Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sound of Celebration: Welcome to the Newbies out there!

the lights turn on

It is a strange feeling when you know Duran Duran is actually in the same country and that your friends are traveling (or have already traveled) to see them. Every once in a while, I’ll sneak a peek on Twitter, just to see if anyone recognizable has posted a photo or anything. (Thank you to Anna Ross for playing along nicely!)

I’m excited because I know that next Thursday I’ll be making my way to Vegas for their shows over the weekend. It also feels like the next week is going to take forever to get through. Then again, I have kind of a lot to do between now and then so…I’d better get to it!

and still they come

As difficult as it is for me to still believe sometimes, there are Duranlive first-timers amongst us, running rampant in the public! I joke, but I also love running into new concert-goers, whether online or in person. They are typically so darn joyful, their excitement is palatable and contagious all at once. I live and breathe for that joy! This weekend, Amanda gave excellent advice for GA shows. They can be tricky, and honestly require their own play book, in my opinion. Even seated show attendees could use some advice, though.

First off, I’m no expert. Really. There are many, many Duranies out there who have gone to far more shows than the fifty I can count over the years. Fifty shows isn’t very many when you consider that this is #DD40. On that same token, I believe about 40 or so of those shows have taken place since the year 2004, which means I’m not only NOT an expert, I’m also probably a bit nutty, and damn gleeful about it.

That said, I am 100% quirky and proud of it. I spend a lot of my time before and after these shows just people watching. Seeing fans mingle, observing families taking it all in, I even gauge the age of the audience. I love seeing how people interact (and yeah, I pay special attention to the known Duranies because, dang it – you’re a super-special sort. Like me!). All of that observation over the years has taught me a few things.

we come here calling

First of all, if you’re new to this whole thing: welcome. I know we’re a daunting group. Overwhelming at the very least! My advice is really simple: JUST HAVE FUN. If you’re not on social media, you should try it. Twitter, for example, doesn’t have to be horribly serious or time committing. It’s a quick and easy way to meet people – it reminds me a lot of the days on message boards, because there’s true banter between fans. It sometimes takes a while to find us, but we’re there. Follow @duranduran, check out the people who seem to tweet things you might be interested in. Some like to talk about band members, others like to discuss the music, still others talk about all of it. Try it, you might like it!

My hope in suggesting to meet other fans online, a newbie can find a group to hang with, both before and after the show. Life is way too short and Duran Duran concerts are far too much fun, to go it alone. Connecting with other fans is one of the very best parts of this community. It is how Amanda and I met, and it is how I’ve met some of the closest friends I have over the years. One of the goals we’ve had for Daily Duranie in the past has been to bring fans together and allow them to connect. This past year, I know I’ve strayed a bit from that path, but I’m getting back to it, little by precious little.

to gather here

My other piece of advice, which might be coming in too late for some of you – is to travel in early. What I mean by that is, if you’re going to a show on a Friday, get there on Thursday. Why? Two reasons really. One, giving yourself a bit of a cushion is far better on the nerves when a flight is unexpectedly canceled, or weather becomes a problem.

The second reason is that a lot of times, people will meet up the day before. Amanda and I have been known to plan parties the night before a show for fans to meet up. This time in Vegas we don’t really have anything planned, but I have seen other groups of people mentioning getting together that night. I can promise we will be out and about, but we agreed to give ourselves a break this time and let others do the planning.

we’ll light up the land

When it comes time for the show, even at a seated venue, I’d tell you over and over again to wear shoes you’re going to be comfortable standing in for hours. Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine, but trust me when I say that the band isn’t going to see your shoes. They don’t care. They want to see you up and dancing. Impress yourself and don’t worry about anybody else is my motto. During the hours before and after the show, you’re going to be walking, standing and talking. Be comfortable so that you can enjoy it all! Cute and comfortable IS a thing, whether that’s in heels, flats, trainers or something else entirely!

So when you see me wearing flat shoes or even flip-flops to a show (I’ve done it before and will definitely do it again!), know that I am totally 100% happy and confident wearing them, and I don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’ve done the heels before, no thanks!

can you hear the planet roaring

My opinion is simply that if you don’t come out of a Duran Duran show sweaty and completely elated – you’ve done it wrong. Nobody should be sitting through a Duran show if you’re physically capable of standing. Otherwise, chair dancing in whatever way you need is totally a thing too. Go for it!

There are plenty of subtle nuances to fandom. There are plenty of unwritten social rules and slippery slopes, I suppose. Sometimes, one can get so distracted by the minutia of what to say, how to say it, what to ask, what NOT to ask, that they forget to have fun. That’s the bottom line though. HAVE FUN. Smile. Enjoy the moment. I can promise that the 120 minutes that the band is on stage (give or take a few either way) will fly by in the blink of an eye. For those precious two hours, live in just that little bit. Experience the music with an open heart and mind, and let it take you away from the troubles of real life. Allow your heart to swell full of gratitude for being there to enjoy every single note. You won’t regret it.

See you at the shows!

-R


I know what it is coming over ya

Get in the system

Alright friends, it is time to get real. True confession time! My confession for today is that I never fell in love with “Danceophobia”.

I’m waiting for all of you to get over your shock. It’s okay. Take your time. I can be patient.

As difficult as that might be to come to terms with, it is true. Danceophobia is not on my “most played” list, even after I heard that Dom had writing credit on the song. For several months after the first listen, I only had to hear the first opening chord and I’d hit “skip”. I just couldn’t force myself to cringe my way through it, so I didn’t. Eventually, I started listening to the complete album to get the full experience, rather than skipping around.

Trying to get to you

As the muted sound for Danceophobia would begin, discomfort would settle into the pit of my belly. I’d have to fight the urge to turn up the volume because the sound was muted (I’d already made that mistake several times prior, nearly having my eardrums explode before remembering Duran’s cute little “trick” with first muting and then bringing the volume back to normal). Then I’d force myself to plow my way through it, trying to find something likable about the song.

The more I listened to it, the more I realized that the music itself wasn’t the issue. The lyrics are cheeseball and pretty cringy, but I’ve heard worse and still bobbed my head in time to the beat without a problem. Truthfully, I didn’t mind the music at all. It’s catchy, in it’s own sticky-sweet, popcorn ball sort of way. So what was my problem?

Look around

I can remember when that fateful picture of Nick and Simon with Lindsay and her sister first graced the internet. I was appalled. Why on earth would Duran Duran pick Lindsay, of all people on the planet, to do the voiceover for “The Doctor”? It was so gross. I saw it as a fairly blatant, desperate attempt to stay in the news. (I’m sorry!!) People certainly talked about the picture – Lindsay herself posted it on Instagram, and for whatever reason – people still follow her like she’s some sort of god. For a few weeks, that picture seemed to be everywhere. I still screw up my face and make squinty eyes whenever I think about it. I just couldn’t understand why this band needed Lindsay of all people. Wasn’t there anyone else with a throaty voice who could pull off the part?!?

I doubled down on my dislike when Lindsay appeared with the band at the O2 in London, and wasn’t quite able to remember all the words…and again in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, when once again she was a little stumped. I just didn’t get the hype.

You don’t dance

I think that in the back of my mind, I knew there had to be a good reason why Duran Duran wanted Lindsay on that album, and I definitely wasn’t buying Simon’s story that they were friends and that she texted him asking to be on the album. It all seemed just a bit too contrived for me to believe. Maybe the band wanted to attract more male fans by having her appear. (Really though??) Was Lindsay really attracting THAT many more first time listeners? In my mind – she was a fairly washed-up American actress (I use that word lightly). Sure, she had followers. However, were they following because they really adored her? Or, were they following because they were voyeurs, wanting to witness the next time Lindsay fell down? I felt, and still feel, it’s the latter.

At some point, I gave up asking myself questions and just went with it. I couldn’t figure out their line of thinking, but I didn’t think I’d ever really get it. Until yesterday.

Sometimes, one has to take a step back away from a painting to really see the big picture. And other times, we need somebody else to point out the obvious. I needed both.

Am I getting through to you

During a friendly discussion about Paper Gods, the topic of Danceophobia came up. I immediately admitted that it was my least favorite on the album. I explained my feelings about the song, and didn’t think much of it until someone offered up a reason I’d never considered for Lindsay’s appearance.

“Maybe she’s supposed to make you cringe. The idea of her being a doctor is incredibly ironic”


Wait, did you just use my favorite word?? IRONY.

The fact that she hasn’t really been relevant or “cool” in over a decade was never lost on me….but did the band know that? Maybe so. I thought about how she still has so many followers, and yet I was convinced the majority of people were simply just there waiting for the next “show”. Even the way the song begins so uncomfortably quiet – like you’ve got to sit up and take notice that it’s different – began to make more sense. It was as though the possibility existed that the band was trying to use Lindsay as a perfect example of a Paper God, and I missed the entire point.  

I am your doctor

To say I’m a little embarrassed wouldn’t be wrong. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this angle before now. I kind of feel like I should have listened more in school….

Duran Duran is a thinking band. Amanda and I have talked about that at length, and we’ve written about it on this blog many times over the years. The messages, and even the laughs and jokes are always hidden. If you think the video to Is There Something I Should Know is really about the military, for instance; or that Rio really IS just about a river in North America…or even that the video for Falling Down is ONLY about models in rehab, you’ve missed out on 90% of the message, and nearly 100% of the bands humor.

It is the same reason I chuckle when people tell me that Simon only writes about sex…”because that’s what he’s said in interviews for years.” (True, when he is avoiding questions about what his lyrics are about….)

You may be experiencing feelings of confusion

So, the next time you listen to “Danceophobia”, think about the irony of someone like Lindsay Lohan being brought in – someone who has had worldwide gossip paper notoriety and has millions of followers, to be “The Doctor”. Yet she hasn’t really been relevant beyond the crosshairs of the public eye for a long time, and I have to think the band knew that. While I don’t believe they purposely set out to make fun of Lindsay – I do think they may see her celebrity as a great example of what the word “Paper God” really is. When I think about the song in those terms, it makes so much more sense, and I can completely understand its placement on the album.

Paper is thin, is fragile, and can be destroyed easily. What is newsprint one day, becomes trash the next. I can think of several celebrities who have faced similar fates over the years, Britney and Lindsay among them. The irony of having someone with that sort of background (earned or otherwise) as “the doctor” makes far more sense.

We can beat this thing

I hang my head in shame only because I should have seen that coming. I was off my game and they got me good.

Bring it, boys.

-R


And We Swayed: a Look Back at Daybreak in 2011

On this date in 2011, Roger and Simon did a brief interview on Daybreak – a morning talk show in the UK.

I rewatched the interview (linked here), thinking about how different things are now from when the interview was done. One of the interviewers had asked them if they thought All You Need is Now was an album they could have seen themselves making thirty years earlier.

It was an odd question to ask, really. I mean, thirty years prior to All You Need is Now, they were practically kids, just barely scratching at the surface of their career. Who really thinks that far down the line? Simon answered as I would have suspected, by saying that they never really thought more than two or three weeks ahead back then.

What *was* interesting though, especially in hindsight, was how Simon characterized their working experience with Mark Ronson. He said that Mark was charming, and that he had a way of getting you to do things that you didn’t want to do. I don’t know why I never quite picked up on that vibe before. The comment was made in reference to recording All You Need is Now, as though maybe the band wasn’t quite 100% on board with making an album that was such a step back to the band’s earlier days, musically.

I have to wonder if the band’s opinion of the album evolved at all after it’s release and seeing the reception from fans. The band always seemed to like the album, or so I assumed. However, seeing these interviews now, eight years later, I have to wonder if they really did like it as much as we did. AYNIN came directly after Red Carpet Massacre, which did not receive such a warm welcome at the time. Did the recording of AYNIN felt too much like a giant step backward?

Ah well, something to think about, I suppose. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got up their sleeves for this next round!

-R

I Know What It Is Coming Over You

So, I hear that much of the country is reeling from snowstorms and ridiculously cold weather! I’m not going to tell you what it’s like in California right now, but there is no snow on the ground where I’m at…

I do believe that the winter doldrums are here. After John’s Katy Kafe last week, some are looking forward to shows in February. Still others are counting down the days until March, when the band may go back into the studio for more work on new music. We’re all waiting for something, I suppose. Whether that something is a trip to Grand Cayman, Miami, New Orleans or Las Vegas, or it’s March or even springtime, we’re waiting.

Look around

Even I’m feeling that anxious, bored feeling. I’m ready to take on a new project here at home now that we’re semi-settled in, but I’m also kind of still eyeing the bins in the garage, thinking we should have cleaned out more! So I started thinking of ways we might break up the monotony in the meantime. Over the weekend, DDHQ posted this picture of John Taylor:

It appeared with the caption “JT gets plugged in” with Power Station being one of the hashtags. As I looked at the picture, I agreed that it was the visual representation of Power Station for sure, and that gave me an idea.

Nothing can stop us

Admittedly, it’s been a long time since Amanda and I have done any sort of game on social media. There’s no time like the present though, so we thought we could try something just for fun on Facebook and Twitter. To begin, Amanda and I are going to decide on the name of a song, and your job is to wow everyone with a visual interpretation of that song. For example, once upon a time we stumbled upon this painting…

Amanda might better remember what museum we were in when we found that painting (was it Tate Modern? The Art Institute?? Why can’t I remember these things???), but as we stood looking at it – she looked at me and said “It’s Anyone Out There”. You can check out that blog in our archives here. Ultimately, she sent in a question to “Ask Katy”, and eventually got a reply that no – the artwork didn’t inspire the song (but certainly could have!) Regardless, we’ve found ourselves in similar situations over the years where we’ve seen things and immediately a song or line of lyric comes to mind. Now, we’re asking YOU to do the same!

You don’t dance…

So, if you want to join in on the game – just for fun – we will announce the name of the song for the week on social media, and you can post your pictures @dailyduranie with hashtag #DDinpics on Twitter, or you can post them on our Facebook page if you’d like. Either is fine. If I can remember how to post it to Tumblr, I’ll do it there too!

For this week, just to get you started – our song of the week is going to be “Danceophobia” from Paper Gods. Yes, I decided we’d better start easy and go from there. You have from now until next MondayNow go be creative! 🙂 There really aren’t rules to this, but if you can take an original photo to represent this, I would be wildly entertained. Regardless, we just want everyone to have fun.

Eventually, we’re going to do this the other way around – where all of you can post pictures and we have to guess what song you’re interpreting!

Hoping to see lots of great photos!!

-R

Hey Girl, Want it All: Fyre Festival

Like many, I had seen quite a few postings and tweets on social media about the documentaries on the Fyre Festival. I’d bookmarked them on the ever-lengthening “watch” list in my head. On Tuesday, I went to dinner with my friend Lori, who insisted I should watch them. Yesterday was my movie watching day, and the documentary did not disappoint.

In a world that is paper thin

The Fyre Festival was a luxury weekend promoted as an amazing opportunity for wealthy young millennials. It would take place on a private island in the Bahamas for three days. Let’s face it – that sounds fabulous. The festival contracted top bands like Blink182 to perform and promised a full line-up. Some dished out as much as $12,000 just for general admission tickets. Many others wanted full-VIP treatment with private villas, and other exclusives, and paid accordingly.

The branding for the festival was slick, glossy, and fabricated. Supermodels gathered together with festival organizers for a weekend on what was supposedly once Pablo Escobar’s (think Medellin Cartel) island, named Norman Cay. Film footage from that weekend was put together as a montage used for marketing. Festival organizers paid social media influencers such as Kendall Jenner to post a burnt orange color square on instagram. Social media worked it’s magic, and news of the festival went viral. An air of exclusivity wafted over millennials, and the festival took off.

It’s nothing to be glad about

Unfortunately for all involved, the luxurious weekend of music, sun and fun is not what unfolded (and I’m leaving a lot of the details out due to space). Guests flew in, not by private charter to a private island, but by commercial jet to an airstrip. Buses shuttled them to an area of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, where a housing community was being planned. As they drove up, they saw that their luxurious accommodations were leftover FEMA tents. Leftover tents used to house Americans who had lost their homes after natural disasters, like hurricanes or fires.

Dinner consisted of some sad looking cheese between slices of bread and a salad. Not sushi. Not lobsters. No champagne. There was very little water, and definitely no full-bars. The island area itself had very little infrastructure. There were no white-tilted, clean bathrooms. A sea of porta-potties awaited use, but not nearly enough to accommodate. The tent city was completely occupied by dusk. They still had 2/3 of their guests due to arrive the following day!

The final outcome for the festival is not what fascinates me most about Fyre. It isn’t that the young entrepreneur – Mike McFarland – is nothing more than a con artist, or that many others behind the scenes knew that there was no way this festival was going to happen and yet stuck with it until the very end. My fascination comes down to the realization that a similar disaster to Fyre could, and likely will happen again. We are begging for it.

It’s all on sale for dirty cash

I can’t speak for other countries, but Americans seek luxury. We desire VIP treatment. Many are willing to pay monumental sums of money to get it. Most of all, we want that exclusivity. Nearly every adult of gen-x age or older I know openly scoffs at the idea of social media influencers. In turn, ask most any millennial and they will immediately and excitedly explain why they work. The Kardashians didn’t just suddenly fall into a money pit. They made themselves relevant. While maybe you or I don’t care, PLENTY of others do. The Kardashians and many other “influencers” are followed by the millions on any social media platform. Their followers will do almost anything to experience even a small bit of what influencers do on any given day.

48 hours after Kendall Jenner’s $250,000 instagram post, (amount wired to her by festival organizers for that post) the Fyre Festival had sold 95% of their tickets. Coincidence or example of her influence? You decide.

The total human race became a basket case

All one has to do in order to see the possibility of something similar to Fyre happening again, is ask a simple question. If you had the financial means to go see Duran Duran in an exclusive setting and be in VIP accommodations – would you go?

If you haven’t checked out the documentaries on either Netflix or Hulu, I highly recommend them. Have a paper bag handy, because you might either gag, or hyperventilate from anxiety like I did!

-R

(I just wanted to quickly mention that Duran Duran wrote “Paper Gods” prior to 2015….yet here we are. The lyrics lent themselves SO well I had a hard time choosing what to use!)

Mish-Mash Monday!

Happy Monday, everyone. I have a house full of guests this morning, so I am going to need to make this post a quick one. It turns out – there are several things going on that can turn a week of winter doldrums into something a little less boring!

First of all, John is going to be a guest in an upcoming “All Fan Question” Katy Kafe. If you have a burning question for John, tweet it to @duranduran during the next 20 hours or so with the hashtag #JTJanKafe. I don’t know about other people, but my mind completely empties of any thoughts at all when Katy asks for fan questions. I will do my best to think of some, though!!

Secondly, DDHQ asked an interesting, thought provoking question this morning that I thought I’d share here. “What is the most cinematic of Duran Duran’s songs? What images does it conjure for you?”

There are obvious answers here, one of which being the Fatal Kiss version of “A View To A Kill”, or even “New Moon on Monday”. Then, there are other, less obvious, but very interesting choices, such as “Before the Rain”. I loved scrolling through some of the answers. As for my own, I am leaning towards “Before the Rain” because it is so grandiose on one end; deep, dark and brooding on the other. What about you?

Lastly, I have something new to suggest checking out. If like me, you appreciate a good discussion about the music, you might enjoy @Guy FansofDuran and his new podcast venture, “The D Side”. I’m intrigued and can’t wait to see where the podcast goes. With a new point of view, it provides a starting place for fantastic, ongoing dialogue about the music. I think “The D Side” will do extremely well. Check out “The D Side“. Best of luck, David!

As for me, I’ll be back full-strength tomorrow. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

-R

Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! 😀

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


Cracks in the Pavement

Sometimes, fitting fandom into real life is hard. “Adulting” is tough enough, and squeezing the one true escape I’ve got into all of that isn’t always that simple. I think that’s why there have been times when I’ve conceded and given in to the daily pressures.

I don’t know if I’m the only crazy person out there that sees it this way, or if it’s a common thing. For me, it is as though I immersed myself in Duran Duran for a few years. I wrote this blog, went to many shows (more than I probably had business being at, in hindsight), researched and wrote a paper along with two manuscripts, and spread myself remarkably thin between my husband, children, family, my job at the time, Duran Duran, and friends. At some point, something had to give.

I shed my skin when the party was about to begin

Then late last year, something did. My husband lost his job, and that sent my immediate family into several months of turmoil. I couldn’t ignore what was going on at home, and so my attention turned inward. There’s no pretty way to say this: I was scared. There were a number of really bad things that happened along the way to make the pain even worse for all of us, but my family and I made it, for the most part. He found a great job, and then we needed to think about moving. Who knew that would take six months?!? They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, and “they” aren’t kidding.

At the time, I felt like I was constantly pushing a rather large boulder up a giant hill. That wasn’t unusual for me though. Even in the past, when I was focused on researching and writing – something I completely enjoy – I still felt the boulder threatening to roll backward and flatten me if I didn’t keep up the momentum. I know for sure I’m not the only person out there that feels this way. As we all know, one can only push that boulder for so long, and then they give up. So I think in some sense, I just laid down and let it bowl me over last year.

I’m making a break for the shadows

In the aftermath, I found myself in a rather deep and dark place. I did feel rather alone, despite Amanda checking on me – there were some things I just couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about, or admit to myself. I tried very hard to make it seem like I had it together, when really – I wanted to crawl into bed, hide, and never come out. I don’t even think my husband ever really knew how deep and dark I felt. I love the guy, but counseling is not his forté.

When I get overwhelmed, which I very much was at the time, I try to break down lists into reasonable daily tasks. I’m not really a list maker – to be honest even making the list can sometimes overwhelm the heck out of me, which it did with moving. So I lived day to day, knowing the few things that had to happen on that day, and getting them done. It was the way I survived without having a heart attack, and I mean that with every fiber of my being.

Don’t want to be in public

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for writing the blog, I don’t think I would have even thought about Duran Duran during the past year. I didn’t want to listen to the music, I didn’t want to hear a single Kafe (although I did), I wouldn’t even read interviews or things like that – and I don’t know why. Walt would even bring them up, or bring up the blog, and I’d wave him off. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to think about the band. The boulder had already knocked me flat on my back and was down the mountain. I just couldn’t manage. It has taken me an enormous amount of time just to begin reading the Classic Pop magazine that Amanda sent me for my birthday in November. I’m getting there.

There were moments, and if I’m going to completely rip off the band-aid, I’ll say there were weeks at minimum, where I really did wonder if I wanted to continue in this life. I was pretty depressed. Stupid things would make me feel worse – or I should say – I allowed them to make me feel worse. Even as I type the words here, I feel silly about admitting them to the world. Regardless, for me this is healing, and it’s important. It wasn’t just because Walt lost his job, or because I had to quit mine, or because of issues with some extended family. It was because I felt like nothing, and the longer it went on, the worse it seemed to get. I gained weight, I felt gross and ugly, and I felt old! The very last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone, so I didn’t.

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

This isn’t a story about Duran Duran saving me, though. I didn’t just hear a song and realize how great I’ve got it, sorry to say. It is a story about me saving myself. I don’t know what eventually started turning me around – I still go through days where I feel like a robot, but they are becoming less and less. I think that getting away from the traffic, pressures, and hectic nature of So Cal has helped. I love my new house, but I also love the peace. I spend more time outside now, and I’m looking forward to springtime. I texted with Amanda last weekend, and on Thursday we’re Skyping, which is something I would have totally said no to a few months ago. Mostly, I’m living and breathing.

I didn’t share this so that everyone could pat me and say “there, there”. I don’t need that, and I would rather that not happen, actually. I shared my story for a couple of reasons. The first being that by typing the words, admitting the truth and clearing the air – it really does make me feel better. The second is because I think sometimes it is easy to assume that since Amanda and I are writing every day, that we’ve got it together. I think it’s easy to see people online and assume all is well. That isn’t always the case. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else, though. Amanda said to me last weekend that the community can be very superficial, and she needs something deeper. I get that. Sometimes I do, too. I think we all might.

I’m walking back

Everyone manages “real life” differently. I’m not sure that I’m managing it or if it is managing me, but I’m working on it. I had to be reminded this morning that for most people, fandom IS the escape. It isn’t as though I don’t feel that way, but when you write a blog about being a fan every day – I think it is easy to forget.

I really am looking forward to next month. I do need that escape and to be amongst friends that accept me for who I am. In many ways, those friends have become my family – and I need them. I am looking forward to hugging a few people who are very important to me, and I’m excited to see that band onstage again. That’s a start.

-R


Do Crowds Make You Feel Lonely?

How do you feel?

If you read the blog with any kind of regularity, you may have noticed a couple of Amanda’s blogs as of late. She’s going through a bit of a weird time when it comes to fandom and Duran Duran, and I don’t think she’s alone.

I know I see and experience things a lot differently now than I did eight, ten or even fifteen or twenty years back. My emotions about the band – at least the most basic ones – are still the same. Obviously, I still love the music. I still really enjoy hearing from them, whether in Kafe’s or in interviews. That said, I don’t always get to everything right as it’s posted.

Several years back, my day would stop if Duran Duran posted a new Kafe. Well, I can tell you that I still haven’t listened to the year-end Katy Kafes yet. I was moving at the time, and while I had a moment to glance at each of the year-end lists that DDHQ compiled, I really didn’t have opportune moments to sit and listen to the Kafes. Amanda did though, and shared a few things with me that she heard, and there was definitely some giggling, at least on my end.

How do you deal?

We still get a kick out of talking and writing about Duran Duran. When we actually are able to sit down and talk about the band, there’s still a lot of love and joy there. That’s the point though – we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time talking or laughing together.

Quite a bit of that is due to me, and some of it is a result of not having a lot to actually talk about. We aren’t working on a writing project at the moment. Our energy was, and is, being spent elsewhere. I think that makes up a lot of the “magic” when it comes to fandom: you get out of it whatever you put into it.

Back when I was a newbie in the community, participation-wise, I spent hours online. I chatted with my new friends. We made plans. We giggled a lot. I was sold, hook, line, sinker. The community aspect of being a Duranie couldn’t be beat. I put my heart and soul into it, even before I ever blogged a single word. I loved being a fan, more accurately – I loved being a part of the community.

What do you say?

Shoot ahead about five years to the time when we began Daily Duranie. The blog still carries a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears from me (as it does Amanda’s). Things have changed though. I don’t look at this blog as quite the “end all” it once was. The blog doesn’t take up my entire day the way it once did. For example, I don’t think I’m going to find any sort of a career path because I owned and operated a DD-fan blog. Yes, other people have had success – but I think those people have very different personalities and talents that are far better suited to the industry than mine. I’m open to whatever may, or may not, happen.

Acquaintances smile, but that’s no understanding

At one time, I desperately wanted and needed validation from the band. Now, I don’t just mean a wink from the stage or a quick picture with them. I had ridiculously high hopes that ranged from having one of them write the foreword to a book, to actually being taken seriously instead of being labeled as just a fan. I don’t know how or when that changed, but it did. Obviously, it isn’t something I can prove to anyone just by typing the words in a blog post. All I can say is that at one time, having the band’s respect mattered more than my own personal satisfaction, and now – I’m more concerned with how *I* feel about Daily Duranie than having the approval of someone else. For me, that’s huge.

I suppose to some extent it comes down to wanting to be noticed. It is slightly intoxicating to be noticed out of a crowd by someone I admire. That feeling is also addictive, which is why I believe so many fans wait for the band for hours on end. They too, want that moment. Once they get it, they want it again and again. They’re willing to go out of their own way to get it, too. True confession time: I’ve fallen into that trap myself. It is far too easy to fool myself into believing any sort of attention or recognition is paramount to anything else.

At one time, I looked at fandom with some sort of starry, wide-eyed innocence, it just isn’t the same now. Granted, part of me misses feeling that excited sort of buzz that happens whenever I talk about Duran Duran. The thing is, when I really sit and think about it, that feeling is still there. It isn’t my love for the band that has changed. It’s my feeling about the community.

After a while, you keep falling off the same mountain

Fandom still interests the hell out of the both of us. I just don’t feel quite as connected to other fans these days. I don’t know if that’s the same for Amanda. In a lot of ways, I feel like an island out here in the middle of nowhere. I admitted to Amanda that those feelings of listlessness certainly contribute to my not feeling like I can organize a full convention. It is hard to give back when you feel like you’re mostly alone.

Amanda herself said that she looks to her political activity for the same sort of boost she once received from the fan community (and I don’t mean as bloggers – I mean just as fellow fans). I have to believe this is part of the journey, rather than feeling like we’ve just reached the end point.

-R

PS – I was alerted that there are some links online that seem to be generated from Daily Duranie leading to a site impersonating us that gathers personal and financial data. Here is the real deal: we don’t gather personal or financial data. That’s not who we are, and that’s definitely not what we’re about. You have my word on that. We have never interviewed a band member (other than Dom). If we did – we’d be shouting from the rooftops, and everyone would know. Word to the wise: if it looks too good to be true (no, we didn’t interview Simon!), it definitely is! I apologize for the confusion.