you don’t feel like you have much choice.

RS:  It sounds like you left without thinking twice. 

AP:  Oh no, it was still an incredibly tough moment.  (wipes tears)  I didn’t want to leave the blog.  It had been a significant part of my life for so long that I couldn’t just walk away without feeling a serious loss.  I would have stayed if I had gotten the recognition for the blog…not to mention those fan events like the conventions or for the books.  Yet, I felt like it had run its course.  I had wanted to get out for a long time.  I wanted to do something for myself for a change.  But, I worried about my friendship with Rhonda when I left and I worried about what was going to happen to the blog.

RS:  You and Rhonda are fine now, though, right?

AP:  Yes, of course.  We love each other like sisters and we still can have such a blast together.  I never laugh at much as I do when I am with her.  Yet, when I rejoined the blog, I realized that our relationship suffered when I walked away.  We had to work on it.  I didn’t really get it even though I should have.  All of the blogs featuring the lyrics to “Buried in the Sand” should have clued me in but it didn’t.  When we talked about getting back together over lunch, I wanted to just go on the road, read some fan favorites but Rhonda insisted on writing new material.  Yet, as Rhonda would say, I was ready.

RS:  What were you worried about with the blog when you were gone?

AP:  Well, @Rhondaslap should be a clear example to show how things moved in a very different direction once I left.  Rhonda and I took pride in our maturity, our intellect, our sense of humor.  Yet, once that twitter handle appeared, I knew things were going to be very different.  Can you believe that someone asked me once if I would consider doing a twitter handle like that?!  I calmly explained that was one reason Chris was no longer a blogger with us.  Although, I think I really knew at that 2013 convention that Chris was after my job.  He went out of his way to make an impact with hours and hours of songs that have truly gripped me in emotional intensity.  I mean, come on, he played ZOOM freaking IN.  Enough said.  The only other songs that he could have added to make more of an impact would have been Come Undone and Hungry Like the Wolf.  

RS:  Are you surprised that Rhonda blamed the band for the change in direction for the blog?

AP:  Of course not!  (laughs)  Truly, if we can blame the band, we will!  In all seriousness, it didn’t help when the band decided that social networking wasn’t their thing.  I wanted to be understanding, and I was for a long time but years after years of watching the fans go after each other in between albums was too hard.  Duran downtime is a killer, truly.

RS:  Did you feel badly that your return the fold resulted in C.K.’s departure?

AP:  I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed and upset.  C.K. handled it like a gentleman no matter what his personal feelings were.  Yet, I definitely worried about the C.K. readers out there.  I know how personal one’s favorite blogger is for the readers.  I swear they will be debating which one of us is the best until the cows come home.  Yet, I definitely wanted us to return to the original lineup.  As you know when we first got back together, we wrote blogs that we thought fit with the older material.  There was nothing better than being with Rhonda.  It felt so nice.  Yet, it didn’t have the same level of success as our older work.  When that didn’t get the attention we thought it would, we brought in a popular publisher that took us in a completely different direction to get us more hits.  This publisher didn’t work like we typically did.  I had to explain to him what sentences were!  What was worse is that our readers didn’t get it.  Luckily, we got a different publisher, a true fan, who could remind us again about what we do best.  With that, the readers returned.

RS:  What’s next for you, Amanda?  Rhonda talked about a side project.

AP:  Well, I guess I wouldn’t blame her.  She has been holding down the fort here for a long time.  Projects outside of the blog only work to help us grow, I think.  That said, my plan is simple, we’re gonna take it back, take back the life we want to lead.  We’re going to make this stand the Finest Hour that we see. 

– A, R & C.K. Shortell

Amanda and I would like to thank C.K. Shortell for sending us one of the funniest blogs we’ve ever (not) written…let this be a lesson to you, C.K….we will take your work and create a monster (that apparently no one but the three of us fully understands) every time!  

And for the rest of you, once again we feel compelled to remind – all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious…not to mention that it was a JOKE. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations, living or dead…or even undead, is purely coincidental.  


Repost: “Rolling Stone 2022” Interview Part 2

Today is installment two of our completely fictional and overly dramatic interview saga….I challenge those willing to read to find the Duran references from their own interviews over the years. They’re in there! -R

Once again, we have a soundtrack suggestion…this time it is “Pop Trash Movie”.  Enjoy!!

Saw a close up of my pretty lap
Overnight tweetsation
Holding technology
From all around the world
If I rewind back to 2010
And stop the blog there
No one knew who we were
But now they’re at our siteWe’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for just a few seconds
Part of an internet curse

Reading Twitter going tweet-by-tweet
Might have blurred our vision
Our lives went flashing by
Where did it all go wrong?

We’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for just a few seconds
Part of an internet curse

We’ll write in the hotel for you
We’ll change your lines for you
But now the blog is final you know, it’s time to go
So we’ll have to say goodbye

We’re living in a pop trash movie
We write together in every post
We’ll all be infamous for those few hits
Part of a social networking curse
We write every single day
And it’s never quite what it seems

(Never)

We’re living in a pop trash movie
I know we’ll make it with this stupid blog – yeah
We’ll all be infamous for those few hits
The apex of Nick’s social networking nightmare – yeah!

The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”….**

June 2022

Rolling Stone:  Last month’s article with C.K. Shortell created a virtual tidal wave of emails and response to our offices.  Daily Duranie began as a simple fan blog somewhat late in the career of the band – and somehow outlived the band’s existence and became something quite different.  People demand a response from it’s founders, and we felt it was time to allow Rhonda – infamous for lengthy blogs, biting replies to comments, and a wicked sense of sarcasm (she forced us to print that.) – a chance to set the record straight.

RS:     So Rhonda, why speak now?  

RR:     Well, as I recall – you called me.  I could ask you the same. Why is important that my side of the story be told now and not say, two months ago?

RS:      Fair enough, but what do you say to your readers? You’ve been out of sight for a while now.

RR:     I’ve been writing the blog since September 13, 2010, and it has been a daily blog. Twelve years. Not monthly, not “whenever the mood strikes”. No…it is daily, even on Sunday and even when we’re sick. We never stop. I’m extremely tired and need a bit of a break. I need to be bored. I guess I need to stew in my own juice again and let the creativity happen.  This isn’t goodbye for ever, it’s merely a break. A hiatus.

RS:     Let’s start from the beginning then, shall we? How did the blog begin?

RR:     (takes deep breath) September 13, 2010 – it was my father’s birthday, although he is no longer with us. I think on that day I was feeling very introspective. I felt that I had so much to say.  Amanda and I had been working on our first book together and I felt that we needed to create an audience before we tried getting a publisher. The blog seemed like a logical way to establish ourselves. For a long time, no one seemed to read, much less respond. We did have one incredibly supportive “anonymous” reader who encouraged us to keep going, and that really provided the sustenance we craved. 

 RS:     How long then before you met C.K?

RR:     It is so strange to think of him as C.K. Seems so stuffy. I called him Chris. We didn’t meet until the Durandemonium convention in 2013, but I believe he started doing a blog or two for us back in 2012. He had a great wit, wonderful sense of humor and the same biting sarcasm and love for the band. He was a natural fit…..(trails off)

RS:     And his tale about singing ‘Shotgun’ at the convention?

An appropriate way to deal with Silva Halo and/or Sterling Campbell?

RR:     (drops head to hands and begins mumbling) All true.  Listen, I really don’t want to go into that. (puts hand to forehead) It had been a long night.  I’m sure he had the best of intentions. However…five hours of continuous Silva Halo, Yo Bad Azizi and Zoomin In? Really?! No fan needs or deserves that. No ONE.  Don’t even get me started on Sterling Campbell….It was all I could do not to just finish off all the vodka in the city. After that Shotgun came easily.  EASILY. Let’s leave it at that.  

RS:     But I thought you were a Duranie.  A big fan?  

RR:     Everyone has their limits, my friend. All of us.

RS:     (brief silence) Good point.  Ok, so tell us about the direction after Amanda left.  CK mentioned it was to be an 18 month mission to Africa?

RR:     Yeah. 18 month Clinton Global Initiative Trip my ass.  Damn politics gets her every single time. I love Amanda, I really do. We’ve been writing and business partners for a long time – but we are very different people with two distinct personalities.  For once let’s not say it was creative differences that got between us and just call it what it was: DIFFERENCES.  She didn’t even bother to tell me she was going, although I should have seen the signs.  We never could make a buck trying to blog about a band that never acknowledged our existence.  She wanted to move on and the blog held her back. I know that. (wipes tears)  So C.K. called me, mentioned that Amanda was gone, and that he was my new blogger. I laughed off the phone call at first, knowing that Amanda would never just quit without saying anything.  I thought he was an insufferable egomaniac, assuming that the job was somehow his – but there he was, and he was right about Amanda leaving.  I actually found out by accident, catching an interview with her on TV about her mission.  Honestly.  So there I was, up a creek without a paddle – and Chris was there.  He was damn good and did things with our blog that Amanda just couldn’t. Except that Star Trek and NFL nonsense.  We’re a Duran Duran fan blog. Period.  Trying to tie those fandoms into our blog is like a pop band doing Hip Hop or Urban dance music.  It makes no sense. 

RS:     What about the other directional changes with the blog?  How do you answer the critics that say it killed the spirit?

RR:      To be honest, I blame the band.  Way back even in 2013 Nick gave an interview to Katy Krassner where he mentioned that he hoped the future would create less of a role for social networking. He wanted even less interaction with fans, apparently – which fascinated me since it seemed like such a terrific way to create energy where one clearly lacked even as late as 2009. I always wondered if that was their downfall. The fans wanted to have more of an active role rather than a transactional relationship – and the fear of the crazy people won.  The band dropped off of (what used to be called) Twitter, and of course the demise of Facebook – well none of that helped. We only changed direction because we had no choice. The band didn’t allow for any sort of synergy. Shame. I still don’t have pictures with any of them!  

RS:     So tell us about @Rhondaslap.

RR:     (silence)

RS:     We did discuss that this subject would be brought up. 

RR:     (interrupts)Yes, I know. I just don’t see the importance. Yes, there was a twitter handle. It started as a joke. Amanda would take pictures of my lap while we’d be road tripping to see the band on tour. Maps, GPS equipment, phones…I guess I have a big lap?!? Chris thought it would be funny to come up with a twitter account for it – and I did tweet from there once in a while. It was sophomoric humor while it lasted, but it ended badly. I understand that everyone wants to know…I have a responsibility to the people around me. To my family. My husband. My friends. There just isn’t anything to say as it is in the past. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, because it is really just this little bit here that matters most.

RS:     But you did sever ties with C.K….

RR:     Well, we did agree that with Amanda returning, there just wasn’t a proper place. He felt that he had plenty of other opportunities and endless talent to share, and we wished him well. At some point maybe we’ll get together and see if the magic is still there. You never know.

RS:     Are you saying there is a chance you’ll do something as a trio?

RR:     Oh, I’m not saying that. Definitely not. 

RS:     And the restraining order?

RR:     Oh that? Does that sort of thing actually stop any Duranie out there? Listen, we will always be friends. He is a fantastic writer and I wish him well. I don’t know that we could successfully collaborate with him again.  Chris…uh I mean C.K, is just not used to working as a team on a daily basis. His blogging is so…well…synthetic. I mean, he’s a great writer, and everything he touches turns to gold…but it’s like working with a producer who has only used a beat box and sampled from others. I prefer a more organic approach.  If we ever work with someone again, and that is a big maybe, that person will be a writer but they will never again be part of the business. That’s is just something we couldn’t share. Amanda and I have been together too long for that.

RS:     So what is next for you?

RR:     I’m thinking of doing a side project, actually. I am all about growth, and doing a side project that is completely different from Daily Duranie would give me a chance to spread my wings a bit. Not that I feel stifled by only writing about Duran Duran every single day or anything. Sometimes I just feel like I’m the last man standing.

To be continued with the final installment tomorrow…

The moral of the story is never send us a blog as a joke and assume we won’t use it to laugh at ourselves (and the band), because we will.

  **For those who remain confused, all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations living or dead is purely coincidental.




Something On My Mind

Hello, Monday. I feel as though somewhere along the way, I lost one of my weekend days, because it feels like Monday arrived far too early. I’m still trying to regain some of the hours of sleep I missed out on from being at Vidcon last week. I wish I could say it was due to having so much fun, but in this case, I just didn’t sleep well.

We drove home late Saturday night, and arrived to see many tweets and posts about the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 – corresponding with the Kennedy Space Center show tomorrow.

I’m light years away

When the show was first announced, I knew right away that there’d be no way for me to get there. Sure, I could blame it on not having enough notice, but I could have had a month’s notice or even more, and still not been able to attend. Several years back, I went to a lot of things. I would fly across the country, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that many times, I didn’t even think twice about it. Three spousal job layoffs/changes, one very large move, childbirth, college, and countless grey hairs later, I’m finding that I not only think twice, I know I can’t travel like that anymore.

That fact is something I guess I’m still coming to terms with. I went from going to one show a tour (or even less), to taking a single trip to New Orleans and then Chicago, which ignited something in me. Suddenly, I felt the need to try and go to everything. My husband was less-than-thrilled with the arrangement. Usually though, I’d win him over by saying I’d save money in other ways, or that he didn’t have to buy me birthday/Christmas/Valentines/Mothers Day gifts, etc. In some ways that worked, but in others – I can see how selfish I was. Any extra money I came across would go towards seeing Duran Duran, and the fact is—when you have three kids and live in Southern California, there isn’t a lot of extra anything!

My head is full of chopstick

Even so, fandom – or planning to go to shows – was sort of like a drug for me. I couldn’t say no, and yet I didn’t go to nearly as many shows as a lot of people. Gigs would be announced and I’d think “Fly to Chicago? Oh, I shouldn’t…but I will!” “Go away for five or six days and see more than three shows? YES!” I wanted to go. I desperately wanted to be a part of the fandom wave that everyone seemed to be caught in.

During the Astronaut tour, which was really the first when I’d gotten involved online and knew people from all over the country – I’d sat on the sidelines for the most part. I went to two shows: Chicago and All-State Arena, and Milwaukee. That last one had been added to my itinerary without telling my husband. He’d expressly told me prior to even buying my Chicago ticket that I could choose ONE show to see, and that was it. “The concerts don’t change that much, Rhonda!”

Turns out, that while the set might not change that much (One night I heard “Nice” and the other I heard “Union of the Snake”), there are far more other, more subtle things, that do. Roger waved at us in Milwaukee. I cried when I heard “Tiger Tiger” in Chicago. I stood outside and waved to the band when they left the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee. I had my closest friends with me for Chicago, and got to drive to Milwaukee with a full car of Duranies. That was the first time I’d ever done something like that. After those two shows, I never wanted to miss anything again.

I’m making a break

However, that was/is an impossibility, at least for me. I’ve never had carte blanche to go to any show I want. I don’t work outside of the home, and my money is never my own money. Even when I’ve done what I consider to be a ridiculous number of shows, I’ve had to pick and choose. Sometimes, I’ve chosen wrong. That’s the crap shoot of life, I suppose. In darker moments, I wonder what it would have been like if I could have gone to all the Astronaut shows my friend Jessica went to see, or if I could have flown overseas as many times as other friends have gone. Would I feel any differently about the band now?

Over the years, I’ve seen people come and go. After having been an active fan in the online community for nearly two decades now, I have seen some patterns of behavior emerge from the fog and dust. I think about the people who seemed to be “regulars” for the Astronaut and RCM tours, and for the most part – those people don’t come around often now, and I rarely see them.

Maybe they stopped going to shows or participating online because life circumstances changed. Perhaps it was because they got sick of some of the childish drama that goes on between fans. Maybe it was something else entirely -but the fact remains that they’re not doing much these days. I have friends who went to 14, maybe 15 shows for Astronaut that just stopped following the band for the most part Can there really be too much of a good thing?

They should be mine

Getting back to my situation here – I have serious budget constraints that make it nearly impossible for me to fly very often. I don’t even fly to visit my mom or sister, so how on earth can I justify flying to see a band that doesn’t even know I exist? It is particularly frustrating when I’ve made the decision to buy tickets to something, and then another opportunity comes up that sounds even better.

For example, tomorrow Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. As soon as this show was announced, I knew there was no way I could go. The idea of traveling to Florida was out of the question. A flight from here would easily cost $500 during the summer, plus the $300 ticket for the concert, another $300 or more for a hotel room and the additional expenses for food, uber and drinks. It adds up quickly to a similar amount that my family might spend on a camping vacation – one that we’re not even taking this year. HOWEVER…

Had I known that they were going to be playing this show in advance of buying the tickets for Las Vegas (each was $441, if I remember correctly) I might have chosen differently. Sure, I’ll see Duran Duran three times in September whereas if I’d gone to Florida I’d only be seeing them once – but how many times does someone get the chance to see Duran Duran at the Kennedy Space Center??? I worry that I made the wrong choice. Zigged when I should have zagged…bought when I should have waited.

I’m saying this in private

Similar scenarios have happened before. In 2013, Amanda and I along with a committee of amazing helpers worked our butts off to put on a fan convention in Chicago. I can’t remember the precise timing, but I would say that within days of returning from that weekend, Duran Duran announced a special opportunity to see the debut of UnStaged at MOMA in New York City.

I think that at least to begin with – both she and I weren’t too upset. I mean, to some degree we’d wished we could go. We’d worked hard to put on that convention for fans, and in a lot of ways New York City seemed like it would be a great way to reward ourselves. Even so, Amanda didn’t have time off from work, and my husband had pretty much declared a moratorium on spending money and traveling. Just getting to Chicago was hard enough. Amanda and I paid the same amount of money to attend the convention as every one else. That’s right – we bought tickets to the very convention we were putting on for everyone else to enjoy. I paid for my flight from California, and Amanda and I split the cost of our hotel room., same as everyone else. That money did not come out of the convention budget. No sooner did I get home and back to an exploding family crisis when the MOMA show was announced.

We absolutely tasted our share of sour grapes while watching a few of the same people who came to our convention fly on to NYC. I remember feeling so dejected after I saw how the evening went. What started as a screening ended up as a cocktail party with the band present. There were pictures, and the band seemed so welcoming to fans that night…those who were there were so lucky!! Oh well, right? What can you do??

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

Even with the missteps I’ve taken along the way (and there have been many), I can’t be bitter. My days of sour grapes are over. I’ve done and seen a lot – much more than a lot of people. I’ve had times when I’ve been able to afford to go to a lot of shows and travel, and now I’m in a time where I really just can’t. Oddly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery because for the past few years – coincidentally the time when I’ve been least able to afford to fly – the band has played within reasonable driving distance to where I live. I am very lucky, which is why you’re not going to see me complain about set lists or much anything else. My luck isn’t going to hold out forever though, and I would imagine that next year – should they decide to tour for their 40th anniversary – I’ll be sitting at home doing most of my cheering.

I also can’t ignore the fact that for most of the rest of the world, they’ve had to sit on the sidelines since before Paper Gods was released, watching the US fans complain about ticket prices, set lists, and the like. It is easy to forget that many of these worldwide fans would pay whatever ticket price the band wanted, and would be willing to listen to whatever set the band plays, just to be able to see them.

Looking for cracks in the pavement

The reality is, most of us just can’t go to everything. I feel like I’m a recovering addict in that sense. Every time something is announced, I have to forcibly talk myself out of feeling like I need to go. I’m learning to say “no” to myself more and more often. I can’t say it’s easy, but a lot of times, it’s necessary. I’m not responsible for only myself. I have a family and husband to consider, and I wouldn’t trade my family for all of the Duran Duran shows in the world. That’s progress, right?

I see friends tell one another all the time that they should just buy the ticket and that they’ll make more money later. That thinking might work, until something catastrophic happens. I’ll never forget going to New York City in 2007 to see the special fan show that fell on Father’s Day. My husband and dad were fine with me going, and I came home to celebrate with them the following weekend. Little did I know at the time, that was the last Father’s Day I’d ever spend with my dad. I think about that a lot.

I’m a work in progress. Every single time I start feeling self-pity because I can’t be in Florida, or something else, I quickly force myself to acknowledge that other fans in the world haven’t done much in several years. I have one hell of lot of nerve feeling bad about one single event. That usually snaps me out my funk. I still feel like a recovering addict in some weird ways – but I’m working on it.

-R