Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sets You on a Path: The Reunion

Today is easily one of my favorite dates to celebrate. On August 29th of the year 2000, Simon and Nick visited John at his house in Los Angeles.

What could they possibly have talked about?

Getting the band back together!! The reunion they said would never happen….

That’s right. It all began with a chat around the pool. (well, that’s how I picture it in my head, anyway) And if it weren’t for that day, and the reunion that followed, seventeen years ago now, none of this – the albums, the touring, the message boards, DDM, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…and this blog….probably would not have happened.

I just don’t know if I would have kept going to shows. Maybe I would have for a while, but life gets in the way. I know how I am with other bands. If it’s not “easy”, I don’t bother. Would that have become the way with Duran Duran? Probably. After all, I hadn’t gone to very many shows before the reunion, although it was one of their gigs at the House of Blues in Anaheim that really got me back into the band, and that was before the reunion was announced. Even so, I’m not sure that I would have been inspired to keep reading message boards or meet people had the reunion not been announced. I don’t know that I would have gotten involved with planning a convention, or that I’d have ever met Amanda as a result.

It’s wild to consider that just one conversation at someone’s house changed everything. But it did.  And while the reunion may have been one fleeting moment in my life, I’m grateful. And happier. I found a part of myself I’d been missing. That “something” wasn’t really Duran Duran. They were just the catalyst to get me looking for it, and I’m thankful. I really am.

This silly band. They don’t know me much beyond the words I write here and my face in their audience. Yet, in some odd way, I will always feel as though my life is weirdly entwined with their professional one. One day in August of 2000 set me on a path, and while yes I’m nearly quoting “What are the Chances”….it is incredibly fitting.

So while I head off to work today – I’ll be thinking about that band a little. It’s a good day.

-R

As If I Don’t Recall: Tony Hadley and other vocalists

My weekend adventures included a concert in Palm Springs on Saturday night. Held at the now-familiar Agua Caliente Resort and Casino, the Lost80s concert was a lot of fun and featured artists such as TransX, Pretty Poison, The Flirts, Cutting Crew, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung, Berlin and Tony Hadley (Formerly of Spandau Ballet).  It was a lot of fun, and I’m going to take a look at the entire show tomorrow.  Today though, I am going to focus on Tony Hadley, and if you are wondering why I would spend an entire Daily Duranie blog on someone other than Duran Duran, keep reading.

In full disclosure, I am a Spandau fan. Like thousands of others, when Spandau Ballet toured here in 2015, I rejoiced and my dream of seeing them finally came true. The shows were packed with energy and the kinds of moments between band members and audience that seemed to indicate they’d be back again, and soon. My hopes were dashed earlier this summer when Tony Hadley announced that he would not be returning to the band. There were more than enough insinuations and bad energy passed between band members to indicate the decision to announce such news did not come easily. Hurt feelings seemed to be shared all around, and many fans chose sides. For my part, I just wanted to see what Tony would be like without Spandau Ballet.

With that in mind, I went into Saturday night’s show without a lot of expectation. I didn’t know what it would be like, but like many – Tony’s voice is what I associate with Spandau Ballet. How different could the performance really be?  I see the same sorts of discussion take place with Duran Duran. So many people say that the band could continue on, replacing any member, with the exception of Simon. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever bought into that line of thinking myself, but I kept an open mind.

Tony Hadley was the headliner, and took the stage in much the same way he might when performing with Spandau. His backing band were excellent musicians, and Tony launched into “Only When You Leave”. The audience was about the same age range as a Spandau audience, and many didn’t stand right away. I was one of the few in my section standing (off to the far left in section 104, but my seats were still fantastic). The main difference I noticed right away was that the music was subdued rather than punchy, spirited and powerful the way it is with Spandau. The arrangement was such that Tony’s vocals took complete center stage. The music we are all familiar with was still there, but it wasn’t quite the same. Nowhere was this more obvious in his set than when the session guitarist – a hired “gun” in the same vein as Dom Brown for Duran Duran – played the sax solo in Gold. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite right. It all felt muted, and while Tony still has absolutely incredibly smooth vocals, the performance just fell a little, ever-so-slightly, flat.

He had a group of admirers off to the right side of the stage that were completely enthused, but to be honest, for being the headliner – most people stayed seated. The people in back of me were hardcore Spandau fans, and they commented on how flat his performance was. Yes, he is the voice, and he was singing the same songs and words, but the spark that made a Spandau performance unique just wasn’t there. Sometimes, it really is the sum of ALL the parts that is what makes something special.  I still stood for him, because I could see he was struggling to make a connection with the audience, and because I still enjoy him, Spandau Ballet or not.

I loved seeing Tony sing. He is a powerful singer with the same sort of charisma as Sinatra or any of the greats. I wouldn’t dare take that away from him. That said, somehow, he’s even a little more sparkling and powerful when he’s up on stage with the band who wrote the songs he is singing. There’s something special there that happens, and no matter the excellence of the musicians in his band (and nobody is denying their talent or expertise), they can’t recreate Spandau Ballet. But, maybe that really the point.

For whatever the reason, Tony Hadley wants to go out on his own. He didn’t want to continue being 1/5 of a band, he wanted to be solo with a backing band. It would be unreasonable to go to a show and expect the music to be exactly the same. It may sound similar, in the same way that Duran Duran’s music might sound familiar without Simon singing. Not the same. Not even close. Our expectations as listeners, and as fans, must change. His show was still fantastic, Tony Hadley is still incredibly talented, and he has the right to go it alone. I need to change my expectations.

I am 100% sure that the debate and discussion over what element(s) of Duran Duran are irreplaceable will continue. People love to point out that the guitarist and even the bassist (and drummer, I might add) have been replaced more than once, while Simon and Nick (oops…never mind…) have never been, thus that somehow equates to his voice been the irreplaceable element that makes Duran Duran.

Well, in my opinion, none of them are replaceable. It isn’t just about the music. You can put a piece of sheet music in front of any professional musician and they can play it. But can they put heart and soul into it? That’s a very different problem. The emotion does not always come easily, and it isn’t always natural. What about the onstage chemistry and camaraderie? Does any of that matter?  If you’ve seen Duran Duran live, you know that it does. The relationships on stage are easily as important as the music itself, and while I’ve seen several different lineups over the years, some just seem far more family-like and important than others. We all have our favorites, and while mine may not match yours, they all matter. It is difficult to recreate that atmosphere and love with just anyone. And that’s why I couldn’t ever choose what person, what element, is most important.  They all are.

-R

 

Rise Above the Sorrow

Five years ago today, Duran Duran played in Biloxi, Mississippi as part of the final leg of the All You Need Is Now tour.  This show was pretty monumental for Rhonda and myself as it was the first time we ever had front row.  We had traveled to the city the night before so that we could hang out with Duranies and have a chance to line up early on the day of the show.  We arrived around 7 and were, indeed, able to secure a spot in front.  Anyone who read the blogs from then saw that our first front row did not go as planned.  No, we kinda stood there, shell-shocked, unable to really respond.  I remember attempting to process the show afterwards over drinks.  I had a lot of reasons that night for why I was so lame during the show but I suspect that I left out the real reason.

The summer of 2012 was a tough one for me.  I had spent months busting my ass to try and get my state’s governor to lose a special, recall election.  I’m sure that some of you stopped reading at that line.  After all, that is only politics and this blog about being a Duran fan.  Humor me, though, and keep reading.  Yes, it was about politics, but it was personal to me.  I won’t go into all the reasons for this but I think that anyone who has ever failed at something that really meant something to them understands my distress that summer.  On top of that, I already had experienced much stress related to this governor and feared the future.  Yet, I had hope that Duran and our little tour around the Southeast would help with my mood.  In fact, I was so determined in this that I pushed for having pre-show meet ups before each concert.  I wanted to dive into some other task.  Then, I could forget my fear and failure.

Did my plan work?  I have already mentioned that the Biloxi show was a failure, in terms of how we responded at the show.  We did better for the rest of our shows, but I never really felt it.  My distraction didn’t work.  I couldn’t shake it.  I remember after our final show in Virginia about how ready I was to go visit my sister and to have the tour be done.  That is not normal.  Rhonda itched to add a show and I didn’t even consider it.  Again, that is not normal.

Now, in 2017, I feel like I’m in a similar headspace due to the political climate.  Again, I was involved in a campaign that lost.  Like five years ago, I fear.  I feel like I get to a spot where I can shake it and then it comes roaring back.  I recognize that this makes me weird.  I get that.  I know that most people don’t feel politics that deeply.  I do.  Maybe it is that history teacher in me that recognizes the drama of current events.  Maybe it is because I have been active in politics.  Perhaps, I worry about my students and their futures.  Whatever the cause, it is a thing with me.

In 2012, I tried to get over the lost by going on tour and failed in my quest.  Looking back, I know that Durham was a great show on paper and that my partner-in-crime loved it but when I think of it I feel an emptiness that I couldn’t get beyond.  This time, in 2017, I have also gone to shows.  I’m sure that part of the reason was exactly as it was in 2012.  I wanted to get over what was bothering me.  I wanted to forget about it.  I needed to experience some joy.  Interestingly enough, the shows I have attended have all been fabulous this year.  I loved each and every one of them.  What was the difference?  I’m not sure.  I guess that is part of the reason that I’m blogging about it today, to try and figure it out.

Were the shows better?  Maybe.  Was I responding differently?  I’m sure.  If I had to determine the difference, I think this time I dove into the shows in a way that I couldn’t let my mind wander.  I also feel like there is more interaction between the band and the crowd.  Maybe that has helped me keep in the game more.  Fandom has been a sanctuary this time for whatever reason.  Perhaps, I just need my fandom differently now.  No matter the reason, I’m thankful that the shows in 2017 that I attended gave me as much joy as they have.  Certainly, Duran Duran has been the sun through a very cloudy world.

-A

For Rumours in the Wake of Such a Lonely Crowd

About those rumors

Wild tales of tour dates, returning band members, and new albums have surfaced from the dank, dark depths of the internet.  I’m already exhausted, and I’ve been back from my own vacation for less than a week.

The new album thing came up today in my twitter feed, actually. Based purely on my past experience as a Duran Duran fan, I feel pretty certain that there’s no “new album” coming next month.  No, I don’t have an official word – are you kidding me? I just know that in all the years I’ve been a fan of this band, they’ve never been on tour and written/recorded an album at the same time and put it out while still technically ON tour. (They’re just taking a break and still have dates to do!) I kind of think that’s almost humanly impossible, and while I have admittedly had high expectations in the past, this is even over my limit. I think it’s really obvious that the original poster is confused with Paper Gods, which by the way, was already released. TWO YEARS AGO.

Amanda already addressed one of the other more rampant rumors – the return of Andy Taylor for the 40th Anniversary.  Everybody loves chatting about Andy and Warren, and about what guitar player is their personal favorite.  That debate will never go away, and as someone reminded me the other day – you know you’ve made your mark on the world when you can be out of a band for a decade and still be the talk of the fan community.  I’m not sure if that’s a win, but I suppose if you’re in the PR industry, maybe so!

The one thing that boggles my mind, is that no one seems to pay any attention to the fact that the guitar player we already DO have can and does read social media, as can the other two. Sure, say what you will about his being a hired gun, or that the other two don’t care and it comes with the territory. The brunt of rumor and discussion doesn’t just affect fans. These guitar players are real people, and this “job” is their career.  Sometimes, I think we fans forget that. I know that I do. Many fans feel that the band should have a thick skin by now, and it’s not a problem if they read that you think they suck, or that they completely destroy a guitar solo, or that you think there is only one guitar player for Duran Duran and that’s Andy….or even that the only guy we want onstage is Dom, or that we can’t stand Warren’s ego and refuse to have him back. I’m just not sure that any of that is right or fair to be saying, even when I’ve been the one to say it. So I’m trying my best to be fair. It isn’t easy. I have opinions and a favorite person like everyone else, but I also have to respect those that came before. It took all three: Andy, Warren and Dom, to keep Duran Duran afloat. I’m going to try not to forget that as we move forward. I don’t mind the discussion because we’re a blog and it is what we do, but I’m also a little surprised that the rumors (and that’s all they are at this point) have taken off so quickly. Out of all the debates in the community, this is truly the firestorm. I’m kind of glad I’m not one of the past or present guitar players for this band, that’s all I’m saying.

About that post-tour depression thing

I saw the band last on July 8th. On one hand, It feels like it could have been last week, and on another it feels like it has already been six months. Amanda and I have been tweeting with another friend of ours saying that this post-Duran Duran tour depression (it is a real thing!) has been much harder than normal. I’m in a funk, and naturally it’s because I don’t know that any other dates or new music or anything like that is coming….soon.  Sure, the 40th anniversary is coming up, but we don’t know when/how/why/what, and that makes it all sort of enigmatic and ambiguous rather than having a certain something to calendar and look forward to. I’m not suggesting the band fix that by making announcements they’re not ready to make, but life as a fan is just hard sometimes. The waiting is not always fun. Social media helps to make me feel a little less disconnected. I’ve enjoyed being around more to tweet and be a general pain in the ass when necessary. You’re welcome. Bet you all are wondering when I go back to my real job… (the answer is soon)

I suppose on another hand…or foot…that a deep post-Duran tour depression is a sign of a very successful tour. I can’t disagree. I had a blast from start to finish. I’m still thinking about how it started for me at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Hollywood and how it ended at the Masonic in San Francisco for me, and I still smile.  I still feel so damn lucky. I mean, I wasn’t even supposed to GO to shows this year. (At least, that is what my husband keeps saying. I don’t really understand his words. Obviously.)  I went to four with my best friend. I saw my favorite person several times. I hung out with dear friends. We went to nightclubs. We drank enough vodka to wake up with Russian accents. We teased Simon and John pretty relentlessly. I heard fantastic music. I cried at least once during a show.  I fell more in love with the band. AND…I was only spit on three out of the four times I was at a show this year. That’s success!!

Simon spitting in SF, the one time he didn't quite douse me.
Can’t hit me, Simon!!! You’re gonna have to really bring it next time!

I’m gonna miss teasing him until they come back….although I will try my best through social media whenever possible, because you know…it’s what I do. Besides, something has to stave off the sadness, dammit!

I’ve really enjoyed seeing pictures from John, Roger, and Simon on the band’s Instagram and Twitter. Simon never ceases to make me laugh, and I smile whenever I see something from John and Roger, too. Even Dom tweets sometimes. I almost think they’ve found a way to engage, and they may have hit on something that just might work for them, which is great. It makes sense too, because Duran Duran has always enjoyed creating a visual experience.  Why not engage through pictures?

So yeah, those rumors drive me crazy sometimes, and other times get me thinking about how I respond. They can be a double-edged sword. The depression, on the other hand, makes me realize that I’m still not “cured” of this fandom. I still care, which is good since Daily Duranie turns seven next month.

Seriously, we’ve been doing this for seven years now? What??? We really are certifiable, Amanda!

-R

Never Take Us Alive feat. Dom Brown

Anyone heard the latest single from Michael Kratz featuring Dom titled “Never Take Us Alive”?

Interestingly enough, we didn’t hear about the single from Dom himself, but instead we caught it “through the grapevine”, and Amanda alerted me while I was…yes again…deep in the forests of Southern Washington. It is a miracle I had cell coverage, but no wi-fi, and unless I wanted to risk life and limb downloading it while using our (VERY!) limited data plan that has to be split between five family members, I had to wait until I got home to download and listen.

I tweeted Dom a few times about this, trying to get him to come out from under his rock (or out of his studio) to share the news of the single, to no avail. Turns out, I think he’s traveling. Having a holiday with family, as if that’s a thing or something. <wink> I did finally see a tweet from him announcing the song on release day, and that was it.

Seems to me he needs a PR person, or at least someone well-versed in social media to help him with this stuff. I know Dom works a lot outside of his Duran Duran touring, and produces for a lot of people. Seems to me he could really publicize far more than he is in order to help make a bigger name for himself…but what do I know? I merely write a daily, very-well read, fan blog that Amanda and I built from the ground up.

Did I mention that I work for cheap? 😀

I digress…

I’m bad with names sometimes, but I couldn’t make a connection to Michael Kratz. So I searched for some basic information. Turns out, Michael Kratz is Danish, and has done session work over the years. He has several albums out in a style called west coast—a style attributed to the coast on which I live in America—and I’ve never heard of it before now.  According to westcoast.dk, it’s a style that emphasizes melody, harmonics and arrangement. When I listen to Michael’s music, I hear heavy 1980s pop with lush electronic backing. It vaguely reminds me of some electronic musicians I’ve seen that tend to play small venues, and it’s usually just themselves and their keyboard set-up, but Michael’s work seems a bit more complex with far more dimension. It’s still very pop compared to anything on our radio these days.

I have a feeling that west coast music is one of those styles that is popular in other parts of the world, unbeknownst to those of us who live here…and so the rest of the world might think everything we listen to here in California sounds that way. Kind of like how most of the country (if not the world) thinks we all surf every day or have lunch with celebrities. Newsflash: we don’t. I haven’t been on a surf board since I was in my late teens, and using the word “on” is exaggerating, if you understand what I mean. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a celebrity anywhere near me, and unless we’re talking Duran Duran….I think Teemu Selanne is the only one I can brag about. His daughter and mine were preschool chums, and my youngest is now nine.

Aside from being puzzled as to why Dom didn’t take full advantage of those of us who would buy nearly anything he’s worked on, I was happy to hear some new music from him. I wasn’t really ready for the full blast back to 1987 or 1988 when I listened to “Never Take Us Alive”, though, I must admit. That took more than one listen to warm up to, and I don’t want to pan Michael (or Dom) for that, it’s the style – and it’s just very different from what I might hear on any of our radio stations in the US right now.  Dom’s guitar cuts right through the melody, adding much-needed “guts and groove”, and he sounds like he’s having a lot of fun playing it too, which I appreciate.

Yes, “Never Take Us Alive”  is about as pop as you can get, reminding me of when I worked at (dating myself here) Millers Outpost (google it – the store was famous for having a denim “wall” in the back of the store and carried Levi’s 501s, an American clothing staple) in 1988. We had a stereo system in the store that played what felt like a revolving track of late 80s pop. Not a single The Cure or Duran Duran song to be heard, with endless hours of Lionel Richie, Steve Winwood, Terence Trent D’Arby (if I ever hear “Wishing Well” again…), Jermaine Stewart, Richard Marx, and so on. You get the idea. I quit working there after three very long months. I wonder why?

Rambling again…this is what happens when someone stays up until after 1am, watching The Killers concert stream from Las Vegas, I suppose. I need coffee.

Regardless, after many listens, I’ve decided the tune is catchy, and I’m starting to find myself humming the tune and knowing some of the words. Dom’s guitar adds exactly the right touch, and I love hearing his groove in the background, adding backbone and structure to a song that I have to admit would be incredibly shallow otherwise. It is worth the $1.29 download just to hear what he’s worked on. Sometimes it is easy to forget that Dom is a very accomplished session guitarist because he’s been with Duran Duran for so long.  I will brag about him to anyone who will listen (or read!) and say that his session playing has improved a hundred-fold since I first started checking him out. I can hear the emotion and enjoyment in his playing, which can be challenging to do as a session player.

I only wish he’d let some of us help him publicize and brag about him a bit more!

-R

Get your copy of Michael Kratz “Never Take Us Alive” on iTunes! Click on the photo to go to iTunes.

Daily Duranie is on the road again!

Here we come!!  Daily Duranie is on the road again for west coast shows 2017!!

In some ways, it seems as though I’ve been holding my breath since March to get this trip started, and in others it feels like the time flew right by!

As you are reading this,  I am frantically throwing clothes into my rolling backpack, trying to figure out how much I can stuff in there because I can’t make my mind up about what to wear. I know that I have at least four pairs of shoes going with me, and thirty-six outfits.

We are going to TWO shows. Just two. Yes, I realize it sounds like I’m packing for the next month (Don’t tempt me. I have my car and I’m not afraid to drive it to Canada, never mind Hawaii…which I still wish I could somehow sneak, but I suspect my family will notice my absence by then)…But we’re also going to be out on the town on Thursday night, and I need choices. LOTS of choices.

I’m also trying to remember everything I need to bring. I can almost guarantee I will forget something vital, because I almost always do. Amanda has her tour binder, which is likely very thin (as opposed to last summer, which was insane), but for today, we have no set plan other than to get food when she lands and probably head north.

I’m trying not to think about how this is the final leg, and that I don’t exactly know when the band will be back after this. I’m trying to think about how I can’t wait to see friends, to see my favorite people, and to hug as many people as I can, until “next time”.  I’m also looking forward to socializing and not worrying about what time it is, or whether or not I should be doing laundry, dishes, or making dinner. I can’t wait to sing, dance and yes, even cheer and scream a little for idols and people I adore.

I won’t think about what comes after that, because at least for the coming days – I’m living in the moment, enjoying the glow from summer shows!

-R

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

So today is my favorite holiday of the year. Yes, it’s a huge cliché. Yep, I run the risk of being labeled “patriotic”, which is apparently a bad thing these days. No, I don’t really care. This isn’t about politics or race, or even American pride, so much (for me). It’s about having fun.

For me, this holiday is all about summer. It is about gathering at my sister-in-law’s house. It is about making some of my favorite homemade dishes to share. It is about pineapple sangria, music, talking and laughing, and yes – fireworks. I LOVE fireworks. Not a big fan of firecrackers, but the aerial fireworks that are done professionally (along with a few fountain type that we light in the street) are my favorite. My son Gavin was born on July 1st in 1999, and I forced my doctor to release me (I had a difficult time of it ) so that I could see the fireworks on the 4th. It was so silly (and stupid of me), but I remember sitting at our local park that night, watching the fireworks and thinking about how I hoped he’d learn to love the holiday as much as I did.  He didn’t. He hates “sharing” his birthday.

This year, it feels more like the opening day to a half-marathon for me, because I begin the day with a parade (my youngest is performing in a 4th of July parade and we had to be up at stupid o’clock to have her there on time), and then tonight I’ve got to finish packing because tomorrow I get to go pick up Amanda from the airport!!  I’m so excited I can barely stand it!  Once Wednesday arrives though, I want time to slow down.

I can’t wait to see her and head north.  I insisted she fly into LAX rather than San Francisco purely so that we could road trip together.  I’m sure there will be video along with tales from the road and so forth – so be on the lookout. I don’t know if she ever figured out Snapchat (I have to work on that myself), and maybe we can even do some sort of Facebook live thing, too).

I hope the band is ready!

Happy 4th of July to our US friends, and to those of you in the UK – happy “getting rid of us” day!  To the rest of the world, happy Tuesday!

-R

Review: The Fangirl Life

I love summer.  It provides me the opportunity to not only work on projects that have been on my to do list but also the time to really digest them.  This spring I read the book, The Fangirl Life, by Kathleen Smith.  As I read it, I remember thinking that I would like to comment about this or that in a blog post, but never had the time to really dive into the book to do so.  Now, I can.  Before I do that, let me provide you with some background info.  The back of the book describes it as a “witty guide to putting your passions to use in your offline life.”  Basically, the idea is to use one’s fandom and passion to help with real life.  The author is indeed a therapist.

While I appreciate psychology and therapy, I didn’t pick up this book in order to fix things in my life.  It interested me as any and all books on fandom do, especially ones focused on female fans.  I wanted to see how female fans were portrayed and what I could learn about fandom through reading the book.  Not surprisingly, I found some parts of the book to be right on and other parts to be questionable.  Before I dive into the book more specifically, I do want to acknowledge that the fandoms discussed were more likely to be TV, movies, comics, etc.  Music fandom was often left out, per usual.

As the book begins, I found myself nodding in agreement about a lot of it as the author describes the fangirl stereotypes like the screaming 14 year olds at pop concerts but explains that the online communities of fans provide opportunity to form bonds with others. Right on, I thought!  The author dispels the four big myths about fangirls, in fact.  These myths include that fangirls are teenagers, they are trying to escape their boring lives, they can’t develop healthy relationships and that they spend all day on the internet.  By the time I got passed the introduction, I thought maybe this book was written exactly for me!

Chapter one focuses on the fangirl brain and how hearing/seeing what we love actually does various things in our brains to make us happy.  Cool.  She even explains the post-fandom event let down and why we can all get down, emotionally.  More cool.  Then, though, the book takes a turn to assume that many fangirls actually struggle with depression or inability to find balance between real life and fan life, etc.  The goal of the author is to have fangirls remove various dysfunctional behavior in order to be more successful in life and to be happier fans.

Okay.  I get it.  We all have crap to deal with, things to work on.  Every single person, fan or not, would benefit from trying to improve themselves.  I get that.  Yet, as someone who is well aware of the stigma surrounding fandom, I have to wonder if a book like this isn’t reinforcing many of the stereotypes.  Are fans really more mentally ill than the rest of the population?  Do we really struggle with balance?  Again, I appreciate the idea that is woven throughout the book, which is to use one’s fandom to be better, a little self-improvement, but I think the author needed to be cautious not to imply the fans are crazy.

Now, this isn’t to say that everything the author mentions reinforces stereotypes.  Some of what she discusses is how to navigate through one’s fan community, including disagreements, negative comments directed towards you, etc.  While I think that can all be well and good, I wonder that she isn’t missing something beyond the individual.  There is no analysis of sociology of fan communities.  Why do fans go after fans?  This happens all the time, which shows me that it is more than just about the individual fan.  There is something about fandom that causes this.  Fandom too often contains social hierarchies, which we have talked about a lot on this blog.  Why does this happen?  The author wants the individual to be able to deal better.  I want fandom to change so that individual fans don’t have to deal.

Overall, I thought the book was mixed.  I did get some things out of it, such as the brain functioning with things we love and the post event let down.  I recognize that the author is both a fan, which is obvious, and a therapist with the best of intention to help fellow fans be happier.  That said, I think she should have been a bit more cautious not to imply that fans are crazy and I think she needs to acknowledge the community aspect to the dysfunction that can and does happen within fan communities.

Has anyone else read this?  What did you think about it?

-A

“New Found Appreciation”: Influencing New Fans

Last week, I received a thank you card from my student teacher.  In it, she expressed her appreciation with everything thing she had learned during the semester, including the importance of laughter.  Apparently, I make a lot of jokes in my classroom.  Who knew?!  One other thing she learned to appreciate was Duran Duran.  I know.  What does Duran Duran have to do with teaching?  Nothing.  Since I was her cooperating teacher, she had no choice but to learn about Duran.  I played the entire Rio album, for example, on its anniversary.  In order to test new equipment, I played some Duran videos.  The band provided the background to grading semester finals.

She told me that she knew some of their music but was not super familiar with them.  More to the point, what she learned about the band make her like the band more than she did.  Does that mean that  she is a fan now?  I don’t know if the new appreciation will translate to that, but it might.  I did my best or…could I have done something more?

At some point, I did a blog about which songs should be played to try to get new fans but now, after my student teacher and the book, “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy,” I wonder if I went about it in the wrong way.

The book has an entire section entitled Resistance Is Futile:  Converting Your Friends to Fangirls.  Here are the suggestions the author listed and my thoughts about each one of them:

Ease into it.

The recommendation here is simple.  Don’t mention the history of a fandom, that’s too intense, too intimidating.  Instead, one should keep it fun by sending pictures or something light.  What do I think about it?  I’m not sure.  On one hand, I can see why the history might be a bit much or make it seem like there is no way that someone could jump into the fandom right now.  Yet, I think there is a way to acknowledge the awesome history but also showing that one can join.  For example, I might say, “It is pretty cool.  Duran formed in 1978, almost 40 years ago and have thousands of fans.  Yet, because they are still writing new albums and touring, new fans can jump in at any point.”  Then, I might send a fun live clip.

Play human recommendation engine.

The advice here is really easy.  Suggest something you know your friend would like.  In our case, if someone likes more ballads play that person “Save a Prayer”.  If they like more rock, I might choose “Careless Memories”.  It is important to know what the potential Duranie likes, music wise.

Discover something together.

The idea here is to find a fandom together.  Okay.  Cool.  Not an option for me with Duran.  Maybe another band?  Although, I can’t really see me liking another band to the same extent that I like Duran.  Goodness.

Make it a party.

The suggestion here is to have a party and invite a bunch of people.  I do have Duran parties but would I really invite non-Duranies to it?  I’m not sure.  Would they be bored?  Feel out of place?  Wouldn’t that be just like the first recommendation where everyone else has a lot of experience and knowledge that the newbie(s) don’t?!  Maybe I would do that if the person is now a fan but not quite to Duranie status to push them over to the dark…I mean Duran side.

Give the gift of fandom.

The author says that giving gifts about your fandom that you think the person will like can work.  Okay.  I have about 20 million copies of Paper Gods that I could give as gifts.

Don’t get defensive.

If someone doesn’t like your fandom, don’t get defensive.  You can calmly explain that sharing a fandom does give a ton of fabulous experiences and friendships that you wouldn’t have otherwise.  I think it is important to realize that no matter what you share with the non-Duranie, s/he might not ever become a Duranie.  That is okay, too.

Overall, I do believe that it is GREAT to have friends who are Duranies.  It definitely makes fandom WAY more fun and provides a great foundation to a friendship.  That said, it can also be tough when a friend who was once a Duranie is no more or when someone you thought was on her/his way to being a Duranie changes her/his mind.  Sometimes, that really affects friendships, even though no one wants it, too.  So, word to the wise.  Have fun with trying to create a new Duranie but don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t work or doesn’t last.

-A

 

Diamond Dust and Dom

Would you believe it if I told you that on this date in 2014, the Diamond Dust vinyl edition of Diamond in the Mind was released??

When this came up in my daily DD history, I was a little surprised. I can’t decide if I’m surprised it’s been three years, or that it’s ONLY been three years! I think it’s because since 2015, we’ve had Paper Gods on our minds, and in some ways (for me) it feels like All You Need is Now was a long time ago. That thought also makes me a little sad.

I need to plan another trip to the UK.

Moving on…

Hey, is anyone going to see my favorite person on Sunday in London?? Dom Brown is playing with his new band, DB3 at The Boaters Inn and the show is FREE.

A. I wish I could be there.

B. If you’re going, take pictures and video and send them my way!

Last Thursday of kids in the building for me….

Cheers!

-R