Category Archives: Uncategorized

Running Against the Tide

On this date in 2012, Rhonda and I saw Duran Duran play in Biloxi, Mississippi.  This was the first of our little mini-tour around the southeast to finish up the All You Need Is Now album cycle, at least for us.  That little tour meant that the next time we would see the band play at all would be almost three years later in April 2015.  It began a weird sort of desperation.  The cause was obvious.  The AYNIN album and tour marked the best time we had (I think) as fans up until that point.  We attended a bunch of shows, managed to see the band play in the UK and began holding meet ups before shows.  Truly, we didn’t want the party to end.

Despite all that, if you look back at my posts from that time, they were not all happiness and light.  I questioned if I needed some sort of break from fandom.  As much as I loved it all, I wondered if it was creating some weird sort of pressure.  I’m sure that part of it was also because not everyone loved what we were doing and saying.  Yet, instead of walking away, we dove in more by planning a convention.  Interestingly enough, six years later, I’m finding myself in a similar emotional space.  Looking back, I knew that I felt a lot of angst but I didn’t really know why.  I assumed it was fandom, but I don’t think it was.  The summer of 2012 included an upsetting political loss while preparing for another campaign.  It also meant changing teaching positions.  I think I felt like the ground below me was unsettled.  I reacted to that by first trying to finding something to blame, which I stupidly thought might have been fandom.  Then, instead of running away, I increased my commitment.

Now, I also feel like my foundation has been shaken.  Last school year was tough and there are changes there that make me less than excited for the upcoming year.  Politically, I have faced some big losses while trying to gear up to the next one.  On top of that, there is more stress surrounding my aging parents and feel like I have less support to assist with it all.  Again, my desire is to seek security like I did in 2012.  The only aspect of my life that I questioned then was fandom.  Even when I wondered if fandom was making me happy, I remember just wanting people to reassure me that fandom could and would continue to bring joy.  I wanted people to want me to continue writing this blog, planning events, etc.

Did I handle my feelings in the right way then?  No clue.  Should I have questioned other areas of my life?  Maybe.  Probably.  I often wonder if I stay too long, that I stay when I should not.  I think about the fact that six years ago I changed positions at work.  I should have done it years before that.  I’m not good at timing.  This leads me to wonder if changes need to be made now.  Should I continue to double down on my path in life with teaching, campaigning and doing fandom?  I don’t know that I have any answers, just more questions.

All that said, now that I have poured all of this out on this blog post (most of you are probably thinking that I have over shared or wished that I hadn’t opened my big, fat mouth at all), I do realize one thing.  Duran tours and other happenings have been mile markers in my journey of life.  That tour in 2012 was more than just 4 shows.  It made me recognize that things in my life weren’t as awesome as I wanted.  It made me question things.  I appreciate that even if my recognition did not lead to some amazing changes in my life.  It reminds me that Duran’s history has helped to form my history, even if I couldn’t see it when it was happening.  It makes me wonder what will Duran do next that will form the backdrop to my own life.

-A

Duran Duran History: Violence of Summer

According to my handy dandy chart of Duran Duran history, the song, Violence of Summer, was released on this date in 1990 in the U.S.  Ignoring the fact that this was a heck of a long time ago, I appreciate an anniversary that allows me a chance to really explore and acknowledge one individual song.

So, here are some Violence of Summer facts to begin with:
*21st single
*B-side was a song called Throb
*There are a lot of different versions:

  • 4:20 (Album version)
  • 3:30 (7″ Mix)
  • 3:18 (The Story Mix)
  • 4:56 (Power Mix)
  • 4:01 (Power Cutdown)
  • 4:45 (The Dub Mix)
  • 4:23 (The Rock Mix)
  • 6:02 (Version Maxi)

Wikipedia describes the song in this way:

“Violence of Summer” is a bright, simple rock song, with ringing piano-like chords over a slick bass underpinning. Lyrically, the song plays with familiar Duran themes: of fleeting romance in the face of sexual politics, and mars-meets-venus peculiarities between the genders. Le Bon continues to set these preoccupations into more realist scenarios, challenging himself to leave behind the opaque mysticism of the band’s first three albums.

Also worth noting lyrically, is this tracks return to the U.S.-inspired lyrics of Notorious: “going South where her mother writes”, and “breaking heads in the sugar shack” (which references the cover art of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You.)

It was released 23 July 1990 in the UK, and 11 August in the US.”

I, for one, am fascinated with how the song is described both musically and lyrically.  It is simple?  I can get behind the idea of piano-like chords over a slick bass.  As for the lyrical description, I’m not sure about the idea of “fleeting romance in the face of sexual politics”.  I get the idea of a fleeting romance–I suspect that is why the lyric “summer” was included, to show that it was a short term thing.  Was Simon challenging himself, lyrically?  No idea.

What about the video?  Wikipedia describes it this way:

“The video for “Violence of Summer” was filmed in Paris by the young directing duo Big TV! (more conventionally known as Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom). The band, with paler skin and shorter hair than before, plays energetically on a set constructed to look like a bumper-car rig (mirroring the amusement park theme of the album sleeve), while models (including Tess Daly) in platinum blonde wigs hang about outside looking seductive. Newly muscular guitarist Warren Cuccurullo is almost unrecognizable to fans who were accustomed to his formerly waif-like appearance.”

First of all, I find it interesting that the writer focused on Warren’s appearance so much.  I don’t know that I would have ever described Warren as “waif-like.”  Then again, there is a lot here about appearances, in general.  There is only one mention of the band playing live and nothing on the rest of the storyline.  Let’s watch the video.  How would you describe it?

What about chart success?  How did it do?

  • #20 UK Singles Chart
  • #64 Billboard Hot 100
  • #36 Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play
  • #13 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks
  • #3 Federation of the Italian Music Industry
  • #29 The Swiss Top 30
  • #59 Australia (ARIA Chart)[1]

Number 20 in the UK really isn’t bad.  64 isn’t great in the US but better than many of the singles that followed.  Isn’t it funny how what is deemed successful is relative.

What do I think of this song?  It is one that I definitely enjoy especially when I am in the mood to sing aloud at the top of my lungs.  Favorite lyrics?  Let’s look at them first.

Hey!, pick it up
This’ll get you out.. of your head
China’s heading up, by the ratings on a motion
She goes with a real head biker, he’s a metalhead
She looks me up and down talkin’ dirty eyes
Sweet sayin’ boy, baby I can lick you any time.
(keep it up)
(Ha ha, that’s right)
Here we go again…
Bit later…
I’m gonna run into ’em round the back
While all them guys break heads in the sugar shack
Don’t give me drink, I don’t wanna get too stoned
Then we’re gonna see who’s gonna take who home
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
Those lips will make me right..
You may look down but don’t think twice (ooh-oh)
So death is on the way,
So what man? I still want to play….
(oh-oh Yeah..)
One, two!
This’ll get you out, of your money
This’ll pick you up, let’s go!
We’ll take a ride, going south where her mother writes
For bad news catches up, we still got a little time
We made it all so far away,
One thing is sure, we shouldn’t stay
I’ll take it all – China gonna get the run around,
A run, a run around..
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
Mmmmmm
Loves taking over..
Yes loves taking over..
Loves taking over..
I’m not going to lie.  My favorite line, “Don’t give me drink, I don’t wanna get too stoned.”  What about the rest of you?  What do you think of the song?  Video?  Lyrics?
-A

Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2018 is tomorrow!

Sadly, I am going to miss Duran Duran Appreciation Day festivities this year.  As I lamented earlier in the week on social media – this is the year where nothing goes quite as planned. Instead, I’ll be driving back to the OC from a quick trip north. It can’t really be helped, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad about missing out.

It’s weird to me, because if all had gone as originally planned, I would be in Las Vegas right now, preparing for our convention. I hate thinking about that because I really wanted to do it, and while I know there’s no way I could have actually pulled it off, I sure wish we were there! I’m hoping for better DDAD showings in the future from Daily Duranie, that is for sure. We need a real party!

We do appreciate Duran Duran. More than they know, really. We write about them nearly every day in one capacity or another. I love that there’s a holiday for them, though! I know that our goals with writing the blog has changed over the years. It is an elastic sort of thing, I suppose. Right now, I use the blog as a sort of escape, but also as a way to solidify myself. I sometimes still have to figure out how to  allow myself “space” to be a fan, and I use the blog as a place to grapple with it, oddly enough!

Most of us can say that the band has been there through some of the most difficult times in our lives. The music guides us through, gives us the gentle shove when we need it, and even some hope that things will get better. I know it’s helped me. Right now, as I start really saying goodbye to the only house my kids have known, the place we held so many birthdays, holidays and family get-togethers, along with all of the memories held within (my darling son once took his teeth and ran them the entire way down our wooden stair railing – the grooves are still there. Yes, he’s still alive to tell about it!), I listen to the band a lot. Moving is rough, life can be crushingly painful, but music helps.

I hope everyone is able to take time and enjoy that they’re fans of a band that is still out there creating, even in 2018!  We are so lucky to still have them out there, writing, recording and performing – and even communicating with us on occasion. That’s definitely worth celebrating!

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day, everyone! Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

-R

 

 

Duran Duran History: Opening for Blondie

If you look at Duran’s tour history, you might see that during this time in early August in 1982, they were opening up for Blondie.  In fact, during the tour, they played such places as Rockford, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  That makes me laugh.  Neither one of those places are super exciting.  I suspect that they might have been the only times they played in these very small cities.  This makes me think, though.  What did Duran Duran think of those places?  Did this tour help Duran win any fans?  What about the bands and artists who have opened for Duran?  Have they earned any new fans that way?

So, in thinking about these shows in Rockford and Cedar Rapids, I have to laugh.  I’m pretty familiar with both places after having grown up in Illinois and visiting Iowa a number of times when my siblings attended college or graduate school there.  I don’t think it would be wrong of me to say that they are not super hip.  Rockford has less than 150,000 people and Cedar Rapids has about 130,000.  They are not know to be musical meccas now and probably not even in 1982.  Yet, Blondie decided to go to these places.  Okay.  Interesting choices considering that Chicago isn’t that far away, neither is Milwaukee or even Des Moines.  Both of these cities are surrounded by farmland and a heck of a lot of corn.  I seriously wish that I was a fly on the wall in Duran’s tour bus at the time.  What did they think?  This makes me wonder about other weird places Duran has played over the years.  What is the weirdest place you know that Duran played?  I would like to know what could possibly beat or equal these Midwestern “cities”.

More importantly, I suppose, then the locations is whether or not this tour really did any good for Duran, in terms of winning over fans.  Now, I know that a lot of books and documentaries have covered the rise of the band and how they became successful.  Many times, this tour is mentioned but did it really do its job for them?  I think many Duran historians and music historians, for that matter, believe that the introduction of MTV and the use of video did a lot to get Duran fans.  Some might claim that opening for Hazel O’Connor was super important as that is where record labels first heard and saw them.  It is where they got signed to EMI.  Still, others might mention meeting the Berrow brothers at the Rum Runner as being super important to Duran’s future success but the Blondie tour?  I’m not sure.  Of course, I doubt there are statistics out there that can directly measure the number of fans before and after opening for Blondie.  I also recognize that there aren’t direct lines between events.  The Blondie tour might have opened up some doors which led to even more doors, which eventually brought commercial success.  What do you all think?  Did this tour matter to the band’s success?

Then, I flip it around to ponder whether or not Duran helped other bands reach success by having them as an opener.  In 2005, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said that the band’s opener then, Clear Static, would definitely find success.  Years later, obviously, that isn’t true.  Of course, they have also had bands who are already successful themselves like  Chic.  This makes me think of the fans.  While I think it is cool to see a new band with a lot of potential play, I love seeing a fabulous opener that is already known to me like Chic.  What about the rest of you?  Who have you seen as an opener who you thought would really make it?  Who did make it?  Who have been some great openers for shows you have attended?

-A

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A

Sleep Train Amphitheater, Chula Vista California 2016

Just two years ago today, Amanda and I were headed south, to the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California. It was our final show of the summer, on the road trip of all road trips. In fact, it was so long that we had to take a two-week break along the way, just to rest up!

That final show was fun, but as always, it all went by too quickly.  I remember getting there that afternoon and hanging out before the gates even opened (we were entirely too early). I don’t think either of us were ready for our tour to end. Bittersweet endings are just that, endings. It is difficult to push the thought that it’s the “last time” from my mind so that you can just live in the moment.

Last night, I saw another final show of a tour. The concert was Foreigner, and it was the final date on their “Jukebox Heroes” tour with Whitesnake and the Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience. Yes my friends, when I’m not listening to Duran Duran, I will occasionally rock out to hair bands, metal, and classic rock, and I love every minute of it.

The concert was outstanding. I was able to check quite a few things off of my bucket list, and I really enjoyed the show. I mean, it was the closest I’ll likely get to seeing LZ live, and I relived my middle school years, most notably the school dances, in the process. “Stairway to Heaven”, “Here I go (Again)”, “Waiting”, “Urgent”, “Cold as Ice”…. I had a blast.

In between sets, I did a lot of people watching. I don’t know why I’m continually surprised when I see fans from other bands greet one another in the same way we do at shows, but I am. It’s as though I’m flabbergasted that other bands have as loyal of fanbases as Duran Duran. As we were walking in last night, I saw two girls scream in delight as a friend they knew ran up to join them. I heard them exclaim, “We didn’t know you were coming to this one!” All of them in Foreigner t-shirts from earlier tours, of course. This interaction seemed to happen again and again as we waited in line to get through security at the front of the venue, and then again while we were buying wine.

** As an aside, this was the first show I’d attended (or at least the first I’d noticed this as an option) where we could buy an entire bottle of wine and have it poured into a very handy plastic (BPA free) carafe for consumption in the stands. They had many different choices, and most of them were decent. I approve.

The one thing I kept noticing, and have been reflecting on today, was just how much the bands kept thanking their fans, talking about the wild journey they’d been on with them this tour. They called out people they recognized in front, and even in a small amphitheater of 12,000 people – it felt far more like family and friends than much else. I liked it.

I suppose that really isn’t a surprise, after all.

-R

I Won’t Go Away Quietly and Die. Will You?

How many of you can remember your parents going to concerts in their mid-40’s or later?

Aside from one Neil Diamond concert that I can remember from about six or seven years before my dad passed, and perhaps a Beach Boys mini concert that took place after a USC football game, I can’t really remember my parents going to concerts. I know that my mom and dad always struggled with money, and it was rare that they ever actually went out without my sister and I in tow. Even that Beach Boys concert was a family affair, because we’d all gone to the game. I just don’t remember live shows, or evenings out being a part of my parent’s life.

Music was a part of our household in that occasionally my parents would buy records, and they liked playing music after dinner, but it was typically older, rather than newer. For my parents, Elvis was the common denominator. My dad liked “Country Western” and my mom seemed to gravitate more towards pop of all kinds, and somehow, they agreed on Elvis. Neither were really into The Beatles, oddly enough – my mom told me it was because they seemed to come along later as opposed to during those momentous high school years. (My dad graduated from high school in 1958 and my mom in 1962) I can remember hearing anything and everything from Charlie Pride to Elton John at one point or another.

My dad never took trips with “the guys”, and my mom absolutely never set foot out the door with intentions of a girls weekend anywhere. My mom was never the type of woman to get together with friends. I can’t ever remember, for instance, there being any “friends” of my mom in our house. I never came home from school to see my mom chatting with anyone, and the only people that ever seemed to call our house were family.  My mom and dad did every single thing they could together, as a couple. My mom simply preferred to be with my dad.

For that matter, my mom was never a shopper. We went to the mall on those “once-a-year school clothes or Christmas shopping” trips together as a family, and there were rarely mother/daughter outings.  I can honestly count going out with her alone for a day out shopping on one hand, and one of those times was for my wedding dress. I attribute most of that to a lack of discretionary income, but also because my mom wasn’t that type of person. She still isn’t a window shopper, she doesn’t like going out to the mall unless it’s for a reason. She has never been much of a browser, because in her mind, if you go to a store, it’s got to be because you need something. Some of that, she has passed on to me, although I fight it, which I will get to in a minute.

I read an article yesterday about loving ourselves even as we age. Once we reach the age of about 35 or even 40, both of which are well-behind in my rear view mirror now, the world stops caring about us. Advertisers ignore us, because I’m pretty sure that the rest of the world has decided that once you’re 35, you should go somewhere, lay down, and await death.

Except we haven’t. And I won’t go quietly.

I think about my mom. She’s 74 now. Unfortunately, she lost my dad ten years ago, and her friend and partner about two years ago.  My mom and I have had numerous conversations about my “Duran Duran exploits” over the years, which makes it all sound slightly lascivious, and perhaps to my mom, they were. I think the expectations of women were very different for her than they might have been for my generation. I think she was shocked when I first told her I was flying across the country to go to a convention. That wasn’t even a concert – I was just going to go meet people I’d “met” online!  There have been many times when I know she felt that I had my priorities crossed, even though I know how much happier I am as a person now than I was, isolated and caring for two very young children. The cross-generational differences are glaringly obvious at times.

Historically, perhaps women did get married, have children and stop doing anything else outside of the family.  If other women were anything like my mom or my grandmother, maybe life did slow down quite a bit after 35 or even 40. But to just pretend we don’t exist? Um, tell that to the thousands (yes, thousands) of women my age or even older at Duran Duran shows!  Not only have they not laid down to await their impending death – they are living. Vibrantly. Beautifully. Strongly. They’ve got life by the tail and are swinging it around, ready to throw it whenever, and however, they choose. I’m happy to be in that group, too.

I fight the urge to just stay at home. I can be a bit of a hermit. I’m far better at being an introvert than I am an extrovert. The effort it takes me to be chatty and friendly at gatherings is pretty embarrassing. I will literally collapse after get togethers sometimes. It is easier for me to sink back into the comfort of spending my entire life just hanging out with my husband (and we’re like oil and water a lot of the time!) than it is for me to find good friends to do lunch. I try to remember to get out of the house and to go do things with my daughters (or even my son) from time to time. It isn’t always easy, but I am not just going to lay down and wait for death to sweep over me like a cold blanket. I can do that later.

I’m still learning how to love myself at 47, or even 50. It’s not easy. I look in the mirror or down at myself and see the bad things first. The grey hair, the bags under my eyes, the middle-aged weight gain, and the way my legs seem to grow lizard scales if I don’t moisturize daily are all things my eyes focus on first. I have to talk myself into the idea of going to Duran shows, the struggle of feeling confident amongst the rest of you is real. All of those things can really get me down if I let them. But then I think about the things I’ve done, and what I still want to do. I’m not old yet. I still feel young. I’m not ready to retire. I won’t go away quietly.

-R

A Feeling That Runs So Deep That It Scares Me, Too

This past week, month, and year I have been thinking a lot about safety.  As a teacher, I’m very familiar with the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  If you don’t know about this psychological theory, it is pretty simple.  People have a hierarchy of needs that include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence.  Basically, people need to have their physiological needs met first.  This makes sense, right?  People require air, food, water, etc.  If they don’t have those things, the rest of needs cannot happen.  If people have food, water, etc, then they can worry about safety, which includes both physical and emotional safety.

This week featured a test to Duranies sense of emotional safety.  Everything fans believed about Duran was called into question with this accusation of sexual assault.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll refer you to this blog post here.)  I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that Duran has provided me with an emotional safety net of sorts.  It is the “place” I go when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or whatever.  The examples that immediately pop into my head are numerous.  I remember listening to Ordinary World over and over again to deal with my overwhelming loneliness when I first moved to my city over 20 years ago.  Before the Rain played in the background as I hugged my mother as we waited for my grandma to take her last breath at Christmas in 2010.  For years, Duran has provided the catalyst to countless friendships, parties and trips.  I felt confident in my fandom as I knew that the band members, while human and imperfect, are also good guys.  They do the right thing when it counts.  So, when something comes out that questions that assumption, it hurts.  It causes pain and confusion.  It makes my emotional safety net feel a little less strong, a little less secure.

Since the allegation came out and statements were made both by Simon and Katy, that emotional safety net has been slowly repairing itself.  It is easy to begin to assume that this woman, for whatever reason, got it wrong.  I want to believe that.  In many ways, I need to believe that.  Yet, something has been eating at me that calls into question my emotional safety.

When the articles first appeared, many fans responded as Rhonda and I did with a complex mix of emotions.  While we wanted to simply  side with Simon, we understood that issues like this are inherently more complex than this even when the allegation is false or appears false.  Emotions tend to ride way higher than an accusation of verbal abuse, for example.  Sexual assault is one that is wrapped around centuries of mistreatment of women as well as individuals’ sense of self-worth on such a fundamental level that there are no words to adequately describe it.  To say that it is a dicey topic is an understatement.

Some fans, though, immediately began to lash out from what I saw.  They didn’t strike out against the situation, the circumstance, the fact that our happy place was violated.  No, some seemed to focus their anger on the woman, the accuser.  Now, I understand why.  These fans love Simon and want to stick up for him, no matter what.  They wanted her to know that they believe him to be a stand-up, honorable guy.  I get that.  I really do.  We have often talked about Duranland feels like a family in that we don’t always get along but we always have each other’s backs and definitely have the band’s back.  It is the idea that Duranies can criticize the band because of our extra special Duranie card but others without that card cannot.  They are simply not allowed.

While I understand the psychological need to stand up for one’s family member, one’s hero, in this case, I struggle with some of what I saw.  It wasn’t always just, “I’m sorry, woman, but I think you misinterpreted what happened or I don’t think your story is true because Simon is a great guy,” I saw insults.  Name calling.  Harassment.  It was just defending as it sure felt like attacking.  Yes, I’m sure many of you say that she deserved it.  But does she?  Assuming that she made up this story for whatever reason, what purpose does it serve to say these things?  Let’s say that she did it for money.  Would people harassing her, calling her names, or trying to prove that she is a terrible person really stop that?  If she did it for attention, wouldn’t/couldn’t these types of reactions reinforce that?  What’s the goal?  Hoping that she would take it back?  Even if she did, would that be the same thing has having a time machine to go back to before it even came out.  I don’t think so.  Okay.  Maybe you still think that this particular woman still deserved each and every negative statement to or about her.  I wonder, though, what it does for others.

What message does it send to (real) victims?  To me, it sends tells them that it is best not to come forward.  Why?  It reminds them that this could and probably would happen to them.  Why would anyone want that?

Then, I think about the message it sends to me about my emotional safety net.  There have been times when individual fans or people have done or said something against Rhonda and/or myself that have made this fan community feel a little less safe to me.  Yet, I could always dismiss those moments to a few individual people.  I could remind myself that the majority of fans in the community don’t act like this or feel like that.  Now, I’m not so sure.  This situation has left me feel shaken.  It isn’t just because someone I admire was accused of doing something really awful.  No, I can dismiss that as one woman making a ridiculous allegation.  What is harder to dismiss is the venom I saw from fellow fans.  It made me fear for my emotional safety in this community as well as others.  Could fans turn that rage on me?  On other people?  Yes, I know that people could argue that this woman’s crime was so bad and that I would never do something like that.  While that is true, where is the line of what is deserving of that treatment?  Who decides it?

Maybe my internal make up is different than others.  Yes, maybe I am “soft” or that I feel too much.  I can acknowledge that.  To me, though, two wrongs don’t make a right.  It didn’t take back the accusation or make the situation better.  Not really.  Maybe typing an insult or calling her name made some feel better at the moment but it only made me feel worse.  Support Simon.  Love him up.  I’m down with that.  Send him tweets or messages.  Thank Katy for her defense.  It just seems to be the more productive and healing way to go.

-A

I don’t really want to even talk about it

There are some days when it is just tough to be a fan. Yesterday, I was in the middle of blogging when a news story broke. I didn’t pay much attention and went right on writing. I was in a hurry, and didn’t have time for distractions. Then the news story was sent to me two or three times. I glanced at the headline and thought it was either a scam, clickbait, or a virus waiting to happen. So I just went on about my day until an hour or so later when a friend sent me the article and asked what I thought.  This time, I read it.

I wished I hadn’t, to be honest. I need for this – my fandom – to be my happy place. I don’t ask for much. Some smiles, maybe a laugh or two, some good friends, decent vodka, maybe even a lime and some tonic. Not much. I just need it to be happy.  But now, the Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it is really difficult to know what to say.

My comment to someone who messaged Daily Duranie directly about the news story was fairly straightforward and simple: We have chosen not to comment on something that may have happened 23 years ago. Amanda and I continue to agree on that point.

The Daily Duranie is almost an oral history of what it is like to be a fan on any given day. In the past we’ve called it a State of the Union (of Duranies), and that still kind of holds true. Today, our union is a bit tumbled and fractured. It’s been a rough 24 hours.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to turn the clock back about 30 hours. I hate this.

I love Simon. I really do. He has been nothing but nice (well, nice in that sort of “I’m going to spit on the two of you and then pretend I don’t know who you are later on when we hang out at a bar together” sort of way.)  to us. I care about him and his family. I think about him, and how he’s handling the loss of his mom, and what it must be like for him to be a grandfather now.  Um, I mean glamfather, of course. I think about how it’s gotten to the point at shows where he recognizes Amanda and I, and how he will wave to us if he sees us out and about. It’s nice, and to be fair – Amanda and I aren’t looking for any more than that. We’re not really “looking” for anything at all, it’s just that I appreciate being like normal people around one another. I think he knows we’re not going to launch ourselves in his direction because that’s super weird, and he should also know that if he ever wants to sit and have a drink with us, we’ll save a spot for him at the bar.

I don’t want any of that to end.

He is the crazy uncle of our huge dysfunctional family, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for him, as I don my neon green shoes or wear unsightly pajamas so that Amanda and I can continue making fun of him. It is what we do. I don’t want those things to stop, which is why this kind of news is so hard to take, regardless of whether it’s true or false – it is hard to handle.

I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, and my bet is that I’m not alone.

I feel like crap, to be honest.  Duran Duran is my happy place. Even when my regular, normal life has been horrible (and there have been many of those times), the band and this fan community have been my constant. While right now my marriage is really good, in the past it hasn’t always been. Duran Duran was kind of my refuge from all of that. I sort of feel like this was the place where the bad things weren’t supposed to follow, you know? The outside lunacy wasn’t supposed to get in the front door, and now here it is – running around our living room, tossing over the furniture and creating havoc.

I chose not to talk about any of this on open social media yesterday.  I did chat with a couple of trusted friends. I wish I could say I felt better. I still don’t know what to say.

The Daily Duranie also looks at fan behavior. Oh, I’ve seen some of that in the past 24 hours. To copy my friend Jennifer – I’m at a loss for words.

First of all, I’d like to just point out that we’re all fans. That means we like Simon. As such, we’re biased. The fan thing taints our perception.   Goodness knows that I’m having a very hard time writing this blog today as a result. Emotions are running high, and fans are reacting in the only way they know how – by calling out one another.

If you don’t use a hashtag #IStandWithSimon, or #TeamSimon, you’re obviously convinced he’s guilty and you should be banished from the kingdom. If you post the news story on your page, you’re a bad fan because you’re being negative and besides – everyone has already seen the story so you’re beating a dead horse. Posting anything that could possibly be taken to be questioning Simon’s complete innocence means you’re a hater. Should you decide to remain quiet, you clearly don’t love Duran Duran enough to stick your neck out for them.

Then there are the folks who, in direct response to the accuser’s story, say they’d like for Simon to grope or assault them. Hell, I saw one person say that all fans want Simon to grab their ass and that if you don’t, you’re lying.

I don’t even know where to begin with that, except to say that I really don’t want him to grab my ass. Ever.  Hugs are fine. Waving to me across a room, fabulous. Grabbing my hand to give it a friendly squeeze, wonderful. Grabbing my butt though? Not unless you want to lose that hand, and I’m not lying, thanks.

And then there is giving permission for someone to grope you. That’s different. I see it as trying to add a little humor into something that isn’t funny at all. I also think it is one of the more tone-deaf things anyone could say in response to something like this, regardless of whether or not you believe the victim’s story. Sexual assault isn’t about the sex. It’s not about making someone feel good. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about taking something that isn’t yours to take, simply because you think you can. Why anyone would want that to happen to them is beyond me and I’m completely disgusted that fans would say such a thing. It is one thing to say that you want Simon to touch you – and while I don’t share that feeling, I get it….but to use the words “grope” or “please assault me any time” …. have you lost what is left of your damn mind???

Let me let you all in on a little secret: I am a victim of sexual assault. I couldn’t move when it happened. I froze. I felt paralyzed, and I just let it happen because I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I got up, and didn’t talk about it again for many years. I don’t remember the exact details of where he was and where I was. I can’t remember if I was laying down or sitting up. (it happened on a date, and no, it wasn’t quite date rape)  I can’t remember what side he was on, or how it started or ended. Those kinds of things aren’t burned into my memory. What IS in my memory though is the way my clothes felt on my body at the time, the way the fabric of his shirt felt, and the smell of the air around me. I can remember how stuffy the room seemed at the time, and that I stared at the digital clock on his desk. I remember exactly how frozen I felt, or how I clenched my fists to the point where my short nails left imprints into the palms of my hand. I remember how when it was over, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have run? Should I have gone and told someone? I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I did eventually talk to with the person who did it though. Yes, we had a face to face conversation. I didn’t sue him. I didn’t even report him. I just wanted to talk with him. Turns out, his perception of the events in question was very, very different from mine.

I don’t know what happened with Simon and this woman, if anything. I don’t want to talk about it. That’s really the bottom line. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I barely know how to put my feelings about being a fan into words.

So how do I feel today? Not good. The one thing I know for sure today is that I’m a fan of Duran Duran. I’m here because of the music.  That music is what unites all of us, first and foremost.

-R