Category Archives: Uncategorized

Electric Barbarellas

When Rhonda asked me to switch blog days this week, I didn’t think much of it as I had planned to share some words on Live Aid since the anniversary falls this weekend. However, her post yesterday was so good that I wanted to pick up the thread. If you still fancy some words on Live Aid, you can read my post from last year at Hard Rock’s now-extinct music blog RPM on the women who rocked Live Aid. But today, I want to add a male perspective to how the band’s use of models in videos impacted us then and now.

If I had to point to two moments as a child when I felt the first stirrings of puberty, it would be the early Duran Duran videos and the cover of Madonna’s Like A Virgin album. And that is what both were designed to do. The patriarchal laws of commerce have always relied on using sex to sell. When you’re about to become a teenager, those forces are hard to resist. As you get older, you (hopefully) realize how dangerous and stupid this can be (if you don’t, re-read Rhonda’s blog from yesterday, I’ll wait). So, why does Duran Duran continue to use models? At this point, it won’t sell any more records and we are all a bit wiser.

The three in question: Electric Barbarella, Falling Down, and Girl Panic are all visually reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. There is a loose storyline and beautiful models. However, the band isn’t exploiting this so much as they are poking fun at themselves (and men in general). The most problematic for me will always be Falling Down because it seems to be a jaded commentary on how so many female celebrities end up in rehab when just as many, if not more, male celebrities are the ones who need the most help – something Duran Duran experienced themselves.

Like Rhonda, I don’t blame Duran Duran (really, their management) for casting beautiful women in videos to move product in the 80s. That is the sad reality of the business and one we are still struggling to move away from. As artists like Fiona Apple, Billie Eilish, Lorde and Lana Del Rey continue to release incredible music, perhaps real change will eventually reach the mainstream industry but that seems unlikely. However, we can continue to push for that change in the purchasing decisions we make.

Rhonda asked why it was important for the band to show their female audience that they were desired by other women. Well, apart from the male ego, that provides market validation and feeds itself. Sell yourself as desired and if the singles are hits, you become desired. It worked on us male fans as well. We saw these guys having adventures in Sri Lanka while being chased by beautiful women. Of course we wanted that!

Ironically, the common phrase thrown at male Duran Duran fans was “gay” because of the colorful outfits and make-up the band wore. So, as a kid just learning to process all of this, being “gay” seemed to lead to traveling the world with beautiful women. Straight or gay, it seemed like a pretty cool lifestyle. Don’t discount bands like Duran Duran helping shape a generation of male music fans who are far more open to different lifestyles. Had the band not helped shape me into an understanding and tolerant man willing to acknowledge the dangers of the patriarchy he benefits from, I doubt I would have ended up marrying a London girl beautiful enough to be in a Duran Duran video. So, yeah, I’ll defend the electric Barbarellas but I might not defend the machismo guitar player who left the party…..

Like A Hypnotic

Hey, everybody. Welcome to…Wednesday. This is Wednesday, right??

If you’re following along with our Daily Challenges, today’s is your favorite DD video. It has been fun seeing what people post! My own favorite DD video, for today, is Rio. Truth be told, there are a lot of DD videos I enjoy, but the one I tend to always come back to – chances are, it’s because it was one of the first I watched – is Rio. Whenever I think about Duran Duran, MTV and videos, Rio comes to mind, and specifically, the scene I think about most – for some odd reason – is when Simon is underwater and drinks that brightly colored neon pink cocktail. I have no idea why, only that I always think about that scene first. Silly, right?!

I do have a confession though, and that’s when I reposted this challenge yesterday, I quickly scrolled through the list of challenges and didn’t even bother updating them. I was in a hurry, and knew I’d have to schedule a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts to make the whole thing work for everyone, so I just copied, pasted and was done with it. In hindsight, as I was scheduling tweets, I realized that I could have easily revamped and reframed some of these questions to breathe a bit more life into them for 2020. Anyway, as I read over the list of challenges, I started thinking about their videos. If I had to come up with a short list of things that seem to pop up in Duran Duran videos again and again, I’d probably say things like: exotic locations, the band (duh), models, and storyboards (meaning video plots). I’m sure many of you could come up with other things, but those are the three things I notice right off the bat.

Out of those things, I come back to models. Why is it that Duran Duran used models so many times in their videos? It feels so overdone. Yet, here we are. Even Falling Down and Girl Panic used models. I suppose I partially expect them in any Duran Duran video these days, and I’m pleasantly surprised when they’re not included.

Amanda and I have written about the models in their videos before. We’ve touched on the subjects of sexism, and whether or not videos like Girls on Film infringe upon that boundary, or address the exploitation by the modeling industry. I know that many fans have their own opinions as well.

When I was a kid, especially in middle school, but even beyond into high school – I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I was a late bloomer when it came to boys, and part of that was because I just didn’t think I was worthy. Even now, when I see photos of myself from that time period from 6th to about 8th grade, I cringe. High school wasn’t a lot better, but I’ll give myself a little credit there, at least. I had frizzy, wavy hair that I had layered (badly), and it gave my entire head a sort of Q-tip type appeal. I had no idea how to dress, how to act, or how to do that thing the other girls did when boys paid attention to them and they acted dumb in response. I can remember proudly announcing to my friends that if that was how I needed to act in order to get a boyfriend, I didn’t need one.

That is when Duran Duran entered the picture. In 6th grade, when other girls my age were throwing themselves at any boy that would pay attention long enough to ask her to “go around”, (in my day that meant walking around campus holding hands, although I don’t remember PDA beyond that being discouraged, either), I found a favorite band. Posters to hang on walls. I could disappear into the fantasy world in my head where I could be myself and never be rejected. Duran Duran were my “boyfriends” before any boy knew I existed, outside of being that weird girl in class. It was WAY safer than dealing with actual, real-life boys.

That was all fine and good until videos came along (so basically, it wasn’t long before my dreams were crushed). In the videos, as we all know, there were models. From Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, to Girls on Film, The Chauffeur, and so on. Sure, I fawned over Roger, Nick, Simon and John. (no, I didn’t fawn over Andy. I just loved his guitar playing.) It was just very hard not to notice the girls. The women, I should say. I would sit and watch those videos, and somehow, I gleaned the message of “You’re not worthy”. The only women this band (or any band for that matter) would ever be interested in, would be supermodels or similar. l was never one of those teens that thought the women were being exploited. I didn’t think of Duran Duran as misogynists or sexist. Instead, I saw that they were attracted to women who were thin, beautiful and perfect, and I was, well, not any of the above.

At the time, seeing any of them date models, and of course Simon marrying one, did absolutely nothing to squash the feeling I had in my belly. People like me did not end up with men of their dreams. They settled for what they could get. Rockstars were ABLE to date models. Models were practically expected to date, and marry, rockstars. Girls like me were lucky to be paid attention. I was average, and maybe a bit below that given that I was a clarinet player in my high school marching band and a good student. Smart? Sure. Beautiful? Don’t make me laugh. On any given day I would think about the women in Duran Duran videos, and know that I was pretty much the polar opposite in every way.

As an adult, I think I still struggle with the same messaging. Let’s be honest, everywhere we – then teenage girls – looked in the 80s, there were leather mini-skirt clad girls, rolling around on cars or models of perfection in every single music video around. I don’t think I ever said the words “I’m nothing like them” to my friends back in the day—we didn’t discuss such things—but I know I felt them. I said the words to myself all the time. We grew up with the images of what we were supposed to aspire to look like all around us. I don’t think I ever got past it. It isn’t entirely a surprise when I still feel less-than. I think the difference now, is that I feel that way even with fellow fans.

I’ll be fine at a show, and I might even feel good about myself. But then, I’ll see something that immediately drags me back to how I felt in front of the television the first time I saw Hungry Like the Wolf. Maybe I’ll see the high-heeled glamour girls running after a band member who immediately turns and gives them his undivided attention for a photo. They giggle with glee and pose flirtatiously. I might try to tell myself that the women are trying too hard, or that they are “so sad” for chasing after the band member, but the TRUTH is—I immediately put myself back in the box marked “Not good enough”, and that’s without a single person saying a word to me. I inevitably want the floor to swallow me whole, because I know I don’t fit in. I don’t approach band members because, unlike posters on my wall, the guy in front of me is real, and the last thing I want is to be rejected. (and trust me, these days I’m not asking for anything more than a “hello!”) The fantasy is safer. I don’t have to worry about not being a model, or not being perfect.

I don’t actually blame Duran Duran here, although it likely seems that way. I just wanted to write about how messaging affected a woman – then a teenager – like me. They didn’t do anything different from anyone else back then, though. It just happens that the messaging from this band affected me most. I still adore them though, and quite frankly – I married the right guy anyway. Duran Duran, videos, and models go together. I never quite got why it was so important for them to prove—to a predominantly female audience—that they were worthy of the attention of females. We kind of already knew that, didn’t we? I mean…didn’t we?? I’ve had male fans say “Well, they were men. Of course they wanted models in their videos!” Yes, that does make sense. Except, that back in the 80s, it wasn’t men or even boys watching most of the time. It was girls, like me. Some of us not only watched Simon, John, Nick and Simon, but also paid attention to what was being communicated, too.

-R

Fandom Status: It’s Complicated

Jason’s blog yesterday, which you can read here, has kept me thinking. In it, he brings up the lyrics to “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and wonders about their context in today’s world.

I too, have thought about some of the lyrical content over the years, and not just of this band, but many others. I’ve admitted to listening to my fair share of hair bands over the years, and just one look at their lyrics or videos will tell you that women were often objectified across that particular genre. Yet, I managed to somehow ignore all of that in order to enjoy the music.

I think that brings up a subject worthy of discussion. So many people I know these days take stands and speak out on many issues. Politics, social (in)justices, and even religion. Often, I wonder how they are able to put that aside, or even if they put their feelings aside for music.

For example, what if you’re atheist and a band you’ve heard on the radio and have casually taken an interest in turns out to be Christian? Is that enough to drive you away? How about vice-versa – you’re Christian and the band has atheist members – as I know that to be the case with Duran Duran. What then?

What about if that band has political stances that do not align with yours, and they are comfortable speaking out? Would that make you uncomfortable, as I know has happened with some Duran Duran fans in the past. Is it really enough to force someone to turn away?

Then there are the gender issues. Duran Duran has their Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella, and yes – Hungry Like the Wolf – among others. How do fans reconcile those songs, lyrics, and videos, without compromising their own ideals? Obviously it must be able to be done, but how?

I’ve always felt that for the most part, music isn’t an area where *I* am willing to apply purity tests. My life and my belief system just isn’t quite that black and white. For example, I’m Christian, although I am pretty darn open-minded about it, and very respectful that my beliefs aren’t the answer for everyone. My best friend happens to be atheist, yet that’s never, ever been an issue for me. I respect her thinking. Very much so, in fact. We all find our own way, and in my case, I admit that I make it up as I go along! Don’t we all? I am similar about most social issues in that respect, and as I type, I’m not exactly sure where my own “do-not-cross-this-line” boundaries sit, with regard to music, that is.

Even so, other people do complain about the band’s past lyrics, or even their offstage behavior. I’ve seen many folks comment on past antics, getting so angry, and so offended, yet they’re still fans and show up religiously at every show. You can only scream and yell so loudly about your mistreatment when you turn right around and show up again, and again, and again, you know? It starts to seem strange after that. There is so much out there that could potentially affront, if not totally offend. Yet this band, and many others, have millions of fans, plenty of whom apparently see past the glaring, wild, and flagrant offenses, to still love Duran Duran.

Maybe we all should just mark the “Are you in a fandom” box with “It’s complicated”. We’re all human, and we all say and do things. Shit happens…Sex, drugs and rock and roll…Love is Love… and my favorite that I’ve only made up in this very moment, “I don’t know where my boundaries are until I run into them.” Fandom isn’t only complicated, it is downright messy.

This, by the way, is not a direct reflection on Jason’s blog post from yesterday. I am not finding fault with him in pointing out that lyrical context has somehow changed between 1980-something and today. He is absolutely right. Different things were seen as “okay” then. I appreciate his effort in pointing it out. (I also appreciate Lyrica Hall’s response that the lyrics directly say “Woman you want me, give me a sign”. Good point!! With that thinking, I have to ask, whom is really hunting whom?)

Not all lyrics stand up to the test of time, nor do all videos. Does that mean we should go back and not-quite-literally “burn” everything that doesn’t meet the social standards of today? How do you feel?

-R

Do You Know What It’s Like To Be Hunted?

Woman, you want me, give me a sign

And catch my breathing even closer behind

“Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make peace with the narrator of “Save A Prayer” and what his intents were (you can read it here). In the discussion of that, someone on Twitter (@_editionsofme) made a good point about “Hungry Like the Wolf” being more troubling for a lot of listeners from a lyrical perspective. It is true and something that stayed in my head. It was still percolating in my brain when I realized that another band I follow had already written the perfect response to the song.

Cowboy Junkies first released “Hunted” in 1992 and it has since grown into a high-point of their live shows with one of the most blistering mandolin solos ever heard (I’m serious!). Inspired by true events, the lyrics outline the many different ways women are forced to navigate a world where men are hungry like the wolf. The lyrics and video are below if you care to dive in. The way vocalist Margo sings it today is nothing short of fierce. She sings the line “to go visit their father” with such disgust that it tells us that many of her female friends probably married the wrong misguided angel (“Misguided Angel” being one of their biggest hits if you don’t dabble in the alt-country scene).

Where does that leave “Hungry Like the Wolf”? Fair question. It’s an undeniably memorable song with some troubling overtones – not an uncommon artifact in the pantheon of rock-n-roll. The band certainly didn’t write it with poor intent but it does reflect how they, and most of us, were taught gender. Perhaps, it’s important that we keep the song alive within popular culture as an example of how an innocent hit song can offer a deeper, more important insight into the issues of our society. More importantly, we need to amplify the songs that aren’t hits as they are often the ones that can teach us the most. As a male, finding songs like “Hunted” and “Me & a Gun” by Tori Amos in the early 1990s helped shape my worldview far more than “Hungry Like the Wolf” and I am grateful for that. So, do you know what it’s like to be hunted?

Emma's in a part of town
where she doesn't recognize the streets
named for famous native sons
and out of every crevice comes creeping
a threat in her direction
Lucy's outside her home
heading towards her corner store
she stays on well-travelled paths
and is always making sure
that she doesn't develop patterns

There are trap lines
running up and down Main Street
wire snares thirsting for your neck and feet

Susan doesn't like the way her curtains
are blowing in the wind
She swears she locked that window
before she went out dancing
she stands frozen in her doorway
Judy hears a sound coming from the other room
she knows she should be alone
'cause the kids left at noon
to go visit their father

Quick to your phone dial 911
invite a strange man into your home
who'll be carrying a gun

Leslie's working late
she's got a deadline to meet
In walks her boss,
upon her desk he puts his feet
and says alone at last
Reanne's got a new boyfriend
and they're getting along
until he locks the door and says don't struggle,
I'm stronger than you are.

Just one question I'm dying to ask, you said,
do you know what it's like to be hunted?
Cowboy Junkies – “Hunted”

There’s a Camera Rolling

Did you hear? DDHQ is gearing up to switch out the LOOKBOOK on their official merchandise site and wants to include fans!

Yesterday, this was posted on their official instagram:

COMPETITION TIME ! This Summer we are updating the DD Store Lookbook and we want YOU to be a part of it. If you want the chance of not only featuring in it, but receiving a £50 gift voucher to be spent in our store, follow the steps below: 
1) Take a picture of you and/or friend(s) or family member(s) wearing, using or displaying one of your favourite pieces of Duran Duran merchandise.
Upload the picture to Instagram (Note: please save the original full sized image, as we will require these from the winners) 
2) Tag @duranduran and use the hashtag #DDlookbook2020…include a brief background to the shot if applicable

There were some questions that I’ll try to answer here in case you missed the posting.

  • Some asked if it had to be official merchandise, and the answer was no – do what you do!
  • The same goes for homemade items!
  • The merchandise does not have to be brand new (as in it doesn’t have to be from the newest line)
  • The pictures can be old or new

The thing is, there were a few people that became immediately annoyed by the idea of wearing merchandise because it insinuates that one has the $40+ to buy said merchandise. I’d just like to point out that DDHQ made sure to say you could wear whatever, it should just be Duran Duran. This opens the door for anyone who desires to participate.

This seems like a very cool contest to be a part of, and I might even scan through my pictures to see if I’ve got anything worthy of sending in. I’d love to see fans participate and become part of this year’s Lookbook.

The last time they put one together, the pictures used were mainly of young people – children and friends of people on the DD team. While the pictures were good, many felt that they weren’t fairly representative of the people who support the band – the fans. I was actually one of those people who spoke out. My thoughts were simply that merchandise is usually bought by fans, so why wouldn’t fans be the ones in the photos – or at the very least – people who are in our broad age range?? Granted, I didn’t mind the kids in the pictures. They were cute, and I get it. I just thought that maybe it would be a great way to engage fans if they included us. And here we are.

(so yes, I’ll be digging through my pictures to send something in, even though I am pretty certain my photo will end up as the lining to a birdcage or similar!)

Here’s our chance to represent the band, and I hope that many will take the time to follow through. Can’t complain if we’re not willing to participate when asked, right??

Have fun!!

-R

Everything I Know About Fan Communities, I Learned From Watching My Chickens!

Raising babies!

Last year, I became a chicken mama with my first flock of hens along with one, very flamboyant, very-serious-about-his-business, rooster. My first flock is very tight-knit with a real pecking order that becomes very apparent if one spends any time watching them, which I do. Our goal was to expand our chicken population to twenty-four laying hens so that I could begin to sell eggs at a farm stand up at the top of our property. I know that sounds so…rural. It is. It’s nearly the opposite of what Duran Duran is, I suppose. Welcome to my life!

So, this past spring, I’ve gotten two sets of chicks in between the lockdowns, mask-wearing and store closures. I had one first set of eight chicks in the brooder that you can see below; and then later, another five were raised from teeny tiny babies to become hooligans that needed more room.

I swear there’s a point to this talk of chickens, so stick with me!

Tom rules the roost

As I mentioned before, there is a true pecking order in a flock. We call it a “pecking” order because that is exactly how the social hierarchy of a flock is determined. There’s some pecking, and hopefully not a lot of bloodshed, before it is determined which hen is at the top, and bottom. (did I mention that chickens are cannibalistic??) When new chickens are introduced – including when our rooster, Tom came to live with us (pic below) – it throws the pecking order out of balance and it shakes things up a bit.

This is Tom, our Silkie rooster. He might look pretty, but he rules the roost with a firm beak!!

Tom (I call him Tom-Tom) is at the top of the pecking order now. For a long time, he was not – but he’s made it very clear to a few of the hens that he’s not putting up with their BS. His relationship to the flock is different though because he’s the only male. The girls may not listen to him much, but they don’t challenge his position either. They accept that he’s there, and in some ways, he is their King.

Integration

Meanwhile, back to those chicks. The first set of eight chicks quickly grew out of the brooder and were moved to the halfway house at around eight weeks. Then the second set were moved out, and the first was integrated into the flock. Yesterday, we allowed the same of the second set of chicks.

None of this has gone smoothly. Many of the older hens were not, and are still not, enamored by the younger chicks. In fact, the youngsters were told, in no uncertain terms, that they were not welcome to drink from the larger waterer. They were not allowed to eat at the same time the big girls ate, and they were absolutely not allowed anywhere near their roosting area (where they sleep at night). For the most part, the older hens want nothing to do with the new inhabitants of the coop.

Lately, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time watching the flock figure it all out – the fact is, we’ve got one coop, and they are going to have to learn how to get along. We’ve added more roosting areas, expanded the egg-laying boxes, put out more waterers and feeders, but the rest is up to the girls. The process has been fascinating.

The pecking order

First of all, it isn’t ever the hens at the top of the pecking order that fight for position. In fact, it appears to me as though they couldn’t care less about who joins the flock. They know where they belong, they know they’re among Tom’s favorites, and so they have no reason to be mean to the chicks. I wouldn’t say they’re overly friendly and hanging out with the younger girls, but they’re not pulling tail feathers out of them, either. The newer chickens seem to understand that these girls are way above them on the pecking order, and they never go after them to assert themselves, either. It is as though they’re just too powerful to be challenged.

The hens in the middle of the pecking order are actually friendly with the new ones. They’ve stayed on the run (the fenced-in, secure yard set up for the chickens so that they’re safe from predators) with the younger ones, they eat with them, and seem fairly happy to have new friends around. However, when it comes down to it, they won’t defend the newbies, either, though. That might upset their own position in the hierarchy. So while they’re nice to the new chickens, if some other hen wants to rip their tail feathers out or peck them, they’re not going to stick their own neck out to defend them.

Tom-Tom is an interesting wrench thrown in the mix. He’s our only male, the only rooster in the flock. At night, he used to plop himself right in front of the door leading from the coop to the run so that way if someone dared to break into the run, he’d be the first line of defense for his hens. Tom-Tom would lay down his own life to save the girls. Chivalry is not dead in the poultry world. However, after the first set of chicks were introduced to the flock, Tom moved from sitting in front of the door at night to being up on the roost with his favorites. Literally, he sits in between Nugget – a Buff Orpington, and Lucy – a Barred Rock, which are his girls (or sex slaves, as I like to call them, for obvious reasons). Clearly, either Tom has decided on his own that the new girls (who aren’t of the age where they’re laying yet, meaning they’re not mature enough to mate, either) aren’t his problem, or the existing flock has told Tom that the new girls aren’t his problem. Either way, it’s a noticeable change.

That bottom rung

However, the real problem lies at the bottom of the pecking order. These hens are fighting to keep their position. They see the newcomers as a threat, or a potential opportunity to prove they ‘re not at the bottom of the heap, so to speak. So, they beat the crap out of the younger ones. Oddly, at this point, it is the middle set of chickens – the Gang of Eight, as I call them – at the bottom of the pile. They get beat up on more often than the youngest chicks, and as a result they stay in the coop and keep to themselves. The younger ones have been pecked and had feathers pulled, but they’re standing their ground quite nicely. They hang out with the rest of the flock, even though they are only about eleven weeks old and much smaller than the rest (The Gang of Eight are about fifteen weeks old now, in contrast).

Check out those weapons, sister

What has been so interesting to me about this “social experiment” amongst the poultry-sect, is how completely similar they are to humans …and this fan community in particular. While there might not be bloodshed, there have certainly been plenty of squabbles between fans over the years. The scenarios I’ve shared between hens aren’t much different from what I’ve seen take place at shows! Amanda and I have spent several years watching the way the social hierarchy of this fan community is developed, maintained, and sometimes challenged. Who knew that everything I needed to know about fan communities I could have learned from watching my hens?!?

-R

The One Constant

A week back or so, I mentioned that I’ve come to the realization lately that the one constant I’ve had in this fandom is the object of interest itself. (Hint: that’d be the band.) I also said that the subject deserved its own post.

Today is the day for that post. Welcome.

So many of us have been around, circulating within the walls of the fan community like electrons around a nucleus, for decades now. We bounce into one another, sometimes creating a violent reaction as we’re jostled about, vying for some sort of attention and space. For others, it’s more symbiotic. Friendships are sometimes coaxed and cultivated, sometimes lasting for several album cycles. Other times, they end in fiery outbursts. Still others fade away in silence over time. I’ve seen a good many people come and go within this community. The general population, or circle of “known” Duranies that I find at any given concert I attend seems to change with each new tour. Sure, some of that is due to what shows I go to, but even in the semi-regularly attended major cities – the group of active Duran fans is a constantly moving kaleidoscope of faces.

My own circle of friendships seems to keep evolving. People don’t stick around forever, I guess. When times get tough, life changes, or they grow tired of following a band – people leave. Maybe they don’t set out to distance themselves from friends, but inevitably that seems to happen. While Amanda and I have stayed close, I can name ten or more friends just off the top of my head that were once huge fans, and dear friends of mine, that I barely exchange words with now – not out of anger, but just because the friendship ran its course. Things happen, and interests change.

The one thing that stays constant in the fan community is of course, Duran Duran. Of course, if I were being fair—and I’m trying—I’d say that not even the band is exactly the same. In 1980, it was obviously a very different Duran Duran. 40 years changes someone a bit, you know? Members have left, been replaced, come back, left again, other replacements have come and gone, and that’s not even mentioning the music itself. There have been at least a few times where I’ve had to sit back and ask myself, “But do you still like the band?

So many times, I’ve written words here on the site about how the band is the backdrop to the friendships and social interaction I find on tour. I’ve said that while the music brought me to this community, it is the people IN the community that keep me active. As I sit back and contemplate at least the past 20 years that I’ve been active in the fan community, I don’t know that I still completely buy into that narrative.

The one constant I have with this fandom IS the band. Yes, I’ve made friends along the way. That is like the cherry on top for me, but if the music wasn’t as engaging, would I still write Daily Duranie? Tour? Watch videos of John talking about bass lines and music? Read Ask Katy? Click on links to watch Roger discuss his Desert Island Picks? Listen to Simon’s Whoosh Radio? (Maybe that, I would.)

The music tends to keep me here, even if I don’t automatically love everything the band does. The people—from Simon, John, Roger and Nick right on down to the last person who followed Daily Duranie on Twitter, are what continue to make it fun.

-R

The Encores Club – Premiere

Tomorrow, the first episode of The Encores Club will go live! Will there be a red carpet massacre at the premiere party? Let’s hope not. As Rhonda said earlier this week, the idea behind the show is to share new music with “experienced” music fans who might be too busy to search for what they love amongst the unlimited racks of records that streaming and the digital age provides.

If you love Duran Duran, some of the albums we cover will tickle your fancy but a lot won’t. The idea is to share music from all genres that connect with us on some level. Our guests will come from (roughly) the same age range as Rhonda and myself so there is a shared experience in music that we build from. If you grew up loving 80s music and watching MTV, there is a good chance you’ll find something to listen to each month.

You will recognize some names and faces throughout the series with David O. (from the D-Side) and Amanda (from right here) joining us on episodes. Each month, we hope to invite more music fans on the show and explore music we might not otherwise hear. Tune in and let us know what you think at @encoresclub on Twitter.

The Encores Club – Episode 1

Quality Over Quantity: Fan Engagement

I don’t know how many people actually saw it, but John had a surprise for us over the weekend. Not quite satisfied with the birthday message he’d videoed for all to see, he “couldn’t resist” taking to Instagram live for a bit on Saturday.

I wasn’t around during the time he was actually “live”, but somehow I stumbled upon it later and was able to watch. While there were obviously sound problems (his sound went in and out during some of the most inopportune moments – so we’d only hear part of his answer to questions that fans were asking), it was really fun seeing him take to Instagram completely on his own that day.

I remember the days when John was on Twitter. He seemed to really take to the platform and would often get online for a few minutes at a time, navigating through a barrage of questions. Somewhat abruptly, he quit Twitter, and we didn’t really see or hear much from him again on any social media. Until recently, that is. It began with a Twitter Q&A, which – in my own opinion, was a nightmare. It has nothing to do with John, per se, but with fans themselves.

Any time the band gets on to Twitter, or anywhere that fans can directly engage – it’s a shit show of epic proportion. Yes, I said that. Truth be told, I find those moments oddly entertaining every once in a while, primarily because I’m not the one on the firing line. I’m in the peanut gallery, watching, making my own comments, and quite frankly – frolicking amongst the insanity.

My thinking is, I’m never going to get a single word in edgewise anyway, so best not to take any of it seriously. When the band started doing the Q&A’s at the beginning of the pandemic, I had some weird sense of hope that it wouldn’t turn into a free-for-all. As soon as the band announced that they’d take questions, it became a game of “How many times can the same person post the same question over and over again? Or “How many ‘I love you’ tweets can one band member receive?? It was utter lunacy. Hate is a strong word, and yet I showed up week after week anyway, so I’ll just say I disliked the exercise. Very much. Watching the Q&A’s was not really joyful, although I tried to find humor in them, and I can’t imagine there was a lot of joy in being the main participant, either. I’d commented to Amanda that all I really wanted was to be able to see and hear the band talk about something other than the new album, where they’d tour, how they were feeling, who they should say “hello” to…etc. etc, and not be interrupted for a change.

I don’t know if the band sensed the disquiet, were just looking for a way to engage without having to engage, or wanted some sort of creative outlet to pass their own time in lockdown. Chances are, it was all of it. Next thing I knew, Simon was doing his radio show with Katy, and John was offering his Stone Love Bass Odyssey chats on Instagram…and then the Q&A’s to follow. My jubilant cries could be seen all over Twitter in one form or another. This was what I’d been wanting all along.

Never did I think though…okay, I can’t really say “never” because I’m pretty sure John would occasionally hop on the DD Instagram to post a photo, or maybe even help Gela with her own…but I can’t swear to it…but I just didn’t see John wanting to do his own live Q&A thing. With fans. Even after Twitter?

Regardless, on Saturday when I saw he’d gone “live”, particularly at what seemed like a spur of the moment thing, I clapped. Yes, I’d missed the entire thing. I didn’t care about that part of it – that wasn’t the point. I mean, from my own point of view, John never minded chatting with fans on the internet. I don’t think he quit Twitter because of fans. As he says, he’s been a fan himself, and in turn I’ve appreciated how aware he is to the whole fan/idol debacle. On Saturday, he took questions and seemed very happy to be doing it, not at all like he was shackled to the computer, or some other form of torture treatment. I couldn’t see how many people had tuned in live, or how many questions were being hurled his way, but it seemed to go really well despite the obvious audio problems.

I’m not sure if I’m the only fan out there that feels this way, but the issue of quality versus quantity rings especially true. It isn’t the individualized milliseconds of “HiJohnI’mYourBiggestFanCanWePleaseTakeAPhotoRightNow” that I need while the band is on tour, or when I see them out and about. In fact, I’m a whole lot less likely to even approach them than most people, I think. I appreciate the other things, like when they take time out of their own day to do these shows (whether or not they have comments on!), or when they take the time to deconstruct the music and explain the evolution of their part, or whatever else they can come up with, for that matter. I don’t need to know when the next album is coming out, what the titles are, or much of anything about it right now, to be honest. I just like getting past all of that typical stuff and talking about things that matter. The music matters – it’s what got me here to begin with!

Maybe I’m just weird.

-R

A Little More Stone Love Bass Odyssey

Yesterday, I watched the final installment of John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey on Instagram. I didn’t realize it was the final one until I noticed some comments lamenting it being “the end” and how sad they were. I’m almost glad I didn’t know at the time, because I just enjoyed watching John break down the structure of A View to a Kill. For that short ten-minute span, I didn’t worry about anything else. I didn’t let anything else enter my mind, and concentrated on the music. It was glorious.

Life has been rough for all of us lately. Having these little glimpses into the creative process, completely with all of the music geekery, have really made my week more fun, and I hope they’ve done the same for many of you out there. Judging purely from the number of views John’s breakdown sessions have gotten, I’d say they’ve done their job well. It’s difficult to imagine that John has taken the time to do these for the past six weeks!

If his Bass Odyssey’s weren’t enough, yesterday brought another special treat as he spent an hour chatting with none other than Roger Taylor, also on Instagram. These little chat sessions have been so great, primarily because rather than focus on questions or comments from the viewers, it’s been about the conversation.

I know that at least a few people have mentioned being disappointed by that. I felt the opposite. Watching John and Roger speak casually was probably the closest I’ll get to being a fly on the wall. In every case, I felt like it was an intimate and friendly chat between friends. Twitter Q&A’s certainly never afforded that kind of setting. I found that without the constant commenting, I focused far more on what they were saying and less so on the barrage of “I love you’s”. In fact, during the moments John did turn on comments, there were a couple of times I found myself typing in something to say, which in hindsight kind of ruined the moment (for me). I guess what I’m saying is that in my opinion, the positive engagement came from listening to him speak with his guest, not because I was able to make a comment and send it. It isn’t as though he’s ever able to read or respond to anyone, or at least not many.

Before I sign off, I’d like to acknowledge something – Daily Duranie is a blog. It isn’t a news site. This website has everything to do with Amanda and I, and now Jason too. We give a part of ourselves to this collective effort each week. It is personal in that Amanda, Jason and I are not journalists on this site, nor have we ever suggested otherwise. The reason why our blog has drawn attention – aside from the obvious topic at hand – is because when we’ve written, we’ve been able to inject our own voice, and our own life experiences. That makes it unusual from most other sites out there, and I’m proud of that. If you are looking for straight music journalism, this isn’t the place to get it. There are a variety of sources out there for impersonal articles that do their job remarkably well. When we write or even record a review of a Duran Duran song and post it, don’t kid yourselves – we are perfectly aware of our bias. We write from our own perspective and have done so for nearly a decade now. It is a shame that the focus isn’t on the good things each site provides to the fan community at large without taking cheap shots at one another. Is there really a point to that?

So often we fans like to engage in some sort of sick purity test as a way to create a hierarchal society. It is done on social media, but I’ve seen it discussed in person at concerts just as often. Topics such as “Who is the best fan? Which of us are the “most serious fans” Who is a fan because they like the music – which means they’re a real fan, and which of us are here because they’re after the “ultimate” autograph?” get thrown about online, whether blatant or through vaguely worded exchanges. Don’t you ever get tired of it? I sure do. We’re all here because we want to be. After nearly ten years of writing this blog, I just don’t know why it really needs to be anything more than that.

-R